GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of May 16, 2006

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

 

 

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

 

Members Absent: Clough (President); Foley (CoC)

 

Visitors: Allen (Pres. Office); Herazy (Prov. Office); Smith (V. Provost)

 

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.

 

  1. The Spring semester commencement was held at the Georgia Dome; Bernie Marcus was the speaker.  Because of the increasing number of graduates, next December may be the last time the commencement can be held on campus.  Discussions will be held during the next few months as to how future ceremonies are to be organized and where they will be held.  

 

  1. The Chancellor visited Georgia Tech two weeks ago.  He met with the President then met with the Provost and Sr. Vice President.  He also met with groups of faculty, Deans, alumni, and students, visited two research labs in the Bunger Henry building, and toured Technology Square.  The visit went very well.

 

  1. There are concerns regarding how the new tuition plan introduced by the Chancellor will be implemented.  The plan fixes the tuition of each freshman class for a four year period; there are many issues to be resolved including tuition for transfer students and students who do not graduate in four years.  A committee has been established to work out the details.  

 

  1. Georgia Tech has appealed the recently imposed NCAA sanctions; the decision is now in the hands of the NCAA Appeals Committee.  

 

  1. The budget will be tight this year; nevertheless, we will be adding a few new faculty positions.

 

  1. The new freshman class looks very good; we expect approximately 2600 new freshmen (slightly higher than last year) with a larger number of women, African Americans, and Hispanics. Deposits are up for all colleges even though the number of applications for the Colleges of Computing and Engineering were lower than last year.

 

  1. Summer school this year will be very robust.  We expect to enroll 200 freshmen in the late-summer program, which starts after high school graduation.  It will be helpful to freshmen who need a “head start” before the school year begins in the fall. 

 

There were no questions for the Provost. 

 

2.      The Chair welcomed the new student representatives to the Executive Board; Alison Graab and Mitch Keller are the new Presidents of the Undergraduate and Graduate Student bodies.

 

3.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the April 11, 2006 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).

 

4.      The Chair initiated a discussion of the final report submitted by the Ad Hoc Committee on Multi-Campus Faculty Governance, Development, and Integration (see Attachment #2a below).  He enumerated the issues identified by the committee, and the corresponding proposed action items (see Attachment #2b below); thirteen action items have been identified (see Attachment #2c below). 

 

The first action item addresses the committee’s concerns regarding the RPT process for faculty on rotation to GTx, faculty with permanent appointment at GTx, and faculty involved in study abroad programs; it is proposed that an addendum to the RPT “best practices” document be prepared by the Executive Board to specifically address these issues, including metrics appropriate for the GTx mission and other related issues.  The second action item deals with the committee’s recommendation that the Institute support technologies to enhance the capabilities of faculty at GTx to communicate with the Atlanta campus; it is proposed that the Executive Board works with OIT to identify technologies suitable for providing the necessary collaboration support technologies, identify the costs, and make the case for Institute funding.  The third action item deals with the committee’s observation regarding the cumbersome nature of the current process for documenting travel expenses; it is recommended that the Executive Board work with Sr. VP Thompson to identify ways to streamline the reimbursement process for faculty abroad, to address issues related to the need for original receipts, deadlines, and translations.  

 

The fourth action item addresses the issue identified by the committee with regard to submittal of final grades when the final exam periods at GTx and GT-Atlanta do not match because of differences in the academic calendars of the two campuses; it is recommended that the Executive Board work with the Registrar and OIT to identify the needs/means for different OSCAR access schedules to better support faculty teaching at GTx when exam periods are different than that for GT-Atlanta.  The fifth action item addresses the issue identified by the committee with regard to the difficulty of administering the teaching assessment and student evaluations especially when internet connections to the main campus are limited; it is proposed that the Executive Board work with CETL to study the issues associated with student teaching evaluations for courses taught outside Atlanta, and, if necessary, propose alternative methods to conduct such evaluations.  The sixth action item relates to the committee’s finding regarding faculty support by local staff at GTx and that faculty expectations may be inconsistent with local culture; it is proposed that faculty leadership at GTx should be encouraged to follow the GTL model and develop an appropriate orientation program addressing local support expectations, cultural issues and customs, utility costs, accommodations, health care, schools, etc., prior to the faculty member’s first rotation to GTx.  Additional support mechanisms can be explored, such as a Wiki for rotators.

 

The seventh action item relates to the committee’s concerns regarding the location of tenure for GTx faculty, the definition of home unit, voting, and membership on faculty committees; it is proposed that the Executive Board work with the VP Academic Affairs to clarify the definition of home unit and eligibility for voting and membership on committees, and, if necessary, to recommend changes to the Faculty Handbook.  The eighth action item addresses the committee’s finding regarding the need to identify the faculty committees for which GTx faculty are eligible and providing the means for them to participate in committee meetings; it is proposed that the Executive Board consider issuing a resolution that remote access to committee meetings and faculty assemblies be provided for faculty at GTx.  The ninth action item relates to the committee’s questions regarding the criteria for GTx faculty to hold joint appointments with the Atlanta units and whether joint and/or courtesy appointments should be considered “automatic;” it is proposed that the Executive Board work with the VP Academic Affairs to determine if, in fact, there is ambiguity in the home unit/joint appointment policy that needs to be clarified for GTx faculty. 

 

The tenth action item pertains to the committee’s findings regarding provision of faculty services to promote the integration of GTx faculty within the Institute; it is recommended that the Executive Board establish an ad hoc committee representing the faculty, GTx, Registrar, Dean of Libraries, OIT, and OCA to examine issues related to access of GTx faculty to services such as Banner, OSCAR, WebCT, admissions, recruitment, OCA, LENDS, etc.  The eleventh action item addresses the committee’s questions regarding the role that DLPE should play in providing distance learning classes to GTx and providing/supporting the delivery of DL classes from GTx back to Atlanta; it is proposed that the Executive Board establish an ad hoc committee representing the faculty, GTx, DLPE, unit heads and Deans to examine the issues related to the use/role of DLPE in supporting satellite campuses and international programs.  The twelfth action item pertains to the committee’s concerns regarding Export Control issues under the new ITAR regulations which may directly affect the research that can be undertaken by research faculty away from Atlanta; it is proposed that the Executive Board offer to work with the Provost to identify mechanisms to insure faculty are informed of their ITAR responsibilities and limitations.  The last action item pertains to the issues raised by the committee regarding the overall organizational structure and the reporting chain of the various campuses/programs within the Institute; it is proposed that the Executive Board offer to work with the Provost to insure that the organizational structure of the Institute (particularly all its GTx components) is easily understood by our faculty, students, and partners. 

 

A comment was made that the wording of action item #1 on the list (Attachment #2c) should be expanded to include faculty who are permanently assigned at GTx.  A question was asked as to where one draws the line regarding the need for Executive Board action and leaving matters for individual schools to resolve.  The Chair stated that the Executive Board should look at issues that broadly affect the institute, and that while not all schools are currently involved in programs outside Atlanta, this is the general direction of the Institute.  A comment was made that RPT practices clearly affect the entire Institute; it also makes sense to resolve issues dealing with services provided by the Registrar, DLPE, OIT, etc. on an institute-wide basis since it does not make sense for individual schools to attempt to resolve these issues.  A comment was made that the action items can be divided into two categories:  items # 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, and 12 are mostly “procedural” or services-related while items # 1, 7, 9, and 13 are “structural.”  It is important for the Executive Board to address the structural issues.  The Provost stated that there are many ongoing activities and committees at this time which address most of the proposed action items and that it is important for the Executive Board not to duplicate these efforts.  As an example, he pointed to ongoing efforts in the area of ITAR and export controls compliance (item #12).  He stated that it is not a matter of simply informing the faculty regarding these rules; instead, we want to make sure that everyone complies with them since the new rules make individual faculty members personally liable for non-compliance.  He indicated that new travel procedures will be introduced on July 1st of this year; the travel authorization forms will include a series of questions (hopefully only four) to ascertain whether export control issues are involved.  [Note added by the SoF:  Detailed presentations on export control issues were given by the GT Office of Legal Affairs at the August 23, 2005 meeting of the Executive Board and the September 13, 2005 meeting of the Academic Senate; meeting minutes can be found at http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2006-082305add-Minuteswp.htm and http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/ASAFGF2006-091305-Minuteswp.htm, respectively].

 

Cabot (OIT) stated that OIT is currently working with DLPE to collect data on faculty needs in a multi-campus global structure, and that plans are in the works to address many of the issues raised in the ad hoc committee report and the proposed action items.  She indicated that many of the ongoing activities have definite timelines and deliverables and we should not divert OIT’s focus away from their efforts.  She stated that it would be valuable for the Board to find out what those plans are so that we would not duplicate these efforts and make sure that all the issues raised in the ad hoc committee report are addressed.  She suggested that the Board invite Ron Hutchins (OIT) to give a presentation on these ongoing activities. A comment was made that it may also be valuable to ask the heads of other service units, e.g. the Registrar, DLPE, Library, CETL, etc. to report on ongoing activities addressing the issues raised by the ad hoc committee and the recommended action items.  A comment was made that item #3 can be handled in the same manner; the EB Chair can inform Bob Thompson (Sr. V. President) of the issues and concerns raised in the report regarding travel reimbursements and ask that his staff look into what can be done to streamline the process within the limits imposed by State regulations.   A comment was made that this issue may be handled by providing advances on expected travel expenses.  A comment was made that at this time, the Executive Board may want to focus only on item #1 and a combination of items #7 and 9, and that we should contact the heads of various service units to see what is being done on the remaining action items.  A question was raised regarding the appropriate unit to deal with action item #6 (development of appropriate orientation programs for GTx faculty).  A follow-up comment was made that OIE is the logical choice for such activity and that the EB Chair should contact Howard Rollins (Director, OIE) to find out about current orientation programs.  The Provost stated that student orientation programs are conducted by OIE, and that students cannot participate in overseas international summer programs without going through such orientation.  

 

It was agreed that the Executive Board should focus on two action items, namely, item #1 dealing with the RPT process, and a combination of items # 7 and 9 dealing with the definition of “home unit” and the requirements for joint appointments.  The Provost suggested that if a committee is to be established to address the RPT issue they should contact Don Giddens (Dean, CoE) and David Frost (Director, GT-S); together with several CoE unit Chairs, they have been planning to re-work some of the RPT guidelines for CoE based on the experience gained in the past few years.  They essentially want to emulate the process used by ECE which appears to have worked very well.  A comment was made that modifying the RPT best practices document to account for GTx faculty activities which are not currently taken into account in the RPT evaluation process (e.g. start-up activities for GTx) may be viewed as a “reward” for such activities; this is a fundamental change in the tenure evaluation process where candidates are judged to have demonstrated the intellect and capacity to do outstanding scholarly work to the point that the Institute is willing to give them a life-time contract.  Others disagreed; a comment was made that while the volume of the candidate’s research output may be reduced due to their involvement in start-up activities, the quality of the research can still be evaluated.  A follow-up comment was made that GT-S is the only campus where faculty were involved in start-up activities, and that tenure cases are “individual”; some people are clearly doing well and should be tenured, while in other cases, even if we allow for “start-up activities,” their performance is not worthy of tenure.  A comment was made that we often have a single “template” for everyone to be compared against, which is not a “best practice;” the aim of the proposed action item is not to create a policy that makes it easy to have positive decisions which we may regret later.  A comment was made that the best practices document provides guidance on procedures rather than criteria.

 

A motion was made that two ad hoc committees be created; the first should address the first action item dealing with modification of the RPT best practices document, while the second should address action items #7 and 9 which deal with possible changes in the Faculty Handbook to clarify the definition of “home unit” and the policy for joint appointments.  The Committees are to complete their work and report back to the Executive Board by the end of the Fall’ 06 term.  The motion passed without dissent.   

 

Discussion ensued regarding the size and membership of the two committees; Bras (ME) and Yen (BIOL) agreed to serve on the first committee. The Chair will contact Jane Ammons (Associate Dean, CoE) and Andy Peterson (ECE) to request their service on the first committee.   Hughes (ECE) agreed to serve on the second committee along with Smith (V. Provost); the Chair will contact Ron Bohlander (Chair, Statutes Committee) to request his service on the second committee.  The Chair stated that he will send copies of the ad hoc committee report (Attachment #2a) to heads of the various service units and ask them to report on any ongoing activities which address the committee’s recommendations and the remaining action items (Attachment #2c).    

 

5.      The Chair called for other business; hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 4:40 PM. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

May 21, 2006

Amended June 20, 2006

 

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

 

1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of April 11, 2006 http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2006-041106-Minuteswp.htm

2.      Ad Hoc Committee on Multi-Campus Faculty Development, Governance, and Integration.

a.       Final Report

b.      Summary of Issues Identified by the Committee and Corresponding Action Items

c.       List of Proposed Action Items.