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CGSP acts on program-proposal process, Commencement participation

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 22 - February 29, 1996

The Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies (CGSP) approved a new graduate-degree-program proposal process, and passed a motion supporting master's students' participation in spring Commencement under certain circumstances if they will finish by the end of summer.

Regarding the process for approving new graduate degree programs, it was pointed out in the resolution that in the past proposals have come to the commission "without clear statements that arrangements have been made to assure the resources necessary for the program," and that the graduate dean and provost have not always been aware that new programs are being proposed.

Under the new process, the first step in proposing a new graduate program will be a two-to-three page rationale that includes "the need and justification for the program in the commonwealth, region, and nation," a statement of support from the college dean(s), status of the program and expected regional and national status in five years, the size and composition of the student pool the program will serve, the estimated cost of the program in the first five years, funding sources, and the faculty's ability to support additional teaching and research demands.

The pre-proposal will be reviewed by the college dean(s), and if supported, advocates will discuss it with the vice provost for research and dean of the Graduate School. It also is suggested that the pre-proposal be discussed with Tech's SCHEV academic affairs coordinator to gain input. The dean of the Graduate School and provost will decide whether the pre-proposal has merit and a full proposal should be developed.

On the issue of whether master's candidates who have not finished by spring may participate in Commencement, the commission passed a brief resolution proposed by the Graduate Student Relations Committee. The resolution said that master's students may request permission to participate in spring Commencement if there is an approved plan of study in the Graduate School and all degree requirements will be completed by the end of summer. The policy is directed toward situations in which completion is precluded for programmatic reasons, explained Eugene Brown. For example, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies has a summer program for completing master's students.

Michael O'Brien had pointed out at a previous CGSP meeting that without this exception some people will not participate in a graduation ceremony because they will not return for the fall ceremony.

John Eaton reported that of 15 other institutions that responded to a questionnaire regarding their practice, nine allow master's students who have not completed all of their degree requirements to participate under special circumstances.

Since diplomas will be handed out at the spring ceremony, it was suggested that the students who have not truly completed could be given blank sheets of paper. Eileen Hitchingham suggested that the Commencement publication have a fine-print disclaimer that it is not the official list of graduates.

Students requesting permission to participate will be required to meet the same early deadline for notifying the graduate school of their intention to participate. The application for degree card, due March 1, determines whether a student's name will be in the Commencement bulletin.