MCS GSAC Meeting Minutes
March 1, 2000

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March 1, 2000

In Attendance:

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

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


Lorraine gave an overview of the information currently available on the GSAC web site. Links have been added to information on career resources, departmental seminars, the Careers in Science seminar series, current GSAC projects and issues, and departmental contact information. Additional contact information was provided for Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences. The web site will be publicized via departmental d-lists after that information has been posted--probably by the end of next week. GSAC members were encouraged to contact Lorraine with further suggestions for links and content for the web site.


David proposed that the members of GSAC consider taking a more active role in GSAC operating procedures. Currently David schedules the meetings, prepares the agenda, and coordinates other activities as needed. Since his tenure as Associate Dean of Graduate and Faculty Affairs will be over at the end of this academic year, GSAC should plan for self-operation in the case that David's replacement is not as active in committee administration. The issue will be put on the agenda for further discussion at the next GSAC meeting. At that time, the issue of the selection process and length of service of GSAC members will also be discussed.


Rich and Kathryn presented recommendations for the qualities and role of departmental ombudspersons. The recommendations are to be expanded into a draft policy. GSAC identified three issues to be covered in detail by the draft policy: 1) Description of desirable ombudsperson qualities 2) Description of the specific responsibilities of an ombudsperson and 3) Description of the selection process. The draft policy should be broad enough that it does not conflict with any procedures or situations already in place. Also, resources and support for ombudspersons should be specifically provided for. Suggestions for such resources and support included periodic meetings of ombudspersons and the appointment of a Dean's Office ombudsperson to serve as a coordinator and consultant to the departmental ombudspersons. Rich and Kathryn will update the present draft in time to circulate to the GSAC and faculty visitor before the next meeting.

GSAC members identified a faculty member in each department to be invited to the next meeting to participate in further discussions and to give input on the draft policy. Susan Henry will also attend the next meeting and will be asked for her reaction to and recommendations for the draft policy. When a draft policy satisfactory to GSAC members, the faculty representatives and Susan Henry is complete, it will be presented for review at a Department Heads meeting before going before the College Council for approval.


Alex, Brian and David presented a list of areas of expectation that are important to clarify to graduate students as well as information that is already available to them. GSAC reviewed the list and made one addition.

This list will serve as the basis for the development of a recommendation to the departments regarding information that should be readily available to incoming graduate students. Such information would also be useful as a recruitment tool and as a resource for advisors and ombudspersons.

As a next step toward forming the recommendation for departments, GSAC will identify possible sources of data for each item on the list. Furthermore, GSAC members will consult their department heads to obtain a list of graduate programs comparable to those of MCS for benchmarking purposes. This information will be reviewed at the next meeting, and further steps toward the development of a recommendation to the departments will be identified and undertaken.


GSAC discussed possibilities for a science social event this semester. Members agreed that the event should be informal, geared toward students (faculty not to be invited), and that it should somehow promote interaction between the departments. Brian suggested an informal poster session/cocktail party. Aimee will draft an e-mail to be sent to the graduate student body to gauge interest in such an event. Lorraine will check the availability of rooms in the UC, and obtain estimates from catering for a proposed budget. Findings will be discussed at the next meeting of GSAC, and further action toward planning the event will be taken accordingly.

Summary of Action Items: