GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
Retreat held on April 12, 2005 at
The Global Learning Center
Members Present: Akins (Prof Prac); Alexander (Staff Rep); Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Clough (President); David (G. Student); Evans (GTRI); First (Phys); Foley (CoC); Gentry (Arch); Horton (GTRI); Huff (GTRI); Hughes (ECE); McGinnis (ISyE); Peterson (ECE); Phuong (U. Student); Yen (BIOL); Warren (EDI); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).
Members Absent: Schneider (Mgt); Telotte (LCC); Uzer (Phys);
Invited Participants: Frost (GT-Savannah); Puttgen (ECE/GTL); Sayle (ECE); Wepfer (V. Provost); Zhou (ECE)
Moderators: Irvin (Org Dev); Auerbach (ECE)
1. Leon McGinnis (Chair) opened the meeting at 1:05 PM. He welcomed participants and offered a brief overview of the motivation for holding the retreat (see Attachment #1). The purpose of the retreat is to identify the major issues, if any, which need to be addressed by the Executive Board in order to assure continued success of our faculty and students as Georgia Tech evolves into an international, multi-campus, institution. The retreat format was briefly summarized (see Attachment #2).
2. The Chair called on Dr. Hans Puttgen (ECE/GTL) to provide an overview of Georgia Tech-Lorraine (GTL). A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #3 below). Puttgen indicated that an overview of Academic and Research issues at GTL was presented by Drs. Sayle (ECE) and Berthelot (ME) at the previous Executive Board meeting (see http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2005-031505-Minuteswp.htm), and that his presentation will focus on faculty governance issues. He stated that GTL’s success did not happen overnight; GTL began in 1990 with 5 graduate students, three faculty members, and three staff members. Now, it has a very successful undergraduate summer program (Su’05: 162 students, avg. GPA of 3.3, one-third female), an active graduate program with 110-120 students, a strong research program (joint CNRS lab), and will soon have a year-round junior-year program under the auspices of the International Plan (financing for 180-bed student residence hall has been secured with construction to begin next year; no GT money is involved). The message is that when we get involved in such international programs, it is important to recognize that success will not be instantaneous; instead, it requires a long-term commitment. It is also important that we establish from the beginning what constitutes “success” and the benchmarks by which success will be measured. When GTL started, the local officials’ goals were: economic development and better recognition of that part of France from a scientific and educational viewpoint. Georgia Tech’s goals were to expand the educational and research opportunities for our students. We have always kept those goals in mind; it has taken nearly 15 years to reach them.
Puttgen stated that during the past 15 years, over 70 Georgia Tech faculty members have been assigned to GTL for periods ranging from a summer term to several years (10 faculty members will go to GTL this summer and will be entirely paid by the summer program). An additional 50 Georgia Tech faculty have taught courses for GTL students by distance learning. Faculty members at GTL have research activities in Europe through participation in European programs and joint projects with local industry and research laboratories. They have been successful in recruiting new PhD students. Some students who started out at partner institutions are now PhD students in Atlanta; some of them have become faculty members at leading US institutions – a measure of GTL’s impact. The key to success is to be able to attract good faculty who would come back on a regular basis. Faculty members are assigned from the various units to GTL. The assignment is based on the interest expressed by the faculty member, with the concurrence of the Chair/Dean of the Academic unit and the President/Director of GTL. While at GTL, a faculty member remains fully integrated within his/her home academic unit in Atlanta, and the tenure/promotion clock is unaffected. There is no effect on the payroll status (no salary differential), and all benefits continue to be provided (participants are encouraged to switch to the BOR health insurance plan because of its portability).
Puttgen stated that an assignment at GTL is not a “sabbatical;” it must allow the faculty member to pursue his/her professional career without interruption, and must provide a positive experience for the entire family. The basic philosophy is that any additional costs incurred by the faculty member during his/her assignment at GTL must be compensated for. Furnished housing, a fully-insured automobile, and a travel budget are provided (utilities and fuel costs are paid by the faculty; travel budget can be used for family travel at the beginning and end of the assignment). Support amenities provided by GTL include a private office with full computing and internet access, visa procurement, administrative support, school identification and integration for children, travel arrangements, and local contacts with the community, partner institutions, and agencies. Puttgen stated that reappointment, tenure, and promotion of faculty members assigned to GTL remains entirely within the purview of the home academic unit in Atlanta. Standard RTP procedures and evaluation criteria are adhered to; faculty members are evaluated on teaching (both undergraduate and graduate courses), research (projects initiated from Atlanta and/or Europe), and student support. Recently, tenure-track faculty members have been hired by ME and ECE with primary assignment to GTL; standard RTP procedures and evaluation criteria will apply to them as well.
The Chair thanked Dr. Puttgen for his presentation.
3. The Chair called on Dr. David Frost (GT-Savannah) to provide an overview of the Georgia Tech Regional Engineering Program (GTREP). A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #4 below). Frost showed a map of the State of Georgia; he stated that GTS’ coastal location offers opportunities for unique research, as well as relationships with local industrial organizations such as Gulfstream. The mission of GTS is to provide world-class engineering education and stimulate economic development through the innovative application of educational technologies, innovative research, and strategic partnerships. GTREP began in the Fall of 1999 with two undergraduate degree programs (CE and CompE). At the beginning of this academic year (Fall 2004), the program included four undergraduate degree programs (CE, CompE, EE, and ME) and corresponding graduate programs in CEE, ECE, and ME. Total enrollment increased from about 25 in FY01 to over 180 in FY05 (147 undergrad and 35 grad students). The number of degrees granted per year has increased from <10 in FY01 to ~110 in FY05 (expected). Frost stated that while undergraduate enrollment has rapidly increased over the past five years, we have nearly reached the capacity of our partner institutions which provide students to GTREP (Savannah State, Georgia Southern, and Armstrong Atlantic). [sentence deleted]
The educational infrastructure at GTS was briefly described. There are seven distributed education classrooms and 11 “tele-collaboration studios” (have not been fully utilized; distance learning is primarily a “person-to-person” connection rather than “classroom-to-classroom” connection). The ECE instructional labs have been completed (through significant one-time funding provided nearly 4 years ago); work continues on the instructional labs for CE (50% complete) and ME (25% complete). The desire for parity and compatibility with labs at GT-Atlanta make these instructional labs expensive. Research activities at GTS were briefly described. Typical projects include: (1) near-shore impacts of off-shore dredging (funded by the National Imaging and Mapping Agency and jointly performed by CEE and CompE faculty members); (2) efficient transmission of textured 3D models; and (3) mammogram-enabled data mining. The close proximity of faculty from the various programs enhances cross-discipline interactions. The GTS campus is the hub of a growing technology community. The 170-acre site includes ~50 acres for GTS; the remainder will house private industry and a Technology Park. Facilities at GTS have grown very rapidly (~110,000 GSF in 2003 expected to increase to ~225,000 GSF in the next 3-4 years). The original GTREP concept included GTREP undergraduate programs, graduate programs, and faculty research. Now, more activities are taking place, including K-12 outreach programs, a GT EDI regional office, an ATDC Savannah incubator, a Maritime Logistics Innovation Center (with the Georgia Ports Authority), landing parties for new technology companies located on campus, the Savannah field office of the US Geological Survey, and industry outreach activities; GTRI is in the process of evaluating the possibility of establishing a GTS operation.
Significant growth has taken place during the past year, including 46% growth in undergraduate enrollment (further growth may be constrained by the capacity of partner institutions), 60% growth in graduate enrollment, and 31% increase in the number of undergraduate courses taught. Nearly 45% of GTS undergraduate students are graduating with honors, and 95% of them pass the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam. All the graduates have been able to get jobs, and 65% of them remain in the Southeast Georgia area. Notable GTS news and initiatives include: (1) 30 students graduated in December 2004 (the largest class; includes CEE, CompE, and EE; first ME’s will graduate in May 05); (2) research funding in FY04 was > $1.5M; (3) several workshops have been held at GTS including an NSF-sponsored workshop on “interval mathematics;” (4) the “InfinitEnergy” project is making great progress; a large workshop (also sponsored by NSF) will be held next month); (5) a direct fiber connection to GT-Atlanta with >1GB capacity will be established in mid-2005; (6) additional leadership will join GTS in the next 3 months (Farrokh Mistree will join as Associate Chair of ME, and Mike Saunders will join as Associate Chair for CEE; a third faculty member will soon join as Associate Chair for ECE); and (7) development activities have been very successful despite the small alumni base in the area. [2 paragraphs deleted]
A question was asked as to where GTS students place their “loyalty” – to GT or to the partner institutions. Frost indicated that, without a doubt, students see themselves as GT students. The Chair thanked Dr. Frost for his presentation.
4. The Chair called on Dr. Bill Wepfer (V. Provost, DLPE) to provide an overview of Distance- Learning and Professional Education (DLPE) at Georgia Tech. A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #5 below). DLPE has recently completed its strategic planning process (tied as much as possible to the GT strategic plan). DLPE is a service organization; its mission is “to provide high-quality support for life-long learning opportunities delivered with exceptional customer service to the global community in financially sustainable way.” The approach relies on the high-quality content provided by the GT faculty (hence, programs offered are on the high-end of the cost range). Therefore, fiscal responsibility has been placed at the top of the strategic planning objectives. An overview of the history of distance learning (DL) at Georgia Tech was provided; it began in 1977 with MS programs in AE, ECE, and ME delivered by GT faculty to the customers’ site (Georgia Power and the predecessor to Lockheed). The program evolved to an asynchronous video-tape capture and delivery mode because of its relatively high quality and “ease” for faculty; it currently costs $15,000 per course. A “one-time-use” policy was adopted in 1977 because of faculty concerns regarding intellectual property; the policy is still in effect, however, with permission from the faculty members and units involved, some courses have been re-used (e.g. during the period of budget cuts, a pre-recorded MSE course was made available to co-op students during the summer). Currently, there are ~500 MS students pursuing degrees in AE, BC, CE, ECE, EnvE, IE, ME, MP, and OR (ME & ECE are migrating to digital format). Approximately 90-100 courses are offered every semester (including ~70 graduate courses); the vast majority of the undergraduate courses are delivered to GT-Savannah. The State of Georgia had a TV satellite-based network (GSAMS), which is being discontinued.
It is clear that we need to move to digital/IP technology. However, technology should be viewed as an “enabler” rather than a “driver;” it is important that decisions be made based on what is in GT’s best interest with respect to our teaching and research missions. There are two approaches: (1) “synchronous” (requires bandwidth; have been working with OIT to provide a pipeline to GT-Savannah, which will be completed later this year); and (2) “asynchronous” (we are moving towards this option by necessity; it requires Video on Demand/Download). This term, we are delivering 10 graduate courses via VoD to international students at GTL, Italy and India (a GE program), and Germany, as well as graduate students at GT-savannah. The lecture material is captured and placed on a media server; students are able to download the material within 48 hours of the lecture. There is a time delay because of protocol issues with exams and homework. To date, this pilot has been reasonably successful. DLPE currently encodes as many courses as possible in real time; the goal is to capture everything in real time, but we are not there yet. Currently, all courses are also recorded on video tape to provide a backup. Additional courses are encoded off-line; currently, a total of 36 courses per semester are encoded. The goal is to have every graduate level DL course available for VoD by the end of the Spring’06 semester.
Operating challenges for DLPE include: (1) lack of a robust, reliable, and secure video server/distribution system; (2) insufficient digital capture and encoding systems (have four but need eight more); (3) need for additional fully-equipped classrooms (have 11 but will need more as Distance delivery grows; number does not include new classrooms in COM and rental space in GLC). Currently, DLPE is conducting a pilot study using the “Tegrity” IP-based capture technology (Nelson Baker is leading this effort). We hope to learn if this system is scalable since it may provide some cost savings. However, it may place a greater burden on the faculty (current philosophy is to not “bother” the faculty with production issues), and may involve tough choices regarding the quality of the video portion of the captured content. This summer, DLPE will deploy FAX-server technology in order to improve the exchange of homework and exams between faculty and students.
The roles of the various organizations and processes were discussed. Academic units provide the content, curriculum, and degrees; without them DLPE would not exist. DLPE works with units to develop DL-courses and programs; it manages the capture and delivery of the course content, acts as the DL students’ “arms and legs” on campus, and conducts assessments of DL-courses. OIT plays an integral role in DLPE operations; it manages the IT systems and architecture, pipeline and bandwidth, servers, and security. The Library manages the digital repositories, and provides a “seamless” service to all GT students regardless of location. CETL provides assistance in the area of instructional design and support, as well as course assessment. The Arbutus Center, under the direction of Dr. Tom Barnwell (ECE), conducts cutting-edge research in capture & delivery technologies. Finally, Auxiliary Services runs the cable network that delivers all the signals to student dorms.
“Technology issues” were discussed. Currently, OIT is working on a major storage initiative consistent with GT’s IT architecture. Archiving classes would require large capacity storage at very high cost. DLPE requires a reliable, robust, and secure video server/distribution system, which has to fit within the master plan developed by OIT for GT; DLPE is working with OIT on that effort. Additional DL-equipped classrooms and encoding/capture systems are needed. The challenge is that technology changes rapidly, so that one makes the investment and 3-5 years later the technology becomes obsolete. Educational software availability and licensing is an emerging critical issue; more and more faculty are using specialty software to teach their classes – students at remote sites need to have access to that software. In some cases, student versions of the software are purchased, while in other cases, site licenses are obtained. There are several ways to setup the software on our systems so that it can be accessed from the remote sites. For international locations, one needs to be cognizant of various US Government export controls (EAR/ITAR/OFAC), which may be more challenging for the China programs than GTL. Additional personnel to support and maintain such systems will be required. Quality versus cost will always be an issue in making such decisions. “508 Compliance” (the Americans with Disability Act) is another challenging issue (it is estimated that it would cost ~$5,000 per video tape for a one-hour class to be 508-compliant). The risk is very low since we have very few people with disabilities who will apply to see our videos; however, as we “go digital” it is important to do everything we can to make our digital material 508-compliant. Finally, whenever we interact with students, there are FERPA issues (confidentiality); we have taken steps to address those issues when the FAX-servers are used (to exchange homework and exams between faculty and students).
Issues related to faculty, workload, and policy were discussed. An important question is whether “remote” students are considered to be a part of our Atlanta faculty’s normal workload. If not, how is incremental faculty workload recognized, rewarded, and compensated. DLPE returns 21% of the tuition money from DL programs to the originating unit; which, in turn, makes those funds (or a fraction thereof) available to the faculty member for use as discretionary funds (non-compensatory). When the same course material is provided to GTL students, the incremental return is essentially zero; Dr. Puttgen has been providing faculty members with the same incremental amount of money (as the amount they would receive for DL programs) when the courses are delivered to GTL students. Nevertheless, there are basic “reward issues” that need to be addressed. Other issues include instructional design and support for faculty; quality control of digital materials and educational content; assessment of DL-delivered course materials and content; digital rights management (policies to govern authenticated access to educational materials); policy on the use/re-use of course material; and intellectual property issues.
Issues related to pricing and finances were discussed. It is important to develop appropriate pricing models. Full-tuition bearing MS, Executive, and PE programs will be unchanged. The critical issue relates to on-campus students, as well as students at GT-Savannah, GTL, Co-ops, International exchange programs, and future GT-international sites, who for the most part pay in-state or reduced tuition. We have to figure out how to recover our costs of providing service to those students, which is not cheap (the message from those who run similar programs is that one should not use a “distance learning technology fee,” since that would discourage the very thing we are trying to encourage). Policies on faculty workload and compensation when previously-captured course work is used in DL format during off semesters (or “re-purposed” for other uses) need to be developed. Wepfer concluded his presentation by stating that DLPE is challenging, exciting, hard, expensive, and requires great planning and collaboration among GT units. The Chair thanked Dr. Wepfer for his presentation.
5. A Q&A session related to the three previous presentations was moderated by the Chair. A question was asked as to what processes or procedures were put in place to make the experience for students and faculty at GT-Savannah comparable to that at GT-Atlanta. [3 sentences deleted] For faculty, nothing has been explicitly put in place to enhance their non-academic experience at GTS (it is not clear what faculty in Atlanta receive or expect in that area). We have, however, encouraged GTS faculty to interact with Atlanta faculty (never turned down a travel request for a GTS faculty member to travel to Atlanta, and, when requested, generally agree to include travel support for frequent visits to Atlanta as a part of the hiring package). A question was asked regarding the quality and students’ response to remote delivery of classes to/from GTS and GT-Atlanta. Frost indicated that some of the classes originate at GTS (with varied levels of quality). Some of the students in Atlanta originally reacted negatively (“I didn’t come to Georgia Tech to go to class on a TV”); however, in some cases, students were very pleased (e.g. last summer a senior-level course originating in Savannah with an attendance of ~20 received very high student course-instructor evaluations in the range of 4.80 to 5.0. So, the bottom line is that it can work very well). A comment was made that the DLPE presentation gave the impression that Atlanta is the “center of the world;” it is possible to have a few students sitting in a classroom at Armstrong Atlantic, few others at Georgia Southern, and a large number in Atlanta. With GSAMS it is possible to have people co-teach the course from all three locations; on the other hand that may be difficult with the Video-on-Demand model. Additionally, we may have a faculty member teaching a course in India, which may also need to be delivered to students in China, without ever coming through Atlanta. What is being done to prepare for such situations? Wepfer stated that we would like to accommodate all such situations regardless of where the content originates, as long as it is a legitimate GT- course; our mission is to take that content, do whatever we need to it, and deliver it where it needs to go. A comment was made that we can view DLPE as the new facilities (“GT-Virtual” provides the “classroom,” wherever the students and faculty may be). A question was asked as to how these distance-learning “processes” are developed. Wepfer indicated that there is extensive collaboration between DLPE, OIT, and the Library, and that he and his staff keep track of developments by attending conferences and meetings focused on these processes. While we may not be at the leading edge of all technologies, we “keep our ears to the ground” and strive to meet the needs of our faculty, who are, after all, the “engines of innovation” for the campus. A follow-up question was asked as to why we are not at the leading edge. Wepfer responded that from a cost perspective, it may not be optimal to always be at the leading edge.
6. Participants (divided into two groups) began the first of two breakout sessions. The first breakout session addressed the questions of “What is the GT ‘brand’ when there are multiple campuses on three continents?” (See Attachment #6 below). At the conclusion of the first breakout session, the two groups reconvened. Dr. Russell Gentry (Arch) reported the outcome of the first breakout session for the first group (see Attachment #7 below). He stated that “brand” reflects “identity” and “quality.” It is, therefore, important that all faculty hiring and student admissions at the various campuses be done according to the same standards (as GT-Atlanta). Applying the same standards, however, does not necessarily mean that the same procedures must be used (“global standards” “local processes”). We should, nevertheless, avoid the “franchising” model adopted by some institutions for overseas expansion (e.g. Cornell’s medical school in Qatar, where the overseas campus operates completely independently and seeks accreditation from bodies other than those which accredit the “home” institution). A Georgia Tech degree should have the same curriculum (content and rigor) and should be accredited in the same manner regardless of which campus the student attends. Faculty and student exchanges between campuses should be encouraged and accommodated, so that they can consider themselves a part of “Georgia Tech” (to some, it may mean attending football games and paying $500 per year for parking!). The question is whether individual campuses will have a separate brand or identity beyond the Georgia Tech brand. The consensus is that while the brand may be broadened, it should not be diluted.
A comment was made that while undergraduates may consider attending GT football games and having access to non-academic activities to be important, it is doubtful that graduate students in India and China, or participants in our Executive MBA programs, would feel “short-changed” because they do not participate in such activities. Puttgen stated that French GTL students in the Double Degree MS Program are required to spend their last semester in Atlanta, thereby getting the “Georgia Tech” experience; some are recruited to stay on as PhD students, while others are hired by corporations which value such international experience. A comment was made that loyalty to the Institute is related to the value graduates place on their experience while attending school and the personal pride they have in attaining their degrees. A follow-up comment was made that Agnes Scott has a program to bring back middle-aged women who did not finish their college degrees, and that when they graduate they do not want to be differentiated from any other graduates; they are proud of their degrees.
Dr. James Foley (CoC) reported the outcome of the first breakout session for the second group (see Attachment #7 below). He stated that several student and faculty issues related to the meaning of the GT brand in this new environment have been identified. Students’ primary attachment/identification must be to GT rather than to the partner institutions or the locations. Quality should be comparable in all programs/locations. Among the questions raised is whether the location or campus granting the degree should be identified on the transcript and diploma. Also, how do we present ourselves, and to what extent do we market to non-traditional students? How do we decide which programs should be offered at different locations? A major part of the GT experience is derived from the opportunities to enjoy the riches of campus life (involvement in student government, participation in student associations, etc.). The question is how to provide such opportunities at campuses which are much smaller and less “research-rich” than the Atlanta campus? Many faculty issues are related to “expectations” with respect to retention, promotion, and tenure. Are faculty performance expectations the same for all programs/locations? Concerns were raised regarding potential distortions in requirements, values, or workloads to satisfy short-term goals. It is important that faculty at distant locations feel like they are an integral part of the main campus through faculty governance and departmental activities. The question is whether faculty governance (and the entire institution) should be structured as a “federal system,” where local units can “do their thing” subject to an overall constitution, or as a “centralized” governance system.
Puttgen indicated that GTL students have the opportunity to participate in student organizations; GTL has formal student organizations which operate in a similar manner to those in Atlanta. He stated that it is dangerous to evolve into the “franchising” model and that the GTL model is based on “central governance” for both students and faculty. When GTL students get in trouble, the office of the Dean of Students in Atlanta adjudicates those cases. GTL provides facilities and infrastructure; it does not provide independent academic programs that reside entirely in Metz. Foley stated that one of the questions raised during the discussion is whether a number of key Faculty Senate positions should be assigned to people who are not residents on the Atlanta campus. The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that the GTREP program (GT-Savannah) is administratively treated as an independent unit within the College of Engineering and that GTREP faculty members elect a representative to serve on both the Academic Senate and General Faculty Assembly.
7. Participants (divided into two groups) began the second breakout session; the session was aimed at identifying the important questions which need to be addressed by the Executive Board over the next three years to insure GT’s success as we expand to more campuses around the world (see Attachment #6 below). At the conclusion of the second breakout session, the two groups reconvened. Dr. Russell Gentry (Arch) reported the outcome of the second breakout session for the first group (see Attachment #8 below). He stated that the top-ranked questions among those identified by the group are: (1) what are the criteria and the process by which we decide whether an international opportunity is to be pursued? – while we want to be able to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves, we need a more formal process for sorting through the costs and benefits with regard to the faculty, students, and the Institute; (2) How do we assure and maintain quality across the various campuses?; (3) How can faculty members be encouraged to participate in our satellite and distance learning initiatives and what are the rewards?; and (4) Is faculty governance a GT process or is it campus-specific? – Are people on the satellite campuses always a part of an academic unit in Atlanta? Additional (lower priority) questions posed by the group can be found in Attachment #8 below.
Dr. James Foley (CoC) reported the outcome of the second breakout session for the second group. He stated that the group identified nearly ten questions (see Attachment #8 below) and that the top-ranked questions among them are: (1) How do we actively involve non-Atlanta faculty and students in the governance of Georgia Tech?; (2) How do achieve a coordinated campus view for developing and implementing a strategic plan for expansion to additional campuses? (different groups may be exploring different opportunities in the same country which is time consuming and may send the wrong message); (3) What should the Executive Board’s role be in the expansion of GT’s non-Atlanta programs and campuses?; (4) Should – and, if so, how should – RPT policies and procedures be adapted for faculty at non-Atlanta campuses?; and (5) What should be the policies for staffing other locations? (e.g. workload, contingencies, etc.) -- Who should establish the policies for non-Atlanta campuses? Additional (lower priority) questions posed by the group can be found in Attachment #8 below.
A comment was made that our RPT criteria are very broad and that they should be able to accommodate faculty at other campuses. Foley stated that the issue may be related to expectations. A follow-up comment was made that there may also be procedural issues – when you start a campus with no tenured faculty, how do you constitute the review committees?
8. The Chair thanked the participants for their effort; he indicated that a summary report of the outcome of the retreat will be prepared and distributed to all participants. The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 PM.
Secretary of the Faculty
April 18th, 2005
[Revised April 18th, 2005]
Attachments (to be included with the archival copy of the minutes)