Graduate Council Minutes

Graduate Council                                                         
September 17, 2007
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Attendees:  Charles Taber (Political Science and Chair), Estie Arkin (Applied Mathematics and Statistics), Ruth Ben-Zvi (Economics), Debra Caffrey (Graduate School), Allegra DeLaurentiis (Philosophy), Peter Gergen (Graduate School), Susana Huidobro (Graduate Student Advocate), Godlind Johnson (Library), Kent Marks (Graduate School), Celia Marshik (English), Lawrence Martin (Dean, Graduate School), Anne McElroy (MSRC),  Susan O’Leary (Psychology), Brian Phillips (Geosciences), IV Ramakrishnan (Computer Science), Marcia Simon (Dental School), Arleen Steckel (Nursing School)

Absent Members: Andrei Antonenko (GSO), Ryan Soule (GSO)

The meeting was called to order at 11:35 a.m. by the Graduate Council Chair, Charles Taber.

Approval of minutes
The minutes from the May 23, 2007 meeting were approved.

Chair’s Report

  • External Review Schedule: Charles provided the list of dates for the Fall and Spring Academic Reviews and asked that members review their schedules to determine whether they will be able to represent the committee at the Reviews.

New Business

  • Election of Chair and Selection of GCAC Members: A motion was made to re-elect Charles Taber as Chair of the Graduate Council. All approved.
  • Critical Incident Management Initiative: The Council reviewed the Critical Incident Management statement and discussed how it will affect faculty, staff, and students in graduate education. Peter clarified that the issue was brought up at a recent meeting of the Provost’s Advisory Group, and plans are being set forth to clarify the specific protocol to the Stony Brook community. The Graduate Student Advocate, Susana, suggested holding a colloquium about this issue. 
  • Outside Members of Dissertation Committees: The rules concerning external members of a dissertation committee were discussed. Though external members should be uninvolved with the student’s project, the criteria to classify what “external” means is difficult to establish. An individual cannot be considered internal for one committee and external for another within the same program. The Council also raised their concern regarding former peers of the student serving as external members of the committee. It was determined that this issue will be raised at a future meeting to be discussed in more depth. The more general issue of conflicts of interests for dissertation committee members was also raised and deferred to a future meeting.
  • Rules for Out of State Tuition: A recent state audit raised the issue of how Stony Brook was interpreting law involving state tuition. Due to noncompliance, two major changes regarding residency took effect in Fall 2007. The new policy dictates that if a student utilizes a car that is registered to their out-of-state parents, the student cannot be considered independent and will be charged the out-of-state rate. Additionally, a student will be charged the out-of-state rate of tuition if their health insurance information is based on parental information if the parents are not New York residents. The GSO raised their concerns about this to Charles. The Council expressed their concern about how this will affect students who have already established residency. Charles will inquire about this and report back.

Old Business

  • Proposal for Doctoral Program in Population Health and Clinical Science Research:  In addition to addressing the Council’s previous requests for amendments and clarifications, Dr. Goldsteen has provided numerous letters of support from other departments that clearly indicate collaboration and interdisciplinary support. The proposal was also updated to support the CTSA grant application. Given that CTSA is an important funding initiative for the School of Medicine, the Council supports these minor amendments. There are a few outstanding formatting and technical issues that need to be fixed, particularly involving course listings. A motion was made to approve the proposal contingent on minor modifications. All approved.

Dean’s Report

  • TA Stipends: Dr. Kenny’s allocation to increase TA stipends will have a positive impact on our competitive environment and the caliber of students we attract.
  • NRC:  The release date has been moved to February.
  • Human Evolution Workshop Symposium: Lawrence encouraged all to attend the Symposium on September 25.
  • Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Lawrence announced that Leemor Joshua-Tor is the new Dean at CSHL and is confident that our collaboration with the institution will continue successfully.
  • Graduate Student Housing: This continues to be an issue of paramount concern and Chuck will provide a report on the efforts of the Task Force soon.
  • University Café: The GSO hosted a welcome reception for students which was a great success. Lawrence suggested that departments may want to think about hosting something similar on a regular basis.

Meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.
Submitted by Debra Caffrey
Staff Assistant, The Graduate School