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Scholarship procedures to be continued

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 19 - February 9, 1995

Procedures for funding instructional-fee scholarships for graduate assistants will be the same next year as last year, Len Peters told the Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies (CGSP) at the February 1 meeting.

"The deans are unanimous that the procedures used for 1994-95 should be in place for 1995-96, including basing tuition allocation on the number of GTA and GRA positions, and bridge funds for the three colleges placed at a disadvantage by this system. The numbers should be about the same as last year," he said.

Peters said he has met with the college deans twice regarding enrollment and tuition during the summer. He said there was agreement that "we should accommodate registration for thesis and dissertation hours, but there should be more appropriate recognition of students' concerns. However, if we stop collecting tuition, it will mean a $900,000 to $1.1-million hole in the budget. The deans would like to minimize that impact. We are looking at phasing out the requirement that students sign up for 5994 and 7994 courses over the summer."

The commission also discussed extended campus graduate programs. The Ad Hoc Committee on Extended Campus Programs is looking at accepting students who are not enrolled in degree programs, Bruce Chaloux said. The concept, called `the land-grant college' is trying to strike a balance between program quality and service to students, he said. The goal is to have a program in place by fall 1996.

"The program will allow qualified individuals to take courses without pursuing a degree. If and when they decide to pursue a degree, it will be up to the department whether to accept them." Peters said, "This is a radical change and this commission will want to look at the proposed program. It does provide the opportunity to serve students but we won't lose sight that we want to offer degrees."

In response to questions, Chaloux said, "We would not create land-grant college courses that would only have land-grant college students. We would use existing resources, but a land-grant college student would not bump a degree student. We want to assure that students are qualified to be here without having them run a gauntlet just so they can take three courses." Peters said, "The concept the committee is working on begins to address issues of the quality of the students and of the courses. This is not meant to be a continuing-education program, but to serve students who want to sample courses in several areas."

Chaloux added, "A lot of the individuals who want to take a course are our own alumni. This program would permit reimbursement from an employer, and the credit may eventually be applied to an additional degree."

In other business, the commission passed the conflict-of-interest policy, which now goes to the University Council, and heard a report from the Graduate Student Assembly.

Brian Sayre said the Board of Visitors will vote at the February 13 meeting about whether to put a graduate student on the board; the regional meeting of graduate and professional students will be February 10 to 12, and Virginia Tech's GSA will propose that next year's conference be here; the graduate/undergraduate research symposium will be March 21 with Ed Freeman, U.Va. professor, who will speak on business ethics; next year's GSA officers will be elected at the February meeting; and graduate students on the GSA-list serve are being urged to write to General Assembly members opposing further cuts to higher education.

When asked if representatives of all departments would receive the message to share with their constituents, Sayre said that there are only 120 students on the list-serve and he doesn't know whether they include representatives in all departments. "It seems that graduate students are less likely to take advantage of computer services than undergraduates, event though a PID is free.

Chaloux said students would find it useful because "that's where you find information on policies and people. The Graduate Bulletin is on-line and we're going to be putting more information out there." John Burton said the connection may not remain free. "There is a proposal in the computer committee, which I opposed, to have a `connectivity' fee assessed to all students. It would be $90 to $100. Some 1,300 off-campus students have accounts."

Chaloux said, "My sense is the university is going to get out of the modem-pool business and we'll go to a commercial vendor, and that cost will go down as use increases." John Eaton said Todd Wetzel of aerospace engineering is this year's winner of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Outstanding Master's Thesis Award. It is the first time a Virginia Tech student has won the award.