University Council on Graduate Study
 Report on 2000 - 2001 Activities

As stated in its bylaws, the University Council on Graduate Study is to communicate its decisions to the faculty, students, and administrative officers of the University. If you have comments on the activities as reported here or suggestions for agenda items, please contact Vice Provost Elizabeth Baranger at 624-0790 or via email at

Issues Addressed In 2000-2001

Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETDs)
The University Council on Graduate Study (UCGS) forwarded to the Provost, with its unanimous endorsement, a proposal for a one-year pilot to enable graduate students to submit theses and dissertations electronically.  ETDs will be available on the University Library Systemís web server with the option of being accessible world wide.  The proposal for a pilot was presented by the ETD Working Group, a subcommittee of UCGS that included the Director of the University Library System, the Director of the University of Pittsburgh Press, a representative from CSSD, and several graduate students, in addition to members of UCGS.  The proposal was sent to the schools for comments and was approved by the Provost in May 2001.

Since all schools requiring masterís theses or dissertations have agreed to participate in the pilot, any student who is graduating in December 2001 through December 2002 may submit a dissertation or thesis electronically, with the consent of his or her dissertation director or thesis advisor.  The ETD Working Group is excited by this opportunity for students to get broader exposure of their research and have worked hard to make the pilot successful.  A subcommittee of the ETD Working Group will carefully assess the success of the pilot in the fall of 2002. More information about this project is available on the web site

Guidelines for Professional Doctoral Programs
The need for guidelines for proposing professional doctoral programs became apparent as new degree programs were presented to UCGS.  Led by accrediting agencies, several fields in the health sciences professional masterís programs are being upgraded to a new category of doctoral program.  These programs are very different from the Ph.D. or EdD programs, which are research degrees, and are more comparable to MD or DMD programs.  After receiving a proposal for a Doctor of Physical Therapy, UCGS grappled with defining this difference and in defining how a professional doctoral program differed from a professional masterís program. UCGS reviewed a draft of guidelines constructed by the Graduate Procedures Committee that described the goals of professional doctoral programs and the general characteristics of programs offering these new degrees. The draft guidelines are intended for use by UCGS as it reviews these proposals.

Review of Off-Campus/ Distance Education Programs
UCGS reviewed and accepted guidelines for review of off-campus/distance education programs.  UCGS has chosen not to review programs that offer an already existing program off-campus or through distance education, unless specifically requested to do so by the Provost.  However, when a school proposes to offer such a program, various Vice Provosts and/or their staff review them.  These guidelines enable schools to be sensitive to issues that must be addressed to maintain such programs at the same quality as campus-based programs and to enable the Office of the Provost to review these proposals efficiently.  The guidelines are available at

Self-Study for Middle States Accreditation Review
UCGS reviewed the sections relevant to graduate education in the self-study, Improvement of the Undergraduate Student Experience:  Setting a Course for the Future, prepared for the decanal review of the University of Pittsburgh by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.  UCGS made some suggestions to improve the sections.

Double Minors and Areas of Concentration
Current university policy permits only one minor and area of concentration for a student pursuing a graduate or undergraduate degree.  In some undergraduate programs this is too restrictive.  While UCGS does not advocate students having multiple minors and areas of concentration, it agreed to remove from the Graduate and Professional Bulletin 2000-2003 the statement:  ďFor each degree, only one minor and one area of concentration can be pursued.Ē  No modification needed to be made in Regulations Governing Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh.

Online Applications
Council requested a report on the use of online applications in the various schools.  At its June meeting it was provided with a table showing which schools have online applications as an option and their comments on the experience.  UCGS noted that a majority are using LamTech and are pleased with it, although some gave critical comments.  All agreed that it is essential to have online applications as an option.  UCGS acknowledged the significant contributions Kit Ayars, Assistant to the Provost, had made to this project.

UCGS Committee Activities

The Graduate Procedures Committee, chaired by Louis Pingel, recommended that Council approve Vice Provost Barangerís drafted guidelines for new off-campus programs, asked that schools be sent a memo reminding them that students should take advantage of registering for Full Time Dissertation Study, reviewed and recommended the Biomedical Informatics proposal for full review by Council, considered how the masterís comprehensive examination was being addressed by various schools, presented to Council a draft of guidelines for professional doctoral programs, and recommended to Council that university policy be changed to allow more than one minor.  The Committee recommended to Council that the School of Nursing request to transfer undergraduate courses for graduate credit not be approved.

The Student Affairs Committee, chaired by Steve Hirtle, chose as agenda issues for 2000-2001 the examination of housing available to graduate students and the health insurance plan for TA/TF/GSA/GSRs.  The committee looked at various ways the university is assisting graduate students with housing.  It recommended that the University consider the acquisition of additional graduate housing units in the future.

To review the proposed UPMC health insurance plan for 2001-2002, selected members, together with representatives from graduate student government and graduate administrators, met with personnel from Human Resources. The UPMC plan included all the benefits of the 2000-2001 plan, with additional options in the form of choices for dental insurance and the ability to unbundle vision and dental plans.  The cost of the new plan would increase by only a little more than 6%.  This meeting followed a meeting of representatives from UPMC and Human Resources with graduate students to review the results of a health insurance satisfaction survey administered by the FAS-Graduate Student Organization.  The representatives from the Student Affairs Committee and from the graduate student organizations were pleased with the benefits offered.  For more information visit the new health insurance web site for graduate students with eligible academic appointments at

The Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Committee, chaired by Elizabeth Baranger, met throughout the fall, spring and summer to propose a pilot project (see above) and insure its successful implementation.  The web site, presents the results of this work.

Review of Proposals

Transfer of the Sports Medicine Program from the School of Education to the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Approved October 17, 2000.  Approved by the Provost February 9, 2001.  The MS program will now be part of the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences MS program; the PhD program will be part of the Rehabilitation Science program.  These programs will integrate well into the existing programs in SHRS.  The current graduate students have been fully informed of the proposed move of the program.

Certificate Program in Disability Studies
Approved February 20, 2001.  Approved by the Provost April 27, 2001.  This program, offered by the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, will provide a disabilities studies education to students enrolled in masterís or doctoral degree programs, and to mid-career professionals who work in a variety of fields.  Council approved it, pending submission by the dean of a list of supporting faculty.  The dean subsequently submitted a complete list of faculty who will be able to teach in the program.

Master of Science in Nursing: New Major in Clinical Nurse Specialist and Renaming of Existing Majors
Approved March 20, 2001.  Approved by the Provost April 24, 2001.  The School of Nursing introduced the new major in response to requests from nurse executives and stakeholders in the region and from nurses seeking this specialty.  It is renaming its majors to make the programs easily recognized by the profession.  The new major is Clinical Nurse Specialist.  The renamed majors are Nurse Practitioner (NP) and Specialty Role (NURSP).  The Nurse Anesthetist (NURSAN) major will not change its name.  This will provide a sound structure for the foreseeable future; changing demands or interests can be addressed through the addition of areas of concentration within the majors.

PhD/MS/Certificate Programs in Biomedical Informatics
Approved April 17, 2001.  Approved by the Provost June 11, 2001.  A non-departmental degree-granting biomedical informatics program in the School of Medicine would replace the program that now exists as areas of concentration in other programs.  It is a collaborative effort with the School of Information Sciences.  The proposal was reviewed first by the Graduate Procedures Committee, which recommended approval.  Council commended the collaborative effort that went into the proposal.

Doctor of Physical Therapy Program
Approval pending.  The School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences proposed a conversion of its Master of Physical Therapy program into a Doctor of Physical Therapy program.  This would then serve as the entry-level degree to professionals in physical therapy.  This upgrading is occurring in many competitive programs.  Council reviewed the proposal on May 15, 2001, but delayed further consideration pending submission of a revised proposal addressing concerns raised by Council and a report from the Graduate Procedures Committee on the issue of guidelines for the review of professional doctorates.

Joint PhD/MPH Program
Approved May 15, 2001.  Approved by the Provost August 1, 2001.  This proposal establishes a joint degree leading to a PhD in Anthropology and an MPH in Behavioral and Community Health Sciences, in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Health, respectively.  The integrated curriculum enables students to move more efficiently toward earning both degrees.  The goal is to train students who have theoretical, analytic and methodological skills that are broader than those provided by either degree alone.

Master of International Development
Approved June 26, 2001.  Approval by the Board of Trustees is pending.  This new degree replaces the existing program in Economic and Social Development in the Master of Public and International Affairs degree program.  Two majors, in areas of high student interest and faculty strength, will be offered, one called NGOs and Civil Society, and the other, Development Planning and Environmental Sustainability.  Over several years, GSPIA has undertaken a curriculum revision of its master programs.  This represents the last step in the process.


Documents Circulated to the University Community

Report on 1999-2000 Activities, University Council on Graduate Study, University of Pittsburgh.

Graduate and Professional Bulletin, University of Pittsburgh 2000-2003.

Electronic Theses & Dissertations:  ETD

Elements of Good Academic Advising, University Council on Graduate Study, University of Pittsburgh

Graduate Faculty Membership Roster, Fall, 1999, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.  Web site ( was updated as of July 31, 2001.

Regulations Governing Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh, University Council on Graduate Study, University of Pittsburgh.

Finding the Graduate Program That's Right for You, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.

Policy Statement for Graduate Student Researchers, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.

Policy Statement for Teaching Assistants, Teaching Fellows, and Graduate Student Assistants, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.

Choosing A Dissertation Advisor, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.

Style and Form Manual, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.

2000-2001 UCGS Standing Committees

Evaluation of Academic Programs:  Chair, Elizabeth Baranger
Graduate Procedures: Chair, Louis Pingel
Graduate Student Affairs: Chair, Steve Hirtle

2000-2001 UCGS Ad hoc Committees

Electronic Theses and Dissertations: Chair, Elizabeth Baranger

2000-2001 UCGS Members

David Barker, FAS Social Science
Jacob Birnberg, Katz Graduate School of Business
Ray Burdett, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Luis Chaparro, School of Engineering
Allisha Chapman, GPSA/School of Law
Nancy Condee, Interdisciplinary
Judy Erlen, School of Nursing
Thomas Fararo, FAS Social Sciences
Joseph Grabowski, FAS At-Large
Stephen Hirtle,  School of Information Sciences
Stephanie Hoogendoorn, GPSA/FAS
Steven Husted, FAS At-Large
John Ismail,  School of Dental Medicine
Margaret Mahoney, School of Law
David Miller, GSPIA
Ronald Neufeld, School of Engineering
Cindy Persinger, GPSA/FAS
Stephen Phillips, School of Medicine
Lou Pingel,  School of Education
Deane Root, FAS Humanities
Esther Sales, School of Social Work
Roslyn Stone, Graduate School of Public Health
David Turnshek, FAS Natural Sciences
Regis Vollmer, School of Pharmacy
Curtis Wadsworth, GPSA/FAS

Barbara Repasi Heron, Associate University Registrar
Kit Ayars, Assistant to the Provost