In Spring 2010, Provost Dallal assembled a small Graduate Task Force (GTF) to revise and improve admissions, financial aid, and academic policies and procedures for the University’s graduate students, and to prepare a proposal for the establishment of a Graduate Council to oversee their implementation. In addition to Provost Dallal and Associate Provost Ghaddar, the GTF included Dr. K. Kabalan, FEA's representative on the Board of Graduate Studies, and Dr R. Talhouk, chair of the FAS Graduate Studies Committee. Their participation was invaluable since FEA had -- and still has -- AUB's largest graduate population (Master’s and PhD), while FAS is the University’s biggest faculty and, at that time, the only other faculty offering doctoral degrees.
Highlights and Status of Recent Changes
Revised Graduate Admissions Policy/Procedures: This revision unified the graduate admissions policies of faculties/schools in several ways, most notably, by ending the practice of rolling graduate admissions and setting clear deadlines for the submission of applications for Summer/Fall and Spring entrance to the University. It also added an accelerated PhD track for students holding Bachelor’s degrees who are focused on doctoral studies. Approved by the Senate in June 2010, most of the new policies first appeared in AUB’s 2010-11 Graduate Catalogue. The exception is a section of the policy document entitled the Application Review Process, which is certain to be of interest to departmental faculty and committee members. A separate committee chaired by the VP for Information Technology, R. Khayat-Toubia, and including staff from her office, Admissions, and the Provost’s Office worked to automate and provide online access to most graduate application and admissions processes.
Unified Graduate Academic Rules and Regulations: The GTF next looked at AUB’s academic rules and regulations for graduate students to ensure that they were consistent with current practice and across degree programs in accordance with the University’s minimum requirements. The new policy introduced clear definitions of full-time graduate student status and revised course loads; procedures for changes of major; policies for the transfer of credits; probation and dismissal rules for Master’s students; requisites for Master’s thesis and non-thesis options; comprehensive examination and thesis proposal, committee, and defense regulations; and graduation requirements. It also revised PhD program requirements for both regular and accelerated tracks; and unified the language and basic requirements for all programs, covering most of the areas already mentioned in relation to Master’s programs. After input from faculty deans and graduate studies committees, a revised draft of the new rules was sent to the Board of Graduate Studies (BGS) and then approved by the Senate prior to publication in the 2011-12 Graduate Catalogue.
Graduate Financial Aid Policies: This proposal further develops existing policies for graduate assistantships, graduate research assistantships, graduate fellowships, and the graduate work-study program. It addresses the allocation of full-time GAs across academic units based on need, as well as appointment processes, deadlines, and compensation (monthly stipends) for GAs and GRAs. The proposal is currently before the BOD and will ultimately require BOT approval due to the long-term budgetary consequences.
Creation of the Graduate Council: After much consideration, the GTF decided that the University had insufficient doctoral candidates (since the reintroduction of PhD programs in 2007-08) to support a School of Graduate Studies, which various internal studies had recommended in recent years. Instead, the task force proposed the establishment of a Graduate Council to oversee and implement the graduate policies and procedures discussed above. In June 2011, the Board of Trustees approved the proposal, which had already been endorsed by the BOD and Senate; and, in October of the same year, Dr R. Talhouk was appointed to chair the council.