University Council on Graduate Study
March 20 , 2001
3:00-5:00 PM, 817 CL

Attending: Elizabeth Baranger (Chair), Jacob Birnberg (KGSB), Ray Burdett (SHRS), Judith Erlen (Nursing), Joseph Grabowski (FAS/Chemistry),  Steve Hirtle (SIS), Stephanie Hoogendoorn (GPSA), Steven Husted (FAS), Y.H. John Ismail (Dental Medicine), Margaret Mahoney (Law), David Miller (GSPIA), Deane Root (FAS/Music), Roslyn Stone (GSPH), Regis Vollmer (Pharmacy), Curtis Wadsworth (GPSA); Kit Ayars (Provost’s Office), Barbara Repasi Heron (Registrar’s Office), Lynda Davidson (Nursing),  Sandra Engberg (Nursing)

I.    Minutes Approval

The minutes of the February 2001 meeting were approved as written.

II. Northeast Regional Conference of the National Association of Graduate and Professional Students

Stephanie Hoogendoorn, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association, reported on the specific plans for the conference to be held in Pittsburgh this month. Most events will be held in the William Pitt Union; they include a welcome address from Board of Trustee member Suzie Broadhurst, a luncheon with University administrators featuring a keynote address by Jim Roddey (CEO of Allegheny County), a presentation on “The Scholarly Communication Crisis” by Provost James Maher and University Librarian Rush Miller, and various workshops focusing on student action items such as research and scholarship expositions, organizing cultural events, and legislative issues and impacts.

Hoogendoorn introduced Curt Wadsworth (FAS/Biological Sciences); he has been elected to serve as the new GPSA President.

III. Proposal to Establish a New Major in Clinical Nurse Specialist; Proposal to Rename Existing Majors in the Master of Science in Nursing Program

Associate Dean Lynda Davidson explained that the School of Nursing wishes to establish a new major -- Clinical Nurse Specialist – in the Master of Science in Nursing degree program. In conjunction with the new major, the proposal requests changing the names of existing majors and regrouping areas of concentration. These efforts, prompted by market demands, are being made in order to make the name of the major reflect the actual course of study and to align the names of the majors more closely with standard nomenclature of the profession.  Davidson assured Council that the new names will be a sound structure for the foreseeable future; changing demands or interests can be addressed through the addition of areas of concentration within the majors.

Council voted unanimously to recommend approval of the new major and the new names of existing majors.

IV. Changes in TA Training in FAS

Associate Dean Steve Husted reviewed the history of TA training in FAS and described the enhanced teaching assistant training program developed in cooperation with the Center for Instructional Development and Distance Education. CIDDE’s FACDEV course for new classroom instructors has been modified to build on existing strengths. A three-meeting set of orientation sessions has been established as a required part of new TAs’ development. The three sessions are scheduled several weeks apart in order to anticipate issues being faced by new TAs in the classroom at that point in the term.

Feedback on the new orientation sessions has been very positive.

FAS also has a new mentoring program for TAs. In this program, which begins this term, TAs help to mentor their peers. Departments are invited to nominate an experienced TA who would mentor other TAs who have questions or concerns. The TA mentor’s ID card is loaded with $100 for the term in appreciation for the service offered to the school.

V. Report of the Graduate Student Affairs Committee

Graduate Student Affairs Committee Chair Steve Hirtle distributed the minutes from the committee’s January meeting. A number of issues were identified at that time; the committee decided to begin by looking at the availability of housing for graduate students. There are a limited number of campus-owned properties designated for grad students and no plans to increase the number of units.

Members of the committee visited the Housing Office. Housing wants departments and schools to communicate realistically about the cost and availability of housing in property. Some departments have told incoming students that they can expect to pay $300/month for a nice apartment in a convenient location, and that such apartments are widely available even for students who don’t arrive in Pittsburgh until the end of August. These are not realistic expectations.

Housing likes working with graduate students very much, and they encourage departments/schools to remind their students that the office exists.