University Council on Graduate Study

January 17, 2006


3:00-5:00 p.m.

817 CL



Attending:  Patricia Beeson (Chair), Jeff Brodsky (A&S), Patrick Card (Neuroscience), Nicole Constable (A&S), Judith Erlen (NUR), Eleanor Feingold (GSPH), Carl Fertman (EDU), John Hillier (A&S), John Horn (SOM), Justin Hsieh (GPSA), Margaret Mahoney (LAW), Malcolm McNeil (SHRS), David Miller (GSPIA), Jay Rajgopal (ENG), Anne Robertson (ENG), Martin Weiss (SIS); Barbara Repasi Heron (Registrar), Carrie Sparks (Provost’s Office)


Guests: Dr. Louise Comfort (GSPIA)


I.          Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the September 20, 2005 meeting were approved as written.


II.        Announcements

            Dr. Patty Beeson gave an update on the progress of the new Doctoral Mentoring Award.


Dr. Beeson distributed two new proposals that Council will review at its February 14th meeting. One is a Professional Doctorate, part of a recent trend particularly in the Health Sciences. In the last few years this Council has approved several new professional doctorates including the DPT, AuD, and C.Sc.D in SHRS. A member of Council asked if Dr. Beeson could provide them with some information on past approved professional doctorate proposals. Dr. Beeson will send Council a summary paragraph from each proposal. Dr. Beeson also distributed a document UCGS created on the Guidelines for the Review of Professional Doctoral Programs for Practitioners Council should review these guidelines as they read over the DNP proposal. Judy Erlen asked that Council start with the appendix of the proposal first.


III.       Old Business

Due to the request of a Council member at a pervious meeting, Council discussed whether or not to amend the statement in Regulations Governing Graduate Study that states that dissertation defenses should be announced in the University Times. After some discussion Council agreed to leave the statement as is.

IV.       Proposal to Establish a Minor in Civil Security and Disaster Management  

The proposed minor builds on the existing strengths of GSPIA and has no budgetary implications. Dr. Louise Comfort, an internationally-known expert in the field, played a central role in developing the minor. The proposed minor will meet the need for such a program in this region while also assisting in the recruitment of students both nationally and internationally who want to develop these skills. Dr. Comfort attended the meeting to present the proposal and answer questions.


The minor will be taught by current faculty. Prospective students are very interested in this interdisciplinary minor and enrollment should increase. This minor will create a visible presence of GSPIA in a very important field.


A member of Council asked if a student could complete this minor without any prerequisites.

Dr. Comfort responded that Policy Analysis would be useful and it is a core requirement in GSPIA. She would recommend students take this prior to entering the minor. A member of Council asked that she add the prerequisite to the document. Dr. Comfort agreed.  


A member of Council asked if a student could get a minor from a different school. Dr. Beeson said that they could.


A member of Council asked if similar minors exist elsewhere. Dr. Comfort responded that a range of degrees have appeared since 9/11, but that she is not overly impressed with most of these programs.  She did not know of another program that includes exactly what this minor will offer.


After further discussion on the potential impact on other courses, certificate and degree programs; Dr. Comfort was excused.


There was a motion made to approve the proposal to establish a minor in Civil Security and Disaster Management. This motion was seconded. Council unanimously voted in favor of the motion.


V.        The Revised GRE

Carrie Sparks presented the changes to the Graduate Record Exam as discussed at the Council of Graduate Schools Annual Meeting in December. Among the revisions mentioned were the following (for additional information go to



·        Test Prep Material (Spring 2006)

·        Test Schedule Available (Spring 2006)

·        Revised GRE Test Launched (October 2006)

·        Scores Reported (November 2006)

·        Percentile Rank Data and Tables (Early Jan 2007)


Revised Verbal Section

·        More emphasis on critical reading

·        The relationship between the words will be emphasized more than the vocabulary

Revised Quantitative Reasoning Section

·        Takes away multiple choice

·        Focuses more on skills used in graduate school

Revised Analytical Section

·        Old test gave 45 minutes for issues and 30 minutes for arguments – new test gives 30 minutes for each


·        The Verbal and Quantitative will be scored as 110-150 in one point increments

·        The Analytic Section will use the same 6 point scale in half point increments as before

·        The score scale will come out in early 2007 after ETS has a chance to aggregate

·        It is important that faculty be aware of the test taking conditions


Council suggested that the changes to the GRE be distributed to graduate secretaries and DGS.

VI.       Update on the Electronic Theses and Dissertations Process

As part of its regular updates to Council, Carrie Sparks, on behalf of the ETD Committee, gave an update on the ETD project including recent usage stats, the latest ETD author survey results, and the number of ETDs produced by each school. For more information about ETDs at Pitt see   


There was some discussion about prior publication issues with certain journals and the ETD restriction process. The ETD Steering Committee will continue to monitor these concerns. 



            The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of Council will take place on February 14, 2006.