Graduate Coordinator Network Meeting Minutes
October 29, 2013, SAC 2.302
Dean Terry Kahn spoke to the group on the general issues of documentation and dismissal of students.
Documentation – make a record of an event if you even wonder if you should. Include only the facts (what actually happened). Remember – anything you write down is fair game if material is requested through the Open Records Act. There is no wiggle space.
Dismissal of students:
- Graduate School will dismiss students who do not maintain a 3.0 gpa (Departments can petition for an exception.)
- Students who violate departmental rules can be dismissed. The GSC chair must write a letter to the Graduate School saying what rule was violated and that the student is being dismissed. This does not require a vote of the GSC. Departments need to make sure they are consistent in applying the rules.
- The case of “failure to make satisfactory academic progress” is a little grayer. If it becomes clear to the student’s supervisor that the student is not making needed progress on their dissertation/the student isn’t going to finish at the level expected, a vote should be taken of the GSC to determine if the student should be dismissed. A step before dismissal could include giving the student a specific deadline of what must be completed by a specific date. This should be put in writing and the student should sign it. In addition, conversations in such a situation should be documented and both the student and the faculty member should have copies. Make sure departmental and university rules are followed. A GSC vote is required to dismiss a student for failure to make satisfactory academic progress.
- If the faculty has conversations with the student regarding making satisfactory academic progress and the student just doesn’t register the following semester, the GSC should still have a vote to dismiss the student.
What should be included in handbooks:
- Anything that has been a practice for a while
- Make sure everything included in Milestones for your department is clarified in the handbook
- New policies cannot be applied retroactively. However, if approved by the GSC, they can take effect immediately.
- Current students can choose to follow the new rules when they are put into effect by the GSC, or they can choose to follow the rules that were in effect when they entered the program.
Sandra Catlett gave a brief explanation regarding the Liaison Committee. The basic purpose is to establish an association between the GCN and other UT entities and to make sure other committees understand general Graduate School concerns. More people are needed to serve on this committee. There are currently liaisons to the following groups:
C12 (President’s Office/Right and Responsibilities of Graduate Students)
Please let Sandra know if you would like to be a liaison to a group or if there or other groups with which you think the GCN should liaison.
Dr. LaToya Hill made a presentation on the Behavior Concerns Advice Line (BCAL)
BCAL was created in 2007 in response to the Virginia Tech shootings. BCAL is a central place for students, faculty and staff to contact when concerned about the actions of other students, faculty, or staff. The BCAL phone line is available 24/7 and can be anonymous. BCAL also has a web-based presence.
If BCAL staff see a pattern of behavior that raises concerns, they will notify you if you have shared your information.
Dr. Hill discussed the contents of a Disruptive Behavior Level of Concern chart. This chart can be used to determine how serious an incident is and to help figure out a strategy to deal with the person causing the concern.
BCAL Advice Line: 512.232.5050
Layne Brewster from UTPD briefly talked about safety on campus and showed the video Shots Fired on Campus. She suggested that all employees and students should view this video. Faculty should also include a safety plan in their syllabus. We should all have a plan for such a situation. Officer Brewster summarized the following facts for us to keep in mind:
- The best place to hide is near the door.
- Spread out if you are in a group.
- Look for items you can throw at the shooter. Keep things (such as paperweights or staplers) on your desk that you can throw.
- Set up your office in such a way that no one can walk in behind you.
- Have a plan in place regarding where you are supposed to meet your officemates.
Monthly Happy Hours are moving to Thursdays.
Monthly Lunches are moving to Wednesdays.
The 18 Characteristics Report is due November 15. (GSIS data will be delivered Nov. 4.) We should include feedback on GSIS numbers. Danielle Toma is the new contact person for the 18 Characteristics Report.
November 22 is the deadline for Master’s and PhD students to apply for December graduation.
The Graduate Assembly is looking at the current Embargo Policy for thesis and dissertations.