GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
SCHEDULED MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE & ACADEMIC
COMBINED WITH A CALLED MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
Tuesday, May 1, 2007, Student Center Theater
1. The President opened the meeting at 3:10 P.M. and offered the following comments on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:
a. He began by saying that student leadership elections had just been completed. Tech has had the services of two outstanding student leaders in the 2006-07 year; namely, Alison Graab (for undergraduate students) and Mitch Keller (for graduate students). President Clough called on Mitch to introduce his successor, Brock Wester, a PhD student in biomedical engineering. Mitch also introduced the new undergraduate student leader, Anu Parvatiyar, a third-year biomedical engineering major.
c. The President of
d. Graduation plans for the week includes the
graduation of 140 PhD’s on Thursday in the Ferst Center for the Arts, followed
by undergraduate and masters degree graduations Saturday at the Georgia
Dome. These venues were necessary
because the coliseum is undergoing renovation of its HVAC systems. There also are other advantages when the PhD
ceremonies are set in the more intimate location of the
e. On April 27, President Clough visited
Virginia Tech where he had once been Head of Civil Engineering and Dean of
Engineering and occupied an office in Norris Hall where the recent tragic
shootings took place. He was there to
pay his respects at a memorial honoring the nine persons lost in Virginia
Tech’s Civil Engineering school.
President Clough indicated that the campus family there is recovering
slowly and many are still strongly affected by the tragic outcomes from the
events of April 16. He urged faculty
members who have colleagues there to stay in touch and provide
encouragement. He noted that Virginia
Tech is a sister institution in many ways, but it is also easy to see that all
universities face the possibility of similar events. Tech’s Homeland Security Director, its Chief
of Police, and others have been looking at many scenarios and options for
responses. Bill Shafer (VP Student
Affairs) and John Stein (Dean of Students) have been working with faculty to
think through early warning signs of impending problems and consider ways that
students can be helped through difficult stresses in their lives. Ways to work more closely with Tech’s
2. The President called for approval of the minutes of the previous meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate held on February 27, 2007. He indicated that the minutes have been posted on the faculty governance web site and that a link was provided from this meeting’s agenda. The minutes were approved without dissent. See Attachment #1
3. President Clough reminded the
faculty that Tech is somewhat unique because the Georgia Tech Athletic
Association (GTAA) has an unusually high degree of input from faculty. Half the
members of GTAA’s Board of Trustees are faculty members [the other half
comprising the GIT’s President, its Senior VP of Administration and Finance,
three alumni members, and three students].
Thus, the faculty works closely with GTAA to make sure that operations are
conducted to the highest standards. Similarly, Tech’s student athletes are
remarkable for competing not only at a high level in athletics but also at a
very high level academically. President
Clough mentioned that Tech’s Director of Athletics, Dan Radakovich (who was
present at this meeting) is a champion of these high standards. The President said that the NCAA would
officially announce Academic Progress Rates (APRs) for all members of the NCAA
the day after this faculty meeting and Tech would look very good in that report
because Tech athletes are doing very well in their progress toward
graduation. President Clough was on the
NCAA Board of Directors when the APR system was adopted and is strongly in
favor of it. It measures each athlete’s
progress semester by semester toward their degree. It reinforces the expectation of graduation
within five years if not before. It is a
good tracking system that would have advantages if applied to all students, not
just athletes. Tech’s Registrar, Reta
Pokowsky, is intimately involved in supporting Tech’s implementation of this
system. The APR, in turn, leads
ultimately to another metric, the Graduation Success Rate (GSR), a slightly
modified way of looking at traditional graduation metrics. If a university falls short in meeting NCAA
expectations with respect to either APR or GSR, significant penalties are
imposed. If this happens over a series
of years, the athletic program itself can be jeopardized.
With that President Clough called on Prof. Dan Schrage, Tech’s Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR), to make his annual report to the faculty. Prof. Schrage used the PowerPoint slides in Attachment #2 to support his talk. He stated that in his role as FAR he is expected to make an annual report to the Tech faculty covering the contributions of the athletics program to Tech’s educational mission, statistical information on athlete’s academic performance, compliance with all applicable regulations (NCAA, ACC, and GIT), and any matters of concern. . Slide 4 of the attachment lists all the roles performed by Tech’s FAR both at Tech, with the ACC, and with the NCAA. He stated that there is an ongoing process certifying academic performance for athletes and it is well-supported at Tech. The FAR provides oversight that this process keeps working well. Dr. Schrage cited the example of how athletes like Calvin Johnson bring much favorable attention to Georgia Tech not only from prominent excellence in athletics but also from outstanding performance as a student. This favorably impacts the quality of students who continue to apply for admission at Georgia Tech.
Prof. Schrage explained further that the APR and GSR metrics are calculated for each athletic team at Tech (as detailed in the attached slides), and the question the NCAA asks is whether each team meets the standards. This year 75 institutions in the NCAA will receive penalties under this system and some of these are institutions with otherwise strong academic reputations. The overall NCAA academic reforms enable them to track each student from initial eligibility through term by term progress. The standard for the APR is set so that the expected graduation rate is at least 50%. Care is paid to valid data collection to avoid drawn-out disputes over penalties. The process of gathering APR data takes place year round in order to keep up with deadlines (as detailed in the presentation). Details of last year’s APR data are contained in Attachment #2 and show results by team. Tech has been recognized for receiving a perfect APR score for two years in golf and a perfect score for the women’s swimming team also was achieved for one of those years. Dr. Schrage indicated that overall Tech has done well and is focused on continuing that.
He explained the different kinds of penalties that can be imposed if standards are not met. He noted that under new standards a team only loses points and scholarship slots for a person who leaves to join the pros if that person would not have been academically eligible had he or she stayed. He also explained some of the details that make the GSR a more accurate (or fair) measure of graduation success. He noted that there is a gap of 10-20 percentage points in the GSR for athletes as compared with the rest of Tech’s students, and some coaches are concerned about this as Tech’s overall academic standards continue to rise with better and better applicants.
Prof. Schrage went on to explain a few differences in GIT’s regulations compared with the NCAA’s. Details are contained in slide 23 of Attachment #2 and shows that there have been big changes in NCAA requirements from before 2003 to after. Now the NCAA grade-point average (GPA) requirements for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors are about the same as GIT’s. To be eligible to play a sport, one has to be in academic good standing but each school defines what that means. Prof. Schrage gave an example of a higher standard at GIT compared with peers in the ACC: Most schools define “good standing” to mean simply that the athlete is eligible to enroll in classes. At Georgia Tech, to be in good standing one must not be on academic probation, even though such persons are indeed eligible to enroll in classes. Moreover, unlike other ACC schools, GIT imposes academic probation if just one semester shows a significant drop in GPA even if the overall GPA is ok.
Prof. Schrage explained that the ACC does not set standards that are higher than the NCAA but is very careful about regulating transfers from one school to another and insists on a period of ineligibility (three semesters) after a transfer, unless there is a real hardship involved. The
Prof. Schrage stated that he saw no major concerns with Tech’s athletic program at this time. He said however that Tech has to maintain alertness because minor infractions occur about weekly and must be reported and dealt with promptly to avoid snowballing into something bigger. Tech’s Director of Compliance plays a critical role and the FAR provides some additional oversight to make sure the processes are followed correctly. The recent effort to complete Tech’s ten-year NCAA certification self study helped everyone to take a fresh look and be reminded of the complexities that must be managed. Schrage reiterated a minor concern with the gap in academic readiness and performance between student athletes and the rest of the student population. He stated that it is difficult to close that gap and remain competitive in sports.
There was a Presidential Task Force on the Future of NCAA Div. I that President Clough and Prof. Schrage heard at a recent ACC president’s meeting. The Task Force recommendations were in four areas:
· Fiscal responsibility – Dan Radakovich’s work at Tech is putting us well ahead of many other universities in this area.
· Integration of athletics into university mission – Prof. Schrage is working with faculty to move Tech ahead in this.
· Relationships with internal constituencies – Tech is already doing well to improve tight coupling between athletics operations and the rest of the institute.
· Student-athlete well-being – Tech is addressing improvements in this area.
Prof. Schrage wrapped up by saying that NCAA reforms are driving better
integration of athletic programs with their host universities. The APR and GSR enables universities to
maintain tighter awareness and control over student-athlete’s academic
progress. At Tech there is a cross-check
in place in that the Director of Compliance and the Registrar’s Office are both
monitoring these metrics so Tech is able to catch mistakes it once might have
missed. Prof. Schrage praised the
leadership team in place at Tech as one skilled and dedicated to meeting or
exceeding NCAA standards.
President Clough called on Dan Radakovich, Tech’s Director of Athletics, for comments. He expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to work with fine people like Drs. Clough and Schrage with their skill and dedication. He said they made his first year at Tech a very enjoyable experience. Mr. Radakovich agreed there were areas needing improvement and affirmed that the best way is to work together on those. The objective is to have athletic and academic programs that are both highly rated.
A question was raised from the faculty: what percentage of Tech’s athletes is on scholarship and what percentage majors in engineering? Dan Radakovich answered that 21% of the scholarship athletes are majoring in engineering. The rest of the data needed to answer this question was not immediately available during the meeting.
President then called on Susan Paraska, Assistant to Jack Lohmann, Vice Provost
for Institutional Development (as that office was then named). Susan has been a member of the steering
committee for Georgia Tech’s NCAA Certification Self Study, which she briefed
with the PowerPoint slides in Attachment #3. The
President previewed her report by reminding the faculty that this certification
process is as thorough as studies done for academic accreditation and that
Georgia Tech conducts this study, not the athletics department or GTAA. They participate, of course, but Georgia Tech
as an institution is responsible to the NCAA for maintaining the standards of
Ms. Paraska began by explaining that the purpose for NCAA certification is three-fold: to insure integrity, spur improvement, and enhance integration of athletics with the rest of the institute. Tech is participating in a regular ten-year cycle of certification and thirty-four other schools are undergoing this process in this same year.
Tech’s certification process began in April 2006. Dr. Jack Lohmann was appointed the chair of the effort. Fifty or more people - faculty, students, staff, and athletic personnel - have been involved in work divided among three committees in addition to a steering committee and executive committee. The process initially focused on preparing and submitting a required Self Study. An external peer-review visit team will come Sep. 24-26, 2007. Sometime after their visit, Tech will receive a report of their findings and will have an opportunity to respond or provide clarifications. At that point all of the reports go to the NCAA Committee on Athletics Certification (CAC) who will make decisions in mid-February 2008. After further review at a higher level in the NCAA, the decisions are finally announced in the spring of 2008.
The Georgia Tech Self Study has been submitted electronically and is divided into three areas, each addressed by its own committee:
· Governance and Commitment to Rule Compliance – chaired by Prof. David McDowell
· Academic Integrity – chaired by Prof. Tom Trotter
· Equity and Student-Athlete Well-Being – chaired by Dean Sue Rosser
The questions are very complex but are answered entirely with documented facts. Once initial drafts were ready, they were subjected to extensive review by management and peers of the committee members. A final review involved 105 people all over the institute, and including some alumni.
The submitted self study is being released to the campus via a web site www.assessment.gatech.edu/ncaa. Access is available with the usual GIT Internet credentials. Ms. Paraska then demonstrated the site to those attending this meeting. The report itself is in a pdf format and comprises 141 pages. She urged all faculty members to look at the report and said they would find it full of interesting data.
She stated that a few things were identified as areas needing work. One Dr. Schrage mentioned earlier was the gap in academic performance between student-athletes and other students. Two others she mentioned were gender equity and minority representation. Overall, Georgia Tech has a very good report. She praised the work of Dan Radakovich, Paul Parker, Phyllis Labaw, and many others in the Georgia Tech family who are breathing new life into the program at all levels. She requested any faculty members who have comments or questions on the report to email her.
Clough turned to a second reading of proposed changes in the Georgia Tech
Statutes, along with other changes in the Handbook, which would add new members
of the Georgia Tech campus community to the ranks of the General Faculty.
These groups include Post Doctoral Fellows as well as selected Athletic Affairs
Professionals who will be coming to Georgia Tech employment from the Georgia
Tech Athletic Association (GTAA). The changes in the Statutes was
approved by the General Faculty in a first reading on February 27, but for them
to take effect, they needed to be approved in a second reading as well. So President Clough called on Prof. Paul
Griffin, chair of the Statutes Committee, to present the necessary proposals.
Prof. Griffin worked from a PowerPoint presentation found in Attachment #4a. This was made available online prior to the meeting along with detailed wording of the proposed changes (Attachment #4b) and background information on the changes that apply to Athletic Affairs Professionals (Attachment #4c) and Post Doctoral Fellows (Attachment #4d).
Prof. Griffin stated that there were two related sets of changes to consider. The first concerns changes in the statutes that were heard and approved in the first reading on February 27, 2007. The first part adds Post Doctoral Fellows to the Corps of Instruction and the second adds a new category, Athletic Affairs Professionals, to the categories holding membership in the General Faculty. President Clough commented that these moves are being made to provide these members of the Georgia Tech family with access to the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). He said it would be preferred to be able to do that in some other way than to grant membership in the General Faculty, but there is no other way now when decisions have to be made. He stated that legislation is being prepared for the 2008
It was moved, seconded and passed without dissent and by the necessary 2/3 majority to accept the addition of Post Doctoral Fellows in the General Faculty on second reading, as documented in the attached proposals. Similarly, it was moved, seconded, and passed without dissent and by the necessary 2/3 majority to accept the addition of Athletic Affairs Professionals in the General Faculty, as documented in the attached proposals. Those changes to the Statutes are now completely approved.
Prof. Griffin went on to explain a complementary proposed change in Section 13.2 of the Faculty Handbook. In proposed changes to this section, specific positions are listed that will qualify as Athletic Affairs Professionals so that the Statute changes just passed can be fully implemented. Dr. Griffin stated that these are not part of the Statutes and thus only require one reading to pass. President Clough noted that some athletics professionals that one might expect to see there are not in this list; for example, the Director of Athletics and the Associate Director of Academic Services (to athletes). The reason is that they already qualify as General Faculty members under previous rules.
It was moved, seconded, and passed without dissent to accept the proposed changes to Section 13.2 as documented in the attached proposals.
6. President Clough called on Reta Pikowsky, Registrar. She presented the candidates for the May 2007 graduation, assuming they complete all their requirements as of the close of grading on Monday May 7, 2007. She moved to approved granting their degrees with that stipulation. This was seconded and passed without dissent.
7. The President addressed the need for the Academic Senate to approve minutes of Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty. He indicated that these minutes were published on the faculty governance web site and that a link was provided from the formal agenda for this meeting. (See Attachment #5).
Jeff Streator, Chair of the Student Regulations Committee (SRC), stated there
were two meetings for which there were minutes and action items to
consider. At the meeting of 2/22/07 a
new rule was adopted concerning enrollment in language classes for the
International Plan. There was also a
rule limiting how students might replace an F-grade with a D-grade when the
F-grade comes after the D. And there was
a rule changing the wording of who is allowed to attend classes; basically, one
must be enrolled in the class or have the expressed permission of the
instructor. Finally there was a rule
limiting how undergraduates can take graduate level classes and obtain graduate
level credit. Reta Pikowsky commented
that in many of these cases the intent of the rule has not changed but has just
been clarified. In other cases, language
has been moved from one part of the regulations to another to make it easier to
find the information needed. Prof.
Streator stated that none of these rules was considered controversial and all
passed unanimously. He moved that the faculty approve the minutes and action items of the 2/22/07
meeting. This was seconded and passed
Then at the meeting of 3/29/07, there was one action item concerning a proposed change in the rules for a student electing to take a course on a pass/fail basis when this option exists. Current rules limit how many courses can be taken for pass/fail and some schools limit whether courses can be taken for credit on that basis. In cases where it is allowed to elect to take a class on a pass/fail basis, this election can now just be made at registration. The proposal that originated from student government was to extend the time that the election could be made or revised until the end of the time that a student could withdraw from the course without penalty (i.e. essentially until mid-term). There are pros and cons for this possible change. The main pro is to give students flexibility to make changes. Students who get part way into the class can reassess whether they are handling it as well as they thought they would. Some may not be doing as well as they hoped and others may not think they will do well but find in the first half of the semester that they are doing better than they thought. In either case, there would be the option to change the election in or out of pass/fail. On the con side of the proposed change are some administrative issues. For example, a student who should be a degree candidate and needs credit for a course on a letter-grade basis, might inadvertently exercise an option to switch to pass/fail near the deadline and no one may catch this in time to prevent delaying the candidacy of that student for another semester. Now, during the registration period, schools carefully monitor pass/fail elections and intervene with the student if a selection is made that would delay candidacy for a degree. They could still do that with the proposed flexibility but it would extend the monitoring period in a burdensome way, according to feedback from the Georgia Tech Academic Advisors Network (GTAAN).
The committee weighed these pros and cons and decided to pass the rule change with a split 5-2 vote. After the vote of the committee, further input was received from academic advisors who pointed out that the issue is not just with degree candidates: Any student in their particular major is at risk of not understanding that some courses are required to be taken for a letter grade for that major. Taking such a course as pass/fail would be pointless effort; it would have to be retaken even if passed. Such choices, if not reversed, inevitably lead to upsets and delay. Advisors try to help students avoid such consequences but a larger window for such elections again increases the advisement burden.
Prof. Streator brought a motion to approve the minutes and action item from the 3/29/07 meeting, but he suggested that the faculty think about tabling the motion if they felt it deserved more study. The motion was seconded and the President called for discussion.
A faculty member from mechanical engineering pointed out that even catching the correct election at the last minute may not fully solve the student’s problem. He described a scenario where a student elects initially to get a letter grade and then encounters problems and switches to pass/fail. At that point the student may reduce his or her level of effort in the course, feeling that even with a reduced effort, a pass can be earned. If that student subsequently realizes the course must be taken for a letter grade to count toward graduation, the letter grade earned so far may be inconsistent with GPA expectations and even more harm is done. Now, advisors watch very closely during registration for inappropriate elections and corrections are easily made then. However, it is impractical to monitor that closely all the way up to drop day around mid-term. This person strongly urged the faculty not to pass the proposed rule change because he felt the dangers far outweighed the benefits. Prof. Streator stated that he thought the committee would be amenable to having this matter referred back to them. Another person asked for clarification: Would this allow a student to make a change in the election either way – either from letter grades to pass/fail or the other way around? Prof. Streator confirmed it would and went on to say there was no built in limit on the number of re-elections up to the proposed deadline. In answering a related question, he said there is no effect on those who are just auditing a course. Someone associated with the undergraduate curriculum committee observed that this rule change could have the effect of significantly increasing the number of petitions that might be received by that committee. The workload of this committee is already perilously high and more petitions would be a significantly bad thing. Prof. Streator commented that the Student Regulations Committee had few if any pedagogical objections to the proposal. All of the concerns had to do with administrative procedures. So in principle flexibility is a good idea, and in principle students should know the rules and not run afoul of them. Perhaps more timely online information during the election process would help solve the problem but such tools do not presently exist. It was suggested that Tech could prepare a web warning that would flash when a change is attempted. President Clough commented that Andy Smith (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs) and Dana Hartley (Director of Undergraduate Academic Advising) recently conducted a survey to help Tech improve its student advisement. One statistic that came back from this study was that 25% of students did not ever see an academic advisor and some only see one once a year. It would seem that such students would be even more at risk in this proposed rule change. He suggested that the faculty consider remanding this issue back to the committee for further deliberation. He noted that improved software might be possible in the future, or it might be possible to require that changes in the grade basis election be made only with an academic advisor.
A motion was made from the floor to table the motion under consideration and this was seconded. The motion to table was approved without dissent. The effect is that the business of the SRC’s 3/29/07 meeting is remanded back to the committee for further deliberation.
Paul Benkeser, Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, introduced
minutes from six meetings (2/21/07, 2/28/07, 3/14/07, 3/28/07, 4/4/07,
4/18/07), three of which had action items (2/21, 3/28, & 4/18).
In the 2/21 meeting minutes, the following changes were approved: In Psych.: to change a degree now called a BS in Applied Psychology changed to a BS in Psychology, and there was one new course, a prerequisite change, and changes in degree requirements; AE: new courses, a change in degree requirements concerning capstone course requirements, and a change in prerequisites; International Plan: two new courses; CEE: new degree designator, two new courses, change in degree requirements; ModL: new courses, deactivated courses, change in requirements for minor; Biol.: new courses, change in degree requirements; Pub.Pol.: change in minor and pre-law requirements.
In the 3/28 meeting minutes, the following changes were approved: ME: two new courses; BME: new minimum grade requirements; ModL: four new courses; HTS: participate in research option; Mgt.: change in degree requirements.
In the 4/18 minutes, the following changes were approved: Pub.Pol.: one new course; Psych.: participate in International Plan; EAS: participate in International Plan.
Prof. Benkeser moved that all the above minutes and action items be approved. The motion was second and approved without dissent.
Bill Green, Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that
there are two sets of minutes (for 3/15/07 and 4/26/07) needing approval and
both have action items of interest. He
thanked Reta Pikowsky, Registrar, for the extra effort she made to be sure
these minutes were ready on time for this meeting so important curriculum changes
could be reviewed by the faculty before they break for the summer. Each of these minutes includes degree
proposals that have to be forwarded to the Regents so this was the last chance
to make the changes ready for the fall.
From both meetings, the following changes were approved: Mgt: MS-Management of Technology changes name to MBA-Management of Technology, along with attendant changes in degree requirements, ten new courses, deactivation of five, and several renamed; Pub.Pol.: new certificate in Public Policy, six courses deactivated, two renamed, and one new course; IntA: new PhD in Intl. Affairs, Science, and Technology and two new courses; CoC: a new PhD in Robotics, along with new courses; CoC, CoE, and CoS joint request: new PhD and MS in Computational Science and Engineering, jointly administered by the 3 colleges, including 26 new courses; plus a great many other routine course changes.
The committee also approved a change in the policy for transfer credit, which presently says that transfer credit may be awarded for work in an accredited institution in the
The committee also approved a change in a policy concerning residency requirements. The following has been added to existing policy: “Although doctoral students working full-time on thesis research should normally be registered for a full course load of 9000 level dissertation hours each semester, this requirement is at the discretion of the advisor and the department: no minimum number of 9000 level dissertation hours is required for the doctoral degree. Doctoral students must be registered in the semester of graduation.” Prof. Green stated that the committee felt this added flexibility was needed.
A motion to approve each of the action items and the Graduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 3/15 and 4/26/07 passed without dissent.
d. President Clough called attention to the agenda listing minutes of four meetings of the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee (i.e. 8/30/06, 10/31/06, 2/8/07 and 4/11/07) . There were no action items. A motion to approve these minutes passed without dissent.
8. The President called for approval of the minutes of Standing Committees of the General Faculty, all of which have been posted on the web (see Attachment #5). This applied to only one committee, the Academic Services Committee and their minutes of 1/7, 2/15, and 3/15/07. There are no action items. A motion to approve these minutes passed without dissent.
9. The President called for any other
Ron Bohlander thanked all who participated in the recent faculty governance elections. Results are posted on the faculty governance web site.
President Clough mentioned that Gary Schuster (Provost) and Steve Danyluk (Vice Provost, GT-Asia-Pacific) have been negotiating with entities in
Dr. Clough congratulated Gordon Moore (Managing Partner and Director of the Office of Minority Educational Development) for winning the 2007 National Society of Black Engineers Golden Torch Award for Minority Engineering Program Director of the Year.
He also congratulated the Georgia Tech student team that competed in Campus MovieFest and won Best Picture at the National Grand Finale. [The picture titled Fanya Kaplan was directed by students Michael Gluzman and Brad Herrmann.] It is a six-minute film, in Russian (with English subtitles), and deals with an historic assassination attempt on Lenin. President Clough praised the dramatic qualities of this student creation.
Hearing no further business, the President adjourned the meeting at 4:40 P.M.
Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty
June 4, 2007
Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes: