Meeting of January 27, 2009

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

(See also a record at the end of business conducted by email in December 2008 and early in March 2009.)




Members Present: Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bowman (INTA), Fowler (Grad. Student), Fox (Library), Gaimon (Mgt), Henry (ORC), Jenkins (GTRI), Marder (Chemistry), Morley (Math), Rossignac (CoC-IC), Schuster (Interim President), Stein (Dean of Students), Tavares (OARS), Wellkamp (U. Grad. Student), West (Chair, GTRI), Whiteman (ME), Williams (Vice-Chair, ECE)


Members Absent: Bishop (GTRI), Dagenhart (ARCH), Huey (EAS), Qu (ME)


Visitors:   Allen (President’s Office), Baines (OIT), Gordon (Institute Review Committee), Lohmann (Faculty and Program Development), Paraska (Director, Program Review and Accreditation), Pikowsky (Registrar), Smith (SVPAA), Strike (Statutes), Tone (IUCC)

1.      Ms. Leanne West (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:02 P.M.   

2.      She directed the Board’s attention to the Minutes of the November 4, 2008 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  These were approved without dissent.

3.      Ms. West next called on President Gary Schuster to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. 

a.     Dr. Schuster began with an update on the Georgia Tech presidential search.  He reported that the Board of Regents (BOR) had been interviewing candidates and said he expected that finalists would be announced in about the next ten days.  That list would by statute be made public for a period of not less than fourteen days after which the Board of Regents could make and announce their selection. 

b.     On the budget, Dr. Schuster reminded the Board that the latest round of budget cuts amounted to an 8% reduction relative to the budgets at the start of the year.  The impacts of these cuts were being felt by faculty, staff, and students.  For example, the students were paying a new $100 academic excellence fee to help offset some costs; faculty and staff were paying a higher fraction of their health insurance costs; and there have been cuts made in operating costs amounting to $24 million (out of a total of about $500 million).  For the latter, a hiring moratorium has been in place since August.  In doing these things, Tech has remained focused on maintaining the core academic missions of teaching and research.  The fiscal conditions in the state have continued to deteriorate.  The state budgets were built on an assumption of four percent growth in revenue in FY2009, whereas the reality has been a five percent decrease in revenues so far, or a nine percent net swing downwards.  Thus, the Governor has just asked state agencies to reduce their budgets further, i.e. by nine percent relative to the budgets they had at the beginning of the year.  It was anticipated this would have an impact on the university system but no instructions had been received by the time of this Executive Board meeting.  Previous budget cuts were implemented across the board, Dr. Schuster said, but it was not known if this approach would be maintained with any further cuts. 

The President reported that the FY2010 budget the Governor recommended to the legislature was supportive of the university system and Georgia Tech: 

·         The Governor’s recommendation included the $43 million needed for construction of the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.  Utility work has begun, but if the legislature chose not to fund this project, then construction would be halted. 

·         Full funding was included for the next set of adjustments to budgets of universities in the University System of Georgia (USG). Dr. Schuster explained this amounted to “full formula funding” based on enrollment increases in 2008.  Not included were any adjustments to restore cumulative budget cuts.

·         Major repairs and rehabilitation funding has been recommended commensurate with needs.

·         Moreover, Dr. Schuster pointed out that faculty salary increases programmed to occur January 2009 have gone through.  This made the university system the only part of state government for which that was true.  The Governor’s recommendation to the legislature provided support for this on into FY2010.  Dr. Schuster said no one expects further salary increases to take place in January 2010.

On the downside, the President reported that the so-called B-budgets for non-educational units of the university system were hard hit.  Examples were the budgets for Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute and certain programs of the Georgia Tech Research Institute.  The Governor said that the State was no longer able to try to do more with less.  It was at the point where it must do less with less.

The President reminded the Board that all of the above points about the budget were simply the Governor’s recommendations and nothing would really be determined until both houses of the State legislature had acted and agreed.  He expected that would not be until late spring, and then the Board of Regents would meet to determine their implementation of the budgets for all the units of the USG.

c.     Dr. Schuster also reviewed briefly the possibilities that may open up as a result of a possible stimulus package (amounting to approximately $800 billion) coming out of the federal government.  One component of the stimulus could be a plus up for federal agencies like NSF, DoE, and DoD, and that could increase funding available for research at places like Georgia Tech.  Such funding might be directed to particular themes like renewable energy.  A second increment was likely to come to the states for capital building or repairs and some of that could conceivably be used at Georgia universities.

There were no questions for Dr. Schuster.

4.      Ms. West called on Reta Pikowsky (Registrar) and Herbert Baines (Director, OIT Information Security) to talk about the importance of protecting sensitive personnel and student records in the data that faculty members keep on their computers.  Ms. Pikowsky said that they appreciated the chance to speak to the Board because there were increasing concerns caused by computers that have been stolen or hacked.  She said a broader awareness was needed to make sure that sensitive data were not lost through such incidents.  She also explained that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) applied to Georgia Tech because of the federal funding received here.  This legislation required strict control and the reporting of any losses and a bad report would have very serious consequences for Georgia Tech. 

Herb Baines explained further that Georgia Tech faced challenges from the openness of the campus.  In 2003 OIT instituted major upgrades to network protection with systematic attention to firewalls particularly at College interfaces.  This resulted in a decrease but not complete elimination of hacking.  One particularly serious server compromise was mentioned to have occurred.  The major remaining vulnerability was from stolen computers.  Last year 66 desktops and 29 laptops were stolen and some contained student information.  Mr. Baines stated that a number of federal research sponsoring agencies now expect and require data security and Tech’s funding could be impacted if security did not improve.  He stated that OIT was doing all it could with technology and its efforts to enhance protection, but they needed the faculty to help solve issues that only people can solve.  He pointed out that T-Square provided faculty with the means to store grades and related student records in a secure place.  If faculty members still needed some information on their laptops, he asked that it only be for the current year, so as to limit the volume of data at risk.

Mr. Baines suggested that a faculty task force be formed that could discuss best practices and then develop and recommend guidelines for faculty.  Ms. Pikowsky reinforced that by saying that OIT and the Registrar’s Offices would be happy to facilitate and support the effort but that guidelines that came from the faculty would have more impact with other faculty members.

A period of questions and answers followed:

Q. A professor stated that T-Square does not provide information on grades given for past semesters and he needed that information when he responded to student requests for letters of recommendation.  Similarly, grade distributions were sometimes needed for research on teaching methods and these become unavailable after a semester.  What could be done?  Ans.  T-Square was still a work in progress and such concerns would be taken into account for possible improvements. 

Q. A researcher commented that OHR recently sent her an application for student employment with the student’s social security number on it.  How could this still be happening?  Ans.  They used an old form and greater diligence was needed in disposing of old forms.  Another area where greater care was needed was in emails and the information included in them.

Q. If a task force were to be formed by the Executive Board to recommend security guidelines, how would the computer support people of each college or unit be engaged early on so they could contribute and get onboard?  Ans.  Each college has a director of information technology who works with OIT so they can be called on to help implement what the task force recommends.  They could also be drawn upon for input before the recommendations are cemented.

Ms. West wrapped up the discussion by summarizing that what was needed was a task force that would identify best practices and recommend some guidelines.  They would also be called on to help put better communications in place to other faculty members to raise the awareness of the importance of data security.  She then asked for volunteers and Jenkins, Morley, and West indicated interest.  Ms. West indicated she would be collecting names with the intention of getting a task force started with as broad a representation as possible.  Further volunteers were solicited.

5.      Ms. West next called on Susan Paraska (Director, Program Review and Accreditation) to explain new procedures from the Board of Regents that Tech will follow when making educational program reviews and curriculum changes.   She made her presentation supported by Attachment #2a.  She explained that the drive for improvements began in 2007 with the realization that the web-based system for recording program reviews at that time was not serving the USG well. 

Slide 3 compared the old process for proposing new degree programs with the new process.  Ms. Paraska explained that up until the new process was adopted Tech did not prepare letters of intent (LOIs) to propose a new undergraduate degree.  Now these LOIs would be done and a BOR subject matter advisory committee would also review them.  In response to a question, Ms. Paraska explained that the advisory committees were chaired by people from the USG office and made up of subject matter experts drawn from each of the faculties of the USG that teach that subject.  When the USG would get a formal proposal for a new degree, the BOR advisory committee would also review it, and in the case of PhD programs, external reviews were arranged.  In the new process, attention would be given to making sure all reviews were accomplished in 60 days or less.  Ms. Paraska noted that the BOR did not have advisory committees for engineering or architecture so that part of the process did not apply to such programs.  Slide 4 noted that each proposing university would post its own LOIs and proposals as pdfs on a website; comments would be welcomed.  USG decisions would be posted within 1-2 days.  Ms. Paraska mentioned that extra review steps were needed when programs have special features like international dual or joint degrees, or professional masters, or other unusual degrees.  In these cases, she said that a prospectus must be approved prior to starting a review and SACS would be involved in the reviews.

Slide 6 compared the old program review process with the new one.  Ms. Paraska reminded the Executive Board that BOR policy called for a comprehensive program review every seven years for undergraduate programs and every ten years for graduate programs.  At Georgia Tech these were called Academic Program Reviews.  She said that typically a given program review took three years to complete: one in planning, one in examining details, and one in wrapping up conclusions and documentation.  The main change was for the BOR to give each USG unit more responsibility and autonomy in conducting their system of reviews.  Tech would now be responsible for publishing program reviews to the same website it used for SACS.  Tech would provide the BOR access to this site and this arrangement would provide a better integrated reporting system. 

Slide 7 provided an excellent review of the main points in the changes.

Ms. West called on Dr. Bohlander to explain a motion that he prepared at the request of Ms. Paraska.  He explained that the time had come to simplify the groups involved at Tech in the Academic Program Review process.  From now on, the Academic Program Review processes would be handled by the institute curriculum committees and the Program Review and Accreditation Office.  The old Institutional Review Committee (IRC), which used to help determine which programs needed review, could now be disbanded.  He explained that the Faculty Handbook, in Section 46.1, said that the Executive Board was responsible for naming the programs that should be reviewed each year.  When that procedure was created, the Executive Board decided to create the IRC and delegated its authority to it.  IRC has done its job well but an extra body in the process was no longer needed.  Since the Executive Board created the IRC to do its work, they could also disband it.  Dr. Bohlander then made a motion to disband the IRC and to prepare for new language in the Faculty Handbook, with specific wording of the motion as recorded in Attachment #2b.  The motion was seconded. 

Dr. Jon Gordon, present Chair of the Institutional Review Committee, explained that the IRC not only scheduled reviews but also took the reports and commentaries from all the reviews and edited them into a master report.  Since reviews would now simply be posted to a web site, this summarizing work was also no longer needed.  He said that any synthesis of observations about particular programs was better handled by elected curriculum committees than by an appointed IRC.  Dr. John Tone, Chair of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC), reported that the IUCC and the graduate committee (IGCC) had met and have agreed to step up their involvement in the Academic Program Reviews in accordance with this plan.  Dr. Bohlander applauded the agreement but asked all the parties to look carefully at the levels of effort required so the curriculum committees did not get overloaded.  He suggested in particular that the IUCC consider possibly offloading some or all of its duties to review petitions from individual students.  Dr. Tone said they could look at that further but he said that hearing petitions provided input for smarter curriculum decisions, so shifting this to another committee was not easy.

The question above was called and passed without dissent.

6.      Ms. West called on Dr. Tom Morley, Chair of a Task Force on possible new definitions of General Faculty at Georgia Tech.  Dr. Morley reminded the Board that the need for this Task Force went back to the work of the state legislature last year when they passed a law that made it possible for any fulltime salaried employee of the USG to participate in the Optional Retirement Program (ORP).  Participation was no longer restricted to members of the faculties of USG institutions, and therefore certain professionals which had been added to the definition of General Faculty primarily to provide access to ORP no longer needed to be considered faculty, at least not for that reason.  These added members included for example Athletic Affairs Professionals, Post Doctoral Fellows, and other professional classified staff.  So the Task Force was formed to take a fresh look at who should have faculty status under the present circumstances.  Dr. Morley reported that the work of the Task Force was not complete but a preliminary sense of the committee’s deliberations was as follows:

·         They would recommend basing the definition of General Faculty primarily on the Board of Regents definition of Corps of Instruction and appropriate Administrative Officers.

·         They would propose to implement this definition by

O       Listing particular titles which were deemed consistent with this definition, and

O       Asking the Provost to propose titles to be included, with input from Deans and similar unit heads, and with oversight by the Executive Board.

·         They would propose some provision for grandfathering, details yet to be worked out.

Dr. Morley summarized the sense of the Task Force by saying they believed it would be best if the definition of faculty returned to one similar to what existed before title groups were added simply to provide them access to ORP.  He said that comments and involvement in the conversations about this topic were welcomed and persons interested should email him so he could facilitate their involvement.  He said that a T-Square site had been assembled with many examples of how other institutions handled similar questions.

7.   Ms. West called on Dr. Doug Williams, Chair of the Nominations Committee.  Dr. Williams referred the Board to a blank ballot that was handed out (Attachment #3a) showing what positions needed to be filled in the coming elections and how many candidates were needed.  He reported that the committee was hard at work identifying appropriate candidates.  He asked that Board members let him know of any who should be contacted to run.  He said the committee planned to bring a recommended ballot to the Executive Board meeting in February.  [See appended email ballot at the end of these minutes that was used instead.]

Next, Ms. West called on Dr. Ron Bohlander (Secretary) to explain how the elections were structured this year for the Executive Board, for the General Faculty Assembly (GFA) and the Academic Senate (AS), for the curriculum committees, and for the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee (SAFAC).  He referred the Board to the notes in Attachment #3b.  Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that every year some of the election slots depended on a census of faculty head counts or other data.  For the Executive Board elections, he said the primary change was that Ivan Allen College had grown and so were due one more seat on the Board.  He said that the notes covered the elections of GFA and AS representatives and in the month of March he would send letters to unit heads about the elections they needed to hold.  As a reminder, he stated that the Executive Board was responsible for conducting elections for persons in Services and Central Administration that were not in a unit designated as large enough to hold their own elections.  He proposed that the Executive Board designate one more group of faculty as being large enough; namely, the faculty in centers that were administered centrally under the Senior Vice Provost for Research and Innovation.  Regarding the curriculum committees, he said the census of teaching loads showed no significant change in general.  In the one case where a change might be emerging, there was a need to wait another year to be sure if a change in the size of the committee was warranted.  On the final topic, Dr. Bohlander commented that the staggering of terms was optimal if approximately one-third of a committee were up for election each year.  The SAFAC had gotten out of this pattern and four of the five on the committee were scheduled for election this year.  To repair the pattern, he recommended that the terms of two members be extended one more year, as noted in the attachment, and he reported they were willing to extend their service.  Dr. Bohlander concluded his report by making the following five motions:

1. The Executive Board approves adding one member from Ivan Allen College to the Executive Board.

2. The Executive Board approves the General Faculty Assembly and Academic Senate elections outlined in the attachment.

3. The Executive Board approves having faculty in the Georgia Tech centers elect their own representatives to the General Faculty Assembly.

4. The Executive Board approves keeping the distribution of college representatives on the Curriculum Committees the same as last year and approves the election of representatives to replace those at the end of their term.

5. The Executive Board agrees to extend the terms of Drs. Augustine Esogbue and Mo Li for one additional year on the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee.

The motions were seconded as a group and passed without dissent.

8.      Dr. Bohlander then reviewed Attachment #4 which showed the planned agenda for the meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate on February 10, 2009 from 3-5 p.m. in the Student Center Theater.  A motion was made and seconded to approve the agenda and this passed without dissent.

9.      Ms. West asked if there were any reports from the standing committee liaisons. 

Prof. Morley reported that the Student Honor Committee had met few times because the work load was down.  There were some concerns in the committee that issues raised in the August report of the Academic Integrity Task Force had not been resolved. 

Mr. Jenkins reported that the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee had elected Dr. R. Gary Parker as their new chair.

Ms. Henry reported that the Faculty Benefits Committee was considering a Donated Leave program such as that already instituted in GTRI.  OHR was also working to help faculty adjust to recent changes in health program costs.

All other reports indicated that standing committees were proceeding routinely and well.

Dr. Bohlander encouraged each committee to review their work from time to time and to bring the Executive Board any ideas for changes in the committee charter.  He asked that the Board liaisons pass on this encouragement.

10. Hearing no other business, Ms. West adjourned the meeting at about 4:30 p.m. 

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

March 18, 2009


1)      Minutes of the Nov. 4, 2008 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Materials pertaining to Academic Program Reviews and new procedures for curriculum changes:

a.       Presentation

b.      Motion

3)      Materials pertaining to faculty elections:

a.       Draft ballot

b.      Background and motions concerning faculty elections.

4)      Agenda for the February 10, 2009 meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate



Addendum #1

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on December 12, 2008 with a response due by December 18, 2008, as follows:

“We have a vacancy to fill on the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee due to the resignation of John Dorsey (ECE).  The Executive Board Vice Chair Doug Williams has followed the bylaws in contacting the qualified runner up from last year’s election.  This person, Prof. G. Paul Neitzel (ME), has agreed to fill this vacancy and serve for the term, now through August 2011. So

Do you approve the appointment of Prof. G. Paul Neitzel (ME) to fill the unexpired term (now to 8/2011) of John Dorsey (ECE) on the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee? 

Answer: __________________________ (yes or no)

Please get me your answer on this by the end of the day, Thursday Dec. 18, 2008.  This will expedite the FSGC having a full complement for an early January meeting.”

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


Addendum #2

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on March 9, 2009 as follows:

“Our nominations committee has finished their work of preparing the attached ballot for faculty elections this year.  This election will be held from March 25 through April 8, 2009 inclusive.

I need you to answer the following question by the end of the day the Friday, March 13: 

Do you approve the attached ballot for the 2009 Faculty Elections?

__ Yes                  __ No

Here are a few more details and explanations:

·         Four people are running unopposed because additional candidates could not be found.  In the case where this is an Executive Board race only one of the few eligible candidates was willing to stand for election.  In the others, the committee was diligent in seeking additional nominees and worked with the schools needing representation, but no further candidates could be identified.  I will alert you if this changes at the last minute, but this small handful of such cases is consistent with experiences in the past few years.

·         You will notice some cases where there are more than two names listed and an instruction to vote for more than one.  In these cases there is more than one slot on that committee or body needed and as far as possible, we try to have at least 50% more candidates than positions open.  We all have to pay attention to directions for how many to vote for in each case.  Statistics from last year suggested that people understood what was expected.

Huge thanks to the Nominations Committee:

·         From the Executive Board:

o   Doug Williams (chair)

o   Barbara Henry (co-chair)

·         Student representative:

o   Aaron Fowler

·         Two academic faculty members

o   Bob Kirkman (Public Policy)

o   Chuck Parsons (Management)

·         Two non-academic faculty members

o   Ed Price (Interactive Multimedia Technology Center)

o   Lisa Sills (GTRI)

Questions or comments are welcome.”

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