Meeting of June 20, 2006

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center



Members Present: Ballard (GTRI); Braga (CHEM); Bras (ME); Foley (CoC); Graab (U. Student);Huff (GTRI); Keller (G. Student); McGinnis (ISyE); Schneider (MGT); Yen (BIOL); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).  


Members Absent: Akins (Prof Prac); Barnhart (GTRI); Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Clough (President); First (Phys); Gentry (Arch); Hughes (ECE); Price (IMTC); Wood (LCC).


Visitors: Allen (Pres. Office); Ellis (OIT/ART); Mullin (OIT); Palmer (OIT/ART); Pikowsky (Registrar).


1.      Leon McGinnis (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:08 PM.  He called for approval of minutes of the May 16, 2006 meeting of the Executive Board.  Keller (G. Student) stated that the attendance list does not show that Mr. Bechtel (G. Student) had attended in his behalf; the SoF stated that the minutes will be so amended.  The minutes, as amended, were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


2.      The Chair called on Dr. John Mullin (OIT) to describe on-going activities at OIT that parallel the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Multi-Campus Faculty Governance, Development & Integration chaired by Professor Hayes (ECE/GTS).  Mullin stated that the items of concern identified by the Ad Hoc Committee fall into two categories; the first deals with technology support and bandwidth to campuses outside Atlanta, while the second deals with issues related to the administrative processes.  He indicated that today’s presentation will address the first category of issues; the second set of issues will not be addressed today since they deal with systems that support the business processes (e.g. the Registrar, CETL, etc.) -- the results of those process evaluations may or may not require technology change – hence, OIT will await the results of those discussions.  Mullin stated that OIT has long recognized the need for, and importance of, providing an adequate level of technology support to faculty and students at campuses outside Atlanta.  OIT has been working with GT-Savannah and GTL for nearly a year to address those needs; this has been formalized with the appointment of Mr. Dwayne Palmer as Manager of External Relations.  Mullin called on Mr. Palmer (OIT/ART) to present some of the technology options available to address the issues and concerns identified by the Ad Hoc Committee.  He also introduced Ms. Christy Ellis (OIT/ART) who serves as project manager for academic research technologies.


A handout entitled “Communications for Globalization” was distributed (See Attachment #2 below).  Palmer stated that “communication” is the most important issue to be addressed as the Institute moves towards globalization.  Various communication options, including cell phones, calling cards, instant messaging, video conferencing, NetMeeting, and Skype are described in the handout.  Palmer stated that he has a weekly video conference with GTL and GTS and that technology is being customized to fit the needs of each campus.  He indicated that it is considerably easier to meet the needs of GTS and make them feel like any other unit on the Atlanta campus because of their proximity; they are provided with a network, along with all the necessary services (e-mail; webpages; etc.).  However, for GTL there are several challenges, one of which is establishing a point-to-point connection with Atlanta through a dedicated fiber link.  This issue is being addressed at this time; we are encountering some objections from France Telecom.   At this time we have a shared network which allows us to communicate with them through video conferencing.  Working closely with the one IT person at GTL (Jean Jacques Michael), we have restructured their technology environment; new webpages, new e-mail, etc.—we have helped them set-up customized services similar to those we offer in Atlanta.  Palmer stated that as other campuses are opened (e.g. India, Singapore), OIT will work with the leaders of those initiatives to identify their technology needs ahead of time. 


A question was asked as to whether the technology fees paid by students at campuses outside Atlanta (e.g. GTL, Singapore, etc.) get spent on their respective campus.  Palmer stated that the student fees from various campuses go into the same pool as students from Atlanta.  OIT is working with Jean Jacque Michael to prepare a proposal so that some of the planned initiatives for GTL can be funded from that pool.  OIT is also working with Howard Rollins (OIE) and DLPE to develop a “Globalization Office.”  Mullin stated that the Provost recognized the technology needs at overseas campuses and has allocated a significant sum to address those needs.  A comment was made that the business processes at GTL are different than those in Atlanta; in some cases, faculty visiting GTL have to do double the paperwork.  A follow-up question was asked as to whether people at GTL have access to the administrative databases.  Mullin stated that there are no limitations; authorized users from GTL can access the databases.  A comment was made that video teleconferencing from GTL appears to work smoothly; however, telephone connectivity is not optimal.  Mullin stated that efforts are underway this summer to replace our campus telephone system with a GT-owned system, and that the new system services will be extended to Savannah and Metz. 


A question was asked regarding security issues with Skype.  Mullin stated that some of the concerns are listed in the handout (Attachment #2); Skype can bypass network firewalls, Network Address Translation (NAT), and network proxies.  Traffic monitoring is difficult, only initial packets are not opaque to devices like Intrusion Detection Systems, which also makes attack protection difficult.  Based on the research conducted by the OIT Security team, Skype is not recommended.  Mullin stated that it is advisable not to put a Skype client on the same domain or on the same machine used to access sensitive data; by maintaining a level of isolation, it is possible to lower the risk to an acceptable level.  A follow-up question was raised as to whether the same concerns apply to NetMeeting.  Palmer stated that both Skype and NetMeeting are easy to hack; it is important to keep all antivirus and firewalls up to date and to keep sensitive data off the machines by putting it on removable media.  Mullin suggested that people traveling overseas should remove any sensitive data they don’t need from their laptops.  He stated that at this time, OIT is testing several encryption products for use with laptops.  A question was asked regarding the cell phones described in the handout (Attachment #2) and whether those phones are provided by OIT or the Institute.  Mullin stated that cell phones are generally provided by each department; the campus cell phone policy states that departments can provide cell phones for faculty use if it is business-appropriate.  So, the decision is up to the department.  OIT has worked with the Purchasing Department to get standardized discounts and attractive pricing for some of the packages.  A comment was made that HR conducts a great deal of business involving sensitive information (e.g. medical records) using FAX; guidance on best practices to assure security of the information would be helpful.  A comment was made that it would be helpful to have a mechanism for OIT to communicate with the campus community on various issues as they arise.  Mullin stated that OIT communicates regularly with the Computer Support personnel of the various units; they also publish quarterly newsletters and briefs for unit Chairs and Deans, which are placed on the OIT website and the portal.  Mullin stated that OIT is open to suggestions on how to enhance communications with the campus community.  A suggestion was made that brief information or weblinks to topical items can be included in the notices sent regarding pending expiration of passwords. 


The Chair thanked Dr. Mullin and Mr. Palmer for their presentation.                 


3.      The Chair called on Ms. Reta Pikowsky (Registrar) to describe ongoing activities at the Registrar’s Office that parallel the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Multi-Campus Faculty Governance, Development & Integration chaired by Monty Hayes (ECE/GTS).  Ms. Pikowsky referred to the handout (See Attachment #3 below) which discusses the Registrar’s Office plans for reviewing processes, services, and calendars.  She stated that among the issues identified by the Ad Hoc Committee are the reporting of grades by faculty at campuses outside Atlanta, and synchronization of calendars among the different campuses.  She stated that another issue deals with establishing a mechanism for gathering feedback from the constituents of the Registrar’s Office.  An Advisory Board for the Registrar’s Office was established in the Spring (06); the first meeting was held on April 10, 2006.  A list of Board members was shown (see Attachment #3); it includes faculty, staff, and students from a broad range of units around campus.  A list of likely discussion topics for the Advisory Board during the coming academic year was presented; these include: (a) services delivered through OSCAR; (b) status of technology in the Registrar’s Office; (c) Calendars for registration, reporting of grades, etc.; (d) customer service feedback; and (e) setting of service goals.


A question was asked as to whether any of the Advisory Board members has served at an overseas campus.  Pikowsky stated that Doug Allen (Arch) may have done so; she agreed that it would be important and beneficial to include someone with that experience on the Advisory Board.  A question was asked as to whether it would be possible to control access to the grade reporting function by user and domain, as well as date.  Pikowsky stated that she will look into this possibility so that the switch for allowing grades to be turned in may be activated at different times for the different campuses. Mullin (OIT) stated that such a system is possible but not in the immediate future.  A comment was made that the time difference between Atlanta and any other campus is less than 12 hours; so, it may easy to simply extend the grade entry period by 12 hours.  A follow-up comment was made that the different campuses may have different calendars, which may shift the finals and grade-reporting periods by days (or weeks) rather than hours.  The Registrar stated that it may be possible to allow access to the grade reporting function throughout the semester; the various options will be examined.


The Chair thanked Ms. Pikowsky for her presentation.


4.      The Chair stated that Dr. Donna Llewellyn (CETL Director) will be reporting to the Board at a later date on CETL activities that parallel the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Multi-Campus Faculty Governance, Development & Integration.


5.      The Chair called on Dr. Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen (Pres. Office) to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  She offered the following comments in behalf of the President.


a.       The President and Mrs. Clough are hosting an Alumni tour of Wales, Ireland, England, and Scotland.  Following the tour, he will attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new GTRI facility in Ireland and visit GTL.


b.      The Provost search is in progress; the search Committee is chaired by professor Koros of ChBE.  The nomination process will be open till June 26; several strong candidates have already been nominated.  An open forum will be held on June 27; the President will speak at that forum to describe the important qualifications for the person to fill that position, and why the decision was made to limit the search to internal candidates. The discussion will be open for input from faculty and staff regarding the desired qualifications and the search process.


A question was asked as to when the search process for the new Provost will be concluded.  Dr. Allen stated that it is hoped that a new Provost will be named before Dr. Chameau leaves Georgia Tech in August.   


6.      The Chair stated that Dr. Abdel-Khalik has requested to step down from his position as Secretary of the Faculty because of additional service activities at the National level related to nuclear power.  The Board needs to seek nominations for the SoF position, discuss the candidates, and forward a recommendation to the President; the selected candidate needs to be approved by the General Faculty.  The duties of the SoF include setting the dates and agendas for meetings of the Executive Board, the Academic Senate, and General Faculty Assembly, preparing the meeting minutes, organizing the Spring elections for various standing committees, and maintaining the faculty governance website.  The Chair indicated that an e-mail solicitation will be sent to seek candidates for the position.  He urged members to identify and contact faculty members suitable for this assignment.  Candidates will be discussed at the first meeting of the new Board (August 22, 2006); it is hoped that the new SoF will be presented for approval at the October 10th, 2006 meeting of the General Faculty.


7.      The Chair stated that the July 18th, 2006 meeting of the Executive Board will be cancelled.  He called for other business; hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 4:00 PM. 


Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

June 22, 2006


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


1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of May 16, 2006

2.      “Communications for Globalization,” Report presented by Dwayne Palmer (OIT/ART).

3.      “Plans for Reviewing Processes, Services & Calendars,” Report presented by Reta Pikowsky (Registrar).