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Implementation of work group recommendations

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Graduate education update
May 28, 2010

Vice provost and dean of graduate education Henning Schroeder announced the beginning of the implementation process for the recommendations made by the two work groups on graduate education. The final report contains a total of 32 recommendations--20 from the Academic Issues Work Group, and 12 from the Student Administrative Processes Work Group. Many of the recommendations relate to one another. Here is a summary status report.

Note: A shorter version of this list was prepared to accompany an update for graduate students, sent in June.

Implementation of recommendations on student administrative processes

The 12 work group recommendations in this area are described on pp. 58-100 of the report and implementation is already underway.

Recommendations: (1) recruitment, (2) admissions, (3) student funding support processes, (4) orientation, (5) academic record information, (6) academic advising/progress to degree, (7) student services, (8) graduation, (9) career advising and placement, (10) alumni relations, (11) record retention, and (12) data management.

The Graduate School staff is collaborating with Academic Support Resources (ASR) to identify more than 100 business processes for analysis. Some processes are expected to move to ASR, some to the colleges, some will be located in other administrative homes, and some will be eliminated. An update about these 12 recommendations was posted on May 13. Implementation groups are forming now based on business processes. Implementation of the first phase of the changes and upgrades to PeopleSoft and the online admission system, ApplyYourself, will begin in summer 2010 to accommodate students admitted for fall 2011; current students would be moved to the new records structure beginning spring/summer 2011.

Contact: Frank Blalark, Academic Support Resources,

Implementation of recommendations on academic issues

The report's 20 recommendations in this area are described on pp. 9-57. A summary of current implementation plans is described here briefly for each of the recommendations.

Recommendation 1: Policies and standards for the addition of new graduate programs and substantive changes to existing programs; responsibility for accreditation

The new procedures for review and approval of all new and changed graduate programs are now available for your use. Graduate programs and their collegiate units will continue to be responsible for program accreditation, in consultation with the Provost's office and the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, as appropriate.

Recommendation 2: Proposals for new and changed graduate programs

Primary responsibility for initiating and developing new programs as well as changing, merging, or discontinuing existing programs now resides within the collegiate units. Upon request, the Graduate School will have a consultative role and will continue to be available to answer questions and assist faculty who are developing proposals. We will also continue to collaborate with faculty and collegiate deans in developing new interdisciplinary programs, or modifying existing ones, to ensure that such programs are innovative and sustainable. As dean of graduate education, I will also be actively involved with the new Graduate Education Council (see specifics below) in reviewing proposals for new and changed Ph.D. programs and major changes to established programs. The Graduate School will work closely with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost to facilitate the timely review of these proposals.

Recommendation 3: Student administrative processes and cost-pool charges

In collaboration with Academic Support Resources (ASR), work is currently underway to analyze all student processes and build a new student records infrastructure. See also an outline of planned changes. The first changes will be made for students who apply for fall 2011 admission. Subsequent changes have an anticipated start date of fall 2011. Until new processes are in place, currently enrolled and newly admitted graduate students will continue to follow existing processes and procedures. In regard to the cost-pool charges, the Graduate School, the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, and the Office of Budget and Finance are working together in evaluating several options. The new cost-pool formula and the phase-in timeline are expected to be determined by spring 2011.

Recommendation 4: Graduate Education Council

This summer, I will extend invitations to faculty members representing a broad base of fields of study and several graduate students to serve on the provisional Graduate Education Council. The first meeting will be convened at the beginning of fall semester 2010. Details of the election process for the permanent council's seats will be one of the first items for the provisional team to act upon.

Recommendation 5: Faculty and director-of-graduate-studies appointment

The Graduate School will no longer maintain six categories of graduate faculty. Each collegiate unit will be responsible for determining its own policy and system for monitoring its faculty members' graduate-education responsibilities. An institutional database containing names of all faculty with graduate-education responsibilities will be maintained as a service to all faculty, staff, and students. By June 30, 2010, the current online Graduate School Faculty Appointment form will become a simple online data-collection form, without categories. Because of this change, responsibility for verifying faculty eligibility to serve in various roles (e.g. as a graduate student's adviser or as an outside committee member) will move to the colleges and Graduate School staff will no longer verify or approve eligibility. Most current student-service processes will stay in place during the transition year and Graduate School staff will be available for consultation as needed. Also, the names of Directors of Graduate Studies will be maintained in a central database, and a DGS list will be published on the Graduate School website as a service to faculty, staff, and students. College deans should expect to receive information shortly about how to provide DGS information.

Recommendation 6: Graduate and Professional Education Assembly

I will invite all members of the University of Minnesota community who are interested in graduate education issues to attend meetings of the new Graduate and Professional Education Assembly, which will meet periodically during the academic year. The first meeting will be convened during fall semester 2010.

Recommendation 7: Policy review and approval

With the help of the chair of the Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP), a group representing faculty, students, and staff from the Graduate School, Academic Support Resources, and the Provost's Office has been formed and charged with the task of reviewing all existing policies related to graduate education. The team will recommend policy changes necessary to reflect the changes outlined in the work groups' final report. As the policies are revised, the final approved documents will be added to the University-wide Policy Library for easy access and transparency. This project is anticipated to take up to 18 months to complete.

Recommendation 8: Interdisciplinary programs

I will continue to engage in conversations with the collegiate deans, program administrators, faculty, and students to identify current obstacles in the establishment and maintenance of interdisciplinary programs. We will actively seek input from all affected units in developing templates for memoranda of agreement (MOAs) and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) that will be used to address the key issues and challenges for new interdisciplinary programs.

Recommendation 9: Program and center review

I will collaborate with the Graduate Education Council, collegiate deans, department heads, program directors, students, and other stakeholders in the development of a new program- and center-review process and relevant metrics with the aim of improving the overall quality of our graduate programs and centers. The Graduate and Professional Education Assembly will be a platform and forum for discussions of these important issues, gaining expert insights and experience toward evaluating and improving graduate education through a process that involves the active participation of faculty and students.

Recommendation 10: Program and curriculum approval system

The Graduate School staff is working closely with Academic Support Resources (ASR) and the Office of Information Technology (OIT) to modify PCAS (Program and Curriculum Approval System) and ECAS (Electronic Course Authorization System) to accommodate the restructuring of graduate education. We anticipate that the modifications will require 12 to 18 months to complete. Effective July 1, 2010, responsibility for reviewing and approving 8xxx-level courses--and select 5xxx-level courses in several interdisciplinary graduate programs--will be relocated to the colleges. Exempt from this immediate change are the pre-thesis credit (8666), thesis credit (8777 and 8888), and "full-time equivalent" (8333 and 8444) registrations, which will remain unchanged until a revised policy is approved by the Senate Committee on Educational Policy. Until ECAS can be modified, we are asking the colleges to notify the Graduate School at of new and changed courses you have approved; we will then submit the courses in ECAS without further review. This change should not affect the majority of colleges, as most colleges already approve 8xxx-level courses in ECAS before review at the Graduate School level. For these colleges, the change will speed the course-approval process. For colleges that do not currently review 8xxx-level courses, we will assist you, as appropriate, in developing review processes and criteria to accommodate this change.

Recommendations 11, 12,and 13: Graduate student advising

We will collaborate with collegiate deans and department heads to identify and implement initiatives for effective graduate student advising. This summer I will extend invitations to convene a group of faculty, graduate students, and representatives from the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Student Conflict Resolution Center to discuss and compile best practices and guidelines on effective advising. We will gather information and communicate with our peer institutions to share ideas and strategies on improving graduate advising.

Recommendations 14, 15, and 16: Funding and cost pool

We are working closely with the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost and the Office of Budget and Finance to evaluate several options to address the financing issues and to determine a new cost-pool formula that will be implemented for FY12.

Recommendations 17, 18, 19, and 20: Metrics

The Graduate School will work closely with the collegiate deans, faculty, students, the Office of Planning and Analysis, and other field experts in developing relevant core metrics, with modifications for the different fields of study. We will take an active role in collecting meaningful and valuable data that will be used to measure the success and quality of our graduate programs. These data will also guide us in mapping the path for the future of graduate education for the University of Minnesota.


If you have questions, comments, or feedback, please contact us.
Student administrative processes: Frank Blalark, Academic Support Resources,
Student services issues: Karen Starry,
Program-related issues: Vicki Field,
Admission-related issues: Dean Tsantir,
All other requests: Dean's Office, 612-625-2809, or Henning Schroeder,

Provost accepts work-group recommendations

In the Provost's Academic Update dated May 20, he accepted and endorsed the Final Recommendations on Graduate Education, directing the vice provost and dean of graduate education to begin a careful, deliberative, and transparent process of implementation.

Final Recommendations on Graduate Education

The Final Recommendations on Graduate Education from the Academic Issues and Student Administrative Processes Work Groups were submitted to the Provost on April 30, 2010.

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