by John McMahon

EO Report

Course Enrollment/Course Caps

  • course caps at 12 people will be enforced with loopholes
  • Because of new fellowship regime, there are fewer people in the program, but still need to fill seats to keep courses afloat
    • Course caps can effectively redistribute bodies
  • Need 5 people to start a course; once a class meets once, it cannot be cancelled, so need 5 people at the start even if they later drop
    • Classes not running an especially big problem for consortial faculty
  • Policy going forward: registration for a course capped at 12, above that there will be a wait list
    • Will be left to the discretion of the professor running the course how many to allow in above 12
    • Advice from the EO: if you really want to be in a course, show up, talk to the prof, talk to the EO – you should be able to get into any course you want
      • Getting in, though, will happen once the semester begins, not before


First Exams

  • Department bylaws require only 2 graders on First Exams; the practice going forward, though, will be that all exams should be read by 3 graders
    • Most subfields doing this already – IR sometimes only two
  • EO is instructing subfield chairs to have them/their exam graders write fuller comments and provide better feedback on first exams – at least three or four sentences (instead of the 1-2 sentences often received now), preferably at least a paragraph or two
    • This is paired with greater pressure to avoid professors writing grades like ‘low pass’, ‘high pass,’ etc. on exams: grade has to fall in a given category, but can shade/add nuance in longer comments
  • Winter First Exam Results
    • 3 CP (2 pass)
    • 5 IR (4 pass)


Admissions (overview from DEO)

  • 149 applicants this year (126 PhD applicants)
    • slight decline from past years, probably because of increased media/general awareness of terribleness of academic job market + balancing out from especially high application levels after 2008-9 crash
  • good subfield distribution, although PT and CP continue to be strongest
  • will be 12 PhDs admitted (9 on GCFs, 3 on tuition fellowships)
    • department may push 8th floor to allows program to exceed cap of 12 if strong international students are bringing funding from their home countries
  • some worry expressed that GC has become a “more desirable safety school” for the top candidates
    • because of better fellowship packages, probably
    • may not be able to get the top preferred candidates to actually come


Passing of Howard Lentner

  • Will remember him as part of Alumni Awards Night; someone will be invited to say a few words regarding his life, research, and contributions to the program


New Business

Student Appeal Procedures

  • In the event of any future student appeals that come to the Executive Committee, students will be asked to leave after specified amount of time to present their case and answer any questions


New Business from Student Reps

Methods Requirement

  • Reps noticed that there is a discrepancy between the Student Handbook – which says that taking a methods class is ‘advisable’ – and the GC Bulletin entry for our program – which says that a methods class is ‘required’
    • From Registrar’s perspective, GC Bulletin is ruling document, so for them to move a student to Level III, there must be a methods class taken
    • Students have gotten caught in this interstice
  • Student Rep request: these documents need to be brought into line with another
  • Debate: do we as a program a) need a clearly delineated requirement OR b) want to maintain the slippage between Handbook and Bulletin, so that EO has possible flexibility to massage the requirement a bit?
    • General agreement that regardless of the way it is manifested, there should not be this slippage
  • Decision: Student Handbook will be revised to say that a methods course is required, bringing it in line with GC Bulletin; paired with commitment for this requirement to be “broadly manifested” in terms of course offerings
    • Methods training necessary in terms of marketability for jobs
    • Will not narrowly apply this requirement; possibility of developing a broader course along the lines of ‘Methods of Inquiry’
      • Quantitative and qualitative methods as used in rest of political science not necessarily applicable/important for Theory students
    • Need greater commitment in the program to teach quantitative methods
    • Not one specific course that fulfills this requirement – attempt to maintain some flexibility in how students fulfill it


Revision of “Political Science Examination Protocols” and “Format for Preparing a Dissertation Proposal”

  • Student Rep request: Both of these documents should be reviewed and updated
    • Examination Protocols last updated 2004; Proposal guidelines last updated 2002
    • Are a number of practices in the Examination Protocols that are wrong/not consistent with practice and with Student Handbook
  • Faculty agree that these documents need to be updated
  • Curriculum and Exams Committee will be charged with performing a review and possible revision
    • Ensures both students and faculty involvment


Mock Job Talks

  • Student Reps presented overview of idea for Mock Job Talks; faculty agree this is a good idea
  • Meeting had run over, reps asked to follow-up over email
  • Student Reps have meeting scheduled with EO to start to finalize organization/logistics/procedures for mock job talks

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