Background - The TSE, although not a graduate school requirement, is required for any student who will serve as a classroom instructor. Historically we have had no explicit expectation for passing the test of spoken English (TSE), because we have been able to accomodate the rare student in teaching assignments which do not require much student contact (e.g. grading lab reports in Biol 198). That is now history. We will be more explicit regarding this expectation, and will start to include it as part of the expectations that we already have for "reasonable progress toward the degree."
Solution - Decision was made to require TSE in semester of admission.
If student does not pass the test, they will have a semester to enroll
in the English Language program and take it again at the beginning of the
next semester at the expense ($35) of the Division. Failure to pass at
that time will mean that the student has one more chance to take the test
at the end of that semester, at their expense. Failure to pass the third
time will result in dismissal.
Background - An ancillary faculty member who is supporting a student working for a graduate degree in Biology is having the student supported by Biology TA money for a fifth semester.
Solution: Decision was made to require ancillary faculty to support
their students for their full graduate program. This is similar to the
current arrangement for Biochemistry Dept. students working for Biology
Background - There have been several situations where students who were not in the top tier of acceptable applicants have been admitted because a faculty member could support them. In some cases the support for these students disappears after a year or two, and division funds are required to pick up the tab for these students. It is recognized that it is difficult to line up support for students several years in advance, and it can be difficult for students to finish their degrees on a strict time schedule. But it must also be recognized that this system makes it impossible to admit as many of our top applicants as we would like, because these admission slots are no longer available for the admissions committee to use.
Solution - Decision was made to formalize the rules regarding the commitment
for state support. Faculty members desiring to admit and support a M.S.
student who is otherwise qualified but who is not in the top tier must
commit to supporting that student for two years. The Division will commit
to supporting the student for an additional semester beyond that period
if the student is not finished with the degree in two years. Faculty members
desiring to admit and support a Ph.D student must agree to support that
student for 3 years; the division will commit to an additional 2 years
of support beyond that period if needed. The total amount of state support
will be the same for all students. Thus, even students who were admitted
as GTAs will not be supported for longer than 2.5 years for a master's
degree, or 5 years for a Ph.D. degree (4 years if admitted with a prior
MS degree). Obviously faculty members can extend the support of a student
using grant or contract funds.
Background - There have been several situations where MS students have been accepted for a Ph.D. degree after their thesis defense here, and the GAC has not been consulted on these decisions. Again, this is a situation where the funds available for admission of new applicants can be compromised.
Solution - KSU MS students who desire to continue for a KSU Ph.D. must
re-apply and compete with new applicants. Endorsement of their MS committee
members will be sought, typically in the form of standard letters of recommendation.
Background - In the past several students have been admitted for a master's degree, and then decide after a semester or two that they would really like to obtain a Ph.D. This has been easy for them to do, even if the admissions committee initially expressed some doubts about the qualifications of these students to do Ph.D.-level work. Again, this is a situation where the funds available for admission of new applicants can be compromised, and where the GAC is not consulted regarding the wisdom of these decisions.
Solution - Letters of acceptance to students will indicate that they
have been accepted for a master's program only, or if they are accepted
for either M.S. or Ph.D work. This is the decision of the admissions committee,
and will require us to reach a consensus for these students. Students accepted
for MS/Ph.D. work will still have to reach a consensus with their advisory
committee before submitting either an MS or Ph.D. program of study. Students
accepted for MS programs only will be required to finish that degree and
reapply (see above) if they wish to continue with their Ph.D. work at KSU.
It is recognized that there are differences between various biological
subdisciplines, and among our faculty members, with regard to the value
of a master's degree. The committee will endeavor to keep these differences
in mind, and would appreciate your suggestions as we work out the specific
Background - Submission of committee member names, programs of study, and scheduling of prelims has been haphazard. Recently we had a case where a student defending a thesis this semester did not submit a program of study until November. These situations make it difficult to monitor student progress, and make it difficult to make sure that the students are even making progress. Suggested deadlines for passing these mileposts are found in the information given to entering students, but can be easily ignored.
Solution - Students will have explicit instructions regarding these milestones, with deadlines; this material will be given to them at admission. Becki will also have a copy, and can check off the milestones as they are passed. Failure to pass the milestones in a timely manner will result in 1) a reminder, 2) a more urgent reminder, and 3) initiation of process for dismissal of the student. The admission letters already have a sentence indicating that they will be supported as long as they are "making reasonable progress toward their degree." This policy will make the achievement of these milestones an explicit aspect of that "progress," and Division support will be withdrawn if this progress is not achieved. Again, we will endeavor to take extenuating circumstances into account, and would really appreciate your suggestions regarding specific timetables.
NOTE - These proposals are NOT retroactive, but will be enforced for all students entering the program in the spring of 1999 and thereafter.