Graduate Council Minutes

Graduate Council                                                            
March 7, 2007
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Attendees:  Charles Taber (Political Science and Chair), Andrei Antonenko (GSO),   Estie Arkin (Applied Mathematics and Statistics), Debra Caffrey (Graduate School), Beverly Campbell (Pharmacology), Allegra DeLaurentiis (Philosophy), Peter Gergen (Graduate School), Kent Marks (Graduate School), Anne McElroy (MSRC),  Susan O’Leary (Psychology), Brian Phillips (Geosciences), IV Ramakrishnan (Computer Science), Arleen Steckel (Nursing School)

Absent Members: Godlind Johnson (Library), Celia Marshik (English), Lawrence Martin (Dean, Graduate School), Marcia Simon (Dental School),

The meeting was called to order at 8:55 a.m. by the Graduate Council Chair, Charles Taber.

Approval of minutes
The minutes from the February 21, 2007 meeting were approved with minor revisions.

Chair’s Report

  • Ethics Task Force: Charles reported that Arleen Steckel and Susan Brennan have agreed to serve on the Task Force. Peter plans to coordinate an introductory meeting and complete the determination of the committee members shortly.
  • TA Allocations: Peter reported that the College of Engineering and Applied Science recently faced a decline in their TA allocations due to the fact that they had previously not utilized lines that were given in the past. It was stated that the recent delay in notifying departments of allocations occurred at every level, and it was not solely the responsibility of the Graduate School. It was determined that this issue will be put on a future agenda for a full discussion. Charles will also draft a letter of objection.
  • “Current Topics” for Senate website: The Senate would like to create a more effective website, which would include a “current topics” page for committees to voice what is currently of most importance in their discussions and meetings. The Council agreed that they would like to include 1) TA allocations/stipend levels 2) graduate housing 3) Ethics Task Force and 4) the lack of a Post-doc administrative home. It was also noted that this website should include information on completed projects of the Graduate Council, such as the Stony Brook Child-Care Accommodation Policy.
  • Confidentiality added to GCAC Procedures: Kent reported that the confidentiality statement has been electronic added to the GCAC procedures.

Old Business

  • MA in Africana Studies: Charles determined that this item of business would be discussed at the next meeting in order to preserve time for Dr. McGrath’s visit.

New Business

  • Visit with Provost Robert McGrath: Dr. McGrath arrived at 9:15 a.m. and began the discussion by speaking about the success of several undergraduate programs. Charles brought Dr. McGrath up to date on several developments from the Council, including the Task Force on Responsible Conduct in Research, as well as the Child-Care Accommodation Policy, which is already in place.

Stipends: Charles discussed the ongoing issue of housing for graduates in correlation with Stony Brook’s competitiveness with regard to stipends. Dr. McGrath agreed that this is a relevant issue and is fundamentally connected to the housing situation. Though there is a discussion to hire more tenure track faculty, this issue has not been addressed with the President’s Cabinet. Dr. McGrath noted that an increase in out-of-state students will help address the problem because this kind of student population does not increase cost, only revenue. Reports from the SUNY Chancellor indicate that the executive budget for SUNY is improving, which should lead to administrative action on the ongoing issue.

Graduate Housing: It was discussed that the Chapin apartments still need an engineer’s report, which will take several months. Though there has been enormous progress with Chapin, Dr. McGrath noted that the associated costs of building is still an issue. The Council informed Dr. McGrath that a recent survey of students made clear that they are willing to pay for appropriate housing on campus, which is positive feedback.

Miscellaneous Issues: Dr. McGrath discussed the development of more certificate programs, particularly involving interdisciplinary studies. The Council agreed to add this discussion to a future agenda. Charles brought to Dr. McGrath’s attention the fact that TA allocation notifications were extremely late this year, and the Council is planning to distribute a letter to all parties involved.

  • History Self-Study: Charles determined that this item of business would be discussed at the next meeting in order to preserve time for Dr. McGrath’s visit.

Dean’s Report  none (Dr. Martin was unable to attend the meeting).

Meeting adjourned at 10:15 a.m.
Submitted by Debra Caffrey
Staff Assistant, The Graduate School