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Graduate Coordinator Network (GCN)

Graduate Coordinator Network Meeting Minutes
June 25, 2013

The meeting was brought to order by Kimberly J. Terry, Chairperson.

Pat Ellison announced that she and select members of her staff will meet with each department to discuss questions on the application for admission as well as other pertinent topics.

Julie Meyer announced that she will be on maternity leave beginning sometime in late August.  Rachel Manning and Casen Brown will be available when we need assistance.

Renee Babcock announced two workshops for PhD students:  July 9 and July 31.  Remind your graduating Master’s students that they must apply to graduate.

Michelle Broadway brought us up to date on the production of the Graduate Catalog.  A proof of everything will be sent in late July.  Be sure to double check the proof and alert Michelle to any problems you find.

Jamie Davis introduced herself as the new coordinator for University Compliance Services.  She announced that Professor John Daly will make a presentation on July 22 entitled Bolstering Interpersonal Skills.  It will be held in CW411.

Karen Sacratini introduced herself as our “go to” person for questions regarding employment of/by graduate students.

Dean Kahn made several announcements:

When sending a petition to Dean Kahn, send by EITHER e-mail or hard copy (but DO NOT send both ways).

Dissertation Defense Attendance Rules- the graduate school will no longer approve changes to committee membership for the reason of "faculty member is not available to attend defense meeting."  Apparently a lot of students have been using this as an excuse when in fact the professor can attend the defense, he just doesn't like the dissertation etc. 

The existing policy for defense attendance remains in effect and unchanged.  This option requires physical attendance (in the room) by four committee members, including the supervisor, at the defense.

An additional option is now available that allows for electronic attendance and participation by a portion of the committee.  This option requires the participation of all members of the dissertation committee.  The student and the supervisor(s) must be physically present.  Other committee members must participate either by being physically present or by being in virtual attendance (conference phone call, Skype, etc.).

Please note the two options have different forms for Request for Final Oral.   The student must decide when they are requesting the final oral which type of meeting they plan to hold (traditional or virtual) and must fill out the correct form at that time.  If they complete the wrong form, they will need to go back and complete the correct one.  The traditional way still uses a pink form.  The virtual option uses a green form.  The dissertation chair can still sign for other members of the committee on either the pink or green form.  When signing for someone else, the supervisor should sign the other person’s name by that person’s name.  Eg.  John Doe by Terry Kahn.

It is explained at:

Original signatures of each and every committee member are still required on the signature page.

One more note from Dean Kahn, there have been some problems with students who have committee supervisors who have left UT, either through retirement or moving to another university.  The policy regarding this is stated at the end of these minutes.

Dean Hackert discussed the Milestones Agreement forms that will be rolling out soon. 

This was mandated by the UT System and will be done electronically.  Tracking will be available to students, graduate advisers, and graduate coordinators through GCD when in EASI.

We need to create doctoral degree plans including a timeline and degree plan checklist between July 1 and July 15.  We will need to make sure each type of degree plan has a Degree Plan ID.

The graduate school will provide a Milestone agreement. The agreements don't get into much detail, for instance you don't have to tick off each required class, but you would check "completed coursework" once the student has completed all required coursework.  
Then the form would route electronically to the Graduate Advisor's SIS Routing box for them to sign off, check “yes” the student has completed coursework for the PhD. 

My understanding is that the milestones will only be set up for incoming students starting this fall.  We won't have to mess with agreements for students who are already enrolled. As soon as the student enters the PhD program, they need to be set up with the milestones and advised of what they are.  Dean Hackert suggests we do this in our August orientations.  After the orientation the student logs in and clicks "I have been advised about the milestones of the PhD program" and it routes to the Graduate Advisor.  Thus the first milestone is accomplished!

If your students will also pursue a Master's on the way to getting the PhD, you will have two degree plans on file for them.  That way you can route their program as usual when they are ready to complete the Masters, but they are also advised about the milestones of the PhD along the way.  

Dean Hackert will send out a long and detailed email about this and we will be having training sessions, etc. since this is so new to everyone.   Here is the web page to read more:

This is being implemented for all PhD programs in the State and someday it may extend to Master's and Bachelor's also as an advising tool.  It is not supposed to be punitive, for instance if a student does not hit a milestone at a certain time no one is going to say "you're kicked out of grad school!"  It is supposed to help students understand all the things that are required of them by the program and the University, and remind them of timelines, etc. 

Student Insurance
The new student insurance for 2013-2014 ends in mid-August instead of running through August 31 as it has in the past.  Students using this insurance may need to make other arrangements for this time period.  TA’s, GRA’s and AI’s covered by the University insurance available to faculty and staff will still be covered through August 31.

Tuition Reduction Benefit
Each student eligible for this benefit will need to have an SS3 document created in the Department to receive this benefit.  This document can be created prior to the appointment being finalized.

GSIS Update
 Jefferson Stewart said thanks to everyone for helping to straighten out the D or M classification for your students.   There is now a link on the OGS page to the GSIS data:

More reports will be posted later this summer and each college (dean's office, dept.  Chair, coordinators, advisors, GSC Chairs) will have a workshop with the GSIS folks to look over our reports and discuss the numbers, etc. for things like
Average Time to Degree, Financial Support by Degree, Graduation Rate. 

The institutional reports should begin rolling out in mid-August, one college at a time.

The GSIS link can be found just after EASI on the Graduate School website.

The Placement update page has been turned off.

August 1, 2012 
Graduate School Policy on Departing Faculty Service on Dissertation Committees
Terry Kahn, Associate Dean

The Graduate School policy on the role of retired faculty is governed by the overall authority and responsibility of the GSC to watch over the academic affairs of graduate students.  Departed faculty, emeritus or not, are no longer voting members of the GSC.  The role of the graduate school is to insure that decisions with regard to the outcome of a graduate student's academic program are made by a dissertation committee comprised of a majority of voting GSC faculty.

The base rule on dissertation committee membership specifies a minimum of three voting members of the GSC, including the supervisor, plus a minimum of one person not associated with the local program. 

 Functionally, a faculty member on the dissertation committee of a student in candidacy prior to departure may continue as an ongoing member of the committee for as long as it takes to get the dissertation defended and approved—up to one year.  After one year, the departed faculty has the same status as a committee member not associated with the program.   Specific rules for status of departed faculty are as follows.

Departing Supervisors

1.  The departing supervisor of a student in candidacy can continue as sole supervisor only under the following conditions:  a) the defense of dissertation is officially scheduled prior to the last day of faculty employment; and b) the scheduled date of defense is within one month of the last day of faculty employment.

2.  If the conditions in 1. above are not met, a new supervisor must be chosen from the voting GSC faculty.  The new supervisor is listed as Supervisor and the departed faculty is listed as Co-Supervisor.  If the dissertation is not completed and successfully defended within one year of the last day of faculty employment, the Co-Supervisor relinquishes that title and takes on the status of a committee member not associated with the local program.

Departing Committee Members

3.  A committee member for a student in candidacy prior to the last day of faculty employment may continue to serve as if they were a voting GSC representative for one year from the last day of faculty employment.  After one year, the departed faculty takes on the status of a committee member not associated with the local program.

Overall Requirements  

4.  A minimum of three voting GSC faculty, including the supervisor, is required at all times, regardless of the status of the departed faculty.  If the faculty departure reduces voting GSC membership on the committee below three, then an additional voting GSC member must be added to the committee.

5.  A departed faculty member cannot serve as Supervisor, Co-Supervisor or as if they were a voting GSC committee member for a student whose candidacy is approved after the last day of faculty employment.  (Stated differently, a faculty member not of voting GSC status at the time of application for candidacy cannot serve as Supervisor, Co-Supervisor, or as if they were a voting GSC member.)  Status in this case is limited to service as a person not associated with the local program.

In the past, we've seen a number of issues with committee members who have left the University, with emeritus status or otherwise.  The longer the period since leaving the University, the higher is the probability of a problem occurring for the student.

The student and all committee members should be made aware of the above policy.  Given the parameters established in the policy, the student, with the assistance of the Graduate Adviser and GSC Chair, selects a new committee.  The policy appropriate committee changes, if approved by the Graduate Adviser, should be submitted by the Graduate Adviser to the Graduate School on the form Petition for Change in Doctoral Committee.

Flexibility at the One-Year Point (04/15/13)

The following flex may be pursued on behalf of the student.  Current policy is that co-supervisors and faculty counting as committee members associated with the local program become committee members not associated with the local program at one year after the last date of employment.  If the status of the student's dissertation at the one-year out point is such that completion is to occur in the near short term—no more than a couple of months—the GSC may vote to petition for continued local program status for the one-year departed faculty.  The petition will include a recorded vote of the GSC, detailed statement of the status of the dissertation, steps required for completion, and estimated completion and defense date.  The petition is submitted over the signatures of the GSC Chair and the Graduate Adviser.  The Graduate School will determine whether to grant the petition.
Submitted by Sherry Melecki (with thanks to Kathryn McWilliams)
GCN Recorder
(July 9, 2013)

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