GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of August 22, 2006

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

 

 

Members Present: Akins (Prof Prac); Ballard (GTRI); Barnhart (GTRI); Braga (CHEM); Cabot* (OIT); Clough (President); Dagenhart (ARCH); First (Phys); Gaimon (MGT); Huff* (GTRI); Hughes (ECE); Keller (G. Student); McGinnis* (ISyE); Price (IMTC); Stein (VPSS); West (GTRI); Wood (LCC); Andersen (U. Student); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).  [* Departing 2005-06 Board Members]

 

Members Absent: Alexander (Staff Rep); Bras (ME); Chameau (Provost); Foley (CoC); Graab (U. Student); Williams (ECE/GT-S); Yen (BIOL)

 

Visitors: Allen (Pres. Office); Bobick (CoC); Fujimoto (CoC); Henry (OSP); Kinstler (EH&S); Smith (V. Provost); Thompson (Sr. VP); Zegura (CoC)  

 

1.      Leon McGinnis (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM.  He welcomed the new 2006-07 members and thanked departing 2005-06 Board members for their outstanding service.

 

2.      The Chair called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The President offered the following comments:

 

a.       We have a very large freshman class; housing had to use triple rooms in some cases.  Several administrators and Greek students helped the freshmen move into their residences.  [Andy Smith (V. Provost) stated that the number of full-time students on campus this fall is nearly 1245 more than last year.  The number of part-time students is nearly 550 more than last year.  For the first time, more than 30% of the freshmen are women.  Smith stated that 58 new, tenure-track, faculty have been hired starting this fall.  Nearly 34.5% of the new faculty hires and those to whom offers have been made are women].        

 

b.      Thanks to John Stein (VPSS) and his staff, the convocation went very well.  This year we invited the parents and students; nearly 4000 people attended.

 

c.       Ground-breaking for the Marcus Nanotechnology Building has been held.  The Marcus Foundation contributed $15M toward the building cost.  Construction has begun; the building will be located at the site of the Neely Nuclear research Center which is being demolished.  The building will house one of the largest clean room facilities in the world which can handle both organic and inorganic work to accommodate the increasing effort in the area of nano-medicine. 

 

d.      Two other buildings are nearing completion.  The Molecular Science and Engineering (the “M” building -- fourth building in our bio complex) is essentially complete; some of the classrooms in the building are already in use.  This building was privately funded which allowed us to work directly with the contractors and quickly finish the construction.  The Klaus Advanced Computing Building is partially funded by the State (the State agency is responsible for building it).  The building was supposed to be completed last spring; it will be finished this fall.

 

e.       An administrative retreat was recently held; key administrators from around campus met off-site to discuss “innovation” and “risk management” in a university setting. 

 

f.        Our Capital Campaign is progressing steadily; we are still in the “quiet phase.” Last year we raised $130M (second best ever), compared to $108M raised by UGA who are in the middle of their Capital Campaign.  

 

g.       The Chancellor’s inauguration will be held in mid-September; the GT ambassadors, the Glee Club, and the UG student body president will participate (along with President Clough). 

 

h.       Annual rankings by the US News & World Report came out; the Institute was ranked 8th among public universities (up from 9th last year), and 38th among all National Universities.  All our undergraduate engineering programs are ranked in the top 10.  The graduate programs will be ranked next March.  The Princeton Review has also come out; good comments were made about our faculty and Technology Square. The National Research Council will conduct a detailed review of PhD programs in science engineering, business, and humanities; we will participate – Jack Lohmann will coordinate all the information that goes into that review.

 

i.         Our free speech and space use policies have been the subject of a recent lawsuit.  We have good policies that meet National standards; we will slightly update them since they are 30 years old; however, they will not fundamentally change.  Our students, faculty, and staff should be able to exercise their rights regardless of their views.  It is important that we work to build our community; this fall, working closely with the student leaders, we will initiate a program called “Finding Common Ground”.  We want people to be able to express their views and to know that it is OK to disagree as long as they respect others’ right to express their views.     

 

j.        The new Provost will be announced tomorrow; we will have an excellent person to serve in that role.  The selection committee did an outstanding job; we will not have a gap between the time when Jean-Lou leaves and the time when the new person assumes that role.  

 

There were no questions for the President.

 

3.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the June 20th, 2006 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).

 

4.      The Chair called on Bob Thompson (Sr. Vice President) to discuss ongoing administrative activities to address faculty needs in a multi-campus environment.  He stated that one of the issues identified by the ad hoc committee chaired by Monty Hayes (ECE/GT-S) dealt with the travel reimbursement process for people abroad.  Another item dealt with the need for investment in infrastructure at campuses outside Atlanta.  Thompson stated that John Mullen (OIT) briefed the Board in June on OIT activities addressing the issues identified by the ad hoc committee; therefore, he will not address IT issues today.  He stated that GT Administration and Finance is working to come up with the structures to make processes as seamless as possible for faculty, staff, and students both in Atlanta and at campuses outside Atlanta, whether they are there for a short period or an extended stay.  For example, bank charges for transfers of salaries and other payments to GTL faculty have been eliminated.  Concerns have been raised regarding health benefits for faculty overseas; unfortunately, we do not control the health benefits program (it is a BOR program).  We are working with the BOR staff to try to get the Blue Cross Program to encompass the world health approach which was built into the program from the beginning since expansion of international programs and cooperative arrangements is a part of the University System’s goals and strategy.  We are hopeful that we will be able to come up with arrangements to resolve the health insurance concerns. 

 

Another concern raised by the ad hoc committee deals with the need for original receipts for travel reimbursement.  Thompson stated that while receipts are indeed required because of audits, copies and faxes are permitted.  At this time we have a fast reimbursement process for travel within the US; we are looking at ways to make all travel reimbursement web-based, so that it becomes user friendly whether one is in the US or overseas.  Working groups are being put together to look at and come up with solutions to various issues.  For example, a major expansion of our activity in Singapore (beside the Logistics Institute) has been proposed.  We will need to address many of the issues we dealt with for GTL; however, in this case people will be there for extended periods.  Hence, we need to resolve issues of personnel, benefits, health insurance, etc.  Again, the aim is to make these processes as seamless as possible regardless of where people may be.  Naturally, there are issues with information technology at all locations.  GT is well connected in this area; we are a part of the National Lambda Rail system which is now extending to the so-called “Pacific Wave” and “Atlantic Wave” so that we can become connected to the entire world.  The substantial size of our envisioned presence in Singapore requires us to address many issues, including facilities, lab space, classrooms, IT, etc. to facilitate such an operation. 

 

The President noted that discussions have been held on how to coordinate all our activities around the world.  The thought is to have another person (other than the Provost and the Director of International Education) coordinate these activities.  The Provost can’t do this by himself, and the Director of International Education (Howard Rollins) already has too many responsibilities dealing with other issues (Visas for international students and visitors, etc).  It would be better to have someone else coordinate these activities, along with a Board that overseas all these programs.  This would allow us to tackle the issues quickly.  The Board would include faculty members who are active in international education activities, along with some business people from the US and overseas.  A sub-group can serve as an Advisory Board for each of the overseas campuses so that any issue coming up at one location can be brought to the entire Board to resolve it before it becomes problematic for another location.    The President and Sr. Vice President expressed their appreciation of the effort put forth by the ad hoc Committee on multi-campus Faculty Governance, Development & Integration, in preparing their report.

 

A question was asked regarding the National Lambda Rail.  Thompson stated that it is a high-capacity network that connects about 20 major research universities in the US; Georgia Tech is the connection point for the southeast.  It was created by utilizing the excess capacity which was available as a result of the “over-built” fiber optic network (the so called “dark fiber”).  It allows us access to high performance super computers at places such as UC-San Diego and Oakridge.  Thompson stated that if the Board is interested, he can ask Ron Hutchins (OIT) and John Mullen (OIT) to give a briefing on the subject.                            

 

5.      The Chair called on Dr. Aaron Bobick (Chair, Interactive & Intelligent Computing (IIC) Division, CoC) to present an update on plans for establishment of Schools within the College of Computing.  Bobick introduced the Chairs of the other two CoC Divisions:  Ellen Zegura, Chair of the Computing Science and Systems (CSS) Division, and Richard Fujimoto, Chair of the Computational Science & Engineering (CSE) Division.  Bobick stated that the purpose of the presentation is to seek feedback from the Board on the proposed structural evolution of the College of Computing.  The College was established in 1990 when the school of Information & Computing Science was elevated to College status; it was a single-entity college (i.e. no sub-structure) with nearly 20 faculty members.  It is debatable as to whether GT or CMU was the first university in the US to establish a “college” of computing; there are now nearly 30 such colleges across the nation -- they are sometimes referred to as “the GT model.”  The College has grown relatively quickly over the past 15 years; it now has nearly 75 faculty members and for the past three years has been operating as three Divisions -- IIC has 28 faculty members; CSS has 33 faculty members, and CSE has more than ten faculty members.  For the past three years, the three divisions have been operating as “quasi-schools.”  At this time, CoC is proposing to change two of the divisions into schools.

 

Referring to the handout distributed at the meeting (see Attachment #2 below), Bobick explained the rationale for establishing such schools and why this is being proposed at this time.  Bobick stated that this is the leading edge of a national trend; it represents a growth in the intellectual diversity of computing – in the past, computing used to mean “computer science” and computer science used to mean “programming,” while now computing encompasses a broader scope of activities as demonstrated by the areas of interest of recent faculty hires – ranging from the “theory of randomness” to “computational ethnography” which demonstrates the radical differences in the training and professional disciplines encompassed by the college of computing.  He stated that creating schools within the college will help with recruiting, retention, and advancement of the faculty.  It also responds to market forces.  From the Institute’s perspective, the divisions have already established connections with other units where there is a natural affinity.  For example, the IIC division provided the key connection with LCC to establish the joint undergraduate degree in computational media -- within only two years the degree program has grown to 200 majors.  Similarly, CSS has a natural affinity with Computer Engineering, while CSE has a natural affinity with various sciences and engineering programs (e.g. Biochemistry).  From the Institute’s perspective it is important that these natural interactions among schools continue.  From the College’s perspective, creation of these entities will provide visibility and leadership at the National level.  It is also better for students; graduate students typically belong to a research center or a group.  Similarly, as a part of a diverse college with these entities, undergraduates can gravitate towards the appropriate school, as needed. 

 

Currently, the college of computing offers eight different “threads” each of which represents two-thirds of an undergraduate degree.  Because of overlap, the requirements of a computer science degree can be met by combining any two “threads,” i.e. there are 28 different combinations that result in a valid computer science degree.  Threads include areas such as “computing and media,” “computing and networking,” “computing and platforms,” etc.  The idea is to allow students to synthesize any two threads thereby learning about the elements of computing they are interested in.  The undergraduate education program in the College of Computing will not be changed by the creation of the schools; the “threads” concept will be retained and the undergraduate degree will be offered on a college-wide basis.  Nevertheless, by creating these units within the college, there will be natural places for undergraduates to connect with.  Bobick stated that establishment of schools within the college will clarify our structure to the outside world. 

 

Frequently-asked questions when sub-units are established include the costs associated with such a change as each unit adds support personnel (Finance, Admin, etc.).  Bobick stated that the costs in this case will be minimal since the divisions have already been operating as separate entities (with their own budgets, etc.); hence additional support personnel will not be needed.  Another issue deals with accreditation.  Since accreditation is associated with degree programs, there is no effect in this case since the undergraduate degree will remain the same.  Establishment of the schools will not impact the college’s rankings (e.g. USN&WR) since what is to be done is relatively transparent.  To improve rankings, it is important to enhance the reputation and quality of our education and research output, and the quality of faculty to be recruited.  Creation of schools will enhance our ability to attract high quality faculty since their field/research activities would be central within the school rather than on the fringe of a large “diffuse” group.  Each of the two larger divisions currently has nearly 30 faculty members, which is typical of many schools around campus.  Bobick stated that the schools are not being created because the college has grown too large (there are GT schools that are larger than the entire CoC); instead, it is the intellectual diversity among the divisions that has motivated this proposal.  He pointed to the fact that several degree programs have been created by the divisions over the past 3-4 years, including the PhD program in Human-centered Computing launched by IIC, the MS degree in information security, and the soon-to-be-launched PhD programs in robotics and CSE.  Impact on college leadership will be minimal since the divisions leadership already fulfills the leadership positions needed for the schools.  Impact on the faculty is expected to be very positive.  This is already evident by increased faculty involvement at the division level.  More importantly, creation of the schools will enhance the RPT process since the unit-level evaluation committees will be more familiar with the work.  The enhanced RPT process will, in turn, help us recruit stronger faculty.  Impact on the students has already been positive. 

 

Bobick stated that it is his understanding (based on earlier discussions with Dr. Dan Papp when he was at the Chancellor’s Office) that creation of the schools within the college is strictly an administrative process requiring only the Provost’s and President’s signatures.  However, it is very important that the faculty be informed so that they can provide input and suggestions; it is in that spirit that today’s presentation is being made. 

 

A question was asked as to whether the current divisions have degree programs that they individually control since Georgia Tech schools normally offer degree programs.  Bobick stated that there are degree programs which are currently controlled (albeit unofficially) by the two large divisions slated for conversion to schools (IIC and CSS).  Zegura stated that while these “division-controlled” degrees are graduate degrees, nevertheless, it means that the divisions meet the degree-offering criterion.  The undergraduate degree will remain a college-wide degree based on the “threads.”   A follow-up question was raised regarding the status of the third division (CSE).  Bobick stated that the current proposal is to move forward with IIC and CSS becoming schools; CSE would not immediately move in that direction as they are in the process of developing both MS and PhD programs.  A follow-up question was asked as to whether the college will simultaneously have schools and divisions.  Bobick stated that this will be the case in the short term, and that divisions can be viewed as “incubators” for schools.  A statement was made that while the BOR policies may indeed state that this process is strictly administrative, the Statutes and Bylaws of Georgia Tech state that part of the responsibilities of the Undergraduate Curriculum and Graduate Curriculum Committees is to review the creation of new units.  The Chair inquired as to whether the Board would need to express its endorsement (or concern) regarding this proposal.  Zegura indicated that while the Board’s endorsement would be welcome, it was not the intent of this presentation to seek the Board’s presentation.  At this stage, the CoC needs to follow-up on the need to present the proposal to the Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum committees before finalizing the proposal and presenting it to the Academic Senate.  A comment was made that while there may be no significant opposition from the committees, it is important to inform them.  A comment was made the expected positive impact on the RPT process is a strong selling point for the proposal.  A comment was made that other single-unit colleges (Management and Architecture) will likely move in the direction of creating schools.  A question was asked regarding the impact of this proposal on the undergraduate degree.  Zegura stated that the undergraduate degree will continue to be college-wide based on the combination of any two threads.  She stated that the threads approach is the biggest conceptual idea presented to freshmen; it has been very successful – some of the students who started before implementing the threads idea like the concept and want to revise their program of study to meet the new requirements.  The Chair indicated that the September 12 Academic Senate meeting will not be held and that if CoC presents the proposal to the Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum Committees in a timely fashion, it may be possible to present this proposal at the October 10 meeting of the General Faculty and Academic Senate.

 

The Chair thanked Drs. Bobick and Zegura for their presentation.                  

 

6.      The Chair called on Ms. Marcia Kinstler (Acting Asst. VP, EH&S) to discuss plans for the creation of a new Institute Council on Environmental Health & Safety. Kinstler stated that “Environmental Health & Safety” and “Research Compliance” are closely inter-related; Research Compliance assures that faculty members continue to receive research support by complying with the requirements of the funding agencies, while Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) helps assure their safety while conducting such research.    An external peer group was convened last fall to evaluate our EH&S activities.  As a result, EH&S at Georgia Tech is undergoing some changes to assure the continued safety of faculty, students, and staff as our research expands in areas such as bio-technology and nano-technology.  An Institute Council on Environmental Health and Safety will be formed (see Attachment #3 below).  The Council will consist of Chairs of six Committees; three of these committees, namely, the Institutional Biosafety (rDNA) Board, the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, and the Nuclear Safeguards Committee, already exist.   These three committees are mandated and highly regulated by the Federal Government.  Three other committees are to be formed and represented on the Council; these are: (1) Chemical & Environmental Safety Committee, (2) Occupational Health & Safety Committee, and (3) Biotechnology Safeguards Committee.  Among the activities of the Chemical & Environmental Safety Committee (some of which already exist) are chemical management, lab inspections, and personnel training. The Occupational Health & safety Committee will provide oversight and policy advice in that area.  The Biotechnology Safeguards Committee will oversee the development and maintenance of appropriate bio-safety policies and procedures as research expands in this area; the committee will complement the work of the rDNA Board, by addressing other areas such as pathogenic agents, and infectious diseases.  Kinstler stated that we have experts on campus who can serve on these committees.  The Chairs of all six committees will constitute the Institute’s Council on Environmental Health & Safety.  Representatives from Human Resources, Student Health services, Research Compliance, Legal Affairs, GTRC/OSP, and Internal Audit will serve as Ex-Officio members. 

 

A comment was made that the word “nano-technology” does not appear on the chart, even though at the National level there is increasing discussion and concern regarding the safety of nano-technology.  Kinstler stated that one of the roles of the Institute Council on Environmental Health & Safety is to identify new and emerging safety concerns, and if necessary, recommend the formation of a new committee to focus on that specific area; nano-technology may fall in that category.  A question was asked as to how this Council is related to the Institutional Review Board for human subjects research.  Barbara Henry (OSP/Research Compliance) stated that the IRB has been established by the Office of Research Compliance; it will continue to focus on Human subject protection.

 

The Chair thanked Ms. Kinstler for her presentation.           

 

7.      The Chair stated that the current Secretary of the Faculty (Said Abdel-Khalik) will be stepping down because of expected increase in his service activities at the National level.  A search has been conducted to identify candidates for the position; several persons were approached.  Ron Bohlander (GTRI) has agreed to be nominated, and is willing to serve if selected. He is an excellent candidate; he has been at GT for many years and knows a great deal about our policies and procedures.  He has served as Chair of the Statutes Committee for several years and has done a very good job in that role.  There was general consensus that Dr. Bohlander is an excellent candidate for the Secretary of the Faculty position; his name will be presented to the General Faculty for approval at the October 10, 2006 meeting.

 

8.      The Chair stated that the Board needs to elect a Chair and a Vice-Chair for 2006-07.  He requested that nominations for the two positions, including self-nominations, be E-Mailed to the Secretary of the Faculty no later than Thursday August 31st, 2006.  The Secretary of the Faculty will send E-Mail ballots to elect the Chair and Vice-Chair on September 1st, with voting allowed till September 11th; the results will be reported at the next Board meeting.  The procedure was agreed to without dissent.

 

9.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty to discuss the Committee Liaison assignments for next year.  Abdel-Khalik stated that there are 15 standing faculty committees and that each elected member of the Board, excluding the Chair, will be assigned as a liaison to one of the committees.  He indicated that members will be asked (by E-Mail) to provide three assignment preferences; the liaison assignments will be made based on these preferences and will be reported before the next Board meeting. 

 

10.  The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty to present administrative matters.  Abdel-Khalik stated that there are two committee appointments to be made.  In accordance with the procedure previously established by the Board, Professor Philip Auslander (LCC) has been contacted and has agreed to serve on the Student Honor Committee to complete the unexpired term [06-07] of Professor Cheryl Contant (Arch), who will be on leave next year.  Also, Professor James Gole (Physics) has been contacted and has agreed to serve on the Student Honor Committee to complete the unexpired term [06-08] of Professor Joseph Schork (ChBE) who has left GT.  A motion was made to approve the appointment of Professors Auslander and Gole to the Student Honor Committee.  The motion passed without dissent. 

 

11.  The Chair stated that the Academic Senate and General faculty Assembly meeting originally scheduled for September 12, 2006 has been cancelled due to lack of business. The first meeting of the General Faculty and Academic Senate will be held on October 10, 2006 when the President presents the State of the Institute address.

 

12.  The Chair asked for any new business; hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 4:35 PM and invited members to attend a short reception in the Gordy room to honor departing 2005-06 Board members and welcome the new 2006-07 members.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

August 28, 2006

Amended (09/01/06)

 

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

 

1.       Minutes of the EB meeting of June 20, 2006. http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2006-062006-Minuteswp.htm

2.      Creation of Schools in the College of Computing (Presentation by Aaron Bobick).

3.      Institute Council on Environmental Health & Safety (Presentation by Marcia Kinstler).