GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

 

FALL MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE & CALLED MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004, Student Center Theater

 

MINUTES

 

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

 

a.       We are pleased that one of our students, Jeremy Farris, an International Affairs undergraduate, has been named a Rhodes Scholar -- the third GT student to receive such an honor, and the second in the past three years.  Another GT undergraduate, Ambika Bumb, won a Marshall Scholarship.

 

b.      The Urban Land Institute recognized Technology Square as one of ten projects that made a difference in their communities; 150 projects from around the world competed for that recognition.

 

c.       Because of the large number of graduating students, we will have separate undergraduate and graduate commencement this December (in the past this was done only in June). The graduate commencement speaker will be Dr. Walter Massey (President of Morehouse, prominent physicist, and former Director of NSF and Argonne National Lab).  John Salley, a former Georgia Tech Basketball player, will be the undergraduate commencement speaker.

 

d.      We are in the process of examining various arrangements for future commencements because of the increasing size of our graduating classes.  One of the options includes an Institute-wide ceremony, coupled with separate ceremonies conducted by the various colleges.  The President invited the faculty to send him suggestions regarding other possible commencement arrangements. 

 

A question was asked regarding the procedure for nominating commencement speakers.  The President indicated that suggestions should be sent to his office, and that he, together with Gary May, Bill Schafer, student leaders, and others normally go through the list of nominees and select the speakers.         

 

2.      The President called for approval of the minutes of the October 14, 2004 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 President 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 2004 commencement has been circulated to the Academic Departments.  It was moved that all candidates who complete their requirements by Noon on Wednesday December 15th, 2004 be awarded their degree.  The motion passed without dissent. 

 

4.      The President called on Mr. Les Saunders (Director, Capital Planning and Space Management) to present an overview of the 2004 Campus Master Plan (CMP).  Saunders distributed a brochure entitled “2004 Update to the 1997 Campus Master Plan” and pointed to the web address www.space.gatech.edu/masterplan.htm where a longer version of today’s presentation can be found; the entire 2004 Campus Master Plan (~ 600 pages) will be posted next week.   He began by defining a “Master Plan” – he stated that a Master Plan is not a “prescription;” instead, it provides: (1) a framework to guide future campus development; (2) a statement of physical responses to anticipated strategic initiatives; (3) guidelines for responses to unanticipated strategic initiatives; and (4) specific parameters to ensure consistency in campus development.  He stated that a physical Master Plan is a part of an overall planning process leading to implementation – an integrated process.  The most important component of that process is the Institutional Strategic Plan, which defines what we want to be and why.  Facilities are places where strategic initiatives happen; they are means to the ends, not ends in themselves.  Therefore, understanding what we want to do, helps us define the type of facilities we need and when we need them.  He stated that in this institutional setting facilities have to be “adaptable,” since we may change what we want to do as time progresses.  He pointed to the classrooms in the Global Learning Center (constructed of light weight concrete on Styrofoam blocks, which, if necessary, can be easily gutted and reconfigured) as an example of such adaptability.  Financial planning is the second important component of the integrated planning process – how do we pay for what we want to do. Implementation planning follows the three process components (strategic planning, capital planning, and financial planning).

 

Saunders stated that we have updated the 1997 Campus Master Plan in light of the changes that have occurred since that time (increased enrollments and research activities with resultant increases in faculty and staff), and have focused on specific elements, including: sustainability, accessibility, the ground plane, and collaborative planning with community constituencies.  He offered a brief history of the campus beginning in the late 1800’s with a small parcel of land just north of Atlanta (North Avenue is our southern boundary); construction of the Interstate separated the campus from the city and allowed growth only to the north and west.  In 1997 there were nearly 13,000 students and 7.5 million square feet of space.  One of the important things identified in the 1997 Master Plan is the need to create a pedestrian-oriented campus.  At that time, the campus was a “parking lot dotted with buildings.”  Since that time, we have made a concerted effort to increase the amount of “people space” in the center of campus – increased green space and dedicated pedestrian areas in the campus core; moved parking structures to the campus perimeter with feeder network to the campus core; and explored opportunities to expand the campus boundaries.  He indicated that moving the campus boundary from Tech Parkway to Marietta street would add nearly 20 acres to the campus; we are in the process of acquiring properties in that area. [Tech Parkway is needed to connect the Coca Cola Parking deck to Northside Drive].  The 1997 Campus Master Plan identified places for new buildings with nearly 3 million gross square feet.  Much has happened since that time, including the completion of several construction projects and, most significantly, eastward campus expansion across the Interstate (Technology Square) – an example of how a Master Plan needs to be flexible to take advantage of opportunities.

 

As we update the Master Plan, there are two strategic goals with significant implications on facilities, namely, a student-faculty ratio 16:1 and an increase in graduate student population by 50% [target date 2010].  The goals for the 2004 Master Plan focus on three areas:  Education, Ecology, and Economy.  Education and Research are our primary missions; to accomplish this, we need to support the strategic goals, and enhance the Live/Learn/Work/Play environment. The focus on “ecology” means making sure that what we do is appropriate for the environment, while “economy” is clearly a central part of the planning process.  At this time, we have nearly 11.4 million square feet of space either in use or under construction/in-planning (up from 7.3 million in 1997).  To accomplish the two strategic goals related to student/faculty ratio and graduate enrollment, nearly 16.1 million square feet of space will be needed.  The campus has room for about 3.5 million gross square feet of additional space assuming we use 3 to 4 story buildings (dictated by time available for students to travel between classes and the desire to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers). 

 

Accessibility is an important goal for our campus; today we meet the letter of the law with respect to handicap accessibility – we are “handicap-accessible” but would like to be “handicap-friendly.” Facility planning is looking for opportunities to do so; for example, the Klaus building will have a series of 24/7 accessible elevators to connect from the fifth street intersection through the building up to the Atlantic street level; a similar plan is envisioned for the Undergraduate Learning Center to accommodate the elevation difference currently accommodated by the steps next to the library. 

 

Sustainability is an important element in the Master Plan – essentially, making sure that we do what we want to do, without precluding the ability of our grandchildren to do what they want to do.  Sustainability is an integral part of the education process on campus; nearly 580 courses taught on campus have something to do with sustainability.  Key components of sustainability include energy efficiency (since the mid 1970’s we have mandated energy efficiency in the design of our buildings).  All buildings built, designed, or under-design during the past four years are certifiable for sustainability, two of which have been nationally recognized.  Additional components include:  operations energy management, use of alternative fuels (campus mass transit, and use of natural gas service vehicles), recycling, and landscape design & management.  Tree canopy renewal is an important part of sustainability; a significant reforestation process is being planned for the campus – the goal is that everywhere one walks on campus will be under shade, and that significant places around campus will be heavily wooded.  Storm water management is another important consideration.  Georgia Tech is the largest single land owner in the city of Atlanta.  Storm water management will be a highly visible example and evidence of GT’s commitment to sustainability; it will reduce GT contribution to Atlanta’s overburdened sewer system (and avoid projected cost increases).  It will also reduce or eliminate GT use of potable water for irrigation, reduce erosion, and reduce operating costs.   A map outlining the changes in the campus water sheds from 1875 to the present was shown.  The approaches to be used for storm water management were described; these include:  designing buildings as “trees” (collect and re-use water), use of performance landscapes, species selection (54% of all water used in Atlanta goes to grass, 100% of which is potable water), and storm water collection and re-use.  An “Eco-Commons” will be created (nearly 80 acres) -- an engineered waterway that replicates the storm water management of a natural stream (it approximates the original route of the stream).  It will be surrounded by performance landscape, include passive and active recreation areas, and will be maintained in perpetuity.

 

The Master Plan identifies special places on campus, i.e. portions of the campus that will be preserved in perpetuity because of their historic, aesthetic, and/or ecological significance.  These include the historic district, the “quad” in front of the Tech Tower, the Mayer Garden (one of our best outdoor classrooms), the “Glade” behind the President’s House (will be enhanced and made more accessible), the new Campus Green (will become the campus focal point), and the Eco-Commons.  A map indicating the area of interest surrounding Georgia Tech was shown (similar to Technology Square, we would like to be able to take advantage of opportunities in that area as they present themselves – create developments which are mutually beneficial to GT and the developers).  Saunders stated that we would like for Home Park to remain as a viable, active, residential neighborhood, and that we have worked closely with them to achieve that goal.

 

Saunders compared the current and proposed land use plans.  He stated that the campus area is approximately 400 acres; GT owns approximately 325 of those acres (we don’t own all the streets or the land occupied by many of the Greek Houses).  Currently, 20% of the area is used for streets and surface parking, 10% represents the footprint of all academic instruction and research buildings, and 50% is open/green space; the remainder includes 7% for athletics, 9% for student support and auxiliaries, and 4% for recreation.  The proposed Master Plan land use increases the area occupied by academic instruction and research buildings to 15%; the fraction occupied by open/green space will remain nearly the same (52%), while the area occupied by streets and surface parking will be reduced to 11%; the remainder includes 6% for athletics, 11% for student support and auxiliaries, and 5% for recreation. 

 

Saunders concluded by referring the faculty to the website where the slides used in the presentation and the entire 2004 CMP can be found (www.space.gatech.edu/masterplan.htm).

 

A question was asked regarding flooding around Peters Park.  Saunders indicated that the reason it continues to flood is that it is on a stream which originally ran underneath the football stadium, through Peters Park, and through the baseball field.  Hopefully, someday Peters Park can again be a park and a recreation area; however, before that happens we need to be able to replace the parking spaces.  He indicated that currently there are 52 parking spaces per 100 people on the GT campus (faculty, staff, and students – total ~26,000 people); the 2004 CMP will maintain the same ratio, however parking will not be immediately adjacent to buildings.  He stated that currently there are 850 unsubscribed (excess) parking spaces.  A question was asked regarding the possibility of offering subsidies for monthly Marta passes to encourage people not to drive and park on campus.  Saunders indicated that at some point subsidizing mass transit may be less expensive to the “overall system;” however, parking in Atlanta is still inexpensive compared to other places, e.g. Northwestern provides parking only to those who live more than 17 miles from campus at a cost of $1200 per year.  He indicated that the number of faculty and staff requesting parking has decreased since the Trolley to the Marta station began operating.  A comment was made that the present campus land will allow approximately 3.5 million gross square feet of additional space; however the projected increase in the required square footage is greater than that amount (difference between projected 16.1 million and current 11.4 million square feet).  The President indicated that we are doing all we can to acquire land immediately adjacent to the campus (area of interest), and that part of the growth will be accommodated through other means, e.g. the Savannah campus and internet delivery.  

 

A comment was made that the campus is not fully utilized during the summer term (compared to the Academic year) and that it may be possible to handle a larger number of students if we move towards a true 12-month operation.  The President indicated that some universities require students to enroll for at least one summer session during their four-year undergraduate program, which is not a bad idea.  A comment was made that the projections used in the 2004 CMP assumed a modest growth in undergraduate enrollment, which is inconsistent with the University System growth projections presented earlier this year.  The President indicated that, historically, Georgia Tech enrollment has been about 6% of the total University System enrollment, and that based on the System’s growth projections, 6% will be much larger than the numbers presented today, especially at the undergraduate level.  There are different scenarios for how we are going to address that growth; today’s presentation looked at one of the scenarios.  There are other factors, including the Savannah campus which may grow to 2-3 thousand students, and the number of transfer students who complete their first two years elsewhere may increase.  Nevertheless, most of the other scenarios will require more space than the scenario presented today.  Saunders indicated that we are a “land-locked” urban campus, and that part of the plan was to see what we can do with what we have.  The President stated that we do have a plan to acquire land in the areas immediately adjacent to the campus.  Since the State does not give us any money for that purpose, we have used Foundation assets and have had to be creative.  We now have an entity that can buy land for us, and operate the buildings on that land to generate income which, hopefully, can be used to buy more land.  There are also foundations that will buy land and hold it for us to buy within a few years.

 

The President thanked Mr. Saunders for his presentation.           

 

5.      The President called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to present an update on format revision for the Faculty Handbook.  A copy of the viewgraphs used in the presentation is attached (see #2 below).  Bohlander stated that last year, the Executive Board asked the Statutes Committee to recommend and help implement a better format for the Faculty Handbook.  The effort was given a lower priority during the push to develop and implement the policy revisions needed to support the SACS accreditation effort.  With the completion and faculty approval of those revisions, the Committee is now looking at the Handbook format project.  He stated that the two main problems with the current Handbook format are: (1) excessive depth of section numbering (six levels) and (2) html version is not easily read.  He showed examples of Handbook sections to illustrate both problems.  He stated that the Committee began by examining the Faculty Handbooks at 19 peer institutions to identify best practices.  Based on that information, the desired characteristics in the GT Handbook were determined, namely: (1) no more than three levels of outline numbering, (2) tables of contents with fewer levels and variable depth,  (3) primary handbook document in html on the web with optional downloadable pdf version, (4) minimize the need for scrolling, (5) provide a search engine focused on the handbook, (6) make use of hyperlinks to help in navigation to related material, and (7) provide an overall professional appearance with tasteful use of color. 

 

Bohlander indicated that in addition to improving the format, the Committee recognized the need for an improved process for implementing updates to the Faculty Handbook.  He briefly described the current process for updating the Faculty Handbook, and indicated that the Committee worked with OIT and OARS to select a better content management software platform; “RoboInfo” from Macromedia was selected (designed for employee manuals).  A preliminary Faculty Handbook shell created by RoboInfo was shown; it includes a variable depth table of content and the capability to perform a search.  Bohlander described the current numbering system in the Handbook, with 5-6 levels throughout; he indicated that the committee has developed a scheme to reduce that to three levels.  An example of the revised numbering scheme was shown.  He listed planned actions including: (1) requesting feedback from the Executive Board and the Administration on the draft numbering system and revision of out-of-date material, and (2) assembling of new draft material by the Statutes committee.  He stated that the results will be shown to the Executive Board in early 2005 and that a website will be published to allow faculty to compare the new and old versions of the Handbook.  The final version is expected to be presented to the faculty for approval in the Spring.  The President thanked Dr. Bohlander and the Statutes Committee for their efforts, particularly those dealing with the SACS accreditation. 

 

6.      The President 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 #3 below).

 

a.       Scott Wills, Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there are five meeting minutes to be approved (09/08/04, 09/22/04, 09/29/04, 10/13/04, and 10/27/04); three meetings involved curricular matters, while the other two were devoted to petitions (101 petitions and five appeals).  The curriculum meetings included several action items which require separate approval by the Academic Senate.  The action items are:  Chemical Engineering (ChE) degree name change to Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (ChBE), new Biotechnology option in ChBE, new ChE courses, changes in BS PUBP degree, Pre-Law Certificate in PUBP, and a Law, Science, and Technology minor in PUBP (09/08/04); new courses at GTL, COE, CEE, and BIOL, changes in BS CE degree, and changes in BS NRE degree (10/27/04). 

 

A question was asked as to whether the Pre-Law Certificate in PUBP, and the Law, Science, and Technology minor in PUBP are new, or modifications to the existing Certificate and a minor.  The Registrar indicated that these are modifications to the existing Certificate and a minor.  A motion to approve the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 09/08/04, 09/22/04, 09/29/04, 10/13/04, and 10/27/04 and the action items therein passed without dissent.

 

b.      Bill Green, Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there are four sets of minutes to be approved (08/26/04, 10/07/04, 10/21/04, and 11/09/04), three of which contain action items requiring separate approval by the Academic Senate.  The action items are:  new courses in Applied Physiology (08/26/04); degree name change from MS in Applied Mathematics to MS in Mathematics (10/07/04); two new CETL courses, allowing CoC  to offer MS in Computer Science at GTL beginning in the Spring of 2005 (dual degree arrangement with partners in France); allowing the transfer of up to nine (9) credit hours from universities in the US and Canada for students taking MS CS degrees with at least 33 credit hours, and allowing the transfer of up to nine (9) credit hours from foreign schools and universities that have a signed partner agreement with GTL subject to the same guidelines for transfer from US and Canadian universities for the MS CS degree (11/09/04).   Green stated that the current rule limiting the number of transfer credits to six (6) for MS degrees requiring 30 credit hours remains in effect. 

 

A question was asked as to whether there are centers (other than CETL) which offer courses.  Green indicated that he does not know of any.  A question was asked as to the rationale for changing the name of the MS degree in Applied Mathematics to MS in Mathematics.  Green indicated that there are historical reasons why the original degree was named “MS in Applied Mathematics.”  However, the name “MS in Applied Mathematics” carries a special meaning in the Math community; the name change to “MS in Mathematics” represents “truth in advertising.”  A question was asked as to whether a similar change is to be expected for the undergraduate degree.  Green indicated that the BS degree remains as BS in Applied Mathematics. A follow-up question was asked as to the designation of the PhD degree.  Green indicated that the PhD degree is in Mathematics.  A motion to approve the Graduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 08/26/04, 10/07/04, 10/21/04, and 11/09/04 and the action items therein passed without dissent.     

 

7.      The President 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 #3 below for web site listing of minutes of all Standing Committees)

 

a.       Faculty Benefits:  08/30/04, 09/27/04, and 10/25/04

b.      Statutes:  08/17/04

c.       Academic Services:   10/07/04, and 11/04/04

d.      Welfare and Security:  09/27/04

 

The minutes were approved without dissent.

 

8.      The President called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:15 PM.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

December 6, 2004

 

Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:

 

  1. Minutes of Faculty Meetings:

a.       October 14, 2004 meeting of the General Faculty, general Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate:  http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/GFGFAAS2005-101404-Minuteswp.htm

  1. Project to Revamp Format of the Faculty Handbook (Presentation by Dr. Ron Bohlander)
  2. Minutes of Standing Committees of the General Faculty and the Academic Senate: http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/CommitteeMinutes.htm