Tuesday, February 27, 2007, Global Learning Center, Room 222



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

a.   President Clough began by congratulating the Georgia Tech library for its selection for the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) 2007 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.  This is remarkable recognition because the size of the Tech library measured in numbers of volumes is not as large as those of many universities having medical and law colleges.   But Dean Rich Meyer and his staff have revolutionized the way a research library works in a university community.  Notable achievements have included the development of the west and east commons areas.

b.   Construction will begin soon on renovation of the Old Civil Engineering Building.  It has been under-utilized in recent times because of air quality problems.  Over the years, it has served several schools and now the legislature has granted Tech funds for its renewal.  With an additional $4 million in private funds, it will become a beautiful building again and will be ready to be occupied by a unit of the Ivan Allen College sometime next year.

c.   Georgia Tech is renewing its assessments of needs and goals for the Undergraduate Learning Center.  It was first proposed about six or seven years ago but there was a long list of other projects on the Regents list ahead of it, so it has not come to fruition yet.  It will be a very important building because it will contain all the undergraduate labs, it will be the home of undergraduate advising and other support services, and it will house important library functions for undergraduates.  These complementary features will enable further renewal in the library itself.  A study of needs and design priorities was conducted at the start, and a second one since then.  It is time to do it again so that all is in readiness as this important project gets near the top of the Regent’s list.  Senior Vice Provost Anderson Smith is chairing the ad hoc committee of students and faculty looking at this.

d.   The Georgia legislature is in session and will be for some time yet.  Their business is taking longer than usual so that issues with federal funding to the PeachCare for Kids program might be resolved before state budgets are settled.  Tech is hopeful this will not negatively impact funding for the university system, but it will delay by at least a month the conclusion of the budgeting process as it affects universities in the state.  Tech is proactively using this time to communicate with legislators to be sure they have a complete picture of the values the state gets from Tech’s activities.

e.   President Clough congratulated the Georgia Tech faculty for bringing in research funding at a record pace.  This is remarkable because recent years were also strong.  If the pace keeps up, the milestone of $400 million in research funding could be crossed this fiscal year.

f.    He also reported that discussions have continued with Georgia State University and the University System of Georgia (USG) about the possibility that Tech might take over the dormitories on North Avenue that Georgia State has occupied since the 1996 Olympics.  Georgia State is building new residence halls closer to their main campus downtown and they need compensation from the release of the Olympic residences in order to complete this project.  Their new facilities will be the largest university residence complex in the country.  Financial arrangements seem to be coming together to make it possible for Georgia Tech to step into the Olympic dormitories.  This would also enable the decommissioning of some of Tech’s older but non-historic residence halls on campus that are in poor condition and provide Tech with a better portfolio of residence options for students.  A draft plan now awaits decisions at a high level concerning the financial tradeoffs that would make the deal possible.

g.   President Clough just returned from a meeting of the National Governor’s Association.  He serves on a task force for economic development, K-12 education, and higher education.  There were meetings with all the governors, as well as with the five assigned to the task force, three other university presidents, and a group of CEOs.  Governor Perdue was there and expressed very positive feelings about Georgia’s university system in terms of its responsiveness to the state and its support of economic development. 

2.   The President called for approval of the minutes of the previous meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate held on February 6, 2007. He indicated that the minutes have 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

3.      The President called on Jim Fetig, Assistant Vice President for Institute Communications and Public Affairs.  President Clough explained that Mr. Fetig has been at Tech for just under a year and one of his first assignments was to conduct a study of how well various constituencies outside the campus know Georgia Tech.  This is particularly important given the changes to Georgia Tech over the past two decades, including broadening its offerings beyond the area of engineering where Tech is best known.  Georgia Tech has taken steps to get word out about all that is going on, but one needs to test how well the message is getting through for a number of different audiences.  This is important in building the reputation of the institution and in recruiting students, faculty and staff.  Tech conducted two of these studies previously, one before the Olympics and one after.  After this introduction, Mr. Fetig provided the faculty with a comprehensive description of the most recent study of the Georgia Tech brand identity.  He particularly noted that he appreciates all the faculty has done in talking with the press and other media about their work as this helps build greater awareness of Georgia Tech.

4.      The President then called on Dr. Jim McClellan for a report and proposals from the Student Computer Ownership Committee.  Dr. McClellan used a presentation found in Attachment #2.  He began by telling the faculty that the committee was bringing them a proposal that students be required to own a laptop computer beginning with the incoming class in the fall of 2008.  He introduced and thanked the members of the committee shown on slide 2 of the attachment and explained that the contributions of Linda Cabot, Miles Edson, and Alex Taubman were particularly important as they are responsible for making the existing computer ownership program work and have a lot of expertise to offer.  From this point on, he followed the text of the presentation closely and covered:

·        The rationale for the policy change as well as some general concerns the committee has heard;

·        Surveys of faculty and students and other data gathering, including data showing that 88% of incoming students already have laptops;

·        How the laptops would be used to enhance teaching and learning;

·        What peer institutions are doing;

·        The extra load that will be placed on IT support and provisions needed to enhance support; and

·        Finally the recommendation.

Given that 88% already have laptops, the point of the policy change is not so much to promote laptop use as it is for teachers to be sure they can count on each student having one in making plans for class usage.

There was a question from the audience about whether there would also be mandated software.  Jim responded that there already is a core set of required software and he did not anticipate that to change.  Of course, particular classes can have additional specialized requirements, analogous to textbook requirements.  Linda Cabot from OIT commented that having global students carrying laptops out of the country can present additional challenges owing to license and export restrictions.  Some student editions of software also have performance limitations relative to what the professor has.  These issues will take a little while to address so the planned start in fall of 2008 allows enough time. 

Dr. McClellan then moved that Georgia Tech change the requirement for student computer ownership so that students entering in the fall of 2008 will be required to own laptops.  The motion was seconded.  Dr. Clough asked for discussion and Tanah Barchichat asked why this should start in 2008 and not, say, 2009.  Dr. McClellan responded that 2008 provides enough time to get ready but then it is prudent to proceed expeditiously. The whole transition will take until 2011 at which time all students will have laptops.  If the start of the program were delayed, attention to preparation might be diffused and less effective.  Dr. Clough asked about lessons that could be learned from other universities that have made this transition, and he specifically asked about Wake Forest which has required laptops of all students for several years.  Linda Cabot from OIT responded that Wake Forest’s program is different in that it mandates a specific make and model of laptop.  The Georgia Tech community prefers diversity but will face greater challenges as a result, particularly in computer support services.  Dr. McClellan mentioned that Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and Clayton State University have also followed the Wake Forest model.  Dr. Clough called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

5    Dr. Clough turned to the matter of proposed changes in the Georgia Tech Statutes that would add new members of the Georgia Tech campus community to the ranks of the General Faculty.  These groups include Post Doctoral Fellows and selected Athletic Affairs Professionals who will be coming to Georgia Tech employment from the Georgia Tech Athletic Association (GTAA).  This issue has been discussed by the Georgia Tech Executive Board and they asked the Statutes Committee to draw up the proposed changes to the Statutes that are to be considered today.  There was also considerable discussion of the underlying issues at the February 6, 2007 meeting of the faculty.  

Dr. Clough stated that adding Post Doctoral Fellows and Athletics Affairs Professional to the General Faculty would not ordinarily be considered.  The reason this is being proposed now is that General Faculty membership is required under present Georgia law for anyone in our community to be eligible to participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP) instead of the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS).  ORP with its vesting provisions is much better suited to help Tech attract the best possible professionals so it is in Tech’s best interest to extend General Faculty status to the proposed new members.  Other groups have been added in the past for the same reasons; for example, Tech’s legal staff members are now in many cases Professional Classified Staff with general faculty status.  Many of the Athletic Affairs Professionals would already qualify as Professional Classified Staff, having the necessary academic credentials as defined for this title group.  Some would not, but are valued professionals with appropriate credentials for their field.

Dr. Clough also noted that GTAA was founded as a separate but affiliated 501(c)3 corporation.  They employed the coaches and other athletic affairs professionals as employees of the corporation.  The trend in universities participating in NCAA, however, is to bring these professionals into the university and better integrate intercollegiate athletics with the rest of the campus.  Georgia Tech is presently going through re-certification with NCAA and one of the things the NCAA looks at is whether the university is firmly in control of the intercollegiate athletics program.  Tech’s Director of Athletics, Dan Radakovich, is a big supporter of better integration of athletics with the Institute as a whole.  Already today the Registrar’s Office works closely with the athletics program to accomplish NCAA required certifications of the financial aid offered and of the progress made by student athletes toward completion of their degree requirements.  Preparations are being made to support athletics operations in the GIT HR and accounting systems.  Thus Tech feels it is appropriate at this time to move its athletics affairs professionals from GTAA to regular university employment.  The proposed Statutes modifications are seen as an important step in this and at the February 6, 2007 meeting, the faculty voted to support the concept and send the matter to the Statutes Committee for detailed wording.

Similarly, the majority of the faculty at that meeting felt that it would be a disservice to Tech’s Post Doctoral Fellows to saddle them with the ten-year vesting of the TRS program and essentially lock them into a program with unfavorable returns.  Not only is this a matter of fairness but it is also smart for recruiting talent.  Accordingly, the recommendation to add them to the General Faculty was part of the charge to the Statutes Committee.  There are no financial impacts on Georgia Tech from this proposal because Tech would be contributing to TRS anyway and the difference between the formula for TRS and ORP is negligible.

The University of Georgia and Georgia State have already made similar changes.  The Chancellor of the University System of Georgia (USG) has had a task force making recommendations of changes that might be implemented to broaden access to ORP, as well as address some possible issues with the stability of university contributions to ORP.  It is possible that in about a year, all new salaried USG employees will be able to join ORP or TRS at their option without needing to be a member of the faculty.  At best, this would take about a year because legislation would be required.

Dr. Clough reminded the faculty that it would take a 2/3 majority vote of the General Faculty present to pass any proposed Statutes changes to expand membership in the General Faculty.  He then called on Dr. Paul Griffin, chair of the Statutes Committee, to present the committee’s proposals.  Dr. Griffin made his presentation with the slides shown in Attachment #3bAttachment #3a contains background material previously presented at the February 6, 2007 meeting.  Detailed wording of the proposed changes in the Statutes is contained in Attachment #3c.  In going through the material in Attachment #3b, Dr. Griffin began by reviewing the history of previous discussions and the preparation of the proposals.  The proposed changes that add Post Doctoral Fellows and Athletic Affairs Professionals to the General faculty are found in Section 5.1.1.  Post Doctoral Fellows are simply added to the existing list of members of the Corps of Instruction.  Athletic Affairs Professionals are then added by defining a new class of member of the General Faculty, analogous to the existing group called Professional Classified Staff.  The definition of Athletic Affairs Professional refers to a list of specific titles that make up this group as will be found in Section 13 of the Faculty Handbook.  Dr. Griffin explained that Section 5.1.1 is part of the Statutes and thus changes to this Section require two readings for final approval.  In contrast, Section 13 is just policy and needs only one reading.  A draft form of Section 13 is provided in Attachment #3c but work will continue on it and will be formally proposed in conjunction with the second reading of the changes to Section 5.1.1.

Dr. Griffin asked if there were any questions or comments.  Dr. Clough noted that none of those proposed to be added to the General Faculty would be eligible to vote on academic matters such as curriculum changes or anything else reserved for the Academic Faculty.  A question was asked if any of this would have any effect on Tech’s overhead rates and Chuck Donbaugh answered no. 

Dr. Clough then called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, to present a resolution for the faculty to consider that relates to the proposals Dr. Griffin presented.  He used Attachment #3d to present the proposed supplemental resolution.  He noted that several had commented, at the February 6, 2007 meeting of the faculty, that it would it would be nice to provide for the sunset of those memberships in the General Faculty that have been made just for access to ORP.  While it is understood that the Chancellor may put in place a change to allow access to ORP for all salaried employees, it is not possible to be sure that is just how it will come out.  Therefore it is difficult to build detailed sunset provisions directly into the Statutes.  Nevertheless, there was clearly strong interest in doing something about sunset provisions at the last faculty meeting as well as at the Executive Board meetings in January and February.  Thus, the Executive Board (through electronic ballot) decided to recommend a resolution for the faculty to consider as shown in Attachment #3d.  Dr. Bohlander went through the wording of the resolution which indicates that, at such time as the rules for ORP participation are substantially changed, the Executive Board will initiate a process of review of classes of membership in the General Faculty with an emphasis on continuing membership for those involved in the core missions of the university as defined by the Board of Regents; namely, teaching, research, extension, and library & archival services.  The resolution further provides that “Professionals recommended for discontinued membership in the General Faculty should not lose fringe benefits, retirement or vacation privileges as a result of such an action.”

Dr. Griffin then made a motion that the General Faculty adopt the proposed changes to Section 5.1.1 of the Statutes (as shown in Attachment #3c).  The motion was seconded and passed by more than the necessary 2/3 majority.

Dr. Bohlander moved that the General Faculty adopt the sunset resolution just presented (in Attachment #3d).  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

Dr. Clough asked about the second reading of the Statutes change just passed.  Dr. Bohlander indicated that the next planned meeting of the faculty is on April 17, 2007.  However, to comply with the requirement to wait 60 days before a second reading, this meeting may be postponed until after 60 days have elapsed.

6.   The President addressed the need for the Academic Senate to approve minutes of Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty.  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. (See Attachment #4).

a.   The first set of minutes was from February 7, 2007 of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.  There were no action items.  The minutes were approved without dissent.

b.      Bill Green, Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there was one set of minutes to be approved, from the February 8, 2007 meeting.  Highlights of the action items included:  There were a number of routine curricular housekeeping matters involving new courses and deactivated courses.  There was one information item concerning a new area of specialization for the Ph.D. in psychology.  The College of Management has changed the name of the Global Executive Master of Business Administration to Master of Business Administration – Global Business.  The Graduate Curriculum Committee recommended changes in the "Policy on Publication of Theses" section of the Institute "Policy on the Advisement of Graduate Student Research and the Appointment of Thesis Advisory Committees", including 1) clarification of policies concerning withholding publication of a thesis for a limited period of time to protect confidential material, and 2) a new policy that states that “a Georgia Tech doctoral dissertation in its final form may not be used or have been used to meet the requirements for a separate degree at another institution.”  Dr. Green explained the intent is to prevent a student from writing a thesis here at Georgia Tech, receive a PhD, and then use the same document somewhere else and get a separate PhD there.  This is not intended to preclude the granting of joint degrees by Georgia Tech and another institution, if it is a single degree with both institutions’ names on it.  (See details in Committee meeting minutes – Attachment #4).  A motion to approve each of the action items and the Graduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 2/8/2007 passed without dissent.

7.      The President called for approval of the minutes of Standing Committees of the General Faculty, which do not contain any action items, all of which have been posted on the web (see Attachment #4).  This applied to only one committee, the Faculty Benefits Committee meetings of 11/15/06 and 12/13/06. 

All minutes were approved without dissent.

8.  The President called for any other business.  He mentioned, for information only, that Vice President Al Gore would be speaking on campus in late afternoon on April 18, 2007 under the auspices of the IMPACT Speaker Series from the College of Management.  He will speak about business opportunities deriving from global warming and efforts to mitigate this problem.  Dr. Sue Ann Allen explained that a web site will be set up from which faculty and students can register for up to two tickets.  If there is more demand than there are seats then requests will be honored randomly.  Decisions will be reached by March 30.  Dr. Clough reported the event would be held in the Ferst Theatre.  The coliseum is not available due to renovation of the ventilation system.  Someone asked if the event would be video taped.  The answer was no, but someone is investigating if it is possible to have closed circuit viewing elsewhere on campus.

Hearing no further business, the President adjourned the meeting at 4:37 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Ronald A. Bohlander

Secretary of the Faculty

April 25, 2007

Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:


  1. Minutes of February 6, 2007 meeting of the Academic Senate combined with a meeting of the Genera Faculty and General Faculty Assembly.
  2. Presentation on Change Requiring Laptops
  3. Proposed changes to the Statutes
    1. Background documents concerning Athletic Affairs Professionals and Post Doctoral Fellows
    2. Presentation
    3. Wording of proposed change in Statutes
    4. Proposed Resolution of the Faculty
  4. Minutes of Committee Meetings: