University Council on Graduate Study
April 17, 2001
3:00-5:00 PM, 817 CL

Attending: Elizabeth Baranger (Chair), Jacob Birnberg (KGSB), Luis Chaparro (Engineering), Judith Erlen (Nursing), Joseph Grabowski (FAS/Chemistry), Steve Hirtle (SIS), Stephanie Hoogendoorn (GPSA), Steven Husted (FAS), David Miller (GSPIA), Steve Phillips (Medicine), Louis Pingel (Education), Deane Root (FAS/Music), Esther Sales (Social Work), Roslyn Stone (GSPH), Curtis Wadsworth (GPSA); Kit Ayars (Provostís Office), Sam Conte (Registrarís Office), Charles Friedman (Medicine), Montel Rudolph (Provostís Office)

I.    Minutes Approval

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

II. Revised Proposal from the Electronic Theses and Dissertations Working Group

The revised proposal to run a pilot program for accepting electronic theses and dissertations was presented to Council. Council unanimously moved to support the pilot and to recommend that the Provost give it his approval.

III. Committee Reports

Graduate Procedures Committee: Lou Pingel reported that this committee had considered the proposal for the Biomedical Informatics program and recommended its review by Council. It has also looked at how the masters comprehensive was being addressed in schools.

Student Affairs Committee: Steve Hirtle reported that this committee established a list of items for consideration. One of these, the health insurance program for supported grad students, was the focus of a meeting with representatives from graduate student government, Human Resources, and members of the Student Affairs Committee. The insurance program next year will include the benefits of this yearís plan with additional options in the form of choices for dental insurance and the ability to unbundled medical and dental plans.

David Miller asked that Council be given an overview report on schoolsí use of online applications. Kit Ayars will work on this this term to present to Council this summer.

IV. Proposal to Establish a PhD/MS/Certificate Program in Biomedical Informatics

Dr. Chuck Friedman, School of Medicine, presented the School of Medicineís proposal to establish doctorate, masters, and certificate programs in biomedical informatics. He circulated an addendum to the original proposal.

This program is an evolution of existing programs in medical informatics, which holds the largest training grant to the institutions. This is a prestige area for the University; its strengths include the faculty, the ongoing collaboration with SIS, the excellent students, and strong curriculum. Steady state enrollment is anticipated to be 22 masters, 12 doctoral, and 9 certificate students.

Discussion on the proposal included questions on the desirability of this as a degree program vs the existing system where the student graduates with a degree in a different area (students currently graduate with degrees in Public Health, Information Sciences, and Library Sciences). Friedman noted that the new degree will be seen as more desirable because it captures the field or discipline in which the student will work. Exchange of tuition revenue between SIS and Medicine was discussed; Friedman said this will generally end up as an equal trade-off.

Council unanimously recommended approval of this proposal, with a note commending the collaborative effort that went into the proposal and the clarity with which the material was presented.

V. IELTS or Cambridge Test as Possible TOEFL Alternative

Timothy Thompson of the Office of International Services presented material on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which some universities accept as an alternative to TOEFL in evaluating applicantsí fluency in English. Sam Conte raised the question of reliability of the Cambridge Test. Council was unable to vote on whether or not the test is an acceptable alternative until it receives information on this issue; Elizabeth Baranger will do a follow-up investigation on the testís reliability.