Graduate Council Advisory Committee
Shelby Biomedical Research Building, 318
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Members present: Gregg Janowski, Doug Ayers, Jim Collawn, Kyle Grimes, Bryan Noe, Susan Rich, Cecelia Graham, Erica Pryor, Jesse Milby, Steven Pittler

Staff: Susan Banks, Cynthia Ballinger, Thomas Harris

Action Items:

  1. The first item on the agenda was the review of a proposal from the School of Business to waive the GMAT requirement for a subset of applicants to the MBA program. Dr. Doug Ayers gave a summary of the rationale for the proposal. The MBA program is a course based program within which specialization opportunities are relatively independent from each other across the range of business topics. The average work experience of program entrants is about seven years.  Less than ten percent of the student population has fewer than two years of work experience. Over the last five years, the observation has been that the further away an applicant is from his/her undergraduate career, the more the difficulty applicants have with the GMAT.  Many students take the test multiple times paying the testing cost of $250 each time, and still have difficulty making the  required minimum score.  Non degree seeking students are admitted if they have a 3.0 undergraduate GPA; these students have not take then GMAT and they perform well in the MBA class work. These students cannot transfer more than 12 credits taken in non-degree status.   If they wish to complete the MBA requirements, they cannot continue without providing a GMAT score, even though they have already completed 25% of the course work for the program.  AACSB Accreditation requirements do not stipulate that students must take the GMAT. Many other schools of Business are starting to drop the GMAT requirement.  Often the GMAT is waived if the applicant has a terminal degree in their field of endeavor, or have completed an accredited master’s degree program.

The UAB Business program proposes that if a prospective student has five years of working experience and a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, the applicant can be considered fro admission without providing GMAT scores.  If the student has ten years working experience, the program will consider the applicant even without the 3.0 undergraduate GPA.  Decisions to waive the GMAT will be  based on a consideration of each student’s qualifications. The School of Business will communicate the approved GMAT waivers to the Graduate School individually.  Outcome measures will include assessment of the performance of students admitted with no GMAT as compared with students who took the GMAT.   A motion to approve the proposal was made and seconded. After further discussion, the motion was approved unanimously.  

  1. The second agenda item was the review of a NISP for a new Masters of Science program in Information Systems from the Business School.  The ADCOM representative from Computer and Information Sciences requested additional time to review the proposal for potential issues of overlap with CIS offerings.  Dr. Noe proposed that the committee should discuss the proposal during the current meeting and then allow CIS faculty to meet with Business School representatives during the next week to assure that everyone is in agreement before taking a formal vote on the proposal.  Dr. Doug Ayers then presented a description of, and the rationale for, the proposal.  The proposal is to develop a MS degree in Information Systems. The degree can be used by someone in the information systems field to expand their career options into management positions. There is significant demand for employees with information management skills. Degree holders would potentially use skills acquired in the program to create business tools that employ computer science. Three concentration areas are proposed: information security management, web development in the leading edge of marketing, and a general management track.  Marketing studies indicate there is interest in each of these types of concentration. The program would be fully online and employ a certificate to degree model.  Students can earn a certificate in one of the areas of concentration, or expand the course work taken up to the 30 credits necessary to earn the Masters degree.  The certificates can be taken as a standalone certificate or the students can bundle  certificates on their way to the degree.  There is no national sanction for these types of certificate; the accreditation of the Business school would provide the basis for offering the certificates.  The program is specifically crafted to not directly compete with similar offerings at AU and UA. The concentrations are intended for students who already have an information systems background.  The Business school intends to recruit a different type of student; students who can’t take a year off from their job to enter a residential program, but would enroll in an online program instead.  The difference between the CIS program and what Business is proposing is that CIS concentrates on software development tools, whereas the Business Information Systems program will be focused training certificate holders to apply those tools to business problems.  The basic structure of the program is as follows:  There is a series of six core courses, followed by the elective courses in specialty areas, four additional courses to accumulate a total of 30 hours for the Masters degree. Students can take only the core courses if they just want the certificate, but the capstone elective courses are required to earn the MS degree. There is flexibility in taking different certificate and core courses to accumulate the necessary credits to earn the masters degree.  If going for the masters degree, students must complete all requirements within 5 years from first entering the program.  Similar programs offered at other institutions are all residential.  Blackboard learn and Skype will be used to offer the program along with the intention to offer interactions with other professionals who are already in the information management field.  After allowing time for CIS and Business faculty to meet to eliminate potential problems with  duplication, both schools reported that they had reached a consensus and the ADCOM membership approved the proposal by email vote.
  1. The School of Business expressed a wish to adopt a policy stating that any student who earns three C grades will be automatically dismissed from a degree program.  Students are not allowed to retake courses that they have not passed and remediation options are not made available.  Students must maintain a 3.0 based on graduate school policy.  Because Graduate School policy states that programs can set requirements which exceed those established by the Grad School, ADCOM did not have to approve this proposal.

Information Items:

  1. Outside review of the Graduate School – Noe.
  1. Access to information regarding management of distressed students – Noe.

 (ADCOM web site is

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.