This past year the Graduate Council heard several dismissal appeals, several appeals for a waiver of the TOEFL score admission requirement, and one appeal for the waiver of the 2.85 GPA for a graduate assistantship.    Furthermore, the Graduate Council awarded $8,137 to 58 students for Professional Travel Grants and $18, 631 to 26 students for Research, Service and Educational Leadership (RSEL) grants.

The Graduate Council enacted several policy changes this year.  First, changes were made in the graduate faculty application form as well as the graduate faculty membership policy.   Four membership categories were decided upon: full, associate affiliate, and provisional.  For UW-L faculty, the full and associate memberships are now granted for an indefinite time, whereas non-UW-L appointments are now granted for up to a five-year period.  An appeals process has been formulated if the faculty member disputes their membership determination.  Second, a repeat a course policy for graduate students was passed by the Graduate Council.  In this policy, a graduate student can repeat up top two courses once in which a grade of “C” or lower was earned and with the permission of the program director.  The new grade will replace the original grade.  This policy will go into effect in the fall of 2009.  Lastly, changes were made in the incomplete grade/grade change policy.  A new “PR” grade will be used for seminar papers, theses, and terminal or culminating projects.   Any incomplete grades will be changed to either an “F” or the grade noted by the instructor when completing the incomplete form after one calendar year.  The change of grade policy was changed to have the instructor proceed with the change one semester immediately following the close of the semester in which the grade was first recorded.  These changes in the incomplete grade/grade change policy will also take effect in the fall 2009.

            In addition to the normal Graduate Council duties, the Graduate Council was given a special charge to specify issues faced by graduate students and create strategies to implement an action plan to address identified issues.  The 2006-2007 graduate student survey found that the major issues identified by the graduate students included a desire to have available funds go towards travel and research, education, and service grants as well as a lack of assistantships and tuition waivers.  To address this special charge, we identified a group of 13 peer institutions based on school size, possessing Master’s degree programs, and a lack of Ph.D programs.  From the comparisons of our peer institutions, we found that UW-L has policies similar to some of the other schools; admission scores and time lines are similar; more travel funds are available at UW-L; more research, education, and service grants are available through UW-L; UW-L is second in terms of cost; and UW-L lacks tuition waivers and GA/TA opportunities.  The strategies proposed included continuing funding of RSEL grants, have more GA/TA positions available (work with the Foundation to meet this goal), and make available more tuition waivers to attract quality students (working with the State legislators to accomplish this).

Submitted by,

William Schwan , Chair Graduate Council