GRADUATE COUNCIL MINUTES
532nd Meeting
December 2, 2002

MEMBERS PRESENT:    Barbe, Blickhan, Cebula, Cole, Factor, Gowen, Griffiths, Gupta, Harris, Lefticariu, Mini, Montgomery, Nuzzo, Osorio, Razvi,
                                         Rintala, Rose, Russell, Sivasubramaniam, Swanson, Varland, Waas

MEMBERS ABSENT:      Johnson (James), Lockard, Lusk, Musial, Powell, Schmall

OTHERS PRESENT:        Stelling (Secretary), Van Mol (Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator)

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by T. Daniel Griffiths, chair.  The minutes of the 531st meeting held November 4, 2002 were moved to be approved by Rintala, seconded by Factor.  The Minutes were approved.

Announcements

Griffiths brought to the Council’s attention the notice sent with last month’s approved minutes to graduate faculty.  In an effort to save money (copying and label costs for over 800 copies, staff time in preparing for mailing), the approved minutes are posted to the University Council website.  The notice sent last month told recipients the website address and offered a form to send back to the Graduate School if a person wanted a paper copy sent to him/her.  The Graduate School staff and the Graduate Council members will automatically receive a paper copy.  So far, the request for paper copies totals 91.  Most Council members agreed with trying this.  A few concerns were raised about notifying individuals in some way that the minutes were, in fact, posted.  Stelling will e-mail all academic department and division secretaries (as listed by the Provost Office) and all college dean secretaries to notify them when the minutes are posted by the University Council office.

Committee Reports

Graduate Council Curriculum Committee

Harris moved to approve the committee’s recommendations; seconded by Mini.  The following new courses, course deletions, course revisions, and other changes in catalog copy were approved.
 
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
        Department of Educational Psychology and                 EPS *450X (new course)
        Foundations

        Department of Counseling, Adult and                          CAHL *400 (course revision)
        Health Education

        Department of Teaching and Learning                          TLSE *478 (course deletion)

                                                                                           TLCI *450 (course revision)
 

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY
        Department of Technology                                          TECH 598J (new course)
 

                                                                                           TECH *406, 407, *426, 502, 505, 541, 601, 603, 645 (course deletions)
 

COLLEGE OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SCIENCES
        School of Nursing                                                       Change in admission requirements

                                                                                           NURS 595 (course revision)
 

COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES
        Department of Computer Science                                 CSCI 580Q and 580R (new courses)

                                                                                           Change in M.S. requirements

The following was recorded but further approval is needed before inclusion in the Graduate Catalog:

COLLEGE OF EDUCATION
        Department of Counseling, Adult and                          Change from M.S.Ed./Ed.D. in Adult Continuing
        Health Education                                                        Education to M.S.Ed./Ed.D. in Adult and Higher Education
 

Graduate Council Standards Committee

In the following recommendations, catalog references are to the 2002-2003 Graduate Catalog, and catalog language to be added is underlined (like this).  The following two items were moved to be approved by Waas and seconded by Montgomery.

(1)     Permission to pursue a certificate of graduate study

A recent discussion in the Curriculum Committee revealed the absence of any policy to the effect that students must secure permission to pursue a certificate of graduate study.  The Curriculum Committee recommended that the issue be referred to the Standards Committee for development of such a statement.  One advantage to the student is that it would encourage him or her to seek appropriate advisement earlier rather than later (more important, obviously, in programs with choices in course requirements).  A second important benefit is that departments can know who's out there, which allows them (a) to implement our new tracking process for that student, and (b) to anticipate demand for courses leading to the certificate, for planning purposes.

At the same time, it is somewhat problematic to declare that the student must receive such approval before starting the certificate program.  First, this isn't implementable in practice anyway; second, we don't want to discourage new SALs from trying a course or two before committing to a certificate program.  So, no deadline or timeframe is recommended for this approval, nor any formality of process (from the Graduate School's perspective) beyond the program head's submission of the new form indicating that student “X” is pursuing certificate “Y.”  Indeed, the approval of the program is implicit in the filing of the form indicating that a student has completed the certificate, even if that is the first piece of paper the Graduate School receives connecting that student with that certificate.  So, it is not proposed that the Graduate School must necessarily receive any indication of the program's approval prior to the completion of the certificate.

The following addition is suggested for p. 29 of the current Graduate Catalog under “Certificates of Graduate Study”:

        To pursue a certificate of graduate study, a student must be admitted to the Graduate School or to the graduate-level classification of student-at-large,
        and must have the approval of the individual responsible for administration of that certificate.  Only courses taken at NIU . . .

Note also that individual units are still perfectly free to propose some deadline by which students must receive formal permission to pursue their graduate certificates.

Russell asked how this would affect the concentration in Southeast Asian Studies.  Montgomery said a concentration had to be done in conjunction with a degree program and this policy is for certificates only.  Harris asked how a person knows who is in charge of a certificate program?  Montgomery said when a certificate comes before the Curriculum Committee it is noted, and, hopefully the department or center will keep the same position (Graduate Studies Director, Chair, or Center Director) in charge.
 

(2)     Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for graduate students receiving financial aid.

A few years ago, a Federal audit of NIU's Financial Aid Office resulted in the University being billed for a very large sum for repayment of financial aid inappropriately distributed.  The basic problem was the lack of an acceptable Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) policy.  Ultimately, a SAP was developed and approved by APASC for undergraduates, who are the majority of financial-aid recipients.  However, the university needs a SAP policy for graduate students too, or there will again be audit problems in the future.  This fall, Associate Dean Montgomery has been working closely with Kenneth McGhee, senior assistant director of the Student Financial Aid Office, to develop a graduate-student SAP policy.  The attached conforms to applicable laws and regulations, and in many ways parallels the university's SAP policy for undergraduates, with refinements reflecting differences between the situations of graduate and undergraduate students.

This following text would appear on p. 45 of the current Graduate Catalog, in the "Financial Support" section, following the descriptions of various types of loans and assistance to which it applies, to avoid confusion with Graduate School policies on academic standing generally.
 
 

GRADUATE STUDENT STANDARDS OF
SATISFACTORY ACADEMIC PROGRESS
FOR FINANCIAL-AID PURPOSES

In accordance with the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended by Congress, Northern Illinois University has established a satisfactory academic progress policy for graduate students.

Federal and state financial aid programs covered by this policy are the following:  Perkins Loan, Federal Work Study (FWS), Stafford Loan (subsidized and unsubsidized) and certain alternative loans.

Students will be considered to be making satisfactory academic progress if they meet all of the following requirements.  Failure to comply with any one may result in a loss of financial-aid eligibility.

Rate of Completion Requirement

A student must successfully complete 67% of the credit hours attempted after two terms of enrollment and subsequently each academic year after spring-semester grades are posted.  Courses in which grades of A, B, C, or S have been earned are considered successfully completed.  Enrollments resulting in withdrawals, incompletes ( grades of I or IN), audits, and courses in which grades of D, F, U, P, NR, or NG have been received are not considered successfully completed.  NIU courses resulting in withdrawals, incompletes, or NR or NG grades, and courses being repeated, will be counted in the calculation of hours attempted.  Audits are not included in the total number of semester hours attempted.  Undergraduate courses (except audits) count in hours attempted; they may be counted as completed hours only if the courses are required  (for example, as deficiencies) to meet degree requirements.

Grade-Point Average Requirement

A student must maintain a cumulative graduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher after two terms of enrollment and subsequently each academic year.

Maximum Time Frame Requirement

Graduate students are expected to complete degree requirements after having attempted not more than 150% of the number of hours of coursework required for the degree program, including required deficiency courses.  Student-at-large hours and credit accepted in transfer courses are part of the hours attempted, as are all terms of enrollment at NIU, whether or not financial aid was received.  Example:  A master's degree in political science requires 30 semester hours.  Students may receive financial aid for no more than 45 attempted semester hours if they are pursuing this degree.

Students who exceed this 150% credit-hour limit are immediately ineligible for financial aid.  Such students may formally appeal their ineligibility for financial aid by following the guidelines under the "Appeals Procedures" section of this policy.

Evaluation

The Satisfactory Academic Progress policy is in effect for each academic year of a student's enrollment.  Satisfactory academic progress is evaluated after the completion of each term of enrollment.  Students who have an unsuccessful term or terms will receive written notification of their current status.

Failure to meet the "Rate of Completion Requirement" or "Grade-Point Average Requirement" sections of this policy will result in the following:

        Students who are not making satisfactory academic progress after two terms of enrollment will be placed on financial aid warning and will be sent a letter notifying them of their financial aid warning status.  Students on financial aid warning may continue to receive financial aid for the next term of enrollment.

        If the deficiency is not remedied by the end of this term, the student becomes ineligible for financial aid; the student's awards are placed on hold and he/she will receive a second written notification of lack of progress.  Students at this stage should consult with their graduate academic advisor.  Financial aid will not be released unless the Student Financial Aid Office is notified in writing by the Graduate School that consultation has occurred.

        If the deficiency is not remedied by the end of the next term of enrollment, a student again becomes ineligible for financial aid and will be so notified.  Students may formally appeal their ineligibility for financial aid.  If the appeal is approved, a student will regain eligibility for financial aid.

Appeals Procedures

Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Student Financial Aid Office and must include a written review from the student's graduate academic advisor and the Graduate School.  Note that federal regulations restrict those circumstances that may enable an appeal to be successful; the university does not have full discretion in this regard.  The Student Financial Aid Office considers the student's written appeal, the written evaluations, and these regulations when making a final determination.

Montgomery commented that this policy was parallel to the undergraduate policy.  Rintala asked how easy it might be for departments to modify this.  Montgomery said the student could appeal to Student Financial Aid who then checks with the student’s department to ascertain student progress.  Since students-at-large only have 12 months of financial aid available, this policy does not pertain to them.
Both proposals above received approval by the Graduate Council.

Graduate Council Research and Artistry (R&A) Committee

Progress on the Responsible Conduct of Scholarship (RCS):  Griffiths reported the committee, along with Jim Thomas, met to discuss the RCS document.  A document dealing with this issue will be federally-mandated soon.  The RCS will be an umbrella for the existing Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), and the Institutional Biosafety  Committee (IBC).  Three concerns were voiced by the R&A Committee:

        ·     How will the RCS policy be implemented?

        ·     How will potential RCS committee members be identified?

        ·     Should the committee have 11 sub-committees to deal with each of the instructional areas?

Waas asked what is the function of this committee?  Griffiths said the committee was more of an educational tool than an enforcement tool.  Both faculty and students could be taught about responsible scholarship before a problem arises.  Waas asked if the committee would be designing and setting up training procedures.  Griffiths said yes.

Discussion on IRB Issues:  Griffith reported that a recent IRB meeting in San Diego was quite good and well balanced.  Along with Griffiths, the Faculty Senate sent three representatives and 10 IRB members attended.  There were entire sessions on what social scientists are dealing with in conjunction with IRB policies.  The problems social scientists at NIU are having with IRB policies is not unique; it is a problem with many social scientists across the nation.

At the meeting, Griffith reported on how NIU handles the problem with students doing research without IRB approval. Our policy was deemed to be okay but some institutions do not allow any information in a thesis or dissertation if the procedures used to obtain that information was not approved by the IRB.

It was made clear at the meeting that the federal Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP) is interested in all areas, including social sciences, and our IRB has members who are knowledgeable in this area.  The director of the Education and Development Division of OHRP is an NIU graduate; there is no way NIU can plead ignorance.  Non-compliance in any area, i.e. no consent forms, is basis enough for the federal government to stop all federal grants to an institution.  This has happened not too long ago to the University of Chicago.

Summer Research and Artistry Awards: Griffiths is working on getting more funding in future years.  More funding will be based on having different criteria for awarding these grants.  More recommendations will be brought the full Graduate Council as the R&A meets and discusses these different criteria.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:35 a.m.