GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of March 13, 2007

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

 

 

Members Present: Akins (Prof. Prac.), Ballard (GTRI), Barnhart (GTRI), Braga (Chemistry), Bras (ME), First (Physics), Graab (U. Student), Hughes (Chair, ECE), Keller (G. Student), Price (IMTC), Schuster (Provost), Stein (VPSS), Wood (LCC), Yen (Biology), Bohlander (SoF)

 

Members Absent: Alexander (Staff), Clough (President), Dagenhart (ARCH), Foley (CoC), Gaimon (Mgt), West (GTRI), Williams (ECE/GT-S),

 

Visitors:  Allen (Pres. Office), Lohmann (Vice Provost for Institutional Development)

 

1.      Joe Hughes (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:10 P.M. 

 

2.      The Chair called on Provost Gary Schuster to represent President Clough and comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

a.       Dr. Schuster began by expressing sadness over the loss of a valued colleague and Dean of the College of Architecture, Tom Galloway, who passed away on Sunday March 11, 2007 unexpectedly.  There will be a memorial service on Friday, March 14, in the Ferst Center for the Arts.  Dr. Schuster spoke of how much Tom Galloway meant to him not only as a colleague, but as a friend and mentor.  He was someone whose wit and wisdom made working here an especially enjoyable experience.

Associate Dean Doug Allen has agreed to serve as Interim Dean of the College of Architecture until such time as a search is organized and identifies the next person to hold this post.

b.      It was recently announced that Georgia Tech has acquired the residence hall on North Avenue that was built for the 1996 Olympics and previously held by Georgia State University.  The acquisition was the result of an extended negotiation period whose outcome did not always appear certain.  In the end, the financial parameters were adjusted and the acquisition made sense for Georgia Tech.  These residence halls are now being integrated into the Georgia Tech student housing inventory and will be available for Tech students to occupy this fall.  This is a great acquisition for Tech students because it will prevent the shortages of housing experienced last year and will allow time to take some older housing temporarily offline for systematic refurbishment and repair. 

Dr. Schuster was asked about plans for pedestrian safety needs of the residents of the new dorms, especially in crossing busy North Avenue.  Dr. Schuster and Dr. Allen indicated that Chief of Police Crocker was working on crime and pedestrian safety in conjunction with the occupancy of these residences.  Alison Graab asked about getting a new dedicated crosswalk and Dr. Schuster indicated this should be looked at along with other traffic management ideas.

c.       Georgia Tech has been blessed with a great many opportunities for new international programs, in the form of dual degrees, joint degrees, joint campuses, joint research programs, etc.  The opportunities are seemingly endless.  A recent edition of the Chronicle of Higher Education showed the President of Cornell University just back from a tour of universities in India where he was looking for potential partners.  Dr. Schuster observed that research universities are now in an era of network formation in which prominent institutions in the United States with branded reputations and quality degree programs are being sought and are seeking partners in other parts of the world.  Georgia Tech is in the process of establishing and articulating criteria to use in evaluating partnership opportunities of the various kinds just mentioned.  One such opportunity that is a bit farther along than others is the possibility of establishing a campus in Singapore.  Nevertheless, even this is in early stages of understanding the opportunity, the particular roles that Tech could play there, and whether it would meet criteria for academic excellence, transparency, high ethics and moral standards, and benefit to the rest of the faculty and students of Georgia Tech.  When a preliminary plan has come together, either the President or Provost will brief the Executive Board.

d.      Dr. Schuster announced that two new studies are to be launched by the Provost’s Office.  The first will be focused on the Georgia Tech curriculum as a whole.  The last time this was done Institute-wide is long ago, before the memories of today’s leaders.  The new study will look at core content, disciplinary content, and the methods of delivery.  This analysis will begin this spring and continue in the fall when there will be a retreat bringing the deans, school chairs and leading faculty together with the study group.  They will exchange ideas, develop action plans, and then in the following 6-8 months execute those plans as they pertain to the curriculum.  Faculty will be intimately involved in the analysis, planning, and implementation.

The second task force will also launch this spring and focus on interdisciplinarity.  Much is said at Georgia Tech about interdisciplinary strengths and structures here.  Tech is a leader in many categories among American research universities in being able to take disciplinary expertise and depth of various kinds and unite these horizontally in certain areas.  But if one steps back and looks at the underlying structure of these interdisciplinary approaches, a lot of them are still disciplinary based; e.g. all of the infrastructure of graduate student support, advancement to degrees, hiring of new faculty members, promotion and tenure decisions.  All of the processes that make the enterprise work are built upon a disciplinary structure.  It is not necessarily the case that Tech must reform that structure.  But with the advent of the 21st century, a lot of research focus is going to be goal based, or emergent research, rather than traditional reductionist research.  Georgia Tech needs to be organized to take advantage of its disciplinary strengths across interdisciplinary boundaries to be able to seize emergent research opportunities.  Again the work will begin this spring, continue into the fall when there will be a retreat planned for fall break.  Whatever changes are recommended by the faculty committees will be implemented over the 6-8 months following the retreat.

e.       Dr. Schuster updated the Board on the search for his successor in the position of Dean of the College of Sciences.  Three finalists have been to campus and have spent two days here.  The search is now seeking feedback from those who met with the candidates.  After inputs are integrated, negotiations will ensue with the candidates in the priority order identified.

f.        Finally, Dr. Schuster summarized the data recently available on applications received for fall 2007 admission.  The overall number of applicants is approximately the same as last year (down 0.3%) but some colleges have slightly higher numbers of applicants and some slightly less.  Engineering and Computing are down by 2.6% and 8.9% respectively.  Whereas Ivan Allen, College of Sciences, and Management are up 5.6%, 8 %, and 7.9% respectively.  Initial analysis is underway comparing these to what is known about national trends and it is too early for informed conclusions.  Ivan Allen and College of Sciences have been actually growing over recent years.  Engineering has been pretty stable.  The College of Computing grew a great deal during the dot-com era and then had must lower enrollments after the crash.  Since that time, Tech’s College of Computing has recovered slowly though somewhat more rapidly here than at peer institutions.  Dr. Schuster noted that the average SAT score for undergraduate applicants is up 8 points this year, and he commented that the admissions office will attempt to be more deliberate in offering acceptances this year in light of last year’s experience when more people accepted invitations to enroll than expected.  He also noted that Graduate school applications are up about 15%. 

 

3.   The Chair called the Board’s attention to the minutes of the February 13, 2007 meeting of the Executive Board along with the results of two electronic ballots.  One concerned a sunset resolution on new memberships in the General Faculty, and the other sought approval of the ballot for elections to faculty standing committees and other open positions.  The minutes including these electronic ballot results were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).

4.   The Chair called on Dr. Jack Lohmann, Vice Provost for Institutional Development, to brief the Board on progress Tech is making in preparing for its NCAA re-certification.  Dr. Hughes explained that this month’s presentation was for improved understanding of the process and next month the Board would have one or more resolutions to consider in support of the program.  Dr. Lohmann used the PowerPoint presentation found in Attachment #2 in making his remarks. 

Dr. Lohmann explained that Tech is due for its regularly scheduled NCAA decennial certification (analogous to accreditation).  NCAA uses this to periodically evaluate the integrity of each participating school’s intercollegiate athletics program.  The NCAA began its ten-year cycles of certification in the early 1990s and Tech had its first cycle certification in 1997.  Thus the present year brings Tech to its second cycle of certification.  Thirty-four other schools are going through this process this year. 

Certification involves analogous processes to those found in accreditation.  It begins with a Self Study process and Tech is within days of completion of a complete draft of its Self Study.  Everyone on the Board will be provided access to the report as soon as it is ready and comments from the Board are solicited.  The Self Study is due to be delivered to the NCAA on May 1, 2007.  It is divided into three parts covering the three main criteria:

·        Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance

·        Academic Integrity

·        Equity and Student-Athlete Well-Being

There will be a visit by an external team of 2-4 people September 24-26, 2007.  Eventually all the findings are brought to a Committee on Athletics Certification (CAC) and they make their determinations in mid-February 2008, with announcements of the results around May 2008.  There are three possible outcomes

·        Certified – no issues – will be reviewed again in another ten years

·        Certified with conditions – remedial actions are stipulated – usually followed by a report on satisfaction of the stipulations

·        Not certified

Tech anticipates qualifying for certification. 

About 50 people spread over five committees have been supporting Georgia Tech’s Self Study.  There is a Steering Committee (Chaired by Dr. Lohmann) of about 12-15 providing oversight, and a smaller Executive Committee, which has met frequently to guide the effort.  Most of the work has been done in the remaining three working committees, each focused on one of the three main criteria and chaired by Dave McDowell, Sue Rosser, and Tom Trotter. 

Work began in February 2006 and will continue through May 2008 as shown in the timeline of slide 5 in Attachment #2.  When the NCAA team gets the Self Study in May, they will likely send some questions that Tech can answer for clarification before the external visit in September.  After the visit, the NCAA team will write a report that Tech will get a chance to review and provide comments before all materials are submitted to the CAC in February 2008. 

The Self Study is submitted electronically and is a focused appraisal of athletics operations coupled with plans for improvement.  The NCAA requires a report on compliance with seven operating principles spanning the three major criteria mentioned above.  Compliance with these principles is detailed through answers to 31 questions and 68 Self Study items or metrics.  Two plans for improvement are also required.  Dr. Lohmann showed charts detailing the items and indicating the degree to which the Self Study and any necessary remedial actions were complete as of the date of the Board meeting.  Two items in particular require explanation and some assistance from the Executive Board.  These two are also areas in which remedial work will need to continue between the submission of the Self Study and the external visit.  Before coming to those, Dr. Lohmann provided some further explanation concerning the following:

·        Job descriptions of non-athletics personnel are being updated where they have responsibility for NCAA rules compliance

·        It is recognized that there are differences between the admissions profiles and graduation rates of student athletes and the Tech population as a whole.  These are generally expected but there are no alarms in the data.  In fact, there are indications of progress and accomplishment relative to schools Tech meets in athletic competition. 

·        Academic services to athletes are being reviewed every three years and the latest review has just been completed and will be up for approval at the April 18 meeting of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association (GTAA) Board.

The two substantive areas still needing attention are the ones where NCAA requires plans for improvement each cycle; namely, 1) Gender Equity and 2) Minority Opportunity.  This is the NCAA’s way of insuring attention to these important matters over the long haul between certification cycles.  So they ask institutions to make plans extending out at least five years of things they can do to help improve the environment in these two respects.  It is not to suggest that these environments are lacking in some way, but the plans provide evidence of attention to continuous improvement.  Georgia Tech submitted plans in the first cycle and in April 1999 the CAC requested that Tech extend its plans beyond the initial plan running through 2001.  Tech did extend its Gender Equity plan but not its Minority Opportunity plan.  It is not entirely clear why the latter did not happen but it did not.  Furthermore, although the gender equity plan was extended, there was no systematic follow through on it.  These issues were uncovered as part of the second cycle Self Study.  Many of the people who dealt with these areas in the first cycle are no longer here and the available records do not chronicle how and when the ball was dropped.  The apparent reasons for this failure include: 1) staff turn over in GTAA, 2) GTAA committee leadership turnover, and 3) a lack of clarity about the duties of the responsible parties, along with a lack of adequate checks and balances.  The ironic thing is that Tech was actually doing important things in these two areas.  It was just that it was happening without systematic attention.  He mentioned for example plans for an improved women’s softball field.  Dr. Lohmann noted that the latest improvement plans for gender equity and minority opportunity will be reviewed and approved by the GTAA Board on April 18.

Tech needs now to ensure there are clear duties and checks and balances regarding these plans so that Tech meets its commitments even when there may be staff or committee turn over in the future.  To do that, written job descriptions are being updated to cover these matters and all incoming employees will be made familiar with all aspects.  The President and Director of Athletics will emphasize Tech’s important commitments to NCAA compliance and see to it that outgoing and incoming committee chairs exchange information concerning oversight of these plans.  Furthermore, the Bylaws of the GTAA Board will be updated to emphasize the duties of the Compliance and Equity Committee, including gender equity and minority opportunities plans.  As a further measure, Dr. Lohmann recommended that the GTAA Compliance and Equity Committee make an annual report to the GTAA Board and to the Institute Executive Board concerning progress in these areas.  As mentioned above by the Executive Board Chair, a formal request for this will be on the agenda of the Executive Board’s April 10 meeting.

Dr. Lohmann noted that NCAA certification is a measure applied to the Georgia Institute of Technology, not GTAA, and so it is important for GIT governance bodies to be directly involved in ensuring compliance.  Thus, there is every reason for GIT’s Executive Board to take a role.  This will also ensure that there are enough people looking at progress so that it becomes less likely such matters might fall through a crack as they did in the previous cycle.  Dr. Lohmann promised to work with the Executive Board chair prior to the April 10 meeting to draft a resolution of the Board formally requesting the annual report to the Board about progress in gender equity and minority opportunity. 

Dr. Lohmann briefly reviewed one more area of the Self Study, concerning athlete well-being, and he indicated no issues of concern had been identified. 

Dr. Hughes pointed out that the faculty is due to hear the annual report from the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR), Dr. Dan Schrage, at its next meeting.  He suggested that it would be a good idea for Dr. Schrage to preview this report to the Executive Board at its April 10 meeting.  It is anticipated that in future years, this report and the GTAA report just discussed would be scheduled together for an Executive Board meeting prior to the FAR report to the faculty as a whole. Dr. Hughes then opened the floor for questions.

Dr. Bohlander asked for clarification of the role of the FAR in respect to certification.  Dr. Lohmann indicated that Dr. Schrage serves on the Steering Committee for this process but the Self Study is designed to be an independent institutional assessment and the chair of this process (Dr. Lohmann) must be someone with no regular institutional responsibilities for the athletics program.  Since the FAR does have such regular responsibilities (such as validation of each athlete’s academic eligibility), he or she does not have a primary leading role in Self Study.  Dr. Lohmann noted that most of the committee members associated with the Self Study are outside GTAA and its board, but also many from the inside are also involved to provide ready access to information about operations.

Dr. Yen asked for further clarification about the differences between the academic performances of student athletes in comparison with the student population as a whole.  Dr. Lohmann explained that, for example, student athletes as a whole have an average incoming SAT about 200 points below the Tech average (~1140 vs. 1346 on the old SAT scale).  On the other hand, their average score is considerably higher than those of the student athletes with whom they compete, usually.  In answer to a follow up question, he said that Tech is strong in academic support services to help student athletes succeed academically.  Another follow up question asked for comments on the time athletes spend away from class competing.  Dr. Lohmann said that GTAA works to minimize away time and provides tutors to help with make up work.  He encouraged the Board to read the Study Report when available because it has a great deal of information about these matters.  From the NCAA perspective, the important thing is that the institution admits students that can expect to do well in their academic studies and Tech is fulfilling that obligation. 

Dr. Akins asked how Tech justifies admitting student athletes with lower average academic qualifications.  Dr. Lohmann responded that his duties with respect to NCAA certification focus on reporting what presently exists rather than on justifications, but he observed that academic qualifications are not the only ones looked at for any student.  Other talents and anticipated contributions to the Tech community are always recognized and valued.  The most important thing the Self Study can do is assemble an accurate picture of present realities so the campus as a whole can accurately chart its course for the future according to the things it values. 

Dr. Bohlander spoke in favor of the Executive Board requesting an annual report from the GTAA and that it will help to be clear who is responsible for making this report so that future chairs of the Executive Board will know whom to call to set that up each year.  Dr. Sue Ann Allen also observed that Dan Schrage (Tech’s FAR) has a list of items that should be reported annually and that the items requested in this meeting could be added to that list.  It was noted by Dr. Lohmann, though, that GTAA needs to report for themselves the issues of gender equity and minority opportunity.  He felt that the NCAA would expect Tech to understand how it happened that these responsibilities were dropped in the previous cycle and what it takes to make sure this does not happen again in the future.  So commitment to a report from the responsible parties, such as GTAA, is an important part of remedial action.  The key is not just that a report be made, but that it is made at the Institute level (namely the Executive Board in this case).  That said, the Board each year can define what and who most meaningfully fulfills this function and so this can include participation by the FAR and others to be determined by the Board.  Dr. Allen reminded the Board that faculty members have active roles on the GTAA Board and will be actively involved in the Committee on Compliance and Equity so that they may have an important role in the contemplated annual report.  Dr. Hughes observed that such reports would not be limited only to the topics of gender equity and minority opportunity, and other significant compliance issues could be covered if any were later identified.  He also noted the actions taken in recent meetings to facilitate better integration of athletics management within the institute (by bringing the athletic affairs professionals now employed by GTAA into Institute employment instead).

Dr. Bras asked if the Executive Board would have any role other than to just hear a report.  Would they have the authority to order a remedial action if it felt one were necessary?  Dr. Lohmann suggested that it was enough to provide improved visibility because the lack of it was the primary cause of the failure in the last cycle.  Dr. Allen also commented that GTAA employees would have clearer accountability for progress and that if reports showed otherwise, then those accountabilities would be addressed as a personnel matter. 

Dr. Hughes (Chair) closed the discussion by asking Board members to email him any thoughts that would help prepare for the next meeting when a formal resolution would be considered.

5.   The Chair called on Dr. Tom Akins, chair of the Executive Board’s Nominating Committee, and on Dr. Ron Bohlander (SoF) to report on the final ballot (Attachment #3) and to comment on the upcoming elections.  Dr. Akins reminded the Board that the Nominating Committee comprised Dr. Jim Foley (CoC) as co-chair, Leon McGinnis (ISyE), Donna Llewellyn (CETL), Tom Horton (GTRI), and Mary Frank Fox (Pub. Pol.).  The ballot shows there were positions where the Committee had some difficulty finding candidates and so some candidates are running uncontested and other openings will be filled by appointment.  OIT is now working with the SoF to get the ballot entered into the online voting system now in use for several years.  Dr. Bohlander said the electronic polls would be open from March 29 to April 11. 

He also mentioned that he had communicated with all the unit heads around campus concerning the elections they each need to hold and the numbers of faculty they need to elect to the General Faculty Assembly and the Academic Senate.  Results are due back to him by April 13, 2007. 

Concerning the difficulties with filling the ballot, Dr. Bohlander said that one case arose from a technical difficulty where too few candidates met the eligibility requirements, but most cases were simply that not enough people said yes when invited and encouraged to run.  He said that there were two general kinds of things to look at to address this problem for the future:  First, members of the Executive Board should impress upon colleagues that participation in faculty governance is an important activity for keeping this a top quality university.  The second thing is a recognized need for a review of representation on various faculty committees and governance bodies.  This is covered in more detail in the next agenda item.  But in any event several of these committees are frankly hard work and in recent years the faculty has voted to increase their size to better share the work load.  So shrinking these bodies just to make the nominating and election process easier is not generally going to be the answer.  People have also commented that when two new members of a committee are to be elected, it might be nice to be able to offer, say, three people as nominees and take the top two with the highest vote counts.  There is a potential downside to that system however in that faculty from smaller, less well known units are at a disadvantage.  Thus, it will not be easy to fix the nomination challenges simply by alterations in the rules.  Leadership in promoting service on committees is where the Board should put its emphasis while at the same time giving some attention to structural adjustments that can make it easier to fill future ballots. 

Dr. Hughes then thanked Tom Akins and the committee for their diligent work this year.  Despite the fact that the slate was not as full as desired, it is clear they did their very best to fulfill their responsibilities.  It is not entirely clear what went wrong this year.  He observed that more people who were eligible to run for re-election to a committee opted out than in previous ones.  That is worrying because it suggests that they are either finding service on their committee overwhelming or not worthwhile.  This was particularly the case with the undergraduate curriculum committee.  This committee depends for some of its effectiveness on members remembering how certain kinds of issues have been handled in the past so there is some consistency in the treatment of curricular questions from one year to the next.  Having some members re-elected when they are eligible provides a necessary measure of stability so veteran flight is a special issue here.  Finally, Dr. Hughes explained that this year the College of Sciences needed to elect two representatives to the Executive Board, which ordinarily would mean that four candidates would be needed.  However, the Statutes require that candidates for the Executive Board be drawn from current members of the General Faculty Assembly and through attrition there were only four of those left.  When one declined to run for the Executive Board, there was a shortage of candidates and so one slot will be filled by election, and one by appointment of the runner up.

7.   The Chair then turned to the goal of establishing an ad hoc study committee to develop recommendations for changes in representation to various faculty committees and governance bodies.  The work of the study group will probably occur over the summer and it is time to get them organized.  When completed in the fall, their recommendations would be reviewed by the Executive Board and then referred to the Statutes Committee (or other appropriate bodies) for detailed implementation.  Dr. Hughes indicated that Dr. Paul Griffin (Chair of the Statutes Committee) would be asked to participate in the study committee.  Dr. Hughes asked for volunteers to work with the Chair, the Secretary, and Dr. Griffin to get this ad hoc committee off the ground.  He particularly encouraged Executive Board members who would be continuing on the Board in 2008-09.  This steering group would identify additional members of the committee and define the scope and deliverables expected.  Dr. Hughes indicated that the committee would look at

·        The election process.  Is it necessary to change some of the rules?

·        The effect of interdisciplinary affiliations.  As the Institute moves to enhance interdisciplinary programs, can the rules of representation change to reflect that?  Some faculty may no longer be uniquely identified with a single disciplinary unit so the application of today’s formulas would become ambiguous.

·        The effect of globalization.  As more campuses are set up around the world, how do we ensure fair and effective representation?

Dr. Bob Braga volunteered to join this steering group.  Dr. Hughes asked also for a student representative and Alison Graab volunteered, understanding from Dr. Hughes his goal that the planning activity would be completed by April 24 when her term is completed.  Additional suggestions of possible members were mentioned and Dr. Hughes promised to follow up. 

He also asked for any comments from the floor about how the work of this group should be targeted.  Dr. Bras asked if those who have turned down invitations to run for re-election to standing committees have been asked why they do not feel they can say yes.  Dr. Akins said that Dr. Hughes was correct in his inferences: that in some cases it was the feeling they did not have time to fulfill the needs of the committee; and in other cases the feeling the committees were not effective.  Dr. Bras urged that these reasons be kept in mind as root causes when considering remedies.  Dr. Hughes agreed that was some of it, but that it was also somewhat a matter of insufficient recognition of such service among academic faculty particularly.  He went on to observe though that this year the Nominating Committee did not obtain enough candidates for some of the general faculty standing committees and this was an unusual occurrence.  Dr. Bohlander suggested that some of the difficulty this year may have stemmed from his starting the process a bit later than in past years, through his unfamiliarity with the process. 

Dr. Hughes wrapped this up by saying that post mortems of this year aside, trends over the past few years suggest it is time to reassess representation systems and so this will be put in motion.  He concluded by saying he would get this ad hoc group launched. 

6.   Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that the next scheduled Board meeting is April 10th and the next faculty meeting is one scheduled for the Academic Faculty and Academic Senate on April 17th.  It is proposed however that the latter meeting be changed in two ways: that the date be postponed to May 1 and that a called meeting of the General Faculty be combined with this meeting to enable a second reading to be heard of the proposals heard in the February 27th meeting (concerning the addition of Athletic Affairs Professionals and Postdoctoral Fellows to the General Faculty).  The latter must be done after 60 days have elapsed from the first reading and this could be accomplished anytime after April 28th.  The proposed May 1 meeting will also address many curricular questions and approval of degree candidates and so this date change has been coordinated with the Registrar.  He also indicated that the date had received a preliminary ok from the President but needed a final check.  Dr. Bohlander moved that the April 17, 2007 faculty meeting be moved to May 1, 2007, subject to further review and approval by the President’s Office, and that this event include the scheduled meetings of the Academic Faculty and Academic Senate combined with a called meeting of the General Faculty.  This plan was approved without dissent.

6.      The Chair asked for any new business.  Hearing none the meeting was adjourned at about 4:45 P.M.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

April 6, 2007

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

1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of February 13, 2007.

2.      Presentation on NCAA Certification

3.   Final Ballot for Faculty governance spring elections