Graduate faculty mentoring master’s students in areas represented by various State of Kansas legislative committees (e.g. education, health, agriculture, aviation, biotechnology, energy, transportation, manufacturing, environment, and social services) are encouraged to have their students submit posters for the 1st annual Graduate Research Day at the Capitol on February 12, 2014. Forty students from Kansas Regents institutions will be chosen to represent their institutions on the 2nd floor rotunda of the Capitol. At FHSU, we will be using a new electronic competition software package called CompetitionSpace to select five students for this event. The link for this opportunity is http://fhsu.infoready4.com/CompetitionSpace/#competitionDetail/1697569. Faculty in these areas should share this link with their students and students should submit the required materials for review of their posters. The deadline for this will be January 10, 2014. Thank you for encouraging your students to submit their research work for this opportunity. Transportation and lunch for the day will be provided. Note that this is not an adjudicated competition with prizes. All five FHSU representatives will be recognized equally. This initiative is being sponsored by the Kansas Council of Graduate Deans (KCGD).
In additional research-related news, the university has been engaged in discussions about export controls. Drafts of a proposed policy is being shared with Graduate Council and Provost’s Council in preparation for consideration by President’s Cabinet. Export controls is a complex topic of arcane Federal regulations, but relates to FHSU in a couple of ways – most visibility in the case of specialized proprietary software which is considered a “deemed export”. As more of our students are foreign nationals, this topic becomes increasingly relevant in our Graduate School. In all cases, the university will strive to pursue public domain or fundamental research exclusions to these restrictions when possible.
The approach of the end of the semester means high stakes examinations and consequent anxiety and apprehension among our graduate students. The deadline for reporting comprehensive examinations to the Graduate School has just passed, so if you have not submitted your ballots to the Graduate School for your students, please do so as soon as possible. The Graduate School policy and procedures for academic appeals can be found at http://www.fhsu.edu/academic/gradschl/gradeappeals/.
To close, here are recent data related to the growth of new graduate students (red) vs. new undergraduate students (blue) in our Virtual College programming over the last four years. It will be interesting to see if the trend lines continue in the same directions next fall.
It has been a few weeks since we have had a post on this site. Recent events and changes at the university have kept us all busy, but it is time now to communicate more about some projects we have begun this year.
Internationalization of the Campus and Curriculum
The Center for Language and Culturewas a project begun this year in the Graduate School as our primary effort to impact internationalization of the campus and curriculum. This idea was conceived through some conversations between members of Provost’s Council and the Internationalization Team over the past several years and a perceived need to add or improve existing services for several campus stakeholders: domestic students interested in education abroad and foreign language study, international students interested in English assistance and co-curricular opportunities to learn about our region, and faculty members interested in developing new education abroad experiences for students.
This fall the Center for Language and Culture has begun taking some giant steps towards accomplishing these goals through the hard work of graduate assistant Christophe Cheroret. Christophe is an energetic young man with a passion for international education. He has worked hard over the last two months to build important connections with academic departments and student support units. The Center currently offers the following services:
weekly conversation tables in foreign languages and in English for ESL students
individual tutoring in foreign languages
development and promotion of several short-term education abroad opportunities for the campus (Morocco, Spain, France, Ukraine, and Chile).
promotion of university academic programs with international themes (certificates, minors, and majors)
co-curricular opportunities for international students to experience the culture of our region
The Center has an active Facebook page and Twitter account…reaching out to many students in new ways. A great deal of progress has been made on this initiative this fall. Christophe has been active in giving many presentations to IDS 101 course sections this fall.
Another project we are working on in the Graduate School is the inaugural Graduate Research Day at the Capitol on February 12, 2014. All the graduate deans of the Regents institutions are collaborating on this initiative. It is an opportunity for each institution to send 5 of the best master’s level posters to be displayed on the 2nd floor rotunda of the Capitol. We will soon be communicating with graduate faculty about this opportunity and begin a competition to judge the best 5 posters we will send from FHSU. Assistant Dean Dr. Jerry Spotswood will lead this initiative and we will be using our new competition software package – CompetitionSpace. Look for more about this in your email soon.
The guidelines for preparation of theses and field studies have been updated and uploaded to the Graduate School web site. Please be sure your advisees who are completing theses or field studies understand the need for IRB or IACUC documentation if they are working with research subjects that fall under the administration of one of these two committees.
We’ve begun to post the minutes to the Graduate Council meetings held this fall to this site. They are visible in the Categories section or by scrolling through Recent Posts.
Please remember these upcoming deadlines:
November 18 Deadline to turn in comprehensive exam results to the Graduate School. All ballots should have an evaluation of the candidate’s performance on Graduate School Learner Outcome #1 indicated.
Deadline to turn in thesis/field study/catalog to Graduate School
Thank you for your continued support of graduate education at FHSU!
Dr. Tim Crowley, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research/Assistant Provost for Internationalization, called the Graduate Council meeting to order at 3:35 p.m.
Council members present were Dr. Suzanne Becking, Dr. Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, Dr. Kim Perez, Dr. Jayne Brandel, Dr. Carla Hattan, Dr. Christine Hober, Dr. Scott Robson, Dr. Tom Schafer, Dr. Carl Singleton, Dr. Jerry Spotswood and Dr. Greg Weisenborn.
September meeting minutes were passed with the addition of Dr. Carl Singleton as present.
New Courses – the Academic Affairs reviewed three new courses. All were sent back for revision. MGT 894 was revised and requires Council action. Motion to approve course with revisions and additional clarifications was passed.
New Grad Faculty – Nine faculty members were nominated and approved. All were elected as Master’s I graduate faculty.
New Concentrations – MLS Organizational Leadership will move to MPS starting Fall, 2014. The program will change slightly to fit the curriculum of the MPS program.
Dean’s Comments – There are a few Graduate courses being offered for Intersession which runs from Dec. 30 – Jan. 17. Intersession is larger this year than last year and there are more choices for students. Pre-enrollment for both Intersession and Spring, 2014 begins on Oct. 14. There were no troubles last year with Intersession. Graduate School will enforce firm application deadlines due to staffing limitations in late December. Students must be admitted by November 29th.
The Tigertracks Wait List will be available for students enrolling in the Spring, 2014 semester. Dr. Crowley commended CTC on their work on this project. It is a very useful tool that will aid students wanting to get in a full class and also alert chairs (who will get a list of wait list students) in order to make informed decisions about opening new sections.
There is a student look-up function forthcoming in TigerCentral that may be useful for advisors and faculty members.
An adjunct faculty awards program will be rolled out and will be similar to awards already done now. There will be one from each college each semester and an adjunct faculty member of the year. More information will be forthcoming to the Council as it becomes known.
FHSU signed a partnership with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University (TAGIUNI) in Amman, Jordan in October. There are 5 master’s, 5 bachelor’s, and all certificate programs that FHSU offers through the Virtual College will be marketed to prospective students in the Middle East region. This partner will help to internationalize the campus and curriculum and bring a new source of graduate students to FHSU.
Dr. Tim Crowley, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research/Assistant Provost for Internationalization, called the Graduate Council meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.
Council members present were Dr. Greg Weisenborn, Dr. Scott Robson, Dr. Dorothy Fulton, Dr. Suzanne Becking, Dr. John Zody, Dr. Jerry Spotswood, Dr. Tom Schafer, Dr. Jayne Brandel, Dr. Christine Hober, Dr. Keyu Jiang, Dr. Jordge LaFantasie, Dr. Jim Barrett, Dr. Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, Dr. Jenny Manry, & Dr. Kim Perez
Introductions – New members Dr. Jenny Manry and Dr. Kim Perez were introduced.
Graduate Council membership for 2013-2014 with term expiration – handout shows current Graduate Council membership and the year their term expires. Most of the Council are returning members.
Committee Assignments – Three subcommittees: Academic Affairs/Curriculum which meets to screen new courses before they are brought to full council, Graduate Faculty which meets about twice a year to discuss Graduate Faculty applications and Student Appeals which meets to review student appeals.
There are 8 new courses for the Academic Affairs/Curriculum committee to review and 13 new Graduate Faculty applications for the Graduate Faculty committee to review prior to the Oct. 9 meeting.
In the past Dr. Crowley met with groups individually, but this year would like to appoint a chair to convene these meetings independently. Christy can schedule meetings in the Picken Hall conference room if needed. Dr. Scott Robson is head of the Academic Affairs/Curriculum committee, Dr. Jayne Brandel is head of the Graduate Faculty committee, and Dr. Jerry Spotswood is head of the Student Appeals committee.
New Business – 5 new concentrations were approved this summer, 8 new course applications were proposed and 13 new graduate faculty applications were received.
Dean’s Comments – Dr. Fulton commented that she really liked the blog Dr. Crowley is using to keep Graduate Faculty appraised of Graduate School happenings. Dr. Crowley asked if there were any suggestions on additions or thoughts on having a program feature each week.
Enrollment numbers are progressing well. The Graduate School is now over 2,000 students (80% virtual). Dr. Crowley will check to see if there was any other time that we were over 2,000.
Counseling is proposing a new program to align with KCREP accreditation. The program would take the Community Counseling concentration and turn it into a MS in Community Mental Health Counseling and would be a 60 hour program.
This week the Graduate School is proud to welcome its nine newest graduate faculty members who were elected this week by the Graduate Council. When you see them on campus please say congratulations and welcome to our community of scholars:
Dr. Philip Sechtem
Dr. Carol Poster
Dr. Carol Ellis
Dr. Travis Montgomery
Dr. Yuri Yerastov
Dr. Trey Hill
Dr. LeAnn Brown
Management & Marketing
Art and Design
Dr. Rhonda Smith-Nelson
Management & Marketing
In another piece of Graduate Council news, the Organizational Leadership concentration within the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program was approved internally. The Leadership Studies department will be transitioning this concentration from the MLS to the MPS over the coming year with a launch of Fall, 2014 within the MPS. Several Leadership courses have been re-developed to make this change. It is believed that the curriculum with the MPS will better address workforce needs.
The Graduate School staff want to remind all advisors that pre-registration for Intersession and Spring, 2014 session begin on October 14. Intersession begins on December 30 and runs until January 17. All Intersession schedules need to be finalized by December 18. All new graduate students who want to begin by taking an Intersession course need to be admitted by December 6. Both of these deadlines are firm deadlines.
For Intersession and Spring, 2014, the university will be rolling out its latest enhancement to the TigerEnroll portal – a waiting list. The waiting list is complicated to describe here, but hopefully training information from the CTC will be coming out soon with screenshots of what to expect and what options the students will have. One benefit for chairs, directors, and deans will be the ability to view wait lists in order to make data driven decisions about whether or not to add new sections of courses.
This week’s post is one I hope will generate some discussion. The broad topic is the future of our Graduate School and its place within the university. The catalyst for this discussion comes on the heels of publicity this fall at the national and state level about the push for “degree completion” agendas (President Obama, the Lumina Foundation, Kansas Board of Regents, etc.). Policymakers are focusing upon associate and bachelor’s degree completion. In Kansas, for example, our Board of Regents has established that 60% of our population will have earned a credential or degree by 2020. An external consultant to the Board this past month gave an influential presentation in which he considered this goal to be especially “ambitious” given our state’s predicted college-going population and several other factors. While the Board, legislators, and campus leaders debate the achievement of this finite statistic by 2020 as the end in itself, I find myself thinking about the implications for graduate education. A recent conversation with an analyst from Eduventures who has spent most of her career in the field of graduate admissions confirmed what we professors have been seeing over the past few years…the master’s degree is becoming the new bachelor’s degree. Our Graduate School annual growth rate appears to be pointing to this conclusion. The projected flattening of national undergraduate online growth and the fact that we have already started to experience less robust growth rates in our undergraduate online programs, makes one wonder if the balance is starting to shift to the graduate side? Our Graduate School is currently only 15% of our total enrollment (20% without our cross border partnerships). Emporia State University’s Graduate School this year accounts for 36% of the university’s total enrollment. Where are all the arrows pointing? What does this mean for the institution? What does this mean for your departmental programming and staffing? What does this mean for the minimum credentials needed to enter a highly skilled workforce? What does it mean for our students to remain competitive in their jobs for advancement? Intentionally or not, Emporia State appears to be defining itself as a graduate education provider for working adults. When you peel away the layer of our cross border partnerships, you can see that we are no different. More and more of our students are graduate students. Yet, no one is talking about this. Here is some of our data from the last three years of Graduate School exit surveys to consider:
#1] Age. Almost 40% of our students are aged 26-35. As our present 18-25 year old undergraduates enter the workforce, will the 26-35 year old demographic grow? [Note: out of curiosity, I tried to access the the National Center for Education Data Statistics to determine the projected growth rate in this age demographic, but this week's Federal furloughs have made these services unavailable.]
#2] Gender. Women populate our Graduate School at the rate of 2:1 compared to males. This is almost exactly the same percentage of master’s degree attainment by gender found by the Council of Graduate Schools between the years 2002-2012.
#3] Instructional Method. Not surprisingly, students complete their degrees through the Virtual College at the rate of 2:1 compared to on-campus instructional methods. [Note: the use of Virtual College is likely not the best response for this question andthis question will be changed to asynchronous online instruction and synchronous online instruction to obtain better data.]
#4] Motivation. Promotion or advancement in existing career and entry into a professional career remain the top two motivations for pursuing a graduate degree. These two responses combine for 62% of the responses on this question.
#5] Program Awareness. Almost 85% of our graduates indicate they learned about our graduate programs as undergraduate students, through word of mouth/recommendation, or web searches. Interestingly, only 6% indicate they learned about our programs through a partnership.
The final day for students to sign up for comprehensive examinations was September 30. Linda and JoAnne have been working this week on getting ballots to out to advisors this week. I know that many programs are preparing for or have recently administered these exams to their students. November 18 is your deadline to turn in the results of these exams so that we can record these results and clear students for graduation.
Graduate Council will meet on October 9th to consider nine faculty members for inclusion in the university’s graduate faculty.
The Department of Leadership Studies’ request to create a new concentration in the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program has been approved. They will be moving their Organizational Leadership program from the Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) program. After October 18th, applications for the MLS in Organizational Leadership will need to considered by the MPS in Organizational Leadership. The admission requirements and curriculum for this concentration are different and will be posted soon.
Dr. Hammond signed a unique partnership agreement with a company that markets US online programs in the Middle East. We have partnered with Talal Abu-Ghazaleh University (TAGIUNI) to market several of our graduate degree programs and certificates to working adult learners in Jordan and Bahrain. There will be a press release coming out about this in the coming weeks. This partnership represents new territory for Fort Hays State University by deploying our online graduate programs as an asset in the manner of an international partnership. Unlike our cross-border operations, these students will be treated no differently than domestic Virtual College students and we will teach these students in our existing course sections. In addition to being a source of new students for the university, it is an interesting internationalization experiment, as well.
The Center for Languages and Culture is gaining momentum under graduate assistant Christophe Cheroret. A number of faculty-led study aboard experiences are being planned for the coming intersession, spring break, and summer time frames, foreign language conversation tables and tutoring services are being organized and offered, and local excursions for our international students are being planned. Several faculty members across campus are contributing their time and talents in support of these initiatives.
The FY14 Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) grant notifications to faculty mentors have been sent out. This annual grant competition is funded by an action plan which we hope will be renewed in the coming strategic planning cycle.
Until next week….I’ll leave you with two quick polls.
This post was intended for last week, but an embargo on the public release of Regents fall enrollment data prohibited us from publishing this until September 27, 2013.
Leaves are falling this week and this has put me in a reflective mood. This week we will report the university’s official Fall, 2013 20th day enrollment data to the Kansas Board of Regents. It’s an important data point in Kansas as a great deal of significance is attributed to Fall 20th day enrollment data in comparing institutions. These data are used for everything from public relations to internal resource allocations to legislative research and many things in between. The importance of this agricultural calendar model is deeply rooted in the history and traditions of Kansas…more so than spring and summer session enrollment data. A quick read of George Mehaffy’s 2010 article entitled “Medieval Models, Agrarian Calendars, and 21st Century Imperatives” helps put this into a larger context. Why put all this importance on a single data point? As graduate students and working professionals, we learn that a single data point taken out of its larger context without analysis can be a dangerous thing. Yet, annually, these Fall 20th day data points are what administrators lose sleep over. Despite the fact that higher education has become much more fluid with students entering and leaving our university at different times of the year, we still place great comparative value on this date. This is an academically flawed approach, but academics do not make decisions about university funding levels and other such important matters.
The good news for the FHSU Graduate School is that we are up this year. This is the year we enrolled over 2000 graduate students. As far as anyone can recollect and without diving deeply into the historical archives, that is the first time this has ever happened at FHSU. Graduate students represent about 15% of the university now. Take our cross-border partnerships out of the enrollment equation, and that percentage rises to around 20%. Knowing full well that current and past performance is no guarantee of future returns, it’s definitely a high point for the university, especially when the other data that drive our FHSU operations, with the exception of undergraduate distance education learners, are essentially flat or posted a decline. One way of looking at it is that the Graduate School’s increase of 158 students over last fall’s data exceeds the overall increase in 2013 for the university (131 students). Think about where the university would be without the Graduate School this year! The obvious answer is that without these new graduate students, the university would be posting an overall decline this year which would be the first time that has happened in over a decade. In percentage terms, we grew this fall by 8.5% which exceeds our 5-year rolling mean of 5.34%.
The reason for our success is a simple marketing trick learned years ago – at the graduate level, programs attract students. Add convenience to that and two of three parts of the equation are there. The third part is quality. Believe it or not, price is actually quite low on the list of marketing concerns! We’re getting some good press lately about our online graduate programs and that is helping, but this third area of marketing is the one I feel the least confident about as we move forward. Not that our professors aren’t excellent instructors and working hard to improve their programs each year, but rankings and perception of quality matter a lot these days with distance education programs. Our courses and support systems for these students have to be high quality. The perception in the general public is that distance education programs are still not of comparable quality to programs offered on campus. We have to find a way to mix the best of distance education with the best of face-to-face instruction. That’s our challenge and I’ll try to write more about this in future posts. As Provost Gould teaches his deans often and well, distance education has entered the age of brands and it has become a competition not for who can “get there the firstest with the mostest” (quoting Nathanial Bedford Forrest) [we have already won that battle in our service region], but what brand with the best publicly perceived quality is in the marketplace. Stanley Drucker’s timeless 1994 Harvard Business Review article entitled “The Theory of the Business” should be on every academic leader’s desk for reference.
On the more practical front, the Graduate School has this week published an update to its thesis and field study guide. The major addition to this is the requirement for IRB or IACUC protocal approval documentation to be included with the thesis or field study, if appropriate. Thank you for sharing this with your students who are working on their thesis or field study this fall.