GPSS amends grant bill

Laura Doering, registrar, speaks to the members of the Graduate and Professional Student Senate at their meeting on Sept. 29. One of the topics discussed was the possible inclusion and recognition of leadership excellence for graduate students at commencement.

Matthew Rezab

The Graduate and Professional Student Senate voted Sept. 29 to amend some of the language for the professional advancement grant policies and procedures.

No substantive changes were made to the bill, which passed in April. The changes are to help clarify language.

Professional advancement grants are primarily used to cover travel and registration expenses for academic conferences. Graduate students are permitted to apply for the funds through the GPSS.

The grant guidelines, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, were amended last spring by the senate in an attempt to make the process more fair for all applicants, regardless of which month the conference which was being applied for took place.

The senate confirmed that each grant will be $200, whether the applicant is a speaker or an attendee at the conference in question.

Any extra funds from a particular month will now be rolled over immediately into the following month.

“There’s been [efforts] to get it modified, and we’re finally pulling that through,” said T.J. Rakitan, GPSS treasurer. “It was a way toward granting more [professional advancement grants].”

Before Sept. 29’s meeting, concern was raised for students who were applying for grants without a solid policy being in place.

Brian Lois, former senator and co-­author of the original bill last spring, said, “The important thing about tonight is now we know what’s going to happen next semester.”

Laura Doering, university registrar, informed the senate the Registrar’s Office was considering a one­-time fee for students upon entering Iowa State. The one-time fee would entitle the students to graduation applications, transcripts for life and drop the $12 schedule­ change fee.

“We’re still crunching the numbers,” Doering said. “But right now we’re looking at about $175.”

Currently the graduation fee is $17 and the degree application fee is $16 per transcript ordered.

“How much does a graduate student typically spend on those things?” asked Arko Mukherjee, GPSS president. “We need to check the data before we make a decision.”

Doering also discussed recognizing graduate students for their leadership activities at graduation ceremonies. A note on the recipient’s transcript may be added to indicate receiving the award as well.

Tom Hill, vice president for student affairs, took suggestions from senators on solving a number of enrollment related issues. Graduate student housing, gridlocked transportation on campus and university-sponsored childcare were discussed.

“When we have a problem, it’s easier to figure it out with a friend, with good communication,” Hill said. “It’s a lot tougher to solve a problem with a stranger.”

Sen. Irvin Pinto, civil, construction and environmental engineering, and Sen. Muhammed Walugembe, animal science, were nominated and appointed to the two open seats to represent graduate students in the Government of Student Body.

A deadline of GPSS Peer Teaching and GPSS Research awards was set for March 1, 2015.