Meeting of August 24, 2004

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center



Members Present: Akins (Prof Prac); Cabot (OIT); Clough (President); Evans (GTRI); First (Phys); Foley (CoC); Gentry (Arch); Henry* (OSP); Horton (GTRI); Huff (GTRI); Hughes (ECE); Kahn* (CEE); Mark* (CoC); Marr* (Psych); McGinnis (ISyE); Peterson (ECE); Schneider (Mgt); Telotte (LCC); Uzer (Phys); Warren (EDI); Alexander (Staff Rep); David (G. Student); Phuong (U. Student); Abdel-Khalik (SoF). [* Departing 2003-04 Board Members]


Members Absent: Chameau (Provost)


Visitors: Hoey (OARS/Provost); Lohmann (Assoc. Provost); May (Pres. Office)


1.      Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM.  He welcomed the new Board members and thanked the departing 2003-04 members for their outstanding service.  He called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The President offered the following comments:


a.       We have a record number of students on campus, partly because of the record size of the incoming freshman class -- an excellent class of 2580 students with average SAT score of 1334 and high school GPA of 3.72; a very diverse class with over 30% women which is a milestone for us.  Graduate enrollment will also be higher.


b.      New facilities have been opened – the Student Center Commons is a much-needed addition to the Student Center; it has new facilities for student government, student organizations, and WREK radio, as well as new eating facilities.  The Campus Recreation Center was also opened with huge turnout. 


c.       Despite the budget difficulties, we are fortunate to be able to hire new faculty -- 50 new faculty joined us this year; about a third of them are women, which reflects our new emphasis on areas such as biology.  Over the past five years, we have hired 430 new faculty (out of a total of ~ 900) to replace retirees and increase the total number by ~ 120.  We are fortunate to have such bright, talented, young faculty on our campus.


d.      For the eighth year in a row, research revenues have increased. 


e.       In the last legislative session, in order to balance the budget, the Legislature shifted the payroll cost of the last month to the next fiscal year (~$160M).  The Governor has decided to rescind this approach; this means that $160M has to be “found” this fiscal year.  The University System’s share of this shortfall is $70M; Georgia Tech’s share is ~$7M.  The Chancellor has expressed his concern to the Governor’s staff regarding this shortfall, particularly in light of the increased enrollment in all System units.  He indicated that if such plans are to go forward, mid-year tuition increases may be required.  At this time, the Governor has not decided how this issue will be resolved. 


f.        We are nearing completion of the first phase of our SACS reaffirmation process; thanks to the efforts of Jack Lohmann, Joseph Hoey, and the hundreds of people who have worked on the preparations for this review.


There were no questions for the President.  Amy Phuong (Undergrad Student) announced that Tech Night at Six Flags will be held on Friday September 3rd from 6:00 PM till midnight.  She indicated that nearly 7200 people participated last year (largest campus-wide event), and that the same level of participation is expected this year. 


2.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the June 15th, 2004 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


3.      The Chair called on Dr. Joseph Hoey (OARS/Provost) and Dr. Jack Lohmann (Assoc. Provost) to present a status report on the SACS reaffirmation process.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #2 below).  Hoey began by thanking the many people who have participated in the process since it began in January of 2003.  He offered a brief overview of the SACS reaffirmation process.  He stated that “institutional effectiveness” (i.e. doing what we say we intend to do) is the cornerstone of SACS principles of accreditation.  At this time, we are at the mid-point of the process – the “Compliance Report” is due September 10, 2004; the report demonstrates how Georgia Tech meets the standards set in the principles of accreditation.  The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) will be completed by January 2005.  An off-site review of the Compliance Report will be conducted in November 2004, to be followed by a campus visit and QEP review in March 2005.  The reaffirmation decision will be made in December 2005.


Hoey described how the Georgia Tech accreditation effort is organized, including the SACS Leadership Team headed by the President, the Council for Institutional and Academic Program Review and Accreditation headed by Jack Lohmann (“the Council”), the Compliance and QEP Groups, and finally, the various units and offices within the Institute.  He stated that we have built a positive relationship with SACS, through involvement at several levels – President Clough served on the SACS Board for three years, Jack Lohmann has served as a Site Visit Chair, and Hoey has served as an evaluator and workshop presenter for nearly six years.     Hoey provided a brief overview of the structure of the Compliance Report; he indicated that the report covers 73 main requirements and a host of sub-requirements.  He began by listing the Core Requirements (see Attachment #2), i.e. the “Basic Standards,” which are necessary but not sufficient for accreditation; failure to meet any of the Core Requirements would result in a SACS sanction.  Hence, it is important to clearly demonstrate compliance with these requirements.  The Compliance Group began by examining the requirements and defining what constitutes “adequate compliance” for Georgia Tech.  Each requirement was assigned to an individual member of the Compliance Group, who prepared a draft report; the reports were then critiqued by the entire group.  A SACS editor was hired to provide an overview and coordinate the various inputs to the report.  Additionally, since the Compliance Report will be reviewed on line, a website was constructed, which allowed the campus community to provide comments. 


In addition to the Core Requirements, the report addresses a set of “Comprehensive Standards;” these standards represent a detailed expansion of three core requirements: (1) Institutional mission, governance, and effectiveness, (2) Programs, and (3) Resources.  Again, it is important to be in compliance with these requirements; in some cases, we had a great deal of “catching-up” to be able to demonstrate compliance, as discussed later.  Finally, the Compliance Report also demonstrates compliance with Federal mandates embodied in the 1998 Federal Higher Education Amendments.   Hoey listed the members of the Georgia Tech SACS Compliance Group (see Attachment #2); a highly-talented and dedicated group representing a broad spectrum of academic and non-academic units around campus.


Hoey stated that at this time the edited Compliance Report is posted on the GT SACS website.  Numerous comments have been provided by the SACS Leadership Team, the Cabinet, and the Compliance Group.  Since the review will be done on-line, links to all supporting documentation are being finalized (over 2700 links).  Comment access has been provided to members of the Executive Board, the Executive Management Group, and others around campus.  At the end of this week (August 27th, 2004), access will be changed to “read-only,” in order to allow final editing of the report, so that it can be delivered to SACS on September 10th, 2004.  Hoey indicated that there are a few “soft spots” in the report.  He stated that in the area of Institutional Effectiveness, while our assessment systems are in place, SACS may say that we are not doing enough, or have not been doing such assessments long enough.  Our OATS system allows each academic program to annually update its assessment findings.   Another area deals with verification of faculty credentials, where we have had an ongoing effort through faculty support services, with support from Jack Lohmann’s office.  Finally, documentation of agreements related to consortia and off-campus programs has been challenging.  If students can receive 50% or more of their degree credits at some site other than the main campus (e.g. GTL or GTREP), it is necessary to also demonstrate compliance with the SACS requirements at that site.


Hoey discussed the primary lessons learned from the SACS compliance audit process; in some areas, we did not have the infrastructure to handle our rapid growth.  Now that we have addressed these infrastructure issues, it would be important to maintain the infrastructure to assure compliance going forward.  He thanked the Executive Board for the extraordinary amount of cooperation and support provided to the accreditation effort by leading the process of revising the Faculty Handbook to assure compliance with SACS and BoR requirements, and ensuring that the infrastructure is in place within the Faculty Handbook.  He stated that he would like to continue to work with the Board to make sure that we do not “lose yardage” and continue to be in compliance as we move forward. He concluded by listing the addresses for the GT SACS website, and the Compliance Report, and indicated that users need to use their Kerberos ID and password to gain access. 


A question was asked as to whether the recent revisions to the Faculty Handbook have been fully enacted and whether they are sufficient to meet the requirements.  Hoey and Lohmann replied affirmatively, and thanked Board members for their leadership in that effort.  A question was asked as to how our compliance level compares with those of other research institutions who have recently undergone such reviews.  Hoey indicated that among the eight institutions that went through the off-site review process last year, six were found to be in non-compliance with respect to institutional effectiveness, while half of the institutions were found to be out-of-compliance with respect to verification of faculty credentials.  He emphasized that these findings were based on the off-site reviews of the Compliance Reports, which may signify the reviewers’ need for additional information.  A comment was made regarding the costs of this process which are being borne by the individual units; an example was given where the costs of assessment and accreditation efforts for ECE were estimated to be ~$200-300k.  Concern was expressed that such costs may offer little “payback,” and that we should not “overkill” the process by attempting to anticipate every possible question that may be asked by the off-site reviewers and documenting the answers within the Compliance Report; it may be more cost-effective if some of these questions can be quickly answered during the campus visit.  Hoey indicated that this is an important issue and that it is partly the reason why the Compliance Group spent a great deal of time upfront defining rational “standards of adequacy” for Georgia Tech with respect to compliance with each of the requirements.  Lohmann stated that the Council, which has ~ 20 members from various academic and administrative units who deal with “student life” issues on campus, has helped define the “standards of adequacy” for compliance with the requirements – it is a “balancing act” to demonstrate that the requirements have been met without going overboard.  A comment was made that ABET accreditation also has a significant cost, but it attempts to add value to the programs under review; hopefully, SACS will refine their process, in light of the widely-varying nature of the institutions they accredit. 


Hoey introduced Dr. Jack Lohmann (Assoc. Provost) to provide an overview of the QEP.  Lohmann stated that most accreditation bodies require only a self-study, based on which the accreditation decision is made.  However, SACS has a second step called the “Quality Enhancement Plan.”  While the Compliance Report is “retrospective,” the QEP is forward-looking, and is aimed at providing added value to the accreditation process, by assuring that the institution will continue to move forward after the accreditation process is completed.  The QEP should be a major institutional project; its subject, scope, and focus are entirely up to the institution.  SACS provides general criteria by which the adequacy of the QEP is to be evaluated; however, like most standards, there are some gray areas.  Nevertheless, the institution has a great deal of latitude as to the subject, scope, and focus of the QEP; hence, it is up to us to assure a positive outcome from this exercise.  Lohmann stated that the Council began preparing for the accreditation process in January 2003 with initial attention focused on the Compliance Report; SACS requires the QEP to be delivered at least six weeks before the on-site visit (now scheduled for April 7-8 of next year). 


Lohmann stated that the Council membership has been expanded from its original ~20 members to nearly 60 members in order to develop the QEP.  The theme of our QEP will be the enhancement and expansion of “experiential learning,” i.e. providing hands-on real world experience, which is the hallmark of Georgia Tech education.  The effort will be targeted towards undergraduates; it is a meaningful program for Georgia Tech that will also satisfy the accreditation requirements.  Seven project areas have been identified as a focus; these are strategic areas in which GT has made some investments and plans to continue making investments.  Each of the areas will have both “quantity” and “quality” goals; “quantity” is simply the number of students impacted, while “quality” goals provide a measure of the significance of the impact.  At this time, the Office of Assessment is working on developing the metrics by which the project areas will be assessed.  SACS requires institutions to provide a QEP progress report after five years; we have decided to select a five-year horizon for our QEP so that our progress report will also be our final report.  The five-year horizon was viewed as a reasonable duration to implement a meaningful program.


The seven project areas include four areas related directly to the curriculum, while the remaining three are “co-curricular,” i.e. they support and/or enable the curricular activities.  The four curricular areas include enhancement and expansion of the research experience of students (an initiative which has been underway for several years); enhancement and expansion of the professional practice of students (a hallmark of Georgia Tech’s education for a long time); enhancement of the international competence of our students (a strategic area in which GT is making significant investments); and enhancement of active learning particularly in the freshman and sophomore years (i.e. creation of active, rather than passive, learning environments).  The three co-curricular project areas include a program within student housing to reinforce the curricular activities; and enhancement of the GT 1000 freshman course to help students be better prepared for the disciplines and majors they intend to pursue, and take advantage of the unique opportunities available to them at Georgia Tech.  Teams have been formed to address each of the seven project areas; draft reports are expected by the end of September, which will be submitted to the Leadership Team headed by the President.  During October and November, we will work with several units around campus to make them aware of this initiative and identify opportunities for other activities consistent with the scope of the QEP. 


The goal is to complete preparation of the QEP by December of this year, well ahead of the due date.  The reason is that, in most cases, institutions are asked to prepare a “Focus Report” which provides written explanation and/or documentation to address questions that arise from the off-site review of the Compliance Report.  These Focus Reports are usually requested around January or February; we would like to address all their questions before the site visit.  Ideally, all the compliance issues will be taken care of before the campus visit, so that the visiting team can focus primarily on the QEP.  The visiting team will consist of six or seven members; two members will be selected by Georgia Tech.  Members will come from peer institutions, which is a good aspect of this process, inasmuch as they are experienced individuals with direct knowledge of research institutions such as Georgia Tech. 


A question was asked as to whether the QEP team has been working closely with Bob McMath, Jack Marr, and other members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Quality Undergraduate Education.  Lohmann indicated that he serves on that committee, and that there is significant, albeit informal, linkage between the two initiatives.  He stated that the Quality Undergraduate Education effort headed by Bob McMath has a much broader scope than the QEP, which is “targeted” in scope. The scope of the QEP is consistent with the requirements of the accreditation process. 


The Chair thanked Dr. Hoey and Dr. Lohmann for their efforts in this important area for Georgia Tech.                     


4.      The Chair called on Dr. Russell Gentry (Arch) to present the proposed faculty handbook revisions dealing with faculty governance of athletics.  Gentry stated that he is making the presentation in behalf of Dr. Ron Bohlander, Chair of the Statutes Committee, who is away on a personal matter.  Copies of the slides used in the presentation, and the proposed new faculty handbook section entitled “Intercollegiate Athletics Governance,” are attached (See Attachments #3 and 4 below).  Gentry indicated that the Statutes Committee was charged by the Executive Board to develop this handbook revision based on the Board’s discussions on June 15th, 2004.  The proposed revision includes: (1) information regarding the relationship between the Athletic Association and the academic operations at Georgia Tech, (2) language formalizing the interactions between the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) and the Academic Senate, (3) language indicating that the President will consult with the Executive Board regarding the appointment of the FAR, and (4) language indicating that the President will consult with Officers of the Executive Board regarding the appointment of faculty members to the Georgia Tech Athletics Association Board of Trustees.  Inputs to the Statutes Committee included the material contained in the Executive Board’s June 15th, 2004 meeting minutes, namely, (1) briefing given by the EB Chair (Dr. Larry Kahn), (2) document prepared by the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics on the Faculty’s role in the governance of campus athletics, and (3) Charter of the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics.  Additionally, the Committee has reviewed the Bylaws of the Georgia Tech Athletics Association, and the NCAA’s Faculty Athletics Representative Handbook.  Other material consulted, albeit less pertinent to this task, included documents prepared by AAUP and two Penn State faculty members, along with policies of other universities.


Referring to the proposed new faculty handbook section (see Attachment #4 below), Gentry stated that the section begins with a high-level statement of the goals and purpose of the policy, followed by statements (based on the Guidelines prepared by the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics) which describe the key roles played by the Institute Administration, faculty members of the GTAA Board of Trustees, the Faculty Athletics Representative, and the Academic Senate.  Excerpts from the GTAA Bylaws dealing with the composition and the role of the GTAA Board of Trustees are included.  Gentry pointed out that GTAA is a separate corporation which controls its own Bylaws.  The new handbook revision will also include a description of the FAR’s role based on the NCAA handbook for FARs, and will specify that the FAR shall annually report to the Academic Senate on the state of Georgia Tech’s Athletics program.  Gentry stated that Professor George Nemhauser (ISyE) is the current Georgia Tech FAR and that he has served in that capacity for several years.


Gentry indicated that as the EB liaison with the Statutes Committee, he believes that the new section has been well-crafted and is ready for presentation to the Faculty.  He indicated that Tom Horton attended the last Statutes Committee meeting and provided feedback from the GTAA’s point of view.  Horton stated that following this presentation, he and Ron Bohlander intend to brief the GT Athletics Director in order to get his feedback before the revision is presented to the General Faculty.  Gentry stated that while the revision is ready for presentation to the General Faculty, the Committee is requesting feedback from the Executive Board on several questions.  First, the Statutes Committee proposes to include this material in Section 2.12 of the Faculty Handbook, immediately after the Bylaws to signify the importance of the topic.  He inquired as to whether the Board agrees with such placement, or prefers to place the material in Section 5 of the Handbook which deals with “general” Institute policies.  There were no objections to the proposed placement.


The Committee also seeks feedback on its recommendation that the President will consult with the Executive Board on the appointment of the FAR and the faculty representatives to the GTAA Board of Trustees.  Gentry indicated that the Committee’s charge from the Executive Board stated that the President will consult with the Executive Board on the Appointment of the FAR and will consult with the “Officers of the EB” on the appointment of the faculty representatives to the GTAA Board of Trustees.  He stated that the reason for the Committee’s recommendation is that the “Officers of the Executive Board” are not defined in the Faculty Handbook.  Only the Chair and the Secretary of the Faculty, who serves an Ex-Officio member, are mentioned; the Vice-Chair position is not defined.  The President indicated that it is important to maintain confidentiality of the nomination process of faculty representatives since new members are approved by the GTAA Board of Trustees itself, whereas appointment of the FAR does not require approval by the GTAA Board of Trustees.  A comment was made that minutes of the Executive Board are widely-distributed and read, and that unless the Executive Board decides to go into a “closed session” it would be difficult to maintain confidentiality of these nominations before they are presented to the GTAA Board of Trustees. Some members supported the idea of a “closed session” of the Executive Board to handle matters of this type; others expressed reluctance. 


It was agreed to refer the matter back to the Statutes Committee to develop a practical manner to meet the original intent regarding consultation between the President and “Officers of the Executive Board” on the appointment of faculty representatives to the GTAA Board of Trustees, while maintaining confidentiality of the nominations.  It was also agreed to postpone the Statutes Committee presentation to the General Faculty on the proposed Handbook revision (originally planned for September 14th, 2004) until the October 14th meeting of the General Faculty; the Executive Board will review the revised language at its next meeting (September 21st, 2004).        


5.      The Chair discussed the procedure for electing the 2004-05 Chair and Vice-Chair for the Board.  He indicated that, preferably, the nominees should have completed at least one year of service on the Board, and requested that nominations for the two positions, including self-nominations, be E-Mailed to the Secretary of the Faculty no later than Friday September 3rd, 2004.  The Secretary of the Faculty will conduct E-Mail ballots to elect the Chair and Vice-Chair with voting allowed till Monday September 13th; the results will be reported at the September 21st, 2004 meeting.  The procedure was agreed to without dissent.


6.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty to discuss the Committee Liaison assignments for next year.  Abdel-Khalik stated that there are 15 standing faculty committees and that each elected member of the Board, excluding the Chair, will be assigned as a liaison to one of the committees.  He indicated that members will be asked (by E-Mail) to provide three assignment preferences; the liaison assignments will be made based on these preferences and will be reported before the next Board meeting. 


7.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty to present administrative matters.  Abdel-Khalik stated that two appointments need to be made to fill vacancies on standing faculty committees; the proposed appointments are to be made in accordance with the procedure previously established by the Board.  The recommended appointees have been contacted and have agreed to serve upon formal appointment by the Executive Board.


a.       Tyanna Herrington (LCC) has agreed to serve on the Statutes Committee to complete the unexpired term [04-05] of Jonathan Moore, who has left Georgia Tech.


b.      Nancey Green Leigh (ARCH) has agreed to serve on the Academic Services Committee to complete the unexpired term [04-06] of Tim Daniels (Library), who has left Georgia Tech.


A motion was made to approve the recommended appointments.  The motion passed without dissent. 


8.      The Chair presented the proposed agenda for the September 14th, 2004 called meeting of the General Faculty combined with meeting of the Academic Senate and General Faculty Assembly (see Attachment #5 below).  He indicated that the main items on the agenda are a presentation by Dr. Gisele Bennett on proposed revisions to the conflict of interest policy, and a presentation by Ms. Barbara Henry on regulations governing the use of vertebrates in teaching and research.  He stated that in light of today’s discussions, Dr. Bohlander’s presentation on the proposed faculty handbook revisions dealing with faculty governance of athletics will be postponed till the following General Faculty meeting (October 14th, 2004).  The proposed agenda, as amended, was approved without dissent. 


9.      The Chair adjourned the meeting at 4:15 PM and invited members to attend a short reception in the Gordy room to honor departing 2003-04 Board members and welcome the new 2004-05 members.



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

August 29, 2004


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


1.       Minutes of the EB meeting of June 15, 2004.

2.      SACS Reaffirmation -- Compliance Report and QEP (Presentation by Joseph Hoey and Jack Lohmann)

3.      New Entry in Faculty Handbook Covering Intercollegiate Athletics Governance (Presentation by Ron Bohlander).

4.      Proposed New Section in Faculty Handbook dealing with Intercollegiate Athletics Governance

5.      Proposed Agenda for September 14th Called meeting of the General Faculty combined with meeting of the Academic Senate and General Faculty Assembly