MCS GSAC Meeting Minutes
February 9, 2000

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February 9, 2000

In Attendance:

Brian Sage
Heather Ziegler
Richard Pilston
Aimee Tomlinson
Alexander Bondarenko
Kathryn Trapp
Dorothy Farrell
Marc Fasnacht
David Owen
Lorraine Miller
Renee Starek

1999 - 2000 GSAC Minutes Archive
May 5, 2000
April 12, 2000
March 1, 2000
February 9, 2000
January 13, 2000


Renee Starek, the MCS Career Consultant, provided an overview of the resources and services available to graduate students at the Career Center. She also responded to recommendations from GSAC members (compiled by Heather and Marc) about how to improve career development services.

GSAC discussed methods for advertising Career Center services to the MCS graduate community, and how to encourage students to use the services. Because of the volume of informational e-mail received by students on a daily basis, GSAC members agreed e-mail is not an effective means of mass communication. Renee offered to create a graduate career resources bboard, and to write and distribute a monthly one-page newsletter of career center events, employer visits, new or updated resources, tips on looking for a job, etc. Each fall an issue of the newsletter would be devoted to an overview of resources available to MCS graduate students for career development. Also, the new GSAC web site will contain links to relevant pages on the Career Center web site, as well as links to seminars being hosted by each of the departments. The bboard, newsletter, and web site are to be publicized as they become available via the departmental d-lists.


Susan Henry will attend a future GSAC meeting to discuss what actions are being taken in response to Advisory Board recommendations for improving the quality of graduate education. Since Susan would like a formal progress report in April, it was agreed that she should attend a meeting near the end of March so her expectations for such a report could be discussed.

The question of whether the deadline for electing to take a course pass/fail should be extended has been raised at the undergraduate level. GSAC determined that this issue did not require consideration, based on the infrequent use of pass/fail grading in MCS graduate courses.


Brian and Heather provided a list of contacts for graduate students in Biological Sciences. The other GSAC members are to send a list of contacts from their departments via e-mail to Lorraine so she can post them on the web site. The lists are to include the name and e-mail address of the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) representative for each department.

GSAC members approved the preliminary design and content of the new web site. Suggestions for content and links were given to Lorraine. The site is to be reviewed and updated and then introduced to the MCS graduate community via departmental d-lists. The site should be ready for introduction in about a week.

The GSAC mission statement was reviewed and approved with one very minor change. The mission statement will appear on the GSAC web site.


Dorothy reported that, because the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) receives funds from the student activity fee, undergraduates must be invited to all GSA-sponsored events. Often, undergraduates make up the bulk of participants at these events. GSAC would like to explore using MCS money to sponsor some events exclusively for and geared toward MCS graduate students. David reminded the members to keep in mind the diversity of graduate students when planning such events.


Preliminary agenda items for the next GSAC meeting (scheduled for Wednesday March 1) include:

  • Departmental Ombudsperson. Faculty members interested in this issue will be identified and invited to attend the following meeting. GSAC's views on the role and desirable characteristics of ombusdpersons will be discussed.
  • Calibrating expectations. GSAC will discuss the data gathered by Brian and Alex about areas of the MCS graduate experience that need clarification for students.
  • Updates on career development.
  • Suggestions for and estimates of the cost of MCS-sponsored social events for graduate students.