Graduate Council Meeting

15 April 2008

Members present:  Bradley, Fields, Gresham, Hewitt, Nelson (represented by Canales), Olivares, Ramirez, Sétamou, Uddameri, Vela Córdova, Wagman, Williams, Lewis (student rep)


Members absent: Brown, Chen, Clapp, Hernandez, Verma, Bandyopadhyay (student rep), Blair (Student rep), Flores (student rep).    Meeting was called to order at 2:45 p.m.

Motion to accept minutes from February 12, 2008 meeting approved.


Executive Committee – Dr. Fields opened the meeting noting that there were no reports from the Executive Committee.


Curriculum Committee – Dr. Sue Bradley announced that two online curriculum proposals (M.S. in Education Administration and M.S. in Instructional Technology) are requested for consideration in order to increase student enrolment in the College of Education.  Dr. Bradley moved that the Council approve the proposals in concept pending completion of minor details.  A motion to accept the two proposed distance education proposals was approved.


Membership Committee –Dr. Fields announced that the TAMUK Membership Committee report for the year has been completed.


Program Review Committee –Dr. Fields announced that all graduate program reviews for the year have been completed.   


Dean’s Report –Dean Olivares presented the membership status of the Graduate Council and called for nomination from the floor to fill in the positions of members whose tenure has come to expiration and also for election of members for the Executive and Standing Committees of the Council. Dr. Olivares reminded the Council that being a member of the Graduate Council is a requirement for nomination in the Executive Committee, while the three Standing Committees (Membership, Curriculum and Program Review) can draw their members from the graduate faculty roster of the five colleges. However, chairs of the Committees should be tenured faculty and members of the Graduate Council. Following nomination, the new roster of the Graduate Council this coming academic year is as follows:


            Members of Graduate Council by College


Arts & Sciences

Business Administration



1. Fidel Hernandez*

2. Mamoudou Sétamou

3. Michelle Garcia

1. Jieming Chen*

2. Roberto Vela Cordoba

3. Enrique Massa

1. George Wagman*

2. George Gresham

3. Ashley Bennington

1. Sue Bradley*

2. LaVonne Williams

3. Linda Challoo

1. Patrick Mills*

2. Venkatesh Uddameri

3. Rajab Challoo

Executive Committee

Mamoudou Sétamou

Enrique Massa

Ashley Bennington

LaVonne Williams

Venkatesh Uddameri (chair)

Membership Committee

Alan Fedynich

Roberto Vela (chair)

Jack Shorter

Jaya Goswani

David Ramirez

Curriculum Committee

Michelle Garcia

Larry Knight

George Petri

Sue Bradley (chair)

Jennifer Ren

Program Review Committee

Mani Skaria

Shary Beams

George Gresham (chair)

Chery Kelsey

Patrick Mills

* Denotes Dean’s Appointee

** Other Curriculum Committee Members are: David Salazar and Rosie Vela

Library Representative and Banner Carrier are: Venkatesh Uddameri and Fidel Hernandez as Alternate.


A motion to approve the new roster was approved.      


In his report, Dr. Olivares announced that the College of Engineering is considering an interdisciplinary M.S. program for Environmental Management. Dean Olivares also mentioned that Dr. Fields will be recommending the four graduate programs that will be reviewed for the coming academic year. Dean Olivares reminded the Council that all distance learning proposals will hereafter be submitted to SACS for notification purposes.


Student Representatives –John Lewis informed the Council about the new policy the federal government is planning to implement regarding financial aid to students. Many students have already received letters dated March 12, 2008, informing them about the new policy that will soon be in effect. According to these new guidelines, to qualify for financial aid, students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and have a minimum of 67% pass hours out of the total attempted.  Although the requirement of 3.0 GPA is not a problem for most of the M.S. students, doctoral students do not generally have a letter grade during the period when they are engaged in research, and this means that those students do not meet the afore-mentioned requirement and could potentially be negatively affected by the new regulation. In addition, many graduate students can be affected when they are registered for dissertation classes that only provide IP or S notations. Dean Olivares recommended to student representatives to get some clarification from the financial director about this new federal regulation and that he would look into this policy be contacting Mr. Manuel Lujan and the Graduate Office at Texas A&M University. Once this is done and if indeed this regulation will be negatively affecting many of our students, remedial actions will be proposed to ensure that our graduate students remain eligible for financial aid. 


Old Business – None


New Business – Dr. Vela Córdova informed the Council about the problem his department is facing regarding the cooperative Hispanic Studies doctoral program with TAMU. Because of some disparities in fees charged for courses and in the processing times of grades between TAMU and the other collaborating Texas A&M Universities (Kingsville, Corpus Christi and Laredo), students decided to boycott courses taught by these collaborating institutions.  Dr. Olivares stated that these problems are administrative issues and are beyond the competence of the Graduate Council.  Dr. Fields suggested asking questions to the concerned parties in order to help with matters arising from these collaborative degree programs.


Dr. Uddameri informed the Council about the change in the duration of optional practical training for international students. This training used to last 12 months but has now been expanded to 27 months in the new guidelines.  This training used to last 12 months but has now been expanded to 24 months in the new guidelines. Dr. Olivares stated that this change will affect international students and their immigration status and therefore suggested to have Ms. Millie Slaughter visit with the Council to discuss this issue.  He also recommended to the Council to continue next academic year with the tradition of inviting guest speakers to the Council meetings. 


Dr. Fields reminded that this meeting was the last one for the academic year and the last one for Dean Olivares as well, who will be retiring at the end of August 2008. Members of the Council gave Dean Olivares a warm praise for his invaluable contribution to the Graduate Council and graduate studies in general.


Motion to adjourn at 3:45 p.m.


Minutes submitted by Dr. Mamoudou Sétamou