University Council on Graduate Study

September 20, 2005


3:00-5:00 p.m.

817 CL



Attending:Patricia Beeson (Chair), Jeff Brodsky (A&S), Nicole Constable (A&S), Judith Erlen (NUR), Eleanor Feingold (GSPH), Robert Gibbs (PHARM), Janelle Greenberg (A&S), John Hillier (A&S), John Horn (SOM), Justin Hsieh (GPSA), Gary Koeske (SW), Margaret Mahoney (LAW), Malcolm McNeil (SHRS), David Miller (GSPIA), Marianne Novy (A&S), Louis Pingel (EDUC), John Prescott (KGSB), Jay Rajgopal (ENG), Mark Roberts (SOM), Steve Weber (A&S), Martin Weiss (SIS); Barbara Repasi Heron (Registrar), Carrie Sparks (Provostís Office)


Guests: Dr. Wesley M. Rohrer (GSPH) and Dr. Judith Lave (GSPH)


I.††††††††† Overview of UCGS

Dr. Beeson gave a brief overview of the goals and purpose of UCGS. For more information about UCGS, members can view the UCGS Web site and review Regulations Governing Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh†††


II.††††††† Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the April 19, 2005 meeting were approved as written.


III.†††††† UCGS Annual Report
Council agreed to post the UCGS Annual Report online instead of printing and mailing a hard copy. They asked that new graduate programs be highlighted on the UCGS Web site and that Deans and Graduate Faculty receive an email once a year alerting them to the URL of the Annual Report. Currently UCGS Annual reports from 1997 to the present are posted online at


IV.†††††† Admission Standard for New iBT Exam

Council discussed changes to the TOEFL and the establishment of minimum standards for the new Internet Based TOEFL (iBT).Council agreed to an overall minimum score for admission opposed to individual minimums in the separate categories (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) since each discipline requires different strengths in certain categories.


Vice Provost Beeson explained that a score of 80 on the iBT would be equivalent to that of a 213 on the Computer-based TOEFL (CBT), which is the current minimum score for admissions.


A member of Council asked how this would affect the minimum score for undergraduate admissions. Another member asked if the new PeopleSoft system could handle all three different scores coming in.


Council would like to have data gathered after two years to see if this minimum score for admissions is working well.


Council voted unanimously to set a minimum score of 80 on the iBT for admission provided there is a review of how it is working in two years and that the appeal procedure still remains available to deans.


V. †††††† Proposal to Establish a Master of Public Health Program in Public Health Policy & Management

The Graduate School of Public Health proposed to establish a Master of Public Health Program in Public Health Policy & Management initiated by Dr. Judith Lave, Chair of the Department of Heath Policy and Management, and Dr. Wesley M. Rohrer, Assistant Chair of the Department of Health Management Education and supported by Dean Goldstein of the Graduate School of Public Health. The proposed program is a professional education program designed to prepare public health agency staff for managerial and leadership track positions, and to provide a part-time Masterís degree option for other health professionals.One of the three tracks of the proposed MPH program is also intended to provide a foundation for the development of a health policy focused doctoral program.


Some members of Council were concerned that this new program could threaten enrollment in the flagship program. Drs. Lave and Rohrer did not think that it would. The MHA will still be viable as the degree is necessary for management in the field.


There was a motion made to accept the proposal. The motioned was seconded. All present voted in favor of the motion.


Dr. Beeson will send to the Dean Council concerns about the potential of enrollment in the flagship program being jeopardized by the new MHP.


VI. ††††† Agenda for UCGS Subcommittees 2005-2006


The Graduate Student Affairs Subcommittee will take a look at the recent graduate stipend data (including tuition remission, fees, health insurance etc.) and make recommendations to Council on any adjustments they find necessary for graduate recruitment and retention purposes.


The Ad hoc Recruitment Subcommittee will look at recruitment efforts across the schools, including the recruitment of McNair scholars and recommend to Council ways to unite these efforts. Additionally, this subcommittee will think about mechanisms for sharing student applications between programs and schools.


The Graduate Procedures Subcommittee will make recommendations on polices and procedures for joint programs.


The Ad hoc Mentoring Award Subcommittee will initiate the first year of awarding the Doctoral Mentoring Award, including the review of applications.


Each member of Council was asked to sign up to serve on a subcommittee.


VII. ††† Announcements and Updates

Vice Provost Beeson made Council aware of the following efforts in the Office of the Provost:


        NRC data collection will continue, but there will be no peer evaluation. Dr. Beeson will keep Council informed.

        Time to degree and retention by year will be analyzed with the help of IR.

        Deans are being asked to identify graduate students doing good research so they can be highlighted in a new graduate study awareness campaign.

        Efforts are being coordinated with IA to find ways to raise more money for graduate study.

        Regulations Governing Graduate Study will be reviewed and proposed revisions will be brought to Council this spring.


VIII. †† New Business

A member of Council asked if it was a University requirement that dissertation defenses be advertised in the University Times. Some departments advertise on Health Sciences sites. Dr. Beeson will look into it and discuss this at a future meeting.


Dr. Beeson sought Councilís advisement on allowing remote dissertation defenses. Council thought that the participation of the defender would be weaker if it were done remotely and that this could cause issues with the defense. Other problems noted were the availability of adequate technology and the problem of technology cutting out during the actual defense. Though some members felt that they have had very successful experiences with remote education, others felt that this was a slippery slope and, if permitted, could disintegrate into defenses occurring over the telephone. Dr. Beeson will take Councilís recommendations under advisement.



The meeting was adjourned.