Meeting of June 17, 2008

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

(See also a record of business conducted by email prior to and just after this meeting, shown at the end of these minutes.)





Members Present: Alexander (Staff), Ballard (GTRI), Barnhart (GTRI), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Braga (Chemistry), Bras (ME), Fowler (Grad. Student), Gaimon (Mgt), Henry (Co-Vice-Chair, ORC), Morley (Math), Price (IMTC), Rossignac (Co-Vice-Chair, CoC-IC), Schuster (Provost), Stein (Dean of Students), West (Chair, GTRI), Wellkamp (U. Grad. Student), Whiteman (ME), Williams (ECE/GT-S), Wood (LCC)


Members Absent: Clough (President), Dagenhart (ARCH), Huey (EAS),


Visitors:   Allen (President’s Office), Burnett (USG Curriculum Committee and LCC)

1.      Ms. Leanne West (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:04 P.M.   She called on Provost Gary Schuster to comment, in President Clough’s absence, on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. 

b.      Dr. Schuster reported that, during the week of June 9, 2008, the Board of Regents (BOR) named Richard Tucker as its chairman.  In this capacity he will be a member of the Georgia Tech Presidential Search Committee and it was then his duty to appoint the other members.  Dr. Schuster anticipated that these appointments would be announced within a few weeks.  He reminded the GT Executive Board about the makeup of the committee, following the same outline as reported in the Executive Board’s April 15, 2008 minutes.  Dr. Schuster reported that ten faculty members had been recommended to the Chancellor from which Mr. Tucker would choose seven.

c.       Dr. Schuster also noted that many other transitions were happening in Georgia Tech. 

·         Bob Thompson had retired as Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and Steven Swant has been appointed to fill this post (as of April 1). 

·         Alan Balfour has been named the new Dean of the College of Architecture, starting July 1.  Dr. Schuster said that Balfour had been at Tech previously and after that time had been Dean of the School of Architecture at Rice University, Chairman of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, and most recently Dean of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, N.Y.  Dr. Schuster noted that the College of Architecture here not only had a new Dean but that there was also $6.4 million allocated in the State’s budget for the renovation of the Hinman Building for the use of the College.  Planning for this renovation has been started. 

·         Dr. Schuster went on to say that Catherine Murray-Rust would start her duties as Tech’s new Dean of the Libraries following Dr. Richard Meyer’s retirement.  She comes to Tech from Colorado State University where she was Dean of the Libraries.  Previously she was at Cornell.  Dr. Schuster said she was very committed to the full use of the library, both as a tool for scholars and as a place for students to gather and study.  He noted that the planned new building, which has been known as the Undergraduate Learning Center or the Interactive Learning Resource Center, will hereafter be known as the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.  He reported that ground would be broken for this new building in the fall and the relation between the Learning Commons and the Library was very strong.  He said that the combined complex has the potential to redefine the early years of the undergraduate learning experience at Tech.  This building has been almost a decade in planning.

·         Dr. Nelson Baker has been appointed Vice Provost for Distance Learning and Professional Education, to succeed Dr. Bill Wepfer who has moved to the post of Chair of the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering after Dr. Ward Winer’s retirement.  Dr. Baker has a distinguished record of service to the Institute at DLPE already and would face challenges for guiding the DLPE programs through the downturn in the economy that may affect demand for professional education programs.

·         Ingrid Hayes, who has been Tech’s Director of Undergraduate Admissions until recently, has accepted a position as Assoc. VP for Enrollment Management and Director of Admission at Spelman College. Dr. Schuster complimented her on her contributions to Tech and wished her well in her new post.  He said there was a search underway to fill the vacancy at Tech but in the interim Rick Clark would serve as Acting Director of Undergraduate Admissions.

·         Also in the week of June 9, Dr. Rich DeMillo, Dean of the College of Computing, submitted his resignation as Dean in order to return to the faculty and pursue some challenging opportunities.  Dr. Schuster said that the College has made significant strides under Dean DeMillo’s five years of leadership and thanked him for his contributions.  Dr. Schuster stated that a person would be sought to fill the role of Interim Dean in the next few weeks.  And then with the start of the fall semester, an international search would be launched to find the successor to Dean DeMillo as Dean of the College of Computing.

d.      Dr. Schuster commented that the outcomes from the recent Georgia legislative session have provided Georgia Tech with a good boost in resources.  The Governor, Georgia General Assembly, and the Chancellor of the University System of Georgia (USG) fully supported the USG funding formula.  This resulted in a significant rise in funding to Georgia Tech pegged to its increase in enrollment during FY2007.  In addition, the state budget’s capital allocations provided support for starting the Undergraduate Learning Commons and for renovating the Hinman Building.  The legislature and subsequently the Governor approved a 2.5% average salary increase for university employees.  While that is not as large as one might like, Dr. Schuster noted that it was significantly better than found in many other states. 

He called the Board’s attention to the fact that state revenues have turned down over the last few months.  The revenue projections for Fiscal Year 2008 were down about 1% or $500 million.  The Governor has indicated he will use reserves to cover this.  Dr. Schuster said that Tech has received an indication from the Governor via the Chancellor that revenues for FY 2009 are now expected to be somewhat below the expectations that existed at the time the FY 2009 budget was created.  As a consequence the Chancellor has told the universities to begin to plan for a budget reduction.  Dr. Schuster said planning at Tech was in its early stages and there were some important principles in place:

·         In spite of any cuts, Tech would work to maintain its momentum and strength.

·         Critical looks would be given at the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and their budgets.

·         The Georgia Tech Foundation was very supportive and a resource that might be drawn on as necessary for help.

·         The advice of faculty such as those on the Executive Board would be sought in the decision making process.

4.         Ms. West then called on Professor Rebecca Burnett to explain the recent workings of the USG Core Curriculum Committee on which she has served.  Dr. Burnett began by passing out a letter which Dr. Susan Herbst, Chief Academic Officer and Executive Vice Chancellor of the USG, sent to all USG faculty members concerning her decision to suspend work on the core curriculum.  (See Attachment #1.)    Prior to that decision, each member university of the USG was invited to send one member to serve on the Core Curriculum Committee.  A number of meetings were held over several months and in the early meetings there were brainstorming sessions out of which developed three alternative concepts for the core curriculum.  These were posted on the BOR’s website to spur comment.  Dr. Burnett said they did in fact stir considerable reaction and that in part may have led to Dr. Herbst’s letter. 

A theme that emerged from the work of the committee was a commitment to interdisciplinary, cross-cultural educational opportunities for USG students.  There was a desire for

·         Students not to be insular to their own institution, or the state or the region, but to have a much broader sense of their place in the world. 

·         Students to be more aware of the connections between things they were learning in different classes, even across the different disciplines and subjects.

It was understood that USG’s research institutions had a different kind of curricular responsibility to students.  Significant attention was paid to the question of how to better serve students who might transfer between institutions of the USG.  The work on the Core Curriculum was halted in mid-May before reaching a conclusion.  Shortly following the letter sent to all faculty members of the USG, another letter was sent to members of the Core Curriculum Committee thanking them for their service. 

Ms. West asked for questions or comments, and the following were addressed:

·         Q. If activity on the USG Core Curriculum resumes, would you anticipate this would have any impact on the curriculum at Tech?  Ans.  Dr. Burnett said she hoped it would indeed have a positive impact.  Even though Tech’s curriculum was strong in such things as international and interdisciplinary opportunities, it was always healthy to spur reflection and consideration of improvements.

·         Dr. Schuster reminded the Board that the Provost’s Office has two task forces at work who are expected to report later in summer 2008:  The first one headed by Dr. Larry Jacobs (Assoc. Dean, CoE) was looking at Tech’s overall curriculum with the intention of getting recommendations about how to improve the curriculum.  The second task force headed by Dr. Leon McGinnis (professor, ISyE) was looking at interdisciplinarity.  The first had more undergraduate focus and the second more of a focus on graduate students but there was a lot of overlap, Dr. Schuster said, and so the two teams have been staying in touch with each other’s progress.   

·         Q.  Were there any tie-ins between the Georgia Tech task forces and the one chartered (and now stopped) by the USG?  Ans.  Dr. Schuster said there would be if the USG process were re-initiated.  Dr. Burnett said that she had kept in touch with Dr. Jacobs.  She noted also that the USG effort had both a core curriculum component and one addressing assessment.

·         Comment.  Dr. Morley paraphrased some concerns shared by colleagues in the School of Mathematics:  There was a concern with an external body mandating that Tech accept some transfer credits from units who may not be teaching the subject matter to the necessary level of content.  They could foresee students flunking a course at Tech (perhaps multiple times) and bringing a passing grade back from an easier institution.  Although courses might be labeled the same at two institutions, they might not be equivalent.  He stated he felt it important the Tech be able to maintain some scrutiny and decision power over whether to accept transfer credits.  Ans.  Dr. Burnett responded that this was an important concern for most of the units on campus.  She felt that transferring courses based simply on the title or course number would not work.  Expected outcomes and levels of performance have to be examined.  How the details would be worked out and evolve was not known but it would disadvantage Tech’s students to let them presume that a course taught elsewhere would necessarily prepare them to do other coursework at Tech simply on the basis of having the same title as a Tech course.  Dr. Bohlander said he had recently talked with the chairs of the Executive Boards of the University of Georgia and Georgia State.  They said they were concerned about this area as well, in part because they, like Tech, have to work very hard to maintain standards expected by the various accrediting boards.  The fear was that a USG-wide core curriculum might mandate an approach that would not fit with one or more of the accrediting boards.  It was difficult to know how much this would actually be a problem until a core curriculum is decided because the general intentions of the Core Curriculum Committee seem to be in line with the spirit of the general education requirements of such as the ABET board for engineering education.  Nevertheless there remains a fear that some flexibility needed to meet key requirements of technical curricula might be lost in satisfying a general core curriculum.

·         Q.  Was the trend to go to a “one shoe fits all” curriculum?  Or would optional core curricula be developed for broad categories of education like engineering, science, liberal arts and so forth?  Ans.  Dr. Burnett said the enormous diversity in the USG student population was appreciated and a one-size-fits-all solution was probably not going to work.  Students picked schools that matched their scholastic goals as well as their social needs.  A one-size-fits-all approach would disadvantage a number of institutions, not just the research institutions.  Dr. Bohlander said that a core curriculum could create resource needs that would be difficult to satisfy with the faculty and funds available at the system’s smaller members.  Dr. Burnett said it was recognized that members of the USG excelled in curricular innovation and there was no wish to have the creation of a new core curriculum put a damper on that.  Dr. Bohlander said that mechanisms for better sharing of curricular ideas and experiences amongst the members of the USG would be a plus. 

·         Q.  Faculty members were sometimes asked to evaluate a course taken at another institution by a student for possible transfer credit.  What were the guidelines for whether to accept the course?  Ans. Dr. Schuster responded that within each school there was typically an undergraduate coordinator who had that responsibility.  Exam papers and textbooks were often examined in making a determination.  Before a transfer from an institution outside the USG should be approved as much information should be requested and examined as would be needed to make an informed decision about equivalence.  There will never be a one-to-one match but attention should be given to whether the courses there and here had the equivalent objectives and depth. Q.  It is much simpler than that in the state isn’t it? Ans. from Dr. Schuster. Yes.  Equivalences have already been worked out by mutual agreement for the basic required courses.  Dr. Bohlander also commented that systematic review of transfers was part of accreditation reviews like those undertaken by ABET.

5.         Ms. West provided an update on the development of a new University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC).  She reminded the Board that this had been previewed at the Board’s April 15, 2008 meeting.  In a nutshell some faculty in the USG felt it would be advantageous to have a council to represent their interests to the BOR and so a meeting was held on Mar. 14, 2008 with representatives of each USG university or college in attendance who wanted to participate.  [Georgia Tech did not send a delegate.]  There was a perception initially that the focus would be on truly universal subject matter like faculty benefit plans but then when this initial meeting discussed curriculum issues it became apparent that a wider scope was possible.  This was reinforced when the founding members of the USG adopted a set of bylaws with authority to address a broad scope of topics.  (See a copy included with the minutes of the Executive Board’s April 15, 2008 meeting.)  This gave Georgia Tech leaders pause about whether to participate.  Ms. West reported that she had met with the chairs of the Executive Boards of UGA and GSU.  The three of them concluded it would be better not to affiliate with the new USGFC under these terms.  Instead they asked for and got a meeting with Dr. Herbst to express their concerns and explore alternatives.  Dr. Bohlander represented Georgia Tech at that meeting [on June 5, 2008] as Ms. West was away on business.  As an outcome, the three institutions decided to propose an amendment to the Bylaws of the USGFC subsequently written up by Dr. Bill Vencill, Chair of the UGA Executive Committee.  Ms. West provided the Board with a copy as shown in Attachment #2.  This provides for three sub-councils within the USGFC and an Executive Committee.  There would be one sub-council each for the research universities, four-year institutions, and two-year institutions to ensure that distinctive solutions can be developed to unique problems in each.  Coordination and interface to the Chancellor and BOR would be handled by an executive committee comprising the chairs of the three sub-councils.  In addition, the indicated revisions restricted the scope of the USGFC somewhat to make sure that it would not try to legislate things that would be better addressed by each faculty body.  Ms. West said the next step would be to submit this to the new head of the USGFC [Prof. Elizabeth Combier (North Georgia College and State University)]. 

Ms. West asked Dr. Bohlander if he had any additional observations.  He said the group as it was originally chartered sought to provide advice and recommendations to the Chancellor’s office and the BOR.  In order for that advice and counsel to be valuable, it needed a process of deliberation and development.  The Bylaws as written provide for business to be conducted by the USGFC comprised of one representative of each institution and votes would be taken with conclusions decided by majority vote.  Not addressed were

·         The processes for carefully choosing issues to address and announcing them in advance so that member institutions could prepare;

·         Processes that would gather input about solutions that might differ for institutions of different size or scope.

Dr. Bohlander noted that Attachment #2 just represents an unsolicited proposal at this stage but he said the USGFC would be much stronger if the research institutions were fully engaged in the USGFC because they represented a substantial fraction of the faculty in the USG.  Thus a constructive negotiation was sought and anticipated.  At the same time, Dr. Bohlander said the BOR ultimately needed to get concise, well-integrated recommendations.  Thus, even if the proposed three sub-councils developed differentiated solutions to a problem, the proposed Executive Committee would need to cooperatively develop them into a harmonious final product.

Ms. West emphasized that the leaders of the USGFC have been very open to working with the research institutions, as has Executive Vice Chancellor Herbst.  So the communication lines have been very open.  Ms. West also reported that the three research institutions concluded it would be good for them to get together to compare concerns and insights at least once a year in any case.

·         Q. At the April 15, 2008 Board meeting, Medical College of Georgia was mentioned among the research institutions.  Has Tech tried to include them in these discussions?  Ans.  Ms West said that MCG had in fact announced their agreement with the original Bylaws and she had tried several times to reach them to include them in the discussions with UGA and GSU, without success.  Dr. Bohlander indicated that continued attempts would be made to include them in all pertinent discussions.

6.         The Chair then called on Dr. Bohlander to discuss the calendar for Executive Board and faculty meetings in academic year 2008-09.  He thanked the Board for their cooperation with recent electronic ballots documented at the end of these minutes concerning some appointments, the minutes from the last meeting and a first cut at the calendar for the coming year.  He explained that the Board needed to reach two decisions: 1) to make some changes in the calendar for next year due to problems with reserving the venues for the meetings, and 2) to cancel the previously scheduled July 15, 2008 meeting of the Executive Board.

Dr. Bohlander handed out Attachment #3 covering the new proposed schedule for the next year and drew attention to two changes from the draft recently approved electronically:

·         Move the previously proposed date of Sep. 30, 2008 for an Executive Board meeting to October 7 to work around a problem with the availability of the Poole Board Room.

·         Move the location of the October 21, 2008 faculty meeting to the Ferst Center for the Arts and change the time to 2-4 p.m.

Dr. Bohlander said he had not heard anything to indicate that a July meeting of the Executive Board was needed.  Hearing none from the Board, he made a motion to cancel the July 15, 2008 Executive Board meeting and to approve the proposed calendar of meetings found in Attachment #3.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

7.         Ms. West called on Dr. Bohlander again to speak about nominations for Executive Board officers for 2008-2009.  He reminded the Board of the process that was adopted in 2007 which seemed to work well.  He suggested that this be followed again; namely:

·         Members of the Executive Board would let the Secretary of the Faculty know if they wished to nominate someone or if they wished to volunteer to stand for election to be the Chair or Vice-Chair of the Executive Board.  Such indications would be open up until the time of the August 19, 2008 meeting.

·         At that meeting the candidates would introduce themselves and provide an indication of their vision.

·         Then, immediately after the meeting the Secretary of the Faculty would conduct an electronic ballot of those serving on the Executive Board in 2008-09 to see who would be elected.  This ballot would be open for one week

·         The result would then be announced electronically.  Between that point and the October meeting of the Executive Board, the Executive Committee (Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary) would get together for planning and, if possible, with the President to discuss possible future business to bring before the Executive Board and the faculty.

Hearing no objections, Dr. Bohlander indicated that this process would be followed.  To help spur thoughts of possible candidates, Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board of the names of those who would be continuing.

8.         Ms. West asked for updates from Standing Committee liaisons:

·         Dr. Bob Wood, Pearl Alexander, and John Stein volunteered to follow up and draft policy language for liability coverage for faculty and staff advisors to student activities.  Pearl Alexander was appointed to lead this effort.  Wayne Whiteman was also appointed (in his absence) due to previous indications of interest in this topic.

·         Dr. Tom Morley reported that the special committee reviewing academic integrity processes was making progress.  Appointments of students to the Honor Committee were in progress.  Dr. Morley asked Dr. Bohlander to email Dr. Kirkman to find out whether August or October was the better time to hear the committee’s report.

·         Eric Barnhart reported that new sanctioning guidelines had been drawn up by the Academic Integrity Committee.

·         Dr. Robert Braga indicated that the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has had their usual heavy load, mostly devoted to student petitions.

·         Dr. Bert Bras reported the Graduate Curriculum Committee’s progress with particular 5-year program reviews.

·         Ed Price indicated that the Statutes Committee had made recent progress with its agenda largely by conducting business through emails.

·         Dr. Doug Williams said that the most recent meeting of the Student Regulations Committee coincided with the last Board meeting.  Their focus had been on getting materials ready for the April faculty meeting.

9.       Hearing no other business, Ms. West adjourned the meeting at about 4:15 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

August 4, 2008


1)   Letter from Dr. Susan Herbst to all USG faculty concerning plans for the USG core curriculum.

2)   Draft changes proposed for the Bylaws of the USG Faculty Council.

3)   Proposed calendar of Executive Board and faculty meetings for 2008-2009.


Addendum #1

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on May 29, 2008 with a response due by June 5, 2008, as follows:


Dear Fellow Executive Board Members –


The Chair has asked that I take care of several relatively straightforward issues from our May agenda by Email Ballot unless there is an objection.  Please provide the requested answers to the following questions.  If you feel any of these need to be held back for the June 17 meeting, please say so.


1.      Please review the minutes of the April 15, 2008 meeting of the Executive Board
____ I approve these minutes.          ____ I see the following thing which needs to be corrected:


2.      The Nominations Committee has followed up on our 2008 faculty elections to fill a vacancy for 2008-2011 on the Student Honor Committee caused by not having enough candidates willing to stand for election to this committee.  There were no runners up to this committee from previous years who had not already filled in, were available, or willing to serve.  Thus it became the Committee’s duty to find another person willing to serve and they turned to runners up from elections to other committees.  Tyler Walters an academic faculty member from the Library has agreed to serve if appointed and the Nominations Committee recommends his appointment.
____ I agree to appoint Tyler Walters to the Student Honor Committee for 2008-2011.       ____ I do not agree.


3.      Tim Strike, current chair of the Statutes Committee, was elected to serve as a member of this committee from August 2006-August 2009.  He retired April 30, 2008 but will return on a half time basis to work in GTRI beginning June 1.  There is a large back log of Statutes changes the committee is working on that have come from the Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs and his continued leadership of this effort would be beneficial.  Other members of the committee have limited time available and none is ready to immediately step into the chair.  The Executive Board has the power to clear the way for his continued service on the committee and current service as chair by granting him special General Faculty Status for the purpose of participation in faculty governance.  Under  Section 13.2.4 of the Faculty Handbook


 “Only persons serving at least 0.75 EFT in eligible positions designated above, shall be eligible for General Faculty membership, unless otherwise approved by the Executive Board or specified by the Statutes.”


I have cleared with Monique Tavares in the Office of Faculty Career Development and with Pearl Alexander in OHR that there are no impediments to such a Board action and they support this step.  I have agreement with Lisa Sills, Deputy Director of GTRI that they will continue to support Mr. Strike performing this service.  And so the question is:  Do you agree to grant Mr. Strike general faculty status for the purpose of participation in faculty governance for the remainder of his term on the Statute’s Committee?

____ I agree                      _____ I do not agree


4.      Please see the draft calendar of meetings for 2008-09 attached.  This has been approved by the Interim President’s Office and the Registrar’s Office with whom we have to work closely in such matters.  Do you approve this calendar?

_____  I approve                             _____ I do not approve


A quorum of the Board members participated in responding to these questions and all questions were answered in the affirmative without dissent.



Addendum #2

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on June 19, 2008 as follows:

Dear members of the Executive Board –

Per the Statutes, the Executive Board appoints a person to serve on the Executive Board as a representative of Georgia Tech’s classified employees.  Pearl Alexander has served faithfully and well in this capacity for at least nine years (maybe longer).  With her help we identified some good candidates to consider to give her a break and someone else an opportunity to serve in this way.  Based on this, our Chair of Nominations, Barbara Henry, recommends that we appoint Ms. Monique Tavares to take this position for the next three academic years.  Monique is the Director of the Office of Faculty Career Development under the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.  Like Pearl, she works with faculty and staff all over the Institute and has a fine sense of people’s needs and concerns. She has also spearheaded the study of potential improvements in the Faculty Handbook that are in progress with the Statutes Committee.   We have reviewed this potential appointment with Interim President Gary Schuster and he supports it.  So I bring you this question:

Do you support the appointment of Monique Tavares to represent Georgia Tech’s classified employees on the Executive Board for a term from August 2008 – August 2011?

____ Yes      ____ No

A quorum of members participated and all answered in the affirmative.