Meeting of January 15, 2008

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center




Members Present: Ballard (GTRI), Barnhart (GTRI) , Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (ME), Clough (President), Gaimon (Mgt), Henry (Co-Vice-Chair, ORC), Huey (EAS), Morley (Math), Tyson substituting for Parvatiyar (U. Grad Student), Price (IMTC), Rossignac (Co-Vice-Chair, CoC-IC), Stein (VPSS), Wester (Grad Student), Whiteman (ME), Williams (ECE/GT-S), Wood (LCC)


Members Absent: Alexander (Staff), Braga (Chemistry), Dagenhart (ARCH), Schuster (Provost), West (Chair, GTRI)


Visitors:  Allen (President’s Office), Anderson (OIT), Mullen (OIT), Smith (SVPAA), Strike (Chair of Statutes Committee, GTRI)

1.         Ms. Leanne West (Chair) was out of town on a research field trip.  Co-Vice-Chair Barbara Henry opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.  She asked for approval of the minutes of the November 13, 2007 meeting of the Executive Board (Attachment #1).  This was approved without dissent.

2.         Ms. Henry then called on President Clough to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

    1. Pres. Clough mentioned that he was just back from an advisory board meeting in Saudi Arabia at the King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals.  He described other new academic ventures in this country including the new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which will start off life with an endowment of $10 billion.  He stated that the Middle East generally is a region with many new investments in higher education and significant interest in partnerships with Georgia Tech and other universities.  Pres. Clough mentioned mutual interests in carbon capture, environmental engineering, and sustainability.
    2. He also commented on his recent trip to Washington to attend the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and described the concerns among university leaders about decreasing federal support for university R&D (relative to inflation).  While Pres. Bush supported increases in science research and education funding, these increases were stripped out of the budget by Congress in final deliberations on the Omnibus Budget Bill.  Dr. Clough indicated that PCAST would continue to advocate a substantial increase in science and technology research and education funding in support of U.S. competitiveness.
    3. He reminded the Board that it was nearly time for the start of the State of Georgia’s legislative session.  The Governor’s State of the State address and the release of his budget were slated for the next day, January 16, 2008.  Dr. Clough was unable to comment explicitly on the Governor’s budget because it had not been released in advance, but he did say he expected there would be support for formula funding to the members of the University System and for salary increases.  He reminded the Board that the formula’s funding to Georgia Tech for FY09 would be based on enrollment figures in FY07, a year when enrollment took a considerable step up.  Thus, if followed, the formula would help Tech reach a level of funding that better matches the needs of today’s enrollment.   Dr. Clough expressed the hope that the Governor would also include in the capital budget funding for Georgia Tech’s Undergraduate Learning Center [or the Innovative Learning Resources Center (ILRC) as it has come to be known].  Dr. Clough stated that this is a very important project to Georgia Tech, one that has been in planning for a long time, and one that Tech has made preparation to start quickly.  He stated that on the day of this Executive Board meeting the Board of Regents had selected the architectural team for the ILRC project.  It has also been reported that the Governor has also recommended some increases in support to the Georgia Research Alliance which could provide additional resources to Georgia Tech.  The President reminded the Executive Board that the Governor’s budget is just an early step in the overall process and that funding is not ultimately set until the legislature authorizes expenditures and the Board of Regents makes allocations to the institutions in the University System.
    4. President Clough commended the excellent service of faculty members like Dr. Aris Georgakakos (Director of Tech’s Georgia Water Resource Institute) in advising governments around the world on managing water resources.  He noted that such expertise is now much needed by Georgia’s leadership, and Dr. Georgakakos has advised the Governor in support of his negotiations with Alabama, Florida, and the Corps of Engineers.  He has also advised the White House.  Dr. Clough indicated that, if adopted, the new Georgia Water Management Plan (proposed by Dr. Carol Couch of Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division) would include funding for a Water Resources Center at Georgia Tech. 
    5. President Clough was pleased to report that there are approximately fifteen Georgia Tech students working as interns at the General Assembly.  Dene Sheheane, Director of Government Relations for Georgia Tech, has helped to arrange the placements.  Some Tech interns are working in the Speaker’s Office, the Senate Budget Office and in a number of other positions.  Dr. Clough thanked them for representing Georgia Tech in an extremely positive way.

There were a few follow up questions for Dr. Clough:

·         Question:  Is it a good thing that Tech has now grown to about 18,000 students?  Ans. This number is of course a composite of undergraduate and graduate students.  Last year Tech was surprised by the number of undergraduate students who accepted offers of admission, and that created problems in housing and in planning sections of courses taken by most of the freshman class. Also students who have been offered places in the summer session have accepted their invitations at a very high rate which has further contributed to high acceptance rates overall. The economy can affect application rates for the graduate level, and graduate programs as a whole have grown by design.  The hope is that enrollments will be in better balance next year but predicting is not easy.  Dr. Clough reminded the Board that not all of the 18,000 or so students are at the Atlanta campus.  Dr. Andy Smith (SVPAA) stated that the current plan is to try to keep the undergraduate enrollment stable and for the graduate programs to grow at rates determined by growth in faculty numbers.  He said that any growth in the undergraduate student enrollment should primarily be at the Georgia Tech Savannah campus.

·    Question:  Can Tech’s infrastructure (things like the student center and transportation) keep up with growing enrollment?  Ans. Some student services are enabled to expand with enrollment because revenue from student fees grows too.  Dr. Clough stated that a critical resource is the number of faculty members, which is why maintaining pace with the University System formula for funding is so important.  This year if funding targets are reached, Tech hopes to hire more faculty members.

3.         The Chair then called on Dr. Andy Smith (Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs) to make a presentation on plans for the new Undergraduate Learning Center [or ILRC mentioned earlier].  His presentation followed closely the format he used in a subsequent talk to the faculty meeting on February 5, a link to which is provided in Attachment #2.  Dr. Smith said it was exciting last summer when the Board of Regents (BOR) recommended funding for the Undergraduate Learning Center (ULC) [or the ILRC] to the Legislature and the Governor.  At $50 million, it is the second largest of the planned capital investments recommended by the BOR.  Dr. Smith’s slides showed a rendering of the building but he reminded the Board that it has not been designed in detail so this may not be exactly how it turns out.  As one can see the ULC will be next to the existing library tower and on the eastern edge of the Tech Green, across from the Green from the Campanile and the Student Center.  It will be at the crossroads of the campus and is likely to become a major hub of academic life.  In showing a site map of the campus around the planned development, Dr. Smith showed where the ULC would be in relation to surrounding buildings.  The library would be to the east and the Electrical and Computer Engineering building to the north.  He briefly commented on a possible extension of the ECE building and replacement for its current auditorium (to be specified in more detail sometime in the future).  Slide 5 showed the contents of the ULC in diagrammatic form.  He said that the Information Commons facilities now in the library were experiments to pave the way for similar things that would be an integral part of the ULC, as shown.  Such facilities have been very successful, tripling the utilization of the library building.  The new Information Commons facilities in the ULC will be a link or bridge to the library resources that will remain in the library buildings.  The ULC will have so many additional services that an important included function will be its Concierge Desk where students can be directed to appropriate resources and advisors within the Center.  The ULC will also house all the core freshman and sophomore science laboratories, which will be highly flexible for multiple uses and include meeting spaces for consultations with TAs.  In designing the labs, Tech drew on inputs from specialist architects and science laboratory consultants.  Such discussions have spurred concepts for occasional demonstrations in multiple sciences integrated around unified topics.  (Dr. Clough also commented that the advent of these new laboratories would free up laboratory space currently used by the schools for other potential uses.)  Dr. Smith showed that learning spaces and classrooms in the building will range from very large lecture halls to small conference rooms that are thought of as “collaboratories” for work by student teams as well as for study group meetings and sessions with tutors and the like.

He then reviewed the history of the development of the ULC concept, as outlined in slide 6.  The process began in the 1999-2001 time frame when the project was placed on the BOR’s list of capital projects.  Five years later it had not moved very far up the list (due to a recession in the state economy and a moratorium on capital spending).  To keep the plan up-to-date Tech engaged the Stratus Group consultants for a recalibration of the plan and integration with plans for the renovation of and future direction for the library.  In relation to the latter, the plan that emerged was for all the books collection to be housed in the Crosland Tower and the Price Gilbert Building would be used for study spaces and connected to the ULC.

Dr. Smith stated that the firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was selected recently to be the lead architects from a pool of seventeen applicant firms.  They are also the design architects in charge of Tech’s nanotechnology building currently under construction.  There will be a team of consultants and other architects working with this firm, some of whom are specialists in important component aspects of the building.  Landscape architects are also involved to help the building frame the Tech Green appropriately and make the entrances to the building very attractive.  Many different levels will have walk-in access to the building over a range spanning 75 feet in elevation.  Looking ahead, the Planning and Design Commission (PDC) at Tech will meet with the architects in June 2008 to review schematic designs.  If funding is approved, demolition of an existing parking lot will begin to kickoff the project.  The goal would be to complete construction in time to begin holding classes in the ULC in August 2010.  Dr. Clough explained it is by no means certain that this project will be fully funded in the current year because it is low on the priority table (slide 2) and is one of the more expensive items.  Nevertheless this is a very important project for Tech and the hope is that a way will be found to begin construction and maintain momentum.

Dr. Smith summarized the three major functions or purposes of the ULC: Information commons, learning spaces, and foundation science labs.  Library renovations will mostly be accomplished in a later Phase 2, but in the initial phase, work will be done to connect the ULC to the library and to make the library space as useable as possible.  Dr. Smith showed that the ULC will have about the same square footage as the current library buildings, with its three purposes having about equal portions of the space.  Classrooms have been sized (slide 10) to supply what classroom managers have indicated is most needed.  Among these will be one 500- and one 350-seat lecture hall, two distance learning experimental classrooms, and a host of smaller rooms.  In Q&A, Dr. Smith conveyed further information about the flexibility of these spaces.  He then reviewed again many forms of information commons rooms (slide 11) and other central services (slide 12).  He stated that he foresees this building will be one of the primary places prospective students and their parents will want to see on their visits to campus.  There will be underground receiving and an as yet undetermined amount of underground parking.

At this point Dr. Smith led the Board through an experimental 3D virtual reality tour of the facility from the perspective of four different kinds of students (and other users).  (The media for this are not available for reference at this time.)  Some of the characteristics of the building which Dr. Smith emphasized were:

·    One will be able to see through the building to many different levels.  The building will be very open feeling.  Light will enter the building through many glass walls.

·         It will be possible to enter on many different levels and walk up or down via ramps to the other levels.  In this way it will be possible to use the building to go up and down the hill the library is on so to speak.

·         There may be a covered patio at the lower western side of the building that would accommodate outdoor reception events.

·         The location of secure entrances to protect the library collection is still being worked out is not yet settled.

Dr. Smith said he would appoint a faculty/student committee to advise Tech on the project and meet on an approximately monthly basis.  There will be two faculty members from each college as well as undergraduate students.  Dr. Smith then asked for questions:

Question:  Have there been any studies of noise in such open spaces?  Ans. An acoustics expert has been involved.  Dr. Smith said that he had worried about noise in the East Commons, but background noise does not seem to bother the students.  Students in focus groups have said open spaces are what they want.  He assured the Board that noise will be given attention wherever important (especially in classrooms).

Comment:  Flexibility in the configuration of space is very important.  Tech doesn’t know how this space will need to be used over the next 20 years.  Ans.  Dr. Smith agreed and said that from the outset, no academic unit will own space in the ULC and that will help reinforce the intended flexibility.  It is all multi-use, all flexible, and the furniture can be moved around from one application to the next and from one time slot to the next.  Some adjacent rooms will be able to be opened up and have the walls between them moved out of the way.   Dr. Clough emphasized that even the laboratory spaces will be used flexibly within reasonable limits.  Dr. Smith went on to say that experiments modeled on computers will offer additional flexibility.

Question:  Who is the big customer for 12-15 person classrooms?  This seems small.  Ans.  A lot of the Ivan Allen electives result in small classes.  The need for these classroom sizes was determined from supply and demand as seen by those at Tech who manage and assign classrooms.  Other factors are the need for break out rooms for groups coming from larger classes and the need for tutoring rooms.  The 12-15 person classrooms can probably be reconfigured for more on occasion.

Question:  What will be done for wayfinding in the building?  Ans.  The openness of the building will help the building seem visually intuitive and the concierge desk will provide ready, visible help.  Other wayfinding aids will be worked out in detailed design. 

Ms. Henry verified with Dr. Smith that he would be presenting this material also to the faculty meeting on February 5, 2008.

4.         She then called Mr. John Mullin (Assoc. Vice Provost for Information Technology) to discuss Georgia Tech’s Data Cleanup Campaign.  He introduced Ms. Victoria Anderson, Assoc. Director of OIT for Information Security, saying that she and her team has been responsible for developing the campaign he would discuss.  He thanked the Executive Board members and their colleagues for all they have done to improve information security across Georgia Tech.  He stated that faulty security of sensitive data can undermine the effectiveness of many endeavors on campus.  He said that Tech lives in a world in which its stakeholders are very sensitive to threats of security breaches and are eager to help solve these problems if Tech does not to do so for itself.  Tech has already made appropriate investments in technology to assist with security, but the administration has charged OIT with being sure that all data custodians actually take the necessary steps to protect the data they have.  Sensitive information has been entrusted to Tech by students, faculty, and staff to fulfill essential functions.  The greatest risk comes from the accumulation of sensitive data over time beyond immediate needs.  Problems from equipment losses and thefts are minimized when they contain only data needed for current operations.  So the Georgia Tech Data Cleanup Campaign has been designed to help identify sensitive data, to delete those that are no longer needed, to move those that are not needed day-to-day to archival storage, and to protect the remaining data needed for current operations.  Mr. Mullin provided the Board with handout materials on the program.  He commented that this should not be viewed as a one-time event but as a transformation of processes so continuous and sustained progress is made.  Where possible, Mr. Mullin recommended the storage of sensitive data on departmental file servers that are properly secured.  If data are not needed day-to-day, he urged deleting or archiving on permanent media that are locked away securely.

Comment from the floor:  A good way to handle such things as grade books is to have no more than the current semester on professor’s computers.  Everything else could be on departmental servers.  Ans. That is a good procedure, but there are no hard and fast rules.  Alternatives are possible. 

Mr. Mullin stated that Reta Pikowsky, Registrar, would be meeting with the Deans the week after this Board meeting and that her guidance will also be on the Campaign website

Comment/question from the floor:  There are concerns in parts of the Institute that data placed on departmental servers are subject to prying eyes.  How do we deal with this?  Ans.  A possible answer in such cases is to encrypt the data securely. 

Mr. Mullin also commented that sensitive data, however and wherever it is protected, needs to be identified to OIT and its location known.  Requirements for this have been set by the President, the Board of Regents, and in some cases other governmental agencies. Strict restrictions have been applied to credit card numbers, social security numbers, data subject to the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the like.  Such data must be stored in a secure place and managed professionally.  Mr. Mullin said that most financial data like credit card numbers are handled professionally by third parties off campus, and so the biggest risk within the Institute now is with student information. 

Question from the floor:  How secure are the departmental file servers?  There is a perception there is no uniform policy.  Ans.  Mr. Mullin said that indeed there is a uniform set of guidelines and standards worked out with participation by each college’s lead IT person.  Board members should be asking questions like this in their home units.  He said that there has been diligent work with the Deans, department heads, the computer support personnel, and much progress has been made.

Question from the floor:  Who comes down to check to see that the departments are complying?  Ans.  Georgia Tech has an internal audit team that performs this function on a spot basis and reports to the President.  OIT also scans remotely for sensitive data.  When unit heads report, as they are required to do, where sensitive data are intended to be stored, these locations are scanned more frequently to try to spot problems in protection. 

Comment from the floor:  One of the problem areas is with computer infrastructure that is shared between colleges because there are both ambiguities and conflicts of authority over the maintenance and protection of those computers.  Conflicting firewalls sometime lead to vulnerable work-arounds.  There used to be OIT professionals that could be hired by the hour so to speak to help across such boundaries.  They seem to have disappeared, apparently for budget reasons.  Ans.  Mr. Mullin said that he would like to get back to being able to offer such resources but at the present time could not afford it.  He said he would be happy to work to help solve specific problems like this.

Mr. Mullen wrapped up his discussion by saying that much of what remains to be done is to exert leadership in changing the culture about handling and storing data.  He asked the Executive Board members to study the materials provided in his handout and to participate as leaders in influencing and urging the needed transformations.  He asked that sensitive data be found and deleted where possible.  When such data are still needed they should be moved to secure places and/or encrypted.  He stated that a large-scale communication campaign is rolling out to the campus and asked that Board members promote attention to these messages among colleagues across the Institute.

Ms. Henry verified with Mr. Mullin that he would be presenting this material also to the faculty meeting on February 5, 2008.

5.         She then called on the other Co-Vice-Chair of the Executive Board, Prof. Jarek Rossignac, to talk with the Board about changes needed in the Faculty Handbook to help faculty elections run more smoothly.  He has headed up a Task Force appointed by the Executive Board to address this subject.  Prof. Rossignac called the Board’s attention to a handout (Attachment #3a) which provided an overview of the work of the Task Force.  He stated that the Task Force began its work in October with a series of online discussions and later a face to face meeting to wrap things up.  The members of the Task Force are listed on the Attachment.  Prof. Rossignac then led the Board through a series of five topics addressed by the Task Force. 

·    The sizes of the curriculum committees:

Dr. Rossignac stated that present formulas determining the size of the committee and the representation by the various colleges have not been followed in recent years but if they had been the committees would have been too large.  The Task Force asked the curriculum committees for input about optimal sizes and Drs. Gary Parker and Paul Benkeser who serve now or recently have served to chair these committees provided the needed feedback.  As a result a solution was developed that set the committee sizes at about 20 members each with distributions by colleges based on teaching metrics.  Minimum representations and caps were also introduced.

·         The rules for election of persons to committees when more than one position is open:

Dr. Rossignac explained that it had become impractical to find two candidates for every opening on every committee. Instead it is recommended that 50% more candidates be found than open slots on a given committee and that voters then vote for a number of persons equal to the number of openings from candidates in this pool.  Seats will then be filled by those receiving the most votes.

·         The methods by which small units elect representatives to the General Faculty Assembly or Academic Senate:

Units from the aggregate of Services and Central Administration that have twenty or more members reporting to the same head would be encouraged by the Executive Board to elect their own representatives to the General Faculty Assembly and could do so by request if they have at least ten such members.  The rest would be aggregated and the Executive Board will facilitate elections for representatives of this aggregate group as before. Dr. Rossignac noted that attendance to faculty meetings is sometimes disappointing and said there were discussions about the possibility of reducing the sizes of the representative assembly bodies like the General Faculty Assembly and/or the Academic Senate but no conclusions were reached at this time.  Dr. Rossignac stated that in the future, the Institute will need to address the best methods to represent faculty units located away from Atlanta.

·         Concerns about an occasional lack of volunteers to serve on committees:

The handout lists ten suggestions that were considered.  Dr. Rossignac reported that Barbara Henry would be paying attention to these matters in the work of this year’s Nominating Committee.

·         Issues of fair loads or overloads for some committees:

Administrative assistance to some of the committees has been lined up to help them.  Exit interviews with persons completing service on committees to better understand the workloads was one idea considered to shape further improvements. 

Dr. Rossignac then called on Dr. Ron Bohlander to show the Board where changes were needed in the Faculty Handbook to address three of the areas just introduced.  He stated his hope that the recommended changes could be expedited so that they would benefit the spring 2008 elections.  Dr. Bohlander made use of a PowerPoint presentation in Attachment #3b.

The first topic he addressed was the election of persons to committees when more than one position is open.  He said that now, if a given committee needed two people to be elected in a given year, then each position would have two candidates identified and the voters would choose one from each pair.  There would be a total of four candidates to fill these two positions and they would be paired off in a way set by the Nominations Committee and the Executive Board.  He explained the proposed change was to have a pool of three candidates and ask the voters to vote for two.  He said this is the way many professional societies elect their officers and the advantages are 1) that it reduces the work of the Nominations Committee in identifying candidates, and 2) it allows the voters to pick their top candidates without the intrusion of arbitrary pairing.  He reminded the Board that last year there were many races that had to be run with no opposing candidates because the Nominating Committee could not find enough candidates.  Dr. Bohlander showed the Board where the By-Laws needed to change in Section 10.7.1 to implement the recommended approach.  (Refer to Attachment #3b for details.)

The next topic was the size of the curriculum committees.  Dr. Bohlander stated that for the past several years, calculations of the correct size and distribution of the curriculum committees had not been performed according to the By-Laws, and when this was done this year it was realized that the prescribed sizes were rather large, particularly for the graduate committee.  The prescribed size increased because graduate enrollments have grown a great deal, as detailed in Slide 6 of Attachment #3b.  The Task Force asked the curriculum committees about size and they agreed that a permanent size of about twenty would be preferred for the foreseeable future.  The other thing the Task Force realized was that one of the committees today had only one representative each from some of the colleges.  It was felt there should be a minimum of two so that if one person were away, the committee would not lose the advantage of that college’s insights.  Similarly, Dr. Bohlander pointed out that colleges who do a lot of teaching should have substantially more representatives but there comes a point of diminishing returns.  So just as the Executive Board has a cap that no college or GTRI can have more than one-third of the membership on the Board, and the same thing in the General Faculty Assembly, the Task Force recommended that representation from a college be capped at seven (or about one-third) on the curriculum committees.  In deciding what to recommend, the Task Force realized that today’s formulas with the new minimums and caps, would result in 20 members for each committee, as intended.  Looking to the future, the Task Force recommended that the Executive Board be empowered to adjust the representation as necessary to keep the committee sizes at about 20 each.  They would do so taking into account measures of teaching involvement for the distributions across the colleges.  Dr. Bohlander stated that it is timely to make these changes because it would greatly ease the work of the Nominating Committee for this year’s elections.  Question from the floor:  Are these details ok with the curriculum committees?  Ans. One of the things the Task Force needs to do before the Feb. 5, 2008 faculty meeting is to show these details to the curriculum committees, and if they indicate this needs more work, then the Task Force will withdraw this suggestion from the agenda at the faculty meeting.  The Board’s fall back will probably be to just replace members of the committee at the end of their term until a practical new plan can be agreed.  Dr. Bohlander stated that the next steps were: 1) the executive Board would decide if this looks right; 2) the curriculum committees would advise if further changes were needed; and 3) the Statutes Committee would receive all the change proposals and decide if they thought the proposals were ok.  Some attempt would be made to help this converge and stay on schedule if at all possible in time for the February 5 faculty meeting.  Dr. Bohlander then showed on Slide 7 of Attachment #3b the details of the changes to the By-Laws to implement the above plan.

[Note added at the time of writing of the minutes:  The consultations between the Task Force, the curriculum committees, and the Statutes Committee did take place in the weeks before the February 5, 2008 faculty meeting.  Good suggestions for improvement were received from the curriculum committees and were implemented in time to present them with the rest of the recommendations from the Board to the faculty meeting.  The Statutes Committee reported that they concurred.  Please see the minutes of the February 5, 2008 faculty meeting for details of the changes.]

The last topic is the matter of how to elect people to the General Faculty Assembly from the aggregate pool of people referred to as Services and Central Administration.  Dr. Bohlander stated that there were two practical issues needing attention.  First, those units that are allowed to conduct the election of their own representatives are “hard-wired” into the Statutes and By-Laws.  It requires an amendment to add or subtract any unit.  The Executive Board is required to conduct an election for General Faculty Assembly representatives from the aggregate of all units of Services and Central Administration who are not large enough to elect their own representatives.  The Executive Board as a practical matter has allowed some larger units from this pool, the Library and the Enterprise Innovation Institute, to conduct their own elections although authorization for this is not fully in place. Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that some of the faculty actions last year increased membership in the General Faculty and would be likely to cause people like the Academic Affairs Professionals to need their own representatives as well.  The Task Force wanted to be able to empower a few more of the larger units within Services and Central Administration to conduct their own elections and recommended that the Handbook be amended so that this can happen simply with the supervision of the Executive Board and not require explicit amendments for each unit. This action would also reduce the load on the Nominating Committee and help representation to be better distributed across this aggregate pool.  The second issue with representatives of Services and Central Administration is the extra effort needed to fill a vacancy in the middle of a term when someone retires or goes to another university or the like.  When units conduct their own elections, the Secretary simply writes to ask them to conduct a special election to fill the vacancy.  But when the person is in the pool for which the Executive Board conducts the election, then a lot of machinery necessary to conduct online elections must be used.  As a practical matter, the Executive Board often lets such special elections slide until the next regular election.  Dr. Bohlander reported that the Task Force recommended that these vacancies be filled instead by the same procedure as is specified to fill vacancies in Standing Committees; namely, past runners up would be contacted and appointed by the Executive Board to fill the vacancy if they are willing to serve.  Dr. Bohlander then showed the Board in Slide 11 where these recommendations could be implemented in the Statutes and By-Laws.  He stated that the material deleted in By-Law 10.2.2 was an obsolete procedure that has not been followed in recent years.  By deleting it, room could be made in that section for the proposed new method of filling vacancies on the GFA for Services and Central Administration.

Dr. Rossignac moved that the Executive Board recommend to the faculty the changes to the Faculty Handbook documented in Attachment #3b.  This motion was seconded and approved without dissent.

6.         The Chair asked Dr. Bohlander to cover a question about eligibility to serve on curriculum committees.  Dr. Bohlander stated that someone now serving on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee faced the possibility of appointment to Assoc. Dean of a college that does not have schools.  He asked if he would be allowed to continue to serve on the curriculum committee since the By-Laws exclude administrators from being elected to the committee; i.e., is an Assoc. Dean of a College without schools considered an administrator?  Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board of an understanding voiced by previous Executive Board leaders that Assoc. Chairs of Schools were not considered administrators for this purpose, and so the question is whether this extends to Assoc. Deans of colleges without schools.  He asked the Executive Board to consider this and be explicit in approving this or not.

Comments from individual members:

·         It is important that this be limited to colleges without schools.

·         There is an issue of whether to risk the possible appearance of conflict of interest. 

·         Questions might also be raised about how much of the person’s time is involved in Assoc. Dean duties as compared with faculty duties in assessing whether the person can serve as a faculty member on the committee.

·         A question was raised about the consequences of saying no to this request.  Is there something more than losing one or two otherwise good candidates.  Dr. Bohlander responded that the immediate effect in this instance would be a vacancy on the committee.

·         A concern was raised about cases where a proposal might first come to the Assoc. Dean for his/her approval in the college and then go to the committee for approval where he/she would have another shot at influencing the decision.  This might be viewed as a conflict of interest or double jeopardy.  This is particularly at issue in the case of the curriculum committees that hear petitions from students appealing curriculum decisions.

·         Grace might be given to persons in interim Assoc. or Asst. Dean duties, but full appointments lead to immersion in some administrative duties.

·         It might be possible to allow persons transitioning to such new duties to serve out their term on a curriculum committee.

·         Assoc. Deans and Assoc. School Chairs are counted as administrators by the Board of Regents.

·         A concern was expressed that several Assoc. School Chairs serve on such committees and so a change in Tech practices would open up several vacancies.  It was observed that such people have experience that is valuable to the committees.

·         It was pointed out that there are other titles (like Program Director) within schools and colleges that are have similar responsibilities but do not carry the formal term Assoc. Dean or Assoc. Chair.  So this is not simply a matter of certain magic words that are acceptable or not.

Dr. Bohlander suggested that the Executive Board adopt an interim decision that persons be allowed to serve out current terms on curriculum committees upon transitioning into Assoc. positions like the one in question unless there was a clear case of conflict of interest.  And further that in a future meeting the Executive Board consider appointing a Task Force to look in more depth at possible longer term policies about this issue.  This approach was accepted without objection.

7.         Barbara Henry recommended that Dr. Monty Hayes (ECE) be appointed to fill an unexpired term on the Student Computer Use Committee, serving until August 2009 in place of Dr. Govind Govindaraj who passed away recently.  This was moved, seconded and approved without dissent.

8.         Ms. Henry asked for any reports from Standing Committee liaisons on the Board.

9.         Hearing none at this time, she directed the Board’s attention to the proposed agenda for the February 5, 2008 faculty meeting (Attachment #4).  Dr. Bohlander said that the agenda had been online and was very similar to the Board’s agenda for the present meeting, just with the addition of the second reading of the recommended change in the Statutes concerning the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee and the curriculum committee’s reports of action items, which are, so far, routine.

A motion was made and seconded to accept the proposed agenda for the scheduled meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and the Academic Senate on February 5, 2008.  The motion passed without dissent.

10.       Hearing no other business, Ms. Henry adjourned the meeting at about 5:02 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

Feb. 16, 2008

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


1)   Minutes of the Executive Board Meeting on November 13, 2007.

2)   Presentation by Dr. Anderson Smith on the Undergraduate Learning Center
(the available version is the one presented to the faculty on February 5, 2008)

3)   Reports of the Task Force on Institute Standing Committees

a) Report from the Task Force Chair.

b) Recommended changes to Statutes and By-Laws.

4)   Agenda for the February 5, 2008 scheduled meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and the Academic Senate.