Meeting of March 24, 2009

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center




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


Members Absent: Gaimon (Mgt), Huey (EAS), Marder (Chemistry)


Visitors:   Allen (Presidentís Office), Paraska (Director, Program Review and Accreditation), Radakovich (Athletics Director), Schrage (Faculty Athletics Representative)

1.      Ms. Leanne West (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.   

2.      She directed the Boardís attention to the Minutes of the January 27, 2009 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 reminded the Board that Dr. Bud Peterson would be joining Tech as its eleventh president in seven days.  All were looking forward to that very much.  He reported that the implementation of the transition was going very smoothly.

b.     In regard to the ongoing budget challenges, he reported that all units of Georgia Tech have been asked to hold back one percent of their budgets in case further retrenchment in FY 2009 was needed.  He said that state revenues have continued to decline and so the Governor has made new reduced revenue projections for fiscal year 2010.  As a consequence, all units of the University System of Georgia (USG) have had to contract their budget expectations for the next fiscal year as well.  Dr. Schuster indicated that the Georgia House of representatives had completed their budget and it included full support for the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.  However, the House did reduce formula funding to the USG by$15 million, and Dr. Schuster said it remained to see how this would turn out when the Senate and House reached agreement and the Board of Regents (BOR) made their allocations.  He said the BOR was scheduled to meet concerning their budget on April 14 and each unit of the USG would receive decisions within about a month after that. 

c.     Dr. Schuster said all faculty should have received an email from him concerning the new BOR ethics assessment.  This was initiated in response to several requirements from federal funding agencies.† At the direction of the Chancellor and the BOR, all faculty and staff were now required to complete an ethics questionnaire quarterly.  Georgia Tech needed to undertake such a program anyway to reinforce its commitment to the highest ethical standards and eliminate the kind of abuses that materialized in the p-card scandal last year.  Dr. Schuster reiterated that ethical probity was a deeply shared value among the faculty already and was appropriate in light of the great public trust placed in the institution and its faculty.  He said the Georgia Tech faculty took very seriously their responsibilities for caring for the people and resources entrusted to them.

There were questions for Dr. Schuster:

Q. What feedback has been received from the faculty about the ethics questionnaire?  Ans.  There has been some mild concern about ambiguity in some of the questions. 

Q. Were Dr. Schusterís and Dr. Allenís messages concerning ethics questionnaires pointing to the same questionnaire or two different editions?  Ans. Dr. Schuster said there was only one edition of the questionnaire so far.

Q. Recently the faculty heard indications the state legislature might split their session and not complete their budget until June because of uncertainty in federal stimulus arrangements.  Has this split session been abandoned? Ans. Yes, the federal program became clear enough in time for the legislature to wind up on a normal schedule.

4.      Ms. West asked Dr. Schuster to continue with some recommendations concerning the new University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC).  He thanked Ms. West for providing him with useful background n this topic based on her work with the new council.  Dr. Schuster said he understood the idea for the USGFC arose out of other conversations among faculty from across the USG, perhaps in connection with earlier discussions of system-wide curriculum changes.  There had been no regular venue for faculty concerns to be expressed to the Chancellorís Office and the BOR.  So the idea for the USGFC was born among the faculty of several institutions and received encouragement and support from the Chancellorís Office.  Dr. Schuster explained that Ms. West represented Georgia Tech in the formative stages of the new Council but did not commit Georgia Tech to be a formal member because the initial bylaws seemed to hold problems for the USG research universities.  It was originally proposed that recommendations from the USGFC would be decided by a simple majority vote of all USG institutional faculty representatives.  Although the research universities represent a majority of the total USG faculty, there are only four such institutions out of 35 in the USG.† Thus, the originally proposed voting would have placed research universities in a small minority of the voting representatives on the Council.  Ms. West met with other leaders from the be developed that all tiers could agree on.  These tiers were the 1) access institutions, 2) the comprehensive institutions, and 3) the research institutions (including Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and Medical College of Georgia).  Revised bylaws have now been adopted by the USGFC to incorporate the changes in which Ms. West was instrumental.  Dr. Schuster said he felt that the faculties of the research universities were now properly represented.  Thus, Georgia Techís Executive Board should re-examine the question of whether Georgia Tech should participate.  Were Georgia Tech to absent itself from the Council, it would have no opportunity to speak to decisions that might nevertheless impact Georgia Tech.  Both Georgia Tech and the USG could be hurt by non-participation.  He noted that all three of the other research institutions had already decided to participate and only Georgia Tech remained on the sidelines.  Ms. West added that 22 institutions had voted to participate and 8-10 more seemed ready to sign on, which would represent nearly all the units of the USG. 

A few questions were taken:

Q. Would participating in the USGFC constrain Georgia Techís ability to express a singular view on anything to the Chancellorís Office or the BOR?  Ans. Dr. Schuster said he thought not.  He recounted that the President of Georgia Tech and other leaders of Tech were in frequent contact with the Chancellor and so issues of particular importance to Tech would get a hearing. 

Q. Please clarify how voting on the USGFC would work now.  Ans. Ms. West explained that when a question came before the Council, the representatives of each tier caucused about their view of the best recommendation.  Each tier would try to reach a majority decision within the tier.  Then the tiers would work together to get a combined recommendation approved that all three tiers supported.  Dr. Bohlander explained that when a question arose, the three tiers might come up with different things in response to the question.  The final report to the Chancellor might be a recommendation to do different things for each of the tiers.  One size may not fit all and decisions would not have to force the same answer for all tiers.  Ms. West emphasized that the USGFC also provided valuable networking that helped faculty in member institutions exchange ideas across the USG. 

Dr. Schuster summarized: The risks of participation had been adequately reduced and the risks of non-participation were significant.  Continued non-participation might send a bad message to the rest of the USG family, the Chancellor, and the BOR.  Dr. Bohlander made a motion that the Executive Board endorse the bylaws of the USGFC and arrange for Georgia Techís participation in the USGFC.  The motion was seconded and approved without dissent.

Dr. Schuster said that now that Georgia Tech has taken this step, the next question was who would represent Georgia Tech and participate in Council meetings?  He reported that Dr. Doug Williams, the Executive Boardís Vice Chair, had agreed to serve in this capacity should the Executive Board ask him to do so.  Ms. West stated that there were considerable advantages if a member of Georgia Techís academic faculty was the representative in the future because he/she could better cover issues of mutual interest across the USG.  She said that it was also important for the Executive Board Chair to remain on the email distribution from the USGFC for informational purposes.  Ms. West said she recommended that Dr. Williams serve through at least the next academic year. Once his current term on the Executive Board expired in August 2009, Dr. Williams should be considered an ex officio representative (without vote) on the Executive Board for as long as he served as representative to the USGFC.† This would help him maintain good communication with the Board. 

Ms. Henry moved that Dr. Williams be appointed as Georgia Techís representative to the USGFC through at least August 2010 and that after his current term on the Executive Board Dr. Williams would attend Board meetings as ex officio without vote so long as he served as the representative to the USGFC.  The Executive Board chair would also remain in contact with the USGFC.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

5.      Ms. West next called on Mr. Dan Radakovich (Athletics Director, AD) to make his annual report to the Executive Board on progress in gender equity and minority opportunities within the intercollegiate athletics program at Georgia Tech.  He provided the Board with tables describing this progress during the past year, as shown in Attachment #2, and explained some of the highlights.  He reminded the Board that the 2006 certification of the Georgia Tech intercollegiate athletics program included the goals listed in this table, and there was mutual agreement that each year the AD would report to the Board on progress.  He said that the athletics program has taken action on all sixteen of the gender equity goals as well as all twenty of the minority opportunities goals during the past year.  He stated that the athletics leadership reported to the Georgia Tech Athletic Association (GTAA) Committee on Compliance and Equity and reviewed progress in all areas with them.

Under gender equity goal 1, Tech monitors the diversity of participation in sports and has found that 31.6% of student athletes at Tech are female, compared to 29.7% female in the whole student body.  Thus women are fairly represented statistically among student athletes.  Mr. Radakovich reported that female coachís salaries advanced significantly in the past year and the athletics program leadership continued to work toward progress as it was earned.  The goal was to be in the mid or upper quartile of ACC salaries.  An additional assistant womenís swim coach has been hired [with also other hires after the period covered in this report].  Toward the goal to have competitive facilities for women, work was recently completed on the beautiful new Shirley Clement Mewborn Softball Field on Fowler St between 6th and 8th Streets.  The move of the program from 14th St to the new site on campus has been enthusiastically received.  Further improvements were planned including a new locker room facility.  A proposal for a new scoreboard was also under study.  Mr. Radakovich commented that tutoring, training, and medical support facilities and services were the same for both genders.  Over 300 tutoring sessions per week have been logged. 

Under minority opportunities goal #1, Tech hired ten minority candidates for internships or fulltime positions.  Mr. Radakovich then named several former players who had recently advanced or been hired for positions in athletics administration (viz. Katrecia Louis Perez, Alex Stewart, and Marvin Lewis) and he explained that the Georgia Tech athletics staff consciously mentored and worked with former Georgia Tech students (including minority students) who wanted careers in athletics.  He stated that the NCAA conducted diversity strength training for staff members during the spring 2008 semester.  Two members of the Georgia Tech staff (Mary Brunk and Chryste Gaines, Academic Advisors) were now certified and conducted the same training at other institutions.  He reported that minorities in the athletics program represented a greater proportion of student athletes than was true in the general student population.  Thirty-two percent of incoming African Americans (in the freshmen class) were student athletes.  He also reported that the proportion of minorities and women participating in student athlete councils and committees had increased during the past year.

6.   Ms. West asked Dr. Dan Schrage to present his annual report as Georgia Techís Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR).  Dr. Schrage made a presentation shown in Attachment #3; with the following highlights and additional observations: He particularly highlighted the December 2008 ACC Compliance Review in which Georgia Tech received a very good report (slides 28-29). Dr. Schrage stated there was one recommendation that Georgia Tech invest in a software tool to conduct degree audits that would automatically spot missing courses and the like in a studentís progress toward a degree.  This checking was now done manually, he said, and the Institute as a whole would benefit from a more reliable system to deal with present-day curriculum complexities.  Techís compliance with NCAA rules was significantly in jeopardy with a manual system.  Dr. Schuster reported that a decision had been reached to purchase DegreeWorks to overcome this deficiency and it would be implemented soon.  Slides 30-32 from Attachment #3 provided an excellent summary of the points made in the FARís report. Dr. Schrage emphasized the need for more faculty members to get directly involved in supporting student athletes and asked interested Board members to contact him for opportunities and suggestions.  He commended the administration and the GTAA for their efforts to better integrate athletics into the fabric of Georgia Tech.  

Dr. Schrage took questions:

Q. What were the criteria used by the NCAA in selecting Elite Eight Student Athletes (mentioned on slide 9)? Ans. It was based on traditional scholarship metrics like grade point averages but also on the studentsícomprehensive contributions to the academic community at each university.

Q. Were there any ideas for preventing the 0-for-2 penalties that come from basketball players staying at a university for only one year and neglecting their studies in the second half because they were leaving anyway?  Ans. The only recourse was to persuade the athlete to be diligent at least until he left for the NBA.  Mr. Radakovich added that the NCAA as a whole was wrestling with this dilemma but it was basically out of their control.  The problem was the result of collective bargaining between the NBA and their playersí association that set a rule that a player could only be drafted after he was nineteen years old.  To put this in perspective though, Mr. Radakovich said that only about 0.2% of college basketball athletes really had the chance to be drafted after their freshman year based on their talent.

Q. Were there any universities dealing with this issue differently?  Ans. Not really. Mr. Radakovich said he had not heard of any college waiving off the chance to recruit a super-player of that caliber.

7.   Ms. West provided the Board with an update on the Data Security Task Force. The Board inaugurated this group in its January meeting to recommend improved arrangements to protect student and personnel information when faculty had to have access to such data for their duties.  She stated that a set of people from across campus had been identified to serve on the Task Force and they had had their first meeting.  She indicated that a chair had been chosen [and subsequently updated the Secretary that John Leonard (CoE) had agreed to serve as chair.]  Their plan was to prepare a list of recommended action items by October 2009.  Jeff Jenkins, who also served on the Task Force, indicated that the team was meeting with Herb Baines in the next week to get input from OIT. 

8.      Ms. West called on Dr. Tom Morley (Chair) for an update on a Task Force to recommend a new definition of General Faculty at Georgia Tech.  Dr. Morley reported that the Task Force had developed a draft of its recommended Faculty Handbook changes and hoped to be finished by the next meeting of the Board.  He said people interested in seeing details should send him an email request.  Comments were welcome.

9.   Ms. West called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty.  He explained that the next scheduled meeting of the faculty on April 21, 2009 was planned as a meeting of the Academic Senate and Academic Faculty.  Since it was likely that amendments to the Faculty Handbook would be presented, the Executive Board needed to combine this with a called meeting of the General Faculty.  He noted this would also allow the full faculty to meet the new President who would be present at this meeting.  He called attention to the fact that the time had also been moved up an hour to 2-4 p.m. in the Student Center Theater. This would allow the President to spend more time at the meeting before he and the Provost had to leave for an engagement in Savannah.  Although the agenda would be approved at the April 14 meeting of the Executive Board, Dr. Bohlander felt that actually calling the General Faculty meeting should not wait until then.  He therefore moved to call a meeting of the General Faculty and combine it with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate and the Academic Faculty on April 21, 2009 from 2- 4 p.m. in the Student Center Theater.  The motion passed without dissent.

10.      Ms. West asked if there were any reports from the standing committee liaisons.  Most reports were of routine progress.  Notable highlights:

Dr. Whiteman reported that Welfare and Security Committee had been working to clarify campus smoking policies.  Mr. Fowler noted that the Georgia Tech book store sells cigarettes and asked if that might be sending a bad signal of endorsing a dangerous product.† Dr. Whiteman said he would pass on the suggestion.

Ms. Barbara Henry reported, on behalf of the Faculty Benefits Committee, that a close eye had been kept on problems arising from increased healthcare plan costs.  When issues arose after the close of open enrollment, assistance was provided to faculty and staff to resolve their problems.

Dr. Williams reported that the Student Regulations Committee was wrestling with options to solve problems that occurred when student regulations were reported in more than one policy manual and different instances of any given regulation were not always in synch.  There was also work underway to better express what activities were allowed during Dead Week, the week before exams.  Mr. Wellkamp reinforced the importance of these clarifications from the student perspective.

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

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

April 8, 2009


1)      Minutes of the January 27, 2009 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Tabular reports of progress by the Georgia Tech intercollegiate athletics programs on gender equity and minority opportunity.

3)      Annual Report of the Faculty Athletics Representative