GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

FALL MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE
Combined with a

MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 2:00 pm

Student Center Theater

 

MINUTES

 

 

1.      Prof. Kirk Bowman, Chair of the GT Executive Board, called the meeting to order at 2:00 P.M. and called on Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Andy Smith, to provide some comments on behalf of the President who was traveling:

Dr. Smith summarized the action the previous week by the Board of Regents who approved new engineering programs at the University of Georgia and at Georgia Southern University.  He stated that Georgia Tech articulated an alternative case to expand capacity for engineering education at Georgia Tech when it was needed and there was both industry and legislative support for the Georgia Tech viewpoint.  However, the decision of the Board of Regents was 9-8 to approve the proposals from the other two universities.  Dr. Smith said he did not anticipate any strong effects of this on the Atlanta campus of Georgia Tech.

2.      Dr. Bowman asked for approval of the minutes of the meeting of October 14, 2010 [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. Bowman called on Ms. Reta Pikowsky, Registrar, to present the degree candidates for the commencement ceremonies to be held in December.  Ms. Pikowsky said the list of degree candidates had been thoroughly reviewed and revised as necessary.  She moved that the list be approved.  This was seconded and approved without dissent.  

4.   The Chair called on Mr. Tom Horton from GTRI, who had been serving as Co-Chair of the Georgia Tech Charitable Campaign, to bring news of the campaign to the faculty members in attendance.  His points were summarized in the slide shown in Attachment #2.  In addition, he said that the deadline for contributions had been extended to November 30, 2010.

5.   Dr. Bowman next called on Dr. Sue Ann Allen, Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and the Georgia Tech Faculty Athletic Representative, to give her annual report to the faculty on the state of the intercollegiate athletics program at Georgia Tech.  Dr. Bowman explained that this report was being moved from April to November to better match the time frames when NCAA released data on academic performance by student athletes.  Dr. Allen utilized the material in Attachment #3 for her presentation and her comments followed closely.  In summary, Dr. Allen painted a picture of student athletes meeting their academic challenges admirably for the most part, with some programs facing more challenges than others.  She invited faculty to become more familiar with athletic programs through opportunities like the football guest coach program and by attending games for some of the programs not as much in the spotlight, such as volleyball, women’s softball, women’s basketball, etc.  She provided her contact information and invited questions or comments at any time.

Q. It had been reported recently in the press that at some schools, a part of student fees went to the athletic program without the students being aware of the amount.  Were students informed here at Georgia Tech about the portion of fees that go to the athletic program?  Ans. Dr. Allen and Dr. Smith reported that any changes in fees including portions going to athletics were reviewed with a faculty-student committee and there was always student awareness and input.  The ultimate decision on fees was then made by the Board of Regents.

6.   Dr. Bowman called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, to make a report on updates to the Georgia Tech Computer & Network Usage and Security Policy (CNUSP).  He reviewed material he had received from the Office of Information Technology (OIT) shown on Attachment #4a.  [Note: The contemplated policy update was officially released on February 11, 2011 – see Attachment #4b.] Dr. Bohlander said that OIT and the GT Executive Board would welcome thoughts from the faculty about further steps that the Georgia Tech community could take to improve the security of its computer and network resources.

7.   Dr. Bowman noted that the Executive Board had two years ago appointed a Task Force to study and make recommendations about possible revisions to the definition of what it means to be a member of the General Faculty at Georgia Tech.  This Task Force has worked very hard over this time and was ready to bring the matter for what they hoped was a final reading before the General Faculty so recommended revisions could be made to the Institute Statutes and other parts of the Faculty Handbook.  He called on Prof. Tom Morley from the School of Mathematics and Chair of the Task Force to present this material.  Dr. Morley presented the material found in Attachment #5a.  A comparison of current and proposed new language for the Faculty Handbook were provided as a handout and read-ahead material, as shown in Attachment #5b.   Also a preliminary list of job titles to carry faculty status was provided as read ahead material in Attachment #5c.  In addition to reviewing the text of Attachment #5a, Dr. Morley emphasized that the recommended changes would solve two problems: 1) Titles were added to those included in faculty over the past decades in a temporary fashion to expedite access to appropriate retirement programs and these special arrangements were no longer needed so they needed to be brought to a close. 2) Titles were changing and proliferating at a rate such that the revision policies for the Handbook could not keep up.  A new approach was being proposed in which a definition close to that used by the Board of Regents would be adopted and then a list maintained and published on a web site of those titles which were deemed to fit this definition.  He emphasized that existing personnel holding a title that would no longer have general faculty status would be grandfathered in that status if they wished to maintain their faculty status. He stated that the administration also intended to work with staff members who were not faculty members to build a representative body for them so that there would also be alternative channels of representation. 

Dr. Morley asked for questions or comments.

Q. What was the definition of Extension Personnel?  Ans. Historically the term arose at land grant colleges and applied to agricultural advice given to farmers and the community at large in the state.  At the beginning of the 20th century Georgia Tech was given a similar mission in the industrial arts.  So the term applied to those persons on the faculty who provided consultative advice and continuing education opportunities to businesses and citizens in the state particularly, but also outside the state in some regionally or federally funded services.  Dr. Morley also cited the work of CEISMC which provided an outreach to the K-12 educational community.  Dr. Bohlander noted that Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute was the home department of many of Tech’s extension personnel.

Comment: Assoc. Vice-President for Research, Jilda Garton, expressed concern about the changes and noted four kinds of problems:  1) She felt there had been inadequate analyses of the titles that would be included in General Faculty in regards to the roles and responsibilities of people in various titles.  All that existed at this point was a preliminary list of titles so evidently there was further work to be completed.  Care was needed to understand what responsibilities might exist for extension or outreach in helping set policies with state or federal government.  She felt that there were many who would be in titles no longer included in general faculty but who actually were involved in roles that included providing instruction.  She was concerned about the disenfranchisement of these people.   2) The process of analyzing the work content of all the titles at Georgia Tech appeared to have stalled and perhaps that was due to there being a vacancy in the position of Associate Vice-President for Human Resources.  She felt it would be best to get that position filled and a full analysis of responsibilities completed before attempting a change in faculty definition.  3) The notion of a staff council was just a recommendation at this point and could not immediately provide an alternative forum for those who would be disenfranchised by the proposed change.  4) She was concerned that after the proposed change, there would be persons with similar or same titles, some with grandfathered faculty status and some with no faculty status and that these differences could create strife in the work force.  She noted that the question of vacation and sick leave accruals for professionals in non-faculty positions was not a settled matter.  Response:  Dr. Morley replied that grandfathering would prevent disenfranchisement.  He also stated that the proposal was to make the changes effective July 1, 2011 and that remaining necessary arrangements were expected to be completed before the changes would take place.  Those who would have a case that their status was incorrectly reflected in the preliminary list should make the case to the Office of Human Resources and the Executive Board.   Ms. Garton said that she felt it would be better to have a better proposal on the table.

Comment:  Prof. Joe Hughes from ECE stated that he had participated on the Task Force and had some perspectives to share.  He said that the driver for the proposed change was to make sure that the term Faculty had meaning.  The Task Force felt that the Board of Regents’ definition was consistent with people’s common understanding of the work of faculty members.  He stated that this definition did not say that if one is a professional member of an institution that one is therefore a member of the faculty.  So there are people in the institution who set policies and do important things but are not necessarily members of the faculty.  He said the Task Force was trying to define faculty and was not trying to define valued employees.  The notion was that there was a role for faculty in the institution in regards to its academic and research missions that was different from the purpose of other important people, who may hold professional titles and be engaged in very important activities within the institution.  Response: Ms. Garton said she had no problem with those distinctions but that many who would be disenfranchised would really be doing things very similar at least to those in extension titles and that more careful analyses were needed.

Dr. Morley concluded with an invitation to contact him with further input.  He then made a motion to approve the recommended changes as reflected in Attachment #5b, to take effect on July 1, 2011.  The motion was seconded.  There was no further discussion.  When the Chair asked for a voice vote, he ruled that the motion failed.  [Note it required a 2/3 affirmative vote to pass.]

8.   The Chair then called on representatives of Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty to present minutes of recent meetings and any action items requiring approval.  In most cases the representatives followed closely the reports in the committees’ files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #6 below and so this text need not be repeated here.   The following is an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to present summaries of the committee’s recommendations. 

a.   Undergraduate Curriculum (Prof. George Riley, Chair)
Minutes: 10/26/10, 11/2/10, 11/9/10
Action items. From 11/2: Mgt – 1 new course; Econ – modification to BS in Economics, updating documentation of grade requirements; Public Policy – 5 new courses, 1 deactivated, & update to course numbers required for the LS&T minor and Pre-Law Certificate; Modern Languages – restated requirement for second semester language classes before first semester credit awarded & 16 new courses; ISyE – 1 new course. .   All minutes and action items were approved without dissent.

b.      Graduate Curriculum (Prof. Julia Babensee, Chair)
Minutes: 10/7/10, 11/4/10
Action Items. From 10/7: Mgt – 1 new course.  From 11/4: Public Policy – 1 new course; ISyE – 2 new courses; CoC-CS – 11 new courses.   All minutes and action items were approved without dissent.

c.   Student Regulations Committee (Ms. Reta Pikowsky, Registrar, and Prof. Chuck Parsons, Chair)
Minutes 8/30/10, 9/23/10, 10/21/10
Action item.  From 10/21:  The substitution in Fall 2011 of a Student-Faculty Expectations document (Attachment #7a) for the current Student Bill of Academic Rights (Attachment #7b).

The action item from the Student Relations Committee was briefed in detail:  Ms. Pikowsky stated that much of the old document carried over to the new one but she noted some things which did not carry over, in particular:

·         The right to consult with an academic advisor.

·         The right of a student to access the student’s records. That was now guaranteed by law in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Q. Why were these not carried over even if there were other ways the student might access these rights or information? Ans. Undergraduate student leader Austen Edwards replied that the focus of the new document was to build better relationships between students and their professors and to de-emphasize matters outside that scope. 

It was then noted that the new Expectations document now contained a section describing the faculty’s expectations concerning the relationship with students.  Dr. Andy Smith pointed out that a document like this had been developed in the School of Mechanical Engineering some years ago and had been found to be helpful in describing a balanced view of the relationship between students and faculty.  Prof. Parsons noted that student leaders told the Student Regulations Committee that such a document helped incoming students better understand these relationships.  Mr. Edwards reinforced this by saying that the goal was mutual respect between students and faculty.

Q. Why was it recommended that this change would take effect in fall 2011 rather than in summer 2011 which would align with the first term covered by the next Catalog of the Institute? Ans. That was an oversight.  There was no reason it could not start in summer 2011. It was concluded that a friendly amendment would be accepted to change the effective date to summer term in 2011. 

There was some discussion then led by Professor Doug Flamming, Chair of the faculty’s Student Grievance and Appeal Committee, and by Mr. Edwards concerning some remaining confusion about the meaning of Section B.7 of the proposed Student-Faculty Expectations document (Attachment #7a).  The wording proposed in the version brought to the meeting was that students had a right to expect “to receive a clear explanation of the faculty’s definition of academic misconduct within the course.”  The concern was that this seemed to place a burden on the professor to enumerate all the possible ways that something could be unacceptable and/or that the professor would have to restate the Student Code of Conduct and other published guidelines for them to apply to the class in question.  A friendly amendment was proposed and accepted to change the wording of Section B.7 to the following: “to receive a clear explanation of the faculty’s definition and interpretation of academic misconduct within the course that extends over and beyond those clearly defined in the Georgia Tech Honor Code.”  Similarly it was pointed out that the prologue should note that the Graduate Student Government Association was also in support.

It was moved, seconded and passed unanimously to approve the Student Faculty-Expectations document as edited above during the meeting, and to approve the Student Relations Committee minutes listed above.  A commitment was made to bring the document back for presentation at the February 15, 2011 meeting so the faculty could see it in final edited form.

9.   Hearing no further business, Dr. Bowman adjourned the meeting at about 3:20 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty

February 13, 2011

 

Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:

 

  1. Minutes of the Meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly and the Academic Senate October 14, 2010.
  2. Presentation on the Georgia Tech Charitable Campaign
  3. Presentation by the Faculty Athletic Representative
  4. Georgia Tech Computer & Network Usage and Security Policy (CNUSP)

a)      Update from Office of Information Technology

b)      Policy announced publically later, for reference

  1. Proposed change in definition of General Faculty at Georgia Tech

a)      Presentation

b)      Comparison of old and proposed new language for the Faculty Handbook

c)      Preliminary list of titles included in General Faculty

  1. Minutes of Standing Committees
  2. Changes to the Student Bill of Academic Rights

a)      Proposed new Student-Faculty Expectations document

b)      Current Student Bill of Academic Rights