GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
FALL MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE
Combined with a Called Meeting of the
Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 3:00 pm
Student Center Theater
1. Interim President Gary Schuster opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M. and offered the following comments on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:
a. He began with an update concerning the Georgia Tech presidential search. The Search Committee has met several times and is narrowing down the list of candidates. Interviews will be conducted to further this process. The committee’s work will be in confidence until a public announcement is made after the first of the year of the finalists. There will then be time for public comment that lasts for at least 14 days before the Board of Regents would make and announce their final selection. If all goes well Dr, Schuster said he hoped that a new president would arrive on campus in the spring or early summer. He directed the faculty members in attendance to a website for further information: http://www.gatech.edu/president/search/. This site included an email link to Regent Willis Potts, Chair of the Search Committee and comments/suggestions were welcomed.
b. Concerning those faculty and staff pay raises scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2009, President Schuster said that his office had received no confirmation that these would be implemented on time or that they would be delayed. Nothing had been heard yet from the Governor’s Office or the Board of Regents. Dr. Schuster indicated he expected answers in the next ten days or so.
c. He spoke next about the general economic climate and the Institute’s budget situation. Georgia Tech and all other parts of the University System of Georgia (USG) have been asked to take a 6% budget cut. That was based on an estimate earlier in the fall that Georgia tax revenues would decrease by 1% relative to the previous year, as compared with an earlier projection of a 4% increase in revenues made at the time the budgets were established. Expectations were that the situation would further deteriorate, said Dr. Schuster. The USG Chancellor has prepared contingency plans for further budget cuts of 8% or 10% but these have not yet been put in force. In turn, Georgia Tech has devised but not yet implemented plans for 8% or 10% budget cuts. So if cuts were passed down, Georgia Tech would be ready to comply as necessary. Georgia Tech has been working very hard through these deliberations to maintain focus on its academic core in teaching and research and it remains committed to that, Dr. Schuster said. Hard won gains in Tech’s reputation for excellence would not and should not be sacrificed he said.
d. The Times of London did its annual ranking of universities and Georgia Tech ranked number eight in the world among technological universities. This was an indication that Georgia Tech’s fine reputation has gone far beyond the borders of the State of Georgia or the US, Dr. Schuster said. He attributed this to efforts Tech’s faculty and students could be proud of. He asked that this be remembered in dealing with the budget stringencies because the value of all Georgia Tech diplomas depends in part on Georgia Tech’s reputation. He said this would be a challenging time for Georgia Tech but also for all other universities and the important thing was for the Georgia Tech community to remain strong together.
Dr. Schuster asked for questions:
Q. Some faculty members have contracts that already include a salary increase. Could the uncertainty about pay raises really lead to a change retroactively for those with contracts? Ans. Dr. Schuster said he was aware of that issue but did not know a definitive answer. He said he had heard the Chancellor say that whatever decision had to be made, he wanted it to apply to the whole USG: the Chancellor did not want strictures, if any, applied only to certain units of the USG or only to certain job categories.
2. Hearing no further questions on the above, the President asked for approval of the minutes of the meeting of October 21, 2008 [a meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly and the Academic Senate]. He indicated that the minutes were published and posted on the faculty governance web site and that there were no known additions or corrections. (See Attachment #1 below for web site reference). The minutes were approved without dissent.
3. Dr. Schuster called on Dr. Steve Dickerson (Professor Emeritus) to speak about faculty participation in the Capital Campaign. Dr. Dickerson reminded the attendees that he retired in 1996 and came to Georgia Tech in 1965, and he assured the audience that at that time Georgia Tech was not number eight on The Times list. He said shortly after he retired, Tech climbed right up on the list. Dr. Dickerson said he was bringing a resolution for the faculty to consider (Attachment #2) and Tech’s reputation was one of the points of the resolution. Georgia Tech being a special place has given us important opportunities and responsibilities, he said. He pointed out that Tech faculty members were permitted to consult and to commercialize technologies they develop at Tech, so faculty have special reasons to be grateful for their opportunities. While the Capital Campaign may have slowed down some due to economic conditions, it would be very desirable for the community of alumni and those around Tech to see a high percentage of support of the Capital Campaign from the faculty. Dr. Dickerson pointed out that faculty members can designate any gifts to the Foundation to particular educational or research purposes on campus. For example a faculty member could contribute funds to support a graduate student working on the faculty member’s projects. He summarized that the proposed resolution called for “Members of the General Faculty [to] individually consider making personally significant contributions to the Campaign for Georgia Tech.” Dr. Dickerson emphasized that the goal was to have a large fraction of the faculty participate. He asked if there were questions.
Q. How does Georgia Tech faculty giving compare with other institutions? Ans. Dr. Dickerson said he did not have a direct answer but had the impression Georgia Tech faculty do pretty well because the faculty has typically exceeded projections in its giving.
Q. Is it really true that faculty can designate their gifts to go to their students? Ans. Yes, Dr. Dickerson said he regularly did that.
A motion was made and seconded to pass the resolution recorded in Attachment #2. Dr. Schuster commented that he has long admired the loyalty and support of the alumni of Georgia Tech as evidenced by their gifts in support of the school. For a public institution like Georgia Tech, the amount of giving was extraordinary. He said there was no stronger argument one could make when visiting alumni than to point to the commitment by the faculty through their donations to the success of the institution. So he encouraged the passage of the resolution. Seeing no further comments, he called for a vote and the resolution of the faculty in support of the Capital Campaign passed without dissent.
4. The President called on the Registrar, Reta Pikowsky, to present the degree candidates for the December 2008 commencements. She said that the list of degree candidates for the commencements had been reviewed and revised as necessary. She moved that they be accepted. The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.
5. The President then called on representatives of Standing Committees of the General Faculty to present any remaining annual reports for 2007-08 as well as minutes requiring approval. In most cases the representatives followed closely the reports in the committees’ files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #3 below and so this text will not be repeated here. Any additional remarks by the presenters or others are noted. The following is an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to make the presentation.
a) Faculty Honors (Dr. Bill Hunt): Annual Report for 2007-08. Dr. Hunt noted that the committee unanimously felt that in future two awards should be made for Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor and that one of the two should be designated for young faculty and one for senior faculty members. He explained the current award for mentorship was funded out of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Office. Dr. Hunt said he hoped funds for an additional award could be found that would not take away from the opportunities for undergraduate research. Dr. Schuster suggested that Dr. Hunt talk with Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Andy Smith about possible sources of funds.
b) Welfare & Security (Dr. Bob Pikowsky): Annual Report for 2007-08 & Minutes: 4/14/08, 9/8/08, 10/14/08. No action items. Minutes were approved without dissent.
6. The President then called on representatives of Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty to present any remaining annual reports for 2007-08 as well as minutes 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 #3 below and so this text will not be repeated here. Any additional remarks by the presenters or others are noted. The following is an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to make the presentation.
a) Undergraduate Curriculum (Dr. John Tone) - Minutes:
9/24/08, 10/22/08, 11/5/08
Action items. From 11/5: Applied Physiology – participation in Research Option; Public Policy – degree modifications for BSPP, 9 new courses, 1 deactivated, 3 renumbered; Modern Languages – change in minimum grade requirement for GEML and IAML degrees, 6 new courses, revisions to 6 minors (incl. reduction of hrs from 18 to 15); Management – 1 new course; LCC – participation in International Plan. Dr. Tone noted that Public Policy’s planned new courses included one in which students would have the opportunity to work on policy problems recommended by businesses and government agencies in the Atlanta area. All minutes and action items were approved without dissent.
b) Graduate Curriculum (Dr. R. Gary Parker) - Minutes:
Action Items. From 10/23: Architecture – 3 new courses; MSE – 6 new courses; Appl. Physiology – change to allow all forms of grading for APPH 6997. From 11/13: ME – changes in the Masters in Medical Physics degree requirements concerning seminars, and 5 new courses and 1 deactivated course; ISyE – changes in the specializations in PhD programs, in particular Optimization and Stochastics have moved from Industrial Engineering to Operations Research and System Informatics and Control will be new in Industrial Engineering, and then also 4 new courses. All minutes and action items were approved without dissent.
c) Student Grievance & Appeal (Dr. Facundo Fernandez): Annual Report for 2007-08. Dr. Fernandez noted that the committee’s role changed with a recent change in the Student Code of Conduct. In particular they no longer had to assist with appeals in cases of code violations. Instead their role had become one of assisting schools on campus in identifying faculty members outside each school who could participate in unit-level appeals of grade disputes. The Annual Report notes the cases in each school and which faculty members were tapped to help. Revisions of the stated charge to the committee were discussed and passed on to the Executive Board for further action.
d) Academic Integrity (Dr. Robert Kirkman): Annual Report for 2007-08 & Minutes: 11/2/07, 11/30/07, 2/8/08, 4/18/08. No action items. Minutes were approved without dissent. Dr. Kirkman said the committee had focused on better communication to the faculty about the student integrity process and its value in support of learning at Georgia Tech. He pointed to an informative two-page brochure prepared by the committee and included with the April 18, 2008 minutes.
7. The President called for any other business. One faculty member called the faculty’s attention to a meeting of the Teachers Retirement System Board the next day that would try to finalize a decision on whether to adjust semiannual cost of living increases rather than leaving as a fixed percentage. He urged faculty members to let their preferences be known to the Board by tomorrow. Hearing no further business, Dr. Schuster adjourned the meeting at about 3:50 PM.
Secretary of the Faculty
February 4, 2009
Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes: