University Council on Graduate Study
May 14, 2002
3:00-5:00 p.m.
817 Cathedral of Learning

Attending: Elizabeth Baranger (Chair), Luis Chaparro (ENG), Judith Erlen (Nursing), Steven Husted (FAS), Rainer Johnsen (FAS/Physics), Mark King (Education), Michael Lewis (SIS), David Miller (GSPIA), Cindy Persinger (GPSA), Steve Phillips (Medicine), Dennis Ranalli (Dental Med),  Mark Roberts (Medicine), Deane Root (FAS/Music), Mary Lou Soffa (FAS/CS), Roslyn Stone (GSPH), Curtis Wadsworth (GPSA); Samuel Conte (Registrarís Office), Carrie Sparks (Provostís Office)



 
I. Announcement
The next UCGS meeting has been postponed until June 25th.

II. Approval of Minutes
After a typographical error was noted and corrected, the minutes of the April 16, 2002 meeting were approved as written.

III. Proposal to Establish a Master of Public Health Program in Public Health Genetics
The proposal for a new Master of Public Health (MPH) program was submitted by the Department of Human Genetics, which currently offers the Ph.D. and MS in Human Genetics and the MS in Genetic Counseling.  The School offers five other departmentally based MPH programs.  Ms. Elizabeth Gettig attended to answer questions on the proposed program.

Ms. Gettig noted a correction that 12 credits of the 48 total required credits would be from core courses not 10 credits as it currently reads.  This correction will be implemented.

There was discussion on the TOEFL requirement and the C or better requirement in core courses. Ms. Gettig was encouraged by a member of Council to explore raising the TOEFL requirement to 600.  Ms. Gettig said that she would consider this.
There was discussion on the agreements that were in place regarding the practicum aspect of the program.  Ms. Gettig said that there were verbal agreements in place.  Council asked that they get these verbal agreements in writing.

There was discussion on the evaluative component of the practicum.  Ms. Gettig said that the structure for evaluating the practicum was already in place within the department.  Council asked that she add a description to the proposal that detailed this.

The guest was excused.

There was a motion to accept the proposal if the following two modifications were made:
1) The verbal agreements made regarding the practicum should be firmed up in writing,
2) The evaluative component of the practicum should be written out in more detail.
The motion was seconded.
All presented voted in favor of the motion.

The issue of the TOEFL score requirement was discussed at length.  Vice Provost Baranger will collect data on the TOEFL requirement to see if there is a need to bring this issue to Council again in the Fall. This issue was discussed by Council at previous meetings. The Director of OIS, David Clubb, will be consulted.

IV. Report of the Graduate and Professional Student Association
Curtis Wadsworth, the outgoing president of the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA), reported on the activities of GPSA this year.  He reported on the following items:
1) Financial restructuring
2) Representation on University and Trustee Committees
3) Networking with other school level Graduate Student Organizations
4) Increasing student involvement within the GPSA
5) Social and cultural opportunities provided by the GPSA

A member of Council asked Curtis Wadsworth if housing had been an issue for graduate students.  Curtis discussed how certain international graduate student groups address the housing problem.  There was discussion in Council regarding the difficulties graduate students may have due to the very limited graduate housing that is available.  It was noted that international students and students with children have the most difficulty in obtaining good housing.   Vice Provost Baranger will look into the Housing Resource Center.  There may have to be a poll taken among graduate students to see if there are any problems that can be identified.  This issue will be brought up again at Council in the Fall.

V. Report of the UCGS Recruitment Committee
Vice Provost Baranger shared the report on the items that the Recruitment Committee has considered and discussed, plus items in which the Provostís Office has worked on to provide centralized recruiting assistance.  The following items were presented:
1) There was no decline in applications from international students post 9/11.
2) Centralized Assistance for Recruiting
a) Design and production of a brochure directed at graduate students to highlight the advantages of living in the city of Pittsburgh.
b) Improvement of the Graduate Studies web site.  Vice Provost Baranger will let members of Council know when the new Graduate Studies Site goes live.
c) Updating of the Finding the Graduate Program Thatís Right for You brochure.
d) Graduate Education Information Forum, hosted by the Graduate and Professional Admissions and Recruitment Committee (GPARC).
e) Online application vendor negotiation.
f) Increase in endowment funding for fellowships and financial aid.  Institutional Advancement is currently working with schools to highlight the solicitation of funding for graduate fellowships from prospective donors.
3) Salaries of Teaching Assistantships
Science departments have reported that our TA salaries are low in comparison to their competitors.  Comparison with peers by the Office of the Provost does seem to indicate that we are low in the sciences and engineering, in contrast with the social sciences and humanities.  The Committee discussed this at their March meeting and was very sympathetic to this problem.  All agreed that we need to make it possible for science departments to compete.  They suggested that extra support might come in the form of guaranteed three terms of support.  The summer salary would be paid by research grants in most cases, minimizing the cost to the school. There was no suggestion by the Recruitment Committee that the policy of uniform salaries across disciplines be changed.

Following the presentation of this report, Council discussed the problem with TA salaries.  It was decided that there needed to be some data collected to see if the ability to recruit and the quality of a department was jeopardized by lack of funding for their Teaching Assistants.

The meeting was adjourned.  The next meeting of Council will take place on June 25th.