Meeting of November 4, 2008

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center





Members Present: Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Fox (Library), Henry (ORC), Marder (Chemistry), Morley (Math), Rossignac (CoC-IC), Schuster (Interim President), Stein (Dean of Students), Tavares (OARS), West (Chair, GTRI), Whiteman (ME), Williams (Vice-Chair, ECE)


Members Absent: Bishop (GTRI), Bowman (INTA), Dagenhart (ARCH), Fowler (Grad. Student), Gaimon (Mgt), Huey (EAS), Jenkins (GTRI), Qu (ME), Wellkamp (U. Grad. Student)


Visitors:   Dickerson (Development, ME)

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

2.      She directed the Board’s attention to the Minutes of the October 7, 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 university system budget process and in particular on the question whether faculty raises scheduled for January 1, 2009 would go ahead as planned.  He reported that nothing had been announced by the Chancellor’s Office but that information should be available soon.

b.     The President gave an account of a legislative briefing he attended at which one of the speakers was Trey Childress, Director of the Office of Planning and Budget for the State of Georgia.  Mr. Childress said that the State FY09 budgets were predicated on the assumption that revenues in FY09 would exceed those in FY08 by 4%, but the current forecasts were that FY09 revenues would instead be 1% less than in FY08, i.e. a 5% decrease relative to the original forecast.  The Board of Regents (BOR) adopted at their October meeting a 6% budget cut applied equally to all components of the University System of Georgia (USG), consistent with the cuts imposed by the Governor on all state agencies. 

c.     The search committee for finding the next President of Georgia Tech continued its work.  Scores of candidates have applied and the committee was in the process of evaluating these and selecting the top candidates they wished to focus on.  Airport interviews would likely be scheduled beginning in November and Dr. Schuster predicted that soon after the first of the year in depth interviews of a few candidates would occur culminating by February with an announced list of finalists.  After the public announcement there would be a fourteen day period for public comment before an appointment of a president would be announced.  Dr. Schuster hoped that a new president would be in place by late spring or summer.

Dr. Schuster then took some questions:

Q. Difficult budget cuts were already apparent.  For example, it appeared that required math class sections had been cut back and Georgia Tech students were having difficulty registering for the math classes they needed.  Would the cuts that have been made actually meet the budget goals that have been imposed or would something worse be coming?   Ans. The State supplied each year about 50% of Georgia Tech’s operating budget (outside of contract work and auxiliary services).  So the 6% cut that has been imposed applied to this 50%, or in other words there was a net 3% cut in operating revenues.  To accommodate this, the largest cuts in planned expenditures were applied to the non-academic units of the Institute and the academic units were given a smaller cut.  As long as the ultimate state budget cut would turn out to be no more than 8%, the academic units should not have to be cut more than they already have been.  If the cuts went deeper than 8%, then deeper cuts in all units would have to be made.  Dr. Schuster reported that even the 6% cuts were not without pain.  Something like 85 employees had been laid off.  He hoped there would not have to be additional layoffs.

Dr. Schuster remarked that the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) has published data for the 16 southeastern states for the period 2001-2007 showing trends in support for education.  During this period, the State of Georgia lost 19% of its funding relative to its student enrollment.  This “support for education” included state appropriation plus tuition and fees from students.  Thus Georgia’s students lost ground in the resources to support their education, even before the budget cuts that have happened lately.  Dr. Schuster said that students recognized that the value of their degree rests on the reputation of Georgia Tech.  Everyone in the Georgia Tech community has to be ready to sacrifice in order to protect that, he said.

Q. Can the GT Foundation help Tech through this difficulty?  Can loans be taken out as a bridge?  Ans. The President said it was not a good business practice to borrow money to cover operating costs, so there has been no plan to borrow money for such a purpose. 

Q. If Georgia Tech got full formula funding for FY10 would that restore money lost in the cuts that occurred in FY09?  Ans. Dr. Schuster explained that the formula does not deal in absolute dollars but specifies an increment that is appropriate in light of changes in enrollment.  Thus the cuts in FY09 would be permanent and future formula adjustments would be made relative to the baseline in place after the cuts.

4.      Ms. West then provided some updates on matters previously before the Board:

·         On the matter of updating Georgia Tech’s definition of General Faculty (for purposes of participation in faculty governance, for example), Ms. West referred the Board to Attachment #2 which was memorandum to create an Executive Board Task Force to work on an improved definition.  The memorandum set out the reasons for this action, the participants in the Task Force, and their charge.  She announced that Prof. Tom Morley was proposed to chair this effort.  It was moved and seconded to commission the Task Force in accordance with this attachment.  The motion passed without dissent.

·         Ms. West reported on progress with the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC).  She said she had conveyed the sense of the Executive Board from the last meeting; namely, that Georgia Tech wanted to participate but could not endorse the current USGFC by-laws per se without further definition of the scope and role of the USGFC.  Ms. West said that the faculty involved from the other schools would continue to try to resolve the issues and she would stay in touch with them.

5.      Ms. West called on Dr. Steve Dickerson, representing the Development Office, to present a proposed resolution in support of faculty participation in the capital campaign.  He stated that he had volunteered as an emeritus faculty member to help lead faculty’s participation in this campaign.  He said that he knew that all recognized that the community was undergoing a difficult time due to the economy and so the campaign has remained in its quiet phase and the public phase would be delayed somewhat.  He said it was important for the faculty to show their support for Georgia Tech as a special institution by participating with contributions to the campaign.  If nearly every faculty member were to participate, this would send a tremendous signal to outside donors about the faculty’s commitment to the value of this institution.  Dr. Dickerson noted that each unit of Georgia Tech has development officers and faculty volunteers to help with this.  He showed the Board a resolution (in Attachment #3) that he proposed to bring to the faculty for their adoption at the November 18, 2009 faculty meeting.  Dr. Dickerson noted that faculty can donate to designated purposes; for example, he made a contribution each year to support one or more students working on projects of interest to him.

Dr. Schuster commented that Georgia Tech was indeed a special place and one of the things that it made it so was the very generous and widespread support of Georgia Tech through the donations of its alumni.  These contributions have helped stabilize Tech through turbulent times and the Foundation was indeed helping Tech now in the present budget problems.  One of the strongest cases that can be made when appealing to alumni was that the faculty have shown a high degree of support as well.  So, Dr. Schuster said he was very much in support of this resolution.

Ms. West thanked him for these inputs.  It was moved that the Executive Board endorse this resolution to the General Faculty at their upcoming meeting on November 18.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

6.      Ms. West directed the Board’s attention to Attachment #4 showing an update to the pool of reserves to help the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee (FSGC) conduct investigations of grievances. These would be used at the discretion of the FSGC in times when their workload would get too high to maintain timely progress.  A motion was made to approve the new names in green on this list.  The motion was seconded and approved without dissent.

7.      Ms. West called on the Vice Chair, Dr. Doug Williams, to present proposed members of the Nominations Committee.  He reminded the Board that it was their annual duty to create the Nominations Committee with the task of finding nominees to run for openings on the various Institute Standing Committees.  Those who have agreed to serve in 2009 were:

·         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)

This list of proposed members of the Nominations Committee was approved without dissent.

8.      Ms. West directed the Board’s attention to Attachment #5 which showed the planned agenda for meeting of the Academic Senate that was also proposed as a combined meeting with the General Faculty on November 18, 2008 from 3-5 p.m. in the Student center Theater.  Dr. Bohlander asked the Board to review the agenda and he noted that we needed to call on the General Faculty to attend this meeting because a few standing committees were unable to complete their required annual reports at the October meeting.  A motion was made and seconded to call a combined meeting of the General Faculty with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate and to approve the agenda.  The motion passed without dissent.

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

Ms. Barbara Henry reported that the Faculty Benefits Committee had discussed some changes the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) board proposed to consider concerning semiannual increments in payments to retirees.  She said that a member of the committee, Dr. Wayne Book, had created a website where he was posting information about the possible changes.  She said she would provide the website address to Board members after the meeting.  A question was asked if the Georgia Tech administration planned to convey an opinion on these proposed changes which would give the TRS board the power to reduce payments to retirees relative to the current formulas.  Dr. Schuster indicated there were no plans to comment and reminded the Executive Board that the USG was only a small component of the constituency the TRS serves.

Dr. Wayne Whiteman indicated that Pearl Alexander was still working on policy language to reflect the Institute’s indemnification of advisors to official student groups.

10. Hearing no other business, Ms. West adjourned the meeting at about 3:35 p.m. 

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

January 15, 2009


1)      Minutes of the Oct. 7, 2008 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Memorandum establishing a task force to recommend a new definition of General Faculty at Georgia Tech and related matters.

3)      Proposed resolution of the faculty in support of the Capital Campaign.

4)      Updated list of proposed reserves to assist the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee with investigations when needed.

5)      Agenda for the November 18, 2008 meeting of the General Faculty and Academic Senate