University Council on Graduate Study
September 30, 2003
3:00-5:00 p.m.
817 Cathedral of Learning 
Attending: Elizabeth Baranger (Chair), Jacob Birnberg (KGSB), Jeff Brodsky (FAS), Steve Brodsky (SOM), Luis F. Chaparro (ENG), Paul Danczyk (GPSA), Judith Erlen (NUR), Steven Husted (FAS), Stephanie Hoogendoorn (GPSA), Carl Johnson (EDUC), Margaret Mahoney (LAW), Malcolm McNeil (SHRS), Steve Phillips (SOM), Louis Pingel (EDUC), David Miller (GSPIA), Esther Sales (SW), Roslyn Stone (GSPH), Martin Weiss (SIS), Glen Whitehead (FAS), Brian Yoder (GPSA); Barbara Repasi Heron (Office of the Registrar), Carrie Sparks (Provost’s Office)

I. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the June 17, 2003 meeting were approved as written.

II. Role of UCGS
Elizabeth Baranger discussed the role of UCGS in the governance of graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  The role of UCGS as written in Regulations Governing Graduate Study was read for the benefit of new members of Council.

III. Activities of Council in 2002-2003
Elizabeth Baranger discussed the activities of UCGS during 2002-2003 by reviewing the UCGS Annual Report.  The Report is posted online at and the Committee’s web site, which has additional information, is online at

It was noted that there have been a number of new certificates created recently. Elizabeth Baranger will create a list of all new certificates to document how this list is growing.

IV. Status of the ETD Project
The Electronic Thesis and Dissertation (ETD) Project is one of the important on-going initiatives of UCGS.  Elizabeth Baranger gave some background information on why this project started and Carrie Sparks, Assistant to the Provost, presented a more detailed analysis of how the project is progressing.

A member of Council suggested that CSSD be encouraged to have their Help Desk workers forward all ETD related questions to the ETD support email.
Some members of Council recommended that Council vote on whether or not to recommend that ETDs become a University requirement soon so that schools have plenty of time to prepare for the change.

V. Future Activities of UCGS
Elizabeth Baranger informed Council about the new Student Information System that will be implemented over the next two years. The web site URL for the Information System is To access the site one should enter their Pitt user name and password.  The memo from the Provost regarding the new Information System is available online at It was mentioned that ApplyYourself online applications is compatible with the new Information System. Steve Phillips commented on the benefits of paperless review of applications. It was noted that ApplyYourself does not do this.

Elizabeth Baranger notified Council that the National Research Council is beginning a study of research doctoral education in U.S. institutions. Data will be collected next year.

Another issue that UCGS will continue to pursue through the Graduate Student Affairs Subcommittee is non-academic job advising for graduate students.  The Subcommittee will meet again with the Director of Career Services, Marvin Roth, to discuss the progress that is being made in this area.

Elizabeth Baranger asked Council for their reaction to the idea of creating a new award for the mentoring of doctoral students.  Council agreed that this was a very good idea. Steve Phillips has a proposal for a similar award proposed by the BGSA and has offered to lend this document to those who will be working on creating the new award. Steve Husted volunteered to serve on any subcommittee formed to work on this award.

Other projects that will on the agenda for 2003-3004 are the review of Elements of Good Academic Advising and the revision of the UCGS Working Document on Certificates.

Elizabeth Baranger asked Council to put forth other possible agenda items for the coming year.

A member of Council brought up the issue of TA salaries.  There was concern that our salaries are not competitive enough to attract the top students. Council will look into this issue and the possibility of collecting meaningful data on what our peer institutions are paying their TAs, what the cost of living is, and what benefits are being provided etc.

A member of Council asked that we obtain follow-up information regarding the outcome of the new policies and procedures that OIS has implemented due to new government regulations.  Another concern was brought up about the state of the GRE is China.  It was suggested that we get a report from ETS on how that situation is developing.

The meeting was adjourned. The next meeting of Council will be on October 28th.