GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

SCHEDULED MEETINGS OF THE ACADEMIC FACULTY AND
ACADEMIC SENATE

Combined with

A CALLED MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009, 2:00 P.M.

Student Center Theater

 

MINUTES

 

 

1.      The Executive Board Chair, Leanne West, opened the meeting at about 2 P.M.  She began by acknowledging Provost Gary Schuster and thanking him for his service as Interim President over the past year.  The faculty added their applause to show their appreciation.  She then introduced Georgia Tech’s new President, Dr. Bud Peterson and called on him for remarks on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.

2.   Dr. Peterson apologized in advance that he would have to leave the meeting at 3:00 P.M. to go to the Savannah campus to attend their graduation ceremony and then later meet with their advisory board.  He said he and his wife Val had felt very welcomed by the Georgia Tech community in their first 2 ½ weeks and they were excited to move forward.  He also added his thanks to Dr. Schuster for his service during a very difficult time of budgetary challenges. 

Dr. Peterson said that the Georgia legislature had passed its budget bill and seemed unlikely to be called back into session.  Thus, budget questions awaited the Governor’s decisions about possible line-item vetoes and his final signature.  State funded higher education in Georgia was doing better than in many states.  The reductions in FY 2009 state funding were about 10.1%, which translated into reductions of 4.4% in overall academic unit budgets at Georgia Tech and 7.7% to non-academic units.  Another approximately 1% reduction was likely but would be absorbed centrally and not be passed to the operating units.  Initial budgets in FY2010 would match ending FY2009 budgets.

The Board of Regents (BOR) recently made a number of decisions relative to tuition and fees:

·         The Fixed-for-Four program was suspended for all students entering this fall or after.  Existing students would continue to have their tuition frozen until they have completed eight semesters.

·         Incoming freshmen will pay about 25% more for fulltime tuition.  All in-state freshmen will be on Hope Scholarships so the scholarship will be paying the higher tuition, at least initially.

·         The $100/semester Academic Excellence Fee will continue to be paid by all students.

·         Students who are going into their ninth semester and no longer qualify under Fixed-for-Four would see the greatest step increase in tuition; namely, about 45% relative to their tuition when they entered.

·         Fulltime has been redefined to be 15 hours instead of 12, in part in order to expedite faster progress toward degrees.  It also had the effect of increasing the amount of tuition charged per semester by the 25% mentioned above.

3.      Dr. Peterson then asked for approval of the minutes of the February 10, 2009 meeting of the Academic Senate, General Faculty Assembly, and General Faculty.  He indicated that the minutes were published and posted on the faculty governance web site and that there were no known additions or corrections. (See Attachment #1 below for web site reference).   The minutes were approved unanimously.  

4.   Dr. Peterson called on Ms. Susan Paraska (Director of Program Review & Accreditation) to speak about new procedures for Academic Program Review and curriculum revision. She supported her presentation with the slides in Attachment #2a.    Ms. Paraska said that last fall a group of leaders from University System of Georgia (USG) institutions met with BOR staff to identify ways that curriculum and accreditation processes could be streamlined.  Slide 2 outlined the steps followed.  One of the key improvements was to report program reviews with the websites already used for accreditation reporting for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). 

At the same time, processes for posting new curricula and substantive changes were streamlined.  All new degree programs (bachelors, masters, and PhD) now need to file a letter of intent but these documents were much condensed as compared with the old format, she said.  These were to be reviewed and returned within 30 days.  External reviews of PhD programs would now be arranged by the USG office but Tech would still recommend the reviewers to use.  All program proposals would now be made electronically and posted to a USG website.

Concerning reviews of existing programs at Tech (called Academic Program Reviews), Ms. Paraska reported that the Executive Board had taken the action to discontinue a special committee called the Institute Review Committee, which had, for the past several years, coordinated reviews and summarized results for the Institute.  Members were appointed by the Office of Assessment under authority given by the Executive Board.  She said that a proposal for a change in the Faculty Handbook would follow her presentation and would reassign these duties.  Scheduling would be handled by the Office of Program Review and Accreditation, program reviews and summaries would be produced by the elected faculty Institute curriculum committees, and the Executive Board would oversee the process.  In addition, she said, program reviews would be posted on a secured Georgia Tech website managed in her office and accessible only to the Georgia Tech curriculum committees, the USG offices that provide oversight, and SACS.

Ms. Paraska summed up by saying that these improvements placed responsibility for reporting with the institutions and eliminated wasted effort.  She asked for and received some questions:

Q. Where in the sequence for new programs would the Institute curriculum committees do their work?  Did they approve a proposal for a new degree before a letter of intent was issued?  Or after the letter of intent but before the external review?  Ans. The internal review and approval by Georgia Tech’s curriculum committee would happen between the letter of intent and the external review.

Q. When Tech wanted to institute a joint program with another institution, that proposal would be treated as a new program. Right? Ans. Yes.  Q. Tech also sometimes issued a memorandum of understanding to support a dual degree program, in which a student here could get a degree at the other institution and vice versa.  Would that be considered a new degree program and require a letter of intent? Ans. No letter of intent would be needed for a dual degree arrangement because it would simply be a special offering of an existing degree program.  Dual degree proposals would only be reviewed and approved internally at Georgia Tech.

Q. What provisions would prevent a letter of intent going to the BOR without at least the approval of the college Dean? Ans. The college would complete its review before the letter of intent would be sent.  Then when the letter of intent had been reviewed by the BOR, the Institute curriculum committee would make its review.

Q. How would changes to existing programs be handled by comparison with proposals for new ones?  Ans. That would depend on the level of modification.  Significant changes would follow the same process as for a new program. 

Dr. Peterson then summarized his understanding:  When a new program or significant change was to be proposed, the college curriculum committee would review and approve the proposal.  It would come to the Provost’s office which would review the proposal and, when ready, would send the letter of intent to the BOR.  If the feedback was positive, then steps would be taken to develop, review, and approve a full proposal to send to the BOR.  He stated that the supporting procedures were described in the Faculty Handbook and needed to be changed.  These were not in the Statutes or Bylaws so only one reading was needed for approval by the faculty.  He invited Mr. David White from the Statutes Committee to present the proposed changes.

Mr. White presented the proposals via the slides found in Attachment #2b.  He noted that all the changes pertained to Section 46.1 of the Handbook and dealt with Academic Program Reviews.  The proposed changes referenced forthcoming language in the BOR Policy Manual.  In the slides, added words were underscored and deleted ones were crossed out.  Mr. White went over the content of the changes as recorded in the attachment.  A motion was made and seconded to approve the recommended changes presented in the attachment.  President Peterson asked for discussion.

Q. In the old process, the Institute Review Committee (IRC) provided oversight of the process of Academic Program Reviews and the Institute curriculum committees reviewed the college level self assessments made as part of the reviews.  With the elimination of the IRC, who would now be responsible for oversight of the process?  Ans. Ms. Paraska said that she had always provided oversight from the Office of Program Review and Accreditation.  The IRC had focused more on summarizing the reviews to support SACS accreditation.  Q. But the IRC members included faculty and that ensured that faculty had a voice in the process.  How was faculty involvement ensured in the new process?  Ans. Dr. Ron Bohlander (Secretary) drew the faculty’s attention back to the proposed language in 46.1.2 that designated the Executive Board as responsible for process and schedule oversight.  Since the Executive Board comprises mostly elected faculty representatives, this should provide the needed faculty involvement.

The motion passed unanimously. 

5.   Dr. Peterson commented that, at the time he was introduced to the campus, he asked what will help differentiate the graduates from Georgia Tech from those from other institutions in this country and around the world?  He said that he heard a partial answer to this question from Dr. Seth Marder who has been talking about the role of service learning involving faculty, staff, and students at Georgia Tech.  Dr. Peterson said he was enormously impressed by the amount of community outreach and civic engagement that comes from this campus.  He noted more than 1,500 students worked at the recent Tech Beautification Day events.  Dr. Peterson called on Dr. Marder to present some ideas for next steps. 

Dr. Marder said that indeed there were a lot of ongoing volunteer activities on campus which were initiated by many different individuals and organizations.  It was difficult, however, for anyone to get a clear idea of all the activities and opportunities for service.  In addition, the community around Tech was not as aware as it could be of the breadth of contributions made by the campus community.  Thus, a mechanism to promote more comprehensive awareness would have value.  He said that campus leaders were now trying to pull together a better online bulletin of opportunities as well as more effective ways of tracking volunteerism and telling the story about the breadth and depth of contributions being made.  Dr. Marder said he was working together with Ms. Andrea Ashmore (Communications and Marketing) to pull together a committee of interested members of the Tech community and a new website was being planned.

He said they also felt it would be good for the faculty to be on record in support of this initiative, and so he moved for the adoption of the following resolution:

Resolved:  The faculty of the Georgia Institute of Technology support coordination and expansion of efforts to promote, facilitate, and document volunteer activities by the Georgia Institute of Technology employees and students towards the betterment of society.

It was seconded and Dr. Peterson asked for any discussion.

Q. Is political activity included in “the betterment of society”?  Ans. Dr. Marder said it was not the intent of those spurring this action to encourage political activity one way or another.  Things like community improvement and charitable volunteerism were more in keeping with the vision.  But the language was purposely left vague so that initiatives could be broadly included.  Dr. Peterson suggested that civic debate and participation in democracy did have their place in the betterment of society.

The motion passed unanimously. 

 

6.   Dr. Peterson noted that the Georgia Tech faculty was responsible for awarding degrees and approving the candidates.  Accordingly, he called on Ms. Reta Pikowsky (Registrar) to present the candidates for the next commencement on May 1-2, 2009.  She stated that the spring list of degree candidates had been reviewed and revised as necessary and she moved to approve it.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

 

7.   Dr. Peterson contrasted the way athletics was administered in the Big 12 and the Atlantic Coast Conference.  In the Big 12, the presidents and chancellors met together about eight times a year concerning intercollegiate athletics and were highly involved in its administration.  In the ACC, presidents met twice a year and their appointed Faculty Athletics Representatives (FAR) and the Athletics Directors were much more involved in conference governance.  He then asked Dr. Dan Schrage, AE Professor and Georgia Tech’s FAR, to come forward and present his annual report.

In making his report, Dr. Schrage followed closely the content of his slides in Attachment #3 which provided many details.  There were no questions.

 

8.   At this point Dr. Peterson excused himself so that he and Provost Gary Schuster could go to the Savannah campus.  Ms. Leanne West resumed the meeting.  She called on representatives of Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty to present minutes and any action items requiring approval as recorded in Attachment #4.  The following is an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to make the presentation.  Discussion is noted where significant.

a)   Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (Dr. John Tone): Minutes from meetings on 2/11/09, 2/25/09, 3/11/09, 3/25/09, 4/8/09
Action Items:  From 2/11: EAS – 1 new course, 6 new tracks in an EAS minor that students outside EAS can earn (tracks are Ocean Sciences, Environmental Science, Environmental Chemistry, Earth System Physics, Meteorology, and Climate Change), and a modification of the capstone option; LCC – changes in Women, Science, and Technology Minor reducing required hours from 18 to 15 and setting elective options; ISyE – 2 new courses; BME – cross-listing of Biomedical Instrumentation with ChBE, ECE, & ME and an approved course substitution in Technical Communication; Mgt – change 1 course title and number.  From 3/11: Biology – 6 new Certificates (Biomedical Science, Biomolecular Technology, Computational & Quantitative Biology, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Integrative Biology) along with course requirements for each; Biology/ME/MSE/PTFE/ISyE – new course in Biologically Inspired Design; AE – changes to the AE minor, reducing the hours from 18 to 15, removal of tracks, and removal of 2 prerequisites; ME – 2 new NRE courses, 1 deactivated NRE course, modifications to NRE degree requirements and course prerequisites; LCC – modification of Research Option requirements concerning thesis writing; CoC – 1 new course and modifications to thread picks; CETL – 4 new courses; approval of guidelines on limitations on petitions for late term withdrawals and on limitations on petitions for late course withdrawals (selective withdrawals).  From 3/25: LCC – 3 new courses with prerequisite specified; Office of Undergraduate Studies – 2 new courses in the ThinkBig@Tech program that are non-billable, non-credit courses in support of the Living Learning Communities program providing enrichment opportunities for Tech students; Music – 1 new course in History of Jazz; approval of new guidelines re meeting minimum requirements for core courses. 

Q. A faculty member asked for an explanation of the change in LCC’s requirements concerning thesis writing that were handled in the 3/11 meeting.  Ans. Dr. Karen Harwell (Director of Undergraduate Research) explained that, instead of requiring one 2-hour course to prepare the students for thesis writing, the material would be split into two 1-hour courses.  Students would take one to help them propose and plan thesis work and the other later to help them with the actual writing.  This pattern would be followed by most students, not just those from LCC.  Dr. Tone said that other programs utilizing LCC’s courses would not need separate approvals.

All minutes and action items were approved without dissent.

b)   Graduate Curriculum Committee (Dr. R. Gary Parker):  Minutes from meetings on 2/26/09, 4/9/09
Action Items: From 2/26: CETL – 1 new course; EAS – 1 new course; ChBE – 1 new course; ISyE – 1 new course.  From 4/9: MSE – new joint PhD degree with Peking University’s Department of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology in China; CoC Computer Science – new offering via distance learning of MS in Information Security; ISyE – 1 new course; and modifications to the MS in Health Systems involving required courses in methodology, health systems, and electives in health systems and finance/management for a total of 30 hours; ME – 2 new courses.  The minutes and action items were approved without dissent.

c)   Student Regulations Committee (Dr. Jeff Streator, Chair): Minutes from a meeting on 3/5/09
Action Items dealt with proposed changes in regulations concerning dead week.  Dr. Streator presented the recommendations via the slides found in Attachment #5.  Dr. Streator began by explaining that procedures surrounding dead week were now in the Faculty Handbook, but the committee reached a conclusion that it would be better to place them in the General Catalogue where students could find them.  Subsequently the material could be removed from the Faculty Handbook to avoid confusion [so that later changes would not have to be synchronized].  He explained that words highlighted in the slides were new words not found in either the Faculty Handbook (FH) or the Student Bill of Academic Rights (SBAR).  Dr. Streator then read through the detailed recommendations and compared them to existing language in the FH and SBAR.  He made clear there were some sections that were new, such as under the heading XII Examinations. C. Dead Week – part 1 (slide 4).

Dr. Streator asked for questions:

Q. If there was a need for a make-up exam during dead week, would this be possible?  Ans. The proposed regulations did not specifically address this but it would be preferred to have the make-up exam before dead week (and also not during finals week).

Several faculty members then voiced concerns, including

·         While the proposed policy was intended to help students have a peaceful time in which to prepare for exams, it would significantly shorten the period available to complete class projects and at best would simply make the week before dead week even more stressful. 

·         Some projects would not be feasible to assign with one less week.

·         The biggest proponents of having project reports during dead week were students who wanted more time in which to prepare their final reports.

·         What was best for the student depended greatly on the type of class and the type of major.  A uniform rule about dead week was believed not to be sufficiently flexible.  Capstone design courses in particular had unique scheduling needs that required as much time as possible for completion.

·         Allowing alternative assessments in cases of capstone design courses did not address concerns about the feasibility of scheduling these alternative assessments.

·         Some of the prohibited classes of activities were not tightly defined and this would lead to further controversy or confusion.  For example, how does one define a major project?

On the other hand, students and administrators spoke strongly in favor of the intent of these regulations.

·         Students today have no reference in the Catalog to tell them what they can expect about dead week.  Work on the proposed regulations has gone on intently for the better part of a year.

·         While a particular course may have special requirements, a student would also be taking a number of traditional courses that need time for preparation for the finals.

·         Administrators have gotten a lot of complaints about dead week violations.  Examinations scheduled during dead week were regrettably common, as were projects not announced in syllabi.

Dr. Streator determined there was a consensus that the proposed regulations needed more work.  It was moved and seconded to table approval of the committee’s action item.  The motion was approved without dissent.

9.   Ms. West next called on representatives of Standing Committees of the General Faculty to present minutes and any action items requiring approval as recorded in Attachment #4.  The following is an outline of the material presented.  Discussion is noted where significant.

a.       Faculty Benefits Committee (Dr. Bettina Cothran, chair). Minutes from a meeting on 2/4/09.
Since there were no action items, Ms. West simply asked for approval of the minutes.  The minutes were approved without dissent.

b.   Welfare and Security Committee (Dr. Bob Pikowsky). Minutes from a meeting on 3/10/09. 
Action Items: The committee recommended adding the following sentence to Georgia Tech’s current policy on smoking in section 5.15 of the Human Resources Manual:

Smoking is also prohibited within twenty-five (25) feet of building entrances, outside air intakes, and exits, and is also prohibited in enclosed or partially enclosed walkways, connecting bridges, parking deck elevator entrances and stairwells.

Dr. Pikowsky stated that Mr. Mark Demyanek (Asst.VP Environmental Health & Safety) suggested that the committee look at the scope of the Institute’s smoking policy as it related to smoking near entrances to buildings or in walkways.  The committee learned there were two statements of policy about smoking at Georgia Tech: Section 5.15 of the Human Resources Handbook (adopted Jan. 2006) said that smoking was prohibited inside buildings and Georgia Tech vehicles.  Section 52 of the Faculty Handbook (adopted Aug. 1996) prohibited smoking but certain administrators could designate smoking-allowed areas.  Neither made clear what was required around entrances or walkways.  The committee decided to recommend the addition of the passage noted above which was based on language they found at a branch campus of The Ohio State University.  They suggested that the obsolete policy in the Faculty Handbook be deleted and that the campus rely instead on Section 5.15 of the Human Resources manual with the addition of the sentence noted above.  Dr. Pikowsky asked for comments and questions.

Q. Ms. Rosalind Meyers (Assoc. VP for Auxiliary Services) pointed out that Georgia Tech is responsible for buildings on Fifth Street that include sidewalk restaurant operations at which the patrons are used to the privilege of smoking.  These properties were operated by third parties but were Georgia Tech owned.  Would the recommended policy apply?  Ans. Dr. Pikowsky said he thought so but he did not know how it would be enforced.

Comment.  A faculty member commented that he experienced the problem of smoke around building entrances.

Q. Would the policy be practical in bad weather?  Covered outdoor areas may not extend 25 feet from the entrance.  Ans. The motivations for the rule may outweigh some practical inconvenience.  It was also not practical to have different rules during inclement weather.

Comment.  Concern was expressed about rules that would be made without an adequate basis for enforcement or an intention of enforcement.  Ans. That could be said about existing policies but it was useful to state the expected standard.   

Comment. One way to reinforce the proposed policy would be to place No Smoking signs near entrances and place cigarette disposal devices 25 feet away from entrances.  Ans.  The committee considered having designated smoking areas far enough away from buildings and requiring that smoking only occur there, but this was rejected as too restrictive.

Dr. Pikowsky moved for the approval of the recommended action item and the listed minutes of the Welfare and Security Committee.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent. 

Dr. Bohlander called attention to the fact that the committee had to start out with two different published statements of policy in two different manuals, one dated 1996 in the Faculty Handbook and one dated 2006 in the Human Resources Manual.  He said that faculty and administration leaders recognized that having redundant and conflicting policy statements was a problem and they were jointly determined to avoid this in the future.  The plan in the case just discussed was to work together to update the policy in the Human Resources Manual because it applied broadly to the community and to replace the statement of policy in the Faculty Handbook with a link to the policy in the Human Resources Manual.

[Further note added by the Secretary for clarification at the time of filing the minutes:  The above motion was an endorsement by the faculty of the Welfare and Security Committee’s recommendation to the administration to change the wording of a policy in the Human Resources Manual.  The faculty does not have the power itself to change the wording of this manual but could make the recommendation to the administration to consider making this change for the reasons discussed.  Accordingly, the results of this meeting were conveyed to the administration for their attention.]

8.      Ms. West asked if there was any new business.  Hearing none, she adjourned the meeting at about 4:10 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty

June 20, 2009

 

Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:

 

  1. Minutes of the Meeting of the Academic Senate, General Faculty Assembly, and General Faculty on February 10, 2009.
  2. Process improvements for curriculum changes and Academic Program Reviews
    1. Presentation on changes prompted by the Board of Regents
    2. Proposed changes in the Faculty Handbook
  3. Annual Report of the Faculty Athletics Representative
  4. Standing Committee Minutes
  5. Recommended changes in the General Catalog concerning Dead Week