GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

 

Meeting of the Academic Senate

Combined with

Spring Meeting of the General Faculty and General Faculty Assembly

 

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005, Global Learning Center, Amphitheater 222

 

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.       The General Assembly is currently looking at the Supplemental budget for FY05; we do not expect any additional allocations.  The State budget outlook for FY06 is significantly better than FY05 because of the State’s improved economy. The Governor’s budget recommendation provides for full funding of the formula, which is very important to Georgia Tech because of our significant enrollment increases over the past several years.  This will provide new money to Georgia Tech (~$12M); unfortunately, it will be partially offset by the so-called “payroll shift” (~$7M for GT).  Nevertheless, we expect some net additional funding this year, which will help us address some pressing problems.

 

b.       The Governor’s FY06 budget recommendation includes full MRR funding (maintenance, repair, and renovation), which was significantly cut (by ~75%) last year.  This will help us move forward with some small, but important, renovation projects, including the Swann building which will be completed next year.  The budget recommendation provides limited funding for capital projects; our Undergraduate Learning Center will move from 11th place to 8th place on the list of approved capital projects. Bob McMath has re-constituted the planning group for that building; we will probably do it differently than originally envisioned.  

 

c.       The Governor’s budget includes $5M towards the State’s commitment ($45M) for construction of the Nanotechnology Research Center ($2M was provided last year). We will continue the design work for that building; construction will likely begin next year (we are close to securing all the private funding).  The budget does not include funding for any of the so-called “minor projects” (~$5M level); we have proposed the old CE building as a minor project – we have not ruled it out in light of the continued improvement in the State budget outlook.

 

d.      With Republican control of the Legislature, new Committee Chairs have been appointed.  In general, we feel very positive about the new Committee Chairs. Leaders of the Legislature have promised to finish this year’s legislative session early (before the end of March); delayed sessions are difficult for the University System since the BoR needs to know the budget before setting next year’s tuition.  

 

e.       The student applications period has concluded; applications are being processed.   We will likely have more applications this year than last year.  Applications to the College of Computing appear to be stabilizing after declines in the past two years; the Ivan Allen College is a big gainer, while other colleges have moderate gains.       

 

f.        At the National level, efforts to reduce the budget deficit will impact Federal research funding.  NSF funding is down 2% this year compared to last year; funding for other agencies is either steady or slightly down.  However, thanks to the efforts of our faculty, our research funding continues to increase. Dr. Liotta has reported that research awards so far this year are ahead of last year, which was a record year.

 

g.       The President has been appointed (and confirmed) to serve on the National Science Advisory Board, which will provide added visibility to Georgia Tech.

 

h.       Fund raising to pay for the College of Management building at Technology Square ($45M) has been completed (important since it does not have an income stream).  Future fund raising by the CoM will be for programmatic reasons.  Gift giving this year has been very strong (December was exceptionally good); we have raised nearly $100M this year.

 

i.         Construction is continuing on schedule for the Klaus Computing Building and the Molecular Sciences and Engineering Building (fourth building in the Biotechnology Complex).              

 

Professor Geronimo (MATH) asked a question regarding the fees charged for faculty and their families to use the CRC ($18/month for a faculty member, $10/month for a spouse, and $5/month for each child over 16).  Prior to opening of the CRC, use of the SAC was free.  He stated that nowadays many companies encourage their employees to exercise in order to improve morale, increase productivity, and reduce long-term health costs; by charging the fees, Georgia Tech may be going in the wrong direction.  The President stated that it cost nearly $60M to construct the CRC, and that in order to get it built, the students agreed to pay large fees.  Funds were raised to help reduce the cost of the facility and keep the fees low.  If someone does not pay, someone else will have to pay more.  It is not fair for the students to shoulder the additional costs, while faculty and staff get free access.  In light of the long agenda, it was agreed to discuss this item at the end of the meeting (if time permits) under “other business;” if not, the Executive Board may discuss the issue at a future meeting.  Leon McGinnis (Executive Board Chair) concurred.  There were no other questions for the President.

 

2.      The President called for approval of the minutes of the November 30, 2004 Fall meeting of the Academic Senate combined with a called meeting of the General Faculty.  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 Dr. Jack Lohmann (Assoc. Provost) to provide an update on the SACS reaffirmation process. A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #2 below).  Lohmann indicated that his talk will cover three parts:  (1) the results of the off-site compliance review; (2) the soon-to-be-completed Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP); and (3) the upcoming on-site review committee visit in April.  He stated that many members of the Georgia Tech community have been involved in shepherding the institute through the SACS process.  The majority of the work has been performed by the Council for Institutional and Academic Program Review and Accreditation (the “Council”), which was divided into two groups:  the Compliance group (which focused on compliance certification for the offsite review), and the QEP group.  Both groups have interfaced with (and were supported by) many people from both academic and support units around campus.  Lohmann expressed his appreciation and gratitude to all members of the campus community who have supported this effort (see partial list in Attachment #2 below).

 

A time line for the major actions in the reaffirmation process was presented.  The Compliance Report was submitted on September 10, 2004. An off-site review of the report (website) was performed on November 8-10, 2004.  The outcome report of the off-site review was received on November 22, 2004.  A follow-up report with responses to the questions raised by the off-site review will be submitted with the QEP (Due March 15, 2005).  An on-site review visit will be conducted on April 26-28, 2005.  The process concludes with the Commission meeting in early December 2005 (meeting to be held in Atlanta). 

 

A summary of the off-site review report was presented.  Of the 82 standards addressed in the Compliance Report, questions related to only eight standards have been received.  In other words, 90% of the material submitted in the Compliance Report was completely satisfactory.  The eight standards for which follow-up questions have been received deal entirely with governance and administrative issues, none of which deals with substantive issues within the academic units.  They simply require us to provide additional documentation and further explanation of our responses.  None of these issues is related to either “hot-button” SACS issues (institutional effectiveness, consortia and contractual agreements, and faculty credentials), or to previous concerns they had with Georgia Tech (distance programs, assessment of graduate programs, and the library).  Lohmann stated that we do not expect any difficulty in resolving these follow-up questions.

 

A summary of the QEP was presented.  The QEP is a major plan (project) demonstrating the institution’s commitment to a quality educational environment.  The focus and scope of the plan are decided upon by the institution; however, the plan must satisfy the following requirements:  (1) have broad institutional involvement, (2) must not be already completed (can be in progress, as is the case for our QEP), (3) must be well conceived and justified, and (4) must have thoughtful implementation plans.  Our QEP development process began nearly two years ago, although most of the intensive effort occurred during the past 12 months.  During 2003, the Council held two retreats, held monthly meetings, and met with many faculty and staff groups.  Seven areas were identified as potential areas for the development of a QEP: (1) Active Learning (with the Undergraduate Learning center in mind); (2) International Preparation (evolved into the “International Plan”); (3) Leadership development (eventually, co-curricular experiences); (4) Undergraduate research experiences; (5) Professional practice (eventually, international internships); (6) Living-Learning communities; and (7) GT 1000.  During 2004, teams were formed to further examine these seven areas and prepare project proposals.   The proposals were reviewed by the Council and the Leadership Team (President, Provost, Sr. VP for Fin. & Adm., and Assoc. Provost).  Three of the seven areas were selected to be the focus of our QEP; these were combined into two areas: (1) Undergraduate Research, and (2) International Plan and International Internships.  We are now in the process of preparing the QEP; copies will be circulated around campus within a week to 10 days to provide the opportunity for people to comment.

 

The focus of our QEP is: “Strengthening the International Competence and Research Experiences of our Undergraduate Students.”   It is atypical from most QEP’s offered by other institutions, inasmuch as it has two focal points; nevertheless, this clearly constitutes a project that will improve the educational experience of our students in areas which we would like to do.  The scope and duration of the effort is entirely up to us; a five-year period has been selected.  The plan focuses on undergraduate students (does not mean that we do not care about graduate students – we simply had to define the scope of an activity which can be accomplished to satisfy the accreditation requirement).  At this time, the budget is nearly $4.5M over the five-year period.  The plan involves all colleges and several support units around campus.

 

The first focus for our QEP deals with strengthening the research experiences of our undergraduate students. An Undergraduate Research Planning Committee, Chaired by Dr. Amy Bruckman (CoC), with both faculty and student members, will lead that initiative.  The primary goal is to increase participation of undergraduates, the length of their involvement, and the quality of their experiences. This will be accomplished through two components:  (1) an institute-wide Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and (2) a “Research Plan” program.  The UROP will provide the means to coordinate the activities within the various colleges and schools.  The goal is to increase participation from the current level of ~40% to nearly 60%.  (It is difficult to precisely know the current level of research participation since it is not easily captured in the data; Leigh Bottomley is working diligently to provide a more reliable estimate).  Additionally, we would like to increase the number of students who have more than one semester of research experience to nearly 70% of the participants.  Leigh Bottomley’s activities will be expanded to provide additional coordination, organize research fairs, symposia, etc.  Additionally, we have been working with the Development Office to raise funds for an endowment to support that effort.  The second component, viz. the “Research Plan” program, is a smaller effort; it is designed for students who would like to have a more intensive research experience because of their interest in pursuing graduate degrees and/or research careers in industry or academia.  Individual units around campus will develop a sequence of activities where students are engaged in three semesters of research (two with the same project).  The students will write a thesis or a research report; they will be required to take a writing class and present their work at research symposia to be held at Georgia Tech.  Discussions are ongoing regarding the possibility of adding a designator on the participants’ diplomas to recognize the significance of their research experience.

 

The second focus of our QEP deals with strengthening the international competence of our students.   The effort will be led by a committee consisting of faculty and staff, and chaired by Howard Rollins.  The goal of this effort is to integrate international education and experiences into any undergraduate major at Georgia Tech.  A detailed presentation of the International Plan will be given by Howard Rollins.  An “International Plan” degree option will be created.  It is a degree-long program including language proficiency, coursework in international subjects, and overseas study and/or work experience.  This is a unique program, inasmuch as it integrates global preparation within the student’s major.  It is not an “add-on” program, e.g. a minor or a certificate.  (See Plan details in item #4 below).   The QEP report (~ 40+ pages) is nearing completion.  It will be disseminated to the campus community by mid-February to provide an opportunity for comments; the final plan will be submitted to SACS by March 15, 2005.

 

The on-site review will be conducted on April 26-28, 2005.  We do not yet know who will be on the team.  We do, however, know some of the members since the SACS process allows an institute to identify two individuals to serve on the visiting team.  The team will be chaired by Dr. David Ford, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Virginia Tech.  The two members selected by Georgia Tech to serve on the team are Dr. Janice De Cosmo, Director of Undergraduate Research program and Assistant dean of Undergraduate Education at the University of Washington, and Dr. Dan Hirleman, William E. and Florence E. Perry Professor and Head of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University.  Dr. De Cosmo has been involved with undergraduate research at University of Washington and Dr. Hirleman has been involved with international experience for engineering students at Purdue University.  We are very pleased that they have agreed to serve on the visiting team.

 

The President stated that even though the scope of the QEP encompasses only three of the seven areas identified during the initial phase of QEP development, it does not mean that the other areas are unimportant or that we will not work on them.  The three areas selected represent things that we want to do, which also satisfy SACS requirements.  We will likely work also on the other four areas because they are good things that will enhance the quality of the educational environment at Georgia Tech.  A comment was made that even though the off-site review of the compliance report did not identify any deficiencies in the academic areas, it may be a good idea to have a group look at long-term issues and opportunities for improvement so that eight years from now when the next SACS reaffirmation process begins we would continue to be in compliance.  A follow-up question was asked as to whether such a group/committee exists.  Lohmann indicated that this is precisely the long-term role of the Council for Institutional and Academic Program Review and Accreditation.  He stated that the Council was formed by the Provost; it consists of ~20 faculty and staff members from various units (all appointed by the Provost).  As the name implies, the Council is responsible for Institutional Accreditation, Academic Program Reviews, and Specialized Accreditations.  While recent efforts have focused on the SACS reaffirmation process, the Council will transition to a “steady-state mode” in the Fall; long-term issues will be examined and addressed.  Lohmann stated that as we went through the compliance report preparation process, we identified several areas which needed to be corrected and corrected them; it is important to have in place the processes that will assure that we do not have any problems in the long term.  The President thanked Dr. Lohmann for his presentation.

 

4.      The President called on Dr. Howard Rollins (Director, International Education) to provide an overview of the proposed International Plan designation for undergraduate diplomas.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #3 below).  Rollins began by stating that one of the goals stated in the Georgia Tech Strategic Plan is that 50% of our undergraduates will graduate with an “international experience.”  At this time we are at the 30 to 34% participation level (depending on which year you look at and how you count).  Two years ago, we were ranked 19th in that category among all research universities in the US.  Our current participation level places us first or second among research universities with a technological emphasis; achieving the 50% goal would place us at the top of all research universities.   

 

The proposed “International Plan” is an academic option for undergraduates seeking to integrate a substantive and challenging international preparation into their studies.  It is unique, inasmuch it provides a coherent and meaningful way for students to “integrate” international education and experience into their major (versus pursuing a minor or a certificate).  Survey data suggest that this is the type of program many students are looking for.  Many people from various units around campus have been involved in developing this plan; a Coordinating Committee with at least one member from each of the six colleges has been established (see Attachment #3 for a list of members). The committee has been meeting regularly to discuss the requirements/elements of the Plan.  They have also met with undergraduate coordinators from 12 academic units who intend to adopt the Plan, and have closely coordinated with the Deans.  In essence, this is a faculty-driven Plan, rather than one developed by the Office of International Education or the Administration. 

 

Rollins stated that the proposed plan is a degree-long program intended to develop international competence of the students by integrating three elements into their major:  (1) study of a core set of international subjects, (2) proficiency in a second language (other than their mother tongue), and (3) an overseas study and/or work experience.  These elements are to be integrated within the student’s major through programs designed/approved by faculty in their respective disciplines.  The aim is to allow the students to complete these three elements and meet their degree requirements in a timely fashion (i.e. without significantly extending the time required to get their degrees). Students meeting the Plan’s requirements would receive an “International Plan” designator on their diplomas and transcripts.  This would signify to potential employers that they have this additional experience, which may be valuable as they enter the workforce. 

 

The international coursework component of the Plan is intended to provide both the academic foundation and a context to complement the international experience.  Students are required to complete three “foundation courses,” one in each of three categories:  Comparative International Relations, Global Economics, and the Study of a particular world region or country.  Courses for each category will be available from a variety of disciplines; these are to be approved by the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.  In addition to the three foundation courses, students are required to complete a “Culminating” course that integrates knowledge of their respective discipline and the international experience.  The course is to be taken following completion of the overseas study/work experience element of the Plan.  These “culminating” courses may be offered within specific disciplines or in a multi-disciplinary context. 

 

The second language proficiency component of the Plan signifies that students participating in the plan have achieved a proficiency level equivalent to that achieved following two years of college coursework in the language.  Many students will enter Georgia Tech with some second language preparation and will, therefore, need fewer courses to meet this requirement.  Students whose international experience is to be completed in a country where English is not the primary language must demonstrate a higher level of language proficiency (overseas coursework and/or internship experience using the language will make reaching this higher standard very likely).

 

The international experience component of the Plan requires students to have two terms of “residential” foreign experience.  The expectation is that students will be living among, and immersed within, the local academic, research, or work community.  A minimum of 26 weeks of active engagement is required.  The requirement can be met by completing two terms in any combination of full-time academic study, internship, or research.  There are many options for students to complete this requirement, including GT overseas campuses (e.g. GTL), overseas exchange partners (nearly 40 partner institutions around the world), or a faculty-led study abroad program.  The primary criterion is for students to be “immersed” in the local culture. 

 

Rollins enumerated some of the key points of the proposed International Plan.  He stated that it is neither a new degree, nor a new minor.  It is an option within existing undergraduate degrees; therefore, Board of Regents approval is not required.  In January, the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee voted to approve the Plan, and the use of the “International Plan” designator on the diplomas and transcripts of students who complete the requirements (see item #6a below).  Academic units which elect to participate in the Plan for specific majors will control their respective programs.  They must obtain IUCC approval for their specific plan for each major offered; 5-7 units are ready to submit their plans in March, while another 4-5 units intend to submit their plans later in the Spring.  A faculty committee (consisting of undergraduate coordinators of the participating units) will coordinate the Plan across colleges/schools.  Support and day-to-day operations will be facilitated by the Office of International Education and the Division of Professional Practice (for students using an internship as a part of their international experience component of the Plan). 

 

Rollins stated that this is “Signature Program;” it is a demanding program that will be of interest to Georgia Tech’s best students.  We expect to start the program with 100 participants in the first year (beginning Fall 2005), and expect to reach a participation level of 300 students per year by the fifth year (300 students/year corresponds to ~12% of the current graduating class).  Rollins stated that it is important to recognize that this Plan does not replace existing opportunities for international studies or overseas experience.  In fact, the Plan may stimulate interest across the larger student body in study abroad and overseas internships.  Rollins stated that the Program will enable Georgia Tech to attract top-notch students who might otherwise go elsewhere.  It will give us a competitive edge over other top universities, given the growing interest in international study.  The unique nature of the program will place Georgia Tech in a leadership role for integration of international study/experience into disciplinary studies.  It is a signature program that other universities will want to emulate (a recent presentation of the program outline at a National conference was very well received). 

 

The proposed International Plan is a part of the QEP (see item #3 above), which provides five years to develop and implement the program.  Funding to launch and sustain the program will be provided for such elements as language instruction, international courses, development of study abroad and overseas internship, and support of efforts within colleges and schools to create or modify the culminating courses and development of overseas partners.  Rollins concluded by stating that Dr. Joseph Hoey (OARS) has developed a comprehensive assessment plan which will allow us to measure the program’s impact on the participants (in terms of both the near-term learning outcomes and long-term career path and career success).

 

A question was asked as to how the students’ language proficiency will be measured.  Rollins indicated that the School of Modern Languages will do that; at this time they are considering the use of a test consisting of an oral exam which assesses the student’s fluency and aptitude.  A question was asked regarding the meaning of the stated goal of 300 participants in the fifth year.  Rollins stated that the goal is that in the fifth year of the program’s existence, we hope to admit 300 freshmen into the Plan, so that in the long term we would graduate roughly 300 participants per year.  A question was asked as to how the entire international experience of the participants will be assessed.  Rollins indicated that there is a great deal of literature on the subject; one can measure knowledge (e.g. understanding of global economics), aptitude, intercultural adaptation (ability to appropriately and comfortably deal with individuals from other cultures), etc.  He stated that the assessment plan developed by Dr. Hoey is fairly comprehensive and will address all these metrics.  A comment was made that, in the past, PhD students were required to learn two foreign languages – that requirements has been eliminated from nearly all institutions.  A follow-up question was asked as to what assurance we have that this plan will still be available 10 years from now.  Rollins stated that no such assurance can be given; however, it is important to collect the data to measure the progress and impact of the program so that ten years from now faculty can make informed decisions.  A question was asked as to the possibility of non-freshmen students joining the Plan.  Rollins indicated that it is possible for non-freshmen to join the Plan; however, we are focusing on freshmen since students need to start early to get their course work and language proficiency requirements completed before they begin their overseas experience.   The President thanked Dr. Rollins for his presentation.                                               

 

5.      The President called on Ms. Yvette Upton (Asst. Dean of Students/Director, Women’s Resources Center) and Ms. Heather Surrency (Director, Wellness Center) to present an overview of the Georgia Tech Violence Prevention Program.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #4 below).  Upton stated that VOICE is a campus wide initiative to end sexual violence in the Georgia Tech community.  The program has been in existence for nearly two years, and is led by the GT Wellness Center in partnership with a number of offices around campus.  She listed some of the offices involved, including Student Health Services, Women’s Resources Center, Housing, Greek Life, Counseling Center, Student Government, GT Police Department, and the Athletic Association.  She stated that community partners include the Grady Rape Crisis Center, GA Network to End Sexual Assault, and Men Stopping Violence.  VOICE builds on the work of earlier GT initiatives, including the Sexual Violence Task Force created by the Dean of Students in 1995.  That Task Force developed the Sexual Misconduct & Harassment Policy (now a part of the Student Code of Conduct), and created a recorded information line which allows victims to connect to different offices on campus that can assist them in an emergency situation such as a sexual assault.  The current phase of the VOICE initiative is focused on the issue of sexual assault; once the structures are in place, the program will expand to include all areas of sexual violence.  The US Department of Justice has provided a $200,000 grant to support this project; several other institutions across the country have received similar grants.  We are working with some of our peer institutions to share information on what the different campuses are doing.

 

Upton stated that the VOICE initiative was launched in the Fall of 2003.  A full-time Violence Prevention Coordinator and a part-time Victim Advocacy/Response Coordinator were hired to develop and implement the programs and services.  Within the short time the program has been in existence, more than 3000 students (both men and women) have attended an educational event or a presentation related to the issue of sexual violence.  Additionally, 420 faculty and staff members have participated in VOICE training.  A website with a great deal of information on sexual assault has been established; original information provided by the Sexual Assault Information Line has been greatly expanded.  Upton stated that the Georgia Tech Student Policy on sexual harassment and misconduct defines “sexual misconduct” as “sexual contact without consent by an acquaintance or a stranger.”  The full policy is available on line at the Dean of Students’ webpage:  www.deanofstudents.gatech.edu/. She indicated that a great deal of training has been conducted to help students understand the issue and the concept of “consent;” the training portrays typical scenarios, e.g. partying in a dorm room, or interacting in a classroom setting, to help students understand what these issues/concepts mean for our campus. 

 

Upton stated that this is an important issue for our campus.  Nationally, 5% of college women are the victims of rape in any given calendar year.  Sexual assault and sexual violence are much broader.  Nearly 90% of the victims are women and 10% are men.  On our campus we are focusing on violence against women; however, men are able to use the services we have put together.  We are working with the Institute Review Board to finalize a study that will help us get meaningful statistics for Georgia Tech so that we can have a better sense of how big an issue this is on our campus.  Most (90%) sexual violence perpetrated against college women is committed by a man they know in the privacy of a residence; most of the offenders are classmates (35.5%) and friends (34.2%), while boyfriends represent only 23.7%.  Upton stated that, based on the situations she has encountered, these statistics apply here as well.  A major issue of concern is that fewer than 5% of sexual assaults are reported to the police, which is also the case for Georgia Tech (typically, only one or two sexual assaults per year are reported at Georgia Tech).  It is important to have good data, since the after-effects of a sexual assault can significantly impact students both inside and outside the classroom; these effects include anxiety, fear, and difficulty in relationships with family, friends, professors, classmates, and roommates – sexual assault impacts a larger group of people on our campus than just the victim alone.  In many cases, the victim experiences a drop in GPA, since it is very difficult to focus on academics while struggling with the issue of trust and the sense of being unsafe or uncomfortable on campus.  Victims are also more likely to transfer or drop out of school.

 

The presentation was continued by Ms. Heather Surrency (Director, Wellness Center), who stated that VOICE empowers men and women throughout the campus to be healthy and academically successful; it is a coordinated campus-wide violence prevention program -- prevention means stopping violence before it happens.  The program also provides response, advocacy, and treatment services for students who have been victims of violence.  She stated that we want to strengthen these services so that students can continue to be productive in their lives and careers.  The goals are:  (1) to create a coordinated community response to violence against women – the goal is to involve the entire campus community – faculty, staff, and students; (2) Establish a violence prevention educational program for all incoming students – it is important for students to recognize that this is an important issue for all college campuses and that a great deal of resources are available to them; (3) Provide training to coordinate the response of administrators, law enforcement personnel, students, and other staff and faculty – we have  been pleased by the number of staff persons who have participated in the training (The GT Police Department has had all of the officers trained and will have them trained annually on this issue); (4) Strengthen the campus disciplinary boards training programs to ensure that they can respond effectively to charges of sexual violence – they have always had some training in this area (The training has been expanded to include “mock trials” to provide them with the necessary skills and experience before they actually hear a case); (5) Implement and operate a comprehensive sexual violence prevention program; (6) Strengthen victim services programs as well as information campaigns – it is important to get the word out to students and let them know about the resources available to them; and (7) Improve the reporting of sexual violent crimes by staff and faculty to the institute. 

 

Surrency stated that the program has helped many students and staff members recognize the roles they can play to address this important issue.  She presented a list of what faculty can do to assist in this effort.  First, faculty should endeavor to increase their knowledge about sexual violence resources and how the issue affects the productivity and success of Georgia Tech students.  They are also encouraged to increase their participation in sexual violence prevention activities, including task force membership and attendance of training programs.  Finally, faculty can assist the VOICE program to secure funding for the victim advocate program coordinator position.  She concluded by stating that a first-level training program will be held on February 17, 2005 (5 to 9 PM).  She encouraged faculty members to attend the training and asked them to contact either her or Ms. Upton if they have any questions. 

 

A question was asked as to how a faculty member should respond when a student experiences a sudden drop in performance/grades, and what are the resources available to help in situations of this type?   Upton stated that a sudden drop in grades may not be the result of a sexual violence incident, and that in situations of this type it is best to encourage the student to contact the Dean of Students Office.  She stated that students usually feel that the faculty cares for them and will help them find the resources they need.  If students in situations of this type seek help early in the semester, we can help them get back on track (versus those who seek help much later when it may be much more difficult to get back on track).  A question was asked as the primary mechanism by which students (particularly those early in their career), faculty, and staff receive educational information on this topic.  Surrency stated that HPS 1040 is the basic health class that students take, and that lectures on the subject are given to three of the five sections of HPS 1040.  Two-hour workshops are also offered; nearly 100 to 175 students per semester attend these workshops.  Additionally, information is provided through GT 1000 and FASET.  A follow-up question was asked regarding orientation programs for faculty and staff.  Surrency indicated that this is an important area that the program intends to pursue, in order to help new faculty and staff understand the policy and become familiar with the resources available.   She stated that a great deal of information on available resources statistics, guidance on how to talk to students, etc. can be found on the program website www.voice.gatech.edu.  The President thanked Ms. Upton and Ms. Surrency for their presentation.           

 

6.      The President called on Chairs of 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.       Scott Wills, Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there are five meeting minutes to be approved (11/10/04, 11/17/04, 12/01/04, 12/08/04, and 01/19/05).  He stated that the meetings of November 10, November 17, December 1, and December 8, 2004 were devoted to petitions and appeals (98 petitions and eight appeals); they contain no action items requiring separate approval by the Academic Senate.  A motion to approve the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 11/10/04, 11/17/04, 12/01/04, and 12/08/04 passed without dissent. Wills stated that the meeting of January 19, 2005 was devoted to curricular matters; it contains several action items requiring separate approval by the Academic Senate.   The action items are:  Approval of the “International Plan” designator for undergraduate diplomas; Changes in the Philosophy, Science, and Technology minor and certificate; Changes in the Pre-Law certificate; New courses in AE, ARCH, BC, BIOL, BMED, EAS, MATH, MSE, NS, INTA, and RUSS; and Changes to the BMED, AE, BIOL, and CS degree requirements.  Wills indicated that, at this time, the UCC has approved (and Academic Senate approval is being sought for) the overall “template” for the International Plan designator for undergraduate diplomas as described by Howard Rollins (see item #4 above); individual units/programs intending to participate in this plan will have to submit their specific requirements for UCC approval, and subsequent Academic Senate approval.   A motion to approve the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 01/19/05 and the action items therein passed without dissent.

 

b.      Bill Green, Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there are two sets of minutes to be approved (12/02/04 and 01/20/05).  The meeting of January 20, 2005 contains several action items requiring separate approval by the Academic Senate.  The action items are:  New courses in APPH, ARCH, BC, BIOL, BMED, BMED/ME, EAS,ECE, ISYE, MGT, ME/CHBE, PHYS; Inactive courses in APPH, ARCH, BIOL, BMED/ME, ECE; Course title changes in APPH; Curriculum changes in MS APPH, PhD BME, PhD ECE, MS BIOL, PhD BIOL; Offering of MS BC degree through distance learning; New ECE/CoC multidisciplinary certificate in Information Assurance; and Five-year BS/MS in EAS. A motion to approve the Graduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 12/02/04 and 01/20/05 and the action items therein passed without dissent.

 

c.       Kent Barefield, Chair of the Student Rules and Regulations Committee, indicated that there is one set of committee minutes to be approved (12/03/04).  These minutes contain two action items requiring separate approval by the Academic Senate.  The first action item deals with modification of the Re-examination Policy described in Section VII.B.3 of the Student Rules and Regulations. The policy allows a degree candidate who has a single course deficiency from the final term of enrollment to take a re-examination after the commencement.  Approximately 40 such re-examinations take place every year.  The proposed modification is aimed at “tightening” the policy by not permitting such re-examinations for laboratory, studio, and other courses in which a significant portion of the grade is based upon projects, or when the deficiency is in any way the result of academic dishonesty.  Barefield stated that it is difficult to administer re-examinations for courses in which examinations are not normally a major part of the grade.

 

A comment was made that it is important for faculty members teaching such classes to tell the students at the beginning of the term (and state on the course syllabus) that re-examinations will not be permitted.  A question was asked as to when this policy modification would take effect.  The Registrar stated that the modification will take effect in the Summer (05) term.  A motion to approve the proposed modification to the Re-examination Policy (Section VII.B.3 of the Student Rules and Regulations) passed without dissent. [See exact wording for proposed modification in Attachment 6a below].

 

The second action item deals with the Student Code of Conduct (Section XIX of the Student Rules and Regulations).  Barefield stated that significant modifications to this section were made two years ago.  Since that time, Karen Boyd (Sr. Assoc Dean of Students) and two Committees have examined the Student Code of Conduct in detail; they have proposed some changes in order to “tighten” the language and make it easier to handle misconduct cases and adjudicate them in an equitable fashion.  Karen Boyd stated that the most significant change among the proposed modifications deals with permitting faculty to adjudicate academic misconduct for entry level violations.  It permits the faculty member to meet with the accused student and attempt to resolve the academic misconduct allegation prior to notifying the Dean of Students.

 

A question was asked as to how a faculty member would know if this is the first violation committed by the accused student.  Boyd indicated that the Rules require the faculty member to report the case facts to the Dean of Students’ Office of Student Integrity, who maintains the records and should be cognizant of any prior violations.  The student is formally notified of the proposed faculty resolution.  Should the student accept responsibility for a violation and have a prior disciplinary history or the faculty resolution recommends suspension or expulsion, the matter will be referred to the Student Honor Committee.  She stated that this change will allow the faculty member and the accused to discuss the matter and resolve it, while ensuring that the matter is on record.  A question was asked as to whether the Dean of Students plans to issue an “informational document” for faculty on this matter, since some may resolve the misconduct cases without reporting the facts or outcome.  Boyd indicated that the Dean of Students is working with the Academic Integrity Committee to develop various means of getting this information to the faculty.  Tom Morley, Chair of the Academic Integrity Committee, concurred and indicated that the options include visits with faculty in individual units.  A question was asked as to when the proposed revisions will take effect.  The Registrar stated that these changes will take effect beginning with the Summer (05) term.  A motion to approve the proposed modifications to the Student Code of Conduct (Section XIX of the Student Rules and Regulations) passed without dissent.  [See exact wording for proposed modification in Attachment 6b below].

 

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 #5 below for web site listing of minutes of all Standing Committees)

 

a.       Statutes:  10/21/04

b.      Academic Services:   12/02/04

 

The minutes were approved without dissent.

 

8.      The President initiated a discussion of options for the graduation commencement in light of the increasing size of our graduating classes.  He stated that for the past several years, we have had separate undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, which allowed us to hold the commencements in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum.  However, the size of our undergraduate class this May will be so large that we will not be able to hold the undergraduate ceremonies in the coliseum without some adjustments in logistics.  He stated that Bob Hardy (Director of Institute Communications) has been working with students, faculty, and other members of the Georgia Tech community to explore various options for the graduation ceremonies.  He stated that if we were to hold the undergraduate commencement this May in the Coliseum, some of the graduates would have to be seated in the stands, since there will not be enough room on the floor.  This would limit the available seating for students’ families and guests, and would require us to issue tickets and limit the number of guests per student.  An alternate option would be to split the undergraduate commencement in two parts (e.g. engineering in one and everyone else in another); however, most people did not like that option.   The option of holding the commencement in the East Stand of the football field has also been examined.  This would allow us to have a combined graduation without limiting the number of guests per student.  However, this option is obviously weather-dependent (it rained on graduation day for three out of the last four years).  Switching the ceremonies from the Stadium to the Coliseum in case of rain would be very difficult (could not fit everyone). Some schools (e.g. Emory) hold outdoor ceremonies rain or shine; lightening would be a concern.  The last option is to hold the ceremonies at the Georgia Dome (cost $120,000 to rent).  This would allow us to combine the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, without limiting the number of guests per student.  It could be done more efficiently by speeding up the students’ procession since there are many entry ways.  The main disadvantage is that it is off-campus.  However, based on the discussions held so far, it appears that the Georgia Dome is the best option available at this time; we intend to do it on a trial basis this year (plans need to be finalized soon).  A total of 2000 parking spaces has been guaranteed for the upcoming graduation which is workable (need 5000 spaces – will help get additional parking spaces and may need to run the Stinger Bus service). 

 

A question was asked regarding the disadvantages of holding three ceremonies on campus (two undergraduate and one graduate).   The President indicated that undergraduate students did not like the idea of splitting the class (either by major or alphabetically), and that graduation speakers may not wish to do two ceremonies.  A question was asked regarding the possibility of holding the ceremonies at Phillips Arena.  The President indicated that we have examined that option; however, the Atlanta Hawks declined (even though they will not be in the playoffs).   A question was asked regarding the length of the ceremonies since both the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies will be combined.  The President indicated that the combined ceremonies will be longer; however, the procession time can be reduced by about 30 minutes by using multiple entry ways.  Also, the time required to do the PhD ceremonies will be reduced.  These two time-saving measures will hopefully make the overall length more manageable.  He indicated that the ceremonies will likely start at 9:30 AM.  A question was asked regarding the option of holding a combined convocation for all graduates followed by separate ceremonies at the college level.  The President indicated that students did not like the idea of being “blessed” en-masse (as done at many universities); they prefer to be individually recognized, walk across the stage, and shake the President’s hand.  A question was asked as to whether the Civic Center was considered as a possible location to hold the ceremonies.  The President indicated that it is not large enough.   A follow-up question was asked as to the possibility of holding the ceremonies at the Gwinnett Arena.  The President indicated that it is too far from campus (the Cobb Galleria was rejected for the same reason).  A question was asked regarding means to speed-up the ceremonies for PhD graduates while maintaining a dignified process.  The President indicated that some universities (e.g. UGA) line up the faculty advisors with the PhD students (already hooded) and allow them to walk together across the stage, which speeds up the process. The President concluded by asking faculty members to contact his office with any ideas they may have to improve the logistics of the commencement ceremonies.       

 

9.      The President called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:50 PM.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

February 6, 2005

 

Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:

 

1.      Minutes of Faculty meetings

a.       AS & GF (11/30/04) http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/ASGF2005-113004-Minuteswp.htm

2.      SACS Progress Report (Presentation by Jack Lohmann)

3.      The International Plan (Presentation by Howard Rollins)

4.      GT Violence Prevention & Advocacy Initiative (Presentation by Heather Surrency and Yvette Upton)

5.      Minutes of Standing Committees: http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/CommitteeMinutes.htm

6.      Proposed Revisions to the Student Rules and Regulations:

a.       Section VII.B.3 (Re-examination Policy)

b.      Section XIX (Student Code of Conduct)