Meeting of November 19, 2002

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

(Amended 11/25/02)


Members Present: Agrawal (ChE); Allen (Arch); Boyd (Stu. Servcs); Chameau (Provost); Evans (GTRI); Horton (GTRI); Jayaraman (Mgt); Kahn (CEE); Mark (CoC); Marr (Psy); Swank (GTRI); Telotte (LCC); Uzer (Phys.); Warren (EDI); Alexander (Staff Rep); Michaels (G. Stu); Longshore  (for Massey, U. Stu); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).


Members Absent: Clough (President); Henry (OSP), Peterson (ECE)


Visitors:  Gentry (Arch); Green (Math); Hoey (OARS)


1.      Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:00 PM and called for approval of the minutes of the October 22, 2002 meeting of the Executive Board; minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


2.      The Chair invited the Provost to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The Provost commented:


a.       We look forward to working with Governor-elect Sonny Perdue and his staff; Mr. Perdue is familiar with higher education issues -- he previously served as Chair of the Higher Education Committee of the State Senate, and as a member of the Georgia Tech Advisory Board; he is scheduled to meet tomorrow with the Chancellor and ten of the System Institutions’ Presidents (including President Clough). 

b.      The State Budget situation is not positive; in September, we were asked to “hold back” 3% of our State budget, which we expected to become a budget cut; Governor Barnes has requested an additional 2% cut -- a total of 5% in the current fiscal year; the actual numbers have not been fixed since the Perdue transition team will review them. The cuts affect the “resident instruction” budget, as well as allocations for GTRI, EDI, GTREP, and other special initiatives.  The budget cuts from last year and those projected for this year correspond to ~$22-23M for GT, which is very significant.

c.       Research revenues continue to be strong -- ahead of projections for all units; tuition income from graduate students (mostly paid by research grants/contracts) is higher; other tuition income is on target.

d.      Last September, the GT Administration informed the units that the 3% cut in State budget could be handled without serious negative impact because of increases in other revenue sources; the additional 2% cut can not be absorbed centrally -- it will be felt by the units.

e.       Compared to other States/Universities, we are doing well -- we hired 70 new faculty members last year, including ~20-25 new positions; we have ~35-40 more faculty actually teaching compared to last year -- remain to be very positive because we are well positioned as soon as the budget situation improves; so far, we have been able to protect the academic units with minor impact; hopefully, this year the impact will be minor.


A comment was made that State budget cuts are sometimes justified by the perception that GT does not need the money because of our success in attracting research funds. The Provost commented that last year’s budget cuts were “cushioned” by increased formula funding for Georgia Tech -- thanks to the Chancellor and his staff for providing an equitable distribution, whereby we received our “fair share” corresponding to our enrollments.  A question was asked as to whether the additional 2% cut in State budget will have an impact on personnel.  The Provost indicated that it is too early to provide a definitive answer -- it will take several weeks before we know what the numbers mean -- prefer to wait till end of December to get better data on research income; it is hoped that there will be no impact on staffing; however, over the next several months, it is likely that we may not fill positions which become open due to retirements or resignations; units which hire a significant number of part-time faculty have been strongly encouraged to limit the number of part-time faculty.  The Provost further commented that compared to most universities, we are in very good shape -- all the GT units had budget increases at the beginning of this fiscal year, some of which were quite significant -- so our starting point is very good.    


3.      The Chair called on Dr. Joseph Hoey (Director of Assessment) to present a progress report on the activities of the Institute’s Review Committee for Assessment of Academic Programs (an ad hoc Committee formed by the Executive Board).  Dr. Hoey distributed a near-verbatim transcript of his presentation entitled: “Reflections on the First Year of Program Review at Georgia Tech,” which included a brief background of the program review process, a list of findings from presentations made by the units reviewed last year, a list of findings from the process of creating the final reports for program reviews, and a list of recommendations for both the committee and the process based on the lessons learned during the past year.  [A copy of Dr. Hoey’s presentation transcript can be found at the web address referenced below (Attachment #2); a copy of an earlier report issued by the Committee on Academic Program Reviews chaired by Dean Sue Rosser (cited in Dr. Hoey’s presentation) is also referenced below (Attachment #3)].    


In response to a question regarding the amount of time expended by the units undergoing such reviews, Dr. Hoey indicated that the process is indeed time-consuming and that moving away from the data-driven BOR process will lighten the load considerably -- Institutional Research & Planning already generates a data profile which reduces the units’ data-generation load somewhat; it is, however, important for each unit to generate the data which allows an external reviewer to get the “best sense” of the program.  Another important factor is the extent to which we can align different parts of the review process, e.g. leadership reviews and program reviews -- such an “alignment” already exists in some units such as the college of Engineering.   The Provost indicated that the time/effort expenditure issue is very important, especially for units which may simultaneously undergo professional accreditation and/or leadership evaluation; one needs to balance the value of the reviews and the “costs” involved; thus, he concurs with the committee’s recommendation allowing flexibility; he also supports the IRC’s recommendation requiring the units and the reviewers to prioritize and focus on the key issues rather than providing a “laundry list” of needs/requirements -- which is not helpful to either the units or the administration.  He further stated that we would like the process to add value to the programs. 


A question was raised as to whether the reviews are being used as a feedback mechanism to improve the “operations,” or are being done to merely satisfy the requirements.  Hoey responded by stating that, ultimately, the intent of the program reviews is to follow-up on the recommendations as they are implemented to see what has been changed as a result of such reviews; this is clearly a long-term (multi-year) cycle -- the IRC is concerned with following-up on the recommendations.  Professor Gentry (Arch), a member of the IRC, expanded on Hoey’s response by indicating that, currently, the committee’s main function is to see that the units follow the process in accordance with the Rosser Committee recommendations and the guidelines developed by the IRC; currently, it is not the responsibility of the IRC to see that the loop is closed; instead, the committee’s focus is to see that the reports are appropriately prepared and delivered to the Provost’s office, and to make sure that the process is working.  A follow-up comment was made that given the proposed increase in its membership, it may be appropriate for the IRC to look at this issue to see how recommendations resulting from previous review(s) have been addressed. Hoey indicated that while the IRC has not considered this particular “charge,” such information should be included in the material sent by the units to the external reviewers, the UCC and GCC -- he re-iterated Professor Gentry’s remark that the IRC deals with the process; it does not deal with interpretations of the “content,” since the committee may not have the expertise necessary to evaluate the content. 


A question was raised as to how the BOR would respond to the IRC’s recommendation that allows professional accreditation reviews to be substituted for BOR reviews. Hoey indicated that the BOR criteria state that Institutions may use the results of professional accreditation reviews to substitute for these (i.e. BOR) requirements provided they meet the requirements of SACS (this is true for “non-triggered” evaluations).   A follow-up question was raised as to whether there has been a study to see which accreditation reviews do meet the SACS requirements.  Hoey indicated that many professional accreditation bodies have incorporated criteria/objectives for student learning which meet/exceed the SACS requirements; the only area where there is no significant overlap is the American Chemical Society.  A comment was made that, while all the required data may be the same, the issue is “formatting,” i.e. mapping the data into the required format, which takes considerable effort; it would be in our best interest to systematically look at the different professional accreditation criteria (which, themselves, frequently change) to see if we can extract from them the material required in the proper format.  Hoey indicated that the format was dictated by the BOR, and that when he attempted to make a “template” it became unwieldy -- SACS would be satisfied if we have a process in place which can be demonstrated to work. The BOR is reconsidering the criteria; most of the Professional accreditation criteria will meet or exceed SACS requirements; hence, the IRC recommendation is logical -- only caveat is when the review cycle is longer than ~5-6 years (e.g. AACSB can accredit a program for up to 10 years), the notion of continuous improvement as a result of such reviews becomes “tenuous.” A comment was made that even though the College of Management may have received 10 years of accreditation, the faculty, being attuned to market demands, continually review the program during that period.


The Chair indicated that the only action item needed to be considered by the Board is the recommendation to increase the size of the IRC by 50% (from 8 to 12) to assure retention of the committee’s knowledge base since the term for all current members expires at the end of the academic year.  Hoey indicated that it would be desirable to include two new members from Engineering, one from management, and one from computing. A comment was made that the college of management is somewhat “homogeneous,” and that it may be more useful to name a new IRC member from a more “diverse” college such as Ivan Allen or the College of Sciences.  It was also pointed out that the IRC is an ad hoc Committee of the Executive Board; discussion ensued as to whether it would appropriate at this time to consider replacing such ad hoc committee with a standing committee of the Academic Faculty.   The Chair pointed out that creating a new standing committee will require a long period of time, and that the Board needs to act on the committee’s request for an increase in its size in order to allow continuity of the process.   A motion to increase the size of the Ad Hoc Institutional Review Committee for Assessment of Academic Programs by 50% was approved without dissent.  


The Board requested that the ad hoc IRC Committee examine the question of whether or not it would be appropriate to establish a Standing Committee of the Academic Faculty to take its place; the IRC is to report back to the Board on this issue and provide a progress report on its operations in March 2003. 


The Chair thanked Dr. Hoey and the entire IRC for their efforts and contributions.    


4.      The Chair informed the Board of an E-mail he recently received from Bob Eno, President of the Faculty Council at Indiana University, regarding a resolution on intercollegiate athletics which was recently-adopted by faculty leaders in two Division lA conferences (Pac-10 and Big Ten).  The purpose of the communication was to seek broader faculty support for the principles/reforms espoused in the resolution, which states that intercollegiate athletics can enhance an academic community, but the commercial influences and professional standards for athletic performance might undermine the constructive aspects of sports on campus;  three principles were highlighted in the resolution:  (1) Athletes are students first, (2) Inappropriate commercialization should be reduced, and (3) The success of athletic programs should be measured by the value added to the athletes and the campus.  The Chair proposed that before proceeding with any Faculty Senate or Board actions on this request, he intends to discuss this issue with President Clough, since Georgia Tech appears to be doing a good job in this area and may have already considered/adopted these principles well before this resolution came about.  A question was raised as to what prompted this communication to GT; the Chair indicated that he does not know of any specific reason.  A question was raised as to the relation between the resolution and the proposed NCAA academic reforms discussed at the last General Faculty meeting; the Chair responded that there may be a direct relation between these concerns and the proposed NCAA reforms.  The Chair indicated that he intends to bring this matter back to the Board after he discusses it with the President and “gets the facts.” There were no objections to the course of action proposed by the Chair.          


5.      The Chair called on Alan Michaels, President of the Graduate Student Body, to discuss an SGA proposal for a Legacy Brick Project.  Mr. Michaels indicated that his presentation is being made in behalf of the entire GT Student Government. [A copy of the visual aids used by Mr. Michaels is attached (Attachment #4)].  The proposal describes a capital campaign aimed at raising funds to improve student life on campus.  He indicated that students are satisfied with the education they receive at Georgia Tech; however, they would like to improve the quality of “student life” on campus.  He highlighted three areas to be addressed:  (1) student-faculty interactions, (2) professional development of both graduate and undergraduate students, and (3) improved “community” between students, faculty, administration, and alumni.  Suggestions offered to address these issues include: (1) student/ faculty lunches in “Yellow Jacket Park” (open space created by the demolition of the Hightower building) as a means of bringing faculty and students together outside the classroom, (2) increased access and availability of conference funds -- expand the program to allow qualified undergraduates to participate (currently the program supports only graduate students), and (3) providing consistent on-campus entertainment options to replace the need for students to go off-campus -- examples include movie theater offering new movies at the student center, and community events such as tailgates, “rambling nights,” and on-campus concerts.  A proposal to achieve these objectives -- the “legacy brick project”-- was described.  Mr. Michaels referred to the report mailed to the Board members and others earlier in the week which describes the project details, including costs, fund raising goals, etc. (see Attachment #5 below). Mr. Michaels indicated that the students would like to work with the faculty and administration to get their approval and make the project a success; the student government will donate $30k towards this project to demonstrate the students’ strong commitment to its success.  He indicated that students are working on various aspects of the program, including letters to Alumni and parents; given full approval, the students would be able to mail out the letters by December 2, 2002.   


In response to a question, Mr. Michaels indicated that they intend to work with the vendor used by the Salt Lake City Olympics, who did not have the same problems experienced by the Atlanta Olympics.  A question was asked whether the students are merely seeking the Board’s endorsement of the project; Kelli Longshore (UG student) responded that the students would also like to hear the Board’s ideas and potential concerns.  Boyd indicated that this is a student initiative; instead of simply asking for money to do the things they want to do, they would like to help raise the funds to do them.  The Provost indicated that he met with President Clough and Dr. Wilcox (VPSS) to discuss this initiative; they all agree that the proposed ideas for more student-faculty interactions and on-campus concerts, etc. are good; despite the current financial constraints, the administration would like to provide some resources to help the students get started right away since fund-raising takes time; not convinced that the brick project is the best way to raise the money; development experts suggest that it is difficult to raise significant amounts of funds through many small contributions; need to look at all options -- for example, some alumni may wish to endow this project; the President and the Development office would like to talk to the students about how best to raise the funds to sustain these activities on a long-term basis; nevertheless, everyone believes the goal is good and we should support it. 


Allen indicated that his experience with a similar project for the Cobb County Veterans Memorial Association confirms the Provost’s statement regarding the difficulty/significant effort involved in raising funds from many small donations; he expressed his willingness to help the students with the project details. A comment was made that while it may not raise a significant amount of money, the bricks idea is good because it personalizes the contributors’ involvement. A suggestion was offered to foster strong student/faculty interactions not only campus wide, but also at the unit level, where opportunities for fund raising from discipline-related industries may be readily available.  A question was asked as to whether analyses have been performed to estimate the costs of the various activities proposed in this project; Michaels replied affirmatively.  A comment was made that Georgia Tech has had a problem with student retention, and that the proposed activities provide an added opportunity to address that problem.  A comment was made that Georgia Tech is a school rich with traditions, which bind people together; in addition to the suggested activities, we may want to reinvigorate those rituals and traditions.  The Chair summarized the discussion by stating that everyone supports/endorses the students’ goals and their efforts to work with the administration to raise the necessary funds to improve student life on campus. 


The Chair thanked Mr. Michaels and all students involved in this project for their efforts and contributions.


6.      The Chair called on Jack Marr, who presented a list of proposed members for the Nominating Committee for the Spring 2003 elections (see Attachment #6).  Doug Allen (Co-Chair of the Nominating Committee) called on all Board members to contact him and/or Professor Marr with suggestions and/or nominations to the various elected positions.  A motion was made to approve the proposed Nominating Committee membership list.  The motion passed without dissent.  


7.      The Chair called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 5:00 PM.



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

November 22, 2002

Amended:  November 25, 2002


Attachments (to be included with the archival copy of the minutes)


  1.  Minutes of the EB meeting of October 22, 2002.
  2. Reflections on the First Year of Program Review at Georgia Tech.  (Presentation by Joseph Hoey)
  3. Report of the Committee on Academic Program Review (Chaired by Dean Sue Rosser)
  4. Student Life Capital Campaign – The Legacy Brick Project (Presentation by Alan Michaels).
  5. Joint Resolution for a Student-Initiated Capital Campaign (Authored by Alan Michaels and Tiffany Massey)
  6. Proposed Membership List for 2003 Nominating Committee.