GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of August 19, 2008

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center

(See also a record of business conducted by email later in the same month.)

 

 

 

 

Members Present: Barnhart (GTRI), Bishop (GTRI), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bowman (INTA), Braga (Chemistry), Bras (ME), Dagenhart (ARCH), Fowler (Grad. Student), Fox (Library), Gaimon (Mgt), Jenkins (GTRI), Morley (Math), Price (IMTC), Rossignac (Co-Vice-Chair, CoC-IC), Schuster (Interim President), Stein (Dean of Students), Tavares (OARS), West (Chair, GTRI), Whiteman (ME), Williams (ECE/GT-S), Wood (LCC)

 

Members Absent: Alexander (Staff), Ballard (GTRI), Henry (Co-Vice-Chair, ORC), Huey (EAS), Marder (Chemistry), Qu (ME), Wellkamp (U. Grad. Student)

 

Visitors:   Allen (Presidentís Office), Dickerson (Me, on behalf of Development), Garcia (Development), Kirkman (Academic Integrity Committee), McGarity (Dir. Student Integrity), Smith (SVPAA)

1.      Ms. Leanne West (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.   She called on President Gary Schuster to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. 

Dr. Schuster stated that the over-riding issue was the Institute budget in light of state budget concerns and he wanted to provide the Executive Board with what was known about the situation and the approaches that were being taken to manage it.  He said the Institute would be facing difficult decisions; these were not unique to Georgia Tech but were part of globally difficult economic times.  In Georgia, tax revenues have been down significantly.  June revenues were reportedly down 9.4% and July, down 6.6%.  In response to the emerging revenues picture and resulting State budget implications, the University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellorís Office has issued a series of communications asking the member units to prepare for budget cuts.  At first, about a five percent cut was contemplated spread over two fiscal years.  As the extent of revenue shortfalls worsened, the guidance was that a 6, 8, or 10% cut in USG budgets in FY09 would be needed, but a definite amount was still to be determined.  The range came about from uncertainty in the eventual revenue figures but also from unresolved negotiations between the Governorís office and the legislature about other remedies besides budget cuts.  

Dr. Schuster stated that preliminary discussions with Institute leaders indicated that accommodating a 6% budget cut in FY09 would not be easy.  He and Steve Swant (Exec. VP of Business and Finance) have charged the Institute Budget and Planning Committee (a standing committee) with providing GIT with guidance about how to manage such cuts and still meet two important goals:

(1)   To maintain the academic core; i.e. the teaching and research function of Georgia Tech.  Dr. Schuster stated that a great deal of progress had been made in the past decade enhancing Georgia Techís reputation.  If Georgia Tech was wise in how it managed the downturn, it had the opportunity to strip out inefficiencies and unnecessary things that would save money, enhance its effectiveness, and prepare it to do even better when the economy turned back up again.

(2)   To strengthen Georgia Tech and provide a platform for future growth.  Dr. Schuster said that Tech could look at initiatives to change substantially how it accesses and uses major infrastructure resources, such as electrical power and heating fuel, water and sewer systems, and enterprise server functions.  Changes of these kinds might require an investment but could possibly offer both relatively near-term and long term savings.

He went on to say that the Chancellorís Office had asked USG members to look at three areas:

         Hiring.  He said it appeared likely that a hiring moratorium would be put in place.  The Deans and Presidentís cabinet have been briefed.  The details have not been worked out but Dr. Schuster said that to meet the first goal above, Tech would continue to hire tenured and tenure-track faculty as such positions become vacant and also to fill newly-created endowed chairs.  Strong efforts would be made to retain high-quality faculty.  He said it was understood that well-endowed competitors would see the current economic situation as an opportunity to raid stressed institutions for their best faculty.  Tech would take the necessary steps to protect itself.  All other faculty and staff decisions would be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Hiring would be allowed in critical categories.  Definite plans were on hold until further guidance was received from the Board of Regents.

         Travel.  Dr. Schuster said that the Chancellorís office had asked Tech to be sure that travel expenses on a month-to-month basis would be less than last fiscal year.  Clearly some travel was essential but the aggregate must be reduced.  He said that a previously scheduled planning retreat between Georgia Tech Atlanta and Georgia Tech Lorraine was being rescheduled as a video conference.

         Equipment and vehicle purchases.  Instructions from the Chancellorís office have requested extra care in purchases of equipment especially for back office support.  Clearly, equipment for core teaching and research would have a higher priority.  No vehicle purchases would be allowed especially for such things as facilities support.

Dr. Schuster summarized this by saying this would be a challenging time requiring creativity.  Some of the deliberations and decisions would be painful but he expected Tech to come through it all right.  He cautioned everyone to avoid precipitous action because all the decisions at the state level had not yet been taken that would determine the requirements.  Some of these decisions were still bound up in politics and were not straightforward.

Dr. Schuster said that members of the Executive Board could help by contributing to considerations of places where efficiencies could be made and costs avoided.  Systemic improvements should be looked at, even if some investments would need to be made in order to reap the benefits.  All were encouraged to be conservation-minded.

He reflected that all of this represented an unwelcome turnaround from what was a fairly rosy picture after the spring legislative session when Tech received a welcome increase in budget under the BOR funding formula.  He said all that and more would need to be subtracted from the budget to meet the latest projections.  But Dr. Schuster said this was simply a challenge and Tech was strong, and it would meet the challenge and come out stronger for it.  He asked the Executive Boardís help not only in finding solutions to the many pieces of the challenge, but also in leading the way in expressing confidence that Tech will meet the challenges.   

He then asked for questions.

Q.  When purchases or commitments (like a vehicle purchases) are prohibited or constrained, does this apply only to purchases against state budgets?  Are expenditures against research grants unconstrained?  Ans.  Dr. Schuster said that was probably true but one should work with the department office because a memo would probably be needed to explain the situation clearly and avoid an automatic refusal.

Q.  Are furloughs a possibility?  Ans. Dr. Schuster noted that this had reportedly been discussed at other USG institutions but has not been considered at Georgia Tech because it did not seem to contribute relevant solutions.

Q.  Is it possible that tuition might be raised to increase revenues?  Ans. Dr. Schuster said that is a very politically sensitive issue and, if considered, it would need to be managed very carefully by the Chancellorís office.  He noted that the ďFixed-for-FourĒ program makes short-term changes in revenue from tuition difficult to achieve.

2.      Ms. West then called attention to the fact that this Board meeting was a special one in which some were attending their last meeting and some were here for their first one.  She recognized those who were just completing their three year term on the Board:

Bill Ballard (GTRI), Eric Barnhart (GTRI), Bob Braga (Chemistry), Bert Bras (ME), Ed Price (IMTC), Bob Wood (LCC)

Ms. West also noted that Pearl Alexander was completing eight years of service as the representative of classified staff on the Executive Board.  Ms. West thanked all for their service.

She then introduced and welcomed new members of the Board:

Carlee Bishop (GTRI), Kirk Bowman (INTA), Bob Fox (Library), Jeff Jenkins (GTRI), Seth Marder (Chemistry),
Jianmin Qu (ME), Monique Tavares (OARS, representing classified staff)

2.      Ms. West asked for approval of the minutes of the June 17, 2008 meeting of the Executive Board (Attachment #1).  This was approved without dissent.

3.      Ms. West called on Ms. Marta Garcia (Asst. VP for Development) for some material concerning faculty participation in the Capital Campaign.  Ms. Garcia, in turn, introduced Dr. Steve Dickerson (Prof. Emeritus) as the person heading up this effort for her office.  Dr. Dickerson said that he was working with co-chair Narl Davidson to put together the facultyís part of the campaign.  He said he had been at Tech since 1965 and in that time it had grown from a significant regional institution to a top-tier university on the global stage.  He said it was natural for faculty to feel they have been fortunate to be at Georgia Tech during such a time.  In the campaign, he said it was desirable to get a very high percentage of faculty and staff to make a contribution and thereby send a message of support.  This would be very favorably received by those outside Tech who are considering their own contributions.  Of the $1 billion campaign target, the initial goal for the faculty was $5 million.  He said this goal was within reach but equally important was the goal of having a very high percentage making at least a nominal contribution of say, $100 each. 

Dr. Dickerson said he hoped that additional faculty would also consider making some large gifts reflecting recognition of the special opportunities that may have been possible from their service at Georgia Tech.  He mentioned several examples of situations where faculty members may have been well-rewarded for their efforts and may be in a position to make larger donations and reap attendant tax advantages.

He provided a list of faculty members identified in each school, division, and development office who have volunteered to help lead the campaign in their units (see Attachment #2a). 

Dr. Dickerson also encouraged faculty to be thinking of specific initiatives they would like to support with their contributions and two examples were circulated as described in Attachments #2b Ė these were just suggestions.  In addition, in each unit, if there were initiatives that would benefit the faculty and its programs in that unit, Dr. Dickerson said they should be pursued.

Ms. Garcia reinforced those points and said that Dr. Bohlander supported having a presentation to the faculty meeting on Nov. 18 so that a wider audience of faculty could hear about the campaign.  Dr. Dickerson suggested that the Board consider bringing a resolution to the faculty whereby the faculty meeting would endorse participation in the campaign. 

Ms. Garcia pointed out the openings for unfilled lead faculty positions in Attachment #2a.  She asked for any recommendations from the Executive Board.  Dr. Dickerson also indicated that he looked forward to opportunities to speak to faculty meetings in each school and asked the Board membersí assistance in promoting such occasions. 

Ms. Garcia and Dr. Dickerson asked for questions from the Board.

Q.  Will Development get the faculty lead persons together for an organizing session?  Ans.  Dr. Dickerson said this had already been done once but should probably be done again.

4.      Filling in for the chair, who had to step out briefly, Dr. Bohlander asked Dr. Dickerson to tell the Board about another possible opportunity for the faculty.  Dr. Dickerson reported that about a month ago, the owners of the Globe restaurant in Technology Square made an overture to the Alumni Association.  They said they would like find away to be of greater service to and better engage the Tech community.  Mr. Joe Irwin at the Alumni Association asked them to speak to Dr. Dickerson because of his interest in developments of things like a University Club at Tech.  Dr. Dickerson subsequently met with Globe representatives at the Globe and learned they were interested in reconfiguring part of the property into a setting conducive to a University Club.  People have usually called this sort of thing a faculty club but an expanded vision might call for a broader name.  The leaders of the original Georgia Tech Faculty Club (including Dr. Dickerson, Dr. Bohlander and others) realized that the greatest benefit was getting to know other faculty members outside oneís immediate group.  To make a University Club viable and more effective still, others need to be involved, for example including alumni, area business leaders, Georgia political figures, and members of nearby universities.  This would allow Georgia Tech faculty members to interact with interesting people, including other faculty members, on a regular basis. 

One suggestion for an activity of such a club would be a daily half hour seminar running from 12:30-1 p.m. (which Dr. Dickerson dubbed the Half As Seminar).  There are that many interesting people and stories in this community, he said.  There were many ways that faculty might work with the Globe to see that the facility, prices, and programs were configured to their liking.

Dr. Dickerson stated that, of course, one option was to just say to the Globe, go ahead.  But it seemed to him desirable to have some mechanism for the faculty to recognize this entity and officially endorse it.  So Dr. Dickerson challenged the Executive Board to consider how that might be accomplished if appropriate.  How could the General Faculty get behind activities in the external community that are of benefit to the faculty?  It was anticipated that conversations about this with Board members would take place off line to explore these concepts further.

5.      Ms. West called on Dr. Bob Kirkman, Chair of the Academic Integrity Committee, to tell the Board about a joint task force that met to assess how well new student integrity processes were working at Georgia Tech.  He reviewed a written report that was distributed as Attachment #3.  He said he had been asked to chair a review in which there was participation from the Office of Student Integrity, the studentís Honor Advisory Council, the facultyís Student Honor Committee, and the facultyís Student Regulations Committee.  His remarks to the Board followed closely the written report.  Additional comments and observations included:

         He noted particularly the recommendations on page two of the attachment.  Provisions for greater faculty consultation with Judicial Coordinators were recommended, as well as periodic assessments of the process so that regular process improvements could be identified.

         Dr. Kirkman also noted that the recommendations for greater faculty and student outreach about the integrity programs mapped very well onto things which the facultyís Academic Integrity Committee and the studentís Honor Advisory Council wanted to pursue and accomplish.  The former has produced a brochure for faculty and both organizations were looking for opportunities to come speak to faculty meetings in the individual schools and build greater understanding.  Similar opportunities in speaking with students were welcomed.  Podcasts were also contemplated for both students and faculty.

         He also spoke to the need for greater support and staffing for the Office of Student Integrity which now carries much of the burden of the new processes.

Dr. Kirkman asked for questions. 

Q.  Are there any specific actions the Executive Board needs to take?  Ans. Dr. Kirkman said that the need for faculty support to the Judicial Coordinators might mean an additional duty for members of the Student Honor Committee and might lead this committee, in turn, to develop a list of reserves, i.e. of other capable faculty members that could be used as resources.  Ms. West expressed the support of the Executive Board in accomplishing this.

Dr. Tom Morley (liaison to the Student Honor Committee) expressed his thanks to Bob and the task force for their excellent work. 

Q.  Can you provide a refresher on the difference between a low-level and high-level infraction?  Ans. Dr. Kirkman responded that someone in the Office of Student Integrity usually made a judgment call based on precedents.  One way of seeing the distinction was in terms of the highest sanction that could be applied in the two cases.  For example, copying off of someoneís paper during an exam would be a low-level case and the highest possible sanction would ordinarily be probation.  Repeat offenses or ones with more serious steps involved could be a high-level offense.  For example, if a person broke into a professorís office, stole a test, and distributed it to the class, that would be considered a high-level case.  Dr. Morley commented that in crafting the Student Code of Conduct, gray areas on the boundary between low-level and high-level cases were recognized as inevitable and that some discretion was a good thing.  Ms. Ericka McGarity (Director of the Office of Student Integrity) said that most first time cases were low-level, though it was possible for a serious case to rise above that.

Q.  What is the relative incidence of graduate student cases, compared with undergraduates?  Ans.  Ms. McGarity said that graduate student cases are very rare because such students generally understand there are few second chances practical as a graduate student.  So much of their work depends on the trust of the faculty and a breach of that trust usually makes their continuation infeasible.

Dr. Dickerson commented that faculty can do a lot to make cheating hard and remove temptation.  Dr. Kirkman said that the Academic Integrity Committee strongly advocated that message.

6.      Ms. West explained that the Executive Board needed to fill a vacancy on the Graduate Curriculum Committee occasioned by the retirement of Dr. Jim Craig (AE).  Candidates from the College of Engineering were considered in accordance with the Bylaws and Dr. Min Zhou met the criteria and agreed to serve.  Ms. West explained that Dr. Zhou would have been at the end of a term on the committee and this extra assignment would just extend that service by one year, until August 2009.  His appointment was approved without dissent.

7.      Ms. West then spent some time going over a list of accomplishments of the Executive Board in the past year (Attachment #4) so that those new on the Board knew where activities stood.  Of these she particularly highlighted:

         Faculty election structures have been simplified.

         Agreement was reached to cover the liability of faculty member serving as a student organization advisor.  This still has to be codified and placed in the Faculty Handbook or Human Resources Manual.  Wayne Whiteman reported that a meeting was coming up on that.

         Dr. Donna Llewellyn obtained help from Board members in updating the Course Instructor Opinion Survey

         The Board looked at redefining the purpose of the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee but that work has not yet been completed.

         A University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC) was initiated by a coalition of USG members and Georgia Tech and other research universities in the system have been negotiating for some accommodations to facilitate better participation by the research tier of the system.  Ms. West indicated that the next meeting on that topic was the next day.

         Ms. West noted that the faculty was keeping an eye on emerging health insurance options in the coming year.

Ms. West also provided a brief summary of the duties of the Executive Board especially for the benefit of new members, as follows:

         The Executive Board essentially functioned as the top level of faculty governance.  There were representatives on the Board from the academic faculty, research faculty, and staff.

         The Board oversaw the Academic Senate and the General Faculty Assembly, which were the broader bodies of elected representatives of the institution.  So a lot of what the Executive Board did related to managing the operations of those bodies.  The Board would therefore review and approve all of their agendas.

         The Board also managed the operations of the Standing Committees of the General Faculty and of the Academic Faculty.  Each elected member of the Board served as a liaison to a standing committee and reported at each Board meeting. 

         From time to time, the Executive Board appointed special task forces to analyze and address policies and so forth that needed updating.  Many examples could be found in the record of last year.  Work by task forces often led to amendments to the Faculty Handbook.  Ms. West encouraged Board Members to become familiar with the online edition of the Faculty Handbook. 

8.      Ms. West asked for reports from the standing committee liaisons.  There were few inputs because of the lower level of activity over the summer.  Meetings were underway to start the new academic year. 

         Dr. Tom Morley mentioned there were no cases for the Student Honor Committee this summer, showing the dramatic change in load from the new Student Code of Conduct.

Dr. Bohlander thanked all the Board members for their input about liaison assignment preferences for the coming year.  He reported that definite assignments would be made shortly but had to await their decision about the Executive Board chair for the coming year because that person (alone) would get a bye on liaison assignments.  There was just the right number of members without the chair to cover the number of standing committees.

He also stated that he had been in touch with all the 2007-08 chairs of the standing committees to remind them to call the opening meetings of the new academic year and get new chairs elected, along with other wrap up business (minutes filed, annual report ready, etc.)  Dr. Bohlander warned Executive Board members he might be calling on liaisons to help nudge this along.

9.      Ms. West called on Dr. Bohlander again to lead the Board through the process for election of its officers for 2008-09.  He reminded the Board of the duties of the Chair and Vice-Chair.  He said the Chair was responsible for

         Presiding over meetings of the Executive Board [and over faculty meetings in the absence of the President and Provost];

         Leading in setting agendas for the Board and for faculty meetings;

         Interacting with the Presidentís office and with other faculty groups;

         Providing counsel to the President and other members of the administration on appointments.

The Vice Chair was responsible for

         Serving in the absence of the Chair; and

         Co-chairing the Nominations Committee (along with another member of the Board to be named later) and leading the way in filling vacancies on committees as they arose.

Dr. Bohlander reported he had called for nominations for these offices and received two, Leanne West and Doug Williams.  They had agreed to serve as either chair or vice-chair.  He asked each to say a few words about themselves and their interest in serving. 

Dr. Bohlander asked if there were any further nominations from the floor.  Hearing none, he discussed options for proceeding.  The consensus reached was the following: The Secretary would send out an electronic ballot immediately after the meeting asking members of the Board for their preference between the two candidates.  When the results were in, the person garnering the most votes would serve as chair and the second would serve as vice-chair.  [See results in Addendum #1 below.]

10.  Ms. West asked if there were any other items of business. 

         Dr. Andy Smith (Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs) said that Tech had been audited by the Board of Regents concerning Techís ombuds programs.  They asked for the following improvement:  Faculty ombuds and student ombuds have historically reported to different people.  They are supposed to report to the President through the office of the Provost.  So the reporting channels have now been made compliant. John Schultz will coordinate the work of all ombuds and his work in this function will move from Human Resources to the Provostís Office. 

         Ed Price made a motion that the Board thank the outgoing officers of the Board, Leanne West (Chair), Barbara Henry (Vice-Chair), Jarek Rossignac (Vice-Chair), and Ron Bohlander (Secretary) for their service in leading the Board during 2007-08.  The motion passed without dissent. 

11.  Hearing no other business, Ms. West adjourned the meeting at about 4:20 p.m.  A reception followed in the Gordy Room.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

September 29, 2008

Attachments

1)      Minutes of the June 17, 2008 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Materials concerning faculty participation in the Capital Campaign

a.       List of lead faculty members from units on campus

b.      Suggested possible initiatives that could be supported by faculty contributions.
(Other ideas welcome.)

3)      Report of the Academic Integrity Process Task Force

4)      Summary of Executive Board progress in 2007-08 as well as a few known open items. 

 

 

________________________

Addendum #1

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 19, 2008 with a response due by June 5, 2008, as follows:

 

Dear Board Members Ė

 

In accordance with what we discussed at the Board meeting today, please answer the following question: 

 

Which of the following would you prefer to serve as Chair of the Executive Board for 2008-09?

____  Leanne West           from the Electro-Optical Systems Lab of GTRI

____  Doug Williams        from ECE

 

 It is understood that the runner up in this election has agreed to serve as Vice-Chair.

 

 

A quorum of the Board members participated in responding to this question by the closing date of August 22, 2008.  Leanne West was elected Chair and Doug Williams Vice Chair.

 

________________________

Addendum #2

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 29, 2008 as follows:

Dear Board Members Ė

 

Doug Williams has already been hard at work as our Vice-Chair finding people to fill vacancies on standing committees.  In all cases he followed the procedure in the bylaws whereby he contacted runners up for these positions from past elections in the order of most votes and most recent. 

 

The vacancies are as follows:  Georgia Persons (from Public Policy) has resigned from the Student Honor Committee with one more year to serve because she will be away from campus for a significant part of the year. Similarly Gil Weinberg (from Architecture)has resigned from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee due to the demands of other new duties.  He also had one more year to serve. Those persons named in the question below have agreed to fill these vacancies and serve out the terms until August 2009 and they both meet the qualifications for these committees.  They will also both be eligible for re-election in the spring.

 

So the  questions before us are these: 

 

_____  Do you agree to appoint Daniel Castro-Lacouture (Architecture) to fill the vacant spot on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee from now until August 2009?

 

_____  Do you agree to appoint Michael Gamble (Architecture) to fill the vacant spot on the Student Honor Committee from now until August 2009?

 

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