GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
FALL MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE & CALLED MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
1. The Provost opened the meeting at and offered the following comments on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:
The Governor announced that the State of
b. During the past month we had to implement a 2.5% cut in our FY04 State budget; we had no choice but to pass this cut to the units -- academic units were asked to cut their budget by 2.25%, while administrative units were asked to cut 3.0%. Over the past two years, the academic units were generally shielded from budget cuts, which were centrally absorbed. The Provost indicated that he has started a series of meetings with faculty from the various units; the meetings will be held over the next two months and will provide details of the budget process.
A question was asked regarding
a memorandum recently sent by the Provost regarding “Federal earmarks.” The Provost indicated that while he is
personally opposed to the concept of earmarks, we are looking at programs where
not only Georgia Tech, but also other institutions, would benefit from such
support. He offered the “
called for approval of the minutes of the
The Provost called on Ms. Jo McIver (Registrar)
to present the degree candidates for the Fall Commencement. The Registrar indicated that the list of
degree candidates for the Fall 2003 commencement has
been circulated to the Academic Departments.
It was moved that all candidates
who complete their requirements by on
Provost called on Dr. Howard Rollins (Director, OIE) and Dr. Jack Lohmann (Vice
Provost) to join him in presenting an overview of Georgia Tech’s International
Programs. A copy
of the viewgraphs used in the presentation is attached (see #2 below). The Provost indicated that Dr. Howard Rollins
joined Georgia Tech six month ago as the Director of the Office of
International Education reporting to Bob McMath (V. Provost, Undergraduate
Studies). The Provost began by stating that “globalization” is a major part of
Georgia Tech’s strategic plan. He
pointed to the dramatic changes in
The Provost stated that nearly 95% of Georgia Tech’s Faculty participate in some form of international activity, through
teaching (study-abroad programs and overseas platforms), research
collaboration, and/or consultations. He
pointed to Georgia Tech’s “overseas platforms” in France (GTL) and
Howard Rollins (Director, OIE) continued the presentation. He provided data on the number of
international students and scholars at Georgia Tech (2,116 Graduate students,
487 Undergraduate students, and 159 faculty/postdoctoral scholars), the largest
number among all universities in
The number of students involved in study abroad programs (783 for
2001-02) represents nearly 35% of the number of degrees awarded by Georgia Tech
during the same period, which places Georgia Tech near the top among
universities with study abroad programs.
Rollins stated that according to Open
Doors, an organization which tracks this type of data (excludes graduate
students and non-academic credit programs such as co-op and internships), 30%
of Georgia Tech students participated in international activities during
2001-02, which places us as 19th among
Rollins stated that the general direction is to develop a coherent array of international opportunities that meet the students’ needs in a variety of ways, including: (1) offering programs of various lengths -- very short up to one year, (2) enhancing the cost effectiveness of overseas programs -- 56% of recently-surveyed freshmen and sophomores indicated that cost was one of the main reasons for not participating in study-abroad programs, while 88% of them said that they would like to do so, (3) integrating these activities into the degree objectives, and (4) increasing the number of global locations. Georgia Tech has the infrastructure and academic programs necessary to achieve these objectives. The Schools of International Affairs and Modern Languages are key parts of these activities. Support facilities are in place through the Global Learning Center, the Office of International Education, the Division of Professional Practice (internships and co-op), along with our overseas sites at GTL, and Singapore. Rollins concluded by stating that at this point his task is to figure out how to work together in a collaborative way to develop a collective vision so that Georgia Tech can take a leadership role in international activities among universities with emphasis on science and technology.
Jack Lohmann continued the presentation by indicating that there are two
aspects of his role as Vice-Provost with connection to Georgia Tech’s
international activities. First, as a
part of Georgia Tech’s SACS re-accreditation effort, which he leads, a “Quality
Enhancement Plan” (QEP) is to be prepared.
Part of the QEP deals with our international activities. Second, a part of his effort deals with
facilitating inter-institutional collaboration between Georgia Tech, GTL, and
Lohmann indicated that there are several funding agencies interested in encouraging universities to promote international activities in their programs; among them are NSF, and FIPSE (Fund for Improvement of Post-Secondary Education; US Department of Education). A preliminary proposal for a three-year ($1M) grant has been submitted to FIPSE under their “Comprehensive Grant Opportunity.” The preliminary proposal included the creation of an international degree designation program, where significant international preparation is integrated into current baccalaureate degrees. Upon completion of a set of activities, a student would receive a “designation” on his/her diploma which indicates substantial international participation (similar to the co-op designation). The intent is not to create a new international degree; instead, the aim is to integrate international experience within the existing disciplinary degrees. Unlike many of the costly programs offered by Liberal Arts Colleges which involve a small number of students, the goal to come up with a cost-effective way of involving a large number of student while allowing them to complete their degrees in a timely fashion.
Possible requirements for earning the international degree designation
include: (1) learning a foreign language to a competence level which would
allow the student to study and/or work overseas in that language, (2) studying,
working, or conducting research overseas for at least one semester, and (3)
studying a core of global/international subjects before, during, or after the
overseas experience including a capstone course. Upon completing such requirements (details to
be worked out), a student would be eligible to receive an international
designation on his/her transcript and diploma.
Such designation would signal to future employers the significant international
preparation in which the student had engaged.
Successful implementation of this program will require early
identification of students interested in pursing such international degree
designation, starting with their freshman year.
This will require effective academic advising. The goal is to introduce no more than nine
credit hours of new course requirements while maintaining the same current
degree totals. The number of hours devoted
to this activity (nine) is selected so that it is not a significant fraction of
the total degree requirements, while providing a meaningful level of participation
and understanding of international processes.
We have had discussions with a select group of overseas partners. We also intend to enhance our international
internship and co-op programs, and make use of technology-based learning via
Lohmann concluded by stating that our goal is to be among the top research universities in terms of students with international experience. This will differentiate us among our competitors and will allow us to attract outstanding students and faculty. Emphasis will be placed on the quality of international experience by providing a coherent program, integrated with the student’s discipline. Such an experience would prepare our students professionally and personally for life in the 21st century.
A comment was made that our curricula are highly specialized and relatively rigid, which often makes it difficult for students to change majors or do a part of their coursework elsewhere. A follow-up question was made as to whether there will be a “push” to re-examine our curricula in order to accommodate these requirements. The Provost responded by stating that curricula are “faculty-driven.” Georgia Tech would like to offer this type of international opportunity and experience to our students. It is true that some of our current curricula are very rigid; some flexibility will be needed to allow us to implement these programs, which are important for the future of our students. A follow-up comment was made that the process is complicated since the difficulty often arises at the interfaces between disciplines. Lohmann added that we have already started the process of asking the units if they would like to participate and, if so, provide help with the curriculum. So, it is not a matter of “pushing,” instead, it is a process of “inviting” the units to participate. He also pointed out that the international degree designation is one of many opportunities that will be available to the students; while this option may require the students to make an early choice, they can elect to do other things.
A comment was made that the European Union has become a major source of
research funding with “Framework VI” providing nearly one Billion Euros of
funding to industry and academic institutions.
A follow-up question was asked as to whether Georgia Tech had approached
the EU through GTL as a potential funding agency for this new initiative. The Provost responded by stating that we
received EU funding in the past, and that this indeed offers a great
opportunity for us. He stated that GTL
was established as a legal entity in
A question was asked regarding the recent emphasis on undergraduate research at Georgia Tech and how it can be integrated within the international experience. The Provost indicated that currently 25 to 30% of our undergraduates are involved in research. The planned increase in international internships will offer added opportunities for student research. Lohmann added that undergraduate research and international activities are two of the parts included in the Quality Enhancement Plan to be prepared for the SACS accreditation; we would like to link these two activities. The Provost suggested that Dr. McMath be invited to make a presentation on undergraduate research at the next Faculty meeting.
5. The Provost called on Dr. Edward Thomas (Prof. Emeritus; Physics) to present an overview of the Georgia Tech Faculty Ombuds Program. A copy of the viewgraphs used in the presentation is attached (see #3 below). Thomas indicated that the Ombuds program is concerned with resolution of work-related concerns and disputes. The program was established in 1999 in response to a Board of Regents’ decree that all institutions in the University System must have an “Alternative Dispute Resolution” mechanism. He indicated that the aim of this presentation is to publicize the existence and purpose of the program, and to seek faculty input on how to make the Ombuds office more useful. He enumerated the program’s objectives: (1) to assist individuals to resolve concerns and conflicts at the lowest possible level, i.e. with the people directly involved, (2) to prevent conflicts from becoming adversarial, (3) to limit the number of situations which become formal grievances with legal implications, and (4) to improve the working environment at Georgia Tech. He indicated that in addition to himself, Dr. Helen Grenga (Prof. Emeritus; MSE) also serves as an Ombudsperson, while Dr. Phil Adler (Prof. Emeritus; Management) serves as a “back-up” when needed.
Thomas indicated that when a “client” brings a problem to the Ombuds office, one of the Ombudspersons holds an informal conversation with him/her. As Emeritus faculty with extensive experience at Georgia Tech, both Ombudspersons have considerable background and experience in administrative matters and can, therefore, explain the Institute’s policies and procedures, provide advice, assist in pursuing a solution, and conduct informal fact-finding, while maintaining total confidentiality and neutrality. On some occasions, with the client’s explicit agreement, the Ombudsperson may contact the other party involved in the conflict, act as a mediator, and conduct a formal analysis of the situation. The Ombudspersons do not adjudicate, arbitrate, give legal advice, or represent either party. The Ombuds program does not replace the formal filing of grievances, or the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee; it is, however, hoped that people would talk to an Ombudsperson before filing a formal grievance. The Ombudspersons do not maintain records or report anything to anyone (other than statistical data); all proceedings are strictly confidential. As retired faculty, they are quite independent.
Thomas indicated that many leading universities, including Harvard, MIT, and UCLA, have Ombuds programs. A mission statement for the Georgia Tech Ombuds program was recently developed (see Attachment #3). The program strives to follow the rules/standards of the Universities and Colleges Ombuds Association. Thomas summarized the nature of the issues commonly seen by University Ombuds programs, including career development, uncertainty about procedures and paths, workplace and working conditions, recognition of contributions, personality conflicts, as well as sexual harassment, racism, and other types of discrimination. He indicated that the Ombuds office is administratively located in the Office of Human Resources (OHR), but reports directly to the President. Staff and students are handled by separate but similar programs. The Ombuds appointment is subject to change on an annual basis. He indicated that that the Ombuds program is not currently described in the Faculty Handbook; however, a statement describing the program has been prepared and reviewed by the Statutes Committee for inclusion in next year’s edition.
Thomas enumerated some of the concerns about the Ombuds program; most notably, the fact that many faculty members are unaware of the program’s existence. He also indicated that while the Ombudspersons generally see the serious problems, he is concerned that many of the smaller problems which give rise to poor working relationships may not be adequately addressed. He concluded by listing his contact information [Edward Thomas, (404) 894-5249, firstname.lastname@example.org], and asked the faculty for input on how to better advertise the program in order to make it more effective and fully utilized.
A question was asked regarding the utilization level of the program. Thomas indicated that during the past twelve months, the Ombuds program dealt with about forty cases, four of which were significant (i.e. involved a large amount of time), while the others were relatively minor. By comparison, the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee handles approximately four formal grievances per year. A question was asked regarding the relationship between the faculty Ombuds program and the program(s) for students and staff; specifically, what happens in conflicts that “cross the boundaries”? Thomas indicated that the staff’s Ombuds program is handled by OHR; the faculty and staff Ombudspersons work closely together. He suggested that in conflict situations between faculty and staff, the client should contact him; the two Ombuds programs will figure out how to handle the problem. He pointed out that most of the other units in the University System have a single Ombuds Office that deals with all three groups collectively, whereas GT elected to have separate programs for each of the groups. A question was asked as to whether the Ombuds program makes a presentation at the annual orientation for new faculty. Thomas indicated that he would like to do so; however, the orientation program is already too busy. The Provost thanked Dr. Thomas for his presentation.
6. The Provost called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to make a presentation on needed improvements in the Georgia Tech Faculty Handbook. A copy of the viewgraphs used in the presentation is attached (see #4 below). Bohlander indicated that the current Faculty Handbook has two formatting problems: (1) the handbook sections are numbered to an excessive depth, and (2) the html version is not easily read. He demonstrated both problems by showing examples of current sections in the Handbook. He enumerated other issues that need to be addressed; notably, information on a specific topic may, in some cases, be spread out in different sections/chapters of the Handbook, which makes it difficult to find. Additionally, we do not take full advantage of hyperlinking and indexing. Also, accessibility standards for people with special needs are not consistently followed. He indicated that he had examined several good examples of Handbooks from peer institutions and that in some cases, in addition to the linear version, sections related to key topics can be easily extracted and viewed. Some of them have a more dignified appearance, utilizing attractive headers and modest use of color.
outlined the proposed steps to be undertaken by the Statutes Committee to
improve the Faculty Handbook. A
cross-section of Faculty Handbooks from peer institutions will be examined
before the end of December; a specification based on our needs and best
practices will then be derived (by January).
One or more prototypes will be created by transforming the current text
to the new format (by February).
Additionally (by March), hyperlinks will be included in the web form, an
index will be included, and “modular views” of key topics may be created. The aim is to present the recommended changes
to the Faculty at the
7. The Provost called on Chairs of two Standing Committees of the Academic Senate to introduce minutes from their respective committee meetings and action items therein. 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. (All committee minutes have been posted on the web -- see Attachment #5 below).
Tom Sanders, acting in behalf of Bill Green,
Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there is one set of
meeting minutes to be approved (October 9, 2003), and that the minutes have one
action item requiring approval by the Academic Senate. The action item deals with the approval of four
new courses in ISYE. A motion to approve the Graduate Committee
meeting minutes of
Paul Benkeser, Chair of the Student Regulations
Committee, indicated that there are two sets of minutes to be approved (
Benkeser indicated that the remaining six modifications were requested the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee; these were reviewed and also approved by the Student Regulations Committee. The first of these modifications pertains to Section XI.B of the Student Rules and Regulations, which deals with eligibility for cross enrollment and concurrent registration. The proposed change requires that cross enrollment and concurrent registration courses must be completed with a grade of “C” or better in order to receive credit for the course. He indicated that most people had assumed that this requirement was in effect; however, it was not codified in the Regulations.
The next modification pertains to Section XIX.E of the Student Rules and Regulations. The proposed change deals with a possible sanction for academic misconduct. Specifically, it states that this may include the assignment of an “F” grade in a course from which the student had withdrawn and received a grade of “W”. This means that if a student was accused of academic misconduct, and subsequently withdrew from the course and received a “W” grade, the “W” grade could be changed to an “F” if he/she was later found to be guilty of the misconduct.
The next change deals with the establishment of a “curriculum year” with a common effective date for curriculum changes. This encompasses several minor wording changes and definitions in Sections II and XIII of the Student Rules and Regulations. The term “curriculum year” will replace what was previously referred to as the “catalogue year” since catalogues are now printed every other year. The Summer, Fall, and Winter terms will constitute a curriculum year. This change will simplify the tracking process for the Registrar in determining whether or not a student has met the graduation requirements for the curriculum they are following.
The next modification pertains to Section VIII.B of the Student Rules and Regulations which deals with the minimum waiting time for readmission after a student had been dropped for unsatisfactory scholarship. The current policy requires the student to stay out for a minimum of one term; however, the Summer term did not count towards meeting that requirement. The proposed change will allow the Summer term to be counted, so that if a student was dismissed during the Spring term, he/she can sit out the Summer term and enroll again in the Fall, whereas the current policy would have required him/her to sit out both the Summer and Fall terms. A question was asked regarding the waiting period for readmission. Benkeser indicated that the rule establishes a minimum criterion for readmission, i.e. the minimum period the student has to stay out; the actual decision for a particular individual may be different.
The next change pertains to Section VI of the Student Rules and Regulations and deals with the calculation of Academic Standing for students with a term GPA of less than 1.00. It states that an undergraduate student in good standing whose academic average for any term is 1.00 or below, based on at least six credit hours, shall be placed on academic probation. This change addresses the case of students who take less than six hours of courses in a given term. The inclusion of the six credit hour minimum in the Regulation is aimed at avoiding the possibility that a student in good standing would be placed on academic probation based on performance in only one course (i.e. drop two notches from “good standing” to “probation” rather than to “warning”). Joe Hughes pointed out that in the past the Regulations stated only that a student with a term GPA of 1.00 or below could be referred to the Undergraduate Committee. However, the committee did not usually meet during the brief time window for action on such matters (break between terms). Hence, to address this problem, the Registrar’s office put in place policies that were not codified in the rules; this change will state the policy in the Regulations in order to make it clear to everyone.
The last modification pertains to Section XIII.E of the Student Rules and Regulations; it requires a student to complete a minimum of 60 resident semester credit hours (instead of 70) to graduate with honor, high honor, or highest honor. Benkeser indicated that the 60 semester credit hours represent approximately half of the credit hours required by most degree programs.
A question was asked as to when the proposed
changes would become effective. Benkeser
indicated that changes become effective when they are approved unless we specify
otherwise. The Registrar suggested that
the effective date for the proposed change dealing with academic standing be
delayed till the Spring term due to the complexity of
the program used to determine Academic Standing. A motion to approve the action items
contained in the
8. The Provost called for approval of the minutes of Standing Committees of the General Faculty which do not contain any action items, all of which have been posted on the web (see Attachment #5 below for web site listing of minutes of all Standing Committees)
The minutes were approved without dissent.
9. The Provost called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at .
Secretary of the Faculty
Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes: