Master’s Degree Transfer Credit
The Council’s policy revision is as follows: “With the approval of the student’s department and the dean of the Graduate School, the greater of 12 hours or 25% up to one-half of the required coursework for a master’s degree maybe transferred from another institution. All credit toward the master’s degree, including transfer credit, must have been earned during the six years (18 fall, spring, and summer semesters) immediately preceding the date on which the degree is to be awarded.”
Educational Specialist Degree Transfer Credit
The Council’s policy revision is as follows: The greater of 9 hours or 25% A maximum of 15 semester hours of appropriate post-master’s-degree credit, earned through a regionally accredited institution approved to offer graduate programs beyond the master’s level in the field of study where the credits were earned, may be transferred to apply toward an Ed.S. degree.
Temporary Membership on the Graduate Faculty
The Council’s policy revision is as follows: Temporary membership may be extended to well-qualified individuals who do not satisfy the above criteria (for full or associate membership), to perform specific functions for specific time periods, not to exceed one three calendar years. They should be recommended by the departmental graduate faculty, department chairperson, and dean of the academic division. These nominations will then be acted upon by the chairperson of the Graduate Council, the dean of the Graduate School.
THE COMMITTEES OF THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
Committee on Admissions and Recruitment. (Dr. Edward Schnee, Chair; Dr. David Cordes; Dr. Timothy Haskew, Dr. Marsha Houston; Dr. Eric Roden, Dr. Liza Wilson, Atokie Boman--- Student Representative; Dr. Pat Harrison—Graduate School Representative).
Degree programs that have been approved to eliminate or modify the UA admissions examination requirement for graduate admissions are reviewed every four years. During 2003-2004, due for review were master’s in social work, master’s in criminal justice, all graduate degrees in Engineering, master’s in studio art, master’s in nursing and master’s in theatre. The committee recommended that these programs continue with their policy regarding elimination or modification of test score requirements. The committee reviewed a proposal from Nursing for changes in the admissions requirement for the MSN degree. Nursing’s request to change admission test score criteria (from 50th percentile to 40th percentile) for conditional admission was approved. In addition, Nursing requested that the program be allowed to eliminate the requirement for letters of recommendation from applicants. In addition to Graduate School admission requirements, MSN applicants must also hold a valid nursing license and have completed a minimum of two years of nursing experience. Recognizing that the licensure procedure provides Nursing with verifiable information to confirm applicants’ abilities, the Graduate Council approved Nursing's request to eliminate requirements for letters of recommendation.
During 2003-2004, the Admissions and Recruitment Committee developed comprehensive guidelines for use in the future to assist departments to make initial proposals to waive the test score requirement and to prepare for 4-year reviews of admission test waivers for graduate applications.
Committee on Financial Aid. (Dr. David Roskos-Ewoldsen, Chair; Dr. Sheila Black; Dr. Diane Johnson; Dr. Joyce Stallworth; Dr. Harold Weber; Dr. John Wiest; Dr. Pat Harrison—Graduate School Representative)
Two types of Graduate Council Fellowships, Regular Graduate Council Fellowships and Graduate Council Research and Creative Activity Fellowships, were awarded for the 2004-2005 academic year. All fellowships carry full tuition scholarships, as well as stipends of $14,000.
During 2003-2004, the Financial Aid Committee considered 186 nominations for Graduate Council Fellowships for 2004-2005. A total of 70 students received fellowship awards from the available pool of $992,000. Students who are beginning graduate study at The University of Alabama in 2004-2005 received 42 of the 49 Regular Fellowships.
In addition to the $14,000 stipend, some fellows were selected to receive $5000 supplements. The supplements, totaling $40,000, were awarded to 8 students, including 6 new fellows for 2004-2005 and 2 fellows for 2003-2004 who will continue with a second year of the supplement in 2004-2005.
The committee conducted its annual follow-up of previous fellowships recipients and found that their GPAs, graduation rates, and other accomplishments continue to exceed the University average.
Committee on Research and New Programs. (Dr. Barbara Fischer, Chair; Dr. Nancy Rubin; Dr. Forrest Scogin; Dr. S. Allen Wilcoxon; Dr. Harry Price; Dr. John Schmitt—Graduate School Representative).
The Committee had no new programs or research issues to address this year.
Committee on Program and Degree Requirements. (Dr. Natalie Adams, Chair; Dr. Natalie Adams; Dr. Sharon Beatty; Dr. Martyn Dixon, Dr. Michael Murphy,; Dr. Carol Pierman; Dr. Marietta Stanton; Mr. Seth Burgess—Student Representative; Dr. John Schmitt—Graduate School Representative)
The Committee deliberated on changes to the transfer credit policies for master’s and educational specialist students, as well as an extension of the duration of temporary appointments to the graduate faculty. All three policies were approved by the Council as noted at the beginning of this report.
Committee on Teaching and Research Awards. (Dr. Jordan Kosberg, Chair; DR. Bruce Barrett; Dr. Jeff Jackson; Dr. Olivia Kendrick; Dr. Yorgo Pasadeos; Dr. Pieter Visscher; Dr.. John Schmitt—Graduate School Representative).
The Committee selected the following winners of Graduate School Awards:
|| Jane Sandor
|| English/Creative Writing
|| Justin Benefield
|| Econ, Finance, & Legal St.
|| Zhiya Zhao
|| Physics & Astronomy
|| Nancy Ryba
SUPPORT FOR GRADUATE STUDENTS
1. Department assistantship funds are assigned to each department to provide assistantships plus tuition awards. In fall 2003, assistantships were awarded to 1,138 graduate students. An assistantship requires a number of hours’ service per week, either as a teaching assistant or for research projects, and the number of hours determines the amount of stipend and tuition received. The minimum level of stipend for assistantships of 20 hours per week for the 2003-2004 academic year was $8,678. The average level of award made by the university as a whole last year was $10,035.These assistantships are a crucial element within the recruitment process and, along with the fellowships described above, provide a valuable enticement for students applying for graduate study at UA.
2. The Presidential Graduate Fellowship Supplement Fund augments graduate fellowships for new fellows. In the 2003-2004 academic year, 65 students benefited from the fund by receiving supplements of $1,500. An additional 11 fellows received second- and third-year awards of $5000.
3. The National Alumni Association Collegiate License Tag Endowed Graduate Education Fund is for residents of the State of Alabama and provided fellowships of $12,000 each to 29 students in 2002-2003. The stipend was raised to $14,000 in 2003-2004.
4. The National Alumni Graduate Scholarship Program awarded a $1,000 scholarship to one graduate student in each college or school offering a post-baccalaureate degree.
5. A total of $26,050 was awarded to 152 students from the Graduate Student Research and Travel Grants Fund in 2002-2003.
1. Enrollment: Continuing the trend of the last few years, enrollment of African-American graduate students at UA remains high. African-American students comprised 9.6% of total graduate enrollment in the fall of 2003, with 362 students enrolled (of a total of 3,763 graduate students). The percentage of African-American graduate students was 9.5% in fall 2002 (338 students) and 9.1% in fall 2001 (305 students).
2. Degrees Awarded: The number of minority students receiving graduate degrees at the University also remains high. We awarded graduate degrees to 143 minority students in 2003-2004 (summer, fall, and spring terms), which is 10.75 % of our total of 1,329 graduate degree recipients. We awarded graduate degrees to 145 minority students in 2002-2003 and 120 minority students in 2001-2002, which were 11.1 % and 9.1%, respectively, of our total graduate degree recipients.
3. National Recognition: The UA Graduate School has received national recognition for its graduation rates for African American students. The Graduate School was recognized in the July 29, 2004 issue of the journal Black Issues in Higher Education, which contained the annual report of the “Top 100 Degree Producers.” The data reflected numbers of graduate degrees awarded in 2002-2003. The University of Alabama Graduate School tied for the rank of 45 for All Disciplines Combined—African-American Doctorate., among 626 institutions. The College of Education tied for the rank of 45 and the Department of Psychology tied for the rank of 45 for African-American Doctorates.
4. Overall Fellowship Funding: We continue to have outstanding financial assistance programs for recruitment and retention of minority students. Since 1988, the Graduate School has provided almost $3 million in minority fellowship stipends and tuition scholarships. Due to expanded Graduate School recruitment and fellowship activities, there were more participants in the minority graduate fellowship programs during 2003-2004 than in any previous years. Our fellowship programs are aimed specifically at increasing the enrollment and retention of minority graduate students and to providing them with preparation for careers in academic settings.
5. SREB/ACHE Minority Faculty Fellows: The Southern Regional Education Board’s (SREB) and Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) Minority Doctoral Scholars Program encourage ethnic minority students to pursue doctoral degrees and become college-level professors. Since 1993, the Graduate School has enrolled 37 SREB Minority Doctoral Scholars. A total of 17 SREB fellows have competed their doctoral degrees at UA since inception of the program. A total of 14 SREB scholars in 2003-2004 were supported through fellowships, tuition scholarships, and/or department assistantships. Total tuition awards from the Graduate School were $53,175.
6. Future Faculty Fellows: Students from minority groups who plan to become college or university professors may apply for support from the Future Faculty Fellows Program. Future Faculty Fellows receive annual stipends, departmental assistantships, and full-tuition scholarships for up to 4 years of full-time graduate study. In 2003-2004, the Graduate School funded six students for a total stipend of $62,333 (four students at $12,000 each and two additional students with partial stipends) plus a total of $39,011 in tuition awards for these six students and an additional student who had been in the program in previous years. Since this program started in 1991, 29 graduate students have been supported, and 13 have received their doctoral degrees.
7. Joint Faculty Development: The Joint Faculty Development Program supports practicing college teachers who do not have terminal degrees in their particular field of instruction. Institutions partnering with UA in this program include Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, and Oakwood College. Under this program in 2003-2004, Graduate School supported six HBCU faculty members with a total annual stipend of $58,333 ($14,000 each for three full-time students and partial stipends for three part-time students). The Graduate School is providing tuition scholarships totaling $30,075 for these six students and five additional students who had been in the program in previous years and additional part-time students. Since this program started in 1988, 25 students have been supported with stipends, and 11 have received their doctoral degrees.
8. JFD/Staff Development: This program is for faculty and staff of Stillman College. In 2003-2004 (summer, fall, spring terms), seven students received tuition scholarships totaling $14,038.
9. Recruitment: Principal recruitment efforts for minority students are directed at current UA and off-campus undergraduate students. We recruit on-campus students with an annual reception, on-campus mailings and publications, and continual contact through graduate coordinators in each department of the University. For off-campus students, the Graduate School actively recruits through campus visits to HBCUs in the state and region, attendance at important events such as National Science Foundation Diversity Continuum Programs and the national Compact for Faculty Diversity Conference, and through use of national lists of minority scholars, such as the McNair Scholars and the National Physical Science Consortium.
10. Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program: The Graduate School actively participates in numerous undergraduate activities at UA and other campuses that are designed to prepare minority and first-generation students for their application to and study in graduate school. For example, we assisted the UA TRIO office with obtaining a grant for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program and with applying for grant renewal in 2003. Pat Harrison, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, currently serves on the UA McNair Advisory Board. Graduate School staff members provide seminars and individual assistance for McNair scholars at UA. We visit McNair programs on other campuses to provide recruitment seminars, and we also attend the McNair research conferences of several universities to recruit prospective students. We host visits from McNair programs to the UA campus. The Graduate School provides a $25 application fee waiver for any McNair scholar. We provide extensive support for UA McNair scholars who are admitted to our graduate degree programs, assist them with obtaining departmental assistantships and other financial aid, and award tuition scholarships to those who do not obtain scholarships through other sources.
11. UA African-American Graduate Student Association: The Graduate School provides funds and support for the UA African-American Graduate Student Association. The group sponsors panel discussions, information fairs, and receptions. The association’s president serves as a representative to the Graduate Council. The Graduate School provides travel funds for officers to attend the National Black Graduate Student Conferences. Our 4 officers set up a UA table at the national conference and recruited potential graduate students for UA.
12. Support for Minority Fellowship Recipients: The Graduate School sponsors extensive services to support for our graduate fellows regarding course work, relationships with faculty, research and scholarship efforts, and, at the conclusion of graduate programs, applying for and obtaining positions in their fields. Because our minority fellowship programs are targeted for graduate students seeking the terminal degree in their fields and preparing to become college and university faculty members, many of our activities focus on preparation for the professoriate and assistance with obtaining faculty positions. For example, the Graduate School holds luncheons or receptions every fall term for minority fellows and their advisers. The Graduate School provides travel funds for minority fellows to attend major research and professional conferences in their fields.
1. Graduate School Preview Day. On September 25, 2003, the Graduate School held its annual “Graduate School Preview Day,” consisting of training on the application process, breakout sessions on fields of graduate study, and free practice administrations of admissions tests by Kaplan, Inc. Approximately 400 prospective graduate students attended the workshop. We will continue this annual event and have scheduled the next Preview Day for September 23, 2004.
2. Orientation for New Graduate Students. On August 13, 2003, the office of the Dean of Students provided an all-day orientation for new graduate students. Among the topics covered were important policies and procedures for graduate students, including registration, recreational facilities, child care, financial aid, grant writing, dealing with department politics, avoiding graduate student stress, and the Internet.
3. Workshop for New GTAs. The Bryant Conference Center was the site of the 17th annual workshop, held on August 14-15, 2003. Distinguished faculty, staff, and Graduate Teaching Fellows presented information on topics such as preparation of course syllabi and lectures, different models of instruction, leading discussion and lab sections, and using multimedia and the Internet. There was also discussion of important policies and legal issues. All of the new GTAs were videotaped while teaching and received, and each received an evaluation of teaching strengths and weaknesses by Graduate Teaching Fellows.
4. Graduate Applications. The Graduate School received 6,075 applications to degree programs in 2003, which is over 21% higher than the 5,014 degree applications in 2002. A large number of degree applications were completed and reviewed by departments --- 4,342 in 2003 compared with 3,837 in 2002. The quality of degree applications was similar to last year, and an acceptance rate of 60.02% in 2003, compared to 59.2% in 2002. The degree applications completed in 2003 resulted in 2,606 acceptances, 1,442 rejections, and 294 waitlisted or with a final decision still in progress. A total of 1,088 non-degree applications and 905 off-campus degree applications were received in 2003.
Although all graduate applications for fall 2004 have not been completed and data are very preliminary, reports indicate that total graduate applications are generally remaining high. In addition, preliminary reports suggest that the number of accepted graduate students is also high. Applications from international applicants are lower this year for colleges and universities across the country, and the decrease is also seen in international applications to the UA Graduate School.
5. Enrollment and Degrees Conferred. Total graduate enrollment at the University of Alabama for fall 2003 reached an all time high of 3,763, which continues the trend of high enrollment levels over the last few years. The graduate enrollment for fall 2003 was about 6.2% higher than the total enrollment of 3,542 for fall 2002. The 2003-2004 academic year total of 1,329 graduate degrees awarded at UA included 158 doctoral, 103 educational specialist, and 1,068 master’s degrees.
6. Thesis and Dissertation Seminar. In 2003-2004 the Graduate School provided a “Completing a Thesis or Dissertation” seminar twice in the fall and twice in the spring for more than 120 graduate students.
7. Awards for Outstanding Thesis and Dissertation. This year's winners were: Thesis— Julius Henderson, Chemistry (major professor Dr. Kevin Redding); and Dissertation— Jacqueline Trimble, English (major professor Dr. Elizabeth Meese). All divisional nominees who did not win a University-wide award received an Award of Merit from the Graduate School.
8. Virtual Site. Enhancements continue for the Graduate School virtual site
(http://graduate.ua.edu). Examples of important features of our virtual site include:
- A recruitment tool produced in 2003-2004 is the Graduate School Viewbook, a self-contained source of information for prospective applicants. The Viewbook is available on a small CD, which is reproduced in large quantities for distribution at professional conferences and recruitment fairs. The CD is provided to departments. The Viewbook is also found on the Graduate School’s website.
- Two graduate assistants serve as the information technology resources for the Graduate School and assist with our website development, online applications, and other activities. The graduate assistants also serve as a resource for graduate departments and provide consultation and assistance to departments in their website design, prospect data bases, etc.
- The overall design of the Graduate School’s virtual site has been enhanced, and new features have been added, including a site map, search capabilities, and a “Graduate Community News” page. During summer 2004, a major redesign of the home page began, with implementation expected in Fall 2004.
- Most Graduate School publications and announcements are included on the website, including the Graduate Catalog, Graduate School Brochure, Graduate Program Procedures and Policy Guide, Thesis and Dissertation Guide, Graduate Assistant Guide, Semester Deadlines for Graduate School, Financial Aid Handbook, and the Graduate School Annual Report.
- University-wide policy changes for graduate students (e.g., admissions policies, residency requirements) are placed on the site immediately following approval.
- The on-line application on our internet site accounted for almost 75% of our graduate applications. Continuous improvements have resulted in an increase in the number of applications and quicker, more efficient processing. For example, on-line application data are automatically uploaded into our Student Information System (SIS). On-line applicants may pay their application fees with credit cards. We recently added online, expedited graduate application forms to enhance the application process for our own seniors and our master’s students applying to our doctoral programs.
- We use numerous online methods to assist applicants with the admissions and registration process and to provide information to departments that will assist in recruiting highly-qualified students. Departments receive
automatic e-mails when applicants apply on-line and are encouraged to make immediate and personalized contact with the applicants. Applicants receive periodic acknowledgement and reminder e-mails following their on-line application submission. Applicants are notified by email or ground mail about the components needed to complete their applications. All applicants may check the status of their applications at
http://tideguide.ua.edu. We also send periodic emails and letters to new students, after their acceptance to a degree program, which provide information about the university, encourage accepted students to attend UA, and instruct students in online class registration procedures.
- Several new activities have been implemented in recent months and will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our application and admissions process. The Graduate School purchased equipment and software to provide
imaging of transcripts that accompany graduate applications. We recently began development of a
workflow process for online review of graduate applications by department faculty. We are beginning work with the University’s new
Banner student information system for the switch to this new platform.
- The Graduate School has developed a number of electronic resources for use in its own recruitment activities and departmental recruitment. Several PowerPoint presentations were updated in 2003-2004, used at our own seminars, and shared with departments. An electronic slide show on CD-Rom was developed and contains photos regarding research and other activities relevant to graduate education. The research slides are shown at our recruitment tables during recruitment events. Graduate departments have modified our slide shows for use in their individual departmental recruitment activities.
- For current graduate students and faculty members,
required forms (e.g., transfer of credit, admission to candidacy, application for degree) are on our virtual site and can be completed on students’ computers, ready to print.
- Graduate students may register for classes on-line using
9. Departments’ Guide to Administration of Graduate Assistantships. The Graduate School also published a Departments’ Guide to Administration of Graduate Assistantships. The Guide includes all of the guidelines and qualification requirements governing the appointment and administration of graduate assistantships and clarifies difficult but key areas such as the impact of income and payroll taxes on student stipends and tuition awards, the application of SACS rules for classroom teaching, and permitted combinations of work and enrollment hours. The Guide is included on the Graduate School’s web site. Workshops about these procedures are held annually for faculty. In addition, all of the Graduate School forms relating to the appointment of assistantships and the processing of tuition awards are available from the web site.
10. Again this year, the Graduate Council had at least one member serve on each academic program review committee for departments with graduate programs.