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Several topics of discussion for graduate commission

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 15 - December 12, 1996

(Article written from meeting minutes.)

The Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies (CGSP) discussed the preliminary exam policy,independent study hours, and the policy on auditing courses at the November 20 meeting.

The Degree Requirements, Standards, Criteria and Academic Policies Committee (DRSCAP), chaired by Jim Burger, recommended that the preliminary exam policy be published and would read as follows: "Preliminary Examination: This examination must be taken at least nine months before graduation. At least 24 hours of work (course work and/or research) must remain to be taken, including the work for which the student is currently enrolled."

The policy appeared in the Graduate School's 1991 Policy and Procedures Manual. According to John Eaton, the policy was inadvertently left out when the manual was edited into the Graduate Catalog that now contains the policies and procedures along with the course catalog.

Because the term "graduation" could allow a time difference of as much as 3.5 months, Len Peters suggested the term be to changed to final examination.

Janet Wojcik questioned the departments' right to alter this policy. Eaton said the Graduate School sets the policy for scheduling final exams. Joel Donahue said policies can be waived by the Graduate School. A motion was made to approve the correction with a change in the wording. The motion was approved as a correction of an editing error.

In other action, DRSCAP recommended that a maximum of three hours of 5974: Independent Study and a maximum of six hours of 5984: Special Study be allowed toward the fulfillment of course requirements for each master's and doctoral degree.

Eaton said the departments use the 5984 course number often as the first trial run of a new course. The new policy would allow students to take advantage of unique and new courses.

Martin Day said the recommended change would allow 3/6 for the masters and an additional 3/6 for the doctoral, so a student who goes through both degree programs could have taken six hours of 5974 and 12 hours of 5984. "We allow them to do it over again when they enter a new degree program."

R. Brown said that now a person can take six hours of Independent Study, and under the recommendation, one could only take three hours. "These course offerings vary by colleges."

Eaton added that Independent Studies don't contribute to the GPA; they are pass/fail.

The motion passed with one opposed. A resolution will be drafted for consideration at the next commission meeting, with further discussion to take place at that time.

The commission also discussed appointment of outside faculty members to second preliminary and final examinations. DRSCAP will take recommendations back for further work.

DRSCAP is considering changing the policy on auditing courses so that registration for audit may not be changed to credit or vice versa after the last day to add classes without the signature of the instructor, student's major advisor, and the dean of the Graduate School. Once a student audits a course, the student may not repeat the course for credit.

After extensive discussion, the committee decided to review the proposed policy change further and to discuss with colleagues. Marvin Foushee shared information from the Registrar's Office with the commission members. There is no mechanism in place to drop a student from a course if the instructor marks the student as a no-show/no-grade. This must be done manually at this time. A course can be marked in the timetable as "audit prohibited." Foushee also said that at this time the percentage of students auditing classes is low.

Reporting on the Graduate Student Assembly Report, Wojcik said the GSA will continue to monitor the off-campus housing office during the change of directorship.

Eileen Hitchingham said the University Library Committee members recommended a new circulation policy be implemented requiring the physical renewal (or return) of books at 180 days for faculty members and graduate students.

The committee is also researching possible cuts in funding for serials and is reviewing a more stringent return policy.