Meeting of October 25, 2005

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center



Members Present: Akins (Prof Prac); Ballard (GTRI); Barnhart (GTRI); Braga (CHEM); Bras (ME); First (Phys); Huff (GTRI); McGinnis (ISyE); Wood (LCC); Yen (BIOL); Andersen (U. Student); Keller (for David; G. Student); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).  


Members Absent: Alexander (Staff Rep); Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Clough (President); Gentry (Arch); Foley (CoC); Hughes (ECE); Price (IMTC); Schneider (MGT);


Visitors: Allen (Pres. Office); Lang (GTPD); Pikowsky (Registrar); Smith (Vice Provost); Stanley (GTPD)


1.      Leon McGinnis (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:00 PM.  Dr. Allen stated that the President is attending a search committee meeting for the new Chancellor.  She offered the following comments in behalf of the President:


a.       The National Cancer Institute of NIH has selected Georgia Tech and Emory as one of seven National centers for cancer nanotechnology excellence.  The award provides $3.6 M for the first year and is expected to reach $20M over the five-year funding period.  With this award GT and Emory now have one of the largest Federally-funded programs in the US for Biomedical nanotechnology.


b.      The freshman engineering student involved in the recent explosive device incident confessed to his involvement with creation of the “device;” he was indicted for possession of a disruptive device and reckless conduct.  He was originally suspended from classes; it was subsequently decided that he did not currently pose a risk to the campus and was, therefore, re-admitted.  He no longer resides on campus but he is taking classes.  A student judiciary panel review of his case is pending; he also faces outside legal actions/charges.


c.       Homecoming will take place this weekend; we expect alumni attendance to be 25% higher than last year.  On Friday, several faculty members will give technical seminars (9:00 AM to 3:30 PM) at the Global Learning Center (see list on homecoming website); in the past, these seminars were very well attended.  The President will also deliver the State of the Institute address (3:30 to 4:30 PM). 


d.      Students affected by the recent hurricanes who were displaced from their universities and subsequently admitted to Georgia Tech as temporary students have been invited to apply to GT as regular degree-seeking students.  The application deadline is November 25.  Most universities in the New Orleans area have delayed the deadline for withdrawal from Spring term classes till December; so, most of those students should find out about their admission to GT prior to that time.  So far, the BOR has provided no instructions regarding out-of-state tuition waivers for those students; the current assumption is that they will be responsible for paying out-of-state tuition.


e.       Georgia Tech students whose families have been affected by the hurricane have been encouraged to contact financial aid to undergo a re-evaluation for possible additional support.   Many of our students are involved in the clean-up activities.  We have submitted a proposal to NSF to hold a Forum on rebuilding of New Orleans; we hope to hold the Forum at GT in early 2006 – the proposal is currently under review.     


There were no questions for Dr. Allen.


2.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the August 23, 2005 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


3.      The Chair called on Ms. Reta Pikowsky (Registrar) who requested approval for intercollegiate athletic teams to participate in post-season play.  A list of dates and locations of potential post-season play for each of the participating teams was presented (See Attachment #2 below).  The list includes all possible post-season opportunities for athletic teams; the teams may not be invited to participate in all the events listed.  The Executive Board must approve before teams can participate in post-season play; a “blanket approval” is being sought at this time, rather than requesting approval when a team is actually invited (one at a time).  A motion to approve participation in post-season play for various sports, as presented by the Registrar, passed without dissent. 


4.      The Chair called on Mr. Robert Lang (Director of Homeland Security, GTPD) to present an overview of Georgia Tech’s Emergency Planning.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #3 below).  Lang introduced Mr. Frank Stanley who also works in the homeland security section of the GTPD.  He stated that the mission of Georgia Tech’s Office of Homeland Security (GTOHS) is “the formulation and implementation of a threat advisory program to complement the National five-level color-coded homeland security advisory system that will identify specific protective measures to be undertaken in order to reduce the Institute’s vulnerability to an attack and enhance the safety and security posture of GT students, faculty, staff, and visitors.”  GTOHS is responsible for campus-wide coordination of all emergency action plans and operations, facility emergency action plans, and disaster management/business community preparations.  Lang stated that he often asks members of the campus community whether their unit has an emergency plan, and if so, when was the last time they read it; in many cases the answer is “no” or the information contained in the plans is outdated and people do not know what to do in an emergency.  He stated that the goal is to create an “interactive” plan (rather than a book on the shelf) by which we can respond to various emergencies, and to conduct test drills in order to train people on what to do in such situations. 


Potential campus emergencies were discussed.  A movie was shown where a small unattended suitcase was found and opened; it exploded causing serious injuries.  Another movie showed a peaceful demonstration involving a large number of protesters which was disrupted by one person with a homemade bomb in his backpack; a faulty fuse caused the bomb to prematurely explode injuring the bomber.  A third movie showed an IRA bombing incident in Birmingham, England.  A truck was parked on a side street with its emergency lights flashing for nearly three hours before someone called the police.  A robot was sent to examine the truck causing the bomb to explode killing seven people (five blocks away) and causing severe damage to the surrounding buildings. 


Lang stated that Georgia Tech is an open campus which presents a “soft target.”  It is important for people to be aware of their surroundings and be on the look out for things that seem to be out of place. He described an incident in which a distraught student at the University of Oklahoma attempted to enter the stadium with a homemade bomb in his backpack.  He was denied admission; the bomb prematurely exploded while he sat outside on a park bench.  There were many signs of his activities and emotional distress but none had been reported.  Lang described an incident which occurred on the first day of classes at GT this fall.  A delivery truck was parked unattended in a no-parking zone with the lights flashing for 2-3 hours.  He called the Police who cordoned off the area; the delivery person showed up just as the PD was getting ready to evacuate all the surrounding buildings.  The driver will not be allowed again on campus.  The recent incident with the water bottle bombs demonstrates the post-911 environment in which we operate, where somewhat inflexible laws have been enacted in response to terrorism.  Currently, the law essentially states that causing a building to be evacuated because of a “device” is considered a terrorist act.       


Another movie of a train derailment accident was shown.  The accident occurred in Graniteville , SC in January of this year at about 2:00 AM.  A train running at nearly 45 mph with several chemical transport cars collided with a parked train; one of the failed cars contained 90 tons of chlorine gas under pressure of which nearly 70 tones were released.  Twelve people died; had this event occurred between 7:30 and 8:00 AM, a large fraction of the town’s 5,600 residents would have been killed.  A near-by textile mill was destroyed causing nearly $1B in damage.   Because of the chlorine, it took nearly 16 days before anyone could inspect some of the damaged areas.  Lang stated that this incident is significant for us because Graniteville, SC is about the same size as Georgia Tech (~350 acres); also, there are two major railroad spurs that go by GT, one behind Coca Cola and the other on Northside.  Both rail lines carry chemical tankers all the time.  Therefore, we are concerned about how to either get people off campus or how to shelter them if an event of this type were to occur nearby. 


Lang stated that our plan is based on the National Incident management System.  It offers a systematic approach to preparedness and response to ensure that we are safe and able to return to our homes and families.  The process calls for creating a “Red Book” for each building.  The Red Book (so called because of the binder color) is an information source for action, mitigation, and recovery.  It contains information on Georgia Tech’s Emergency Action Plan (24 potential emergencies), as well as specific building EAP, after-hours EAP (if applicable), listing of call numbers, floor plans including exit routes, list of all permanently assigned personnel, and a list of class attendees for each semester.  The original is kept in a visible place in the building so that emergency responders can easily locate it.  A copy of the information (except class rosters) is sent to GTOHS.  The books are developed by individual building managers.  Area meetings are held to educate participants on the process.  A website for Homeland Security has been created on the GTPD website.  It provides background information, answers to FAQ’s, and EAP templates.  Training sessions are provided for emergency planners (building managers).  Lang stated that communications is the key; it was one of the major problems on 911.  As a result, considerable resources are being spent to assure “inter-operability” and continued communication among emergency responders. 


A Threat Response Plan has been developed.  The website provides a template which describes what each individual should do when the alert level changes from “yellow” to “orange” or from “orange” to “red”, etc.  Each building should have that information in its respective Red Book.  The GTOHS has established an Advisory Council with membership from various units around campus (see membership list in Attachment #3).  A Perimeter Group consisting of security personnel from nearby companies and institutions has also been created (see list of partners in Attachment #3).  Lang stated that it is important to coordinate our emergency activities with those of nearby businesses and institutions; such a need was demonstrated during the recent water bottle bomb incident – we found out that the Bellsouth emergency evacuation plan calls for their evacuees to go to the courtyard in which the bottles were found.  A list of agencies with which the GTOHS works was shown; these include State and Federal Agencies, local jurisdictions, law enforcement, healthcare, Hazmat, etc. 


Lang stated that all building-specific Emergency Action Plans and evacuation plans are due to GTOHS by October 23, 2005.  The Incident Management System starts with the Building managers, and includes the Area Coordinators, the Department Operations Centers, the Emergency Operations Center, and finally, the President’s Group who should provide high-level guidance to those directly involved in mitigating the incident.  A map describing how the campus has been divided into various zones was shown.  Each zone has a coordinator who will respond to the Emergency Operations Center, which serves as the focal point for communications to assure continued flow/exchange of information.  Lang stated that GTOHS will implement the Groove Incident Response System.  A grant application was prepared for an exercise to be held on May 10, 2006, which will test all our procedures.  The primary purpose of the exercise is to educate members of the campus community.  Lang stated that GTOHS will continually perform tabletop exercises, drills, and full exercises to make sure that our plans work.  


The Groove Incident Response System was described.  It is a focal point for all buildings within a specific Emergency Management Area (EMA).  The Groove software provides a communications link to the Emergency Operations Center and allows for dissemination of information to all buildings in an EMA.  It is an integral part of the National Incident Management System. An organizational chart for Georgia Tech’s emergency management was shown.  Each “box” in the chart will have a Groove license; all people on the chart will be able to communicate with each other and with the Emergency Operations Center (GTPD) via the Groove Software.  Presently there are 20 Groove licenses.  The need for such communications became obvious during the recent water bottle bomb incident, when people from different buildings were calling GTOHS to find out whether or not they should evacuate their buildings.  With the Groove communication system in place, people in those buildings would have known within 2 to 3 minutes after the incident that they should not evacuate.  Lang stated that the emergency operations center can be set-up anywhere; any of the boxes on the organizational chart can serve as an emergency operations center.  A movie showing how the Groove System has been successfully used in various emergencies around the world was shown. 


A summary of ongoing homeland security initiatives was presented; these include the 2005 revision of the Emergency Action Plan; conduct of WMD training (~100 GT personnel received WMD training in August); the May 10, 2006 exercise; approval of grant application for installation of an early warning system (horns) around campus; and initiation of training for Groove System operators.  A list of web links for GT Homeland security was given; (1) GTPD Homeland Security (2) Emergency Action Plan (3) Threat Response Plan  Tasks remaining to be done include: (1) getting all building managers to complete their Red Books; (2) creating and establishing a virtual emergency operations center; and (3) work/coordination with the Fulton County homeland security group.  Support needs from GT management include: (1) acquisition of Groove licenses for all emergency planners (~150 building managers); (2) support for submittal of the emergency plan revision; (3) support for tabletop exercises and dry runs; (4) support for WMD training for additional participants; and (5) acquisition of laptops for key personnel in the Groove Incident Response System.  Lang concluded by stating that “when all the major targets are hardened, what is left becomes targets of opportunity” – we will try to make sure that people who want to do us harm do not stop here at GT.  He provided a list of phone numbers where he can be reached [Office: 404-894-8392; Cell: 404-486-3465; and Fax: 404-894-4438].


A comment was made that in some buildings, e.g. MARC, when an alarm goes off, people leave the building and stand outside – no one tells them what is going on, whereas the management building has an intercom system that informs people of what is going on.  Are there any plans to equip the older buildings with intercom systems?  Lang stated that the early warning system to be installed around campus will have speakers in every building; the horns will have two different tones – one indicates that the building needs to be evacuated while the other indicates that people should remain sheltered within the building.  It is hoped that each building will have an intercom speaker system so that specific messages can be broadcast.  A question was asked as to what would happen if the Groove license holder (building manager) is not present.  Lang stated that each license holder can add two other names as a backup.  A comment was made that two months ago there was a van parked outside a building for 3 days; when the parking office was called they said that they had already put a ticket on it and that the Police department should be called, and when the Police Department was called they said that it has to be at least 72 hours before they investigate and that it is a Parking problem.  What should one do in a situation of this type?  Lang stated that these problems should be addressed through training; when a call of this type is received by the PD, they should send someone to investigate rather than saying it has to be at least 72 hours (which was the practice in the past).  If anyone sees something suspicious, they should call the GTPD, who should then send an officer to investigate.  The Chair thanked Mr. Lang for his presentation.       


5.      The Chair called on Dr. Anderson Smith (Vice Provost) to present an overview of the proposed seven-week summer session.  Smith stated that we would like to make it possible for some of our freshmen to enter GT during the summer session.  He stated that we were able to do so when we operated on the quarter system; however, we are unable to do so at this time since our summer term starts before students graduate from high school.  There are several reasons for wanting to do this; students who meet the admission criteria but are on the lower end of the distribution are most at risk during their first term at GT.  Now, they come in the fall and take a normal load.  If they can come during the summer, they can get a head start and/or take a lighter load during the fall which increases their chances for success.  Therefore, in addition to the regular summer session which starts in mid-May and ends in late July/early August, a seven-week summer session which starts in June and ends at the same time as the regular summer session will be offered.  Nearly 200 freshmen would be allowed to take classes during the seven-week summer session.  At this time, we want to see whether this can be done with “volunteer” freshmen, or admit some students only if they start in the summer (as was done during the quarter system).  Smith stated that discussions are ongoing with departments that teach the primary freshman courses so that they plan their course offerings for the summer.  Courses will be offered in sociology, history, mathematics, psychology, and English, along with the freshman experience course (GT 1000).  A pre-calculus course will be offered to allow students to prepare for the regular calculus and physics classes.  A “bridge” course in chemistry will also be offered -- students will begin taking chemistry in the summer (2 hours of classroom); the course will continue in the fall (laboratory and lecture), which effectively provides seven extra weeks for the course so that the pace can be slowed down.  Smith stated that all the departments involved have been contacted and extra funds will be provided to hire the instructors for those classes.  The Registrar has put together an “operational team,” which will be meeting during the next few weeks to make the necessary operational decisions, especially with respect to student admissions and making sure that there will be plenty of classes for those students to take.  Smith stated that the regular summer term will continue to be offered as usual and that departments can use the short summer session to offer upper level classes if they wish to do so. 


A question was asked regarding exam schedules for both the regular and short summer sessions.  Smith stated that by delaying the start of the short (seven-week) summer session till June, the exams for both the regular summer session and the short session will take place at the same time.  There will be no “front-end” short summer session.  A question was asked as to the limit on the number of courses a student can take during the short summer session.  Smith stated that he believes that seven hours will be considered a full load during the short summer session; this will include the freshman experience course (GT 1000) plus two other classes.  We await a ruling on this issue from the people who handle financial aid since   financial aid depends on whether a student is enrolled on a full-time basis.  Smith stated that freshmen enrolled in the short summer session will be carefully advised as to which courses to take, in order to minimize the risk to the students.  He stated that centralized advising does not replace unit-level advising; however, many of the questions that freshmen have can be handled by the office of undergraduate studies since many of them take the same courses.  A comment was made that for some courses (e.g. Introduction to Engineering Graphics), the regular summer session is already “compressed;” it would be very difficult to teach that material in seven weeks.  Smith stated that freshmen cannot take this class now during the summer because the regular summer session starts when they are still in high school; so, people who take it now in the summer must be sophomores.  He said that these classes will not be affected by the planned seven-week short session. 


A question was asked as to whether the decision to offer courses during the short summer session will be left to the discretion of the departments.  Smith stated that we want to make sure that we have enough classes for the freshmen who enroll during the summer so that they can have a full load; at this time, we are trying to get commitments from the departments to offer the appropriate classes for them -- offering of other higher level courses is entirely up to the departments.  A question was asked as to whether this program will be linked to the Honors Program.  Smith stated that the Honors Program will not start till the fall; however, in the future, this will provide an opportunity to offer freshman seminars during the summer in addition to the normal required courses.  We will not do so this summer since we want to make sure that the other courses to be offered (e.g. pre-calculus) are properly done.  A question was asked as to whether the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has been involved in these discussions.  Smith stated that he works closely with the UGCC, and that one of the first things he did was to inform the committee of these plans; they have made several suggestions regarding courses that might be offered during the short summer session.  A question was asked as to whether offering of the seven-week summer session requires Academic Senate approval.  Smith stated that he does not believe that Academic Senate approval is required since, in essence, we are simply moving the start date of the short summer session from May to June to allow freshmen to enroll.  The short summer session at the front end will no longer be offered; it is being moved to the end of the summer.  It would be extremely difficult to have three sessions going on simultaneously; the decision to have only two sessions (as we now do) was made by the Provost.  A question was asked as to whether the pre-calculus course will be offered for credit.  Smith stated that we have always offered classes such as pre-calculus for credit only inasmuch as they count toward the full load calculation, but they do not count toward the degree requirements. A comment was made that, by doing so, students may run out of HOPE scholarship credits before they complete their degree requirements.  Smith concluded by stating that as the newly-appointed Vice-Provost, he looks forward to working with the Executive Board on various issues as they come up not only with respect to undergraduate studies, but also those related to academic affairs, promotion and tenure, and periodic peer review.      


6.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty to discuss plans for appointing the Nominations Committee for the Spring elections.  Abdel-Khalik stated that, traditionally, the committee is co-chaired by two members of the Executive Board, one of whom is the Vice-Chair.  The co-chairs recruit the remaining committee members (two Academic faculty and two General faculty members); a student member is jointly appointed by the undergraduate and graduate student body presidents.  The committee membership is then submitted to the Executive Board for approval, usually before the beginning of the Spring term.  As the Board’s Vice Chair, Dr. Hughes will serve as one of the committee co-chairs; Abdel-Khalik asked for a volunteer to serve as the second co-chair.  Claudia Huff (GTRI) expressed her willingness to do so.  The SoF will contact Dr. Hughes to outline the process so that the committee membership can be finalized.  A question was asked regarding the level of effort involved in the process.  Abdel-Khalik stated that it is becoming more difficult to recruit faculty members to stand for election to some of the committees in light of their increasing workload (e.g. UGCC and GCC).  The Chair indicated that the committee workload issue will be discussed at the next Board meeting since the current trends are not sustainable.    


7.      The Chair called for other business; hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 4:30 PM. 


Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

October 31, 2005


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


1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of August 23, 2005

2.      Post-season Play of Intercollegiate Athletics Teams (2005-06)

3.      Emergency Planning (Presentation by Bob Lang)