Meeting of August 21, 2007

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

(See also a subsequent business conducted by email at the end.)




Members Present: Akins (Vice-Chair, Prof. Prac.), Alexander (Staff), Ballard (GTRI), Barnhart (GTRI) , Bohlander (SoF), Braga (Chemistry), Clough (President), Dagenhart (ARCH), First (Physics), Gaimon (Mgt), Henry (ORC), Huey (EAS), Hughes (Chair, ECE), Morley (Math), Parvatiyar (U. Grad Student), Price (IMTC), Rossignac (CoC-IC), Stein (VPSS), West (GTRI), Wester (Grad Student), Whiteman (ME), Williams (ECE/GT-S)

New Members                       Members completing term


Members Absent: Bras (ME), Foley (CoC), Schuster (Provost), Wood (LCC), Yen (Biology)


Visitors:  Allen (President’s Office), Paraska (Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Development), Trotter (Math)

1.                  Dr. Joe Hughes (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:02 P.M. 

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

    1. President Clough began by welcoming everyone to the start of another academic year.  He thanked all those who have been working hard to help students move back into campus after their summer break or to help them get started for their first experience on campus, especially:
      • The team from student housing worked very hard to get the North Avenue apartments ready after rather short notice that Tech would be acquiring them.  At one time there were as many as three hundred workers on site, including contractors.  This is not the full renovation project that will ultimately be undertaken there for about $20 million, but rather just a first level of renewal to prepare for the first tenants.  The apartments have been well-received by the students and are full.  Dr. Clough invited the Board to drop by to visit this beautiful new community on the Tech campus.  He commented that there is an opportunity for this to become a model community for learning, and Senior Vice-Provost Anderson Smith is looking at the possibility of creating a “sophomore experience” program, perhaps in connection with this venue, to complement the “freshman experience” program that Tech has had for many years.  The advent of the North Avenue Apartments also brings the opportunity to remove some of Tech’s out-dated (but not really historic) housing that has fallen into a fragile state, thus making space available on campus for other good uses, to be determined.
      • Dr. Clough commended the students in the fraternity and sorority system who helped all students and their families locate and move into their housing assignments.  Dr. Clough commented that he and other senior administrators spent time visiting with many of the students and families moving in and thoroughly enjoyed that. 
      • Dr. Clough also thanked Dr. Anderson Smith’s team and all faculty members for their preparations to serve particularly the large incoming freshman class.  It is about the same size as last year’s class.
    2. He commented that Tech can now house over 53% of its students, which is believed to be the highest percentage of any public university.  Some privates do more, but this is a high percentage especially considering the alternatives available to the students around the Tech campus. 
    3. Concerning enrollment:
      • Tech received about 2,690 deposits from students accepted to the freshman class, but the headcount of students who actually showed up has not been finalized.  It is likely that it will be at least 2,600 students. 
      • Over 30% of the freshman class will be women for the second time in Tech’s history.
      • Total enrollment will set a record, partly because the undergraduate student body has been growing, and partly because recruitment of graduate students has been going well.  This will be largest ever graduate student body, with over 6,000 students for the first time, thus approaching 32-33% of the total enrollment.
      • The top major chosen by students was biomedical engineering, which is remarkable because this department is only about eight years old.  Next comes mechanical engineering, followed by management, aerospace engineering, and computer science.  This is indicative of a comeback in computer science after the era of the dot-com boom and bust.
    4. The convocation to welcome incoming freshmen was held on Sunday evening, August 19, 2007.  Dr. Clough thanked Bill Schafer (VP Student Affairs), John Stein (Dean of Students), and Anu Parvatiyar (President of undergraduate student body) for their leadership in pulling this together.  The event was very well attended, both by the students and their parents.  The sophomore greeting was presented by students Ms. Alina Staskevicius and Ms. KC Young with the theme “What does GT mean?” and they did an excellent job.  Following the convocation was Tech’s first “parents’ dinner” in the atrium of the Klaus Building and over 340 attended.  Feedback was very positive.
    5. In this class is the first group of Georgia Tech Promise Scholars, holders of the new scholarships for low income families.  To qualify for the program, applicant families make less than $30 thousand and the prospective students have promising academic credentials.  This group comprises 45 freshmen and 196 students in all, many of them continuing students.  The actual average family income in this group is $22 thousand per year so there is clear financial disadvantage.  Five are orphans or wards of the state with no family income.  The students come from 89 communities around the state; 128 are men and 68 women; 78 are Caucasian, 64 Asian, 38 African Americans, 12 Hispanics, and 1 native American.  Tech has really discovered an important need to fill with this program.  Many of these students have indicated they had not believed they could afford to come to Tech until this program was offered.
    6. This is the time of year when many university and college rankings are published.  U.S. News and World Report ranked Tech 7th among public universities, the highest Tech has ever had.  Improvement in Tech’s graduation rate is believed to have been a key in this advancement.  This rate, 78%, is still only 65th among those ranked so there is room for improvement, but many have worked very hard to get this far.  In the individual disciplines, engineering did well, as usual, and business continued its momentum upward.  The dean and faculty of the College of Management are pleased that they are becoming recognized for their work in the areas of entrepreneurship and quantitative analysis particularly.  In the latter field, they were ranked 8th in the country.  In production and operation management, they were ranked 10th.  Tech’s Cooperative Education program was again specially recognized, and Tech’s relatively new undergraduate research initiative was singled out as particularly effective. 

      Georgia Tech also got a positive write-up in The Princeton Review this year.

      Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranked Tech no. 1 for graduating African American engineers at the undergraduate level, no. 1 at the PhD level, and no. 2 at the masters level.  Over the last three years, Georgia Tech has graduated 10% of the African Americans receiving PhDs in the country.  There are about 320 accredited engineering programs in the country so there is plenty of competition but Tech is doing very well.  Many have contributed to this record, including
      • Dr. Robert Haley, who will be retiring soon, for his leadership of diversity programs on campus. 
      • Dr. Gary May, chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, for his work with the FACES program, among others 
      • Many also on the Executive Board.

Hispanic Business magazine now ranks Georgia Tech as one of the top five places for Hispanic students to study engineering and science.

    1. Each fall Georgia Tech students run a large job fair, assisted by professionals in the Success Center.  Dr. Clough commended the students for their initiative and leadership and commented that the fair has expanded to the point where about 450 companies participate.  Some universities, like UC Berkeley, also come to try to attract graduates to their graduate school.  Overall, this is a sign Tech’s students are in great demand.
    2. Dr. Clough congratulated the faculty on another record year in research volume.  A record was also set with $374 million in new research awards, which is remarkable in the current competitive environment.
    3. On facilities:
      • The Nanotechnology Building is progressing nicely and on schedule for opening next year. 
      • The Old Civil Engineering Building renovation is underway, primarily on the inside at first.  The final result is expected to be similar in finish to the Savant Building.  The Ivan Allen College will be using the building when it is complete.
      • The Regents have now recommended Tech’s Undergraduate Learning Center project to the Governor.  It is hoped that he will, in turn, recommend it to the legislature in his budget, although that is not guaranteed.  The legislature also may have other ideas, but Tech is nonetheless hopeful of legislative support for this important project once they have a chance to look at it.  To prepare, Anderson Smith, Steve Swant (Assoc. VP Budget and Planning), and many faculty members are involved in polishing the concept of the Center to make sure plans are up to date and as well tuned to Tech’s needs as possible.  Not only will this building be a great thing for our undergraduates and their science labs and the information commons, but it will be a magnificent $85 million building right in the center of campus.  It will make an architectural statement long into the future and help shape the space between the library and the student center.
    4. The capital campaign is moving forward right on target.  The $500 million mark will be reached sometime this fall.  Dr. Clough reported that his visits with alumni around the country shows they are very strong in their support and pleased with what is going on at Tech.  Corporations have never been more supportive of Georgia Tech.  They love to hire good students and work with the faculty, who are very good at working with industry as well.  When Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, spoke at graduation recently, he afterwards went to lunch with 47 of the graduates they had just hired.  Tech has the largest alumni base at GE and at IBM.  When Dr. Clough attended Dr. Jean Lou Chameau’s inauguration as president of Caltech, the head of JPL invited Dr. Clough to visit because Georgia Tech also has the largest alumni base at JPL of any other university.  Dr. Clough thanked everyone for their ongoing contributions to the success of the capital campaign.

1.                  Dr. Hughes called the Board’s attention to the minutes of the June 19, 2007 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent.
(See Attachment #1).

2.                  The Chair then called on Ms. Susan Paraska from the Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Development to update the Board on the status of Tech’s NCAA certification process that has been underway for sometime.  He noted that she and Dr. Lohmann and Ms. Paraska had briefed both the Executive Board and a faculty meeting about an earlier stage in the progress of this work.  Ms. Paraska used the slides found in Attachment #2 to support her talk and began by reviewing a little of the timeline.  The faculty and administration committees supporting the development of the certification self study were launched in February 2006 and they submitted the self study in spring 2007.  It has been analyzed by the NCAA office and the Committee on Athletics Certification (CAC), who appointed a peer review committee.  The next step is the site visit by this committee on Sep. 24-26, 2007. 

Ms. Paraska noted that the leaders of this effort include Dr. Jack Lohman serving as chair of the Steering Committee and its Executive Committee; Dr. Dave McDowell, chair of Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance; Dr. Tom Trotter, chair of Academic Integrity; and Dr. Sue Rosser, chair of Gender Equity and Student Athlete Well-Being.  Ms. Paraska introduced Dr. Trotter who was attending the Executive Board meeting with her. 

She outlined the itinerary for the Sep. 24-26 visit.  It begins with a tour of the athletic facilities, a meeting with Dr. Clough and Dr. Schuster, and a brief meeting with the Executive Committee.  The peer review team will spend all day Tuesday interviewing people across the campus, meeting with the athletics staff, and then meeting again with the Executive Committee to ask about finer points in the self study.  The following morning, they will deliver their report to President Clough and wrap up the visit. 

It will then not be until February 2008 before Tech gets formal results from the NCAA itself.  The reason it takes so long is that thirty-four other schools are also being reviewed in this cycle on a schedule that spans the fall.  In January the NCAA CAC meets to make its decisions and then in February it contacts each university president individually to discuss the status of their certification.  The public announcement comes later in the spring. 

Ms. Paraska shared some information concerning the distinguished members of the peer review committee.  The three members include Dr. John Whitmore, President of Texas Tech; Dr. Christine Grant, Assoc. Professor Emeritus and Women’s Athletics Director, University of Iowa; and Dr. Richard Pierce, Chair, Department of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of History, University of Notre Dame. 

Under the three main areas of the self study, Tech cleared all the hurdles in first one concerning Governance and Commitment to Rules.  Under Academic Integrity, the NCAA preliminary review raised a couple questions about Tech’s admissions process and about the athletic department’s own policy that no more than ten days of class would be missed by a student athlete participating in one of the programs.  Dr. Clough observed that the golf program has the greatest challenge with this.  Ms. Paraska confirmed that and also said that the self study made clear that while technically days are missed from the classroom, nevertheless Tech students are diligent in staying in touch with class assignments via the Internet while traveling.  In any case the visiting committee wants to discuss this a bit more.  Under Gender Equity and Student Athlete Well-Being, the review committee had some questions about the meaning of some improvement plans described in the self study and about how Tech handles special admissions for a few athletes.

Ms. Paraska reminded the Board that there is an internal website at that makes available the self study and supplemental materials developed in subsequent dialog with the NCAA.  Members of the Executive Board can access this site by logging on with each member’s usual Georgia Tech credentials (username and password).  Dr. Clough commented that this whole process is valuable as an opportunity to learn more and identify opportunities to strengthen Tech’s athletics governance and its programs for student athletes.  Dr. Sue Ann Allen will chair a committee to follow up with specific measures.  This is not just an exercise in making the NCAA happy.  Dr. Tom Morley commented that in his experience, actual academic performance by athletes varies a great deal.  Dr. Clough and others commented that while there are a few (perhaps 15) who are admitted needing special assistance in academics, there are 350 athletics scholarships overall so the percentage of academic issues is small.  Some of the teams absolutely excel in academics on average; e.g. the golf and women’s swimming teams.  Dr. Clough thanked Dr. Tom Trotter for recently agreeing to serve on the Georgia Tech Athletic Association Board of Trustees.

5.         As this was the first meeting of the Executive Board for the 2007-08 academic year and some members of the Board were new, Dr. Hughes briefly summarized the duties and responsibilities of the Board:

·        The Executive Board essentially functions as the top level representation of faculty governance.  There are representatives on the Board from the academic faculty, research faculty, and staff.

·        The Board oversees the Academic Senate and the General Faculty Assembly, which are the broader bodies of elected representatives of the institution.  So a lot of what the Executive Board does relates to managing the operations of those bodies.  The Board will therefore review and approve all of their agendas.

·        The Board also manages the operations of the Standing Committees of the General Faculty and of the Academic Faculty.  A few years ago, the Board reviewed the efficacy of each of the Standing Committees.

·        From time to time, the Executive Board has appointed special task forces to analyze and address policies and so forth that need updating.  An example is the work on intellectual property policy.  The work of the task force then led to amendments to the Faculty Handbook.  Dr. Hughes encouraged Board Members to become familiar with the online edition of the Faculty Handbook.  These are the documents that define how governance occurs at Georgia Tech.  He commented that Tech is fortunate that it has an administration that is very supportive of the role of faculty in the governance of the Institute.  He urged members to become familiar with how things are organized and the process are set out.  Many important issues are covered including faculty representative elections; policies toward reappointment, promotion, and tenure; and periodic peer review.

·        Moreover, there is a good climate of collaboration across the Institute.  The Executive Board is pivotal to good communication between the faculty and the administration.  Board meetings are an opportunity for each to hear the concerns of the other.

·        Dr. Hughes said the big issue needing attention is a review of certain aspects of the governance structure.  He cited three issues in particular:  1) Georgia Tech is now a multi-campus, global institution.  How faculty located in these various sites will participate in governance is not well covered by existing policies.  2) The enrollment at Tech has grown considerably in recent years.  The formulas governing representation on some of the committees, like the faculty curriculum committees, are tied to enrollment figures, and these formulas now call for much larger committees than are practical.  It is hard both to run a large committee and to obtain enough willing participants.  3) Nominations and elections for faculty representatives to various bodies and committees have become increasingly difficult.  Nominees can be hard to find and some simplifications in the election structure might help.  So these are issues that the Board needs to lead the way in addressing.  It does not mean that the Board will do all the work; in fact, much may happen through ad hoc and standing committees, but the Board can keep things moving forward and see that the problems are addressed. 

·        In terms of the workload expected of Board Members, there is a monthly meeting of an hour and a half to two hours in length.  It is an important obligation to be here, representing each member’s portion of the Institute as well as the interests of Georgia Tech as a whole.

Dr. Jarek Rossignac asked, can members discuss information heard in a Board meeting with the rest of the Tech community, unless specified otherwise?  Dr. Hughes said the answer is yes with only a few restrictive cases.  Occasionally there will be matters discussed by the Board that are competition sensitive and the minutes of the meeting [which are open to the whole campus] will be deliberately vague.  An example is the topic of the capital campaign.  Another exception involves cases where the Executive Board goes into executive session to deal with personnel matters, such as to appoint a hearing committee for the appeal of a faculty employment termination.  With only those two types of exceptions, the meetings are open, minutes are published, and stories may appear for example in the Whistle concerning Board deliberations.  A follow up question was if Board members are encouraged to discuss with colleagues the topics brought up to the Board.  Dr. Hughes said, in general, yes, that is part of the purpose of having a representative body.  Particularly, when policy changes are being considered, good two-way communication is essential to good outcomes and the Executive Board should be a conduit in both directions.  Also many times, the Executive Board formally refers final policy actions to the General Faculty or the Academic Faculty and makes recommendations for their consideration.  Dr. Clough strongly endorsed the importance of these communications.  Issues can be raised in Board meetings that the administration appreciates knowing are important and relatively easy solutions are subsequently found.  In other instances, the administration knows there is an issue and a possible solution but needs to get feedback from the Board about whether the administration is on the right track or not.

3.                  Dr. Hughes reminded the Board that one of its responsibilities was to oversee elections to the Standing Committees and to assist in filling vacancies that may occur from time to time.  There are many reasons vacancies occur; e.g., when a person takes a seat on the Executive Board, he/she must give up any seat on a Standing Committee and the vacancy must be filled.  There is a process defined in the Bylaws for finding the replacement.  This is overseen by the chair of the Nominations Committee of the Executive Board, which by tradition is the Vice-Chair of the Executive Board.  So Dr. Hughes called on Tom Akins, Vice Chair to present some names of persons he and the Secretary, Ron Bohlander, have identified in accordance with the Bylaws to fill some present vacancies.  Dr. Bohlander explained that the process specified in the Bylaws is simply to ask those who were runners-up in past elections for these positions if they would like to serve.  Runners up from the most recent elections having the most votes are asked first and so on until a candidate agrees to serve.

Mr. Akins reported candidates for the following vacancies:




Academic Integrity


Dr. Nael McCarty (Biology)

Undergraduate Curriculum


Dr. Adjo Amekudzi (CEE)

Undergraduate Curriculum


Dr. Yih-Long Chang (Mgt)

Mr. Akins moved that the Board appoint these candidates to fill the respective vacancies.  This was seconded and passed without opposition.

6.         The Chair then called on the Secretary, Ron Bohlander, to talk about another way in which members of the Executive Board serve; namely, as liaisons to each of the Standing Committees.  Dr. Bohlander commented that he had corresponded with all the 2007-08 Board members concerning their preferences for the committee each would like to serve as liaison.  He said he anticipated assignments would be finalized by approximately the end of the week, pending the results of elections of the Executive Board Chair and Vice-Chair.  Generally speaking priority will be given to those who have already served a committee as liaison if they wish to continue in that relationship because that committee may have grown to depend on that person. 

He said he had a sense that not enough emphasis had been given in the past to the importance of Executive Board liaison service to the Standing Committees.  Not only does the liaison provide an extra hand to the committee but it also provides a conduit for the committee back to the Board.  Even if schedule conflicts make it impossible for the Board liaison to attend committee meetings, it is nevertheless very important for the liaison to stay in touch regularly by phone or email with the committee.  In some cases, committee activity is very visible and it is clear that progress is being made.  Minutes appear regularly, and so forth.  But other committees are, by their very nature, confidential with no minutes appearing.  Examples are those which serve as hearing committees for grievances and the like.  In such cases, it is difficult sometimes to know if the committee is functioning properly, except through oversight by the Executive Board liaison.  In one case in the past year, the issue was simply that the committee became swamped and had difficulty handling the workload.  So Dr. Bohlander asked the Executive Board members to fulfill their roles as liaisons to the Standing Committees proactively and be sure to make the Executive Board know if issues arise impeding the needed progress of the committee.  Such issues should be brought to the attention of the Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary so remedies can be discussed.  Virtually all the Standing Committees are doing important work for the Institute, and some provide really essential services.  So if one of them gets off track or over its head, then the Executive Board needs to make sure the problem gets resolved.

7.         Dr. Hughes introduced the topic of elections of Executive Board officers by reminding the Board of the duties of the officers.  The Vice-Chair traditionally serves as co-chair of the Nominations Committee alongside one other Executive Board member to be named later.  He or she also fulfills the duties of the Chair when that person is unable to do them.  The Chair of the Board chairs the meetings, works with the President’s office and the Secretary in setting agendas, and then a few minor things that, according to the Faculty Handbook, the Executive Board Chair must approve or be consulted about.

He stated that a few people have already indicated they were interested in serving as Chair or Vice-Chair in response to an email call for volunteers or nominees.  He asked first if there were any further volunteers or nominations for the role of Chair.  None came forward, so Dr. Hughes reported that the one candidate nominated for the position was Ms. Leanne West (GTRI-EOSL).  Leanne introduced herself as a member of the research faculty of the Electro-Optical Systems Laboratory of GTRI, recently appointed Director of LandMARC, a Center focused on technology for condition-based maintenance and other topics in logistics support. 

Dr. Hughes then asked if there are any further candidates for Vice-Chair.  Hearing none, he introduced the two who had already indicated an interest, Ms. Barbara Henry (Office of Research Compliance) and Dr. Jarek Rossignac (CoC-IC).  Ms. Henry introduced herself by saying that she serves as the Director of the Office of Research Compliance and has been at Georgia Tech for seventeen years.  She has served previously on the Executive Board and has been a part of faculty governance for almost all the time she has been at Tech.  Dr. Rossignac said that he was just joining the Executive Board and would be happy to serve as Vice-Chair if selected.  He is a professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing, and prior to coming to Georgia Tech was at the Thomas Watson Research Center of IBM.  He came to Georgia Tech a little over a decade ago as the director of the GVU Center and served in that capacity for five years.  Dr. Hughes asked if there were any other candidates and there were none. 

It was stated that Ron Bohlander would send out an email ballot later in the day (August 21, 2007) with a request for a reply by the end of the week.  He encouraged the members of the Board to reply promptly.

8.                  Dr. Hughes asked for any new business.  Ron Bohlander took a moment to be sure that the new members of the Board were each introduced (as noted at the top of the minutes).  He asked each of them in turn to say a few words about themselves.  Then he acknowledged those who were completing their terms on the Board this day, beginning with Dr. Joe Hughes, the outgoing Chair, and Mr. Tom Akins.  He expressed a special thank you to them for serving this body extremely well.   They have shown outstanding leadership and it is much appreciated.  He also acknowledged Dr. Philip First (Physics) who has served well and is completing his term.  The others who have reached this milestone, Drs. Jim Foley and Jeannette Yen, were unable to be present on this day.

Hearing no further new business, Dr. Hughes closed the meeting with thanks to the members of the Board, past and future, for their service, and thanks also for allowing him the opportunity to serve them as Chair.  The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

September 24, 2007

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

1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of June 19, 2007.

2.      Presentation on NCAA Certification




Addendum #1

The following is a record of an Electronic Ballot submitted to the Executive Board and the results obtained.

It was initiated August 21, 2007 and closed at midnight August 24, 2007


  1. Do you agree to elect Leanne West (GTRI) to the position of Chair of the Executive Board?
    _____  Yes            _____ No
    The result was unanimously Yes.

  2. Of the following two candidates for the position of Vice-Chair of the Executive Board (and co-chair of the Nominations Committee), which would you prefer?
    • ______ Barbara Henry (Office of Research Compliance)
    • ______ Jarek Rossignac (CoC-IC)

The answers received resulted in a tie.


Addendum #2

To resolve the tie, the Secretary sent the following email message to the Board:

From: Bohlander, Ron
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2007 12:55 PM
Subject: Executive Board Officer Results

Importance: High

Dear Board Members -


Thank you to all who participated in the online email ballot for Board officers last week.  I am pleased to report that Leanne West has been affirmed unanimously as Chair of the Executive Board. 


Balloting for the office of Vice Chair resulted in a tie. 


Rather than inventing a mechanism to resolve that, I'd like to observe that we have some special challenges this year to resolve governance issues that Joe Hughes mentioned in his reflections on the year past.  These include issues with the formulas for some vital committee membership numbers and election procedures.  Task force(s) need to be set up to address these questions and make timely progress.  Where practical, some impacts might be brought to bear on next Spring's election.


Accordingly, I would like to suggest that we have an expanded leadership team this year including the Chair and two Vice-Chairs filled by Barbara Henry and Jarek Rossignac, our tied candidates.  Since the Handbook does not specify anything about a Board Vice Chair, we have the freedom to do that.


So unless I hear any objections, I would like to proceed to get this leadership team together as soon as practical for some discussion of the way ahead and also meet with the President for some discussion of program planning.


Regards - Ron


Dr. Ronald A. Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty
Georgia Institute of Technology

No objections were received.  In fact, many sent notes commending this approach, and so it has been implemented in the way suggested.