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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Orientation for Directors of Graduate Studies

Directors of Graduate Studies are invited to attend a DGS Orientation on Wednesday, September 17, from 10-11:30 a.m. in 101 Walter Library.

All Directors of Graduate Stuides are welcome to attend, but new Directors are particularly encouraged to take this opportunity to learn more about the role of the Graduate School, meet members of the Graduate School staff as well as the Academic Support Resources graduate student services staff, and hear about how we can assist you with your DGS responsibilities.

Click here to RSVP.

Changes to tuition billing and due dates

Beginning fall 2014, tuition billing and due dates will occur approximately two weeks earlier than in years past. This will affect most students holding a Graduate Assistantship or Fellowship, as they will receive their first paycheck after the first bill for tuition and fees is due. In order to ensure that those students are not adversely affected by the change, late and installment fees will be waived for the first bill of each fall and spring semester.

The Office of Student Finance sent an email to incoming graduate students with job codes that are eligible for the late and installment fee waiver on Tuesday, August 26. The Office of Student Finance is planning on identifying students that will receive the waiver on approximately Thursday, September 4. Only students who have those job codes entered on their student record will receive the waiver.

Programmatic student holds

With the start of fall semester, it is important that any programmatic holds on student accounts are reconciled (provided the student has completed all necessary steps to resolve the hold).

As a reminder, colleges and programs are now able to place/remove the following holds:

  • OJ - general hold

  • OM - too many incompletes

  • OG - doctoral program not filed

  • OF - master's program not filed

  • OL - GPA requirement not met

If you are interested in being able to place/remove holds, please email Amber Cellotti directly at knap0071@umn.edu. However, in order to be able to place holds and give access, you must have completed Student Data Inquiry and Student Data Update training in PeopleSoft. If you're not sure you have completed these, you can check your training history on the HR website.

Continuous enrollment for graduate and professional students

All Twin Cities and Duluth post-baccalaureate students enrolled in a graduate or departmental master's program (excluding Twin Cities MBA students) that have not registered for fall 2014 term received an email on Tuesday, August 26 indicating they must register by Monday, September 15, or they will be discontinued.

Program staff who have students requesting permission for GRAD 999, xxxx-8777, xxxx-8666 and xxxx-8888 may issue the necessary permission provided students have met internal eligibility requirements. Students requesting permission for xxxx-8333 and xxxx-8444 should be directed to the Graduate Student Services office at gssp@umn.edu.

If a student is discontinued and wishes to resume graduate work, he or she must request readmission to reactivate his or her status. It is up to the program or college to determine the best readmission path for a student. In all cases, students should contact the major program for which they are applying.

Important announcement regarding PBED Digest

After much consideration, we will no longer be producing the PBED Digest in newsletter form. This will be the last issue.

A Google Group has been created as a means to provide an additional communication channel and venue to discuss issues. The email for the group is pbed@umn.edu. If you are no longer interested in being on this list, please email me directly at knigh161@umn.edu.

In addition to the Google Group, information will continue to be delivered at RAC meetings, in the Graduate & Professional Update (GPU), and the Synthesist.

Thank you for your readership.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Stop, drop, & enroll

It’s registration time and students are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to select classes for the next term. They wait for their enrollment appointment time (currently called “queue time”) to arrive and keep tabs on the classes they want. They hope those classes remain open (have seats available), but sometimes all the seats are taken and the class is closed when it is their time to register. Then what?

Currently, students usually find an alternate class, add themselves on the desired class waitlist if one exists, and wait for a spot to open up. If a seat becomes available, they would be invited to enroll in the class from the department offering the class. The invitation includes a permission number that allows them to register. With that in hand, they then have the opportunity to adjust their enrollment to avoid time conflicts before registering for the desired class.

The new waitlist process, as a result of the PeopleSoft upgrade, eliminates the invitation step and automatically enrolls students when seats open. However, this auto enroll process will not complete if the student was added to the waitlist and is enrolled in another class that has a time overlap. Instead, they will receive a notification alerting them that there was a conflict. The student can then resolve the conflict by dropping the other class before the auto enroll process runs again.

But there is a better way.

Along with the auto enroll waitlist process, the University will begin using delivered functionality that allows students to have the system automatically drop them from a conflicting course if a seat becomes available for them. Rather than placing themselves to the waitlist from the “Add” function, they will use the “Swap” functionality in the enroll tab. This will place them on the waitlist (that can be prioritized by faculty or departments), but in a way that tells the system to drop them from the conflicting class if a seat becomes available for them in the desired class.

If students use this “Swap” functionality, they have a streamlined waitlist experience and  be able to maintain a full-time schedule as they wait for their desired classes. Best of all, students will be able to determine when to use this swap functionality because they will have a new weekly view of their schedule. This will show them when there are time conflicts with their enrolled and waitlist classes!

If you have questions about this new functionality email esup@umn.edu.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Newly enhanced classroom support hotline

The Office of Classroom Management (OCM) hotline has been enhanced to align with University-wide support services and has expanded the hours of availability for technology services. The phone number remains the same (612-625-1086), but callers will be prompted to select from a menu of options. This will connect them to the support staff who are best able to meet their needs.

Technology calls will be routed to a team of support professionals who are available 24 hours a day. OCM support staff remain available for all other classroom and scheduling-related calls Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Staff resource guide: New Graduate & Professional International Students

International Student and Scholar Services, Graduate School Admissions,and the Minnesota English Language Program collaborated on the creation of a "Staff Resource Guide: New Graduate & Professional International Students."

The goal of this resource guide is to provide you with information and resources which will help you in assisting international students during the first semester. By creating a smooth transition, international students are more likely to succeed academically and be fully engaged in their graduate level experience.

If you have any questions about the guide or its content, please contact the contributors listed on page 9 of the guide.

Visa delays announcement

The U.S. Department of State reports that there is a potential for delays in visa processing for some international students and scholars. Several affected students have contacted the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) office, who is working to understand the scope of impact on international students and scholars who will be arriving this August. Note that the delays impact both new students and scholars and those who are returning (have traveled home and need a visa renewed to re-enter the U.S.). Many students and scholars have successfully received their visas and have arrived on campus already; this is a proactive measure in assisting those who may face delays.

ISSS staff and the Graduate School will assist students and scholars as best they can and will reach out to departments and colleges as necessary to discuss specific student situations. If you hear from an affected student or scholar, please make sure they contact the appropriate office immediately - graduate students who are not able to arrive by the report by date on their I-20 document should email the Graduate School at gsquest@umn.edu; professional degree students should contact Debra Siegel in ISSS at siege002@umn.edu.

Continuous enrollment for graduate and professional students

All Twin Cities and Duluth post-baccalaureate students enrolled in a graduate or departmental master's program (excluding Twin Cities MBA students) that have not registered for fall 2014 term received an email the week of August 25 indicating they must register by Monday, September 15, or they will be discontinued.

If a student is discontinued and wishes to resume graduate work, he or she must request readmission to reactivate his or her status. It is up to the program or college to determine the best readmission path for a student. In all cases, students should contact the major program for which they are applying.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Making the Grade with ESUP - New NR "grade" provides clarity, helps streamline process

After a term filled with assignments, tests, and class participation, the final step in assigning grades is entering the grade to post to students’ records. In order to submit these grades on the final grade roster, a grade must be assigned to every student.* Occasionally, a barrier arises in assigning a grade to a student. When that happens, the entire grade roster cannot be submitted and all students in the class don’t receive a grade and instead see a blank space. This can be confusing and frustrating for students who may experience negative consequences of not having a posted grade for their class work (e.g., delayed graduation, reduced financial aid, limits on athletic participation).

These blank grades will be eliminated and more students will have their assigned grade posted as a result of ESUP.

While the final grade roster must still be complete in order to be submitted by the instructor of record, those students with a grade assigned will have their grade posted to their record. The key for this to happen is a new administrative mark of “NR” (meaning Not Reported). 

Taking the place of a blank grade (and carrying all of the same consequences), the NR grading symbol clarifies that there was no report of the grade for the students who have it. The NR grading symbol will not be available for faculty and staff to enter into the grade roster. Rather, an administrative process will be initiated after the grading due date to assign this symbol to students on the roster without a grade assigned. This process will complete the roster that can then be posted. 

This new administrative process (that is in-line with the University’s peer institutions) will:

  • Enable students in classes where rosters were incomplete to view their grades more quickly (since they won’t have to wait for the entire class to be graded before grades are posted) 
  • Help advisers during academic progress reviews 
  • Help academic and student services when students ask why no grades are posted
  • Help clarify for financial aid and veterans affairs that there was no grade reported from the instructor

Read more about what is changing with final grading on the What’s Changing page. To learn more about the new Faculty Center (where all grade entry and approval takes place) see the Faculty Center sneak peek. If you have any questions or concerns, email esup@umn.edu

* Another system (called supplemental grading) does allow for submitting individual grades for students, but it is intended for grade changes, not the submission of the final grade roster. After the PeopleSoft upgrade is complete, all grade entry and submission (including mid-term grades, final grades, and grade changes) will happen in one place: the Faculty Center. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Reminder: Registrar's Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting

The Registrar's Advisory Committee (RAC) will meet on Monday, August 4 in Walter Library, room 402. The common session begins at 10 a.m. with the graduate education session following at 11:30 a.m. (the undergraduate education session is from 9:30-10 a.m.). The graduate education session will feature a discussion on the upcoming DGS Orientation and will provide an opportunity for new and seasoned collegiate and departmental staff to to get (re)acquainted with graduate education processes.

Changes to GSSP customer service

Graduate Student Services & Progress (GSSP) is undergoing some changes to their customer service model. Two new Customer Service Representatives will soon be hired and will serve as first point of contact to staff and students with inquiries for GSSP. These changes are designed to ensure GSSP maintains a high level of customer service and continue efficient business processes.

Student veterans non-resident tuition waiver changes

Effective today, August 1, 2014, all veterans in graduate and professional programs are entitled to receive in-state tuition rates. To receive the waiver, students must provide proof of service to University Veterans Services. For more information, please visit University Veterans Services.

New staff member in GSSP

Chris Abts has accepted the position of Student Personnel Coordinator in Graduate Student Services & Progress (GSSP). He will be replacing Stacia Madsen, who is now the lead business analyst for the Academic Advisement module. Chris previously worked at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and as a social studies teacher. His first day will be August 11.