2007 Reaffirmation Teams :: 3.6.3 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams

2007 Reaffirmation Teams

3.6.3 - 2007 Reaffirmation Teams

The majority of credits toward a graduate or a post-baccalaureate professional degree are earned through the institution awarding the degree. In the case of graduate and post-baccalaureate professional degree programs offered through joint, cooperative, or consortia arrangements, the student earns a majority of credits from the participating institutions. (See Commission policy "The Transfer or Transcripting of Academic Credit.")

Compliance Judgment

Non-Compliance

Narrative

Action Plan

The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) will amend its graduate catalog and Policy Memorandum 87-III.25-48, Procedures for Completing a Graduate Degree, in September 2007 to ensure that all graduate students receive the majority of credits toward their degree from UT Dallas courses taken while enrolled at UT Dallas. This amendment will not affect any current graduate students, because no graduate students currently enrolled at UT Dallas have transferred (or will be able to transfer) a majority of credits toward their degree. Historically, no graduate student at UT Dallas has graduated with less than a majority of the required degree credit hours, but this amendment will also ensure that UT Dallas remains in full compliance with all aspects of Principle 3.6.3.

As specified in the 2006-08 graduate catalog, UT Dallas awards graduate degrees only to those students who have earned at least one half of the graduate credit hours toward their degree while attending UT Dallas [1]. The precise wording in the catalog is: “Up to 15 semester credit hours of graduate courses taken elsewhere can be transferred towards a master’s degree. Up to one-half of the required hours for a doctoral degree can be transferred from another university.” This wording contradicts the official policy on the transfer credit for doctoral credit hours, Policy Memorandum 87-III.25-48, Procedures for Completing a Graduate Degree, which permits only the hours earned for a master’s degree to be transferred. The wording in the policy reads: “A master’s degree or its equivalent may be transferred from another university for up to 36 semester hours of credit towards a doctoral degree [2].” The policy still allows a master’s student to transfer up to 15 graduate credit hours. Upon the discovery of this discrepancy in the process of preparing the response to Principle 3.6.3 [3], the executive vice president and provost (provost) instructed the dean of graduate studies to initiate the process of changing the wording in both the catalog and in the policy to make it clear that all graduate students at UT Dallas must earn more than fifty percent of their graduate credit while enrolled at UT Dallas. Specifically, the provost wrote: “The policy guidelines of SACS on this issue state that the ‘majority of hours’ counted toward a graduate degree must be taken at the awarding institution. The UT Dallas policy guidelines state that ‘up to 50%’ of the hours counted toward the graduate degree must be taken at the awarding institution. To eliminate any linguistic hair-splitting, we need to change our policy so that it reflects SACS policy precisely, namely we need to change our wording from ‘up to 50%’ to ‘less than 50%’ in our catalog copy and handbook of operating procedures. Please prepare the necessary paperwork to accomplish this for action by the Academic Senate and the administration [4].” The Academic Senate will act on these changes in the policy and the online catalog on September 20, 2007, after which the policy will be sent to The University of Texas System’s (UT System) Office of General Counsel (OGC) for official approval. Once that approval has been received the revised policy will be posted in the Handbook of Operating Procedures and on the provost’s policy memorandum webpage. The online graduate catalog will be changed, and the faculty will be notified of the changes via e-mail by the faculty governance secretary.

The following response to Principle 3.6.3 reflects the current 2006-08 catalog copy; the numbers will change once the revised policy goes into effect, but the procedures will remain the same. Under that catalog, enrolled students can petition for graduate coursework taken at another university to be recognized and applied in meeting the UT Dallas requirements for the degree as follows: for a UT Dallas master’s degree requiring 30 to 36 graduate credit hours, up to 15 credit hours of approved graduate credit taken elsewhere may be transferred and applied to the UT Dallas master’s degree requirements. Credit earned in attaining a relevant master’s degree at another university (up to 36 credit hours) can also be recognized and applied toward the minimum 90 graduate credit hour requirement of all doctoral degrees at UT Dallas. Doctoral students can also petition to transfer up to nine post-master’s graduate credit hours. All such transfer of credit must meet constraints discussed below with regards to earned grades, type of instruction, and appropriate approvals, and cannot occur until after the student has completed nine semester hours at UT Dallas. These limits apply specifically to transfer credit earned prior to enrollment in the graduate program at UT Dallas [2]. The parameters for the review and acceptance of all graduate transfer credits by the dean of graduate studies are authorized by the Council of Graduate Education (Graduate Council) in consultation with the dean of graduate studies [5].

All petitions for transfer of credit must be prepared by the student and must be approved by the student’s graduate program before being submitted to the dean of graduate studies for approval. The request for acceptance of prior graduate-level coursework must be accompanied by a copy of the official transcript, an official explanation of the course numbering system at the school where the credit was earned, and a listing of the required UT Dallas coursework that the credit will replace.

To qualify for the transfer of credit, the grade earned in the graduate level course must be a “B” or better, and it must be from an accredited college or university. The course cannot be a correspondence or extension course. Also, UT Dallas does not award transfer credit for experiential learning, performance, or experience. Courses delivered in a distance-learning format are considered on a case-by-case basis by the dean of graduate studies.

All petitions for transfer of credit for coursework taken prior to enrolling at UT Dallas must be submitted to the student’s graduate program advisor by the student prior to filing a program of study form; however, acceptance of transfer credit hours does not occur until after the student has completed nine semester credit hours at UT Dallas with a grade point average of at least 3.0. All petitions must be processed and approved no later than the semester prior to the expected graduation term. Accordingly, requests to take courses at another institution during the semester a student plans to graduate cannot be approved because the grades may not be received in time to certify the student(s) for graduation. Additional information about graduate transfer credit can be found in the response to Principle 3.4.4 [6].

None of the graduate degrees for which UT Dallas is authorized [7] are offered through a joint program; however UT Dallas has entered into a number of cooperative agreements designed to promote academic exchanges and research collaborations with other universities [8]. For example, UT Dallas has an agreement with The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern); this agreement is designed to stimulate biomedical dialogue and research interactions. This agreement allows students to enroll concurrently at UT Dallas and UT Southwestern and access specialized research capabilities at both institutions. UT Dallas students earn UT Dallas credit, and faculty at both institutions work with the students engaged in such an arrangement. A similar arrangement can be made at The University of Texas at Arlington (UT Arlington). In the majority of these cases, the student is working in tandem with a faculty member whose research requires work across institutional lines [9]. In all cases, the dean of graduate studies reviews for approval each such request [10] [11]. The Office of the Registrar provides an updated and standardized form used by UT Southwestern, UT Arlington, and UT Dallas [12]. Any credit awarded as transfer credit through such an arrangement either meets the limits for transfer credit or is granted as an exception based on the review of the individual student’s case.

Visiting student programs also exist among the UT System institutions. Approval for such coursework must be gained through the academic program and dean of graduate studies of both the home and host institutions in advance of registration. In the case of students enrolling in one of the Texas A&M University programs, the enrollment must be approved in advance with a clear expectation of how the course will apply to the student’s program of studies. Again, prior approval of the dean of graduate studies at the home and host institutions is required. Credit is awarded to the student’s program as transfer credit.

In line with UT Dallas exchange agreements in Mexico and overseas universities in Europe and Asia, graduate credit earned by UT Dallas students is treated as transfer credit and must meet all approvals and standards for transfer credits.

Any credit awarded as transfer credit through any of these opportunities requires approval from the dean of graduate studies. The dean of graduate studies reports that between five and 10 UT Dallas students participate in such cooperative or visiting student programs each year [13]. Coursework completed at any other institution is transcripted as transfer credit with the name of the institution included.

The university offers a number of online programs [14], and the coursework is exclusively UT Dallas coursework. The majority of these programs exist within the School of Management; the notable exception involves the M.A.T. in science education offered in conjunction with The UT System TeleCampus (UTTC). UTTC offers the entire program online, but all of the credit is UT Dallas graduate course credit [15]. Students within this program are allowed a maximum of 12 transfer credit hours.

Students applying to complete a graduate degree at UT Dallas have their application and entire graduate academic history reviewed by the Dean of Graduate Studies who submits the candidate list to the Academic Senate for final approval.

Supporting Documents

Footnote Document
[1]UT Dallas Graduate Catalog, Degree Requirements
PDF Document, 2 Pages, 13.20 KB (catalog1030)
[2]Policy Memorandum 87-III.25-48 Procedures for Completing a Graduate Degree
PDF Document, 14 Pages, 166.49 KB (policy1064)
[3]Principle 3.6.3 - Majority of Graduate Credits (u343)
Link to UT Dallas 2007-ccr Compliance Certification Report
[4]Provost Memo on Majority of Graduate Credit
PDF Document, 1 Page, 182.67 KB (memo1073)
[5]Policy Memorandum 02-III.21-87 UT Dallas Council of Graduate Education
PDF Document, 2 Pages, 10.50 KB (memo1029)
[6]Principle 3.4.4 - Evaluating Academic Credit (u328)
Link to UT Dallas 2007-ccr Compliance Certification Report
[7]THECB Inventory of degree programs - dated 20070214
PDF Document, 3 Pages, 21.32 KB (list1038)
[8]Graduate Tuition and Required Fees - 2007
PDF Document, 4 Pages, 18.82 KB (catalog1060)
[9]Concurrent Enrollment - UT System Cooperative Agreements - 31 July 1997
PDF Document, 1 Page, 232.57 KB (report1339)
[10]Cooperative Programs Form
PDF Document, 1 Page, 124.96 KB (memo1064)
[11]Cooperative/Consortium Program Application and Reporting Form
PDF Document, 2 Pages, 429.66 KB (form1035)
[12]Concurrent Enrollment Form
PDF Document, 2 Pages, 95.26 KB (form1034)
[13]List: Graduate Student Visiting Students Program
PDF Document, 2 Pages, 12.14 KB (list1072)
[14]UT Dallas Online Programs Webpage
PDF Document, 1 Page, 18.83 KB (statement1230)
[15]Master of Arts in Teaching Science Education Online Webpage
PDF Document, 2 Pages, 25.62 KB (statement1231)