Meeting of April 6, 2010

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building

(See also a record of business conducted by email after the meeting.)



Members Present: Bafna (Architecture), Bennett (Mgt), Bishop (GTRI-ELSYS), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bowman (Vice-Chair, INTA), Buck (ECE), Fox (Library), Henry (Chair, ORC), Leggon (Public Policy), Morley (Math), Michael Perdue (EAS), Peterson (President), Rossignac (CoC-IC), Staskevicius (U’Grad. Student), Tavares (Provost Office), Whiteman (ME), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)


Members Absent: D’Urbano (OSP), Harley (Grad. Student), Ingram (ECE), Jenkins (GTRI), Marder (Chemistry), Millard (GTRI-ITTL), Schuster (Provost)


Visitors:  Baines (OIT), Donbaugh (OHR), Farmer (Exec. Leadership Inst.), Herazy (Provost’s Office), Leonard (Chair, Data Security Task Force), Rolen (OHR), Smith (SVPAA)

1.      Ms. Barbara Henry (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:00 P.M.

2.      She directed the Board’s attention to the Minutes of the March 2, 2010.  Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  These were approved unanimously.

3.   She next called on President Peterson to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.

President Peterson introduced Prof. Mark Farmer, Head of the Cellular Biology Department at the University of Georgia.  He explained that Prof. Farmer was a participant in the University System of Georgia (USG) Executive Leadership Institute and was visiting Georgia Tech as part of his work in this connection.

President Peterson commented on progress in the Georgia Assembly on their budget deliberations and other matters of interest to the Institute.  He reported that much lower cuts in USG budgets were expected than had previously been considered.  Included in the President’s update was news on the Assembly’s consideration of modifications to existing limitations on concealed carry of guns on campus.  He reiterated the opposition of the USG to changes in the legislation that would permit guns on campus and thanked the faculty and students for their expressions of support for this position.  The President Peterson expected that most legislation would be determined by the time the Executive Board met in late May.

Dr. Peterson commented further on state financial support to the USG and the related question of the proper levels of tuition. In comparison with peer institutions Georgia Tech’s tuition was about 70% of market value as determined by peer bench marks.  The combination of state support and tuition support to Georgia Tech education was about in line with peers going into this year.  With anticipated further cuts in state support, tuition increases would be doubly justified.  He anticipated that the Board of Regents (BoR) would receive its budgets from the legislature and be able to set tuition and fees by around the end of April.  He reminded the Executive Board that the BoR had decided they would allow some increases in student fees if the fees met special purposes which the students strongly supported.  The fee plan submitted by Georgia Tech included a $5 activity fee, $6 health center fee, $3 transportation fee, and $4 technology fee, for a total of $17.  It was not known yet how much of this the BoR would approve.  In addition there was an institutional fee that was increased from $100 to $200 by the BoR and there was an option to cover some of the previously listed $17 in additional fees with part of the institutional fee.

The President reported that Dr. Steve Cross (current Vice President and Director of GTRI) had been appointed Executive Vice President for Research, effective May 1, 2010.  He was meeting with departments and centers in preparation for his role.  Mr. Tom McDermott had been appointed Interim Director of GTRI, effective the same date.  The President reported that an announcement should be made soon concerning the search for a new Dean for the College of Computing.  Similarly the search for a new Provost was progressing well.  Visits to the campus from finalists were expected beginning around the end of April.  It had been decided to postpone the search for a new Vice President for Institute Diversity until fall to allow more time for candidates to interact with faculty and students. 

President Peterson asked for questions or comments.

Comment.  Prof. Morley reported that the State of Georgia had placed third in the recent competition for federal educational funds called The Race to the Top.  Unfortunately only the two highest placed states actually won funding.  He felt Georgia’s high ranking was due to strong collaboration between the state Department of Education and the state’s colleges, especially Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, and others.  The team from Georgia would regroup, learn from the first round, and compete in the second round of applications.

4.      Ms. Henry then called on Dr. John Leonard, Assoc. Dean of the College of Engineering and Chair of the Executive Board’s chartered Data Security Task Force.  He presented the findings of the Task Force in Attachment #2.  Dr. Leonard explained that the concern to protect student data led the Executive Board to commission the Task Force but as the group got together they saw the opportunity also to be concerned for the protection of employee data and other areas of data security.  The task force looked at the impacts of procedures to protect such data on the regular duties of faculty members.  He pointed to the charge from the Executive Board to identify best practices, recommend guidelines, and help craft messages that resonate with faculty.  Slide 3 listed the participants, which spanned a wide range of groups on campus including some data stewards like OIT and the Registrar’s Office.  The Task Force felt it was not their role to fix the problems but rather to identify and review policy options.  The Task Force also served as a sounding board to OIT as it rolled out a new data security handbook and new booklets of guidelines on such topics as protection of data during foreign travel.  Dr. Leonard summarized some generalized observations from the task force in slides 5-7.  He summarized the task force perceptions by saying that faculty were generally on the front lines of handling data that needed to be secure but were often haphazardly involved in developing procedures.  Moreover, the question of what was most workable for faculty needed to consider all the different security needs not just each individual kind.  The cumulative effect of all the different requirements was beginning to be onerous.  Dr. Leonard then turned to the thought that a standing committee of the faculty was the best option that would enable ongoing input from the faculty.  He said that the alternative of forming a subcommittee of the Welfare and Security Committee was considered but the Task Force felt that data security was so important that Georgia Tech should form a full standing committee to underline Tech’s institutional commitment.  The Task Force decided to recommend to the Executive Board to charge the Statutes Committee to draw up a plan to form a new Standing Committee.  The last slide listed some possible roles for the committee: In essence the committee would give faculty a voice to ensure that data security measures were consistent with a feasible workload.  In the notes to the last slide were some suggestions for the makeup of the proposed standing committee.  Activities suggested included an annual review of data security incidents, promoting good practices, and making recommendations for process improvement.  He asked for comments and questions.

Comment. The earliest a new standing committee could be in place would be August 2011.  Since indications were that data security was important, it would be advantageous for the Task Force to continue until then in order to demonstrate how the standing committee would work.  Perhaps some members of the Task Force would not be able to continue and would have to be replaced.  Response. Dr. Leonard reminded the Board that task forces are supposed to have a finite job and his sense was that this task force needed to be dissolved and if something continued it would be up to individuals on the Task Force if they wanted to continue under a new charter. 

Comment.  The notes to Slide 9 used the term Corps of Instruction incorrectly.  It intended apparently to recommend more representation by Academic Faculty but the term Corps of Instruction was used by the BoR to mean the same as Georgia Tech meant by its term General Faculty.  So the intent in slide 9 would be met by substituting Academic Faculty wherever the term Corps of Instruction was shown.

Q. What authority would the faculty have in adopting recommendations from the proposed new standing committee concerning data security?  If the General Faculty or General Faculty Assembly agreed with the committee’s recommendations, would those recommendations become the policy of the Institute, or would they simply become a recommendation to the administration? Ans. Dr. Leonard said that the most important contribution of the committee would be as a voice of the faculty rather than as an authoritative decider.  He said it was also very helpful for the various administrators to have a designated body to go to for faculty opinion on these topics, so these administrators did not have to set up their own ad hoc sounding board committees.  Dr. Morley concurred and pointed out that bringing the dialog to large faculty meetings would also broaden awareness of the issues.

Q. When other universities had standing committees in this area, did they deal primarily with data security?  Ans. Herb Baines, Director of Information Security in OIT, said that such committees usually had a broader role in IT governance, also dealing with the choice of such things as course management systems.

Comment.  President Peterson said he would support the formation of a standing committee but he commented that the charge to the committee was “to identify best practices, recommend guidelines, and help craft messages that resonate with faculty.”  Thus it might not be most appropriate to focus at this time on a recommendation to create a new standing committee but would be well to focus on those things that were part of this charge.  These things were still needed and a delay in getting them during the time necessary to set up a standing committee would be an area for concern.  He supported the earlier comment that the task force or something like it needed to continue and focus on the outputs called for in the charge.  Response.  There were already a lot of activities ongoing in OIT to establish new processes to support data security.  What the task force saw was the need to support faculty input and thus recommended a new standing committee.  Mr. Baines said that the task force had provided important input to the new edition of the Computer and Network Usage Policy.  Dr. Leonard stated that the task force did provide faculty input to the major data stewards on campus, like OIT and the Registrar, but this sort of work was never ending and so the task force’s bottom-line recommendation was to form a standing committee so such work could continue.

Q. If an action was not taken to form a data security standing committee, would Georgia Tech not be fulfilling its duty to protect such things as student data? Ans. No, OIT and the Registrar’s Office had clear mandates to provide such protection already.

Comment. Besides having faculty input to policies and procedure, it was important to also have mechanisms to communicate these policies and procedure widely.  It was not clear that a standing committee was particularly effective in accomplishing this.  A suggestion was made to provide better training to faculty concerning data security procedures.

Q. What happens when new policies and procedures were not followed because faculty believed they were not practical? Ans.  President Peterson said he believed that the purpose of the task force was to resolve such conflicts.  The impediments to practicality needed to be better understood and remedies proposed.

Q. Was better technology the solution; for example, encryption on laptops?  Ans. Mr. Baines said OIT had encryption solutions available, but faculty did not trust them.  One of the Board members concurred that faculty were often advised by their local computer experts that such tools were risky.  Nevertheless, federal regulations were becoming stricter and could not be avoided so the campus would need to be able to make tough decisions about how it was going to comply.  Dr. Bohlander pointed out that the Task Force had the advantage that it comprised technically talented people who were aware of technology trends and limits.  Appointed committees had that advantage and one of the concerns with an elected committee was that it was harder to ensure that any particular talent mix would be achieved.

Comment. It could come down also to enforcement and validation issues.  How does the Institute ensure that adopted procedures were being followed?  What was the appropriate degree of rigor in enforcement?  Response. Mr. Baines pointed out that the administration often had to expend considerable resources dealing with aftermaths of incidents of data security failures.  So laxity had a cost. Sometimes thousands of constituents needed to be individually notified and aided when their private information was exposed in a way it shouldn’t have been.  By federal law, individuals, credit bureaus, and the federal agencies must be notified.  A security firm also was usually engaged to do what it could to protect the constituents’ credit position.  Dr. Peterson said that it would be very helpful to understand what the faculty found most awkward or impractical about proposed or existing procedures, and then to understand what might be done to resolve that for all concerned.  Then, once those steps were taken, enforcement would also be aided by being able to say that faculty had a hand in the solutions and now everyone was expected to comply. 

Comment. Dr. Morley said that an example of such an issue was the inaccessibility in today’s online data repositories like T-Square of the grades given to individual students in prior years.  These were necessary to help faculty members make informed recommendations when students asked for letters of recommendation when applying for work or further studies.

Comment.  A tiered approach to security was necessary.  Large repositories of student data had more impact and needed greater safeguards than the records of a small number.

A motion to ratify the Task Force’s recommendation to form a data security standing committee did not materialize.  Ms. Henry promised instead to have two members of the Board meet with Dr. Leonard to determine the best way forward.  Dr. Leonard said that he would be happy to make the minutes of all Task Force meetings available.  President Peterson said that data security was a huge issue among university presidents and a major risk to institutional reputation.  Ms. Henry thanked Dr. Leonard for the work of the Task Force.

5.      Ms. Henry asked Dr. Tom Morley to give a report from the Task Force on the Definition of General Faculty at Georgia Tech.  He presented his briefing using the slides contained in Attachment #3a and also made reference to a preliminary list of titles believed to be consistent with the proposed new definition as shown in Attachment #3b.  While not presented explicitly at this meeting, reference was also made to the full wording of the proposed new definition compared with the existing definition, as briefed in previous meetings such as in the October 27, 2009 meeting.  Dr. Morley recognized those in the room who had been involved in the process and thanked Mr. Chuck Donbaugh and Jim Rolen for their dedicated contributions in OHR.  He assured the Board that there was nothing in the recommendations of the Task Force that changed anything for Academic Faculty as defined in the Statutes.  There was nothing in the recommendations that revoked General Faculty status for anyone who now had it.  Dr. Morley said that prior to the past few years state law mandated that the USG Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) only be offered to faculty members and as a result, a number of kinds of professionals who worked for Georgia Tech were granted faculty status in order provide access to ORP.  He pointed out that the faculty explicitly declared this would be a temporary measure and promised to revisit the definitions of faculty when the law was broadened to include all benefits-qualified employees.  This change in the law came to pass a couple of years ago, which was the motivation for the Task Force – their mission was to revisit the definition of General Faculty and recommend the most appropriate definition for the future.  Dr. Morley stated that Georgia Tech had long ago adopted the principle that faculty would be determined by listing those titles in the statutes that would be included in the definition.  This principle was not working well even apart from the issues described above because new titles were proliferating faster than the Statutes could reasonably keep up, in light of the lengthy process necessary to change the Statutes. 

Q. Slide 3 said that Georgia Tech was “required to replace the title Classified Professional with General Faculty Status with more specific titles distinguished by function and level of experience and skill.”  By whom was this required?  Was there in fact a BoR audit to that effect? Ans.  Mr. Chuck Donbaugh said that general encouragement had come from the BoR to reduce what was perceived as an unusually high fraction of employees considered to be faculty, but there was no specific instruction about this title category.  OHR did determine that the use of the title Classified Professional with General Faculty Status was unwieldy and not consistent with good practice in managing job categories because there was a large range in job descriptions and compensations under this title.  OHR, therefore, undertook to get employees in this title reclassified.

The preferred approach to a new definition of General Faculty was outlined on slide 4.  The object was to move toward a definition consistent with that in the Board of Regents definitions of Corps of Instruction and Administrative Officers.  Dr. Morley stated that rather than hard wiring a list of included titles in the Statutes, the recommended approach would cover broad categories of titles consistent with the BoR definition of faculty and then record details in a list of titles maintained by the Provost with oversight by the President and the Executive Board (on behalf of the faculty).  If there were questions in ambiguous cases, then the principles set out in the proposed Section 13.2.1 of the Faculty Handbook could be used for guidance.  These points were made in slide 6 of Attachment #3a. The proposed new definition of faculty would then result in the Ins and Outs recorded in slide #7. Drs. Morley and Bohlander explained that the preliminary list of included titles provided in Attachment #3b was preliminary but reflected the sort of list that the Provost would maintain.  The section concerning Extension personnel was incomplete at the time of the meeting but would be completed in ongoing work.  The material contained in slide 7 of Attachment #3a was just a top level summary and not exhaustive.

Q. Has the subcommittee reviewed the job descriptions of each of the included titles to be sure they do things that are faculty in nature?  Ans. The included titles were consistent with the Board of Regents definitions of Corps of Instruction and Administrative Officers and with the principles in Section 13.2.1.  This was especially true of those hired into these positions currently.  In past years, such titles were sometimes given to support staff to provide access to ORP before definitions of faculty were temporarily broadened.  Such matters would fade away with attrition.

Dr. Bohlander explained that the action item in Slide 9 to complete identification of Extension Professional titles would best be done with participation from the faculty involved and it was proposed to do this.  In relation to the next steps outlined on Slide 10, the President indicated that he had designated the Provost to represent the administration in working with the faculty to move this forward.  Dr. Morley explained that the last issue mentioned in Slide 10 spoke to a need for new opportunities for staff to have a voice in campus affairs. While this was not part of the Task Force charter, such a development seemed a logical extension to explore in the future. 

Dr. Morley concluded by asking if the proposal for a new definition of General Faculty was now ready to take for a first reading to the April 27 meeting of the faculty?  Dr. Bohlander said that if the Provost’s office needed more time, it would be possible to take the first reading in the fall but then the earliest the second reading would occur was in February 2011 and that would be cutting it close to be ready for the new arrangements to be incorporated in planning for faculty elections in April 2011.  He explained that the motion that would be brought to the faculty would name a specific date on which the change in Statutes, Bylaws, and other Handbook sections would be effective.

Comment. The President said it was appropriate for this Task Force to recommend consideration of a Staff Council and other forms of staff representation since it was also recommending to remove some titles from having a voice in faculty business.  Response. Dr. Morley said that while it was appropriate for the faculty to raise the issue and provide encouragement, it was appropriate for staff to provide input on the forms this should take.  The President indicated he would expect OHR to take a lead in organizing such discussions.

Q. Ms. Henry asked the President if more time was likely to be needed to review this in the Provost’s and President’s Office?  Ans. Dr. Peterson said he would expedite discussions and let the Board know with a few days.

Dr. Morley made a motion for the Board to recommend to the General Faculty in their meeting on April 27, 2010 (or the earliest date thereafter if more time was needed) the proposed changes in the Faculty Handbook to implement what had been presented in Attachment #3a. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

6.      Ms. Henry asked for reports from task force leaders and standing committee liaisons.    Notable highlights included:

·         Dr. Wayne Whiteman reported that the Student Regulations Committee had been working with the Registrar on clearer language in some sections of the Institute Catalog.

7.   Dr. Bohlander gave a preliminary report that the faculty elections were underway and on pace for a similar level of participation as in 2009.  He said that two more reminders would be sent and he encouraged Board members to encourage their colleagues to vote. 

8.   Ms Henry asked Dr. Bohlander to present a draft agenda (Attachment #4) for the April 27, 2010 Faculty meeting.  Dr. Bohlander explained that this was a scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate and the Academic Faculty and that in order to consider the proposed Faculty Handbook amendments, the Board would need to call for a meeting of the General Faculty in combination with the scheduled meeting.  He moved that the faculty approve the planned agenda and make the call for a meeting of the General Faculty in combination with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate and Academic Faculty.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

9.   Ms. Henry asked for other business.  Hearing no further business, Ms. Henry declared the meeting adjourned at about 5:00 p.m. 


Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

May 24, 2010


1)      Minutes of the March 2, 2010 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Report of the Task Force on Data Security:

3)      Report of the Task Force on the Definition of General Faculty

a.       PowerPoint presentation

b.      Preliminary list of included titles.

4)   Agenda for the faculty meeting on April 27, 2010.


Addendum #1

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on Apr. 18, 2010:

It is my pleasure to give you a report on the faculty elections just concluded and to ask for your vote of acceptance and approval of these results, in accordance with our bylaws.


For several years the rate of participation by faculty in this vote was just over 30%.  Last year it jumped up to 36% and this year matched that.  All of the results were clear – no ties this year. Those elected are identified on the attached list.


Thanks again to all who participated, to the Nominations Committee for their hard work in preparing the slate, to Andy Fox and colleagues in OIT for support of the online election system, and to Reid Tankersley in the Provost’s Office for help in correcting our database when someone does not get a ballot who should have.


What will happen from here is the following:


So my question to you is, do you accept and approve the attached results of the election just concluded? 

________ Yes                   _________ No.  The problem is: _________________________________________


May I please have your response by close of Wed. April 21?


A quorum of Executive Board Members answered yes without dissent.