September 8, 2010: ADCOM Minutes

Graduate Council Advisory Committee
HUC Board Room
Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Members present: John Johnstone, Gregg Janowski, Melissa Galvin, Jim Collawn, Bryan Noe, Susan Rich, Jeff Engler, Cecelia Graham, David Macrina, Erica Pryor, Mary MacDougall, Rosalyn Weller

Staff: Cynthia Ballinger, Thomas Harris

Information Items:

Dr. Noe opened meeting with overview of events from summer and discussion of the composition of ADCOM representation with the new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. New members were introduced. Cecelia Graham will be replacing Steven O’Connor from the School of Health Professions.

    1. The first information item was an Enrollment update by Dr. Noe. Graduate enrollment for Fall semester 2010 is 5,483 students; this represents a 5.6% increase over the Fall 2009. This enrollment is highest graduate enrollment ever at UAB. The fall 2007 enrollment was a 6% increase over fall 2006; the fall 2008 enrollment was a 6.5% increase over fall 2007; the fall 2009 enrollment was a 9.2% increase over fall 2008. Collectively, there has been a 30.2% increase over a five year period.
    2. The second information item was a Scorecard update by Dr. Noe. The first component of the new scorecard projections for 2010-2015 will be graduate enrollment.  After consultation with the other deans we have decided to project a 1.5% per year increase for masters program enrollments, and a 0.5% per year increment at the doctoral level.  We also project  a gradual decrease of 1% per year for non degree enrollment.  If those projections are accurate, graduate enrollment in 2015 will be 6,225.  Total student support dollars will be removed from the scorecard and replaced with the number of students supported from different sources: graduate school support, individual fellowships, endowments/special awards, grants, and departmental support (TA’s and RA’s). Fellowship Incentive Program update: Since may of 2007 - 156 applications, 34 pending, 42 funded which represents a 34.4% success rate. We hope to work with the Medical School Development staff to secure an endowment to help fund the Incentive Program. The new scorecard will include some new data; a head count of the number of postdoctoral trainees doing research training, and a head count of individuals who are research postdoctoral trainees, as well as of individuals who are doing postdoctoral clinical training (interns, residents, fellows). ETS has been beta testing the new GRE exam for the last three years. The firm roll out date for the new exam is August 2011. Much of the verbal and quantitative sections have been revamped. The vocabulary test has been removed. Students can navigate circuitously through the test; they can skip questions and come back. The scoring scale has been compressed to a range of 130 to 170 in one point increments. Therefore, to compare performance on the old test to the new, the GRE scorecard scale has been converted to percentile rankings. For the doctoral degrees granted section, there will be a new differentiation between PhD degrees and Professional and practice based doctoral degrees in the new scorecard. The number of MD, DMD and OD degrees awarded each year will be also be added.
    3. The third information item was Tuition Allocations to Programs for fiscal 2011 by Dr. Noe. Tuition charges for the second credit hour and beyond are now $286 per credit hour. Because the tuition allocation to the Grad School has remained flat, the amounts awarded to the programs stayed at the same level as last year. Each program received $7,500 per student line which will not cover tuition outlay by the programs because of the increases in tuition over the past several years. The Graduate School has contacted the Provost’s Office and we are working with them to develop a plan for making up the difference in our tuition allocations to provide full coverage to the programs.
    4. The last information item was the announcement of a new HHMI Fellowship Program by Dr. Rich.  UAB has been invited to submit nominees for a new research fellowship program for international students. The fellowship provides up to 3 years of funding, including a $30,000 annual stipend, a $3,000 enrichment allowance and $10,000 annual institutional allowance for tuition and fees. Eligible students are international graduate students in the biomedical or related sciences who have demonstrated exceptional talent for research, are in the second (or third) year of graduate study, have entered a laboratory in which they will conduct their dissertation research, and are not U.S. citizens, noncitizen nationals, or permanent residents of the U.S. Nominations are due no later than Monday November 1, 2010, 5pm.  If there are questions, please contact Susan Rich srich@uab.edu

Action Items:

    1. The first Action Item was the discussion of dissertation committee composition in the JHS.  ADCOM members recommended keeping committee balanced with at least one outside member from outside department or outside of the university.  An appropriate change will be made in Graduate Student Handbook to state with regard to the outside committee member(s) “one or two of whom” should be from outside the student’s graduate specialization.  ADCOM voted to change verbiage in handbook.
    2. The second agenda item was the consideration of a change in the policy that allows graduate students to drop classes at the end of a semester without permission. From summer term 2007 to summer term 2010, 1,229 students have dropped classes at the end of the semester without needing permission from their instructors. Students were required to pay full tuition for the dropped course.  ADCOM members suggested that many students were dropping to avoid receiving a failing grade on their transcripts. One concern was that the Graduate School support money was possibly being wasted on students who have dropped courses only to retake them resulting in the GS paying for a course more than one time. It was recommended that ADCOM members take this information back to their respective schools to consult with other program directors to arrive at a consensus on changing the policy to require approval after the drop add date, and to move the absolute date at which a student could drop a course with faculty permission to coincide with the date used for undergraduates which is currently half way through the semester. Continued consideration of this issue will be included as an Action Item for October’s ADCOM meeting.

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

The meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.