University Council on Graduate Study

 Report on 2002 - 2003 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 2002-2003

International Students and Recent Events:  New Challenges for Universities
David Clubb, Director of the Office of International Services (OIS), and Linda Gentile, Associate Director of OIS, presented an overview of changes in federal regulations and federal departments or agencies that may affect international students, administrators of graduate programs, and the OIS.  An important issue was raised concerning overload work for graduate students, i.e., that INS does not allow students on F-1 and J-1 visas to work more than 20 hours a week in the Fall or Spring terms.  For more information, see Vice Provost Baranger’s memo to the Council of Deans at  In response to the OIS’s concern about violations of the INS regulations, UCGS approved the following statement to be added to the Policy Statement for TAs/TFs/GSAs and the Policy Statement for GSRs:

Due to immigration regulations, graduate students on J-1 or F-1 visas may be employed to work no more than 20 hours per week on campus when school is in session during the fall and spring terms, and thus those on full-time appointments are not eligible for overload appointments during these terms.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as Alternative to the TOEFL
In its April 17, 2001 meeting, UCGS considered a recommendation from OIS Staff that the University’s graduate programs accept the IELTS as an alternative to TOEFL, but postponed action.  The issue was raised again by FAS. Both Assistant Dean Tony Walters and Alan Juffs, Chair of Linguistics, reported that the IELTS is becoming more widely used and they support accepting the IELTS in order that we not lose good students. Council agreed, as an exception to our current policy requiring the TOEFL, students be admitted who have scores of 6.5 or higher on the IELTS examination.

Academic Integrity
Dean Stephen Phillips presented some new issues in the handling of plagiarism and some suggestions on how programs can educate their students about these issues.  After a difficult academic integrity case involving several international students, Dean Phillips concluded that using some of the available software to detect plagiarism was the best way to avoid a culturally biased system for detecting plagiarism even though there are some negative aspects to this method.
Approval of New Grading System for School of Medicine
The School of Medicine proposed a modification in the current method of reporting grades on the official University of Pittsburgh transcripts for students enrolled in the School of Medicine. The current system allows for grades Honors (H), Satisfactory (S), and Unsatisfactory (U).  The request was for the addition of High Satisfactory (HS) and Low Satisfactory (LS) to the current system.  Council recommended approval of the five-point system but restricted it only for use by the School of Medicine.

Reports Given to UCGS

Off-Campus/Distance Education Programs
The table presented annually to UCGS listing the titles of graduate programs offered off campus and their enrollments was presented by Vice Provost Baranger, together with the annual report prepared by Robert Knipple on the Murtha Center at UPJ.  UCGS concluded that this annual report is sufficient to enable it to keep up-to-date on the growth of such programs.

Changes in the Use of the Library by Graduate Students
Rush Miller discussed changes in the reserve room system which will permit articles placed on reserve for a class to be scanned and viewed by students electronically using Blackboard. He discussed how many things are possible now through the use of Blackboard including audio clips, video clips, and other support materials.  He then made a presentation on the changing patterns of graduate students’ use of the library.

UCGS Committee Activities

The Graduate Procedures Committee, chaired by Louis Pingel, considered two proposals, the proposal for the MA and PhD degrees in Hispanic Linguistics and the proposal for a JSD program to be offered by the School of Law.  The first proposal was recommended to Council for its consideration. Consideration of the second proposal resulted in four specific concerns that were subsequently addressed by the School of Law.  The Graduate Procedures Committee recommended approval of the amended proposal.  In addition, the Graduate Procedures Committee recommended a modification to Regulations Governing Graduate Study in the last paragraph of the section entitled “Other Doctoral Degrees.”  It now reads:

Other doctoral degree programs may differ from those for the PhD in other ways.  They are generally more strongly focused on professional affairs and practice and often serve as preparation for, or advancement of, careers in the professions.  These include the JSD in the School of Law and professional doctorates for practitioners.  Such programs must be reviewed by UCGS before initiation.

The Graduate Student Affairs Committee, chaired by Judith Erlen, sent two representatives to attend discussions on the modifications to the 2003-2004 health insurance plan for graduate students with eligible academic appointments. Medical, Nursing, and Dental Medicine students will now be able to buy into this plan.

The Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Working Group, chaired by Vice Provost Baranger, continued its efforts to improve and expand the ETD Project initiated in December 2001.  Upon recommendation of the Working Group, Council approved that the ETD Pilot enter a transition period moving towards all theses and dissertations being submitted electronically.  The transition period will last until at least April 2004 graduation.

Over the course of last year, members of the ETD Working Group and various University colleagues focused on improving the ETD process and increasing participation.  Two new initiatives undertaken were an ETD Lottery where 25 students won a wavier for the ETD Processing Fee and the creation of an ETD LaTeX Template for use by math and science students.  ETD Workshops continue to be held twice a term through CSSD and for the first time this summer four LaTeX ETD workshops were held.  The Working Group conducted a survey among those who had produced an ETD at Pitt and, among other important information, found that nearly every student was very pleased to have had the opportunity to produce an ETD.

Review of Proposals

Certificate Program in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
Approved October 15, 2002.  Approved by the Provost September 30, 2002.
The School of Dental Medicine proposed the certificate in Oral Maxillofacial Pathology. The certificate will provide an enhanced training opportunity for postdoctoral residents to gain knowledge and expertise in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. The certificate program is similar to the other certificates offered to postdoctoral dental residents based at the School of Dental Medicine.

Masters and Ph.D. Programs in Hispanic Linguistics
Approved December 10, 2002. Approved by the Provost January 3, 2003.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences proposed a program in Hispanic Linguistics, within the Department of Linguistics, leading to the Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees.  This program was previously offered as a track in the Master of Arts and Ph.D. degree program in Hispanic Languages and Literatures.

J.S.D. Program in the School of Law
Approved April 15, 2003.  Approval by the Chancellor pending.
The School of Law proposed the J.S.D. program.  The program is a research doctorate for students who complete the L.L.M. degree, either here or at other institutions.  It is designed for international students who will return to their home country to pursue careers in an academic institution.  This research doctorate falls in to the category of “Other Doctoral Degree,” as described in the amended Regulations Governing Graduate Study.

Certificate Programs in Composition, Literacy and Pedagogy and to Terminate the Minor in Composition
Approved February 18, 2003.  Approved by the Provost March 4, 2003.
The Faculty of Arts and Sciences proposed the certificate program in Composition, Literacy and Pedagogy at the master’s and doctoral levels, and to terminate the existing minor in Composition.  The master’s level certificate, to be earned when the student receives a master’s degree, requires 12 credits; the doctoral certificate, earned with the Ph.D., requires 18 credits.

Four Graduate Certificate Programs in the School of Education
Approved February 18, 2003.  Approved by the Provost March 4, 2003.
The School of Education proposed four certificate programs leading to Certificates in Teaching, in Educational Administration, in Educational Supervision, and an Education Specialist Certificate.  The School of Education currently offers a variety of different types of non-degree programs that prepare students for certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and/or by the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired.  The School proposed that these non-degree programs be redefined as certificate programs.

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Programs in Healthcare Administration, Genetics in Health Care, and a Minor in Nursing Genetics
Approved May 14, 2003.  Approval by the Provost pending.
The School of Nursing proposed a certificate program in Healthcare Administration. This certificate program is the second program developed by the graduate school in collaboration with the College of General Studies under the auspices of Pitt Learning Solutions.  In addition, the school proposed a post-baccalaureate certificate program in Genetics in Health Care and a minor in Nursing Genetics.

Certificate Program in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response
Approved June 17, 2003.  Approved by the Provost July 28, 2003.
The Graduate School of Public Health proposed the certificate in Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response. This is one aspect of the school’s response to the growing necessity to train public health and other professionals to deal with the consequences of terrorism and natural disasters.  There will be three distinct groups of students enrolling in the program: currently matriculated GSPH students, non-degree students, and graduate students enrolled in other graduate programs at the University.

Joint Degree Program Leading to an MBA and an MSIE
Approved June 17, 2003.  Approved by the Provost July 1, 2003.
The Katz Graduate School of Business and the School of Engineering proposed the joint degree program leading to an MBA and an MSIE. The students must be admitted into both the MBA program in KGSB and the MSIE program in Industrial Engineering and must complete both degrees concurrently.  The number of credits required is less than the number if taken separately. This will be a small program aimed at attracting more highly qualified students to these schools.

Graduate Certificate Program in Gerontology
Approved June 17, 2003.  Approved by the Provost June 26, 2003.
 The University Center for Social & Urban Research (UCSUR), the Council on Aging, and University of Pittsburgh Institute on Aging (UPIA) proposed the multidisciplinary Certificate Program in Gerontology to be administratively housed in UCSUR.  The certificate program will be open to students enrolled in graduate programs in a variety of schools and also to non-degree seeking students.  This certificate is based on collaboration with the College of General Studies under the auspices of Pitt Learning Solutions.

Documents Circulated to the University Community

Report on 2001-2002 Activities, University Council on Graduate Study, University of Pittsburgh.

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

Graduate and Professional Bulletin, 2003, 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.

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

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

The Guide to Graduate and Professional Programs, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.

Graduate Recruitment City Panorama Brochure, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.

Graduate Faculty Membership Roster, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh.  Updated three times a year at

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

ETD Format Guidelines Manual, Office of the Provost, University of Pittsburgh

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

Thesis and Dissertation Word and WordPerfect Templates

ETD LaTeX Template

2002-2003 UCGS Standing Committees

Graduate Procedures: Chair, Louis Pingel
Graduate Student Affairs: Chair, Judith Erlen

2002-2003 UCGS Ad hoc Committees

ETD Working Group: Chair, Elizabeth Baranger

2002-2003 UCGS Members

Elizabeth Baranger, Chair
Jacob Birnberg, Katz Graduate School of Business
Jeffrey Brodsky, Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Interdisciplinary
Ray Burdett, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Luis Chaparro, Engineering
Meredith Cohen, Education
Paul Danczyk, Graduate and Professional Student Association/GSPIA
Judith Erlen, Nursing
Stephen Hirtle, Information Sciences
Stephanie Hoogendoorn, Graduate and Professional Student Association/FAS
Steven Husted, Faculty of Arts and Sciences /At-Large
Rainer Johnsen, Faculty of Arts and Sciences /At-large
Mark King, Education
Livia Langton, Graduate and Professional Student Association /LAW
Margaret Mahoney, Law
James McGuire, Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Humanities
David Miller, Public and International Affairs
Ronald Neufeld, Engineering
Cynthia Persinger, Graduate and Professional Student Association/FAS
Stephen Phillips, Medicine
Louis Pingel, Education
Dennis Ranalli Dental Medicine
Mark Roberts, Medicine
Esther Sales, Social Work
Mitch Seligson, Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Social Sciences
Randall Smith, Pharmacy
Mary Lou Soffa, Faculty of Arts and Sciences/Natural Sciences
Roslyn Stone, Public Health
Curtis Wadsworth, Graduate and Professional Student Association /FAS

Barbara Repasi Heron, Associate Registrar
Carrie Sparks, Assistant to the Provost