Meeting of February 14, 2006

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center



Members Present: Akins (Prof Prac); Ballard (GTRI); Braga (CHEM); Bras (ME); Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); First (Phys); Hughes (ECE); McGinnis (ISyE); Price (IMTC); Schneider (MGT); Wood (LCC); Yen (BIOL); Alexander (Staff Rep); Keller (for David; G. Student); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).  


Members Absent: Andersen (U. Student); Barnhart (GTRI); Clough (President); Foley (CoC); Gentry (Arch); Huff (GTRI)


Visitors: Allen (Pres. Office); Rossignac (CoC); Thompson (Senior VP)


1.      Leon McGinnis (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM.  He called on the Provost to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The Provost offered the following comments in behalf of the President.


a.       Several important searches are in progress: the search committee for the College of Management Dean has come up with a short list of very strong candidates; we expect to finalize this selection within 2-3 weeks.  The search for an Athletic Director to replace David Braine is progressing rapidly. Dr. Ron Bayer has been named Chair of the School of History, Technology & Society.  Dr. Jeffrey Skolnick has joined the School of Biology as GRA Eminent Scholar in Computational Systems Biology; he will lead the Center for the Study of Systems Biology which will use one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers (top 50) to advance research into new drugs for treatment of life-threatening diseases, with funding from the State of Georgia, GRA, and IBM.


b.      Georgia Tech and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are preparing a major NSF proposal ($35-40M) in the area of high performance computing.  Faculty members from the Colleges of Computing and Engineering are involved.  Several of our faculty and staff will be working essentially full time at ORNL, while some ORNL staff will be working on the GT campus.


c.       Budget for this fiscal year is very tight because of three reasons: (1) tuition income is less than expected because of lower-than-expected number of out-of-state students; (2) the number of graduate student credit-hours is less than what was planned at the beginning of the year; and (3) a number of units have been very lenient in their use of tuition waivers. 


d.      The Legislature is working on the State budget.  We expect a 4% salary increase which will again start January 1, 2007 (rather than July 06).  We expect the formula to be fully funded; however, that will not provide additional funding because of enrollment trends over the past 3-4 years.  The budget will include $38M for the Nanotechnology facility; this represents the last installment of the State’s $45M contribution.  We are working hard to get funding for renovation of the old CE building, which was vetoed by the Governor last year.  The budget for the Georgia Research Alliance is expected to increase which should be beneficial to GT.


e.       The new Chancellor is officially on-board; he is expected to visit Georgia Tech in early March.


f.        Construction of the Klaus Computing building is slower than expected; we are not sure if people will be able to move in by the end of the summer.  The building is financed by a combination of private and State funding; so, we have had to go through all the approval processes required by the State.  This is to be contrasted with the privately-financed biotechnology complex which was completed in a much shorter period of time.  


A question was asked as to whether the (+ and –) grading system will be presented to the Academic Senate for discussion.  The Provost stated that approximately six months ago we were approached by UGA and Georgia State who indicated that they had evaluated such a system and that they wish to implement it.  We indicated that we would not oppose such a change as long as it is not mandatory for all units in the University System to implement it.  The new policy allows various units in the University System to adopt such a grading system if they choose to do so.  There is no strong feeling among the GT faculty as to whether or not to adopt such a system; however, our students are strongly opposed to it.  There is no pressure being applied on us by the BOR to adopt such a grading system; hence, no action has been taken.  If, however, we decide to move in that direction, significant discussion would have to take place with the faculty and students; the Academic Senate would certainly be involved.  A comment was made that the grading system is specified in the Student Rules and Regulations; changes have to be approved by the Student Rules and Regulations Committee and the Academic Senate.  A question was raised regarding the recent proposal by a State Legislator regarding guaranteed admission to public institutions for the top 10% of high school graduates (so called “GA Promise”).  The Provost stated that the indications are that this proposal will not be approved; however, we are in the process of assessing what it would mean to GT if such a policy were to be adopted.  Clearly, if the admission requirements of each unit in the University System were to be ignored, then such a policy would have a significant impact.  However, as it is currently written, the proposal guarantees access to the “University System” but not necessarily to a specific institution in the system.  A question was asked regarding the itinerary for the Chancellor’s upcoming visit to GT.  The Provost stated that the Chancellor is expected to be on campus for only two hours.    His staff is in the process of organizing visits for him to the various campuses.  We are waiting to hear from his staff regarding the goals of such visits before we develop the agenda.  Nevertheless, it will be important to show the spectrum of activities taking place at GT, and demonstrate that many of the cutting edge activities we do require resources and facilities which are not typical for an average university in the State of Georgia.            


2.      The Chair called on the Provost to summarize the process by which faculty members are hired with tenure.  The Provost stated that up to the late 90’s, BOR regulations did not allow us to grant tenure to faculty members at the time they are hired.  While this is the norm for the hiring of junior faculty, it made it difficult for us to attract senior faculty from leading universities where they already have tenure.  This put us at a disadvantage when hiring people to fill Chaired positions, especially since most leading universities can offer tenure at the time a senior person is hired.  In the late 90’s, the BOR modified the policy to allow us to offer tenure to a limited number of highly accomplished people (e.g. members of the National Academies, etc.), mostly to fill endowed Chairs.  More recently (~ 3 years ago), the opportunity has been expanded, so that now all units have the option to hire people with tenure.  This is not done in all cases; it is done only when the merits of the case warrant it.  In many cases, senior people are still being hired without tenure; in such cases, they are given credit towards tenure, which allows them (if they wish) to apply for tenure early.  They can also opt not to exercise that option and follow the normal six-year tenure clock.   In order to hire someone with tenure, the Search Committee must indicate that such an offer is appropriate.  The unit’s promotion and tenure committee is asked to evaluate the candidate’s credentials and make a statement as to whether or not tenure is appropriate.  Most of the cases involve people we are trying to hire who have tenure at other major universities; in very rare cases, highly accomplished people from outside academia are offered tenure at the time they are hired.  We have never had any questions from the Chancellor’s office regarding the merits of the offers we have made with tenure.


A question was asked as to whether this policy applies regardless of rank.  The Provost stated that the person must, at a minimum, be hired at the Associate Professor level, and must be tenured at his or her prior institution.  However, so far, 90% of the cases have been for endowed chairs or full professors.    


3.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the January 10, 2006 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


4.      The Chair called on Senior Vice President Thompson to present an overview of the on-going study of Georgia Tech’s Economic Impact.  The study has been sponsored by several leading Georgia corporations.  The objective is to document the economic impact of Georgia Tech for the Atlanta region and the State of Georgia, and to make recommendations to optimize future impact and improve Georgia Tech’s competitive position.  The approach includes: (1) identifying the challenges faced by Atlanta and Georgia as they seek to compete in a global economy driven by innovation, and by Georgia Tech as it competes with peer universities across the nation and the world; (2) documenting Georgia Tech’s economic impact; (3) reviewing key issues that will increasingly hinder Georgia Tech’s ability to compete with peer institutions and serve as key driver for high-end economic development; and (4) identifying strategies and recommendations to expand Georgia Tech’s economic contribution to Atlanta and Georgia.  Preliminary results, conclusions, and recommendations were presented.       


5.      The Chair called on Dr. Joe Hughes (ECE), Co-Chair of the 2006 Nominations Committee, to present the proposed Ballot for the Spring 2006 Faculty Elections (see Attachment #2 below).  Hughes noted that there is one slot on the ballot for which a candidate is yet to be identified.  He stated that it is becoming increasingly difficult to identify candidates from the Academic faculty ranks who are willing to stand for election.  The Secretary of the Faculty stated that the elections procedures will be similar to those used last year; it will be a web-based process.  Voting will begin on March 29, 2006 (Wednesday after Spring break) and will continue for two weeks; a reminder will be sent to all faculty at the mid point and a second reminder will be sent two days before the end of the voting period.  A motion to approve the Ballot for the Spring 2006 Faculty Elections as proposed by the Nominations Committee passed without dissent. 


6.      The Chair presented the proposed agenda for the February 28, 2006 Spring meeting of the General Faculty and General Faculty Assembly combined with meeting of the Academic Senate (see Attachment #3 below).  He noted that a reception will be held after the meeting to honor the schools of Mathematics and Modern Languages as recipients of the Board of Regents Teaching Excellence Awards.  It was noted that the President may wish to postpone the presentation on the Economic Impact Study until discussions with the sponsors and other stakeholders are concluded.  A motion was made to approve the proposed agenda with possible deletion of the Economic Impact presentation. The motion passed without dissent.  


7.      The Chair stated that Professors Barke (Public Policy), Danyluk (ME), Giebelhaus (HTS), Jayaraman (PTFE), and Tolbert (CHEM) have agreed to serve on the dismissal Hearing Committee, and that Professor Giebelhaus has agreed to chair the committee.  The Chair noted that should the faculty member involved and/or the administration exercise their right to remove one or more committee members, the procedure established by the Executive Board at the January 10, 2006 meeting will be followed.


8.      The Chair called for other business; hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 4:50 PM. 


Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

February 19, 2006


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


1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of January 10, 2005

2.      Draft Ballot for Spring 2006 Faculty Elections

3.      Proposed Agenda for the February 28, 2006 Spring meeting of the General Faculty and General faculty Assembly combined with meeting of the Academic Senate