September 9, 2020


Report & Rough Minutes: Graduate College Top Tier Pivot Planning Working Group Meeting –

Committee met via WebEx from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., Wednesday, September 9, 2020

At meeting: Hui Zhao, Sara Jordan, Joel Snyder, Vivek Sah, Sean Clark, Peter Gray, Daniel Wright, Rhonda McElroy, Hyunhwa Henna Lee, and Doug Unger (Chair) & Associate Dean Lin and Dean Korgan (via WebEx) – 

Following discussion points: Sean Clark (SC) suggested looking into LSAT exam monitoring; SJ suggested possibility of asking students to use a mirror behind remote video conference stations so as to show no disallowed materials present; Hyunhwa Lee shared that for some exams (Nursing) a smartphone was placed as a second camera to show exam taker; DU asked if a second Webcam could be required to do the same. Dean Korgan suggested that external proctoring services that require fees should be included in the syllabus and announced to students at the beginning of the semester.

DU suggested that options may be available in departments or in the Gateway Building to provide a monitored campus space to take exams. Dean Korgan suggested such spaces would have to be carefully scheduled to meet UNLV COVID-19 space density policies. 

Action item: Dean Korgan suggested providing departments and programs with a list of options. These would include those discussed: finding out what LSAT exams are doing; using an external 2nd viewing device – either a smartphone or a 2nd webcam; using existing department spaces for exams on a safety conscious schedule; using third party proctoring services but only if announced ahead of time and included in the syllabus that these extra fees will be required. 

Suggestion: communication to advisors that they be very careful about prioritizing research plans, with time sensitivity taking priority – and university restrictions to 30%-50% of usual population density in labs. Advisors and directors should rank projects according to time-sensitivity for graduate students who are closer to graduation. Others must be patient – and accommodations made for their research delays. 

Joel Snyder (JS) reported issues with Human Subject research in the neuroscience labs – and that there is not much (or enough) guidance through the VPR office for how best to accommodate policies, especially with E.E.G. equipment use which requires human touch. Some discussion followed about possible workarounds – PPE as in a hospital setting; this may be good for the researcher but not safe for the human subject. Also reported some misunderstanding of nature of research through college Associate Dean, who requires plexi-glass partitions (that don’t apply to every lab). Some low density research is being approved, but student research and progress toward degrees has slowed.


Some suggestions were made about possible sterility measures as in hospitals but they are not practical. HL reported that research with full PPE in hospital settings is proceeding for Nursing faculty, but student research has been delayed. 

SC shared that film productions have resumed but that they face stopping as soon as any actor or production crew member tests positive for COVID-19 – this is causing great loss of money and production delays. 

Question arose: what is the policy if a member of a research team and/or a subject in research tests positive for COVID-19?  Dean Korgan confirmed: research must stop, and follow up made according to Clark County Health District procedures and policies. 

Major issue: students in human research subjects intensive fields are delayed in completing their studies – accommodations need to be made (financial and otherwise); also need for information about best practices at other universities and institutes. 

Action item: Dean Korgan will post a Google share document for members of the working group to provide suggested questions and/or feedback on questions posted by Dean Korgan and the Graduate College. Questions and feedback will be needed soon. 

financial stresses on students and programs; IRB and Human Subjects research issues; 

Arts production issues; exam proctoring and defenses – all of the above – and question about how to gather such information and which schools to research. Peer institutions? R1 institutions only? Gallagher Study (salary study) comparison of colleges & universities? What questions to ask and to whom (to get started)? Peter Gray (PG) suggested the Council of Graduate Colleges might provide information. Dean Korgan answered that the CGS schools report taking similar measures as UNLV (PG mentioned that most R1 institutions have a timeline for graduation that has now been relaxed and UNLV does not – so is already relaxed on timelines). JD suggested that research should look to schools with a similar infection rate as Las Vegas (and Nevada); HZ reported the rate is 8% in Nevada. Associate Dean Lin suggested that the wellbeing and safety of students should be the focus of information gathered. Pathways of whom to ask are: school/college websites; the Office of Research at chosen institutions. An action item resulted from discussions: 

Action item: DU will share a Google document suggesting a list of schools (or various lists based on different criteria) and pathways of questions to ask to gather best practices information, to be assigned to a Graduate Assistant (R.A.) to conduct – for feedback and suggestions from the working group. Will commit to creating and posting this within a few days (as time permits). 

After committing to pursue action items and charges, meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

Additional Documents:

Proposed Research F2020