GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

SCHEDULED MEETINGS OF THE ACADEMIC FACULTY AND
ACADEMIC SENATE

Combined with

A CALLED MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 3:00-5:00 pm

Student Center Theater

 

MINUTES

 

 

1.      President Bud Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:05 P.M. and began by asking for a motion to approve the minutes of the February 21, 2012 meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate (Attachment #1).  The motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously.

2.      President Peterson called on Mr. James Black, outgoing President of the Graduate Student Body, to make some remarks and introduce new student leaders.  Mr. Black noted that one of the top achievements of the past year was making new arrangements for better healthcare benefits for Georgia Tech graduate students.  The new plan reduced the cost by 25% and increased benefits.  Other notable events in the life of the graduate student body included: the year kicked off with the annual graduate student picnic attended by about 2,000 students; the Georgia Tech Research & Innovation Conference showcased graduate student research and inventions in February resulting in awards of around $100,000 in fellowships and travel grants; the Graduate Career Symposium brought people from industry and universities to campus to provide insights into career path options.  Graduate students have also advocated for reductions in student fees which have significantly raised graduate student costs in recent years.

Mr. Black introduced the new President of the Graduate Student Body, Mr. Michael Kirka, as well as the Executive Vice-President, Gareth Guvanesen.  By way of introduction, Mr. Kirka said he did his undergraduate work in materials science and engineering at the University of Michigan, received a master’s degree from Georgia Tech, and was now a Ph.D. student in mechanical engineering at Tech.  Mr. Guvanesen said he studied electrical and computer engineering & science as an undergraduate at Duke University and was a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech, specializing in biomedical engineering. 

Mr. Black introduced Mr. Eran Mordel, incoming President of the Undergraduate Student Body.  Mr. Mordel said that Mr. Amit Khanduri would serve as Executive Vice-President for the undergraduates but was in class at the time of the meeting.  Mr. Mordel stated that he was a third-year industrial engineering student.  He was born in Jerusalem, Israel but graduated from high school in Marietta, Georgia.

President Peterson thanked the student leaders and particularly commended Mr. Black and Ms. Elle Creel (outgoing President of the Undergraduate Student Body) for their contributions to the Institute and their fellow students during the past year. 

3.      Then President Peterson provided some comments on matters of interest to the Institute:

a)      The President said that a number of positive things occurred in Georgia’s recent legislative session.  Formula funding to the University System of Georgia (USG) was included in the budget that was passed, and this would return about $10 million in funding to Georgia Tech.  Also supported was $59 million for the proposed new Engineered Biosystems Building to be built on 10th Street near Atlantic Drive.  $5 million would be requested from the state next year to complete the project, coupled with Georgia Tech’s commitment to raise $34 million in matching dollars.  Also included in the USG budget was $45 million in major repair and rehabilitation funds, from which Georgia Tech would receive some funding for building maintenance.

b)   Commencement was scheduled for May 4-5.  Masters and PhD students would have their ceremony on Friday evening, with principal speaker, Dr. Charles Vest, former president of MIT and current President of the National Academy of Engineering.  Gov. Nathan Deal would be the speaker for the undergraduate’s ceremony at the Georgia Dome on Saturday morning.

c)   President Peterson reported that twenty-five students would graduate whose studies were made possible by the Georgia Tech Promise Program of scholarships for students from low income families.

c)   Dr. Peterson also announced that the Ivan Allen Prize for Social Courage was awarded this year, on Mar. 15, 2012, to Dr. William Foege, a leader at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who was credited with leading contributions to the eradication of small pox and advocating for programs to deal with the AIDS epidemic.  Dr. Foege received a $100 thousand cash prize. 

Dr. Peterson called on Provost Rafael Bras to provide his own comments:

a)      Dr. Bras commended Senior Vice-Provost Andy Smith and Vice-Provost Ray Vito for their service to the Institute and stated that each was retiring soon. They would be returning part time to accomplish special projects in the Provost’s Office.  Dr. Smith was in attendance and the faculty gave him a round of applause in recognition of his many contributions to Georgia Tech during his long tenure.

b)      Dr. Bras announced that Dr. Susan Cozzens had been appointed Vice-Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs.  The appointment of another Vice-Provost, for Undergraduate Education, would be announced soon. 

c)      The new incoming Chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) was Dr. Steve McLaughlin.  Thus, he would be leaving his post as Vice-Provost for International Initiatives.  Dr. Bras thanked Dr. Doug Williams for his service as Interim Chair of ECE during the selection process for the new chair.  A search for a new Vice-Provost for International Initiatives would be organized soon.  Dr. Bras noted that the College of Engineering had two new school chairs, Ivan Allen, three, and the College of Computing, two.

d)     Strategic Plan Task Forces have about completed their recommendations.  A report would be made to the Strategic Planning Steering Committee on April 25, 2012. 

e)      Dr. Bras reported there were close to 15,000 applicants for admission this year.  Those offered admission had a mean SAT of 1430 and average GPA of 3.93.

4.   Dr. Peterson then called on Mr. Robert Simon, Assistant Registrar, to present the candidates for the spring commencement.  He stated that the spring list of degree candidates had been reviewed and revised as necessary and he moved to approve it.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

5.   President Peterson then asked Mr. Michael Chen, Student Editor in Chief of The Tower to tell the faculty about this student research journal.  He used the slides in Attachment #2 to support his presentation.  The Tower was founded about five years ago by undergraduate students involved in research and with the support of Dr. Karen Harwell, Director of Undergraduate Research.  The journal was student run and articles accepted for publication were student peer-reviewed.  Its purpose was to showcase undergraduate research and provide students with publication experience.  The undergraduate authors were encouraged to focus their articles on their particular contributions to research (which may involve others as well).  The first edition of the journal was published in 2009 as shown in slide 2.  In the first three years, only one edition was published each year, but beginning with 2012, two editions would be printed, one each semester.  The first edition to be published in 2012 would contain articles submitted by students in the College of Engineering and the Ivan Allen College. It would also include interviews with Mr. Chris Klaus and various undergraduate researchers as well as science news from the perspective of undergraduate researchers.  Mr. Chen stated his belief that quality articles from undergraduate researchers reflected well on the strength of undergraduate research at Georgia Tech.  The Tower was available both in print and online at http://gttower.org/.  Mr. Chen invited faculty to attend the Undergraduate Research Kaleidoscope to be hosted by The Tower on April 25, 2012 as further detailed in slide 9.  This event featured undergraduate research presentations each comprising no more than 20 slides shown in rapid-fire.  The editorial board of The Tower was shown in slide 10.  Mr. Chen said this student team would like to hear from faculty about how The Tower could better serve the Georgia Tech community?

Q.  How many articles were in an edition of The TowerAns. The usual number was five.  About fifteen articles were typically submitted and one-third accepted for publication. 

Q.  If a student submitted an article for publication in The Tower, could they also submit it for publication in mainline journals?  Ans.  The team had contacted a number of journals who said publishing in The Tower would not count as a prior publication.  In addition, the article prepared for The Tower was supposed to be slanted to what the undergraduate researcher learned, while a mainline journal publication would typically be different from that.

President Peterson thanked Mr. Chen for his leadership.

6.   Dr. Peterson asked Prof. Ellen Zegura, Co-Chair of the Subcommittee on Open Access for Faculty Publications to present a report from the Subcommittee on their progress.  A draft policy on Open Access was passed out to those in attendance (Attachment #3a) and Prof. Zegura used the slides in Attachment #3b to support her presentation.  Prof. Zegura explained that work on this topic had originated in the Library Faculty Advisory Board (LFAB), and then the Executive Board chartered the development of a draft policy in an ad hoc subcommittee of the Academic Services Committee (ASC), one of the faculty’s standing committees.  The ad hoc subcommittee included representation from the LFAB, ASC, and others from around the Institute, as detailed further in Attachment #3b.    She explained that the briefing at this faculty meeting was purposely brief to provide an introduction to the effort and topic.  Town hall meetings would be held for more in depth discussion during the early fall, and then a proposal for an addition to the Faculty Handbook would be brought to the faculty for their consideration. The slides in Attachment #3b covered well the content of her talk.  Prof. Zegura noted that a number of Georgia Tech’s peer institutions had already adopted policies similar to that in the draft policy, notably MIT in 2008, Princeton in fall of 2011, Duke in 2010, and others.  Both the President and Provost voiced their support for the concept of open access. 

Q.  Would approval for a publication to be included in SmarTech or another repository require the approval of all authors?  Ans. No, copyright laws stated that copyrights were retained by each author separately and a decision to submit to a repository could be exercised individually.  On the other hand, authors usually listened to each other and if one of the authors had an objection, that would carry some weight with the rest. 

Q. If an author of an article did not volunteer the submission of the article to a repository, what would happen?  Ans.  That would constitute an opt-out, and it was the intention of the subcommittee to make opting out that easy.  However, it was proposed that the faculty commit to opt-in as the norm because many journals have said they would cooperate with having free access to articles after an embargo time if the faculty of the institution adopted a policy that use of such repositories was the agreed norm.  This practice and understanding were becoming widely accepted.

Q.  To whom would the committee overseeing the open access process report? Faculty?  Library?  Provost’s Office? Ans. That had not been settled yet.

Comment.  It was good that the policy as proposed would be reviewed in three years, because the publishing landscape was likely to change rapidly. 

Comment.  It seemed likely that research sponsors would increasingly require articles based on their sponsorship to be filed in open access repositories. 

7.   The President next called on Mr. Gene Pope, Jr., from the Office of Conflict of Interest Management, GTRC, to make a proposal for an update to the Institute’s policies and procedures on conflicts of interest and outside professional activity (in Section 38 of the Faculty Handbook).  The President indicated that these proposed changes had been reviewed and approved by the Statutes Committee and by the Executive Board of the Institute.  Mr. Pope utilized the slides found in Attachment #4a as well as a handout of the proposed policy with notes about the proposed changes (Attachment #4b) and a link to Frequently Asked Questions about Travel Reporting (Attachment #4c).  Mr. Pope said that the driver for the proposed changes was a recent change in rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as further detailed in Attachment #4a.  The new federal rules applied to research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by the CDC, other agencies under HHS.  Mr. Pope noted that most of the changes would be applied at Georgia Tech across all sponsored work, but the new requirements on reporting of reimbursed or sponsored travel would only be applied to sponsored work for an agency of HHS.  He stated that the new government rules must go into effect by August 24, 2012, so Georgia Tech’s proposed changes in policies and procedures were proposed to start on August 1 in order to meet the federal deadline. 

Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee, confirmed that the committee had worked with the Conflict of Management Office on the proposed text and approved it.  Ms. Balsam made a motion to approve the proposed changes in Section 38 of the Faculty Handbook effective August 1, 2012.  The motion was approved unanimously.

8.   The President asked Ms. Balsam to proceed with a report on preparations for other revisions to the Faculty Handbook which would be presented in the future.  Ms. Balsam used the slides in Attachment #5 to support her presentation.  She opened by explaining that the typical process for a change in the Faculty Handbook began with a committee or board suggesting a change; then the Statutes Committee worked with the proposers to refine the proposal; and ultimately the Statutes Committee provided the General Faculty with a recommendation about the proposal.  Today she was providing the faculty with a look-ahead on two major developments dealing with the overall format and composition of the Handbook. 

The first of these was the creation by the President of an Institute Policy Task Force charged with compiling a comprehensive online library of Institute-level policies from many sources on campus.  The Faculty Handbook would become part of this library and the Chair of the Statutes Committee and the Secretary of the Faculty served on this task force.  Further details were in slide 2.

The second was an effort to overhaul the Faculty Handbook begun in 2007 with the appointment by Senior Vice-Provost Andy Smith of a task force charged with developing and recommending a more readable and useable Handbook.  This task force was to make no substantive policy changes but was to reconcile the Handbook with any recent Board of Regents or regulatory changes, reduce duplication, and provide consistent expression of policies and procedures.  The recommendations of this task force were turned over to the Statutes Committee who has been working diligently to review and incorporate as many as possible of their recommendations into a revised Faculty Handbook that could be brought ultimately to the General Faculty for consideration and adoption.  Attachment #5 details some of the features and differences from the current Handbook that have so far emerged in draft form. 

Ms. Balsam stated that the Statutes Committee hoped to complete their work on this in the fall, ask for a review and guidance from the Executive Board, and then bring it to the General Faculty for two readings as soon as practical.  Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, said that the faculty would be provided with an online version of the proposed new Faculty Handbook to compare with the existing Handbook prior to formal consideration of the change.  Dr. Andy Smith explained that the current Handbook was frustrating in scattering topics like the procedures for tenure across many sections of the Handbook.  The idea with the new Handbook was to make it much easier to use, not to change the essence of the policies.  President Peterson said that the motion to accept the new Handbook might be couched in such a way that any unintended changes would have a simple recourse for correction.

9.   Ms. Balsam moved for approval of the minutes of recent meetings of the Statutes Committee (in particular for 2/22/12, 2/28/12, 3/13/12, 3/20/12, 3/28/12, 4/3/12, and 4/10/12). No action items were involved that had not already been covered above. (See minutes in Attachment #6).  The motion was seconded, and approved unanimously.

10. .Dr. Peterson called on representatives of Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty to present minutes of recent meetings and any action items requiring approval.  In most cases the representatives followed closely the reports in the committees’ files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #6 below and so that text was not repeated here.   The following outlined the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to present summaries of the committee’s recommendations.

a)   Undergraduate Curriculum: (Prof. Martha Grover, Committee Member) 4/28/12, 3/13/12, 3/20/12, 4/3/12, 4/17/12

Action Items:  From 3/13: Math – modification to course descriptions for Math 1502/1512/1522/15X2; Management – 3 new courses & new certificate in Business Law and Ethics; CEE – 1 new course; AE – 1 course deactivation; Appl. Physiology – change in the prerequisites and course description for APPJ 4200; LCC – modification in the Performance Studies minor concerning course requirements and a reduction to 15 credit hours required; ME – modification in the BSME, involving making the course requirements more flexible .  From 4/17: Biology – 1 new course; ISyE – revised course prerequisites for 6 courses; Modern Languages – modification to the Linguistics Certificate, involving course requirements, + 1 new course and 1 deactivated; MSE – revised course prerequisites for 7 courses; CoA-City & Regional Planning – 1 new course; CoC-CS – modification in the BSCS degree and the CS Minor, involving changing the name of the Platforms thread to Systems & Architecture, and related concentration names + 5 new courses; Economics, Public Policy, & Chemistry & Biochemistry – modification in the Energy Systems Minor, involving course requirements; ME – modifications in the BSME degree, involving  changes in course requirements, grade requirements, introduction of concentration areas, and 3 new courses; LCC – proposal to change the name of LCC to School of Literature, Media, and Communication; Management and CoC – new Minor in Computing and Management requiring 22 credit hours and a problem-focused capstone project; Management – 5 new courses.

Dr. Bras praised several of the Schools in the College of Engineering for implementing changes to provide greater flexibility in options for electives for undergraduates in their programs.  He also noted that progress was being made toward new interdisciplinary degree options. 

It was moved, seconded and passed unanimously to approve the above minutes and action items.

b)      Graduate Curriculum: (Prof. Jonathan Clarke, Committee Chair) 3/8/12, 4/12/12

Action Items: From 3/8: CoC – modification in the MS in Computer Science, involving changes in course requirements for three concentrations, which are Databases & Software Engineering, Machine Learning, and Social Computing; HTS – 1 new course & 1 deactivation; LCC – 1 new course and a modification in the MS in Digital Media, involving course requirements; Applied Physiology – 1 new course; AE – 1 new course .  From 4/12: CoC – modification to the High Performance Computing concentration for the MS in Computer Science, involving course options and 1 new course; CoC-IC, LCC, & Psychology – modification to the MS in Human Computer Interaction involving course requirements and options in a flexible core and  + 6 new courses; LCC – proposal to rename LCC as the School of Literature, Media, and Communication (LMC); Applied Physiology – modification to the MS in Prosthetics and Orthotics, involving changes in course requirements + 3 new courses; Management – modification to the MBA degree showing the major as Business Administration instead of Management; CoA-Architecture – 2 new courses; CoA-City & Regional Planning – 6 new courses; CoA-Industrial Design – 3 new courses; CETL – 4 new courses; Economics – reactivation of the doctoral thesis course listing; ISyE – modification to the MS Health Systems degree, involving a new track in predictive health.

It was moved, seconded and passed unanimously to approve the above minutes and action items.

c)   Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee: (Prof. Craig Tovey) 3/13/12

Action Items: Revised proposals for changes in 1) Procedures for Excused Absences for the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee and 2) the Georgia Tech Policy on Competitive Admission (Freshman Applicants).  Prof. Tovey used the summary in Attachment #7 to explain the action items which the Committee adopted in response to input from the Academic Senate at its last meeting in February.  After Prof. Tovey completed his explanation, the President received a motion and a second for the approval of the above minutes and these action items. 

Q.  How long before the finals week must a petition be filed for an excused absence during finals?  Ans. Normally, two-weeks’ notice was expected but emergency requests have been handled in as little as 48 hours.

Q.  Who was responsible for making a petition for such an excused absence?  Would it be each student involved, or the organizer of the event which causes the need for the excuse?  Ans.  Usually the organizer of the event provided a list of students who would need the excuse.

A friendly amendment to the motion was accepted that minutes and action items be approved but that the committee also be encouraged to adopt procedural guidelines for the process of considering petitions for excused absences.  The motion as amended was approved unanimously.

11. Dr. Peterson noted that last week the Board of Regents (BoR) agreed to allow institutions in the USG to have separate tuition structures on a case by case basis.  As a result, Georgia Tech would be able to charge a different tuition from say the University of Georgia.  Reference would be made to a separate peer group for each institution in the USG in deciding on tuition levels.  Georgia Tech was currently charging about 70% of the average tuition for its peer group.  For the coming year, Georgia Tech was granted a 6% increase in tuition, an increase larger than for other USG units.  Fees were also allowed to be different for the different USG institutions.  Georgia Tech’s stated goal was to move toward the peer average in tuition over time.  This was seen as important to enable improving the student- faculty ratio and maintaining the quality of the institution. 

Q.  Was Georgia Tech still required to have a fixed ratio between out-of-state tuition and in-state?  Ans. Two years ago Georgia Tech was still required to have a 4:1 ratio, but then this fixed ratio was lifted.  The reason was that although in-state tuition was about 70% of the peer average, the out-of-state tuition was about the same as the peer average for out of state students.  The BoR adopted a new policy that out-of-state tuition must increase by the same dollar amount as in-state tuition rises.  In that way, the ratio of out-of-state tuition to in-state would drop.

Dr. Peterson thanked the faculty for their diligence in maintaining the quality of Georgia Tech.  Hearing no further business, Dr. Peterson adjourned the meeting at about 5 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty

October 20, 2012

 

Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:

 

  1. Minutes of the February 21, 2012 meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate.
  2. Report on The Tower, a GT student research journal
  3. Progress report from the Subcommittee on Open Access for Publications

a)      Draft Policy

b)      Presentation

  1. Update on proposed changes to the Institute’s Conflict of Interest and Outside Professional Activity Policy

a)      Presentation

b)      Proposed new text with explanations.

c)      FAQs on new travel reporting

  1. Progress report on other revisions to the Faculty Handbook
  2. Minutes of Standing Committees
  3. Summary of action items from the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee