Graduate Council
Annual Report 2012-2013

Members: Marianne Pierce, Gil Allen, Janis Bandelin, Susan D’Amato, Nelly Hecker, Lon Knight, and Troy Terry

The Council met once each term this past year - October 30, 2012 and March 26, 2013. The Graduate Program Coordinators met on Sept. 27, 2012 and discussed the outcomes of the graduate alumni survey and other issues facing their programs. (Summaries of their meetings are included below) Updates on the SPA reports (just completed) for NCATE were also provided. A new Graduate Advisory Committee (Ad-hoc, biannual) was formed and met on October 11, 2012. This group also is charged with reviewing the Alumni Survey outcomes and making recommendations for revisions or new additions to the Graduate Studies Strategic Plan for the next five years. The Education Department and Graduate Studies make up the “Educational Unit” for accreditation purposes with NCATE. A related strategic plan will be adopted that incorporates goals/needs of the entire unit. A full department retreat was held on January 11, 2012 to complete a SWOT analysis and form, revise, or review the goals of the unit. A new Unit data assessment system is in place and this is being coordinated through the Office of Graduate Studies for all master’s degree programs.

As usual, Dr. Terry provided current enrollment summaries for the program and noted that a Fall enrollment dipped a bit over last year’s but last year’s total enrollment figures still surpassed the prior two years.

The Council was updated on the E-learning Working Group and the plans for initial graduate courses to be ‘online’ beginning in Fall term 2013. Also, information regarding the Joint Working Group #3 and its relation to the Graduate Program were discussed.

Current strategic planning updates were discussed regarding Graduate Studies and the Education Department Unit. Dr. Terry also updated the Council on the NCATE accreditation process. All MA programs (as well as those initial certification programs in the undergraduate unit) submitted their SPA reports on 9-15-2012 and received evaluation reports on February 1, 2013. This is the first step prior to the spring 2014 accreditation visit. All programs were Nationally Recognized, except for the TESOL program (Recognized with Probation) and the Ed. S. program (Recognized, pending additional data collection). The Literacy program, a newer program, just submitted its response to national recognition with conditions report on March 15, 2013. Its revised response should be available on September 15, 2013.

There was one action item presented by the Program Coordinators regarding the current grading policy and the minimum GPA requirement. This policy was approved, pending one word change, and pending the input of the University Registrar (grad policy change – attached).

Thanks to the faculty members, Gil Allen and Susan D’Amato, who will be rotating off the Graduate Council this year. We appreciate their service these past two years. Next year, we’ll welcome Scott Henderson and Julian Reed.

Program Coordinators Meeting Summary
The first Fall term meeting focused primarily on recounting NCATE information and the SPA reports that were submitted on 9-15-12. Also, a new institutional calendar for data collection and review was approved (fall term Grad Council). The December meeting focused on the viability of the Master’s Seminar (EDFD 879) and its place in the core degree program. Alternatives were discussed but no solutions were achieved. One option was to consider a one-credit introductory course that every student would take in their first term to include introductions to technology at Furman (use of Moodle or possible online systems) and APA documentation/format for scholarly writing. A 2-credit end of program course could then be offered for program completion including some scholarly outcome/assessment. In February, Program Coordinators discussed and proposed a resolution to the minimum GPA requirement in the graduate catalog and the prior ambiguous phrasing of the “2 C’s requirement.” Their proposal for change is attached. Discussion on the fate of the master’s seminar continued, though no resolution was reached. Since no change can be instituted prior to Fall 2014 (for NCATE purposes), this conversation continued in a late April meeting.

Graduate Advisory Committee Summary
Met in October and was given the outcome of the spring 2012 Alumni Survey as well as an overview of the existing Strategic Plan. Suggestions were made for input and review. The school districts suggested Furman coordinating a course or workshop for Grant Writing and listed this as a priority. In the February meeting, Advisory Committee members saw the main issues from the survey to be 1) parking, 2) cost of textbooks, and 3) some group projects. There were also some comments regarding the Research course (EDFD 606) and an introduction to technology (Moodle). Plans were made over both terms for a Grant Writing Workshop with a nationally-known author and the workshop was planned for March 22, 2013. Registration cost was priced to cover the cost of the speaker. Only 11 registrations were received and the workshop was cancelled on March 14, 2013.

Full minutes of the meetings of Program Coordinators and Graduate Advisory Committee are available for Council members’ review upon request. Since the transition from First Class, we no longer have a Grad Council area to house documents. Now that Furman has transitioned to Box, we will attempt to house our Council documents on a newly created Box folder before Fall term 2013.

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