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March East Carolina University appendicitis

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									                                   East Carolina University
                                   GRADUATE ASSEMBLY
                               FULL MINUTES OF MARCH 3, 2009

Agenda Item I. Call to order

Dean Gemperline called the meeting to order at 2:00 p.m.

Agenda Item II. Announcements

Dean Gemperline announced the hiring of 2 admissions processors since the last Graduate Assembly
(GA) meeting. Both are beginning to make positive contributions towards processing applications. A
technology analyst and another admissions processor began working at the Graduate School today.

a.    Update on graduate admissions issues
     i.      Hold Versus send applications awaiting letters of recommendation, personal statements etc.
Dean Gemperline distributed a document the Admissions staff uses to determine the application items
required by each degree program along with instructions to: 1) Hold the application materials until all
supplemental items (letters of recommendation, writing samples, etc) are received or 2) send applications
as soon as mandatory items are received and send supplemental items piece-wise as they are received.
The Graduate School staff report that individualized instructions to release applications by programs
makes processing of applications difficult. Thus, the preference of the Graduate School staff is either to
hold all applications until they are complete, including all supplemental materials, or send them as soon
as mandatory materials are received including standardized test scores and official transcripts from all
colleges attended. Dean Gemperline asked the GA for feedback on this issue. Dr. Terri Woods (Geology)
expressed that holding transcripts and test scores makes programs less competitive. Dr. George
Kasperek (Biochemistry) asked if there was anyone who would not want to see transcripts and test
scores right away. Dean Gemperline gave an example that professional schools with a large number of
applicants often rather wait to receive completed applications. Dean Gemperline asked for a show of
hands, a significant majority of the GA members in attendance voted to send applications to programs
when an applicant has submitted transcripts and test scores. An application will not be held by the
Graduate School if it lacks letters of recommendation and/or a personal statement. These materials will
be sent to programs as they come in. Dean Gemperline told the group his hope was for the application
process to be revamped by fall 2009.

Dr. Woods and Dr. Andrew Morehead (Chemistry) informed Dean Gemperline of a potential logic error in
the BIC report that resulted in students missing from the report. (Further investigation revealed that when
viewing the form online, a button appears in the upper left hand corner to advance to additional screens).
Dean Gemperline announced that the BIC report showing incomplete applications is being revised to
show all application items required and a column indicating the date each item was received. The
Graduate School will be paying special attention to how reports are written and how information is
conveyed.

Dean Gemperline explained application materials were being scanned once applications were complete.
Dean Gemperline would like to begin scanning application materials into Xtender as they arrive for
immediate availability to program directors, but this change would likely not take place until next year.

Dr. Larry Dennis (Physician Assistant) inquired if applications will be assigned to processors by colleges.
Dean Gemperline informed the GA that this is a future goal that will be revised once the 3 new processors
get a basic understanding of the admissions processing.

Ms. Kelly Bass (Technology Systems) asked if programs would receive workflow notifications as the
Graduate School becomes paperless. Dean Gemperline explained the ECU‟s Banner system has a new
„workflow‟ module that would support automatic email notification in the future.
As the Graduate School becomes paperless, it is hoped that the system will evolve to the point where
program directors will be able to log onto banner and at a glance view lists of incomplete applications,
admitted applications, rejected applications, and completed applications with Banner ID‟s by columns.
Dean Gemperline explained that eventually programs would be able to accept/reject applicants
electronically in Banner.

Banner consultants will be coming to the Graduate School for one week in March to assess the current
electronic admissions system. After working with the admissions staff the consultants will leave and
come back for a second week of training in March.

Dr. Marie Pokorny (Nursing) explained the College of Nursing has several concentrations within the
program making a concentrations drop down box necessary in Banner. Ms. Bass (Technology Systems)
also indicated the need for Banner to have concentrations listed because of the several concentrations
offered within the Department of Technology Systems. Ms. Bass also commented the degree audit/CAPP
program would be much easier to use if concentration codes were available. Dean Gemperline informed
the GA this change should be implemented within a couple of days.

             i. Support for students with incomplete applications
         1. See attached “Dear Faculty” letter and PowerPoint file
Dean Gemperline asked the GA to distribute the attached letter to faculty members alerting them of ways
to help the Graduate School expedite the processing of applications and offer a high level of customer
service (e.g. informing students to check the status of their admissions application online).

            ii. Current back log update
Dean Gemperline explained the staff shortage in the Graduate School has resulted in a back log in the
processing of applications. Each admissions processor currently has 70 to 80 applications in their que to
be processed for programs with February deadlines.

Dr. Woods asked if applications were processed by deadlines or by how they are received.
Dean Gemperline explained that applications with upcoming deadlines do receive priority.

            iii. Problems with Banner application process & “pay later” button
Dean Gemperline pointed out the “pay later” button on the payment application screen. After a
prospective student completes an application they are directed to a credit card screen for payment
information. The applicant has a choice to ”pay now” or “pay later”. If an applicant enters their credit card
information and decides to “pay later”, their credit card number is erased and the applicant is instructed to
send their payment by mail. Once an applicant clicks the “pay later” button they are unable to go back
and change the text on the screen. This is problematic because a prospective student‟s application is not
processed until an actual payment is made. If an applicant has a Banner ID they will show up in a BIC
report. When asked, ITCS reported the “pay later” button cannot be changed to “pay by mail” because it
is hard-coded into Banner.

Dr. Scott Eagle (Art and Design) pointed out 17 of 18 incomplete applications for his programs were due
to missing transcripts. Dean Gemperline explained that admissions staff must process safety questions
and residency questions before processing transcripts. Admission processors must look up each
applicant in the National Student Clearinghouse database and contact students if any transcripts are
missing.

Mr. Len Rhodes (Business) informed the GA that Internet Native Banner (INB) is a reliable and easy tool
for looking up the status of a prospective student‟s application status. INB allows users to see completed
application materials that have been scanned. Users can quickly look up a student by their name or
Banner ID. It was noted that before graduate directors are able to access the student module of INB a
security request must be made through OneStop.
Dr. Vivian Mott (Adult education) asked Dean Gemperline when the Graduate School anticipated being
caught up with processing applications. Dean Gemperline indicated the Graduate School was working to
be caught up in about three or four weeks.

Dean Gemperline informed the GA of an application admissions software targeted for Graduate Schools.
                                 rd
This software is offered from a 3 party vendor and will feed application materials directly into Banner
once an application is complete. This is an option the Graduate School is exploring to expedite the
processing of applications.

Dr. Laura Prividera (Communication) inquired if the Dean of Graduate Studies would still be able to veto a
conditional admittance recommendation of a graduate director. Dean Gemperline pointed out the new
Accept/Reject letter which allows a graduate program director to provide conditions for admittance if a
student does not meet the requirements for admission. All applicants being considered for conditional
admittance will be sent to the Dean of Graduate Studies for approval. Dean Gemperline explained there
was concern that some graduate programs were routinely admitting students through conditional
admissions and emphasized the importance of selectivity when admitting students.

             iv. Revised A/R form
Dean Gemperline pointed out the revised A/R form. Senior year GPA is no longer provided (only
undergraduate GPA and graduate GPA). If there is both an undergraduate GPA and a graduate GPA the
higher of the two will be used for minimum admissions standards. Senior year GPA could be used for
conditional admittance to be written on the A/R form. Also, test scores will be reported showing both the
raw score and the percentile score. Students having extensive professional experience should contact
the graduate program director for admission by exception (an alternative track). The alternative track is
for those who have been out of academia for a at least 10 years time and in the workplace. Extensive
work experience in the field of study will count in lieu of the test scores for students pursuing this
admissions track.

A question was raised about students with graduate assistantships who are not meeting academic
standards. Dean Gemperline explained he was aware of this problem and Dr. Belinda Patterson
(Graduate School) is reviewing graduate contracts from other universities. The current contract language
may not easily allow an assistantship to be discontinued due to poor academic performance. Dean
Gemperline announced he is working with the University Attorney‟s Office on this issue and would report
back to the body on this issue.

A question was raised regarding provisional acceptance for students who have not met English (TOEFFL)
requirements. Dean Gemperline explained many universities have an English language institute.
Although, ECU does not have such a capability, the International Affairs office is working on developing
such a program.

A question was asked if a distance education student could receive graduate assistantships?
Dean Gemperline answered that If students are campus based and taking entirely distance courses these
students can receive graduate assistantships because of their on-campus contributions. However,
graduate assistantships should not be given to students who are not on-campus.

        b. Non-degree admission
Dean Gemperline reported the number of non-degree applications has dropped significantly since last
year (down from 1076 applications to 745 applications). Many graduate program directors have concerns
about non-degree applications because these students are not advised by faculty, yet can self-register in
any course. According to the Registrar it is possible to restrict enrollment by student category on a course
by course basis. If you do not want non-degree students to self-register for courses in your program,
send a letter to the GCC and the Registrar indicating enrollment is limited only to degree-seeking
students. Before this can be implemented the Graduate Catalog description should be revised.


        c.   Probation status and registration holds
Agenda Item III. Review of health insurance coverage for graduate students

        a. Jolene Jernigan
Jolene Jernigan was present to discuss insurance coverage for graduate student but had to leave early to
attend another meeting.

Dr. Carl Swanson (History) explained the student insurance issue to the GA:
Student needed surgery because of appendicitis. Student was insured with the ECU optional policy for
students enrolling in 5 or more credit hours. Student was informed by insurance company (Pierce &
Pierce) that policy would only cover $1,500 of the $20,000 hospital bill. Student‟s insurance policy only
covers 80% or a $1500 maximum for a one day event. Dr. Swanson expressed his concern that this
insurance policy was not adequate for students. Dean Gemperline noted that this issue would be
discussed at the next meeting

Pierce & Piece is a state-wide negotiated contract. Most schools in the North Carolina system have
made it mandatory for students to have health insurance (either providing proof of purchase or having a
mandatory policy in place. Dean Gemperline suggested programs requiring mandatory student insurance
(e.g., Nursing) to contact Jolene Jernigan.

Chris Riley-Tilman (Psychology) asked if it could be possible to require mandatory insurance for all
graduate students.
Dean Gemperline commented if it was the will of thee GA and the Graduate School Administrative Board
(GSAB) to require mandatory health insurance for graduate students, the issue could be presented to the
Board of Trustees.

Dean Gemperline asked Dr. Swanson, Dr. Woods, and Dr. John Bishop(Economics) to research and
review insurance policies of UNC sister institutions. After examining best practices, that task force will
bring forward a proposal to be discussed and voted on at the next GA meeting.

Agenda Item IV. Progress report on admission standards task force and retention policy task
force

Dr. Bob Thomson (Political Science) announced the task force has been reviewing minimum admissions
standards at UNC peer institutions. Dr. Thompson reported that most institutions do not articulate a clear
minimum standard of admission and admission statements are generic. It seems these institutions are
leaving particular admission determinations for the individual programs. Other universities are publishing
average GRE and GPA scores.

Dr. Swanson reported this task force was reviewing the minimum retention standards at UNC peer
institutions and would be able to report back to the GA at the April meeting.

Agenda Item V. Update on Graduate Faculty status

    a.   Six units have submitted criteria for Graduate Faculty status that have been approved by the
         GSAB (attached). Units with approved criteria include: College of Technology and Computer
         Science, Brody School of Medicine, Department of Political Science, Department of Psychology,
         Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Department of Child Development
         and Family Relations.

   b. In the absence of approved unit criteria, departments may request provisional grad status on a
        year by year basis for their faculty by following the process outlined in Appendix F.
Dean Gemperline explained units without approved criteria and would like to make provisional
appointments should have a candidates CV read by the Graduate Faculty in the unit followed by a vote of
approval. If approved, a memo should be sent to the Graduate School indicating appointment level.
Faculty members with terminal degrees and in tenure track positions are automatically eligible for
graduate teaching faculty membership. It is important to notify the Dean of individuals appointed to the
graduate teaching faculty (electronic memos are acceptable). Dean Gemperline explained fixed term
faculty members who are appointed to the graduate teaching faculty are often based on clinical
experience will be approved for the time of their contract.

Dr. Edson Justianino inquired as to how the Department of Physics should proceed with developing
criteria for election to Graduate Faculty status since rewriting the unit code is a 2 year process.

Dean Gemperline suggested that a criteria approved by the Graduate Faculty might be sufficient.
Furthermore, changing the criteria when written into the unit code would be a more difficult process and
would need Faculty Senate approval.

Agenda Item VI. Upcoming policy issues

         a.      Application deadlines and late applications
Many universities charge late application fees. Dean Gemperline announced that students should not be
admitted into a program after census date. The Graduate School is currently processing a high volume of
late applications. Applications processed after an appropriate deadline, say June 1, should be classified
as “late” and students warned that if all materials are not received quickly enough, admission in the fall
term cannot be guaranteed. This does not apply to applications that are already in process but to
applications that are being initiated. The purpose of a “late” policy would be to send a clear message to
students to send in materials earlier instead of procrastinating. This issue will be revisited at the next
meeting.

    b. Non-degree admission- should we require an official transcript showing proof of an earned
       undergraduate degree prior to enrollment?
Dean Gemperline suggested requiring non-degree students to submit an official transcript showing an
earned degree by census date. This issue will be discussed at the GSAB and adjustments made to the
Graduate Catalog.

Dean Gemperline emphasized questions and feedbacks were extremely important as the GA works
towards improving the quality of graduate education at ECU.

Agenda Item VII. Adjourn

Dean Gemperline adjourned the meeting at 4:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Amy E. Tripp
Recorder

								
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