University Council on Graduate Study

April 19, 2005

Minutes

3:00-5:00 p.m.

817 CL

 

 

Attending:† Patricia Beeson (Chair), Jeff Brodsky (A&S), Judith Erlen (NUR), Paula Grabowski (A&S), Justin Hsieh (GPSA), Steven Husted (A&S), Gary Koeske (SW), Malcolm McNeil (SHRS), David Miller (GSPIA), Marianne Novy (A&S), Steve Phillips (SOM), Louis Pingel (EDUC), Mark Roberts (SOM), Roslyn Stone (GSPH), Martin Weiss (SIS), Glenn Whitehead (A&S); Roni Hoffmeyer (Registrar), Carrie Sparks (Provostís Office)

 

Guests: Ivet Bahar (SOM)

 

I.††††††††† Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the March 15, 2005 meeting were approved as written.

 

II.††††††† Proposal to Establish a Joint Ph.D. Program in Computational Biology

John Cooper, Dean of the Arts and Sciences, and Arthur S. Levine, Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine submitted a proposal to establish a Joint Ph.D. Program in Computational Biology. Faculty from across the campus prepared this proposal for a collaborative program which would result in a Ph.D. in Computational Biology, either in Medicine or Arts and Sciences, depending on the location of the studentís major advisor.† Students would be admitted into a single program and the advising and course work would be a shared responsibility of training faculty from both schools.† This is intended to be a small, high quality program.† Ivet Bahar from the School of Medicine attended the meeting to answer questions about the proposal.

 

There will be four degrees offered by SOM and A&S through this joint degree program in addition to degrees offered through CMU:

 

        Ph.D. in Computational Biology offered in the School of Medicine

        Ph.D. in Computational Biology offered in Arts and Sciences

        M.S. in Computational Biology offered in the School of Medicine

        M.S. in Computational Biology offered in Arts and Sciences

 

Note that there will not be a separate Masterís degree program, rather the MS degrees will be offered only as past of the PhD programs. Some members of Council felt that the current proposal did not give enough information about what exactly would be required for students to earn the masters.

 

A member of Council inquired as to why there were no statistics courses mentioned in the proposal. A second issue was raised concerning the unequal amounts of CMU course numbers in relation to Pitt course numbers in the prerequisites.††

 

Bahar explained that the courses in the proposal were based on the faculty who participated in the discussions. The current list of courses was just a starting point. Three Bio Stats faculty are teaching electives.

 

A member of Council suggested listing skills concepts that students will need to know instead of course numbers in order to make it appear less biased.

 

A member of Council asked why a student would choose one degree over another.

 

Bahar stated that they wanted students to take core courses. The electives will be more inline with the research. Research topics will be different as the student will pick a specific lab and advisor to work with.

 

A member of Council asked whether they would require a GRE subject test.

 

Bahar said that they would, but that it had not been specified.

 

A member of Council recommended that the program specify that students take the GRE subject test of their undergraduate degree or a relevant research area.

 

The guest was excused.

 

A member of Council asked if under school agreements, PCHE was applicable in this case. Patty Beeson explained that PCHE has a credit limit where as a limited number of courses can be taken if the home institution does not offer the course. With this proposal, CMU students register with CMU numbers and Pitt students register with Pitt numbers. This is a question.

 

Both Steve Husted in A&S and Steve Philips in SOM shared their support for this proposal.

 

There was a motion made to approve the following four degrees as outlined in the proposal:

 

        Ph.D. in Computational Biology offered in the School of Medicine

        Ph.D. in Computational Biology offered in Arts and Sciences

        M.S. in Computational Biology offered in the School of Medicine

        M.S. in Computational Biology offered in Arts and Sciences

 

The motion was seconded. All present voted in favor of the motion.

 

A member of Council stated that someone would have to own this or it would not work. Steve Philips responded that there is an administrative structure and Mark Roberts concurred that each area owns its own component.

 

A member of Council suggested that we have a systematic procedure for joint degrees. Council will discuss this at a future meeting.

 

The meeting was adjourned.