GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
COMBINED MEETING OF THE
GENERAL FACULTY ASSEMBLY
1. The President opened the meeting at . He welcomed new members and offered the following comments on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:
a. Georgia Tech has had an excellent freshman class
with average SAT of 1337 and GPA of 3.8.
Enrollment has increased, mostly in areas which can be accommodated
somewhat more easily -- increases in overseas programs (
b. Georgia Tech has added 65 new faculty members, most of whom are tenure track. For the second year in a row, we have had 13 CAREER award winners last year, which brings our total number over the lifetime of the program to 10 more than MIT. These numbers point to the high caliber of talent being attracted to Georgia Tech.
c. Facilities construction is on schedule -- the
ES&T building will be occupied next month;
d. Research awards increased significantly last year, thanks to the efforts of our faculty, graduate assistants, and staff. Research funding at the Federal level continues to be strong; NSF funding will increase significantly. NIH budget will again double next year to $28B (versus $3.5B for NSF); Georgia Tech had a record year for NIH funding. We are well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities in areas of increased funding such as homeland security.
e. Our overall budget for this year is up, mainly because of increases in research and tuition funding (higher enrollment and increased tuition). We have been able to add new faculty to accommodate the increased enrollments. On the State side, the maintenance, renovation, and repair (MRR) part of the budget has been significantly reduced. Operating funds have also been reduced -- last year they were reduced by 6%; this year we have had a total of 3% in “hold backs,” which may become permanent budget cuts. So far, the units have been buffered from those cuts; however, they are being asked to slow down spending to create a cushion because of continued uncertainty in the State budget. Increases in the other sources of revenue have allowed us to proceed with our plans while avoiding personnel cuts and/or delays in construction projects.
There were no questions for the President.
2. The President called for approval of the minutes of previous meetings, all of which have been posted on the web -- Called meeting of the General Faculty combined with meeting of the General Faculty Assembly and Academic Senate (February 5, 2002), Spring meeting of the General Faculty and General Faculty Assembly (February 26, 2002), and Called meeting of the General Faculty combined with Spring meeting of the Academic Faculty and the Academic Senate (April 23, 2002). The minutes were approved without dissent. (see Attachment #1 below for web site reference)
3. The President called on Bob McMath and Farrokh Mistree, Co-Chairs of the Institute Oversight Committee (IOC) for Post-Tenure Review (PTR). They presented the results of a comprehensive assessment of the PTR process conducted by the IOC during the past year following conclusion of the first five-year cycle of PTR reviews. The committee received input from approximately 100 faculty members and 15 unit heads/chairs. Many of the faculty indicated that the process had been helpful, inasmuch as it allowed them to focus on their goals and objectives for the next five years. With a high degree of unanimity among both faculty and administrators on the IOC committee, the following key recommendations were made:
a. Retain faculty-driven, peer evaluation process.
b. Retain provision that the decision of the faculty peer reviewers is final.
c. Focus on faculty development with 5/3 year recommendation to be part of the process.
d. Change name from Post-Tenure Review (PTR) to Periodic Peer Review (PPR).
e. Replace Special Recognition feature with Program for Faculty Development for all.
f. Conduct major review of PPR process every five years with monitoring between major reviews.
g. Assign the responsibility for instituting and maintaining the faculty development program and process monitoring to the respective College Deans for units within the colleges of Architecture, Engineering, Ivan Allen, and Sciences, and to the VP-Academic Affairs for the colleges of Computing and Management.
A time line for the annual conduct of the process, along with specific recommendations on the unit level committee composition, documentation, the role of the chair/unit head, and communication of outcome to the candidate were also offered. Most notable among these recommendations is the ability of a faculty member to select an “advocate” to serve on the unit-level PPR committee “with voice and vote.” Major 5-year reviews of the PPR process are to be conducted by an Institute committee with a composition similar to the current IOC; this committee will also monitor the process during the intervening years with an eye towards continuous improvement. The proposed recommendations are to be implemented beginning in the Fall of 2003. Copies of the draft report of the IOC committee, along with the slides used in the presentation, are attached (see #2 and 3 below).
It was moved that the Georgia Tech Faculty endorses the recommendations of the 2002 Institute Oversight Committee for Post-Tenure Review as documented on Page 9 of the presentation (Attachment #3).
In response to a question as to whether this motion requires any action with regard to the Bylaws/Statutes, the Secretary of the Faculty indicated that such a Senate Resolution does not require any action by the Statutes Committee. A question was asked as to why we need to wait a year to implement the recommendations, especially with regard to the focus being “development” rather than “review.” McMath indicated that, internal to each department, nothing prevents people from accepting the spirit of the recommendations. However, full implementation should take place next year. In response to a question regarding differences in the survey results for unit chairs and faculty, Mistree indicated that the results were mixed for both and that the sample size for the unit chairs (about 15) was relatively small. The basic objective of everyone, including the committee, has been to make this Board-of-Regents-mandated process, a useful exercise that adds value to Georgia Tech.
A question was asked as to whether Associate Chairs can serve on the unit-level committees [current procedure explicitly states that the committee must consist of tenured non-administrative faculty]; it was requested that the new document should clarify this issue since Associate Chairs undergo the peer review process. Mistree indicated that the IOC committee will clarify the language with the idea that those who are subject to the reviews may be eligible to serve on the committees. A follow-up question was asked regarding how persons with a half-time administrative appointment would be treated; Mistree indicated that he was aware of this issue and that he would take it to the IOC to clarify. A question was asked as to whether the recommendation which allows a faculty member to add an “advocate” to the unit level committee replaces the current policy which allows a faculty member to remove a member from the committee. Mistree responded affirmatively indicating that in some cases the committee may have nine members; removing one member would not make much difference. He indicated that the aim of the proposed change is to enhance the integrity of the process. A follow-up question as to whether the opportunity remains for allowing both actions in the future; the President indicated that we should try this for a year and, in the spirit of continuous improvement, the committee may recommend such a change if it is deemed desirable.
The motion was approved without dissent. The President thanked Drs. Mistree and McMath, and the entire committee, for their hard work and contributions to improving an important process for the Institute.
4. The President called on Cheryl Contant, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Misconduct. The committee was appointed in January 2002; its membership included faculty from different colleges, two students, and representatives from the administration and the Dean of Students. Their charge was to examine the appropriateness of the processes and procedures employed in the adjudication of academic misconduct cases, the level of engagement of faculty, students, and Student Affairs staff in enhancing academic integrity, and the role of the Honor Code and Honor Advisory Council in dealing with issues of academic misconduct. A progress report was presented to the Faculty last April; the final report was issued early in the summer. Contant reviewed the committee’s recommendations, and identified the organization(s) responsible for implementing each of the ten recommendations, actions already taken, and action items to be considered by the Academic Senate. Copies of the Committee’s final report and the slides used in Contant’s presentation are attached (see #4 and 5 below).
Most notable among the committee’s recommendations are: (a) establishing benchmarks for the time required to process cases, (b) increasing resources/staffing; resources have already been provided to the Dean of Students office to hire an Assistant Dean for Integrity, an Ethics Education Coordinator, and an Administrative Assistant, (c) increasing the size of the Student Honor Committee by a factor of three without changing the quorum requirements for the hearing panels to handle the increasing number of cases where students opt to go through the entire process. In the interim, alternates for current members are being appointed to allow hearing of 2-3 cases per week; the backlog of cases should be cleared by Thanksgiving, (d) providing additional training to Student Honor Committee members so that they can fully understand their role and responsibilities, (e) allowing for greater involvement of faculty (course instructor) early in the process through an optional face-to-face meeting with the student and a representative for the Dean of Students, and (f) creation of a new Standing Committee on Academic Integrity to continually monitor and evaluate academic integrity issues and the Honor Code implementation process.
It was moved that the Academic Senate approve the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Misconduct, particularly those pertaining to changes in the Statutes and Bylaws to (a) increase the size of the Student Honor Committee, while maintaining the size of a hearing quorum, and (b) establish a new Standing Committee on Academic Integrity.
Questions were raised concerning recommendations #3 & 4 -- how will the hearing panels be created out of the larger pool of members (random selection versus availability, etc.) to prevent bias? Has the notion of anonymous documentation of outcome been considered as a part of the training? Contant replied that scheduling will likely drive the selection since many parties, including the students and the instructors, are involved. She also pointed out that the most important reason for the training programs is to address these issues by giving committee members a sense of what appropriate sanctions should be. Since each case is unique, it would not be surprising for the sanctions to be different. However, by providing appropriate training to the Committee members, they will have standards to go by without removing their decision-making options. Additionally, the instructor will always have the option to indicate what s/he believes the appropriate sanction(s) should be.
A question was raised as to what are the significant process changes recommended by the committee. Contant replied that the recommendation allowing the possibility of early faculty involvement is very significant. The President concurred and indicated that early involvement by the faculty will likely reduce the number of cases to a level where the process can work effectively. Faculty will help shape the process and come to an early and appropriate conclusion without entering into the complicated appeal process. This will also mean that the people most knowledgeable about a specific case will be involved in resolving it. A question was raised concerning the rationale for creating a separate standing committee on Academic Integrity rather than expanding the role of the Student Honor Committee to address these issues. Contant replied that at this time the Student Honor Committee is very heavily involved in hearing cases and that we need another group to look at the big picture in a more pro-active manner to coordinate the activities of the various student and faculty. Perhaps in a few years, the Honor Committee’s work load will be reduced so that there would be no need for a separate standing committee and that the two functions can be combined. A comment was made that this would not be different than the Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum Committees which examine policies and review programs, while addressing numerous petitions. It was pointed out that a subcommittee of the Student Honor Committee can be tasked with the conduct of hearings; the entire committee can approve their recommendations to assure uniformity.
A comment was made that a faculty member may not wish to confront a student until the end of the term to avoid receiving poor course evaluations, and that such concerns may reduce the likelihood of early intervention by the faculty. It was also pointed out that it has been very difficult for the Nominating Committee to find enough candidates who are willing to serve on the Student Honor Committee; it may be extremely difficult to come up with a slate of candidates for the proposed larger committee, especially during the first year when eight additional members to to be elected. Contant pointed out that it was not very difficult to recruit alternates to serve this year. Contant also indicated that the students are very enthusiastic about the creation of the new committee to foster a culture of academic integrity.
The motion was approved without dissent. The President thanked Dr. Contant and the entire committee for their hard work and contributions.
5. The President called for approval of the minutes of Standing Committees of the General Faculty which do not have action items, all of which have been posted on the web (see Attachment #6 below for web site listing of minutes of all Standing Committees)
The minutes were approved without dissent.
The President called on Nancey Green Leigh,
2001-02 Chair of the Academic Services Committee to present the minutes of the
It was moved that the General Faculty Assembly adopts the following resolution: “The General Faculty Assembly endorses a new emphasis on resource allocation for the renewal and sustained support of common assets serving the entire campus, and initially focused on two areas: I) existing classroom space, and II) the academic common area of the Library and future Innovative Learning Resource Center (ILRC).” Specific recommendations were offered for implementing the resolution and developing the financial resources to fulfill both items I & II thereof (see Attachment #7 below).
The President commented that the second recommendation for implementing the resolution does not work in practice because these are two separate projects; we could not use the design money for ILRC to renovate the library since that would violate the Regents policy. Renovation of the library is now on our priority list and will soon be proposed to the Regents. The President also stated that there is an annual budget set aside for renovation of existing facilities; there have been recent shortages because of the cuts in MRR funding alluded to earlier. The existing classroom stock is not enough; it was designed for a 40% smaller student body and a larger faculty. This causes classrooms to be over-used and results in a shortage of medium- and large-sized classrooms to meet our current needs. There will be a great deal of new classroom stock coming on line in the future to reduce the load on existing, heavily-used, classrooms so that they would not deteriorate soon after they are renovated. Addition of new classrooms does not “divert” funding from renovation of existing space since they come from different funding sources.
The President asked Bob McMath to comment on the issue. McMath indicated that all of us agree that we have a major problem with classroom space. He and Nancey Leigh serve on an Ad Hoc Committee organized by Space Planning to examine this issue. The survey of classroom space deficiencies provides us with a prioritized list of major problems, so that as resources become available they would be directed to the high priority classrooms. McMath pointed out that when resources are available to renovate a large classroom, it is often difficult to take them out of service even during the summer since they are heavily used. A comment was made that the old student evaluation forms contained a question regarding the adequacy of the facilities, which always received low scores; the new course evaluation questionnaire does not address this issue. A suggestion was made to re-phrase item (II) on the resolution so that it would not propose something that cannot be done; others suggested that we proceed with the resolution without modification.
The motion to adopt the Resolution passed without dissent.
7. The President called on Joe Hughes, Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to introduce minutes from that committee and action items therein. Hughes indicated that there are nine committee meeting minutes to be approved; these have been posted on the web (see Attachment #6 below). He enumerated four major action items:
of GTREP to offer BSME and BSEE degrees (meeting of
of a new BS degree in Economics and International Affairs (meeting of
of a new BS degree in Global Economics and Modern Languages (meeting of
of Core Area B requirements and establishment of a policy on degree programs’
satisfaction of the general education requirements on computer literacy (
Hughes introduced several other action items from the meeting minutes of
President called on Bill Green, Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee to
introduce minutes from that committee and action items therein. He introduced four sets of minutes:
President called on Paul Benkeser, Chair of the Student regulations Committee
to introduce minutes from that committee and action items therein. Benkeser indicated that there are two sets of
Benkeser described the recommended modifications to Section IV-B.2 of the Student Rules and Regulations. The modifications add “major religious observances” to the list of possible personal reasons for students to be absent from classes or laboratories, and require students to discuss planned absences with their instructors as soon as possible after the beginning of the term. Work missed may be made up at the discretion of the instructors (see Attachment #9 for exact wording of the recommended changes). A question was raised regarding the possible non-uniform application of the rule for making-up missed lab work since it has been left to the discretion of the instructors. Benkeser acknowledged that different instructors may have different requirements, which is always the case. He added that the proposed policy represents a compromise between competing factors without having to specify what a “major religious observance” may be. A comment was offered that there is a process in most units whereby a student can appeal the decision of an instructor, if s/he is seen as “extra harsh.” The President pointed out that the dates for many religious holidays change from year to year, and that a study of various religious holidays for different religions showed that, practically, there is no single day in the academic calendar that does not have a religious holiday of some form. Therefore, this compromise has been necessary. A suggestion was made that a list of major religious holidays be made available to the Faculty; the President responded that we should not do so, since we cannot make decisions on what is “major” and what is “minor.” In response to a question regarding the word “major” in the expression “major religious holidays,” Benkeser indicated that the adjective refers to the “holiday” rather than the “religion.” Benkeser indicated that this recommendation has been examined by nearly every faculty committee on campus, including the Executive Board, and that it is based primarily on the recommendation of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Joe Hughes, UCC Chair, indicated that there is another section in the rules which deals with “institutional absences,” where the instructors are obligated to approve such absences. However, the UCC believes that religious observances fall in the “personal absences” category rather than being an “institutional issue.”
Benkeser described the proposed modification to Section XVII.D.4 of the Student Rules and Regulations, which spells out the rules, regulations, and policies to which all fraternities and sororities are subjected (see Attachment #9 for exact wording of the recommended changes).
A motion was made to approve the Student regulations Committee minutes of April 8, 2002 and August 29, 2002, and the recommended changes to Sections XVIII and XIX of the Student Rules and Regulations as well as the two modifications to Sections IV.B.2 and XVII.D.4. The motion passed without dissent.
President called on Brent Carter, 2001-02 Chair of the Student Activities
Committee to introduce minutes from that committee. Carter stated that there are four meeting minutes,
none of which contains action items requiring individual faculty approval. All
meeting minutes have been posted on the web (see
Attachment #6 below). A motion was made to approve the Student
Activities Committee minutes of
11. The President called for any other business; there was none. The President closed the meeting at .
Secretary of the Faculty
Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes: