Graduate Council Advisory Committee
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Members present: Richard Gray, L. Kyle Grimes, Bryan Noe, Susan Rich, Jeff Engler, Stephen J. O’Connor, Erica Pryor
Staff: Thomas Harris
Guest: Mindy Lalor, David Littlefield
- Dr. Noe opened meeting by introducing Drs. Lalor and Littlefield who attended to discuss the Interdisciplinary Engineering program.
Dr. Engler discussed the ESL assessments. This was the first year for mandatory testing for all international students who are required to have a TOFL score. There were 119 students who underwent speaking and writing assessments. (110 graduate students, 9-10 postdocs) Roughly 50% of students were recommended for ESL course work. A handout provided data comparisons from last year with this year. The numbers of students recommended for ESL course work were lower due to better pass rate during testing. The Spring ’08 testing will be completed in late December and early January. A database is being developed to compare TOFL scores with UAB speaking and writing test results to help identify students who will have the most difficulty. Dr. Engler discussed responsible conduct of research initiatives. Using resources from a CGS/NSF grant supplemented with internal funds, several focus groups have been set up to develop case studies (9 students/9 faculty). Three case studies have been developed thus far and two of those three will be made into videos to be used in introductory courses. A longer term goal is to have RCR material available in a continuing education format. Online resources have also been identified that can be used at the program level. The Grad School will assume responsibility for checking students’ IRB & IACUC approvals when a student is advanced to candidacy as well as at the thesis/dissertation approval stage. Educational modules on data ownership, and certification of ownership, will be developed by the office of the V.P. for Research. An investment is also being made to educate undergraduates before reaching graduate school. Dr. Noe announced a new award: The Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentorship will be administered through the graduate school. A handout containing details was provided. Update: Subcommittees on resource allocation; weighted criteria will be covered during the October ADCOM meeting.
- Dr. Lalor provided background information regarding the program. Environmental Health Engineering was started in the late 1990’s as a joint program between School of Public Health and the School of Engineering. In early 2000’s Environmental Health Sciences pulled out of program. The School of Engineering then had a new area of research in computational mechanics and modeling simulation that was really flourishing. The EHS students were using similar tools in their research and implying them to environmental health issues. Also, many new students were interested in the tools for computational mechanics and modeling simulation. The genesis of the Interdisciplinary Engineering program is rooted in this background. It will accommodate the interests of new students who have a computational mechanics emphasis, and allow them to a certain extent to create their own curriculum. By academic year 2011-2012 the program anticipates admitting twenty students a year. Five fellowships will be available each year with students moving onto a funded project after their first year. UAB facilities will be a key strength relative to other those available at other schools. Interdisciplinary Engineering encompasses several fields of study from health professions, i.e. medicine and dentistry, to aerospace and defense. State employment projections show a need for students graduating with such as that which will be provided by the program. Being able to market the program as Interdisciplinary Engineering will be advantageous in recruitment. It will be important to follow up with graduating students to track job placement. Over time the program will add content to differentiate it relative to similar programs. It will also be important to demonstrate the benefits to Alabama. After discussion, ADCOM approved the program to be submitted for consideration by the ACGD and by ACHE.
Meeting Adjourned at 5:00 p.m.