Minutes Approved at 531st Meeting – Nov. 4, 2002

GRADUATE COUNCIL MINUTES
530TH Meeting
October 7, 2002

MEMBERS PRESENT:   Barbe, Blickhan, Cebula, Cole, Factor, Gowen, Griffiths, Gupta, J. Johnson, Lefticariu, Lockard, Lusk, Mini, Montgomery, Nuzzo,
                                        Osorio, Powell, Rintala, Rose, Sivasubramaniam, Swanson, Varland, Waas

MEMBERS ABSENT:     B. Harris, Musial, Razvi, S. Russell, Schmall

OTHERS PRESENT:       Hecht, Legg, Stelling (Secretary), J. Thomas, Van Mol (Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator), Willis

The meeting was called to order at 10:05 by T. Daniel Griffiths, chair.  The minutes of the 529th meeting, held September 9, 2002 were moved to be approved by Rintala; seconded by Factor.  The minutes were approved.

Announcements

Guests:  Griffiths introduced Sue Willis, President of the Faculty Senate and Executive Secretary of the University Council.  Willis was in attendance to hear about the IRB and to answer any questions.  Jeffrey Hecht and Jim Thomas were in attendance to answer any questions about the proposal for the creation of the Responsible Conduct of Scholarship Committee.  Provost Legg would discuss the title change of the Vice Provost.

Colloquium:  Montgomery reminded the Council that the annual report of this committee last spring mentioned there could possibly be a large end-of-year carryover.  This was the case for a number of reasons, one being the change in the accounting system.  She had indicated an intent to seek Colloquium Committee approval to increase each unit’s “planning parameter” for this year.  The committee has just approved this, effective immediately and to continue in the future.  It will look over the budget each year to monitor the long-term impact of this increased funding.

Re-certification to Issue I-20s:  An update to Montgomery’s last month report was good news:  NIU has been approved under the new certification to issue I-20s to bring in international students in and use the new data system (SEVIS).  NIU was one of 736 institutions approved so far for certification out of 7,500 (figure from the Chicago Tribune, 10/6/02).

Old Business

IRB Issues

The Institutional Review Board’s (IRB) function is now being discussed within the Faculty Senate’s Faculty Rights and Responsibilities Committee and the University Council’s Academic Policy Committee, who are meeting together as one committee for this issue.  A few weeks ago this committee met with Lori Bross (Assistant to the Dean, Federal Compliance), Gregory Waas (faculty member and IRB member), Sharon Plowman (faculty member and chair of the IRB committee), Taylor Atkins (IRB member), and Dan Griffiths.  The joint committee recommendations will go to the Graduate Council’s Research and Artistry Committee.

Waas reported that the meeting seemed very positive with reflective and substantive comments made.  The IRB committee members described the intricacies of their work.

Willis said this joint committee would be meeting with individuals in the near future, before making their recommendations to the full University Council.  Rintala said she believes the Graduate Council sometimes gets forgotten in these and other deliberations and would like to make certain there is a voice heard from the Graduate Council.  Willis said at University Council there are sub-committee updates and she would like input from the Graduate Council, which may help to keep the Graduate Council in the minds of UC members.  Griffiths said Sue Mini, Graduate Council Assistant Chair, is the Graduate Council representative on that body.

New Business

Technology Commercialization Office (TCO) Search Update:  Griffiths said Provost Legg, Kathryn Buettner and himself may be interviewing a person for a possible interim director position.  In the meantime, Griffiths has composed a search committee of the following people:  himself and Linda Schwarz (OSP) as co-chairs, Kathryn Buettner (state and federal regulations), Sen Kuo (ELE), John Lewis (Center for Governmental Studies), C. T. Lin (CHEM), Pamela Macfarlane (KNPE), Michael Parrish (BIOL), Ross Powell (GEOL), and Rita Reynolds (Graduate School).  He asked for the concurrence of the Council for this search committee; given.

As the Council waited for one of the guests to arrive, Griffiths brought up a few items of interest.  The Northern Star recently ran an article about how the IBHE was interested in increasing diversity.  The Assistant to the Dean for Recruitment, Lyndon Perkins, recently put together an excellent package to give to NIU administrators concerning Graduate School efforts.  Griffiths said he would like to see the university go after external fellowships such as the Howard Hughes fellowships in the sciences; he would like suggestions of other scholarships in other areas that we might secure.
 
Other topics Griffiths would be interested in covering include increasing communication between graduate students in different areas in terms of interdisciplinary research.  Factor said he would be willing to send, via e-mail, news from the School of Art to all graduate students if he could find such a list.  Swanson said some institutional changes are needed to have interdisciplinary activities work best.  Gupta agreed saying money would be needed from the administration to get some things done in this area.

Return to New Business

Responsible Conduct of Scholarship (RCS)

Originally there was an October 1, 2001 federal deadline to have such a document in place at higher institutes of learning.  Since it was decided that this decree did not go through proper federal legislative steps, the implementation of these guidelines have been delayed.  There is no question that such a document will be required; the timeline is unclear.  NIU now has such a document ready to be put into action, and this is believed to be desirable aside from any federal mandates.

Jim Thomas, one of the ad hoc RCS committee members, told the Council that the committee was not attempting to impose but to explain what is needed.  Basically, the committee pulled together current policies and procedures.  The document is more a program of instruction that is open-ended with an outline including three groups; institutional (overview) level, unit level, and practitioner (researcher) level.

Jeffrey Hecht, another RCS committee member, said the group did much “recycling.”  They did not define what ethics are; that is left to the practitioner.  The group is trying to raise awareness of issues.  The federal guidelines listing nine core instructional areas, with the committee adding point 10 and 11:

        ·     Data acquisition, management, sharing, and ownership

        ·     Mentor/trainee responsibilities

        ·     Publication practices and responsible authorship

        ·     Peer review

        ·     Collaborative research

        ·     Research involving human subjects

        ·     Research involving vertebrate animals

        ·     Research misconduct

        ·     Conflict of interest and commitment

        ·     Fiscal/administrative responsibility

        ·     Environmental health and safety

Hecht stressed again that RCS is not about enforcement but about education in these areas and the ethics of keeping good records, not how to keep these records.  The oversight committees, such as IRB, will be the source of how-to and enforcement.

Thomas added that this RCS document is 1) to increase the emphasis on interdisciplinary research with colleagues and help share concerns and issues campus-wide; 2) to help in problem-solving, not in enforcing; and 3) to communicate and share in problem-solving and how to get to this point.

Waas asked when is the federal deadline.  Thomas said that was still in limbo because of political problems.  Hecht said one of the problems this document hopes to address is the new scholars on campus.  How do they find out where to get information about what they need to do?  How can a new faculty person do things better and more correctly?

Lockard moved, with a second by Swanson, to refer this document to the Research and Artistry Committee for further study and recommendations.  Montgomery suggested that although graduate students do not normally serve on Research and Artistry, it might be appropriate for this. The motion also endorsed appointing one graduate student to the Research and Artistry Committee for this issue only, to be selected by the students.  Motion passed.

Change in Title from Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School to Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School

Provost Legg apologized to the Graduate Council for not consulting with them before taking this title change to the Board of Trustees.  He explained how the past search failed to get someone in this position.  Before the first search began President Peters mentioned to Legg that the title should possibly be changed; Legg did not follow that suggestion.  Now, with the second search beginning he has reconsidered and realizes that NIU is a research-extensive school and there are more Vice President for Research titles in these types of institutions than Vice Provosts.  This name change will give NIU better recognition.

The vice president title will not change the structure of the job; the person will report to the Provost.  An added benefit will be that this person will have a seat on the Senior Cabinet.  Legg reiterated that the role of dean would not be diminished.

Legg said that, with the exception of one member, the search committee supported this name change, the Faculty Senate had little negative feedback and there was no feedback from the University Council.  The title change was then taken to the Board of Trustees.

Blickhan said he did have an exception to the change of name. His concern was the impact this will have on how the Graduate School operates.  If the Vice President is off working on the research part of the job and there are no additional resources for administrating the Graduate School, how will the Graduate School keep going?

Legg said he has no intention of having a Graduate Director instead of a Dean, though this is done at some institutions.  He does not consider the Dean of the Graduate School as being responsible for the academic mission; instead, he/she monitors the academic progress of students and acts as a facilitator for the other academic colleges.  The budget question is always does more money go to the academic departments or to the Graduate School?  More attention needs to be directed towards research.  Dean Montgomery will likely have to assume more “front-line” responsibility.  Legg asked what does the dean of the Graduate School do?  He would like input from faculty on this.  In a few years the role could change, but not at this time.

Legg sees the main change with this title change will be the opportunity for the Vice President of Research to sit on the Senior Cabinet.  An emphasis will be put on the interactions with such places as Fermi and Argonne.

Griffiths added that maybe the assistant chair of the Graduate Council could take on some duties of the Graduate School after further studying the duties of the Dean, particularly representing the dean on a number of committees on which the dean presently serves.

Legg reiterated the fact that research is inseparable from the teaching mission.  Research gives substance, basis and enthusiasm for teaching.

Montgomery took exception to Legg’s suggestion that the Dean of the Graduate School had no academic leadership role on the campus, simply because faculty do not report to that position.  Legg clarified that the academic leadership role is important for a Dean of the Graduate School; it is how that leadership occurs.

Waas asked the make-up of the Senior Cabinet.  Legg said it consists of the vice presidents, Provost, the Executive Director of State and Federal Regulations, and the Executive Director of Community Relations, along with the President.

Rintala asked if the titles of administrators are not a change in the university by-laws, which would then require a vote by the faculty.  Legg was not certain about this and will check it out with the University Council Secretary.

Factor asked if there would be a “trickle down” effect and a change in titles within the Graduate School.  Legg said no, not at this time. Legg said NIU wants to get the best person and this title change will improve our chances.

Swanson asked what kind of change makes it binding to go through the University Council and a faculty vote?  Most of the Council thought if the change was considered a change in the Constitution, then ballots would go to faculty.  If the change affected the by-laws only, no faculty ballot was required.  Rintala asked what is “editing” and what constitutes a change that needs input?  Griffiths said this is in the University Council area.  Blickhan commented that the name change brought to University Council was on the agenda as an action item but no action was taken, via a vote; Rintala added that if it had been an action item, a waiver of first reading was needed, and that did not occur.

Legg again stated that he went before the Faculty Senate and the University Council with this change and met with little opposition.  This was done pragmatically, if not officially.  He then left the meeting.

Montgomery said she could support Blickhan’s hypothesis:  from personal reports to her, University Council people thought the Graduate Council had already discussed this change and agreed to it, so they did not raise the issue.  Blickhan (also a member of the Search Committee) said the Senate was told the Search Committee agreed.  He said the committee only agreed if all other constituents, including the Graduate Council, agreed and the resources for the Graduate School have to be there.

Rintala added that this item came in as a walk-in with no chance to think about the matter and ask any questions.  It is difficult to do shared governance when issues are just put before you for a few minutes and then you are asked to vote.  Lockard commented that it seems as if all of this was performed as a courtesy, not a requirement.  Swanson, to clarify, asked if the two issues were the following:  1) Were procedures followed before the change and 2) Is it a constitutional change or a cosmetic change?  Griffiths said he would work with Willis to find out what procedures are involved in this case.

Rintala also requested that the Graduate Council have more input and interaction with the candidates for this position.  She encouraged fellow Council members to meet the candidates.  Blickhan also said he thought having more Graduate Council members on the search committee would be beneficial.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:00 p.m.