Graduate Council                                                                                 
January 31, 2008
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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), Peter Gergen (Graduate School), Susana Huidobro (Graduate Student Advocate), Godlind Johnson (Library), Kent Marks (Graduate School), Susan O’Leary (Psychology), Brian Phillips (Geosciences), Marcia Simon (Dental School), Arleen Steckel (Nursing School), Jacobus Verbaarschot (Physics & Astronomy)

Absent Members: Andrei Antonenko (GSO), Allegra DeLaurentiis (Philosophy), Lawrence Martin (Dean, Graduate School), Anne McElroy (MSRC), IV Ramakrishnan (Computer Science), Susan Scheckel (English)

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by the Graduate Council Chair, Charles Taber.

Approval of minutes
The minutes from the December 17, 2007 meeting were approved with one minor addition.

Chair’s Report

  • Update on Dr. Taber’s Status Starting Fall 2008: Charles has agreed to serve as Associate Dean of the Graduate School effective Fall 2008.
  • Academic Reviews for Spring: The academic review for Pharmacology has been added to the spring schedule on either May 6-7 or May 13-14.
  • GRD 500: Scientific Integrity: The GRD 500 course for 2008 began on 1/28. A copy of the discussion topics was distributed.
  • GSO Representation: There currently appears to be no GSO representation for the Graduate Council, as a new President was recently appointed but has not reached out to the committee yet. Susana offered to speak with the GSO to locate an individual who will be available to attend meetings.

New Business

  • LOI for PhD in Rehabilitations, Social, and Behavioral Health Sciences: Although just a letter of intent at this point, the Council had several concerns that need to be addressed. Particularly, it is not clear from the Dean’s letter of support how the resource needs for the program (library resources, classroom space, etc.) will be addressed. The LOI also references several campus affiliations but does not provide evidence that these programs or faculty have committed their support. There was also concern for the prospective students and what kinds of careers will be available to them. The LOI and/or full proposal should clarify this and detail the success of comparable programs elsewhere. Charles will communicate the Council’s concerns to the program contacts and invite them to attend a future meeting.
  • Preliminary Committees: The existing policy language regarding preliminary committees was reviewed to assess whether the Council feels it necessary to add conflict of interest language. It was recommended that a timeline be added to the existing policy. Kent will come back with a recommendation on this.
  • External Review of PhD Program in Population Health and Clinical Science Research: Peter updated the Council on the details of this upcoming external review, and inquired as to what level of involvement the Council would like to have with it and future reviews. It was decided that Charles and Arleen will represent the Graduate Council at this particular review slated for February 21.  Peter will represent the Graduate School. The Graduate Council will revisit the question of future involvement in external reviews of proposed PhD programs after this review is completed.
  • Accreditation of Programs: A concern was raised regarding programs that are not accredited and the impact this may pose on how a student’s degree is viewed and treated. This item will be placed on a future agenda for further discussion.

Dean’s Report:  Associate Dean Peter Gergen presented the Council with a Dean’s Report on Lawrence’s behalf.

  • Update from January 29th Deans’ Council Meeting: President Kenny is happy to report that in Governor Spitzer’s recent State of the State address, Stony Brook was named as a “flagship” campus along with Buffalo University. Also mentioned in this address was the importance of Stony Brook’s ongoing alliance with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Brookhaven National Labs; a “research triangle” that is a unique resource for the institution. Budget plans were also discussed.Plans for a central hotel/conference center are in active planning stages, and housing for faculty is also an issue that is of concern.


  • PRC Interviews: Interviews of Chinese and Korean applicants are scheduled for the end of the month. All programs have nominated the applicants they have chosen to be interviewed, and all plans appear to be successfully on schedule.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
Submitted by Debra Caffrey
Assistant to the Dean, The Graduate School