GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of November 21, 2006

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

 

 

Members Present: Ballard (GTRI), Braga (Chemistry), First (Physics), Foley (CoC), Gaimon (Mgt), Wang for Graab (U. Student), Hughes (Chair, ECE), Keller (G. Student), Stein (VPSS), West (GTRI), Williams (ECE/GT-S), Wood (LCC), Bohlander (SoF)

 

Members Absent: Akins (Prof. Prac.), Alexander (Staff), Barnhart (GTRI), Bras (ME), Clough (President), Price (IMTC), Schuster (Provost), Yen (Biology)

 

Visitors:  Allen (Pres. Office), Pikowsky (Registrar), Smith (Provost’s Office), Streator (ME)

 

1.        Joe Hughes (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M. 

 

2.      The Chair called on Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs, Dr. Anderson Smith, to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  Dr. Smith offered the following comments on behalf of the President:

a.       President is pleased and excited about the success of the Finding Common Ground event that happened over the last few weeks.  Dr. Smith recognized the fine contributions of John Stein (Dean of Students), Alison Graab (President of SGA), and Mitch Keller (Graduate Student Body President).  The students worked very hard and this is a great example of the good things that can happen when people come together to plan an event like this.  The keynote and student forums were exciting and well done.

b.      There has been some faculty concern about the Optional Retirement Program (ORP); i.e. that it does not seem to do the same things as the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) does.  The Chancellor of the University System of Georgia has put together a task force on the ORP with the object of finding something the Regents can propose to the legislature that will perhaps seem more equitable in comparison with TRS.  This is a high-priority for the Chancellor’s staff and the Board of Regents (BOR).

c.       Since the last meeting two buildings have been dedicated; namely, the Molecular Science and Engineering (MS&E) Building and the Klaus Building.  Both are considered “green buildings” meaning that they are environmentally friendly.  In fact the Klaus Building will be the first recipient on campus of a Gold LEED Award from the U.S. Green Building Council

d.      The Capital Campaign is underway and still in its quiet phase.  Over $300 million have been raised so far and the belief is that Georgia Tech will raise $400 million by the end of the fiscal year.  That is well on the way toward the $1 billion goal.

e.       Because of some renovation required in the Alexander Coliseum, Dr. Sue Ann Allen in the President’s Office has been working on plans for the various graduation ceremonies in 2007.  Dr. Allen provided the following details:

·        Renovations are being planned to improve the fire safety of the coliseum.  It has been deemed safe by the fire marshal for the way people occupy the building during a basketball game.  However, when Georgia Tech puts many people on the floor of the coliseum, such as in a graduation ceremony, the evacuation time is too long relative to the way smoke can build up.  The fire marshal has recommended some changes to the ventilation systems as well as changes to the floor exits so that evacuation times can be reduced and smoke is less of a problem.  These changes will take some time and will need to be done in the Mar.-Sep. timeframes.  Some will be accomplished during Mar.-Sep. 2007 and the rest Mar.-Sep. 2008.  This affects graduation plans in the following ways:

·        In fall 2007 there will be three ceremonies held in Alexander Coliseum: namely, one for bachelors degrees from the College of Engineering, one for bachelors degrees in other colleges, and finally one for masters and doctoral degrees.  The numbers of participants in each of these ceremonies will be small enough to avoid fire safety problems.

·        In spring 2007, the coliseum is simply not big enough for undergraduate ceremonies and so the bachelors and masters degrees will be awarded in the Georgia Dome and PhD degrees will be awarded in the Ferst Center for the Arts on campus.  The latter venue also provides room for a reception afterwards and is appreciated for a more intimate setting.  Tickets, while limited, have worked out to be adequate in past experience.

·        Summer 2007 graduation ceremonies will not be held in the coliseum but the location(s) are yet to be determined.

f.        Dr. Smith went on to say that Dr. Jim Foley has chaired a committee that recently concluded its work evaluating and planning course management systems and educational software for use at Georgia Tech in the future.  WebCT has been used at Georgia Tech but is rapidly reaching its end of life.  The contract for WebCT support expires at the end of December 2007.  A company called Blackboard bought WebCT and is now supporting an academic enterprise system called WebCT Vista.  It is actually licensed by the Board of Regents to use in all 35 institutions of the University System of Georgia, but the Georgia Tech committee under Dr. Foley has found a better alternative in a system called Sakai.  It is an open source system developed at the University of Michigan with help from Stanford and MIT and is being used by most research universities in the country.  Foley’s committee recommended (with the concurrence of the Provost and President) that Georgia Tech adopt this platform and position itself to be a leader in deploying it.  It is proposed to bring in a development team to support faculty in and out of the classroom, individually and collaboratively, to get the most out of this new framework.  This has to be done very quickly in view of the quick departure of WebCT.  A beta version of the Sakai system is expected around April 2007 and will be made ready for general use by the fall of 2007 when both systems (Sakai and WebCT) will be operated in parallel.  A consultant team will ensure that Sakai makes all the necessary connections with Banner and provides equivalent functions to those used in WebCT.  This will be just the beginning because all the research universities around the country are developing new modules and functionality in Sakai all the time and all of this is available to all the partners (including Georgia Tech).  Right now Georgia Tech is looking for a Director of Educational Technology (or Chief Educational Technology Officer), a new high level position.  This planned development represents an exciting commitment from Georgia Tech toward educational software. 

The chair asked for questions and none was raised.

3.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the September 19, 2006 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).

4.      The Chair called on the Registrar, Reta Pikowsky, to present information concerning post regular season intercollegiate athletic events.  Ms. Pikowsky handed out a list of all the events by sport, giving the dates and names of the events, a copy of which is included as Attachment #2 below.  Members of the Board offered some corrections to some of the dates and the attachment incorporates the corrected dates.  The Chair called for approval of participation in the listed events if Georgia Tech is offered the opportunity to compete.  The motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissent.

5.      The Chair then called on the Assistant Dean of Students & Director of Student Integrity, Ericka McGarity, to present a proposed major revision of the Student Code of Conduct.  Ms. McGarity was also supported by Dr. Jeff Streator faculty chair of the Student Regulations Committee that has endorsed and recommended this revision.  The Chair explained that after the presentation the Executive Board would be asked whether they wish to recommend to the Academic Senate that this revision be considered and approved at their November 28 meeting.

Prior to the Executive Board Meeting materials were made available concerning the revisions, as listed in Attachments #3a – 3c below.  During her presentation to the Executive Board, Ms. McGarity also made use of a PowerPoint presentation included as Attachment #3d.

Ms. McGarity began by providing some background on the motivations for the proposed changes.  Significant feedback had been received prior to last year that the Code needed to be easier to understand and the processes needed to be streamlined so the period of time would be shorter for adjudicating cases.  New leaders on campus in the area of student affairs were supportive and provided a climate conducive to a complete rewrite.  Such a revision is also needed periodically to update the Code to be in line with trends in judicial affairs for students nationwide and to keep the Code in line with evolving legal requirements.  Ms. McGarity said the revisions were seen as an opportunity to make the Code “more user-friendly to the entire campus community while maintaining educational value.”

She explained that a nationally respected consultant (and GT alum), Dr. Donald G. Gehring, conducted an evaluation in October 2005 and provided his recommendations.  A Student Code of Conduct Revisions Committee was formed, chaired by Dr. Ray Vito and comprising students, faculty, and staff from across the campus.  They met throughout the spring of 2006 and prepared guidelines for what the Code should contain and accomplish.  Based on the revisions recommended by this committee, Gary Wolovick, an attorney with GT’s Office of Legal Affairs, and Ericka McGarity rewrote the Code.  Drafts of the new Code were then reviewed with senior officials in Student Affairs, with the GT Student Code of Conduct Revisions Committee, and with all the student and faculty committees regularly involved with Code of Conduct and Honor Code work (see Attachment #3d for details).  This included the faculty’s Student Activities Committee and Student Regulations Committee.  It was finally adopted on November 16, 2006 by the Student Regulations Committee for recommendation to the Executive Board and ultimately to the Academic Senate.

Since this is a complete rewrite, a line by line comparison is not possible.  The complete old and new documents are included in the attachments for comparison.  Features of the revision include reorganization and reformatting for easier reference.  Topics are better grouped and the flow of topics better matches the life cycle of a case.  For example, definitions of charges are provided, followed by the processes used to handled cases, and then explanations of the possible sanctions.  One of the big improvements is the inclusion of clear timelines by which actions are expected.

A question was asked whether any of the changes were substantive in terms of what is actually done under the Code.  Ms. McGarity answered that generally no, the revised Code is mainly clearer, better organized and streamlined.  She went on to explain some of the salient details where improvements were made.  Some cases charges that used to be rather broad like “alcohol and drug abuse” have been separated into separate alcohol and drug abuse charges.  Another example is “harassment” and “sexual harassment”.  A few new charges were defined such as “distortion” under academic misconduct and “disorderly conduct” and “computer misuse” under non-academic misconduct.  A charge of “abuse of Student Code of Conduct Procedures” has been added to stem cases where students simply try to stonewall the process of adjudication by not responding to communications or failing to show up for appointments for hearings and the like.

Then Ms. McGarity reviewed the process descriptions included in the policy.  She explained that communications are primarily through email on campus and via certified mail if the student is off campus and cannot be reached reliably via email.    An overarching theme is setting clear expectations for timelines which are set as short as they reasonably can be.  She explained that staff members have been added to make sure timelines can be met.  In addition to the Code now being clearer, students who are alleged to have committed an offense attend a meeting early in the process in which the charges are explained along with an explanation of all the procedures that will be followed in trying to resolve the case, what their rights are, and what possible consequences might be if they are found to be in violation of the Code.  This conference with the student also starts an investigation process, both with the student and with any witnesses that are identified.  Ms. McGarity explained that case resolution processes are different for “low-level cases” and for “high-level” (i.e. more severe) cases.  Low-level cases are heard by a Student Conduct Administrator and any appeals go to the Dean of Students.  Students have the option to have high-level cases heard by a Student Conduct Administrator or by an appropriate student conduct panel.  Appeals in these cases go to either the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs (in cases of academic misconduct) or to the Vice-President for Student Affairs (in cases of non-academic misconduct).  Jeff Streator, chair of the Student Regulations Committee, directed the Board’s attention at this point to the flow charts provided in Attachments #3b1 and 3b2 for assistance in following the flow of both academic and non-academic misconduct cases.  Ms. McGarity told the Board that one of the changes was to streamline the appeals process.  Currently there is one level of appeal at Georgia Tech.  Who hears cases and who handles appeals depends on whether the case is academic or non-academic misconduct and whether the level of alleged infraction is low or high, as described above.  A student can also have one further appeal, if requested, to the Board of Regents.  Those processes are described on the BOR website.  In the case of academic misconduct, there is also the possibility of a faculty conference resolution option, started last year, and this option has been streamlined and clarified in the proposed Code. 

Ms. McGarity clarified that consequences are different in low and high level cases.  The former generally result in warnings or disciplinary probation.  High level cases can result in disciplinary probation, suspension held in abeyance, suspension, or expulsion.

A question was asked how a student is to know the distinctions between low- and high-level cases.  Ms. McGarity indicated that websites that will be developed soon to help answer such questions for students.  Another question was asked about how an involved faculty member is able to provide input about how they think a case of academic misconduct case should be resolved, for example, in a case where a professor believes that plagiarism has occurred.  Ms. McGarity and Dr. Streator answered that one option is the faculty conference resolution.  Alternatively, the professor could refer the case to the Office of Student Integrity (OSI) along with an opinion about how the case should be resolved.  OSI may also follow up with the professor for additional information.  Faculty opinions in such matters are treated as very important input.  A question was asked if there are legal problems when matters are resolved in the professor’s office, and Ms. McGarity said there can be mainly if the professor does not record the case and its resolution with the OSI.  Recording such cases is crucial in establishing possible patterns of misconduct.

Ms. McGarity noted that in the case of high-level, non-academic misconduct cases that are heard by a student conduct panel, the student panel makes a detailed recommendation to the Dean of Students who makes the final decision.  This is done to preserve confidentiality for the accused student.  Student panels have to be subject to open records if they result in an actual decision but not so with recommendations.  An administrator’s decisions can be kept confidential.  A question was raised why this issue does not come up for a student conduct panel hearing for a high-level case of alleged academic misconduct, and Ms. McGarity responded that decisions of that kind are considered part of a student’s academic record and such records are explicitly protected as confidential under the law.

A question was asked for clarification about the statement in the Code that it applies to all of Georgia Tech’s locations and programs.  Given the increasing number of programs outside the Atlanta area, what happens if a student enrolled in a Georgia Tech program based in a foreign country is accused of high-level misconduct and wants a student conduct panel hearing?  How is that handled?  Ms. McGarity responded that Georgia Tech can handle that with a teleconference.  It is recognized that some foreign students may not have the necessary visas to make quick plans for a direct visit even if they wanted to do so.  The same issue can arise with witnesses to an alleged infraction.  They too can give testimony via teleconference.  A further question was whether there was a possible issue of fairness in the sense that a student in Atlanta can be actually present for a hearing in Atlanta whereas a student in the foreign country would only be heard and hear witnesses through a remote process like a teleconference.  Dr. Streator indicated that video teleconference tools are also available to improve the sense of presence.  These are commonly used for such things as qualifying examinations between here at Georgia Tech Lorraine, for example.  A follow-up question was whether the Code was checked for compliance with the laws in all the foreign locations where Georgia Tech has operations?  The answer was that it has not received such a review at this time.  The Chair noted that a theme of the Executive Board last year was the realization that Georgia Tech increasingly must think and plan operations with global impacts in mind.

Ms. McGarity explained that sanctions previously called “reprimand” and “loss of good standing” were removed as being confusing or ineffective.  What are left are “warnings, disciplinary probation, suspension held in abeyance, suspension, and expulsion.”  These are all clearly defined.  She also explained supplementary requirements, which may be imposed and may include such things as restitution, fines, grade changes, etc.  A question was asked about whether any sanction that is imposed is recorded on a student’s transcript.  The Code of Conduct says that a notation is made in the student’s disciplinary file.  Is that separate from the transcript?  Ms. McGarity answered that all disciplinary information is held in the student disciplinary file and this institution does not have any notation on a student transcript.  The only thing that may attach to the transcript, e.g. in cases of suspension, is that the student may not be eligible for enrollment at Georgia Tech at this time.  Data in disciplinary files are often requested as part of background checks of various kinds but can only be released if the student gives permission.  Ms. McGarity explained that Interim Suspension is something that may be temporarily imposed while an investigation is being conducted.  It is for the purpose of the safety of the student and the community or for other urgent reasons.  She also explained that if a student appeals a decision like a suspension to the BOR, the suspension is imposed right away and only lifted if the BOR rules to do so.

Ms. McGarity then concluded with an explanation of the steps that will be taken after the faculty fully approves the revised Code.  There will be a vigorous communication campaign to explain the changes to many student and faculty bodies.  Changes will also be made to support the Code in databases that record activity in the Office of Student Integrity.  The OSI website and various brochures describing the Code of Student Conduct will be updated.

The Chair then received a motion for this revision to be sent to the Academic Senate for their consideration.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

6.      The Chair reminded the Board that at this time each year the Executive Board is responsible for establishing a Nominating Committee to fill positions that have to be filled for the next academic year on all the various standing committees and certain positions on the General Faculty Assembly.  There is a procedure for that in the Faculty Handbook.  The committee comprises six faculty members and one student member (two faculty members from the Executive Board, two from the General Faculty, two from the Academic Faculty, and one student named jointly by the student representatives to the Executive Board).  By tradition, the chair of this committee is the vice-chair of the Executive Board.  Accordingly, Mr. Akins has been at work putting together a recommendation of the six faculty members, as follows:

    1. Tom Akins (Professional Practice, Chair) – from EB,
    2. Jim Foley (CS, Vice-Chair) – from EB
    3. Mary Frank Fox (PubPol) – from academic faculty
    4. Tom Horton (GTRI) – from general faculty
    5. Donna Llewellyn (CETL) – from general faculty
    6. Leon McGinnis, (ISyE) – from academic faculty 

The Chair received a motion to approve these appointments to the Nominating Committee.  This was seconded and passed without dissent.  (Note entered by the Secretary:  a recommendation will be obtained from the student representatives to the Executive Board for the student member of the Nominating Committee.)

7.      The Chair turned the Board’s attention to the proposed agenda for the meeting on November 28, 2006 of the Academic Senate which is also now combined with a called meeting of the General Faculty.  This agenda is found in Attachment #4The Chair reviewed the agenda and asked if there were any recommended revisions.  Hearing none, he asked for approval which was given without dissent.

8.      The Chair provided the Board with an update on plans for the business of the Executive Board in the year ahead.  He noted that this was the last scheduled meeting of the EB in calendar year 2006.  Issues that the Board may expect to hear more about after the first of the year include:

a.       Progress on the capital campaign.

b.      Issues developing within the University System of Georgia.

c.       Issues that need further resolution concerning the continuing globalization of Georgia Tech operations.  The Board was reminded of the activity begun by an ad hoc committee on this subject last year.

d.      Several efforts underway relating to intercollegiate athletics, including the regular NCAA review process.  A presentation on this review is expected around the time it comes to completion and may be an occasion to discuss other matters relating to intercollegiate athletics.  The Chair asked members of the EB to let him know if there were any issues any member wished included in that discussion session.

e.       Review of the formulas in Georgia Tech statutes relating to representation of various faculty bodies on committees and assemblies.  Many of these formulas were derived in a time when Georgia Tech was significantly smaller.  Extrapolated to the present time, the resulting committees or assemblies may become unwieldy and hard to fill.  The Chair cited an example in the context of the Graduate Curriculum Committee which might get very large as the graduate student population grows considerably in size.  The scope of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has a different set of issues associated with scope and work load.  Georgia Tech may also have the challenge of meeting the needs of an academic unit that may be jointly a member of two colleges.  Many formulas are based on head count in a college and some accommodation would be needed for this case.  Georgia Tech needs to figure out how to count faculty members who are more or less permanently based in campuses away from Atlanta.  Do they get their own representatives, or do they count in the head count of their home unit and are as eligible as any in that unit but have no special consideration of representation as external sections of the faculty?  Another question relates to cases where there are multiple equivalent positions.  Today each position has its own race and its own pair of candidates.  If the positions are equivalent (e.g. Unit X has five representatives) can there be eight candidates for the five positions and the five with the highest vote counts be elected?  The Chair suggested an ad hoc committee be formed to study such matters and then turn their recommendations over to the Statutes Committee next year for detailed drafting.  The issues to be looked at would be primarily procedural and not basic philosophies of governance.  The Chair asked for feedback on this concept.  No dissent to this plan was heard.  The Chair offered to bring some specific recommendations to the January meeting.  The Chair asked for people to contact him if interested in serving in such an ad hoc committee or if people have ideas for other participants or topics to include in the process.

The Chair also reviewed some meetings ahead.  He reminded the Board that there are two meetings scheduled in February (General Faculty Assembly and Academic Senate Meeting on Feb. 6, 2007 and General Faculty and General Faculty Assembly on Feb. 27, 2007).  At this point it looks like both of these meetings may still be necessary to conclude specific business in a timely way.  More information will be available in January.  But to better prepare for these, the Chair asked that the Executive Board move its planned January 9, 2007 meeting to January 23, 2007.  The Chair asked for any objections, and hearing none, said that this date change would be implemented unless the President’s Office had an objection.  (Secretary’s note: This change was subsequently confirmed by the President’s Office.)

9.      The Chair called on Ron Bohlander for some administrative matters.  He confirmed the results of the Electronic Ballot conducted by the Board in October and indicated that these results would be included in an Addendum to these minutes (see below).  In addition, he noted that he vacated his seat on the General Faculty Assembly in order to undertake the job of Secretary of the Faculty and GTRI/ITTL faculty have subsequently elected Mr. David Millard to fill his unexpired term.

10.  The Chair asked for any new business.  Dr. Anderson Smith offered two more comments. The President’s Office is working on two issues: the distribution of defibrillators around campus and the composition of the Parking and Transportation Committee.  He said he did not know the specific status of these issues, but the President has had meetings on them, and information should be available soon.  Hearing no other business, the Chair adjourned the meeting at 4:30 PM.

 

______________________

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

1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of September 19, 2006.

2.      List of Post Season Intercollegiate Athletic Events for the academic year 2006-07.

3.      Proposed revisions to the Student Code of Conduct.

a.       Outline of proposed changes.

b.      Proposed new Code.

1.      Flow chart for how academic cases would be handled.

2.      Flow chart for non-academic cases.

c.       The existing Code adopted May 16, 2005 (for comparison).

d.      PowerPoint presentation.

4.      Proposed Agenda for the November 28, 2006 meeting of the Academic Senate and General Faculty.

 

______________________

Addendum

Electronic Ballot and Results

Initiated October 24, 2006 and closed at midnight October 31, 2006

1. Do you approve the appointment of Linda Cabot (OIT) to fill the unexpired term of E. Kent Barefield (COS and Chemistry) on the Academic Services Committee?  She was selected in accordance with the By-Laws and has agreed to serve if appointed.

15 Yes.   0 No

2. Do you approve the appointment of Carol Colatrella (LCC) to fill the unexpired term of Ron Bohlander (GTRI) on the Statutes Committee?  She was selected in accordance with the By-Laws and has agreed to serve if appointed.

15 Yes.   0 No

3. In light of the need to have a second reading of the changes to the Statutes (Sections 5.1.1 and 5.3.1) heard at the October 10, 2006 meeting of the General Faculty, do you approve changing the call for the November 28, 2006 meeting of the Academic Senate to also be a meeting of the General Faculty?

15 Yes.   0 No

Respectfully submitted,

Ronald A. Bohlander

Secretary of the Faculty

December 11, 2006