GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of October 23, 2007

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

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

 

 

 

Members Present: Alexander (Staff), Ballard (GTRI), Barnhart (GTRI) , Bohlander (SoF), Braga (Chemistry), Henry (ORC), Morley (Math), Parvatiyar (U. Grad Student), Price (IMTC), Rossignac (CoC-IC), Schuster (Provost), Stein (VPSS), West (Chair, GTRI), Wester (Grad Student), Whiteman (ME), Williams (ECE/GT-S), Wood (LCC)

 

Members Absent: Bras (ME), Clough (President), Dagenhart (ARCH), Gaimon (Mgt), Huey (EAS)

 

Visitors:  Allen (Presidentís Office), Lohman and Paraska (Office of the Vice Provost for Institutional Development), Nesmith (ICPA)

1.                  Ms. Leanne West (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.She reminded the Board that the minutes of the August 21, 2007 meeting were approved by email, as recorded in the Addendum to these minutes (below).

2.                  She then called on Dr. Gary Schuster (Provost) to comment for the President on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

    1. Dr. Schuster began with a discussion of recently reported incidents of p-card fraud at Georgia Tech.He stated there had been two instances, one involving a staff member of the College of Management and one involving a staff member of the Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.Employees in positions of trust abused that trust and supervisors either were not paying adequately close attention or the true nature of the purchases was extraordinarily concealed by the purchasers.These acts of fraud involved expenditures of tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.Investigations were instituted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Techís internal audit team, and the National Science Foundationís Inspector General.Some of the funds that were misappropriated were from accounts sponsored by NSF.Both individuals who allegedly perpetrated the frauds have resigned.Concerning the supervisors who were involved, one has resigned and the other has retired.The GBI is completing their investigations and anticipates filing criminal charges against those alleged to have perpetrated the frauds.It is further anticipated that the funds that were misappropriated will either be recovered or will be covered by insurance that Georgia Tech carries against employee fraud.Georgia Tech has formed a Task Force to review Techís p-card processes and recommend steps to strengthen them so Tech is less vulnerable to fraud in the future.President Clough distributed a memo in the week of August 13 introducing the coming changes in p-card policy and procedures.Dr. Schuster said this will include new oversight by the persons (e.g. principal investigators) responsible for the accounts used to pay for p-card purchases.Their duty will be to review p-card purchases against their sponsored accounts and look to see if the vendors and item information provided look reasonable.The numbers of p-cards in use and who is responsible for them will also be reviewed.Dr. Schuster said to expect some tightening up and that he was hopeful that the p-card process would be much better disciplined in the near future.
    2. He then went on to comment on the record drought plaguing Georgia and the region, which has resulted in seriously depleted reservoirs and water supplies.He said the question is what can Georgia Tech do to help?It turns out that Georgia Tech is the second largest consumer of city water in Atlanta.Tech has already planned recently erected buildings to conserve water.In the Environmental Science and Technology and Molecular Sciences Buildings all of the rain water run off and A/C condensate water are collected in cisterns and used for campus irrigation.A large volume of condensate is collected at the Campus Recreation Center and also used for irrigation.Dr. Schuster indicated that a task force will be formed with representatives of various interest groups on campus with a goal to identify further opportunities for conservation.The group will include students who want very much to participate in finding solutions, as well as faculty members, some of whom have very relevant expertise and will be able to contribute both to immediate and to long term measures.The team will also involve major stakeholders, such as the Georgia Tech Athletic Association.Through this situation Georgia Tech can send a powerful message of commitment, leadership, and value to the community in facing long-term water challenges.
    3. Dr. Schuster stated that the Georgia Tech campus has been painfully aware of the tragic shootings that occurred on the Virginia Tech campus this past spring.A careful and detailed analysis of those events have been the basis of many lessons learned that can be applied at Georgia Tech and elsewhere.Out of that have come recommendations and a planning process for how to avoid, if at all possible, similar events and to manage effective responses should they still occur.

      For instance, Tech is now installing a multi-modal system to alert the campus to emergencies.Students, faculty, and staff have been asked to supply cell phone numbers and other contact data so that Tech can get text messages and automated phone calls out, as well as emails, in case of emergencies.While participation is not yet 100%, there is believed to be enough to ensure the message will get out and spread.Some consideration is also being given for providing locks to classroom doors etc. so that people can take refuge in rooms if they are being attacked.The value of this was learned the hard way at Virginia Tech.The Georgia Tech and Atlanta police departments have also been cooperating in planning joint operations, considering coordination of tactics and equipment.One of the lessons learned is that plans canít be done and then just put on a shelf.They have to be practiced and renewed at regular intervals.
    4. The Provost went on to provide an update on the Capital Campaign.Georgia Tech has come close to the end of the quiet phase of its campaign.The end will be marked by reaching half the overall goal of $1 billion, and this milestone should be reached within a month or two of this meeting.Many people in the Georgia Tech community have diligently worked to accomplish this and many thanks are due.In the past few weeks some gifts of significant size have been received that have given the campaign a special boost.It is very gratifying that both alumni and corporate friends have responded very well to the campaign.Many alumni tell stories of how much Tech has meant to them and to their success, and how grateful they are in being able to give back to the institution to ensure the success of future generations.The complementary strength of support from corporations attests to work faculty and students have done to respond to the needs of the corporate sector.Corporate leaders have recognized the value of Tech programs in terms of students who later go to work for them, but also in research and insights of value to industry.The funds and resources that come from this campaign distinguish Georgia Tech from many other public universities.

There were several follow up questions about early instances of tighter p-card controls but it was concluded that such procedures were in flux and it was premature to comment until final campus-wide policies are released.

3.                  The Chair then called on Ms. Susan Paraska to give the Board a preview of improvement plans developed in response to feedback from the NCAA during the ongoing certification process.Before Ms. Paraska began, Dr. Jack Lohmann (Vice Provost for Institutional Development) provided some introductory remarks.He explained that, as part of the reorganization of the Provostís office, Ms. Paraska had recently been named Director of Program Review and Accreditation and so she will have a prominent part in remaining phases of NCAA certification.He also reminded the Board that this certification applies to the Institute as a whole and not just to Techís athletics operations.

Ms. Paraska then made a presentation from PowerPoint slides contained in Attachment #1.She began in reference to the timeline for certification.The Self Study was submitted in May and an analysis report was received from the Committee on Athletics Certification (CAC) in July.On September 24-26, the Peer Review team appointed by the NCAA visited Georgia Tech and expressed appreciation for Techís leadership and facilities.Their visit report was delivered to Tech on October 17, 2007 and is now under review by the President and the Tech certification team.

Ms Paraska stated that the next step for the Georgia Tech team is to decide how to respond to remaining issues included in the visit report and then submit these responses by December 14, 2007.Subsequent decisions concerning certification will then be communicated to the President in the spring, followed by a later public announcement concerning all thirty-four schools under review this year.Lisa Grovenstein in Techís Institute Communications and Public Affairs (ICPA) office will coordinate all publicity for Tech at that time.

Ms. Paraska then reviewed the issues that were first identified in the July report from the CAC.No issues were raised concerning governance at that time.There were a couple issues classified as academic integrity and a couple labeled equity and student-athlete well-being, as enumerated on the Georgia Tech Athletics Certification web site.When the Peer review Team paid their visit to Tech in September, they raised an issue concerning governance that had not been raised before.The concern was that the bylaws of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association do not appear to give the President of Georgia Tech absolute authority over the athletic programs. In particular, the bylaws do not give him the veto power over decisions by the GTAA Board of Trustees that the NCAA would like to see.Ms. Paraska indicated the President is working with Randy Nordin, Chief Legal Counsel, and with Dan Radakovich, Director of Athletics, to better understand how peer universities have handled similar matters and to ultimately resolve the issue.Under the academic integrity area, there was still a little that needed clarifying concerning the admissions process and how Tech advises student athletes.In the equity and student-athlete well-being areas, the remaining actions were to get institutional approval of the plans that were submitted back in July.Tech received comments from the NCAA on the plans submitted with the May Self Study report.Revisions were made in response, so Ms. Paraska indicated that the time has come to review and approve the revised plan through Georgia Tech institutional channels.Specifically, the GTAA Committee on Gender Equity and Student-Athlete Well-Being has reviewed and approved the plans.They will then be submitted to the GTAA Board of Trustees for consideration at their meeting on Oct. 29, 2007.Ms. Paraska stated that she would then like the Executive Board to consider and vote on these plans at their November 13, 2007 meeting.She said she would send the Executive Board the plans immediately after the Oct. 29 GTAA Board meeting.She asked that the Board also reiterate their request for to receive an annual report from the GTAA on their progress under the plan.

Dr. Bohlander thanked Ms. Paraska for giving the Board this preview so that the Board can deal with the matter properly and expeditiously at the November 13 meeting.

4.                  The Chair called on Vice-Chair Barbara Henry to make recommendations to fill two vacancies on the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee.Ms. Henry indicated that Drs. Calton Pu and Ajit Yoganathan have resigned.Candidates for appointments to fill these vacancies were runners-up in recent elections to this committee, in accordance with the Bylaws.Ms. Henry indicated that she contacted the following candidates and they were willing to serve:

        Dr. R. Gary Parker (ISyE) to fill a term 2007-2008.

        Dr. Roberta Berry (Pub. Pol.) to fill a term 2007-2009

Ms. Henry moved that these candidates be appointed to the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee with the above terms.The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

1.                  The Chair then introduced a new process that she would like to have the Board follow in 2007-08 to ensure good contact between the standing committees and the assigned Board liaisons to these committees.Attachment #2 shows the assignments.After verifying that all knew their assignments and were in touch, she indicated there would be a time at each meeting of the Board for the members to bring forth any news or issues of note for the Boardís cognizance.In response to her request for any news or issues at this meeting, the following were offered:

        Ed Price mentioned that the Statutes Committee has several members with other pressing business this year and the Board will need to stand ready to provide help as needed if their work load exceeds what the members can do given other commitments.This is particularly relevant in light of several initiatives that may result in referrals to the Statutes Committee for Faculty Handbook changes.(See following agenda item.)

        Dr. Tom Morley reported that the Student Honor Committee was up and running and accomplished the requisite training which is especially necessary for new members of the committee.He expressed the belief that the work load of the committee should turn out to be reduced over previous years due to improved procedures instituted in the new Student Code of Conduct.

        Eric Barnhart reported that the Academic Integrity Committee, chaired by Dr. Robert Kirkman (Pub.Pol.), will be meeting twice more by the end of the semester with the goal of reviewing the Sanctioning Guidelines.These cover recommended sanctions under the Honor Code and Student Code of Conduct.Then the committee plans to meet monthly in the spring semester with the goal of drawing up a laymanís set of easy to apply guidelines for the academic integrity process which will depend upon the relevant codes but be something that faculty members can look at to implement the codes fairly and consistently.Tom Morley commented that the reason new Sanctioning Guidelines are necessary is because the existing Guidelines were written to follow the old Student Code of Conduct which is no longer in force.

6.†††††††† The Chair called on the Secretary, Dr. Ron Bohlander, to provide an overview of initiatives to revise various sections of the Faculty Handbook.Background to his discussion was provided with a copy of a memo he wrote on this subject to the Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs (SVPAA), Dr. Anderson Smith (Attachment #3).Historically the SVPAA Office (or its predecessors) has had responsibility for maintaining the Faculty Handbook in good order.So Dr. Smith recently instituted a team out of the Provostís Office to review the Handbook as a whole and recommend changes with the goal of simplifying some of the language and making sure that it is factually up to date.The team has also set a goal to identify areas that need to be revised to be in better harmony with evolving legal frameworks for university administration.The most recent extensive revision of the Handbook was carried out by the Executive Board and Statutes Committee in 2004, and now it has become time for another look.Dr. Bohlander also reminded the Board that in the August Board meeting, past chair Dr. Joe Hughes reviewed some key specific issues needing attention in the Handbook.The Board had also received some additional specific requests from some of the Standing Committees for corrections or improvements to sections of the Handbook.So with consciousness raised about all these things, the memo recorded in Attachment #3 was written to provide a basis for coordinating the efforts so that any given section was not being revised in different ways to different ends.Dr. Bohlander and Executive Board Vice-Chair Jarek Rossignac met with the SVPAA team for follow-up coordination.

He stated that the first three items listed in short term section of Attachment #3 would be the subject of a later item on the agenda.Item 4 in this list concerns the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee (FSGC) which faced a serious case overload in 2006-07.Much was learned in the last year that can be used to improve the structure of the committee and its processes.The important thing is for the FSGC to be able to respond fast enough so that when aggrieved decisions need to be reversed that can happen promptly.Item 5 concerned the need to revise the charter of the Student Grievance and Appeals Committee to bring it in line with the new Student Code of Conduct.This matter has been referred to the Statutes Committee to prepare a recommended change in the Statutes in consultation with the office of the SVPAA and review by the Executive Board.††† Concerning item 6, Bill Schafer (Vice President for Student Affairs) has been working on a revision to the Facility Usage Policy in Section 47 of the Handbook.A large number of students, faculty, and staff have been consulted to get their input.Dr. Schafer has been coordinating with the Statutes Committee and in due course recommendations will come to the Executive Board for consideration and referral to the General Faculty.

Dr. Bohlander observed that Attachment #3 also mentions some matters that may take a bit longer and can best be addressed after more time-sensitive matters are disposed.Item #2 in the mid-term section of the Attachment is a summary of what the SVPAA committee is working on.He made the prediction that their work would be complete before the end of the academic year.

For the longer term, Dr. Bohlander mentioned the need to address issues with how to make governance span all of Georgia Techís campuses, per Dr. Hughesí message to the Board in August.He observed that concepts of overseas operations need to become clearer before appropriate governance details can be defined.

In summary, referring to short term items in Attachment #3, the Executive Board will establish a task force (per agenda item 8 below) to address items 1-3; the Board will complete the action of forming another task force to address item 4 concerning the FSGC; the Statutes Committee is addressing item 5 re changes in the charter of the Student Grievance and Appeals Committee; and Dr. Shafer is working on revisions to Section 47 of the Handbook to take care of item 6.

There was a follow up question about similarities and differences between the needed reforms in the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee and the previous ones in the Student Honor Committee (and the related reform of the Student Code of Conduct).Dr. Bohlander answered that the important lesson from the Code of Conduct reform was that processes could be streamlined to the benefit of all concerned.But he acknowledged that the issues and processes are very different in the two cases.Dr. Morley observed that the Student Honor Committee has to work very closely with the Office of Student Integrity.Dr. Bohlander agreed and commented that the Executive Board needs to recognize that some Standing Committees need more administrative staff support, and the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee is one of those.Informal arrangements have been made for the SVPAA office to support the FSGC and this will allow the paperwork and meetings of the committee to be better coordinated.It also will ensure that their work stays on the radar screen so if progress is held up, this will immediately be recognized.Dr. Bohlander encouraged all Board liaisons to Standing Committees to help identify any instances where more administrative support might be needed.

Another follow up question sought clarification concerning item #2 on the short term list in Attachment #3.Dr. Bohlander explained that the Handbook says that anyone elected to a Standing Committee must have received a majority of the votes.So if someone runs unopposed, they certainly meet this test.If two people run for a position, one of them will surely have a majority unless there is a tie.But if three people run, it could happen that no one gets a majority.Dr. Bohlander illustrated a possible election reform with a hypothetical case where there were two openings on the Academic Services Committee.In the present process, each opening would be treated as a separate race for which there would be two candidates each (if possible).But it might be more efficient to have a pool of three candidates covering both positions and have voters pick two.To make this work, it likely would be necessary to relax the requirement that candidates win a majority to be elected.

7.†††††††† Dr. Bohlander continued by explaining a memo shown in Attachment #4 written to a new Task Force chaired by Prof. Andy Peterson and charged with improvements to the Faculty Status and Grievance (FSGC) Committee.This memo covered the questions the Task Force should address.Dr. Bohlander explained that the Task Force was kicked off ahead of the present meeting of the Executive Board because time was of the essence if there turned out to be a need to change the size of the FSGC.To get everything ready and approved in time for the 2008 spring elections, the Task Force could not wait for the October meeting of the Board.Nevertheless, the Task Force understood they were starting provisionally until the Executive Board reviewed the arrangements for the Task Force.

Dr. Bohlander noted that two kinds of questions were placed before this Task Force: one was how many persons should be on this committee and who should they be? The other concerned how to make the committee procedures more effective.On the first question, Dr. Bohlander noted that it may be possible to have trained faculty who can be called on as reserves during peak loads, and it may also be possible to tighten up participation requirements for committee members so that replacements can be found when faculty members find it impossible to participate on a consistent basis due to other duties.

He explained that the Task Force members were carefully chosen: many are experienced in issues in faculty status decisions; many have or are serving on the FSGC; and others have expertise in related administrative and legal matters.One of the members, Dr.Carol Colatrella, in addition to presently chairing the FSGC, is also a member of the Statutes Committee, so she can be helpful in translating recommendations from the Task Force into recommendations from the Statutes Committee.

Dr. Bohlander explained that the Task Force met once before this Board meeting and planned to meet again before the end of October.They have looked very seriously at not expanding the committee beyond the present size but have focused instead on how to form a pool of qualified reserves to draw on during peak loads.They have also recognized their need to look further at process improvements.They have expressed interest in things like a web tool to lead grievants through the steps they need to take and the documents they need to prepare.

Dr. Tom Morley asked whether a person who may provide administrative support to the committee would necessarily be a member of the committee.Dr. Bohlander said the answer is ďnot necessarilyĒ.He observed that other committees like the curriculum committees have an administrative support member like the Registrar as a formal member of the committee.In other cases where administrative support personnel are named as committee members, sometimes they have a vote and sometimes not.It is optional whether to be ex officio without a vote (or with one).Dr. Morley suggested that it would be better in this instance for administrative support person(s) not to have a vote.

Dr. Bohlander moved that the Executive Board adopt the charge to the committee (in Attachment #4) and officially appoint the listed members of the committee.The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

8.†††††††† The Chair, Leanne West, noted that the Board now needs to establish a different Task Force to deal with items numbered 1-3 in the short-term list of Attachment #3.She said she has asked Vice-Chair Jarek Rossignac to head this up.When dealing with the item concerning the size of the curriculum committees, the Task Force will work closely with those committees before arriving at any recommendations.Ms. West said her vision was for the Task Force to be small and that she needed two more volunteers.Bob Braga and Ed Price volunteered.They will join Barbara Henry, Joe Hughes, and Ron Bohlander in serving with Jarek Rossignac on the Task Force.

9.†††††††† Ms. West then introduced Mr. Robert Nesmith who was recently named Editor of the Whistle. He indicated his interest in receiving feedback from faculty on how to improve the paper and asked that anyone with ideas should contact him.

10.†††††† Ms. West reminded the Board that a reception would immediately follow the Board meeting to provide a chance for Board members to get to know each other and celebrate the start of the Board year.Hearing no other business, she adjourned the meeting at about 4:15 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

November 10, 2007

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

 

1.††††† Presentation on improvement plans in relation to NCAA Certification

2.†† Executive Board Liaison Assignments to the Standing Committees

3.†† Memorandum summarizing initiatives in progress to revise the Faculty Handbook.

4.†† Charge to the Task Force on improvements in the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee.

______________________

Addendum #1

An electronic ballot was sent to the Executive Board on September 24, 2007 with responses due by the end of the day on September 28, 2007, as follows:

Dear Executive Board Members -

 

The agenda for the October 16 meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate is taking shape.  We need Executive Board approval to go forward.  We also have the minutes of the August 21 Executive Board meeting to approve. Thus, please reply with the answers to the following two questions:

 

  1. Do you approve the draft agenda for the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate meeting planned for October 16, 2007 as found at http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/GFGFAAS2008-101607-Agenda.htm?
    ___ Yes        ___ No        Comments or concerns: _________________________________________________________________________________
  2. Do you approve the minutes of the Executive Board meeting on August 21, 2007 as found at http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2008-082107-Minutes.htm?
    ___ Yes        ___ No        Comments or concerns: _________________________________________________________________________________

 

Please let us have your responses not later than this Friday, September 28, 2007. 

 

Both measures passed without dissent by more than a quorum (which is at least twelve participants).