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Graduate information to be presented to Board of Visitors

By Susan Trulove

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 07 - October 10, 1996

Chris Bunin, graduate-student representative to the Board of Visitors, told the Graduate Student Assembly at the GSA's first meeting of the year that he has asked the board for the opportunity to present information regarding Virginia Tech's graduate-student body.

With the help of the Graduate School, he will assemble such information as GRE's, GPA's, gender and racial diversity, what percentage of graduate students are GTA's and GRA's, and information about the research contributions of graduate students and publications and conference presentations by graduate students. Delegates made several suggestions for information, including regarding placement of graduates in terms of percentage employed or continued towards a Ph.D. by major.

The College of Veterinary Medicine sponsored the meeting. In opening remarks, Dean Peter Eyre told the delegates that he appreciates what graduate students do-not only as research and teaching assistants. "You provide powerful intellectual support in the whole fabric of the university. I can't imagine a great university without a huge population of graduate students. That's why I started a graduate program in veterinary medicine, in addition to the DVM."

He concluded, "Please understand that the university administration, college deans, and others do all they can for graduate students."

John Eaton, associate provost for graduate studies and GSA advisor, told the delegates that the GSA had built good relations with the university administration. He said that as a result of the GSA's efforts:

* There is a graduate-student representative on the Board of Visitors. "Virginia Tech may be the only university with graduate representation on the governing board."

* There is tuition remission for students holding assistantships.

* The requirement of summer registration will end in Summer 97.

* There is an assistantship agreement to make sure that responsibilities are clear.

An issue of interest to graduate delegates is the impact on them of the new pay schedule-which calls for adjusting pay so there are 23 pay periods instead of 24 starting with a January 3 payday instead of a January 1 payday, until work is paid for two weeks after it occurs.

Eaton said that according to the newspaper, the legislators are going to revisit the issue and a decision is expected by December 20, "but if the lag is implemented, I think graduate students will be included." He said the Commission on Student Affairs is considering the possibility of an optional deduction so graduate students can have 20 percent deducted from the first several checks during the new pay period until there is enough to provide a cushion to pay bills while the pay days continue the lag schedule.

Martha Johnson, assistant dean of the Graduate School, added that those on nine-month assignments won't get less money "but the last check will be May 23 instead of May 16."

John Aughenbach, vice president, explained that graduate representatives need to report to the GSA regarding commission and committee activities. In the GSA cabinet meetings, the officers will address trends they see and report to the delegates.

Since the GSA listserve cannot mail to all graduate students, GSA information and announcements will be forwarded to department listserves, GSA president Delia Grenville said.

During the organization update, Grenville reported that Chris McCollum will be interim director of the Off Campus Housing Center since director Karen Frazier has taken a full-time job. "The housing crush will probably continue for the next two years as the number of freshmen continues to increase," Grenville predicted.

She also reported that a focus-group study is being conducted by Lora Jane Fattorini to determine the recreational and social programs graduate students would like to have in the community.

Eaton reminded students that as of Spring 97, thesis and dissertations will have to be submitted electronically; he encouraged students to attend workshops.