549th Meeting
February 7, 2005

MEMBERS PRESENT: Abdel-Motaleb, Arado, Blickhan, Bose, Campbell, Carnahan, Changnon, Cole, Factor, Fernald, Gowen, Gupta, Harris, Holmes (for Sells), Jackson, Lockard, Nuzzo, Richgels, Swanson, Waas, Willis

MEMBERS ABSENT: Biswas, Darrah, Hurych, Johnson, Karonis, Lim, Miranda, Muskievicz, Russell

OTHERS PRESENT: Arntz (Secretary), Cooler (International Student & Faculty Office), Graf (College of Business), Pierce (International Student & Faculty Office), Stoddard (University Council), Van Mol (Catalog Editor/Curriculum Coordinator), Wright (College of Business)

Rathindra Bose, Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m.
The December 6, 2004 minutes were moved for approval by Blickhan, seconded by Jackson, and carried unanimously.

New Business
English proficiency requirements for MBA program. Wright addressed the committee regarding the English proficiency requirements for international students applying for admission into the MBA and Executive MBA programs. Wright explained that the MBA programs are offered at off-campus locations only (Rockford, Hoffman Estates, Naperville) and that the students are not full-time students. The vast majority of these students are being sponsored by their employers. Wright reported on how other institutions are handling English proficiency requirements for their MBA programs. For example, the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign requires no English placement, but does require the TOEFL (unless the student will be teaching, then more stringent requirements must be met). The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee requires only that students possess a green card. The University of Iowa requires only the TOEFL. Wright explained that NIU’s MBA programs require English placement exams for all international students, regardless of whether or not the individuals are currently working in the U.S. or have other degrees from American universities. Bose asked whether Wright and Graf felt that NIU’s English proficiency requirements for MBA students was having a negative impact on enrollment. Wright and Graf stated that because there are many other institutions in the Chicago area that we compete with for students that we are likely losing highly-qualified students. It was agreed that this issue be taken up by the Graduate Council Standards Committee who will investigate, and make recommendations to the Graduate Council, as to how we can allow more flexibility for the MBA programs in dealing with this issue.

Committee Reports

Graduate Council Standards Committee

Waas reported that the committee spent one meeting discussing the current requirement that students maintain continuous registration in thesis and dissertation hours during the summer term. This issue was raised because of some concern that a student’s primary research advisor may not always be available for direct consultation during the summer months. In considering this issue, the committee noted that the primary intent of the requirement is to ensure that students continue to make progress on their research. During the summer months students enrolled in 599 and 699 are assigned supervisors and they continue to utilize a variety of university resources (e.g., laboratory, office, equipment). The consensus of the committee was that the requirement for continuous registration is justified on both pedagogical and accountability grounds and therefore makes no proposal for a change in requirements. Bose suggested that we may be able to use tuition waivers in certain situations so that enrollment remains, but students are not penalized by the limitations of availability of adequate supervision during the summer term. The committee will look into the status of using tuition waivers for summer enrollment as compared to comparable institutions to determine how others are handling this issue. Waas also reported that the committee has spent two meetings discussing the definition of “full-time enrollment” for advanced doctoral level international students in F-1 and J-1 status. It has been noted that, once doctoral students have completed all requirements except dissertation research, they often are allowed by departments to reduce their enrollment to 3 hours. However, under current Catalog language, international students must register for 9 credit hours for the purpose of full-time enrollment certification to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The committee has been examining the possibility of redefining “full-time enrollment” for such certification purposes. The committee expects to submit a proposal to the Council at its next meeting.

New Business
Extension of Acting Associate Dean appointment for Suzanne Willis for additional year: At this time, Willis was recused while the committee discussed extending her appointment as Acting Associate Dean of the Graduate School for an additional year. Bose explained that a recommendation from the Graduate Council would need to be submitted to the University Council for approval of this extension. Blickhan expressed concern that perhaps university policies and procedures had been violated in dealing with the Acting Associate Dean’s appointment. Bose emphasized that he had no intention of violating the university’s policies and procedures. Bose reminded the committee that he had consulted with the Graduate Council in appointing an Acting Associate Dean. In fact, he reported that he spoke to a number of potential candidates before selecting Dr. Willis. This was reported to the Graduate Council last spring. He strongly feels that it was within his jurisdiction to appoint Willis in an “acting” capacity. Bose further expressed his concern that the Graduate School would be in a better position to recruit qualified candidates for the position if the start date was pushed back to July 2006 rather than July 2005. Bose explained that a delay of the search for a year due to the tremendous fiscal crisis in the Division of Research and Graduate Studies would help in recruiting an outstanding candidate. Since there was no Graduate Council meeting in January 2005, he is within the six-month time limitation to initiate a search or seek approval for extension due to extenuating circumstances. Initially, Blickhan moved a lengthy motion that contained three components, including extending the position for an additional year, forming an ad hoc committee to evaluate Dr. Willis’ performance, as well as the make-up of the ad hoc committee, which was seconded by Harris. After considerable discussion by Waas, Carnahan, Abdel-Motaleb, Swanson, Gupta and others, Blickhan withdrew his motion.

After further debate, the following motions were passed:

  1. Waas moved, seconded by Factor, that the position of Acting Associate Dean be extended for an additional year (Campbell and Harris abstained).
  2. Blickhan moved, seconded by Nuzzo, that an ad hoc committee be formed to evaluate Dr. Willis’ performance as Acting Associate Dean (Campbell abstained).
  3. Abdel-Motaleb moved, seconded by Gowen, that the ad hoc committee to evaluate Dr. Willis’ performance be chaired by the Assistant Chair of the Graduate Council (Swanson), and consist of at least one representative from each college as well as a graduate student representative.

Bose reported that the Provost’s Office has approved the Graduate Council’s original suggestion of the name change of the Graduate School to the Division of Research and Graduate Studies. Finally, Bose reported that he is currently investigating the issue of whether or not NIU’s large student-at-large (SAL) population is receiving adequate advising from the Graduate School. The Office of Institutional Research is currently collecting and analyzing data in terms of how many SALs are subsequently admitted as “regular” graduate students in various programs, how many SALs are not interested in admittance to degree programs, etc. The data will be presented to the committee as soon as it is available.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.