Graduate Council Agenda
Graduate Studies Council Meeting
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 – 12:30-1:30 p.m. – Taylor Hall 327
1. ENVS 500-level programming proposal (by John Hausdoerffer and Jonathan Coop)
Background: At issue is whether the grad number of 510 is appropriate for submission by departments for individual graduate courses unconnected to approved graduate programs. At present, the Grad Studies Council has only approved requests for this number for the summer Teacher’s Institute and for the MFA-related graduate CRWR 510 course for the summer writing conference, Writing the Rockies, but that was connected to the larger MFA program proposal.
Should 597 serve as a more appropriate number?
Perhaps a bigger issue: Have we had sufficient campus discussion to even approve use of 500-level proposals for such individual courses for credit at Western?
Here’s what the policy document says, approved by Faculty Senate, 2-11-2008:
“500-599 Level Graduate Courses: Courses at this level are non-degree oriented and typically intended for continuing education and professional development. Course formats include workshops and seminars and are primarily practice-based.”
I’ve asked Allen Stork to join us for this
discussion as well, since he was part of the formative discussions by the Grad
Studies Council, serving as chair, during the initial two years of the
Council’s meetings. Jess Young will sit on as well to advise and comment.
(Layne Nelson, also affected, can’t make this date.)
2. We need to review proposed language for what constitutes an earned graduate credit, to be added to policy. Here’s what Academic Policies is considering for undergrad credit:
Federal Credit Hour Definition: A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than: (1) one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or (2) at least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other activities as established by an institution, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading toward the award of credit hours.
3. Admission Policies for Grad Students. The MFA program feels that current grad admission policies need rewording to give a fair hearing to applicants who do not match the current criteria.
Current MFA admissions criteria currently calls for a 3.0 cum GPA for the applicant’s bachelor’s degree. But the demographic of students is largely old enough that this GPA is often a snapshot that is 20, 30, or even 40 years old – not representative of the applicant at this stage in life. A survey of comparable low-residency MFA programs reveal almost all do not state a GPA at all.
The Western MFA requests that the stipulated GPA be removed, together with reducing the number of letters from three to two.
Current general grad policy language is as follows:
Students seeking admission to any of Western’s master’s programs must formally apply for admission with the Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies. Formal admission to a graduate degree program is based on multiple sources of evidence and collegial, professional judgment of program faculty about the likelihood of success. The faculty members of each program consider undergraduate grade-point average (minimum 2.750 on a 4.000 scale), graduate grade-point average (minimum 3.000 on a 4.000 scale), prior professional experience, standardized examinations, portfolios, interviews, letters of reference, and other indicators. Specific admission requirements, including application deadlines, vary depending upon the department offering the graduate degree.
Here is the current criteria for Western MFA Admissions:
· an official transcript of the bachelor's degree, demonstrating a minimum GPA of 3.0 as well as evidence of literary and/or film studies of at least four (4) undergraduate or graduate courses. The baccalaureate-granting institution must send the transcript directly to the Western State College Extended Studies Graduate Office.
· 800 – 1,000-word personal statement describing writing experience and commitment to writing. This statement should include the applicant's own assessment justifying candidacy to Western's M.F.A. in Creative Writing for the chosen concentration;
· 20-30 page writing sample in the appropriate genre, double spaced and numbered or properly formatted for the appropriate genre. The Poetry concentration should include 20 pages of poetry and 10 pages of poetic analysis in prose;
· three letters of professional of recommendation from those capable of assessing the applicant's preparation to succeed in low-residency M.F.A. program. All letters must be submitted on letter head, must be originals, less than a year old, and signed by the person giving the recommendation;
Such a policy change would begin with this Council but probably extend to a larger campus discussion...(?)
4. Feedback requested on designation of graduate teachers for contracting (“lecturer” or “graduate teacher”)
Background: Outgoing VP of Academic Affairs, John Sowell, requested a recommendation from the Grad Studies Council on what we think is appropriate. In the interim, both designations have been approved by the Board of Trustees for contracts, but we’ve been asked for input on simplifying to only one of these terms.