GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
Meeting of April 13, 2004
Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center
Members Present: Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Evans (GTRI); Gentry (ARCH); Henry (OSP); Horton (GTRI); Huff (GTRI); Kahn (CEE); Mark (CoC); Marr (PSYCH); McGinnis (ISyE); Peterson (ECE); Telotte (LCC); Norville (G. Student); Watson (U. Student); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).
Members Absent: Clough (President); Schneider (MGT); Uzer (PHYS); Warren (EDI).
Visitors: Bennett (GTRI); May (Pres. Office); Garton (GTRC); Phuong (U. Student)
1. Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:10 PM and called on the Provost (in behalf of the President) to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. The Provost offered the following comments:
a. The FY05 budget was approved by the Legislature; the Governor has not signed it. Given the circumstances, we are positive about the outcome. The 5% cut in the University System budget is offset by the funds added for enrollment growth (the formula), and MRR (Maintenance, Renovation, and Repair Fund -- funds provided are slightly less than the Governor’s recommendation).
b. The budget includes an additional $1M for GTREP (GT Regional Engineering Program) in order to accommodate its rapid enrollment growth, as well as a small amount for GTRI, and $2M for planning the Nanotechnology Research Center (the remaining $43M of the State’s commitment will be provided next year).
c. The changes in the HOPE scholarship program will have no impact on Georgia Tech.
d. The 2% salary increase has been approved; however, the effective starting date will be January 1st, 05. Discussions with the Board of Regents and the Chancellor’s office have been started on how the raises will be handled in order to get additional flexibility.
e. Because of the strong performance in research funding and potential increase in tuition, units will not be asked to absorb additional budget cuts beyond the 2.25% they have absorbed this year. So far, research awards this year are ~$270M; they are expected to exceed $300M by the end of the fiscal year (versus $290M last year), with increases in all units across the board.
f. Concerns regarding the reductions in the number of summer courses offered in ME, CEE, and IAC have been addressed in order to meet student needs, particularly co-op students.
g. The latest USNWR rankings show continued outstanding performance by the College of Engineering (fifth overall -- same as last year); notably ISyE remains at the top and BME has advanced from sixth to second. The College of Management re-entered the top fifty (currently ranked 42).
h. Despite the budget difficulties, we are still hiring new faculty (mostly replacement positions with few new positions); however, the number of new faculty will be less than the last two years.
A comment was made that the “additional” funds provided for GTRI in this year’s State budget do not represent an increase in budget; instead, they will restore a part of GTRI’s budget cut (from a ~12.5% cut to a ~10% cut). The Provost indicated that Georgia Tech and other System universities are working to develop a different financial model for the so-called “B-Units” such as GTRI. A question was asked as to whether the 2% raises will be distributed across the board or on a merit basis. The Provost indicated that discussions are taking place with the Board of Regents and the Chancellor’s office to allow more flexibility in the awarding of raises, especially since some of our faculty are being recruited by other universities. A question was asked regarding the policy implications of the academic freedom concerns raised by two of our students as described in a recent AJC article. The Provost indicated that a grievance was filed by one of the students against a faculty member; the student claims that differences in opinions regarding political issues have affected his performance evaluation and grade. The Provost indicated that he does not believe there is a “policy issue,” and that the grievance is being handled through the normal grievance process currently in place. A question was asked regarding the fate of the “Academic Bill of Rights” (SR661). The Chair indicated that a significantly revised version (from the one presented at the March meeting) was passed by the Senate; it was not passed by the House and will have no impact. There were no other questions for the Provost.
2. The Chair called for approval of the minutes of the March 2nd, 2004 Executive Board meeting. The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).
3. The Chair called on Dr. Gisele Bennett (GTRI) to report on the recommendations of the Conflict of Interest (COI) Policy Committee [See attachment #2 below for copies of the slides used in the presentation (#2a); the proposed revised COI policy (#2b); a section-by-section comparison between the proposed policy and the current policy (#2c); and a line-by-line comparison between the proposed policy and the current policy (#2d)]. The COI committee was co-chaired by Bennett and Jilda Garton (GTRC), and included members from various campus units who have had direct involvement in various aspects of the policy. The committee was formed two years ago on the recommendation of both the Intellectual Property (IP) policy review committee and the distance learning committee. The Committee’s charter, as defined by the Executive Board, was to review the institute’s COI policy in light of the changes in IP and distance learning policies, and offer recommendations for revisions. She enumerated the topics reviewed in the COI policy, including: entrepreneurial activities, applicability of the policy to students, use of GT facilities, limitations on ownership of corporations, removal of reference to SBIR from the policy, and clarification of limits on consulting hours for both full and part-time employees. In drafting the revised policy, the committee adhered to the policies and guidelines required by the State, the Board of Regents, and Federal agencies, including NSF and NIH.
Bennett indicated that a 25-page document providing a line-by-line comparison between the current policy and the proposed new policy has been distributed (Attachment #2d below). Referring to the section-by-section comparison between the proposed new policy and the current policy (Attachment #2c below), she pointed to new Section 5.2.2, where COI definitions are presented (definitions were imbedded in various sub-sections of the old policy). Three categories of conflict are defined: “individual,” “institutional,” and “conflict of commitment.” Conflict of commitment is very important; it flows throughout the policy and clearly states that the employee’s primary commitment is to the institute. The policy establishes a new standing COI committee. New sections on “Categories of Conflicts” and “Entrepreneurship” have also been added. Prohibited activities are essentially the same as those in the current policy; they have been grouped into one section (18.104.22.168). Section 5.2.4 describes requirements for disclosure to the State, to the institution, to sponsors, and to students; an Institutional Review Board (Section 22.214.171.124) has been added. She stated that disclosure to students is very important since students may be working on something related to an outside activity by the faculty member. Section 126.96.36.199 deals with financial disclosures and means to resolve COI issues. Policies related to consulting activities have been grouped into one section (5.2.5); it includes many sections from the previous policy, as well as new sections; these include sections on “Conflict of Commitment,” “Distance Learning and Continuing Education.” Reference to A-21 requirements has been removed from the section dealing with payment for consulting (188.8.131.52). Additionally, suggested wording recommended for inclusion in consulting agreements entered into by employees has been added (section 184.108.40.206) to acknowledge that the employee’s primary commitment is to the institute, and that no conflicts of interest or commitment should exist. Limits on the number of permissible consulting days for full and part-time employees are specified; differences between time-keeping employees (e.g. GTRI and staff) and non-time-keeping employees (resident instruction) are taken into account. For time-keeping employees, consulting is to be done during off-hours, and/or vacation time. Section 5.2.6 describes penalties for violating the COI policy, which remain the same as those specified in the old policy. A new section dealing with “Institutional Conflicts” has been added (5.2.7); such conflicts may arise when the institute has a financial stake in the outcome of research programs or licensed technologies.
A question was raised regarding the formula included in the policy for the maximum number of consulting days. It was pointed out that the language used in that section is less clear than that in the old formula, especially for the case of part-time employees. Bennett indicated that the number of days given in the example for part-time employees (29 days for someone with a 75% appointment) refers to the maximum number of consulting days during the academic year that an employee with a 75% appointment can engage in during their time at Georgia Tech; they are free to do as they please during the 25% time in which they are not employed by the institute. A comment was made that that it may be helpful to include a statement that these limits pertain to the fraction of time a person is employed by the institute, and that they are free to do as they please with the balance of their time. Bennett indicated that a clarification to that effect will be added. It was pointed out that the time limits given in the example pertain to an academic year, rather than a semester; Bennett concurred and indicated that the error will be corrected. A question was asked as to whether the new policy contains fundamental “policy changes,” as opposed to “re-writing” of the old policy. Bennett indicated that while no dramatic changes are proposed, new sections have been added, and clarifications have been made to eliminate ambiguity. A comment was made that when this presentation is to be made to the General faculty, it would be important to highlight any fundamental policy changes, since a 25-page document may hide many of the complexities involved. A question was raised regarding the 25% limit on corporate ownership. Bennett indicated that this is the same as the current policy and is consistent with State law, where employees could not own more than 25% of a corporation doing business with the State. A question was asked as to whether hiring of graduate students or paying students’ stipends constitute “doing business” with Georgia Tech (i.e. the State). Garton responded that hiring a student as an individual (i.e. not through a contract with the Institute) does not constitute “doing business” with the State. She indicated that paying students’ research stipends would have to be reviewed with management. A question was asked as to whether there are faculty start-up companies that pay students’ stipends. Garton indicated that there are none, and that there are management plans in place for start-up companies. The Provost indicated that if a faculty member has an ownership position with the company, he/she would not be able to supervise students while paying them through the company; if there is a contract between the company and Georgia Tech, there has to be a different PI. The Provost indicated that while the 25% rule may be an issue in the early stages of a start-up company, it is in the faculty member’s best interest to involve other people in the management of the company at it grows.
A motion was made to present the proposed policy as corrected to the General Faculty at the first meeting in the Fall (September 14, 2004). The motion passed without dissent. The Chair thanked Dr. Bennett, Ms. Garton, and the COI Committee for their effort in developing the new policy.
4. The Chair called on Ms. Barbara Henry (OSP) to discuss regulations on the use of vertebrates in teaching and research. A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (Attachment #3 below). Ms. Henry stated that Federal law and institutional policies require that all use of vertebrates in teaching and research be reviewed and pre-approved by the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee. She stated that the purpose of this presentation is to assure that this information is widely disseminated to the faculty, and to that end, she would like to place this item on the agenda for the first General Faculty meeting in the fall (September 14, 2004). She indicated that her office will publicize these requirements to the campus community through e-mail and other announcements. The two regulatory agencies that govern the use of vertebrates are the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (OLAW); Georgia Tech carefully follows the requirements of these agencies -- institutional policies have been implemented to guide what members of the campus community can do with animals.
Henry stated that the Animal Welfare Act regulates the use of any live or dead warm-blooded animals in research, experimentation, teaching or testing, except for rats, mice, and birds used in research, while the PHS regulates the use (or intent to use) of any live vertebrates in research, research training, experimentation, biological testing, or related purposes. She indicated that vertebrates include, without limitation, all fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) meets generally once per month, and is charged with reviewing and approving all animal use at Georgia Tech regardless of its purpose. IACUC has the authority to require modifications in or withhold approval of protocols, or require modifications in ongoing activities. It also has the authority to suspend any animal work at any time if it is found to be in violation of any guidelines (Federal or institutional) – Georgia Tech’s requirements are more stringent than Federal requirements. IACUC also reviews and investigates allegations of non-compliance, and makes recommendations to Institute Officials regarding any aspect of the institution’s animal program, facilities, or personnel training; the GT designated Institutional Official is Jilda Garton, to whom this authority has been delegated by the President. IACUC also conducts continuing reviews of protocol activities at least annually; a protocol is reviewed before the activity begins and then once per year. No protocol is approved for more than three years; if the activity continues beyond the third year, a new protocol must be submitted for approval. IACUC also physically inspects all campus facilities where animals are housed and/or used at least semiannually; facilities not previously used are inspected prior to any proposed animal use.
Henry stated that membership of the Georgia Tech IACUC is consistent with Federal regulations; it includes members from within and outside the institute. Currently, IACUC includes a member from the Humane Society, and the staff includes a veterinarian. IACUC members are conscientious and dedicated to the humane and wise use of animals; they make sure that no replication takes place and that the use of animals is fully justified and done in a humane manner. We are grateful to them for their dedicated service to the institute. Henry concluded by providing contact information for the Office of Research Compliance(firstname.lastname@example.org) and a web address for additional information, including IACUC policies and procedures, application forms required for review, mandatory training requirements, and reporting concerns regarding animal care and use (www.osp.gatech.edu/compliance/animals/animals.htm).
A question was asked regarding the number of active animal protocols at Georgia Tech and whether some of them are used for instruction. Henry replied that we currently have 60 active animal protocols (mostly rats and mice), and that some of them are used to teach graduate and undergraduate students how to do certain procedures (e.g. injections) safely and humanely, and how to restrain the animals without harming themselves or the animals. A question was asked regarding “replication” as applied to teaching. Henry indicated that in the case of teaching replication is applied on a “per student” basis by defining the minimum number required to gain the desired experience. A question was asked as to whether the IACUC inspections are announced. Henry replied affirmatively; inspections are scheduled with the PI’s knowledge, however, the IACUC has the authority to make unannounced inspections if there is a reason to believe that such action is warranted. A question was asked as to how rapidly animal use has expanded at Georgia Tech. Henry indicated that in 1998, we had six active animal protocols, versus 60 (nearly $15M) at this time. The Provost indicated that the number of protocols will likely continue to rapidly increase because of our increasing activities in the bio-sciences and bio-engineering areas, and that it is important that these reviews are done correctly. A question was asked as to whether the use of animal parts requires IACUC approval. Henry indicated that the use of commercially available animal parts (e.g. purchased from a grocery store) does not require IACUC approval. However, Federal regulations govern the use of live or dead animals; so, if an animal was euthanized and follow-up work was proposed, then IACUC review would be required. A question was asked as to whether demonstrating the shaping of animal behavior in a psychology class would require the instructor to submit a protocol for IACUC approval. Henry responded affirmatively, and indicated that this is necessary in order to know how the animal(s) will be housed, fed, etc. She indicated that any interactions with animals, whether here on campus or at other institutions, must be reviewed by the IACUC. In cases where the research is done at other universities, the IACUC will accept a copy of the form submitted to the other institution (rather than requiring the PI to fill out the GT form); additional information is requested only if such information is not available on the application submitted to the other institution.
A motion was made to place this item on the agenda for the first General Faculty meeting in the fall (September 14, 2004) in order to increase faculty awareness of these issues. The motion passed without dissent.
5. The Chair called on Dr. Russell Gentry (ARCH) to present the names of proposed new members to the ad hoc Institute Review Committee (IRC) for Assessment of Academic Programs. Gentry pointed to the committee’s membership list (Attachment #4 below), and indicated that the committee needed to add four new members from the colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, and Management. Nominations were solicited from the Deans of the four colleges; the following four faculty members were nominated: Larry Keating (Architecture), Carlton Pu (Computing), Chuck Parsons (Management), and Larry Jacobs (Engineering). A motion was made to approve the four new nominees for IRC membership. The motion passed without dissent.
6. The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty (SOF) to present the results of the 2004 Faculty Governance Elections. Abdel-Khalik stated that the elections were held electronically during the two-week period between March 17 and March 31. There was a record level of participation this year with 732 votes – approximately 24% higher than last year (592 votes) and 80% higher than two years ago (407 votes). There were a few minor errors in the OHR database used to generate the individualized ballots for each faculty member, where a few faculty members were misclassified as “general” versus “academic” faculty which would have caused them to receive the wrong ballot; these errors were corrected ahead of time. Two reminder notices were sent; the first was sent mid-way through the election period, while the second was sent two days before the end. He pointed to the bar graph showing the daily number of votes cast during the election period (see attachment #5a below), which showed that most people voted on the day they received the first E-Mail announcement; two large pulses of votes were cast on the days the reminders were sent. He indicated that despite the record level of participation, there is ample opportunity for improvement, since the number of votes cast this year (732) represents only 36.3% of the total number of eligible voters (2,016 Academic and General Faculty members). It is hoped that the level of participation will continue to increase in the future. The results of the elections were distributed (see attachment #5b below). A motion was made to approve the election results as presented by the Secretary of the Faculty, publish them on the web, and notify the candidates of the outcome. The motion passed without dissent.
A question was raised as to whether it would be worthwhile to conduct a survey to identify some of the reasons people either do or do not vote. A comment was made that it is difficult to survey “non-responders.” The SOF agreed to explore this issue. A comment was made that the SOF is to be complimented for the meticulous attention to detail in the election process.
7. The Chair called for any other business. Dr. Marr expressed his concern regarding the “grade substitution policy” being discussed by the Student Regulations Committee. He indicated that it is an important issue directly related to the quality of undergraduate education at Georgia Tech. He stated that in light of the Board’s appointment of an ad hoc committee on quality undergraduate education, it may be appropriate to request that a representative of the Student Regulations Committee discuss the proposed grade substitution policy and the rationale behind it with the Board before it is finalized and presented to the Academic Senate. He indicated that such policies are often justified as a means to improve retention; however, since our retention level is nearly 90%, it is not clear what the rationale might be in this case. He indicated that he is interested in knowing the type of data being collected by the committee to justify such a policy, as well as its potential long-term impact. A motion was made to invite a representative from the Student regulations Committee to discuss this issue with the Board.
Extensive discussion followed; concern was expressed that such a request may set a precedent and may be construed as “meddling” in the work of a standing faculty committee, which may discourage faculty from serving on such committees. A comment was made that this case may not constitute a “precedent,” since the Board would not be making any decisions, but simply getting information on an issue of interest because of its potentially significant long-term consequences. A comment was made that many issues are presented to the Board before they are put on the agenda for the Academic Senate. A statement was made that the normal process is for such proposals to be studied by the appropriate standing committee(s); once a proposal is formulated and approved by the committee(s), it is brought to the Academic Senate for discussion and approval – members of the Academic Senate, including members of the Executive Board, can express their views and concerns at that time. A comment was made that the issue may not be thoroughly discussed in the Academic Senate. A comment was made that such a request is outside the normal process, and that it is important to know how such a request would be made. The Chair indicated that he would simply ask the Chair of the Student Regulations Committee to brief the Board on such an issue. A comment was made that if the motion is withdrawn, the committee (upon knowledge of this discussion) may “volunteer” to make a presentation to the Board without stepping our boundaries or “meddling” in their business. A comment was made that members of the Student Regulations Committee are careful and conscientious; they carefully examine the issues before making decisions. The motion was tabled. It was recommended that the Chair inform Dr. Benkeser, Chair of the Student Regulations Committee, of this discussion.
8. The Chair called for any other business. Mr. Watson (U. Student) informed the Board of the results of the undergraduate student elections. He stated that there was a 37% turnout, and introduced Ms. Amy Phuong the newly-elected President of the Undergraduate Student Body. Members expressed their appreciation to Mr. Watson for his contributions during the past year and welcomed Ms. Phuong to the Board. Watson announced that “Midnight Breakfast” will be held on Tuesday April 27 from 10 PM to midnight in the Student Center greenhouse area; he invited faculty and staff to participate and support the nearly 1200 students expected to take part in the event.
9. The Chair called for any other business. Mr. Norville (G. Student) indicated that there is a policy issue, which he would like to bring to the Board’s attention. The issue is of particular concern to international students on F-1 Visa, who were notified by Georgia Tech’s Office of International Education that starting next year, a mandatory health insurance plan will be selected for them and that they will be required to purchase that particular plan. He stated that Federal law requires foreign students in the United States to have health insurance and that Georgia Tech’s policy also reflects that requirement. However, in the past, Georgia Tech was unable to fully-enforce the requirement; the proposed mandatory health insurance plan is viewed by the Office of International Education as a way of enforcing that requirement. The cost of the plan would be billed to students with F-1 Visa, along with their tuition. Students are concerned that such a policy deprives them of their inherent right to choose an alternate health insurance plan. Additionally, some students may be covered under a spouse’s health insurance plan and may be forced not to take advantage of that option. Mr. Norville indicated that he has relayed these concerns to Dr. Howard Rollins, Director of the Office of International Education, and that discussions are ongoing to see if suitable alternatives can be formulated. He indicated that while there is no specific action to bring to this Board, he would appreciate the Board’s “advocacy” and support for the students on this issue. A comment was made that enforcement of this requirement has been difficult; some students either use forged documents or let their insurance lapse after paying for only one month’s premium to receive the proof of insurance. A follow up comment was made that it is important to enforce this requirement since some students erroneously assume that if they need medical care, they will be taken care of without having to pay. A comment was made that it is often difficult (even for people who have been here for a long time) to understand the various insurance options, and that now Georgia Tech will be in the position of deciding on the option(s). Norville indicated that this is indeed a matter of concern, and that he will be meeting with Dr. Rollins later this week to discuss this issue. The Provost indicated that it is important to understand that this is a Federal law and that we are expected to enforce it. He reiterated the fact that Dr. Rollins will be reviewing this issue and will likely come up with an alternate proposal to address the students’ concerns.
Norville stated that Kasi David has been elected President of the Graduate student body and will be representing the graduate students on the Executive Board starting next month. He thanked the Board for the opportunity to serve during the past year; members expressed their appreciation for his contributions.
10. The Chair called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:50 PM.
Secretary of the Faculty
April 19, 2004
(Revised June 15, 2004)
Attachments (to be included with the archival copy of the minutes)
1. Minutes of the EB meeting of March 2nd, 2004. http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2004-030204-Minuteswbpg.htm
2. Proposed Conflict of Interest Policy
5. 2004 Faculty Elections