GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of October 27, 2009

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building

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

 

 

Members Present: Bennett (Mgt), Bishop (GTRI-ELSYS), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bowman (Vice-Chair, INTA), Buck (ECE), DíUrbano (OSP), Fox (Library), Henry (Chair, ORC), Ingram (ECE), Millard (GTRI-ITTL), Morley (Math), Peterson (President), Rossignac (CoC-IC), Schuster (Provost), Staskevicius (UíGrad. Student), Tavares (Provost Office), Whiteman (ME), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)

 

Members Absent: Bafna (Architecture), Harley (Grad. Student), Jenkins (GTRI), Leggon (Public Policy), Marder (Chemistry), Michael Perdue (EAS)

 

 

Visitors:  Allen (Architecture), Balfour (Architecture), Cothran (Faculty Benefits Committee Chair), Bottomley (Undergraduate Curriculum Committee), Donbaugh (AVP HR), Herazy (Provostís Office), Ray (OHR), Rolen (OHR), Smith (SVPAA),

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

2.      She directed the Boardís attention to the Minutes of the September 29, 2009 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.

a.     President Peterson noted that after the recent football game with Virginia Tech at Grant Field the fans tore down the goalposts, and this resulted in one person sustaining a broken arm in the process of coming over a wall.  He reported that he met with Dan Radakovich (Athletics Director), Bill Schafer (Vice President Student Affairs), and Steve Swant (Exec. VP Administration & Finance) about changes that could be made to better ensure the safety of fans and students at games when there is an exciting victory and a desire among some to pull down the goalposts.  Changes to allow goal posts to be removed quickly by staff after a game were being considered so that they would not be accessible, he said.  Alina Staskevicius also reported that students were organizing a publicity campaign to encourage safe celebration.  Dr. Peterson said he was proud of the way Georgia Tech students conducted themselves in the aftermath of the celebration. 

b.     He also reported on meetings between the Atlanta Police Dept., Georgia State Patrol, Midtown Blue (a public safety force of off-duty police officers patrolling Midtown streets and sidewalks and augmenting Atlanta Police Department (APD)), and campus public safety.  APD was assigning four additional officers to Home Park and Centennial Place as well as additional undercover police.  The other organizations would also be increasing their presence around the campus.  Efforts were being made to upgrade the campus video surveillance system which extended to the boundaries of the campus.  The city was going to pursue upgrades to outdoor lighting and sight lines in the neighborhoods around campus, especially Home Park.  Dr. Peterson said all these measures were undertaken to improve safety for the campus community and surrounding neighborhoods.  Dr. Morley commented that the areas between MARTA stations and the campus were important focus areas as well and mentioned increased causes for concern in the dark hours.

c.     President Peterson reminded the Board that Dr. Schuster had indicated a desire to step down as Provost and return to teaching and research.  Dr. Peterson thanked Dr. Schuster for his excellent service and noted exceptional international interest in Dr. Schusterís research. The President indicated that Dr. Schuster would continue in place until a new Provost was found, hopefully by summer 2010.  Dr. Peterson went on to solicit input from the Board concerning persons who might serve on the search committee and work with the search firm that will be engaged in this process.  He asked that the Board Chair and Secretary organize this feedback to the Presidentís Office.  He also noted that changes may be made in how the Provostís office and other senior administration offices were organized and he welcomed suggestions from Board members.

Dr. Schuster thanked the members of the Executive Board for their support during his tenure as Provost and Interim President.

4.      Ms. Henry then called on Mr. Chuck Donbaugh (AVP HR) to provide updates on the plan for furloughs at the Institute in accordance with University System of Georgia (USG) requirements.  He presented the information contained in Attachment #2

Q.  When would pay be reduced in relation to a given personís selected furlough days in the spring?  Ans.  In each month that a furlough day was taken.  Furthermore, furloughs could be taken a half day at a time, so a faculty member could choose to take a half day of furlough in Jan., Feb. Mar. and Apr. if he/she wished.

Q.  Could a holiday be taken as a furlough day; i.e. a holiday without pay?  Ans. No, the holidays are mandated by the Georgia Legislature and a law would have to be passed to enable holidays to be taken as furlough days.

5.      Ms. Henry next called on Prof. Bettina Cothran (Chair of the Faculty Benefits Committee), as well as Chuck Donbaugh, to explain the new shared leave program the Faculty Benefits Committee was recommending.  They presented the material found in Attachment #3.  Dr. Cothran thanked Executive Board Chair Barbara Henry for her contributions to the development of this proposed program.  Mr. Donbaugh explained that the minimum donation from a faculty member would be 8 hours and a certification committee would watch to see that no one donated so much that they had no protection left for themselves.  There would be a campaign during each open enrollment period in the year to encourage donations.  Funding for salaries paid from donated leave would be drawn from a pool created by an adjustment in the benefit rates charged against revenue accounts.

Q.  Was there a limit to the number of sick days one could draw from the donated leave pool?  Ans. A minimum of 40 hours would need to be drawn from the pool because this program was intended to help with serious health problems.  And there would be a maximum of 320 hours, which would be eight weeks.  Barbara Henry noted that the latter offered the same number of hours as GTRI allowed in their plan, though it was less than the 480 hours found in the Board of Regentsí plan.  Mr. Donbaugh said this was just a cautious first step for the first year of the program. 

Q. About how many people in the past year exhausted all their leave and still needed more, such that this plan would have helped them?  Ans. Ten persons or fewer.  Dr. Bohlander said that he believed GTRI had about three cases in the first year of their program.

Q. Was the rule really necessary that a person had to be an employee for 12 months before they were eligible?  It was stated that such a rule was not applied in the GTRI program. The concern was that new employees who would not have accumulated enough leave and were most at risk.  Ans. Mr. Donbaugh said the current plan was in draft form and he would be happy to note the suggestion.  The idea for the restriction was that a new employee was considered a provisional hire for at least six months and the restriction made sure the relationship was well established with the employee before granting them special aid.

Dr. Peterson asked Mr. Donbaugh to arrange for some overlap between the Instituteís Certification Committee and GTRIís committee for that purpose so the Institute would have the benefits of experience.  He said he would indeed do that.  Dr. Bohlander reported that GTRI would be happy to help and they had a very lean Certification Committee with one person from the personnel office, one representing faculty, and one representing staff.  Mr. Donbaugh said he was not sure the Resident Instruction and GTRI plans would ever be consolidated as the bookkeeping approaches for leave were somewhat different but coordination was certainly desirable and possible.

It was moved and seconded to recommend that the Georgia Tech administration implement a shared leave program.  The motion passed unanimously.

6.   Ms. Henry then asked Mr. Donbaugh to continue with a review of new benefits programs for 2010.  He presented the material found in Attachment #4.  Mr. Donbaugh introduced Ms. Sharon Ray, Director of Employee Benefits for Georgia Tech.  He noted that the open enrollment period had already begun and explained that the reason all employees were asked to talk to a benefits counselor was the realization that many employees just continued the plans they had from one year to the next even when those plans were no longer in keeping with their situation.  For example, once one earned and accumulated enough sick leave, then short term disability insurance was no longer of value, yet many continued it anyway without examining the possibilities to do something different.  The active enrollment process was designed to be sure that all employees re-examined their needs.  Ms. Ray also said that the open enrollment this year provided an opportunity to elect any type of insurance even if such elections were turned down when first offered in a previous year. 

Q. What if it was not convenient for an employee to call at their assigned time (based on the first letter of their last name), what could they do?  Ans. Employees could actually call at any time.  The recommended calling time was based on the last name to try to better space out the calls.

7.   Ms. Henry called on Dean Allan Balfour and Sr. Assoc. Dean Doug Allen from the College of Architecture to tell the Board about the Collegeís plan to subdivide into schools.  They presented the material in Attachment #5.  Dean Balfour noted that colleges generally created schools as soon as they had enough large enough bodies of activity to support them.  He reviewed the history of such developments in other colleges at Tech.  Architecture first became recognized as a department within the College of Engineering in 1908 and became a School of Architecture (within that College) forty years later.  It became an independent College of Architecture in 1975 but it was unusual in having its degrees resident in ďprogramsĒ rather than in schools within this College. So, for example architecture degrees were in the Architecture Program of the College of Architecture.  There was then no School of Architecture, no organizational unit to house the architecture degrees other than the College itself.  This made the College of Architecture unique.  Plans to change this were outlined in slides beginning with slide 8.  The important thing to remember, he said, was that schools provided greater focus and prestige for the work that would be done.  Slide 10 showed the current structure of the College (pre-reorganization) and slide 11, the proposed structure.  Dean Balfour noted that the PhD programs would move into the respective schools with the help of an Assoc. Dean for Graduate Education.  Mr. Allen explained that the programs have operated in the College just like schools.  They each have a director and similar infrastructure to that of a school, and so when schools are formally set up, there will generally not be any new administrative staff required.  However budget tracking would be much easier when schools were formally recognized.

Q. Would students be able to freely cross the school boundaries and pursue multidisciplinary educational experiences within the College?  Ans. The Assoc. Dean for Undergraduate Studies would be a resource to help such students.

Q. How would this plan become officially adopted at some point?  Ans. Dr. Schuster explained that the decision to proceed would be made in the Provostís Office who would in turn inform the Board of Regents (BOR).  The BOR delegated such decisions to each institution in the USG but of course would want to be kept informed.

Q. Would there be any changes in the degree designations?  Ans. The only changes would be to the PhD degrees which now would be a PhD in Planning, a PhD in Music, and so on.  These were in the process of being proposed as new degrees via the usual process.  Mr. Allen said that the PhD in Architecture was the exception as it was not new. It would simply be administered now by the new School of Architecture.

8.   Ms. Henry called on Prof. Kirk Bowman (Vice-Chair) to recommend the appointment of Prof. Laura Hollengreen to represent the College of Architecture on the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee to fill an unexpired term until August 2011.  Dr. Bowman explained this was occasioned by the resignation from the committee of Claudia Winegarden.  He moved that this appointment be made.  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

9.   Ms. Henry called on Dr. Andy Smith to describe a new USG core curriculum using the material in Attachment #6.  Dr. Smith explained that the BOR established a core curriculum committee about two years ago and Georgia Tech had a representative on this committee (Prof. Rebecca Burnett).  The plan resulting from that committee was, however, not well-received across the USG largely because it required an unrealistic amount of change.  A year later a new committee was formed chaired by Dr. George Rainbolt (at GSU).  This time Georgia Tech did not have a representative on the committee but it was initially told it was exempt from the core curriculum requirements so it did not matter.  It later emerged that Tech was not exempt and Tech provided input about its concerns.  Some of these have been addressed through amendments and some minor concerns have remained that could be addressed with appropriate exemptions.  In fact the old USG core curriculum was less flexible than the new one, as illustrated in slide 4.  Nevertheless a few specific areas of concern were outlined in slide 6.   It was expected that exemptions would be granted that would allow Tech to help its students continue to be successful in challenging academic curricula.  Dr. Smith reported that the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has been studying the new core curriculum requirements and should be ready soon to designate particular Tech courses to meet prescribed learning goals in the core curriculum policy (see slide 5).

Q. In the comparison of the old core and the new core (slide 4), would the changes allow existing Tech degree programs new flexibility?  Consider for example the change from previously requiring 12 hours of social science to the new requirement of only at least 6 hours. Ans. Dr. Smith said that Georgia Tech was going to have to decide what the Georgia Tech core curriculum should be inside the USG requirements.  Some here believed that one of the strengths of the Georgia Tech program was its requirement for 12 hours of social sciences.

Q. Was it possible to reconcile the USG core curriculum requirements as they applied to transfer credit by accepting some transfer credits as general hours but not counting them toward certain specific degree requirements?  Ans. Dr. Smith said yes.  For example Algebra I could be counted as general hours but would not satisfy requirements for calculus.

Q.  Were there any impacts of the new core on Techís ability to meet the standards of accreditation agencies such as ABET?  Ans. The need to meet accreditation requirements like those would be used to reinforce the arguments that Tech needs specific pre-requisites to later classes.

Ms. Henry called on Prof. Larry Bottomley from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for comments.  It was explained that this committee had a General Education Subcommittee looking at the USG Core Curriculum.  Dr. Peterson commented that the USG staff supported the fact that Tech needs additional standards in its curriculum to ensure the success of its students.

10. Ms. Henry called on Prof. Tom Morley who has chaired the Boardís task force preparing a new definition of General Faculty for use at Georgia Tech.  He presented the material in Attachment #7a and referred also to material in Attachment #7b.  Dr. Morley began by thanking, Dr. Bohlander, Mr. Donbaugh, Mr. Jim Rolen (OHR), and Dr. Schuster and the Provostís office for detailed background work in support of these proposals.  By way of background, Dr. Morley reminded the Board that many titles were added in recent years on a temporary basis to the list having General Faculty status in order to provide access to the Optional Retirement Plan.  Now that the legislature made this available to all USG benefits eligible employees, it was time to return to core definitions of faculty.  He also noted that the number of titles held by people having general faculty status had ballooned to more than 180, and Techís statutes, which currently tried to list all the titles having faculty status, had not kept up.  Thus, a change in approach based on basic principles was needed.  Dr. Morley reviewed the charge to the task force and work reported previously.  In summarizing recent progress, he noted on the last slide a recommendation to consider more opportunities for staff interests to be represented in some areas now associated with faculty governance, for example, in faculty benefits.  Dr. Bohlander noted that when this matter came to the faculty for a vote, the motion should set an effective date for these changes.  The changes would not have to be in force as of the date of the last vote but could be at a later time to allow time to prepare for implementation.  July 1, 2010 was discussed as a possible target for implementation.

Q. Why were discussions with affected people and their unit heads needed if all with General Faculty status now grandfathered for the future? Ans. It was possible that unit heads would have concerns to work out because it would affect the status of new hires.  It was also possible the units would have fewer representatives on the General Faculty Assembly.  Individuals could feel that their positions should still be considered part of the faculty even without grandfathering and would want to make the case.  Dr. Bohlander also explained that the title Classified Professional with General Faculty Status would be going away.  Discussion with individuals and unit heads was needed to properly identify alternative titles and to make an initial determination about faculty status for any such new titles.

Q. Were there any other impacts of faculty status? Ans. Mr. Donbaugh said that current BOR policy granted maximum vacation accrual only to new faculty hires.  Other professionals began with less vacation and gradually earned more.  He said he would appreciate more time to gain acceptance for some relief from those rules.  He hoped that above a certain title level, vacation could soon be granted to professionals holding a Masters degree on the same basis as for new faculty hires.  However, the consensus was that the faculty could proceed with their changes as long as they would not be implemented before July 1, 2010.

Dr. Morley moved to recommend the proposed change in the Statutes in Attachment #7b to the Statutes Committee and then to the faculty in its scheduled November 17, 2009 meeting.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.  [Note however that the Executive Board reconsidered this motion in an electronic ballot recorded at the end of these minutes due to a greater appreciation for remaining implementation steps.]

11. Ms. Henry called on Prof. Mary Ann Ingram to report on discussions among several groups looking at Georgia Tech policies and procedures surrounding Reappointment, Promotion, & Tenure and Periodic Peer Review.  Dr. Ingram reported that four groups were represented at a meeting on Oct. 16, 2009 which she coordinated.  Carole Moore and Monique Tavares represented a Provostís task force on improvements in the Faculty Handbook; Ty Herrington (Chair) represented the Statutes Committee; Gary Parker (Chair) represented the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee; and Mary Ann Ingram represented the ADVANCE Professors program.  The focus of their discussion was to see if a task force combining all of these perspectives was needed to ensure that suitable changes were made expeditiously in policies surrounding related areas of reappointment, promotion, tenure and periodic peer review.  Changes under consideration in each group were reviewed.  Ty Herrington reviewed the procedures that the Statutes Committee would follow when any of these matters came to them.  The discussion between all these parties concluded that a) it was beneficial for all these groups working on related issues to share their perspectives, but b) it would be better for each groupís changes to come to the Statutes Committee as each was ready and it was not necessary to form an overarching task force.  It was felt that the Statutes Committee was the best place to achieve appropriate synergies.  The Board accepted the recommendation not to form any new task force on these subjects and to look to the Statutes Committee to handle the recommendations for change as they were ready.

12.      Ms. Henry asked if there were any reports from the standing committee liaisons.    Notable highlights included:

         Dr. Bottomley reported that the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee was preparing recommendations to the Schools to consider reducing their requirements from 18 hours to 15 hours for each minor, in accordance with recent changes in USG policy.  The General Education Subcommittee would be meeting on Oct. 29, 2009 to consider the new USG core curriculum.

         Dr. Whiteman reported that the Student Regulations Committee was working to complete recommended changes in policies governing academic activities in the Week Prior to Final Exams.  Ms. Staskevicius also reported that the Committee was coordinating with the Office of the Dean of Students on pending changes in the Student Code of Conduct.

        Mr. Millard reported that the Faculty Benefits Committee had been notified that student health insurance provisions could be changing and they were waiting to hear more from the Office of Human Resources.

13. Ms. Henry called on Dr. Bohlander to present recommendations about the scheduled November 17, 2009 meeting of the Academic Senate.  He referred the Board to a proposed agenda (see Attachment #8). He said that the Board would need to call a meeting of the General Faculty combined with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate because the agenda included a recommended change in the statutes.  Dr. Bohlander moved that the Executive Board call for the combined meeting and approve the proposed agenda for Nov. 17.  The motion was seconded and was passed unanimously.

14.   Hearing no further business, Ms. Henry declared the meeting adjourned at about 4:50 p.m. 

 

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

January 24, 2010

Attachments

1)      Minutes of the September 29, 2009 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Report on furlough plans

3)      Proposed shared leave program

4)   Faculty and staff benefits plans for 2010

5)   Plan for the College of Architecture to be subdivided into Schools.

6)   New USG Core Curriculum

7)   New definition of General Faculty at Georgia Tech

a)  Presentation

b) Full text comparison of old and new

8)   Agenda for a combined meeting of the General Faculty and Academic Senate On Nov. 17, 2009

 

________________________

Addendum #1

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on Nov. 2:

At our October 27, 2009 Board meeting we passed a motion to bring a new definition of General Faculty to the faculty meeting scheduled for November 17, 2009. In support of this, we also passed a motion to call a meeting of the General Faculty to be combined with the meeting of the Academic Senate scheduled for that date so that a Statute change could be proposed. 

 

In preparing material on the topic of membership in the General Faculty it came to our attention that there were still a significant number (~86) of Georgia Tech employees holding the title Professional with General Faculty Status.  It is anticipated that all of them will need to move to a new position title some of which have not yet been defined.  Barbara Henry, Tom Morley and I have put our heads together on this and concluded it would be prudent to withdraw the faculty definition question from the November 17 meeting until OHR can be further along in this process.  If this question were not on the agenda, the meeting could also revert back to just an Academic Senate meeting.  The attachment shows the anticipated revised agenda.  We would then work hard with OHR to be ready to bring this matter back to the faculty in their February 16, 2010 meeting and there would still be time to get two readings on the matter concluded in the current academic year.

 

Since the Boardís original plans were supported by unanimously adopted motions, we need to ask your concurrence for this change in plans.  Will voting members of the Board please respond to the following question by the end of the day tomorrow, November 3, so we can get a notice out about the November 17 meeting?

 

Do you agree to postpone the question of a new definition of membership in the General Faculty, removing it from the agenda of the November 17 faculty meeting, and not call a meeting of the General Faculty to combine with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate?

Yes _____         No _____

A quorum of Executive Board Members answered yes without dissent.

 

________________________

Addendum #2

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on Dec. 1:

We have had a vacancy on the Graduate Curriculum Committee in a position set aside for a representative from the College of Architecture.  The usual methods of asking past runners up for this position were exhausted, so our Vice Chair asked Doug Allen (CoA Sr. Assoc. Dean) to seek a recommendation from the College of Architecture faculty.  Their recommendation is that we appoint Asst. Prof. Benjamin Flowers to fill this vacancy and serve until August 2012.  Vice Chair Kirk Bowman has asked me therefore to bring you this question:

 

Do you agree to appoint Dr. Benjamin Flowers to fill the CoA vacancy on the Graduate Curriculum Committee, with a term from now until August 2012?

_________ Yes               _________ No

 

Please respond by the end of the day this Friday, Dec. 4.

A quorum of Executive Board Members answered yes without dissent.