GC Annual Report 2015-2016







Graduate Council met 12 times during the academic year, discussed three major issues (Paired Courses, Returning Graduate Students, and GA/GTA responsibilities), reviewed four programs, resolved one issue, and has two issues that will be moved to the next academic year.


Council Meetings held:  12

Coordinators Meetings held:  2

Programs Reviewed:  4

Issues Resolved:  1

Issues Encountered/Not Resolved:  3




1.    The Graduate Council shall serve as the primary advisory body to University-wide administrators in the area of graduate studies and graduate programs. 

2.    The Graduate Council shall serve the University's graduate advisors and coordinators by providing a forum for communication among all those who are involved in supervision of coordinative efforts with post-baccalaureate education on departmental, divisional, College or University-wide levels. 

3.    Although the Academic Senate's Educational Policies Committee has the major policy recommending function for the University in the area of educational policies, the Graduate Council may initiate policy recommendations related to graduate studies and graduate programs, which it will refer to EPC. EPC may elect to use the Graduate Council as a sub-committee to which it can refer requests for new graduate programs, changes in graduate programs, or other policy issues related to graduate studies. Among specific charges that fall within the jurisdiction of EPC that may be delegated to the Graduate Council for recommendation are:  the establishing of criteria for adoption or modification of degree programs (or special non-degree programs); the general scope and relative size of priority of program; general University academic standards for post-baccalaureate work; admissions policy; student course load; faculty work load in respect to graduate-level courses; and grading standards, within the framework of pertinent Title V code provisions. 

Under any circumstances, close liaison between the Graduate Council and EPC will need to be maintained. 


!  Six representatives, one from each College 

!  Two representatives elected by the Academic Senate 

!  One graduate student selected by Associated Students 

!  Dean of Graduate Studies or designee 

The Council Chair will be elected by the Council. 

College reps and Senate reps shall serve staggered three-year terms. EPC rep and grad student will each serve for one year.




Members:  Marguerite Conrad (EDU); Sheldon Gen (CHSS); Diane Harris (Academic Senate); Ellen Hines (Academic Senate & Graduate Council Chair);  Hamid Mahmoodi (COSE); Melissa Nelson (ETHS);  Sanjit Sengupta (BUS); Greta Snider (LCA); Sharlana Turner (Student Representative); Linda Leonard (Graduate Studies and Recorder); Ann Hallum (Dean).


Graduate Council met every first and third Thursday of each month of the

Fall and Spring semesters.  Meeting times were 12:30 to 2 PM in ADM 460.  Two of the meetings were joint meetings with the Graduate Coordinators (Oct. 15 and April 7) from 12 to 2 PM in LIB 121.  Attendance by Council members was very good, with the exception of the Ethnic Studies representative who had frequent scheduling conflicts.


Comments:  Graduate Council is made up of a very dedicated and tireless group of representatives focused on continuous improvement in graduate education.  







Summary:  The University continued to implement its conversation to CS and address complicated issues as they arise.


Comments:  Graduate Studies personnel will provide training, by request, on CS transactions for all graduate admissions and continuing student processes.





Summary:  Sacha Bunge, Dean of Academic Affairs, spoke with Graduate Council and Graduate Coordinators and provided the following reminders:  Work that falls within the bargaining unit must be compensated in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA); volunteering for work that falls within the bargaining unit is not permitted; no volunteer forms should be submitted.


Comments:  Under the CBA, work is assigned in WTUs and compensated in salary (for both TT faculty and lecturers).





Summary:  To provide a quality academic experience for graduate students, core courses should be designed solely for graduate students.  Paired courses should be developed and offered as short-term alternatives to a graduate course.


Comments:  A new policy was drafted and passed by Graduate Council and was subsequently approved by CRAC on March 15, 2016, and Academic Senate on April 22, 2016.  The policy refers back to the sustainability of courses.





Summary:  The petition to exceed the 7-Year Time to Degree has students returning with outdated coursework and insufficient current knowledge in the field.


Comments:  Departments need to reevaluate returning students in order to ensure they have up-to-date knowledge in the discipline since relevant coursework will have expired.  This could be accomplished through an exam and/or a predetermined percentage of repeatable coursework related to the length of time out of school.  The specific policy could vary by department, but the Council recommended to merge the evaluations into the Admissions Committee process.  A Letter of Support should be provided by the Department Chair for any readmitted student.





Summary:  There are no reference guides for graduate assistants or graduate teaching assistants.


Comments:  A new handbook was created by Dean Ann Hallum to address the “soft skills” necessary for incoming GAs and GTAs.  The manuals were distributed at the Spring 2016 Graduate Coordinators meeting, and a link to the publication is available on the Graduate Studies website.


A larger discussion ensued regarding potential fee waivers as a form of compensation, currently offered at some other CSU campuses, but not at SF State:

·      Spring 2016 tuition is currently $2,455 for 0-6 units and $3,871 for 6+ units (not including student and university fees)

·      Total number of GTA courses for AY 2015-16:  626

o   Total GTA cost (salary x # courses) for AY 2015-16:  $1,939,685

·      AY GTA Salary Differential (GTA vs. Lecturer):  -$2,042

o   GTA with tuition waiver would be the same expense as a lecturer

·      Tuition waivers could potentially result in lost revenue to the university in the amount of $1,573,323.

·      Academic Affairs would experience the largest hit relative to the other campus units.

·      Budget allocations to colleges would be adversely impacted (all colleges would share the expense, regardless of whether or not they utilize GTAs).





Summary:  Level 1 and 2 requirements vary greatly by department.


Comments:  Remedial writing courses are not generally beneficial to both ELL students and those students who are seeking to write more formally.  A template for a (centrally funded?) graduate writing course is essential. 





Graduate Certificate in Augmentative and Alternative Communication:  The proposed certificate is to expand opportunities for classified grad students in Communicative Disorders, Special Education, Physical Therapy, Nursing, Kinesiology, Rehabilitation Counseling and related fields for additional specialization.


Comments:  Students who enter the program and later go on to MS in Communicative Disorders or MA in Special Education will be able to count SPED 743 and 746 towards the master’s degree if taken within the specified timelines.



Computer Science 849/649 Paired Courses: 


Comments:  Council indicted that the proposal needed to:  1) follow paired course guidelines; 2) include justification/rationale to pair the courses; 3) specify if CSC 849 is a core graduate course; 4) distinguish how the graduate course differs from the undergrad.  After consultation with the department, this course proposal was withdrawn.


Graduate Certificate in American Indian Studies:  Modeled after the Ethnic Studies Certificate and geared towards those working in the community who currently seeking additional academic credibility. 


Comments:  After consultation with the Council, AIS indicated that the proposal needs more work and will be brought back for review in the Fall 2016 semester.



Accounting Certificate Proposal:  Modeled after the Ethics and Compliance Certificate.


Comments:  The undergrad program in Accounting is impacted.  The certificate program could be a repackaging and marketing of 9 units of existing courses counted towards CPA licensure.





Paired Courses: 


Revised policy S16-126 was submitted and approved by Academic Senate on April 22, 2016, and supersedes Academic Senate Policy S90‑126.


SF State programs offering graduate degrees must commit the resources needed for graduate education.  To provide a quality academic experience for graduate students, at least 70% of the degree-required units leading to the graduate degree should be designed for graduate students as per Academic Senate Policy S06-238.  Under limited circumstances, chairs and college deans may offer paired listed courses.  A paired course is a graduate course paired with an undergraduate course covering similar content.  The paired course is taught by the same instructor, on the same days and times, and in the same class environment.

All paired courses will be reviewed through the Academic Program Review process.  It is expected that all existing paired courses will be in compliance with this policy by fall 2019. To ensure integrity of the graduate degree, approval to offer a paired course is subject to the following conditions:

  • Faculty teaching the paired course must be eligible to teach in the graduate program, as defined in the Bulletin (tenure line or tenured faculty members who hold doctoral or other terminal degrees in their field).  Departments may petition for an alternative faculty member to teach the course with the approval of the College Dean or designee and the Graduate Dean.

  • Graduate core courses may not be paired.

  • The undergraduate course in the pair must be an upper division course.  General education and GWAR courses may not be paired with graduate level courses.  Undergraduate students must have upper division status, and have a GPA of at least 3.0 or consent of instructor.

  • Paired course must be offered within the same department. 

  • To facilitate graduate-level discourse, graduate student enrollments in the graduate paired courses would ideally exceed undergraduate enrollments.

  • Thesis, creative work, internship, special project, topic, directed reading, research, and special study courses may not be used as part of a paired arrangement.

  • Credit earned in the undergraduate level of a pair and used for the undergraduate degree may not be counted toward a subsequent graduate degree.

As part of the Academic Program Review process, graduate paired courses may be continued for reasons such as:

  • The university budget prevents programs from offering a full complement of graduate elective courses that lead to the degree.

  • The programs requesting to offer the course are strategically maintained by the college dean at low admission and enrollment levels.

  • The program is new and in the development stage of generating enrollment. 

  • Electives are taught in paired format to address emerging information in the discipline, but the graduate course does not meet the course enrollment expectations set by the university.

All proposals for the pairing of courses, as well as any exceptions to the provisions of this policy, shall be reviewed by the Graduate and Undergraduate Deans and the Graduate Council.  As with all courses of the University, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and/or designees shall have the responsibility for final approval.

It shall be the shared responsibility of the Graduate Dean, Undergraduate Dean, Graduate Council, and the departments offering the paired courses to ensure that the above-stated conditions are satisfied and that, in all instances, use of paired courses preserves or enhances the quality of both graduate and undergraduate programs of the University. 


The Class Schedule must make clear that both courses of a pair of courses meet at the same time and location, and with the same instructor, but that the two courses have differential requirements reflecting the different course levels.


Course proposals must be submitted and approved separately for each of the courses in the proposed pairs.  All proposals for the pairing of courses, as well as any exceptions to the provisions of this policy, shall be reviewed by the Graduate Council. 

The course proposals must address the following:

  1. Both course proposal forms must specify that the courses will be paired and that credit may not be earned in the other course of the pair at a later time;

  2. In order to assist everyone in identifying courses that are paired, departments are expected to assign to paired courses numbers that have the same last two digits;

  3. Justification for the pairing must be attached to each of the proposals;

  4. While course descriptions and course syllabi for any pair of courses should include the same topics, requirements for the graduate course must exceed those for the undergraduate course.  Syllabi must clearly delineate the requirements for graduate students that might include graduate-level reading, writing, and oral presentations, research, leadership roles within the class, and/or the demonstration of graduate-level laboratory or studio skills;

Policy will be reviewed every five years by Academic Senate.





·      GA/GTA Compensation:  Further exploration is needed to find a way to offer fee waivers.


·      Criteria for Returning Students:  Faculty seeking to use out-of-date coursework need better training to advise graduate students.


·      Graduate Writing:  CWEP will be invited to a Graduate Council meeting in Fall 2016.






Graduate Coordinators are feeling very stressed in their positions.  Many continue to feel that the University and their own Colleges do not value or recognize their work.  All release times have been rescinded by presidential action.  The responsibilities remain, however, and the work, especially in a climate of admissions closures and budget shortfalls, has increased.  The Coordinators are a very dedicated group, yet they are experiencing burnout in trying to keep their programs viable.  


Comments:  The Graduate Council recommends that the Academic

Senate work with the Administration to provide support (release time) for Graduate Coordinators, formula to be developed at the college level.





Council members were active in their own departments in the CSU Graduate Student Research Competition on April 28 and 29, 2016.


Council members will attend/officiate at the Graduate Recognition Ceremony on May 25, 2016. 





Comments:  Dean Ann Hallum has been extremely helpful in guiding

Graduate Council to be recognized as the main support committee for all Graduate Coordinators and the departments they represent.  Her repeated mission is “to continue to improve the quality of graduate education and graduate programs at SFSU.”  It is very apparent that she is passionate about this mission and she works tirelessly in trying to promote continuous improvement.  Her knowledge is comprehensive and includes: all graduate programs at SFSU; graduate programs throughout the CSU system; and national trends in graduate education.  Having Dean Hallum as an active and engaged member of the Council gives the Council members a strong sense of “ownership” of the issues and the ability to act.