GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of September 21, 2004

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

 

 

Members Present: Akins (Prof Prac); Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Clough (President); Evans (GTRI); First (Phys); Gentry (Arch); Horton (GTRI); Huff (GTRI); Hughes (ECE);  Peterson (ECE); Schneider (Mgt); Telotte (LCC); Yen (BIOL); Alexander (Staff Rep); Phuong (U. Student); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).

 

Members Absent: David (G. Student); Foley (CoC); McGinnis (ISyE); Uzer (Phys); Warren (EDI)

 

Visitors: Hutchins (OIT); Lohmann (Assoc. Provost); May (Pres. Office); Mullin (OIT); Rollins (OIE)

 

1.      Joseph Hughes (in behalf of Leon McGinnis) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM.  He called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The President congratulated the new Executive Board Officers (McGinnis and Hughes) on their election, and indicated that he and the Provost will meet with them in the near future to discuss agenda items for the Executive Board.  He invited Board members to let him or the Executive Board Officers know of any issues that need to be addressed. 

 

a.       The President distributed a document prepared by the Chancellor’s Office entitled: “The University System of Georgia -- Why we are where we are” (See attachment #1 below).  It provides an historical perspective on the State’s support of the University System (USG).  Referring to the document, the President indicated that current (FY05) State appropriations for USG as a percentage of the total State Budget (10.9%) are at the same level as they were in 1967 (down from 11.3% last year, and an historical high of 16.5% in 1975).  He praised the Chancellor’s staff for preparing this informative document and stated that a similar document will be prepared to summarize Georgia Tech’s budget history. 

 

b.      The next meeting of the Board of Regents will be held at Georgia Tech (October 12-13, 2004 at the GT Hotel); it is a public (open) meeting.  We have a one-hour slot to talk about Georgia Tech; the President will give an overview to be followed by presentations by faculty and students on research conducted at GT.  The Regents are expected to vote on whether or not to enact a mid-year tuition increase.

 

c.       State revenues continue to improve; however, there is no indication that the proposed budget cuts related to the “payroll shift” will be canceled or reduced. 

 

d.      A very good article on the current budget cuts was published in the latest issue of the Technique.  The President indicated that within the next two weeks he intends to make a presentation on the State budget allocations to the Student Government representatives (similar to the one made to the Faculty last week).

 

A comment was made that the distributed document on USG budgets (Attachment #1) does not include an “economic impact” component, and that it would be important to include such information in the GT-specific version of the document.  The President agreed and asked Tom Horton (GTRI/DO) to contact Amelia Gambino who is in the process of preparing such a document.  A comment was made that the graph dealing with the widening funding gap does not have a scale, and that it would be a good idea for the Chancellor’s staff to include actual dollar figures on such a graph.   

 

2.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the August 24th, 2004 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #2 below).

 

3.      The Chair called on Dr. Ron Hutchins (OIT) and Dr. John Mullin (OIT) to present an overview of campus electronic communications.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #3 below).  Hutchins stated that the presentation is being made in response to concerns raised by members of the campus community regarding the “multiplicity” of accounts they have to use for different functions/purposes around campus and the ability to maintain the associated passwords current and secure.  The presentation will deal with the broader subject of “Identity and Account Management.” The issues include:  (1) Account names, i.e. the user’s identity on local systems; (2) Email names; (3) Passwords – authentication of the user’s identity; and (4) Roles – different people have different roles which require/allow different levels of access, with associated levels of tolerable risk.   Hutchins indicated that currently there are many different systems on campus managed by different entities; they grew, and are managed, independently with little or no coordination.  There is an account name associated with each of them which may be different; some allow the user to choose the account name, while others do not.  There is a password associated with each system; passwords are unsynchronized across systems unless the campus Kerberos system is utilized.  Kerberos is a password management and storage system developed by MIT; systems connected to Kerberos (Mail, WebCT, Buzzport, and PeopleSoft HR Self-service) allow the same account name and have synchronized passwords.  There is little portability of credentials across the other systems, which do not synchronize the account names or passwords; these include: Banner (uses GT ID and PIN number); Grants and Contracts (uses GT ID and a different PIN number); Course Opinion Survey; Active Directory (Local server file sharing); Buzzcard; Community of Sciences (uses completely separate account name); GT WebWise; and IBS.

 

Hutchins stated that there are different levels of security associated with the different systems; if every system were to use the same account name and password, then if one system was compromised, the rest of the systems would likely also be compromised.  A question was asked as to what is meant by “compromise.” Hutchins indicated that it means someone else gaining access using your account name and password.  He stated that Georgia Tech has one of the best campus computer networks in the country – a fast network with access to many services.  It is a part of our job to be connected to the global community, which introduces risks since those who may “compromise” our systems can come from any where in the world.  The question is how to balance access to resources versus risks, since there is no way to completely eliminate risk. To that end, OIT has initiated an Identity and Account Management (IAM) project (after nearly two years of discussions and input from various members of the campus community).  Hutchins stated that students frequently complain about being assigned a “gtxxx” account name for their Email address; at this time, OIT is in the process of “rationalizing” the account names (old systems which allowed only 8-character account names are no longer in use).   OIT is also looking at using the same identity for authentication for multiple applications; this is possible since many of the applications use the web.  OIT has come up with a tool which uses access to the web browser to authenticate back to the Kerberos store, so that web-based applications can be synchronized.  He stated that, at times, a large fraction (>60%) of the OIT help desk activities deals with re-setting of passwords.  The Registrar’s Office has a similar problem, where for 2 to 3 days around the start of each semester, two full time people are needed to reset banner PINs.  These problems (process inefficiencies) need to be fixed.

 

Hutchins stated that improvements in password and account activation are currently in-process.  For example, when a password expires, the user has a certain amount of time to go online to fix it; after that time, he/she has to physically show-up, present some credentials, and get someone to change it.  Account activation, especially from remote sites, is another issue we are trying to solve.  This is significant, since, for example, when students do not pay their fees, an Email notice is sent to them, which they do not receive because they have not come to campus to activate their accounts.  The concept of single sign-on, where an account password is inputted once by the user and transferred to all other accounts, may have some risks which we cannot tolerate.  OIT has come up with another concept (seamless sign-on).  OIT is currently conducting a pilot project with a small number of users on the use of “smart cards;” the aim is to see if it can be used campus-wide (with Buzzcard as the smart card with the chip).  A question was asked as to the extent to which this seamless sign-on would work at all our campuses outside Atlanta (Savannah, GTL, and Singapore).  Hutchins stated that currently we have someone stationed at each of these locations that the user has to personally show-up in front of, in order to activate his/her account.  The process changes we will implement will eliminate the need for personally showing-up, unless the person’s role requires a higher level of authentication (e.g. writing checks or posting grades).   A follow-up question was asked as to whether seamless sign-on presents the same level of security risk when users are at different locations.  Hutchins indicated that it would be ideal if Georgia Tech were to own the fiber optic network at each of these sites, and have our own high speed private network between us; we can even have 5-digit dialing on our “world-wide campus.” We are not ready to do that, but this may serve as a vision of where we would like to go.

 

Mullin stated that this model is used today in some corporate environments.  For example an employee of an international company such as Siemens would have a corporate ID card with a chip embedded in it that includes his/her identity and credentials.  That person can use it to connect to Siemens from anywhere in the world through either a public or private network.  With that credential and a password, they can establish a secure (encrypted) tunnel between where they are and the Siemens’ location.  We are trying to use that “virtual environment” as a model for Georgia Tech, combining changes in both process and technology, and using both owned assets and public networks.  One of the barriers is that, while people at a place like Siemens may accept the notion that only the IT department can decide on how and what to be done, this may not work well at a place like Georgia Tech.  Additionally, not every person/activity requires the same security level – e.g. checking E-Mail while traveling versus modifying payroll.  Hutchins stated that as we differentiate among people based on their roles, we can solve many of the problems; the bottom line is that everyone is not the same from either a risk or a process standpoint.

 

Hutchins presented a summary and timeline of OIT activities in the IAM area.  The revised password and account activation processes will be released by the end of the term (December 04), so that people would not have to show-up with an ID to activate an account or re-set a password after it had expired.  This will free-up a significant number of people in OIT’s help desk; it will not help the Registrar’s Office with re-setting of the Banner PINs -- OIT will address that problem in the near future.  The account name space and Email address definition is being addressed now and will be completed in the Spring’05.  This will require a compromise between what the technical people say they can do and what the users want.  Hutchins stated that the goal is to develop Email addresses that we can keep for life by Fall’05; this can be used as a marketing tool for students and alumni since it will provide us with access to them for a long time.  A question was asked as to how we will transition from the current Email addresses to the new ones, since many people may try to reach a person at the old address for years to come.  Hutchins stated that we will implement the system with each incoming freshman class so that in time the entire student body will be covered; however, we will likely have to maintain two addresses for faculty.  He pointed to some of the technology issues involved, including the need to create a new account (versus changing the name for an existing account) with Kerberos forwarding addresses, and indicated that we will need a system that can maintain up to 500,000 Email addresses.  Hutchins stated that there are technology issues associated with the Email for life initiative (size and scope of services), as well as funding issues (how do we pay for services provided to non-State employees?).  He indicated that discussions are being held with the Development Office and Alumni Association on how this can be done with non-State funds.  Comfort/preference issues center around marketing, affinity, association, and community.  This initiative aims at building a “community;” the Email address provides an entry to that community, which remains consistent for life.   The goal is to complete this program by next year (Fall’05). There is another initiative to provide Directory Services for on/off campus look-up of addresses; the issues to be resolved here include deciding what information we can “publish.”

 

Hutchins stated that the goal is to have a robust Identity and Account Management system within two years; the system’s architecture is being defined now.  There are policy issues regarding acquisition of off-the-shelf products versus creating them ourselves.  Standards are currently changing; we are working with other educational institutions and vendor partners to establish such standards.  Cost is clearly an important issue.  Mullin commented that we have been suffering from the constraints imposed by the vendors on many of the products we have implemented over the years.  We have been working with colleagues from other research universities through Educause, as well as private sector organizations, and professional organizations on establishing standards; a first-generation set of inter-operability standards will be released within the next 6 to 12 months.  Unless we adopt a single-vendor solution, we will struggle a little bit longer until standards are established. 

 

A question was asked as to whether Microsoft will be the new suite of software.  Mullin stated that there are some on campus who prefer other options.  The Provost commented that as a University we want to be flexible; however, higher flexibility means higher risk and higher costs -- people may have to use software (e.g. calendar) that may not be their first choice.  A question was asked as to what the faculty Email address will be.  Hutchins stated that we hope to allow users to select their own Email address; if an address is already taken, the user will be asked to select a different one.  A question was asked regarding the cost of these IAM programs.  Hutchins stated that he does not have any “hard numbers” at this point, and that some of the “policy changes” are being done in-house now, so that we can be ready when funds become available.  A question was asked regarding the risks associated with using a single account name and password for all systems.  Hutchins stated that although our buzzport vendor (campus pipeline) allows us to do so, we have not turned on that option because we believe the risk is too high.  He offered the example of allowing the web browser on his own machine to remember his username and password (the risk is that someone may break into his machine and retrieve that information) versus the case of a buzzport portal with 20,000 usernames and passwords (possible to break into despite encryption, which would compromise 20,000 accounts).  He stated that the Smart Card option is safer since as long as the person has the card, nobody else can use it.  A pilot Smart Card program is currently underway, and that, eventually, it will need to be scaled to 30-40 thousand users over a period of time.    The Chair thanked Dr. Hutchins and Dr. Mullin for their presentation.   

 

4.      The Chair called on Dr. Russell Gentry (ARCH) to present an update on the proposed Fculty Handbook revisions dealing with faculty governance of intercollegiate athletics.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #4 below).  Gentry stated that he is making the presentation in behalf of Ron Bohlander, Chair of the Statutes Committee, and that it is a follow-up on the presentation made at the August 24th meeting of the Executive Board.  The Board had requested that the Statutes Committee re-examine the issue of whether the President should consult with the “Executive Board” or the “Executive Board Chair” on the nomination of faculty members to the Athletics Board.  Because of confidentiality concerns, it was decided to do the latter.  Gentry stated that in accordance with the Board’s instructions, the wording of the proposed policy has been revised to state that “…the President will consult with the Executive Board concerning the appointment of the Faculty Athletics Representative and with the Chair of the Executive Board for the remaining faculty appointments to the Board of Trustees, each time appointments or reappointments are made.” All other sections of the proposed policy remain unchanged.  A motion was made to endorse the proposed Policy (new Section 2.12 of the Faculty Handbook, as amended) and place it on the agenda for the October 14, 2004 meeting of the General Faculty for discussion and approval.  The motion passed without dissent.

 

Gentry indicated that since the proposed policy is not a part of the Statutes or Bylaws, it requires only one reading and a vote by the General Faculty.    

 

5.      The Chair called on Dr. Howard Rollins (Director, International Education) to present the proposed “International Plan” designation for undergraduate diplomas.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #5 below).  Rollins stated that students at Georgia Tech have the opportunity to participate in many international education programs, including study abroad, language courses, international courses, and internships.  The basic idea of the proposed plan is to provide a coherent, meaningful, way to incorporate such international education experience into the students’ majors.   A large number of faculty and administrators have been consulted in the development of this program.  In a survey of freshmen and sophomores conducted last year, 91% of the students indicated that they would like to study abroad.  When asked to name the barriers to participation in such programs, the top answer was cost; the second answer was how to fit such activities within the requirements of their majors (they felt that they could not get the courses they need for their majors while they were overseas).  Rollins stated that Georgia Tech has a strategic goal that 50% of undergraduates will graduate with international experience; at this time we are at the 30 to 35% level.  The proposed international plan may be one of the key pieces to bring about the additional growth.  He stated that the plan is a part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) of the SACS accreditation discussed by Jack Lohmann at the Board’s August meeting.  A question was asked at to how the 50% goal was established.  The President stated that the level is somewhat arbitrary; however, when the Strategic Plan was developed 5 years ago, it was felt that 50% is an aggressive “stretch goal” and was, therefore, selected.  He stated that international experience is one of several “enrichments” to the education process made available to our students (e.g. undergraduate research and leadership exercises).  The Provost added that when the 50% goal was set, we were (like most other US universities) at the 5 to 7% level; our current level of 30 to 35% represents a very aggressive growth toward our goal – it is not clear if we should raise our goal.  Rollins pointed out that, at the current 30 to 35% participation level, we are ranked 19th in the country among all top research universities.  If we were at the 50% level, we would be at the top; hence, the 50% goal is still valid. 

 

Rollins stated that the proposed plan is a “degree-long” program intended to develop international competence of the students by requiring that they learn a foreign language well enough so that they can use it overseas; additionally, they are required to study a critical number of core international subjects, and participate in a significant overseas study and/or work experience.  The aim is to do this within the student’s major and that they complete their degree requirements in a timely fashion, i.e. without significantly extending the time required getting their degree.  Specifically, the plan requires students to complete two years of foreign language study on campus (four courses), plus an overseas experience (e.g. an internship or research) in a country in which that language is used.  The plan also requires students to complete three “international courses,” one of which has to be in comparative international studies, another in global economics, while the third should involve a particular region or country, where the student will, hopefully, go to study.  Rollins stated that a large number of “international courses” will be offered on the GT campus to meet that requirement.  Additionally, the plan requires students to complete two terms of overseas experience, one of which must be for study either at one of our overseas campuses, or at one of our partner overseas universities (e.g. Technical University of Munich or Monterey Tech); the second term may also be a study term or it can be spent conducting research or working overseas.  Finally, the plan requires students to complete a “capstone” course in their major, which integrates the components of their international experience. 

 

The “payoff” for participating in the proposed plan is the “International Plan” designation to be printed on the students’ diplomas below their degree label.  This would signify to potential employers that the student has successfully completed all the requirements for the plan, and that he/she has met Georgia Tech’s standard for “international competence.”  It is important to recognize that this is neither a new degree, nor a new minor.  It is an option within existing undergraduate degrees; therefore, Board of Regents approval is not required.  Rollins stated that nearly a dozen programs have agreed to participate in this plan and are currently seeking approval within their respective schools/ colleges.  At the same time, we are developing a plan to submit to the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee; the degree designator request, along with the individual school/college plans for the participating programs, will be discussed at the October meeting of the IUCC.  It is hoped that the IUCC will act on this plan and present it to the Academic Senate for approval in December; the goal is to begin recruiting students in the Spring, so that freshmen can start their language training in their first year (beginning Fall’05).  [Hughes pointed out that the Academic Senate meeting is scheduled for November 30, 2004 rather than in December].  Rollins reiterated the fact that this plan is a part of the QEP to be submitted for the SACS accreditation, and that funding will be provided to launch and sustain it, by offering courses in foreign languages and international courses and developing the study abroad and overseas internship programs.  Additionally, funding will be provided to support efforts within schools and colleges to modify or create the required capstone course, and develop overseas partners.  He concluded by asking Board members for their help in informing their constituencies about this new initiative and soliciting their input and comments; such feedback will help shape the proposed plan now and in the future.   

 

Hughes stated that he, together with Drs. Lohmann and Rollins, will talk to the IUCC about the program at their next working meeting (09/29/04) to give them an advance look at the plan before formally submitting it for their approval.  This will give the IUCC the chance to examine the plan from a “structural” (i.e. rules) perspective.  He asked Board members for their input as to whether the proposed plan is a “good thing” that we should pursue, as well as any concerns they may have, so that they can be addressed as we move forward.

 

A question was asked as to whether students interested in the international plan would choose to do so when they apply to Georgia Tech.  Rollins responded affirmatively and stated that it is important for students to join the program as freshmen, so that they can complete the foreign language requirement in their freshman and sophomore years, and that recruiting will be done in high schools.  A question was asked as to whether there are circumstances where a student would not be allowed to participate in the program.  Rollins indicated that discussions are taking place at this time as to the standards required for participation in the program; these will likely include “good academic standing” with a minimum GPA.  He indicated that there is concern about the number of students who can be accommodated in the program, and that in about 5 years, he expects to have approximately 300 participating freshmen, with a total of about 1200 participants in all levels when the program is fully implemented.  The minimum GPA constraint may need to be raised depending on the demand.  A comment was made that it may be necessary to have a performance standard to remain in the program while in the US, and possibly, a higher standard to be allowed to participate in study-abroad programs.  A comment was made that we should be concerned about “overly-ambitious” students signing up for the international plan, the co-op plan, double majors, etc. 

 

A question was asked as to when students have to declare a major and whether the timing would impact the students’ progress through the program.  A follow-up comment was made that there are many freshmen in GT1000 who have not declared a major.  Rollins indicated that there are elements in the program, viz. foreign language and international courses, which they can take before declaring a major.  After declaring their major, students can participate in study-abroad and take courses in their major overseas either as sophomores or juniors; they can then take the capstone course on campus as seniors. He indicated that it may not matter if a student changes his/her major during the first two years since there are common elements to the international plan for all majors.  A question was asked as to how overseas courses will be staffed.  Rollins indicated that some of our faculty will teach at our overseas campuses; also, we will have partner universities in different parts of the world that will allow us to send students to countries that use the languages we teach.  He said that we are currently working on establishing such agreements with high quality institutions (similar to those we have at Munich and Monterey).   A comment was made that the ACC may establish a consortium for international studies which would expand the opportunities available to our students.  A question was asked as to whether we expect to reach the 50% international experience level among our undergraduates with this program alone, or in conjunction with other (current) programs.  Rollins stated that other programs already in place (e.g. summer programs and faculty-led programs) will continue and that this program will complement them; it is hoped that all components of our international education (existing programs and the proposed international plan) will grow so that we can reach the 50% participation level.  Lohmann commented that while there are still several details to be worked out, this program is not for “average students.”  It will allow us to market Georgia Tech and recruit some truly-outstanding students, with vision and commitment to achieve the level of international competence required by this program.  He indicated that other leading technological universities do not offer programs of this type; this program may, therefore, “differentiate” Georgia Tech and give us the opportunity to get some of those outstanding students, who otherwise may not come to Georgia Tech. 

 

A comment was made that if a student chooses to work abroad for the second overseas term, the Division of Professional Practice already has things set-up to assist with finding work abroad, securing the necessary Visa, etc.  A question was asked regarding international undergraduate students on F-1 visa, who wish to participate in this program, and whether they would be allowed to do so in their home country.  Rollins indicated that this issue is currently under discussion; however, the emerging consensus is that international students would not be allowed to do their two terms abroad in their home country, since that would defeat the purpose of achieving new international competencies.  He indicated that discussions are still on-going as to whether international students would be allowed to do the two terms abroad in a country that uses the same language as their native tongue (e.g. a student from South America spending two terms in Spain).  He said that we do not wish to exclude international students from participating in the program.  A question was asked as to how many other universities offer programs of this type.  Rollins indicated that this program is unique, and that if it exists it would be in a liberal arts school rather than a technological university like Georgia Tech.  Lohmann stated that an important, unique, feature of this program is the fact that it is a “degree-long” program, rather than just a summer experience or a junior-year abroad; students have to participate from their freshman to their senior years, and have to integrate these activities within their majors.  He stated that he knows of no other programs of this type in engineering.  The Provost commented that the majority of our students study engineering and sciences, and that when we set our 50% international experience goal several years ago, many people doubted that we can achieve it, since most programs of this type are in the humanities and social sciences.  The key to the success of this plan is finding a way to integrate it within the curriculum requirements of the degree programs.  A question was asked regarding support for undergraduates who wish to present the results of their research at international professional meetings.  Rollins indicated that this sounds like a good idea and that he will look into it.  He stated that he would like to promote overseas research opportunities, and that funding students to present papers overseas on research done here or sending them to do research overseas would provide a valuable experience.  A question was asked as to how students will pay for the overseas elements of the plan in light of the survey results which indicated that costs are the top impediment to participation.  Rollins stated that students can take all their financial aid with them when they participate in study-abroad programs.  He indicated that he has had discussions with the Development Office to raise the funds necessary to establish “international scholarships” which can be used to defray the difference in costs between studying here and studying overseas, especially for expensive places like Japan.  A comment was made that some places, e.g. GTL, may be less expensive than Atlanta, especially since housing is subsidized. 

 

The Chair thanked Dr. Rollins and Dr. Lohmann for their presentation.                     

 

6.      The Chair presented the proposed agenda for the Fall meeting of the General Faculty and General Faculty Assembly combined with meeting of the Academic Senate (see Attachment #6 below).  He indicated that the meeting will be held on Thursday October 14, 2004 at the Global Learning Center.  The main item on the agenda is the President’s State of the Institute address.  Other items include the proposed Faculty Handbook revisions dealing with faculty governance of athletics (as discussed today), along with approval of meeting minutes and presentation of annual reports of elected Standing Committees.  The proposed agenda was approved without dissent. 

 

7.      The Chair called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:20 PM. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

September 27, 2004

 

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

 

1.       “The University System of Georgia -- Why we are where we are” September 2004

2.      Minutes of the EB meeting of August 24, 2004. http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2005-082404-Minuteswbpg.htm

3.      Account Management at Georgia Tech (Presentation by Ron Hutchins and John Mullin)

4.      Addition to Faculty Handbook Covering Intercollegiate Athletics Governance (Presentation by Ron Bohlander/Russell Gentry)

5.      The International Plan (presentation by Howard Rollins and Jack Lohmann)

6.      Proposed Agenda for October 14, 2004 Fall Meeting of the General Faculty and General Faculty Assembly combined with Meeting of the Academic Senate