Graduate Council Advisory Committee
HUC 325
Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Members present: Puri Bangalore, Gregg Janowski, Melissa Galvin, Douglas Ayers, Jim Collawn, Kyle Grimes, Bryan Noe, Susan Rich, Jeff Engler, Cecelia Graham, Erica Pryor, Rosalyn Weller, Steve Pittler

Staff: Susan Banks, Cynthia Ballinger, Thomas Harris

Guests: Drs. Donna Slovensky, Jan Rowe and Kathy Nugent


A.  Action Items:

  1. Review of a proposal from the School of Health Professions to amalgamate the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management with the Master of Science in Occupational Therapy into a Fast Track program (5th Year Masters program). Guests: Drs. Donna Slovensky, Jan Rowe and Kathy Nugent.  Over the past five years undergraduate students in the Health Care Management program would complete prerequisites for the Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) and then apply for admission for the MSOT. To make the process more efficient for the students who enter as freshmen knowing they are interested in Occupational Therapy, the School proposes an early admission process which would allow accepting the students into the Health Care Management program, and as they enter their Junior year they would begin taking classes in Occupational Therapy masters program.  This would shorten the amount of time it takes a student to complete both degrees. The process would provide both time and cost advantages to students.  The biggest change from the standard CLS curriculum would be that the student who completes the health care management degree and is in a position to move directly on into the MSOT would not be required to complete a six week internship in Health Care Administration.  Instead, these students will have the opportunity to complete multiple practicum experiences in Occupational Therapy.  The students who complete the health care management degree are excellent students; all of those students who applied have been accepted into the MSOT. In comparison with competitor schools, and other programs at UAB, the students are regularly recognized as national merit scholars as well as Deans Leadership award recipients. The program requires 107 credit hours for the MSOT degree, and completing the clinical internships make the time required to complete the degree seven semesters.  By combining the two programs, the time required to complete the MSOT will be shortened by one year. Also, with the overlap of undergraduate courses, 17 credit hours will be compressed, thereby reducing the amount of tuition paid by the students. No other similar program in the state has the Fast Track option. Five year combined programs are becoming popular, but this will be the only program of its kind.  Undergraduate program recruitment begins with tenth grade high school students and with transfers. Students will have the option to opt out and still receive their bachelors of science once degree requirements are met.  There will be no net loss of tuition revenue because of the ability to enroll to more students over time.  The goal is to provide more options for students who know immediately they are going on to graduate school.  For the Fall of 2012 incoming undergraduate class, ten seats out of forty-five will be reserved for students enrolling in the Fast Track program. 

After discussion, a motion to approve was made. ADCOM voted to approve the proposal unanimously. 

  1. Review of a NISP from the School of Health Professions proposing a new MS program in Biotechnology. Guests: Drs. Donna Slovensky and Kathy Nugent. The School currently offers a Certificate in Biotechnology with an option for the students to earn a Masters degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences (CLS). The goal is to create a Master’s degree program in Biotechnology which is eligible for national recognition and ranking.  The CLS program has been unsuccessful in garnering grant funding because the program is not considered to be long enough. Reviewers of proposals have recommended that the program be expanded to a full two years.  Recruitment of students is difficult because they overwhelmingly want their masters degree to be in Biotechnology instead of CLS. In the proposed Biotechnology masters program, students will have an option to work at off campus sites during the summer between their first and second year to complete internships.  The masters program will be a Plan II program with a required project.  Courses that will be added will focus on regulatory procedures and biomedical ethics.  Internships will be longer than those currently required for the CLS, thus providing much more laboratory experience. The marketing and commercialization seminars teach students the kinds of things to think about when running Biotechnology companies.  Job growth is projected at 14.4% over the average of other knowledge based jobs regardless of what the economy is doing.  Employment outcomes:  Students will be placed mostly with Biotechnology companies.  The average compensation for the first graduating CLS class was 50-80K per year with employers such as the FBI, Omega Biotech, Hudson-Alpha, and Alpha Biotech in Seattle, among others.  Johns Hopkins offers a similar degree program, but no other school in the Alabama has a degree in Biotechnology.  By offering Biotechnology training, UAB would be assisting in building a hub for biotechnology here in Birmingham. After discussion, a motion to approve was made. 

ADCOM voted to approve the NISP for forwarding to the UA System Board and ACGD for review with the recommendation that further discussion with the Business School regarding potential collaboration for provision of management components of the curriculum should be pursued prior to development of the full program proposal.

  1. Policy discussion:  Should there be a change in the grading of all research credit hours (698, 699, 798, 799) to P/NP rather than allowing programs the letter grading? Committee members had been asked to survey practices in their respective schools. Practices varied from program to program within schools.  However, no program indicated an objection to allowing only P/NP grading of research credit hours.  Accordingly, the committee recommended setting a Banner rule that allows only pass/no pass grading for research credit hours.  The new policy will take affect Fall semester 2011.  A motion to approve was made, and the committee voted unanimously in favor.

  2. Review of, and action on, existing program policies for committee meeting frequency.  ADCOM put forth a recommendation more than a year ago indicating the recommended frequency of thesis or dissertation committee meetings to be no less than once each year. Information in handouts provided illustrated different ways departments across campus were complying with the recommendation.  No standardized procedure will be required as long as the departments adhere to the policy.  Committee meetings can be called by the thesis committee chair, the student’s advisor (if someone other than the chair), executive committees which oversee programs, or the program director. I some programs the program director or Executive Committee meets annually with each student with or without the mentor.  Based on current procedures being followed by various programs, Dr. Noe had drafted some new policy verbiage prior to the meeting (see below**).  Departments which receive Graduate School funding will be required to add summaries that indicate compliance with the policy in their annual applications for funding.  A motion to approve the new policy as drafted was made and ADCOM voted unanimously to approve.

This policy will go into effect Fall semester 2011.  This policy, along with the P/NP grading change for research credits, was communicated to all program directors by    email attachment on April 1, 2011. 

**Policy on Graduate Student Progress Reviews
Approved by ADCOM, March 2011

  1. The progress of each student enrolled in a graduate degree granting program toward meeting his/her degree requirements must be reviewed on at least an annual basis.

  2. The review format and timing of reviews are the prerogative of the program.  Progress Reviews may be performed by either the student’s thesis or dissertation committee, by the Program Director, or by the program Executive Committee.

  3. A written documentation (usually one page or less) of review group consensus regarding progress made and/or goals met since the previous review, as well as timelines for meeting specific goals during the next review period must be prepared and submitted to the program director who is responsible for maintaining a “progress record” for each student in the program.

  4. In the event that progress is considered to be unsatisfactory, or a student is nearing the 5 year (Masters) or 7 year (Doctoral) limit for completing his/her degree requirements, the student’s thesis or dissertation committee, or the program Executive Committee should implement a “Completion Plan.”


A “Completion Plan” should include specific goals and specific deadlines for meeting those goals, as well as prescribed consequences if the goals are not met within the proposed deadline time points.  The plan should include a stipulation that the student will meet with his/her committee to review progress at each of the proposed deadline times.  It is recommended that the time intervals between proposed committee meetings be no longer than three months.  The plan should be incorporated into a written document, signed by the student, by his/her advisor, and by the program director.  If it will be necessary to request an extension beyond the 5 or 7 year limit for completion of degree requirements, the plan must be submitted (along with the extension request) to the Graduate School Dean for review and approval.

B.  Information Items:

  1. Demonstration of new data management tools being provided by Academic Analytics

(ADCOM web site is

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.