GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of May 24, 2011

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building

 

 

Members Present:        Baldridge (Grad. Student), Bennett (Mgt), Black (Grad. Student), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Buck (ECE), Creel (UíGrad. Student), DíUrbano (Vice-Chair, OSP), Ingram (ECE), Jenkins (GTRI), Lyon (Chemistry), Millard (GTRI-ICL), Tavares (EVPRís Office),

 

Members Absent:        Bafna (Architecture),  Bishop (GTRI-ELSYS), Boone (UíGrad. Student), Bowman (Chair, INTA), Gordon (Assessment), Leggon (Public Policy), Marder (Chemistry), Neu (ME), Peterson (President), Weissburg (Biology), White (CoC), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wozniak (OTL)

 

Guests:                        Balsam (Statutes Committee), Cross (EVPR), Herazy (Provostís Office), MacLanahan (OTL), Rary (Legal Affairs), A. Smith (SVPAA)

 

1.      Mr. Chris DíUrbano (Vice-Chair) opened the meeting at 3:08 P.M. and asked the outgoing graduate student body president Mr. Anthony Baldridge to introduce the new student leaders who were present.  Mr. Baldridge introduced his successor, Mr. James Black, a Ph.D. student in Mechanical Engineering.  He also introduced the new undergraduate student body president, Ms. Elle Creel, a fourth-year student in Public Policy.  Mr. DíUrbano bade the new student leaders welcome.

2.      The Chair directed the Boardís attention to the Minutes of the April 5, 2011 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  These were approved unanimously.

3.   The Chair next called on Provost Bras to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

a)      Dr. Bras added his welcome to Ms. Creel and Mr. Black, and he also took a minute to express his thanks to the outgoing officers, Mr. Anthony Baldridge and Mr. Corey T. Boone.

b)   Just back from a tour of the new Clough Commons with Dr. Andy Smith, Dr. Bras pronounced it wonderful.

c)   He also thanked Ms. Jennifer Herazy for her work facilitating the selection committee for the new Dean of Engineering, Dr. Gary May.

d)   Dr. Bras spoke briefly about the need to get closure on the annual ethics training which was absolutely required for continued employment in the University System of Georgia.  This requirement applied to all employees, permanent and temporary, fulltime and part time, faculty, staff, and students.  A little over 100 workers had still not completed this and most were students or other part time workers.  Employees who had not completed training by Friday, May 27, 2011 would be let go from their employment.

e)   The task force studying options for Georgia Tech Savannah was expected to make its final report to the President on May 31, 2011.  Then a period of comment would be open for a couple of weeks.  It was expected that the recommendation would be to phase out the undergraduate degree granting programs in Savannah.  Every student in the pipeline would be taken care of as long as they were pursuing their degree.  Nevertheless, Georgia Tech planned to remain in Savannah but develop new programs suitable to the venue; for example, these might include field studies for undergraduates, coop programs with area industry, non-degree educational programs, educational programs for military personnel in the area, and new professional degrees such as Masters of Engineering degrees.  Programs in Savannah would be intended to be unique, i.e. distinct from those offered in Atlanta.  It was anticipated that there would be few if any tenured faculty based in Savannah after the transition was complete.  Distance Learning and Professional Education (DLPE) would have a leading role in Savannah at that time.

Q.  Would facilities in Savannah be reduced?  Ans. There were no plans for such a reduction.  Some space was already sub-let to complementary organizations and activities; for example, the State Center for Innovation in Logistics was located on the Savannah campus.

f)   The three Executive Vice-Presidentsí offices have been working on plans to implement the Georgia Tech Strategic Plan.  There were 10 identified original initiatives, such as the creation of X College, and task forces on those were proceeding.  In addition, nine major activities were identified, including:

         Revitalized undergraduate education

         Burdell Center for Interactive Design

         Redefining the life sciences, health sciences, and biology

         Allen Institute for Advanced Studies

         Globalization of education

         Service learning

         Technology-based arts

         Strengthening industry focused research and translational activities

         Energy research

A steering committee of nine persons would be formed to work with the EVPs to advance these plans.  There would also be working groups to support each of these activities. 

g)   Regarding budgets, Dr. Bras reported that FY2011 was ending up with less revenue than expected due to shortfalls in tuition income and indirect cost recoveries.  The shortfall of approximately $2-3 million would be covered from reserves.

For FY2012, there would be additional budget reductions due to the loss of formula funding and additional operating budget cuts.  Over the past three years, about $100 million had been removed from state support of Georgia Tech.  Some revenues from other sources were expected to rise: There would be a 3% increase in undergraduate tuition, $350 in student fees/semester, and a 15.6% rise in graduate student tuition.  The administration was looking into ways that the rise for graduate students could be partially offset, such as through stipend increases.  It was also recognized that inflation was affecting some routine costs in the Institute. 

4.   Mr. DíUrbano called on Ms. Lauren MacLanahan, Assoc. Director of the Office of Technology Licensing, to present preliminary recommended changes in the Instituteís policy on Intellectual Property (IP) as found in Section 50 of the Faculty Handbook.  The purpose of this report was to elicit additional suggestions for improvement.  Ms. MacLanahan presented her case from the slides in Attachment #2a which was provided as a handout along with a comparison of proposed new and old text in Attachment #2b.  She explained that the proposal was a collaborative project with the Office of Legal Affairs and she introduced Ms. Pamela Rary, Managing Attorney from that office who was present for the Board meeting. 

Ms. MacLanahan explained that the first need for change arose in the context of understanding a pending case before the US Supreme Court, Stanford v. Roche, in which there was an ownership dispute over some IP generated by a Stanford U. researcher.  The Stanford employee had signed an employment agreement promising IP assignment to Stanford, but this employee had also signed an agreement with his sponsor Roche assigning the IP to Roche.  When Stanford learned of this they sued to hold the IP assignment and Roche countered that they had an assignment agreement.  The lesson learned was that employment agreements must be more clearly written.  The employment agreement should clearly accomplish the assignment, not merely promise that IP will be assigned later.  Thus, in addition to the proposed improved language in Section 50 of the Faculty Handbook, Ms. Rary said that all employees would be asked to sign a new and improved employment agreement. 

The second driver for change was confusion over the ownership of student created IP.  This was becoming increasingly important with the advent of more programs to encourage student inventorship.  If a student was employed in an assistantship, then they would be required to sign an employment agreement just like faculty and staff.  But what policies applied to students acting outside the context of employment?  The way the existing policy read, GT had no access to student IP unless there was an employment agreement, but sometimes the student was working on a project that was sponsored and the sponsor had some IP rights. GTís control of such IP needed to be clarified.  Other than those two situations (student employee and a student working on sponsored work without being an employee), it was anticipated that students would generally own or jointly own with others the IP they created.  In appropriate cases, under the proposed new policy, the Vice-Provost for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies could identify a special need for an assignment of IP to Georgia Tech.  Provost Bras suggested that it would provide more flexibility to assign this responsibility to the Provostís Office as a whole, so that the Provost could delegate such actions as appropriate. 

When a student would in fact own his or her own IP, Georgia Tech needed policies that would provide for a license to be granted or understood that would allow the Institute to publish or publicize student works.  Dr. Bras asked about the position of such a license to Georgia Tech when at some later time, the student or a faculty member might be asked to assign copyrights to a journal publisher.  Ms. Rary stated that there was an ongoing need to educate the academic community about the variety of options that may be available in addition to absolute assignment of copyrights to a publisher.  Dr. Bohlander pointed out that the subject matter covered in the new material in Section 50.5B addressing student ownership was also covered in part in Section 50.8 of the existing policy.  In further refinements of the proposed new policy, these two sections should be better harmonized and redundant material possibly eliminated. 

Ms. MacLanahan went on to describe a proposed new Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) that could be called into existence at the discretion of the Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR).  The committee would provide advice on IP policy changes that might be considered as well as on disputes about IP that might arise between employees or employees and the Institute.  Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that the existing policy included an Intellectual Property Committee to which disputes could be appealed.  If a faculty member did not like the decision of the committee, he/she could appeal to the President and then to the Board of Regents.  Under the proposed new policy, the IPAC would advise the Associate Vice-President for Research (AVPR, Ms. Jilda Garton) and she would make the decision in any disputes.  If the faculty member appealed, the appeal would go the EVPR, and that would be the end of the line in appeals.  This was consistent with recent guidelines that only a limited set of questions should be appealed to the President.  Dr. Bras and Dr. Steve Cross (EVPR) suggested that the title AVPR could change and that it would be clearer to refer to this office as the General Manager of GTRC since by Board of Regents policy, GTRC holds and manages IP on behalf of the Institute.  Ms. MacLanahan also noted that the Statutes Committee had recommended that the IPAC definitely be set up and not be left to the discretion of the EVPR.

Comment: It was important for faculty involved in directing student work to be involved in the management of student IP, whether or not the students were technically employees of the Institute.  Many faculty members were directing projects carried out by students who were not employees.  The faculty involved and their sponsors, if any, would care about the management of this IP.  Ans.  Ms. MacLanahan agreed and said that the proposed new Section 50.5B was created to address that concern.  One of the lessons learned from Stanford v. Roche was that if Georgia Tech did not have an agreement with the student concerning ownership of IP then the Institute could lose ownership it thought it had and the Institute would have no recourse.  In cases where students were really working on their own, then student ownership of IP was desired.  Sometimes there were competing interests from sponsors of the student work that had to be considered. So the policy was intended to cover each of these situations.  Programs like the Inventure Prize were built on an assumption that student ownership of IP was possible.

Q. Would the new policy be retroactive after it was adopted?  Ans.  No.

Dr. Bohlander asked Executive Board members to bring any other ideas for improvement to Ms. MacLanahan or to Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee.  The latter would ultimately be charged with bringing a revised policy to the General Faculty for consideration, likely in fall 2011.

5.   Mr. DíUrbano then called on Dr. Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, to provide a look ahead to possible agenda items that may come during the summer.  He reminded the Board that the meeting scheduled in July was usually cancelled unless there was an urgent need.  That left the June 21, 2011 meeting and then the August 30, 2011 meeting which would be a joint meeting of the 2010-11 and the 2011-12 Boards.  Agenda topics that Dr. Bohlander previewed as possible included 1) a report from the Academic Services Committee, and 2) possible reviews by the Executive Board of proposals from Georgia Tech employees seeking special faculty status.  Dr. Bohlander noted the unfinished business of redefining General Faculty to assist in the administration of this designation in the future. 

6.   Mr. DíUrbano asked for reports from committee liaisons and from the representative to the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC):

         Mr. Jeff Jenkins reported that the Student Computer Ownership Committee had completed its annual update to their guidelines to students.

         Dr. Mary Ann Ingram affirmed that the Statutes Committee was studying the proposed changes to the IP Policy in Section 50 of the Handbook and would be providing the drafters with feedback.  She also reported that Ms. Jeanne Balsam was making progress toward a new edition of the online Faculty Handbook hosted in Drupal for easier updates.  She expressed the hope this would also make possible more flexible display of related policy matters.  Dr. Bohlander endorsed this development and said that the switch over to the new Drupal system would be reviewed with Dr. Carole Moore in the Provostís office before the switch was made.

         Mr. Dave Millard reported that the Faculty Benefits Committee had been reviewing the online Human Resources Policy Manual to identify areas that were not up-to-date.  Also under consideration was the possibility of a courtesy appointment of a retired faculty member to the committee. 

7.   Hearing no further business, Mr. DíUrbano adjourned the meeting at about 4:20 p.m.

 

 

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

June 20, 2011

Attachments

1)      Minutes of the April 5, 2011 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Proposed changes in Section 50 of the Faculty Handbook on Intellectual Property policies.

a.       Presentation

b.      Comparison of proposed new policy and procedures with the existing Section.