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President Schulz and Dean Shanklin

This is the official chat transcript from April 09, 2012. It reads top-to-bottom.

Matthew Sellner Good evening, we’d like to thank President Schulz and Dean Shanklin for attending this evening’s online chat. This chat is specifically for graduate students to ask questions related to graduate student concerns and issues. I’m Matthew Sellner Graduate Student Council President, our other moderators are Tammy Sonnentag, GSC President-elect, Graciela Andrango, GSC Treasurer and Jennifer Miller, GSC Secretary. Please submit your questions using the form in the sidebar.

Kirk Schulz I am happy to be here, and am excited to answer your questions!

jancke asks:How much will tuition rise in the near future? Thanks

Kirk Schulz We will be submitted a proposal to the Kansas Board of Regents for a 5.5% proposed tuition and fees increase. This will be presented in the May and June meetings - so there will be some additional opportunity for dialog prior to a formal vote by the Board in June.

jancke asks:How much will tuition rise in the near future? Thanks

Carol Shanklin Good evening. I will respond initially and then President Schulz can provide additional information. Currently there is a group of students meeting with VP Shubert and other administrators discussing the proposed tuition increase for the 2012-2013 academic year. Ms. Tammy Soontage, GSC President-Elect, is representing the Graduate Student on the Council. Once a decision is made by this group and presented to President Schulz and other administrators, any tuition increases must be approved by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Matthew Sellner What is your prediction over the next 5 years for state funding of Kansas universities. I remember that funding has started to go down slightly, do you think this trend will continue and is that why there is a proposed tuition hike of 5.5%?

Kirk Schulz Let me clarify my original posting - the 5.5% proposed increase is for UG students - not Graduate Students. Thanks to Dean Shanklin for pointing this out!

Kirk Schulz Matt, excellent question. Over the past few years, the State of Kansas has run significant deficits, which has resulted in cuts every year. For the first time in many years, the State should finish with a budget surplus of between $400M and $500M. Thus, I do think that the budget situation should improve as both the State and Kansas economies pick up steam. However, it is VERY clear that in the long-term, state funds will become less and less - which means that we will need to find alternative sources of funds (private and corporate) if the university is going to continue to grow.

alpaula asks:Please, I would like to know if it is possible for me to count some of the extra credits from coursework I took at both KSU and a different university (an incomplete degree) towards my required research credits at KSU. Some of these credits from the different university were research credits, but most of them were coursework credits. I know that I am able to transfer an extra 10 credits from coursework outside KSU, in addition to 30 credits from my masters degree. I have been facing financial problems due to lack of assistantship, and even though I am done with coursework I still need to complete 27 research credits which I may not be able to afford (being an international graduate student I can not work outside campus and can not even make loans, I do not know what else to do). Thank you.

Kirk Schulz I will let Dean Shanklin handle this question ......

jancke asks:I am a GRA and I am curious on wether in the future you'll drop the tuition fees for us, because for future GRA's and me, it would become more attractive to the program. Thank you.

Carol Shanklin Funding tutition for graduate assistants is one of the priorities in K-State 2025. The need to fund tuition for GRA has been a priority for our graduate faculty and the Graduate School administration for years. The university is trying to identify multiple sources that can fund this important priority.

jancke asks:I am a GRA and I am curious on wether in the future you'll drop the tuition fees for us, because for future GRA's and me, it would become more attractive to the program. Thank you.

Kirk Schulz There are many things we need to do in order to improve our financial support for graduate students. As the State of Kansas funding picture improves, I am hopeful that we can begin to address our low stipend levels, tuition support for graduate students, build a graduate life center, and in general provide additional resources to make our graduate educational experience the best it can be!

alpaula asks:Please, I would like to know if it is possible for me to count some of the extra credits from coursework I took at both KSU and a different university (an incomplete degree) towards my required research credits at KSU. Some of these credits from the different university were research credits, but most of them were coursework credits. I know that I am able to transfer an extra 10 credits from coursework outside KSU, in addition to 30 credits from my masters degree. I have been facing financial problems due to lack of assistantship, and even though I am done with coursework I still need to complete 27 research credits which I may not be able to afford (being an international graduate student I can not work outside campus and can not even make loans, I do not know what else to do). Thank you.

Carol Shanklin You are correct that you can transfer 30 hours from a Master's Degree and 10 hours of additional credit after the date your degree was awarded from the other institution toward your doctoral degree at Kansas State University. According to the current Graduate Council Policy as stated in the Graduate Handbook, all graduate students must complete a minimum of 30 hours of research credit to earn a Ph.D. Since the Ph.D. is a research degree this is the reason for the requirement. I can visit with you to discuss this more in-depth as it is difficult to determine your program or your status in the Ph.D. program. Y

Dana Nordyke asks:Thank you for hosting this chat. As a full time professional and a graduate student, I'm wondering why online classes are still so much more expensive than in-seat courses? Is there any talk of lowering the fees in the future? It's very hard to do in-seat courses after a full day at work, but also difficult to find the extra money to make online courses work. Any thoughts?

Kirk Schulz Dana - great question. Our funding model for distance education continues to be something that we are addressing on campus. VP Bruce Shubert continues to make progress in ensuring that the Division of CE has a stable budget line (it has been in the red over the last couple of year), and once we have that stabilized, we can look at things we need to do in terms of fees to ensure our on-line coursework is as cost effective as possible for students

Carol Shanklin If any of the graduate students who presented their research at the Student Research Session for the Kansas Board of Regents are online, I'd like to express our appreciation for the excellent job you did representing Kansas State University and your graduate program. Your enthusiasm about your research project and your ability to explain your research to the general public was exceptional. Thank you for representing K-State and your graduate student colleagues so effectively.

Kirk Schulz Let me add my kudos to Dean Shanklin's. The Regents were VERY impressed with all of the Poster presentations and learned a lot of about the excellent research all of you are doing.

Carol Shanklin President Schulz would you share your idea of what a Graduate Student Life Center would be like--short term and long term. A Graduate Student Life Center will definitely part of the Graduate School draft strategic plan for 2025.

Matthew Sellner I received this question today from a student who wished to remain anonymous. The question is two parts. 1) Is there any proposal to improve the relationship between graduate students and their mentors? 2) More specifically, is their any proposal to improve communication and establish guidelines for expectations of graduate students and their mentors?

Manpreet Rai asks:Hello Dr. Shanklin and Dr. Schulz. Thanks for taking the time to come talk with us tonight. I had more of an 'affective' question I suppose. What advice would you give to grad students who are having a great time as grad students but will soon be transitioning into acadmia? Any words of advice to help us make that transition into the 'real world' better?

Kirk Schulz If you will be moving into an academic position - GREAT! I believe working at a college/university is one of the best jobs around. A couple of ideas - First, avoid departmental politics as a new faculty member - stand on the sidelines and observe. This will be key as you move through your career. Second, make sure that you are realistic in your scholarship expectations. If you are going to a regional university (which is fine), then don't expect to be able to attract post-docs like you could at Stanford. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't reach for the stars - but just temper your expectations. Third, be a good colleague. Help when you can - but experience the UG students and graduate students in your new home. Fourth, find a mentor who is a senior faculty member and can help you when you have issues - they have been "around the block" and can often give great advice. Finally - have FUN!

Tammy Sonnentag As our top administrators, you hear the many concerns of Graduate Students campus wide. What, in your opinion, are the one or two "more immediate" actions that you beleive K-State should implement to improve Graduate Students' educational (and personal) experience?

Manpreet Rai asks:Hello Dr. Shanklin and Dr. Schulz. Thanks for taking the time to come talk with us tonight. I had more of an 'affective' question I suppose. What advice would you give to grad students who are having a great time as grad students but will soon be transitioning into acadmia? Any words of advice to help us make that transition into the 'real world' better?

Carol Shanklin My advice would be to use your networks to find the type of position that you really want. I would advise you to visit with some K-State faculty who were recently hired in your field and learn about the interview process in your field. Many universities are conducting either Skype or telephone interviews to narrow the pool of potential applicants to bring to campus for face-to-face inteviews. Practice with your mentor or graduate colleagues. Remember that you need to have a list of questions prepared that you want to learn about the university. Market your strengths in your cover letter and during your interview. Prepare for the interview--study the university's and department's website. Look at the university vision/mission.

Kirk Schulz Matt, these are two tough areas. They were issues when I was a graduate student in the 1980's - and I remember feeling very vunerable as a Ph.D. student - as your mentor can really effect your post graduate career. I think that we need to be sure that as new faculty members come on board, we need to be sure we are providing training and advice on how to best mentor graduate students. Many people simply work with their graduate students the same way their mentor did. If their mentor did an excellent job working with graduate students, then the experience is a good one. If their mentor was NOT good working with graduate students - the cycle of poor advising and mentoring continues. My suggestion to the student is to find a person OUTSIDE their current academic home to turn to for advice - someone not on their committee who can give them some assistance.

Carol Shanklin Quality of mentoring is a concern of both President Schulz, Provost Mason, and all the Graduate School administrators. The approaches to mentoring varies by discipline and the experience of the faculty mentor. In the future the Graduate School will host a workshops on quality mentoring and setting expectations. Communication between student and mentor is one of the most important aspects that influences the quality of a student experience. At the new graduate faculty orientation we currently discuss the role of mentors and the importance of the mentoring in faciliating student success. Unfortunately not all new faculty attend the new graduate faculty orientation sessions. WE'll keep working to try and improve the quality of mentoring experiences for students.

Carol Shanklin Tammy, based on my interaction with graduate students I think two immediate action that administration needs to continue to address are financial support for graduate students (tuition for GRA and more competitive stipends) and a support system both human and infrastructure to support and encourage more interdisciplinary research opportunities for our graduate students. We also need to provide more networking opportunties for students from different disciplines to interact in informal settings as well as during research symposiums, etc.

Kirk Schulz Tammy - excellent question. I believe that there are really three key things that come up. First, student stipends. Second, student stipends. Third, student stipends. This really seems to be the most pressing issue around campus. The other major item is affordable graduate student health insurance.

awilhoit asks:As Student Body President Spriggs gets ready to begin his second term what advice would you give him about interacting and promoting the interests of the Graduate Student Body?

Carol Shanklin I would encourage him to include as many graduate student senators who are interested and available to serve on SGA committees. I think an ongoing intentional communication with Tammy Soontage and our other elected and volunteer officers to learn more about the needs of graduate students. Perhaps Tammy and President Spriggs could organize some open forums for the graduate students to listen to their concerns. Individual graduate students should communicate with their senators on issues that should be addressed by SGA or GSC.

awilhoit asks:As Student Body President Spriggs gets ready to begin his second term what advice would you give him about interacting and promoting the interests of the Graduate Student Body?

Kirk Schulz In my experience, the needs of graduate students and UG students are significantly different. I would suggest that Nate ask the graduate students what are their top five concerns about their time at Kansas State. I believe he has a good feeling for what those might be for UG students - so this would be a good start on seeing the key differences in our student perceptions.

mlynes asks:Thank you Dr. Schultz for being available for questions. I know the school is working toward providing tuition wavers for GRAs in addition to GTAs. What I was wondering is if there is any sort of time frame that this is excepted to happen within?

Kirk Schulz I think that this will be at least a couple of years away - all depending on the financial position within the State of Kansas.

Carol Shanklin For those of you considering careers in industry, I was requested to share the following opportunity with Graduate Students. The email was from Dr. Eric Maatta. Please help share this opportunity with Graduate Students in your program. This Friday, April 13, members of our Chemistry Alumni Advisory Council will be hosting an interactive discussion forum with students broadly centered on the topic of "Preparing to Distinguish Oneself in Today's Job Market". It will be held in King 4 starting at 2:30 p.m. If you could please publicize this to students and any appropriate student groups, that would be appreciated. Dr. John Berschied, recently retired as VP for Global Research at Alberto, will give insight on what non-technical skills scientific employers are looking for - his talk is called "Not Just a Geek". (!) Dr. Johanna Haggstrom, Tenet Manager for Water Conservation at Halliburton's Duncan Technology Center, will share her thoughts on "If I knew then what I know now" as a recent Ph.D. graduate. And, Ken Klabunde will reflect on what non-chemistry lessons he learned in establishing and sustaining the company he founded, NanoScale, Inc. Several other chemistry alumni will be present, and we hope that students will come willing to ask questions and gain advice from K-Staters who are successful in a variety of careers in industry and research institutes. And, at 4:00, we'll have Call Hall ice cream at an even more informal gathering in the 2nd floor foyer of CB.

Kirk Schulz Folks - I have got to run - so I will let Dean Shanklin answer any final questions. I appreciate the important role graduate students play on our campus, and look forward to building a Top 50 public research university graduate educational experience at Kansas State!

Leidy Pena Duque asks:Hi, I would like to know what are the procedures that the Grad School follows when a Grad student has difficulties within his department to verify that he was granted a due process cince the departments manage those issues indepentdently, thanks

Carol Shanklin The Graduate School has a two-part process to faciliate due process. Appendix A of the Graduate School Handbook (available on the Graduate School website) describes the processes. The first series of meetings to try and faciliate/mediate the process. The second part is the formal grievance process. If a graduate student has questions or just needs to discuss current concerns that may lead to the mediation/grievance process, the student should schedule an appointment with either Dr. Duane Crawford or Dr. Jim Guikema.

Leidy Pena Duque asks:Hi, I would like to know what are the procedures that the Grad School follows when a Grad student has difficulties within his department to verify that he was granted a due process cince the departments manage those issues indepentdently, thanks

Kirk Schulz Excellent question - Carol ...

Carol Shanklin As a reminder the deadlines for graduation and commencement for spring semester are available on the Graduate School website. In addition videos for both masters and doctoral students are available that explain the process. Good luck to those of you planning on graduating in May.

Tammy Sonnentag Would you mind sharing a short history of your academic/professional past that describes how you reached your current position? I know I am fascinated to hear about the success stories of K-State's faculty and administrators.

Carol Shanklin I began my academic career as a faculty member at Texas Tech University and then moved to Texas Woman's University where I was promoted through the ranks. During last five years at TWU, I served as Department Head while continuing to mentor many graduate students. I found that I did not have as much time as I wished to work with graduate students. I was atracted to K-State since I could focus on graduate education and research. I served as graduate program director for 10 years prior to joining the Graduate School on a part-time basis. I continued to increase my time in the Graduate School until I was full-time. This was a tough decision because of my love for teaching, research, and mentoring of graduate students. I was appointing interim dean in 2007 when Graduate School was separated from the Office of Research. Later when the position was announced, I applied and was selected for the position. Throughout my career I was involved in leadership positions in my professional associations.

Carol Shanklin For students who have simliar interest to Tammy, the Women of K-State will be hosting a panel discussion on Pathway to Leadership:Meet the Women Deans of Kansas State University on Wednesday, April 18th in the KSU ALumni Association Ballroom from 12:00-1:00 or 4:00-5:00 p.m.

Carol Shanklin Congratulations to our new GSC officers: Tammy Soontage--President Taylor Wadian--President-elect Kavitha Penugonda--Treasurer Jennifer Miller--Secretary Tammy and the Executive will need several volunteers to chair or serve on the different committees. We need to get as many graduate students involved as possible.

Carol Shanklin Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. Best wishes as you complete all your paper/projects and research this semester.

Matthew Sellner And this concludes our chat for this evening. Thanks to the students that participated and asked excellent questions this evening. Another chat will be hosted in the fall. Best of luck to everyone, I'm Matthew Sellner and will sign us off for the evening.