GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
Held in the Poole Board Room of the
Members Present: Agrawal (ChE); Allen (Arch); Boyd (Stu. Servcs); Clough (President); Henry (OSP); Horton (GTRI); Jayaraman (Mgt); Kahn (CEE); Mark (CoC); Marr (Psy); Peterson (ECE); Swank (GTRI); Telotte (LCC); Warren (EDI); Massey (U. Stu); Norville (for Michaels, G. Stu); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).
Members Absent: Alexander (Staff Rep); Chameau (Provost); Evans (GTRI); Uzer (Phys.)
Visitors: Gentry (Arch); Green (Math); Hughes (ECE); McIver (Registrar); Mistree (ME); Watson (U. Stu); Wine (Chem); May (Pres. Office)
1. Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at and called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. The President offered the following comments:
a. Construction of the
b. The President indicated that he has spent some time
c. The Legislature has completed the amended 03 budget, which turned out to be fairly favorable to the University System; it restored some funds for equipment and maintenance & renovation, which were cut earlier, and did not cause us to absorb any additional cuts this fiscal year. The budget for 04 has been very difficult for the State Legislature; at this time they need about $120M to balance the budget; the Governor proposed tax increase has not been supported. There are several proposals under consideration, including an additional budget cut of $120M. We are fortunate that, at this point, no additional cuts have been assigned to the University System -- The Chancellor has done a good job explaining to the Legislature the depth of the cuts we have already taken. There will be no salary increases. If there were proportional additional cuts, the University System would get about 10% of the State budget cuts, and Georgia Tech would get 10% of the University System cuts, which would translate to about $1.2M of additional cuts for Georgia Tech -- that would be very difficult, in light of the $18M in cuts we have already absorbed. We will soon know the outcome, which we hope will not include additional cuts.
d. Tuition and fees will likely go up more than they would normally, because of the significant cut in our State budget; we do not know yet how much the increase will be, but those discussions are ongoing. The delay has put our Admissions people in a somewhat awkward spot, since we can not tell our incoming students what their tuition will be. The $18M budget cut experienced by Georgia Tech is huge; it is equivalent to 180 faculty positions.
e. The President announced that Dr. Lee Wilcox (VPSS) has announced his intention to retire at the end of December. He has done a great job, and has brought a great deal of stability to that position, along with many ideas, and positive programs to improve student life at Georgia Tech. A search committee will soon be appointed to search for a replacement.
Kahn inquired about the Provost’s health. The President indicated that Dr. Chameau is
doing well and is back in the office; he is expected to fully recover. The President congratulated Tiffany Massey,
the outgoing Undergraduate Student Body President, on her admission to the
The Chair called for approval of minutes of the
3. The Chair called on Ms. Jo McIver (Registrar) who requested approval for intercollegiate atheletic teams to participate in post-season play. A list of dates and locations of post-season play for each of the participating teams was presented (See Attachment #2). She indicated that the list does not include Football, women’s NCAA Basketball, and Men’s NIT Basketball for which she had failed to seek approval before hand. McIver indicated that students are allowed ten absences for intercollegiate sports, and that none of the athletes in these sports has exceeded that limit. She indicated that, in most cases, absence for post-season play occurs in the following term and that the ten absences limit is not exceeded -- sports such as tennis and swimming where students may participate in both individual and team competitions may approach the limit. The President commented that, as a part of its academic reform actions, the NCAA Board of Directors, on which he serves, is discussing the possibility of shortening the season and controlling the amount of practice time for some sports, where time requirements may be viewed as being excessive. While this seems reasonable, people have pointed out that dancers and other performing artists usually spend more time practicing than athletes, which leads to the question of why one should limit the time spent playing sports. A motion to approve the proposed dates for post-season play for various sports as presented by the Registrar was made. The motion passed without dissent.
4. The Chair called on Dr. Russell Gentry (Arch), Co-chair of the Institute Review Committee for Assessment of Academic Programs (IRC) to present a progress report on the committee’s activities and recommendations for future directions. Gentry introduced other committee members present -- Farrokh Mistree (ME) and Paul Wine (Chem), and indicated that Joseph Hoey (Director of Assessment, and IRC Co-chair) was away on a SACS accreditation visit and could not attend. A copy of the slides used in Dr. Gentry’s presentation is attached (See Attachment #3 below). Gentry began by presenting a list of current IRC members, and providing an outline of the presentation. The presentation consisted of five sections: (1) background related to program reviews at Georgia Tech, (2) a description of the IRC and its activities during the past two years, (3) recommendations for future directions based on proposals made by chairs of the curriculum committees, (4) the relationship between the IRC and the Council on Institutional Accreditation, Program Review, and Assessment (CIAPRA) chaired by Jack Lohmann, and (5) the recommended path forward. Gentry summarized Georgia Tech’s prior experience with program reviews. He indicated that there were some minor problems with SACS accreditation over the past twenty years, primarily related to “closing the loop.” He stated that no one argues about our institutional effectiveness, or claims that we are doing a poor job in teaching, but the proof of such effectiveness and the fact that we are continuously improving our process has been somewhat lacking. So, a part of the IRC’s job is to demonstrate that we are closing the loop.
During the 1994 and 1998 SACS accreditation visits, it was pointed out that some GT programs were not being reviewed. Our Statutes require the two curriculum committees (IUCC and GCC) to review the curriculum once every five years. However, there was no process in place to enable such reviews. In particular, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has been swamped with operational requirements, such as hearing petitions, course approvals, etc., so that the strategic long-range issues of curricular reviews were not performed by the two committees. Additionally, in 2000 the Board of Regents issued a mandate requiring periodic program reviews. In response to these factors, a committee chaired by Dean Sue Rosser recommended the formation of an ad hoc committee of the faculty to help marshal the periodic program review process – that committee, namely the IRC, was formed two years ago with a two-year life (to expire in May of this year).
Gentry described the IRC and its operations over the past two years; initially, the committee consisted of eight members with the Director of Assessment (Joseph Hoey) serving as Chair. The committee’s activities have focused on: (1) developing the schedules, templates, and procedures, i.e. the infrastructure for units to engage into the review process, (2) policing/enabling the process, (3) providing liaison with colleges and schools, and (4) assessing the process and identifying the means by which it can be improved. He indicated that units in Engineering, Architecture, and other programs, which undergo accreditation-type reviews from national bodies, are used to such review process. However, for programs in the Sciences, or other areas which do not undergo periodic reviews, this has been an onerous process -- the first time through it, including the preparation of a self-study document, and arranging a review by a visiting team, is difficult. Additionally, the original Board of Regents mandate had extensive reporting requirements; much of the IRC’s effort has been devoted to streamlining that process. Policing and enabling the process means developing milestones, deadlines, etc. At the end of the year, the IRC assesses the process, by meeting with each of the units undergoing assessment that year (on April 15); each unit tells the IRC what they learned from their review and what we can do to make it better.
Mistree commented that the committee’s role has been “interesting” because sometimes the person with whom the IRC deals is very hostile; so, one has to have very good “people skills” to explain why the process has been done, and why it is necessary, etc. -- this has not been easy. The President commented that a SACS accreditation visit often involves a large number of administrative and academic assessments, and that even if one does a perfect job on the vast majority of those assessments, one would still be criticized for the very few that do not meet the standards, without getting any credit for the vast majority for which one may have done a perfect job. That is the problem which needs to be communicated to people -- every body has to do it well.
Gentry indicated that the IRC was not asked to comment on or condense the material collected during the reviews; it has been a “processing” body that marshaled the information through the system, rather than deliberating the “content” and synthesizing the material (the Dean’s letter, the self-study, and the visitor’s report) – this function is missing from the current process. As a result, the Provost received the “raw” voluminous information rather than a condensed report. Gentry indicated that last Fall, the IRC reported to the Executive Board and requested that four new members be appointed in order to provide continuity upon conclusion of the two-year term of the original committee. The committee also discussed the possibility of “disbanding” at the conclusion of the two-year term; the reason is that if the IRC is only “process oriented”, it was felt that the process is now in place, and the Office of Assessment can marshal the process without the committee’s guidance. However, if the role of the committee were to expand and become more “deliberative” requiring reflection/action on and condensing of the “raw” information for use by CIAPRA (Lohmann’s Council), the Provost, and the Administration, that would be a significant faculty obligation that the IRC members feel should be done. That, in essence, is the recommendation the IRC is making to the Board, namely, that the IRC takes on the important role/obligation of evaluating and acting on the information (i.e. the “content”), not just marshal the information through the process.
Gentry commented on recent proposals to modify the charge/function of the IRC. He indicated that part of the IRC’s job is to parcel out the curricular part of program reviews to the IUCC and GCC. This was done last year; good feedback was provided by the GCC, while the IUCC did not do as well. This is understandable given their heavy operational load. A proposal was offered (referred to as “the Hughes/Green Proposal”) whereby the IRC role would be expanded to assist with the curriculum reviews, with the IRC becoming either a standing faculty committee or a subcommittee of the Curriculum Committees. Additionally, the IRC would be charged with condensing and commenting on the review materials and providing a summary for the Provost’s use. Hughes pointed out that the proposal did not originate from the Curriculum Committees; instead, it came out of a meeting between the chairs of the IUCC and GCC, the Chair of the Executive Board, and the Secretary of the Faculty. Subsequent to that meeting, the GCC rejected the proposal, and the IUCC was also opposed to it -- neither committee wanted to turn over its statutory program review responsibility to a committee on which it does not have a majority vote. Gentry pointed out that the IRC never asked for such a proposal; instead, it was treated as a “straw man” to which the IRC reacted positively; however, its role in curriculum reviews and the interactions with the IUCC and GCC needed clarification.
Marr asked about the process by which last year’s curriculum reviews were performed by the IUCC and GCC. Hughes responded by stating that while the Statutes specify that curricula should be reviewed, they do not specify the purpose or scope of such reviews. He indicated that last year’s response by the IUCC was based on the premise that a curriculum review should simply make sure that it conforms to applicable University System and Institute guidelines. He indicated that, as the IUCC liaison to the IRC last year, he reviewed all the reports and made the determination that there were no “out-of-compliance items” requiring IUCC action, with one exception which was already under way. He indicated that such an approach to curricular reviews implies that the IUCC does not have a strategic role; however, one can interpret the Statutes differently, and use program reviews as the vehicle to recommend far-reaching changes. Therefore, this remains as one of the issues going forward, namely, what do we expect from such reviews? Green stated that last year the Graduate Committee, with Nolan Hertel as Chair, critically examined the materials generated by the units. The materials were parceled out to small subcommittees; the entire committee later met to discuss all the reports generated by the subcommittees. He stated that the process worked well, and that the committee can handle such reviews as long as they are done on a rolling basis (20% at a time) rather than doing all programs at once. Marr followed up by asking about the criteria used to review the graduate programs. Green responded by stating that the committee was looking to see that the schools had reasonable programs in place and had the resources to carry them out. He added that the committee relied on the information provided by the schools to conduct these reviews; hence, it also looked at their comments to see what problems they felt needed to be addressed.
Gentry indicated that the IRC felt that the reviews provided by the GCC last year were appropriate; the information was added to the package that was sent forward, which consisted of the IUCC and GCC reviews, the external visitors’ report, and the self-study guide. Clearly, that is too much “raw” information to send up the hill -- what the IRC would like to do in the future, if the Board and the faculty agrees, is to provide a “distilled review” of the package. Marr asked if that means that the IRC would summarize the summaries provided by the IUCC and GCC. Gentry responded by indicating that program reviews are much broader than just curriculum reviews; the summary would encompass all aspects of the review. Mistree commented that one needs to look at this additional task from a “faculty governance” perspective; if it is approved, the committee (IRC) would look at all aspects of the review, and would come up with prioritized themes by filtering the important things they see within the massive set of documents -- this would be useful to CIAPRA (Lohmann’s Council), the Provost, and the President. It would be a great opportunity for faculty governance -- an opportunity to help administrators make decisions based on faculty input. The people on the committee must have the expertise, and willingness to spend the time and effort to do the job. Marr inquired as to what the role of the Office of Assessment, vis-à-vis the committee, would be under such circumstances. Mistree responded, and Gentry concurred, that the main role of the Office of Assessment would be “process coordination.” Gentry stated that, so far, the committee has run very well with Joseph Hoey as chair; he has essentially served as the “executive director” of the committee -- it is his job to track all this material and get it to the committee; a committee of this type could not function without Joseph Hoey administering the process.
Gentry stated that at one point, the IRC thought that the deliberative aspects of the process were to be performed by CIAPRA. However, now we understand that CIAPRA has a much broader view. He stated that, according to Jack Lohmann, CIAPRA is not going to be “the digester” of the detailed documentation assembled by IRC; they do not have the time for it, and that a committee such as IRC should be doing the integration/summary. Hence, the IRC believes that its future role is to support the policy-making functions of CIAPRA and the administration.
Gentry presented a summary of the proposed IRC role/functions going forward: (1) continue to provide the infrastructure for program reviews -- the templates, instruction, flow charts and schedules, which largely come out of the Office of Assessment; the IRC simply provides a “reality check” on the nature/level of detail of the materials to be provided/requested. Mistree added that the committee would also give legitimacy for the requests to be made by the Office of Assessment, since they would be endorsed by a faculty group. (2) Provide liaison between the program review process and the individual units, (3) “Policing” (may not be the appropriate term) of the process, i.e. reminding people to get things done on time in order to complete a unit review within the required time frame, (4) Coordinate curriculum reviews -- the committee itself would not do the reviews; instead, it enables the IUCC and GCC to conduct the reviews by passing the documents to them at the appropriate time, and (5) Provide “Synthesis,” i.e. digest the program review documents and provide summary reports reflecting the key findings and recommendations from the various elements of program review, namely, the self-study report, the external visitors’ report, the Dean’s letter, and the curriculum review.
Hughes commented that after the first proposal described earlier was shot down, another meeting was held about a week and a half ago between the same four people (IUCC chair, GCC chair, Executive Board Chair, and Secretary of the Faculty) plus Joseph Hoey and Jack Lohmann; the aim was to come up with an alternate proposal -- this is reflected in the summary presented by Dr. Gentry. He stated that it is important to note that more than one synthesis will be required; first, the Board of Regents requires roughly a three-page summary to be entered on a web page in a specified format -- so, someone has to extract the required three pages of information from the stack of documents and fit them into the template. Second, the Provost and the President want something entirely different because they are interested in strategic information, and finally, the Faculty Senate may want something different. So, the proposed synthesis role is very large and important -- that was the piece left out of the original proposal because no one had thought of who was going to process all the information. The key questions are: who is going to sit on this committee that will provide such a synthesis? and should that be primarily be a faculty process, or an administrative process? The other piece, namely, the relationship between the “synthesis” committee and the curriculum committees is workable. The real question is the synthesis role. Hughes stated that the IUCC does not want to take on that role/responsibility.
Gentry proceeded to describe the proposed membership of the committee as it goes forward: a minimum of eight members (the Director of Assessment, plus one faculty member from each college and one additional member from engineering), plus liaison members from IUCC, GCC, and CIAPRA. He added that during years when many reviews are to be conducted, the committee should be able to have additional members -- the envisioned process calls for two members of the committee to champion each review. He suggested that membership is to be for a three-year term with one third rotating off each year. Gentry indicated that he had prepared a flow chart for the assessment process which is too detailed for Executive Board discussion (a copy is included at the end of Attachment #3). He concluded by listing a set of necessary decisions for the Board to make, including: (1) whether the committee is to be elected or appointed, (2) the position of the proposed committee within the faculty governance structure, and (3) the relationship between the proposed committee and the IUCC and GCC.
The Chair thanked Dr. Gentry and the entire IRC Committee for their considerable efforts and thoughtful recommendations. The Chair indicated that the Board needs to examine the proposals brought forth by the IRC and requested that a final presentation be made in the summer to decide on the path forward and identify the necessary changes in the Statutes to create the proposed committee which will oversee the entire process and prepare the necessary synthesis of the review documents. Gentry asked whether the Board needs to extend the IRC’s term for another year; the Chair indicated that this can be done at the May Board meeting.
The President commented that it is very helpful to have a faculty advisory committee work with Joseph Hoey, inasmuch as it would help make him aware of the issues before he delves into the details, and provide him with a different viewpoint from the faculty perspective. He added that including members from the different colleges on the committee is also important since colleges have different approaches/cultures; some do extensive assessments by virtue of their accreditation requirements, while others do not. So far, the committee has served an important advisory role, which helped Joseph Hoey be more effective in working with the faculty and the deans. A comment was made that it appears that Dr. Hoey would welcome that support. The President commented that “closing the loop” after gathering the information is very important -- Joseph Hoey cannot close the loop; all of us have to do it. Allen indicated that SACS accreditation covers a broad range of things, only some of which deals with curricular issues. For example, one of the criteria states that our post-baccalaureate programs should be more advanced than the baccalaureate programs; it is obvious that they are; the issue, however, is: what is the evidence of that? The review process/structure is useful, since part of the way by which one addresses such a requirement is to point to a process in place which shows that there is a group of people who look at this regularly, rather than by providing syllabi or course descriptions. He stated that, while conducting the reviews may be painful upfront, there will be dividends down the road. A comment was made that as we think about the permanence of the committee, the Board should extend the IRC term for another year to give them time to work out the process; the Chair indicated that this is a good idea and that we will take it up at the May meeting.
5. The Chair called on Dr. Jack Marr (Psych) to present an update on follow-up actions related to the issue of academic quality for undergraduate education. Marr indicated that he has had several informal discussions and contacts since the Board discussed the issue in January. He pointed to last month’s presentation by Dr. Begovic (ECE) on the issue of grade inflation, as an additional impetus for examining the issue of academic quality. He indicated that upon Dr. Begovic’s request, he has prepared an essay which will be included in the final report on grade inflation. The essay included an edited version of what he (Marr) presented to the Board on the issue of academic quality, as well as other sections related to the grade inflation issue. It also included a proposal to set-up an ad hoc committee to review academic quality; proposed membership included the Chairs of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (Hughes), the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee (Begovic), and the Academic Services Committee (Fountain), along with the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies (McMath). Marr indicated that both McMath and Fountain were supportive of the idea, and that McMath pointed to the need to connect such an effort with the ongoing efforts on accreditation, especially SACS, where a major focus will be placed on the same topic. He indicated that McMath is in the process of evaluating some information gathered from undergraduates, which will be relevant to this issue, and that Fountain has made excellent suggestions regarding other possible committee members, including Donna Llewellyn (CETL) and an undergraduate student. He stated that following discussions with Joe Hughes and other potential committee members, he intends to call a meeting of such “proto-committee” before the end of the term, and that he will report back to the Board following the meeting. There were no questions for Dr. Marr.
The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty (SOF)
to present the results of the recently- concluded Faculty elections (see Attachment #4 below). Abdel-Khalik indicated that this is the third
year in which the elections were held electronically. They were held between March 12 and March 26;
the process worked very well, primarily due to the efforts of Andy Fox and Lori
Sundal of OIT who oversaw all the mechanics of the balloting process. There was a record level of participation
this year -- a 45% increase over last year with 592 votes cast versus 407 last
year and 411 the year before. The
increased participation is primarily due to the reminder notice which was sent mid-way
through the election period. He pointed
to a bar graph showing the number of votes cast on each day of the election
period (see attachment #5), which shows that
most people voted on the day they received the first E-Mail announcement;
another large pulse of votes was cast on the day the reminder was sent, which
accounted for most of the increase in participation. He thanked Dr. Jayaraman (MGT) who suggested
the idea, and OIT personnel (Fox and Sundal) who made it possible. He indicated that next year he intends to
send a second reminder two days before the end of the election period. He pointed to the results of the elections (Attachment #4) and indicated that it is necessary to
make one change: Dr. Arnold Schneider (MGT) was elected to the Executive Board
to represent the
The SOF pointed out that consistent with the decision made by the Executive Board two years ago and his interpretation of the Statutes, only full- time faculty were allowed to vote in the elections. He reported that one part-time faculty member pointed out a section in the Statutes, which could be interpreted to mean that those with more than a 75% appointment should be allowed to vote; the matter was referred to the Statutes Committee. Marc Smith, Chair of the Statutes Committee, has researched this matter and has informed the SOF that our interpretation of the Statutes is correct -- only full-time faculty should be allowed to vote. The SOF also reported that there were a few minor problems caused by errors in the OHR database used to generate the individualized ballot for each faculty member, primarily because of misclassification of some faculty members as “general” rather than “academic” faculty; this caused a few people to receive the wrong ballot -- the OHR database was corrected before the end of the election period (thanks to the efforts of Tabitha Barnette) and the corrected ballots were sent to the people affected. The SOF indicated that he is currently working with OIT to identify the “lessons learned” from this year’s elections, in order to improve the process and avoid similar problems in the future. A motion was made that the results of the elections, including the appointment of Dr. Byars to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, be accepted and that the results be published on the web and the candidates notified of the outcome. The motion passed without dissent.
7. The Chair called for any other business. The President introduced Nate Watson, the newly elected undergraduate Student Body President; he congratulated Mr. Watson on his election and on his selection as a Truman Scholar. Hearing no additional business; the Chair closed the meeting at .
Secretary of the Faculty
Attachments (to be included with the archival copy of the minutes)