541st  Meeting

February 2, 2004


MEMBERS PRESENT:           Barbe, Bose, Carnahan, Changnon, Cole, Factor, Gowen, Gupta, Hagensee, Harris, Jackson, Johnson, Lockard,  Miranda, Montgomery, Richgels, Ridinger, Rose, Russell, Sen, Srivastava, Swanson, Waas, Zammuto


MEMBERS ABSENT: Blickhan, Cebula, Nuzzo, Schmall


OTHERS PRESENT:               Sandra Arntz (Secretary), Thecla Cooler (International Student & Faculty Office), Deborah Pierce (International Programs), Earl Seaver (Vice Provost), Kay Van Mol (Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator), Sue Willis (University Council/Faculty Senate)



Rathindra Bose, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. The December 1, 2003 minutes were moved for approval by Gowen, seconded by Russell.  The minutes were unanimously approved.

Announcements:  Bose announced the postponement of the inaugural event for the new NIU Presidential Public Policy Lecture Series previously scheduled for February 3, 2004 (Australian Ambassador Michael Thawley).  Bose suggested that the Graduate Council members may want to make recommendations for future speakers, and that Bose will forward any suggestions on to the Senior Cabinet. 

Bose also reminded the committee members of the Office of Sponsored Projects’ poster session to be held Thursday, February 26, in the Holmes Student Center.

Bose suggested that NIU researchers participate in a “technology showcase” at the April 27th Advisory Board meeting of the West Suburban Technology Enterprise Center (WESTEC).  WESTEC assists technology-based start-up businesses and serves as an incubator for high-tech ventures. Bose would like 3 or 4 faculty members involved in technology/commercialization type research that has been successful be invited to present.  Bose further suggested that NIU select certain relevant posters from OSP’s poster session on February 26 to display as well. 

Updates of Graduate School operations:   Montgomery announced that applications are up across the board by college.

Bose announced that Rita Reynolds, Graduate School Business Manager, will be retiring, effective March 31st, and that the Graduate School has initiated the process of replacing her.

Definition of “full-time”:  Debra Pierce, Director, International Programs, presented the committee members with information regarding the definition of “full-time”.  Pierce explained that while the federal regulations are very clear at the undergraduate level, there is quite a bit of leeway at the graduate level.  Basically, certified DSOs (designated school officials) interpret the regulations to the best of their abilities.  NIU currently defines full-time as 9 hours.  However, it is not clear how audit hours should be handled, or how to define “good progress”.

Rose moved, and Gupta seconded, that the issue go to the Standards Committee for its review.  The motion was carried unanimously.

New Business

NIU awarding posthumous degrees or certificates:  Vice Provost Seaver presented the committee with a copy of the guidelines drafted by his office to assist departments in the awarding of posthumous degrees or certificates.  Swanson moved, and Miranda seconded, that the document be approved as internal policy for the Provost’s Office with the following changes:  a) title of document changed to “Northern Illinois University Guidelines for Awarding Posthumous Degrees or Certificates”, b) the first paragraph should read “A degree may be awarded for a deceased student upon recommendation of the dean of the college (dean of the Graduate School for graduate students) with approval by the Office of the Provost”, and c) the 6th bulleted statement on the first page should read “For graduate degrees requiring a research product (dissertation, thesis or research paper) a substantial portion of the work have been completed to the satisfaction of the committee.”  The motion was carried unanimously.

Request for Assessment of Theses from Dean Vohra:  The committee received a request from Dean Vohra regarding a concern about the quality of theses from departments within the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.  Dean Vohra is seeking approval to develop a college policy to authorize department chairs to delegate a chair’s designee to attend theses defenses.  The committee members agreed that since this is actually an assessment issue, Dean Vohra should handle this concern by changing department requirements to require a non-voting chair’s designee member on all thesis committees.  Bose will send a memo to Dean Vohra reflecting this decision.

Old Business

Name Change:  Bose reported that the name change from “Graduate School” to “Division of Research and Graduate Studies” (with the Graduate School as a unit within the division) that was approved at the December 1, 2003 meeting, is being looked into by the Provost’s Office.  The Provost’s Office will advise the committee regarding the procedures that need to be followed in order to execute this change.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.