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President Schulz and Dean Shanklin

This is the official chat transcript from November 07, 2012. It reads top-to-bottom.

Graduate Student Council Graduate Student Council Good evening everyone! We’d like to thank President Schulz and Dean Shanklin for taking time out of their busy schedules for this evening’s online chat. This chat is an opportunity for graduate students to ask questions related to their educational, personal, and professional experiences at K-State. I’m Tammy Sonnentag, Graduate Student Council (GSC) President, and I will be moderating this chat. Our other moderators include Taylor Wadian, GSC President-Elect, Ammar Bhandari, GSC Secretary. Please feel free to submit your questions at any time using the form in the sidebar.

klopez asks:PRESIDENT SHULZ- How can K-State help the transition into Graduate School for out-of-state students better? Do you anticipate any plans/would there possibly be financial support in implementing any new initiatives to help in this process for graduate students?

Kirk Schulz We are always looking for good ideas, and one of our 7 major themes in K-State 2025 is enhancing campus educational experience for graduate students. So, please let us know what we can be doing better - or what you may have seen at other universities that we can use effectively at Kansas State. So - let the ideas start coming!

Mohammad Sahtout asks:I am kindly asking President Schulz and Dean Shanklin to start strongly pushing up again the work toward providing tuition waver for the GRAs. This year they stop giving graduate students subsidized loans and I had a hard time paying my tuition. The little increase in the GRA annual salary covers only 20% of the tuition in case of registering for the required minimum 6 credit hours. Thank you.

Kirk Schulz We will do what we can. There is no question that we need to find ways to continue to financially support our current graduate students with additional funds. However, we don't anticipate receiving any new monies from the State of Kansas this year, so that any funds which would be used for tuition wavers would have to come from other sources. I know this is a problem, and we will see what we can come up with.

Manpreet Rai asks:Hi Dr. Shanklin and Dr. Schulz. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us this evening. My question is about the grad student rooms in the library. I am very thankful that grad students have an individual study space, but like other universities, do you think that space might be expanded to allow for different types of learning (I.e., group work, or just a recliner or furniture to sit in a comfy place to read articles etc)? Thanks!

Carol Shanklin Dr. Shanklin, It is through graduate students requests when they meet with the Dean of the Library two years ago that the students' request for a quiet study area in the library become a priority. It is important for graduate students to use this space and express their need for additional quiet space if rooms 306 and 309 are not adequate to meet the needs. Graduate students should express their need for more space with GSC library representative and communicate directly with the library staff. The library staff is very interested in meeting your needs.

Jo Foy asks:In light of the goals of Vision 2025 for actually graduating more doctoral students (as opposed to producing A.B.D.s), will there be an audit or review of the IRB process in order to expedite the process?

Kirk Schulz The IRB process is an important part of protecting human subjects during research projects, so it is something that we take very seriously. My mom was the IRB coordinator for a medical school, so I am very aware of the challenges the IRB process can have from both and administration and faculty/staff/student viewpoint. If there is some issues associated with the IRB process which you believe is part of the reason why people are not graduating in a timely fashion, please contact me directly via email (kirks@k-state.edu) to see if we can see what is the issue.

jolenec asks:Graduate students should be informed of the requirements of their degree programs. What does Kansas State University do to protect graduate students and ensure graduation date is set? How does a graduate student ensure they are kept on an agenda that will lead to graduation and not allow advisors to add additional projects that prolong completing a graduate degree?

Carol Shanklin There are several things in place that are designed to help students progress toward their degree. Policies and requirements are described in the Graduate Handbook. Each graduate program has a graduate program director who can provide initial support and guidance for new graduate students. We encourage all graduate program to have information available on their departmental website that describes program requirements. If you are experiencing difficulties with working with your major professor and members of your supervisory committee, you should visit with your graduate program director and/or department head. Drs. Crawford, Guikema and I are available to provide guidance. However, students need to first discuss and try to resolve problems at the program level.

Graduate Student Council Graduate Student Council President Schulz & Dean Shanklin -- I’ve heard that graduate education is a focus on the K-State Olathe campus. Can you describe what is meant by this “focus?” Is this focus something you see for the Manhattan campus too?

Megan Miller asks:What resources are available at K-State for graduate students who are beginning to search for job opportunities?

Kirk Schulz This is an area we have worked hard to improve over the last couple of years. We now have a person who works at Career Services with a focus on assisting graduate students in finding job possibilities and assisting with putting together information graduate students need to be successful in their job search. We will continue to expand this area as more graduate students make use of Career Services. However, we need to also know what resources graduate students need to help in their job searches.

lereiter asks:President Schulz: What role do you believe social media plays in being an effective strategy through your endeavors on campus and how do you determine ways in which to be effective through your tweets and other online efforts?

Kirk Schulz Social media has turned into a very powerful communications tool - which can be informative and fun. I try and use Twitter and Facebook to keep communication channels open between myself and our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends. It is my goal that all of these folks feel informed about the exciting things happening at K-State - and at the same time feel connected. A year ago, I lost my luggage for a week while on business travel to Australia. I posted some of this information on Twitter and Facebook, and had conversations with alumni over the next three months about "did you find your lost luggage yet" , or "let me tell you when I lost my luggage" .... Many of the people I had never met in person before - and they already felt a connection with me and K-State through Social Media.

ykuang asks:Hello Dr. Schulz and Dr. Shanklin.Thank you for hosting this chat. As a GRA, I wonder whether you'll waive tuition fees for us? Since the salary I get cannot afford to support my life after I pay the tuition, I should worry about my economic situation. That happens to many of GRAs. Thank you.

Carol Shanklin We understand the need to find funds to help pay tuition for GRAs. As President Schulz indicated the administration is aware of graduate students concerns but must find a source of funds to support this major initiative. Please know that as Dean of the Graduate School I am working with a shared Development Officer to obtain additional scholarships to support graduate students' financial needs. However, outcome of development efforts takes time but I am commitment along with the other Deans to continue communicating the need for graduate student scholarships.

Taylor Wadian President Schulz, What has been your favorite moment here at K-State as President? What are you most proud of in regard to our University, and where do you see the biggest area of improvement since your arrival?

Megan Miller asks:What resources are available at K-State for graduate students who are beginning to search for job opportunities?

Carol Shanklin That is an excellent questions. Resources to assist graduate students in their job search that are available include: Career and Employment Services (Contact: Ms. Angela Hayes or your college CES Advisor); Career Speakers Series; Virtual Ph.D., and Candid Career. Career Speakers Series is featuring Alan Kearns, author of “Get the Right Job Now” tonight from 7:00-8:00 p.m. CST (http://www.expertwebinarseries.com/K-State. If your schedule is such that you cannot listen tonight the series of speakers are archived. Virtual PhD is a new webservice that the Graduate School has just subscribed and is now available for K-State graduate students. This resource provides career information and job information about non-academic careers and is available at http://www.grad.wisc.edu/education/gspd/versatilephd.html . The Graduate Student Council and Graduate School will be disseminating more information about resources in the near future with instructions on how to access. Candid Career.com is another web resource that provides excellent advice and guidance on career development and the job search. Let me know if you have questions about any of these resources or where to find more information. I encourage all graduate students to read the weekly emails from Tammy Soontage, President of GSC, that includes upcoming career and professional development opportunities for graduate students.

jolenec asks:To promote diversity I would like to see the international student email list reach out to the rest of the graduate student body. I think it is a great resource few domestic students are informed about.

Kirk Schulz We could also do a "K-State Today" version for graduate students and include some of these items. We have separate versions of "K-State Today" focused on faculty/staff, undergraduates, K-State Salina, and K-State Olathe. In my mind we don't need to always separate domestic versus international - but do need to facilitate good communications.

Ammar Bhandari asks:As we all know GRA/GTA can purchase a visual and dental insurance with their health insurance. However those visual and dental insurance for GTA/GRA are really tricky. For instance I have a dental plan and for that I have to pay $131 a semester but after just cleaning my teeth (not other services) I again received a bill of $80 that I have to pay. I talked with the dentist office and they told me I can have my teeth cleaning with $80 even if I do not have a insurance? So the question is my dental plan is paying nothing? I could have save that net $51 by not including dental insurance and paying as an uninsured patient? I talked with the insurance provider and they said that is how it works. So, Is K-state is aware of this insurance provider which says one thing in the benefits summary and do the other way? (note: In benefits summary it says it will cover 100% cost for 2 times cleaning per year) How the president office and graduate school is looking forward to address those dental and vision insurance plan issues of GRA/GTA's in coming years?

Kirk Schulz This doesn't seem quite right - and there is clearly an issue here. I agree with you - this doesn't seem to make any sense to have unless you have a severe dental problem, and given what you found out about the cleaning - it could be a hefty bill. Let me check with our Human Resources staff who should be able to tell us a bit more about this.

Manpreet Rai asks:Hi Dr. Shanklin and Dr. Schulz. Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us this evening. My question is about the grad student rooms in the library. I am very thankful that grad students have an individual study space, but like other universities, do you think that space might be expanded to allow for different types of learning (I.e., group work, or just a recliner or furniture to sit in a comfy place to read articles etc)? Thanks!

Kirk Schulz We have discussed the need on campus to also have a Graduate Student Center - that would have spaces really designed to accomodate graduate students. Virginia Tech has something like this - and I do think eventually at K-State we will have a similar facility. We can certainly discuss this with the Hale Library staff - but we also don't want to turn the study space into a more lounge like area. However, we certainly are open to ideas.

ykuang asks:Hello Dr. Schulz and Dr. Shanklin.Thank you for hosting this chat. As a GRA, I wonder whether you'll waive tuition fees for us? Since the salary I get cannot afford to support my life after I pay the tuition, I should worry about my economic situation. That happens to many of GRAs. Thank you.

Kirk Schulz We continue to work to address tuition and fees issues for graduate students. As we identify sources of funds, we will work to ensure that K-State is as affordable as possible and that our stipends are adequate to support our students.

jolenec asks:Does this K-State hold workshops to provide students with information on choosing a committee, submitting a degree plan, and running an effective committee meeting? Are there agenda’s in place to guide students with their preparation on preliminary exams?

Carol Shanklin The Graduate School does not currently provide a workshop on the topics you listed in your questions. We have two workshops each semester discussing graduation deadlines and requirements and another two on ETDR. General guidelines about forming a committee and preparing a program of study are in Chapter 2 for Masters students and Chapter 3 of the Graduate Handbook. I will share your request with the Graduate School team about organizing a workshop on the topics in your question. Many graduate programs have specific requirements about the composition of the supervisory committee and thus I advise you to read your program's graduate handbook or information on the program's website. All graduate students should submit a program of study after completing 9 hours. The program of study provides you a road map of academic requirements your program and committee expect you to complete. How preliminary examinations are administered is determined by individual graduate programs not the Graduate School. Again visit with your program director and/or major professor for guidance.

jolenec asks:Graduate students should be informed of the requirements of their degree programs. What does Kansas State University do to protect graduate students and ensure graduation date is set? How does a graduate student ensure they are kept on an agenda that will lead to graduation and not allow advisors to add additional projects that prolong completing a graduate degree?

Kirk Schulz In my mind, this is a challenging topic. The purpose of a graduate committee is to ensure that thesis and dissertation topics are appropriate in scope and depth - and that they are not too short or too long. In my doctoral proposal, my committee cut my project in half - and it still took 5 years! The other thing to do is to find a colleague in another department who you can talk with about this. Finally, if you really feel that your concerns are not being heard, talk directly with Dean Shanklin - who can meet with anyone confidentially.

jolenec asks:Does this K-State hold workshops to provide students with information on choosing a committee, submitting a degree plan, and running an effective committee meeting? Are there agenda’s in place to guide students with their preparation on preliminary exams?

Kirk Schulz I see that Dean Shanklin has given a detailed response. I will add that these are the types of suggestions that are low cost and may have a high impact - and can help us to improve our overall graduate student experience!

Ammar Bhandari asks:As we all know GRA/GTA can purchase a visual and dental insurance with their health insurance. However those visual and dental insurance for GTA/GRA are really tricky. For instance I have a dental plan and for that I have to pay $131 a semester but after just cleaning my teeth (not other services) I again received a bill of $80 that I have to pay. I talked with the dentist office and they told me I can have my teeth cleaning with $80 even if I do not have a insurance? So the question is my dental plan is paying nothing? I could have save that net $51 by not including dental insurance and paying as an uninsured patient? I talked with the insurance provider and they said that is how it works. So, Is K-state is aware of this insurance provider which says one thing in the benefits summary and do the other way? (note: In benefits summary it says it will cover 100% cost for 2 times cleaning per year) How the president office and graduate school is looking forward to address those dental and vision insurance plan issues of GRA/GTA's in coming years?

Carol Shanklin Ammar, I recommend you share your concern with the GSC Graduate Student Health Insurance Representative or Lannie Zweimiller, K-State representative on the Kansas Board of Regent Health Insurance Commission that works with the other regents institutions on student health insurance. Lannie would be pleased to visit with you about your concern.

mobeidat asks:I am a PhD student in the IMSE Dep., I am International, and I am a GRA and I earned only $1000 before tax (approximately $907 after tax), I do not have any scholarship from my country as well. Do you expect this amount of money to make me satisfying with my small family (3 persons in total)? From this income, I have to pay the in-State tuition which will be $900 per month if I enrolled for a 9 credit hours. Please can you solve this problem for me and for many students as me?

Kirk Schulz There have been a number of financial questions tonight that have all focused on GRA and GTA stipend levels/tuition waivers/etc. Dean Shanklin, Provost April Mason, and I will continue to find ways to keep K-State as affordable as possible and provide additional funds to assist with making our stipends more competitive.

Carol Shanklin K-State Olathe will be offering only graduate level degree and certificate programs. The first graduate program in Adult and Continuing Education began this summer. Other graduate programs are planned to begin next fall. Some of the colleges are hosting professional development workshops that some of you may be interested in attending. These are posted on the K-State Olathe Website and in K-State Today. If you are in Olathe, I encourage you to visit the campus.

Graduate Student Council Graduate Student Council asks:I’ve heard that graduate education is a focus on the K-State Olathe campus. Can you describe what is meant by this “focus?” Is this focus something you see for the Manhattan campus too?

Kirk Schulz In Olathe, we only offer graduate degrees - no undergraduate degrees are planned. We received the funds to build this modern 100,000 sq. ft. teaching and research facility through a tax increase in Johnson County - and we agreed at that time that we would focus only at the graduate level. Thus far, we have our MS in Adult Education with classes and enrolled students (yeah!), and will be starting up four additional MS degrees in the next 6 months or so. We are also hiring resident faculty members who will be K-State Olathe permanent faculty. If you have not had a chance to visit our campus there - drive by and check out the facility - it is impressive. For an example of how this can really work out well, check out the facilities Virginia Tech has in the Washington, DC region. I think in several years, K-State Olathe will have 1000 graduate students in a variety of degree programs. This is REALLY a great opportunity for Kansas State!

Ammar Bhandari asks:My first question is for president Schulz and second for Dr. Shanklin 1. What will be the role of international students to meet K-state 2025 goal? and What significant changes you can speculate in next five years to attract the international students at K-state? 2.How is graduate school working to better the life of international students at K-state and why there is dissimilarities between departments for admission requirement? I mean some department ask for GRE and others not? will there be changes in admission requirements for international students in coming years to meet K-State 2025 goal?

Carol Shanklin I will respond to your question regarding differences in admissions requirements among graduate programs. The Graduate School has minimum admissions requirements related to GPA, degree equivalency, and English Proficiency requirements that are established by the Graduate Council. Individual programs determine other specific requirements based on criteria that are important for students to succeed in a program. To date the Graduate Council has not proposed any changes in the general admissions requirements.

Carol Shanklin I had the opportunity last week to attend a workshop coordinate by Virginia Tech and the National Science Foundation on Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs. The facilities were very impressive.

Taylor Wadian asks:President Schulz, What has been your favorite moment here at K-State as President? What are you most proud of in regard to our University, and where do you see the biggest area of improvement since your arrival?

Kirk Schulz I have many favorite moments at K-State - being introduced as President at the Texas Tech basketball game in 2009, having a donor decide to give us a $5M gift to support faculty endowments, and opening up new academic facilities in Leadership Studies and Justin Hall. Biggest area of improvement - I believe we have really opened up communications across campus during my tenure as President - and generally I believe the campus community has a better understanding of what we are doing and why than previously. It has been a fun ride for the past 3.5 years - and I am looking forward to many more!

Ammar Bhandari asks:president Schulz Where you expect the ranking (the national and international) of K-State in next five years??

Kirk Schulz I expect our rankings to rise both domestically and internationally over the next 5 years. The major reason will be that we are telling our success stories better than before. In my opinion, Kansas State has been "under - ranked" for a long period of time because we didn't really brag about our accomplishments and publicize our successes. Our graduate students and faculty are doing some awesome things - and we are going to make sure the world knows!

abhilam asks:Being a Graduate student we frequently submit paper in to difference conference meeting for presentation. Most of the time corresponding professor assist their expenses But In some cases if professor couldnt assist, the student need to pay from their pocket or have to cancel their meeting, In those condition how student will get benefited?

Carol Shanklin I hope all graduate students are aware of the Travel Awards that are administered through the Graduate Student Council. President Schulz and Provost Mason have significantly increased the amount of money available to support graduate student travel. This year approximately $100,000 will be allocated to graduate students traveling to present poster and oral presentations at regional, national and international meetings. Even though the amount awarded may not pay the entire cost of the conference, I strongly encourage students to participate in conferences and network with professionals in the field. Look for the most economical modes of travel and share rooms to reduce cost.

Megan Miller asks:Why do you believe K-State should be the top university of choice for pursuing a graduate education? In your opinion, what sets K-State apart from other research institutions?

Kirk Schulz If you ask this for undergraduate students, we tend to talk about things like friendliness of campus, personalized attention by faculty and staff, 92% placement rate for graduates, and a campus culture which is student focused. I think we need to ask our graduate students the same questions - what do you think is good or great(!) about our graduate educational experience at K-State? I suspect some of the answers might be the same as with UG - but that we would see some significant differences as well. This would be a great GSC project - working with Communications and Marketing - to really try and answer this question!

kpokharel asks:Why there is different policy regarding tuition waive for TA and RA? When you will make the same policy for both? Thanks

Kirk Schulz Many of these policies and stipend levels were set some time ago. We are continuing to work on standardizing the way we do things at Kansas State. We are making progress - but it will continue to take some time.

abhilam asks:Being a Graduate student we frequently submit paper in to difference conference meeting for presentation. Most of the time corresponding professor assist their expenses But In some cases if professor couldnt assist, the student need to pay from their pocket or have to cancel their meeting, In those condition how student will get benefited?

Kirk Schulz We have really worked with the Graduate Student Council to significantly increase the amount of funds which are available to assist graduate students with travel to present papers. We will continue to invest in this fund to ensure that we are providing financial support to graduate students to present at national and international meetings - which is important for our K-State 2025 goals.

Carol Shanklin I would like to encourage more graduate students to get engaged in providing input into the Master Plan including the K-State Union and Housing. It is important for graduate students to recognize if they do not express their needs, they may not be addressed. There are numerous ways of participating and sharing your needs. Please get involved in GSC and your department activities and graduate student organization.

Graduate Student Council Graduate Student Council asks:As you are fully aware, two of the 2025 initiatives strive to increase the quality of undergraduate and graduate education. As K-State quality of education increases, do you see the quantity of faculty (students) at K-State also increasing? On a related note, what would you consider the ideal graduate student enrollment number for K-State to be in terms of achieving the 2025 goals?

Kirk Schulz We will need to grow our faculty members in order to meet many of the goals associated with K-State 2025. We are going to work this next year on some quantitative enrollment goals at the graduate and undergraduate levels - along with ways in which we can add faculty and staff members to support these enrollments. So, I don't have a number today on what our enrollment needs to be - but we will be discussing this actively in the next 12 months or so.

Kirk Schulz Wow - this has been the best chat we have had in a couple of years - EXCELLENT questions and dialog. Thanks for participating - I am off to watch our Volleyball team beat the University of Kansas! Go Cats!

Taylor Wadian asks:Dr Shanklin, What is the most rewarding part of your job here at K-State? In your experience serving graduate students here at K-state, what is the one piece of advise you would give each and every graduate student?

Carol Shanklin The most rewarding part of my job is seeing students succeed while they are students and later in their career. The opportunity to mentor the Graduate Student Council Officers and seeing how the organization is making a difference in graduate student lives. My one piece of advice to all graduate students is to maximize each opportunity you have as a graduate student, network, and become involved in one organization that will facilitate professional growth. Enjoy your time as a graduate student!

Carol Shanklin Thanks for all who participate. Great chat. Best of luck as you complete the remainder of fall semester!

Graduate Student Council Graduate Student Council Thank you President Schulz and Dean Shanklin for participating in tonight’s chat! And thanks to all those who participated. Have a great week. Go 'Cats!