December 14, 2011: ADCOM Minutes

Graduate Council Advisory Committee
Shelby Biomedical Research Building, 318
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Members present: Puri Bangalore, Melissa Galvin, Doug Ayers, Jim Collawn, Kyle Grimes, Lynn Kirkland, Bryan Noe, Susan Rich, Jeff Engler, Cecelia Graham, Mary MacDougall, Jesse Milby, Steven Pittler, Philip Way

Staff: Susan Banks, Cynthia Ballinger, Thomas Harris

Guest: Donna Slovensky, Cathy Nugent, Fouad Fouad

Agenda Items:

  1. The first item on the agenda was review of a proposal for the new Masters of Science program in Biotechnology.  Cathy Nugent and Donna Slovensky gave an update on the changes that were made to the content. There is an existing graduate certificate in biotechnology in the School of Health Professions. The program has graduated two classes and currently in the process of training the third class. The certificate was designed to be completed over a series of three semesters. What the program has learned is that students also wish to have graduate degree which would add more value in terms of potential employment in the biotechnology industry. Therefore, a decision was made to develop an independent master’s program.  Issues raised by the  Business school regarding potential overlap in course content were resolved in discussions held between SHP and Business school representatives and resulted in changes incorporated into the program proposal.  When the curriculum was being expanded from the certificate curriculum, it was determined that only three new biotechnology based didactic classes were needed, along with a third laboratory course to complete the sequence that was already in place. The proposal includes ten new course work hours added to certificate program.  Feedback from previous certificate recipients students was that they were getting jobs in the industry but that more focus was need on the science of drug discovery.  As the certificate program morphs into a master’s program, student recruitment should improve.  A professional degree in the SHP generally has meant that the student will earn professional credentials of some sort; this new Masters degree will provide a marketable credential than the certificate which currently exists.   Motion was made to approve the proposal as amended.  ADCOM voted unanimously to approve the proposal.
  2. The second agenda item was the proposal review for a new Track for UAB’s Masters in Engineering (MEng) Degree Program.   The program is a civil engineering student exchange program. The faculty members teaching the courses will be from UAB.  The Masters in Engineering will be added as a new track.  Courses will be blended with online instruction and class sessions.   The new track will be in engineering management.  ADCOM members questioned the need for this new track. The concept of the new track is to open up the program to other disciplines outside Civil Engineering. The new track will differ in that it will be offered only to international students at their home institutions. It was recommended that stating that fact in proposal to ACHE was needed for clarification, and state specifically credit hours allocated to each course.   The course overlap with other tracks was discussed.  An inquiry regarding whether a program track could be limited to only international students was made.  As a result, a recommendation was made to not restrict enrollment.  A potential conflict with Business School offerings was resolved in separate meetings.  Format: Students would be in class for six hours and day, and would take their final exam by the fifth week. Program progress assessments will be given to each student periodically.  A total of four courses will be offered every summer. Students can start the program in India and then come to UAB to finish the program if desired.  Students will be recruited from Middle Eastern countries and particularly in Egypt. ADCOM members inquired about why the fast track program is not offered here at UAB.  The response was that the intent is to provide global training and expertise.   The program admission requirements will be sent to ADCOM members.  ADCOM members requested development of a more polished proposal with more detailed information. ADCOM members will vote on a revised and updated proposal by email before the next scheduled meeting.

Information Items:

  1. Recap of the Dean’s Research Retreat – Noe.
  2. Applications to date to the GBS Themes compared to those to other programs – Noe.
  3. Impact of new scoring procedures for the revised GRE on the appllication review process – Noe.

 (ADCOM web site is http://www.uab.edu/graduate/graduate-council-information)

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.