Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003, Student Center Theater




1.      The Provost opened the meeting at 3:05 PM and offered the following comments on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:


a.       The Governor announced that the State of Georgia will embark on a major initiative in Nanotechnology over the next few years.  A major part of the initiative involves the construction of a new facility (the Nanotechnology Research Center) on the Georgia Tech campus to support that research.   The facility will be located near the Bioengineering complex and will house numerous cleanrooms.  The State will contribute $45M toward the construction of the facility; an anonymous private donor will contribute $36M. 


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 “National Textile Center” as an example of an earlier earmark program which benefited Georgia Tech, along with three other universities.  The Provost indicated that a memo is normally sent to people around campus every year to gather information on such opportunities in order to decide which ones to pursue, and that these opportunities have become important for some GTRI activities.  There were no other questions for the Provost.


2.      The Provost called for approval of the minutes of the September 30, 2003 meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate. He indicated that the minutes had 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 below for web site reference)


3.      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 Noon on Wednesday December 17th, 2003 be awarded their degree.  The motion passed without dissent. 


4.      The 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 China over the past few years as an example of the rapid changes with significant long-term impact on education and R&D around the world.  As we compete with other universities in this hemisphere and elsewhere, globalization will allow us to “differentiate” ourselves; there are very few other science-and-technology-oriented programs who can claim that 30 to 35% of their undergraduates have had some international experience by the time they graduate.   It is important to establish partnerships with other universities around the world, and that our international activities are “transparent” and “integrated” within our operations, so that students can easily go from one place to another and acquire that experience as a part of their Georgia Tech curriculum.


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 Singapore.  Currently, 500 - 600 students from the US and 22 European countries are enrolled at GTL; enrollment is limited only by housing availability for faculty and students.  The Singapore program is smaller and we are looking at expanding it.  We are also looking at the possibility of starting programs in India, China, and Central and South America.  It is important to make sure that these programs are attractive for faculty members and their families.  Since a large majority of our faculty is active in research, it is important to expand research interactions with foreign partner universities, and provide opportunities for graduate students abroad.  This will allow faculty to more easily integrate such experience into their career -- it is not a break from tenure track, but a career-enriching experience.


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 Georgia.  The study of foreign languages is one of the international education opportunities available to Georgia Tech students -- last year, nearly 3500 undergraduate students elected to study a foreign language; 67% of those students expressed an interest in study abroad/internship opportunities.  Georgia Tech offers a large number (>150) of courses with an international focus and significant international content; substantial numbers of students are enrolled in those classes.  Data for the number of students involved in study abroad programs (during 2001-02) were presented.  Of the 783 total students involved, more than 85% (692) participated in twenty faculty-led summer programs; the remaining students participated through exchanges with overseas universities, international academic projects, internships/co-op, and non-technical programs. 


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 US research universities.  Top-ranking schools in that category include Georgetown, Duke, Vanderbilt, Cornell, Stanford, NYU, Emory, Brown, and UNC-Chapel Hill.  Clearly, Georgia Tech has made exceptional progress in terms of both on-campus international course activities and overseas opportunities for students.  There are opportunities for further growth by continually enhancing the menu of options offered to our students (e.g. a freshman/sophomore class with an international theme that includes a 7-10 day study abroad experience directly related to the course content which may be suitable for students who cannot spend an entire term overseas).  More guidance needs to be offered to the students; OIE is prepared to do so with faculty participation.  The key is to integrate the various options into a coherent program, so that participation becomes an integral part of the undergraduate career.  Additional opportunities can be provided by diversifying our geographic presence. 


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 Singapore.  Lohmann re-iterated the statement that international activities enhance Georgia Tech’s competitive position, and indicated that the strategic plan calls for a 50% participation level among our students.  A retreat sponsored by the Provost is planned for early in the Spring term.   The purpose of the retreat is to come up with an “operational plan” for achieving our goal of enhancing the international opportunities for our students. The retreat may consist of a series of half-day meetings in a one-month span to see how we can achieve the 50% participation goal, especially in the current environment of constrained resources.  This will allow us to continue the dialogue among the faculty in various colleges and schools, as well as key faculty committees. 


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 the Global Learning Center. 


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 Europe; it is a non-profit organization.  This means that Georgia Tech faculty can submit proposals and receive research funding from the EU or any European organization through GTL.  He indicated that we are currently working on a program for possible joint funding by the French Government, the EU, and NSF.  He also stated that our next step is to establish our Singapore campus as a legal entity in Singapore in order to allow similar funding opportunities for our faculty.


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,], 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.  


Bohlander 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 April 20, 2004 meeting.  Bohlander indicated that the Executive Board has endorsed the proposed plan.  The changes involve formatting changes only; no change in content is contemplated.  However, should inconsistencies be identified during this re-formatting process, they will be carefully catalogued, and addressed/resolved in parallel as a separate matter.  The Provost thanked Dr. Bohlander for his presentation. 


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).


a.       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 October 9, 2003 and the action items therein passed without dissent.


b.      Paul Benkeser, Chair of the Student Regulations Committee, indicated that there are two sets of minutes to be approved (September 23, 2003 and November 24, 2003).  The minutes of September 23, 2003 contain no action items, while those for November 24, 2003 contain several action items related to proposed modifications to the Student Rules and Regulations.  Benkeser presented details of the recommended modifications; exact wording can be found in the November 24, 2003 Committee meeting minutes (see Attachment #5 below).  The first action item deals with a proposed modification which was tabled at the September 30, 2003 meeting.  It pertains to modification of Section XX.A of the Student Rules and Regulations which deals with the Student Academic Grievance Procedures.   The proposed change requires that grade appeals must be initiated by the grievant within their next enrolled term following the term of the course in question.  The wording changes proposed at this time have addressed the concerns raised at the September 30, 2003 meeting by removing the words “in residence” from the expression “next enrollment term” so that the rule would apply to all enrolled students (on-campus and off-campus).  He indicated that the proposed rule does not require the process to be completed within the next enrolled term, but only initiated by the grievant. 


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 November 24, 2003 minutes of the Student Regulations Committee was made -- the action items are to be effective immediately except for the item dealing with Academic Standing which becomes effective in the Spring of 2004.  The motion passed without dissent.  A follow-up motion to approve the Student Regulations Committee meeting minutes of September 23, 2003 and November 24, 2003 passed without dissent.


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)

a.       Faculty Benefits:  09/17/03; 10/15/03

b.      Academic Services:   11/10/03

c.       Welfare and Security: 08/29/03; 10/13/03

The minutes were approved without dissent.


9.      The Provost called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:45 PM.



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

December 9, 2003


Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:


  1. Minutes of Faculty Meetings:

a.       September 30, 2003 meeting of the Academic Senate & General Faculty Assembly

  1. Overview of Georgia Tech’s International programs (Presentation by Drs. Jean-Lou Chameau, Jack Lohmann, and Howard Rollins)
  2. The Georgia Tech Faculty Ombuds Program (Presentation by Dr. Edward Thomas)
  3. Needed Improvements in the Faculty handbook Format (Presentation by Dr. Ron Bohlander)
  4. Minutes of Standing Committees of the General Faculty and the Academic Senate: