Meeting of September 28, 2010

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building



Members Present:        Bafna (Architecture), Baldridge (Grad. Student), Bennett (Mgt), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bowman (Chair, INTA), Bras (Provost), DíUrbano (Vice-Chair, OSP), Fox (Library), Ingram (ECE), Jenkins (GTRI), Millard (GTRI-ICL), Peterson (President), Tavares (EVPRís Office), Weissburg (Biology), White (CoC), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)


Members Absent:        Bishop (GTRI-ELSYS), Boone (UíGrad. Student), Buck (ECE), Leggon (Public Policy), Lyon (Chemistry), Marder (Chemistry), Neu (ME), Wozniak (OTL)


Visitors:                       Balsam (Statutes Committee), Cothran (Faculty Benefits Committee Chair), Herazy (Provostís Office), Herrington (Statutes Committee Chair), Morley (General Faculty Definition Task Force), Semmens (Undergrad. SGA), A. Smith (SVPAA)

1.      Prof. Kirk Bowman (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:00 P.M. 

2.      He directed the Boardís attention to the Minutes of the August 31, 2010 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  These were approved unanimously.

3.   The chair next called on President Peterson and Provost Bras to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  Provost Bras led off:

a)      Dr. Bras said that, besides getting to know a great many people at Georgia Tech, he was focused on getting started with implementation of the new Georgia Tech strategic plan.  Initial draft plans would be crafted at a November offsite meeting of a large group of campus leaders.  He acknowledged that people were already hard at work toward good plans.

b)      Partly because of his own history of involvement in such things, Dr. Bras said he was very interested in faculty governance and in the work of the Executive Board.  He wanted to help faculty improve their system of governance and harmonize it with clear rules and regulations of the Institute.  Faculty governance must be led by the faculty but he stood ready to support this effort.

c)   Dr. Bras noted that Tech had been very active in the international arena, but it was time to be more systematic in evaluating opportunities, in analyzing and mitigating risks, and ultimately in making decisions about opportunities to engage with academic parties oversees.  Attention would be given to the value of such engagements for the students and faculty at the campus here in Atlanta as well as for the prospective international partner.  He suggested that Tech consider having a group of faculty provide advice to senior administrators on prospective opportunities.

d)   He also noted there were commendable collaborations in place between Georgia Tech and Emory University and expressed interest in exploring more opportunities.  

e)  Dr. Bras reminded the Board that Georgia Tech would be searching for a new Dean of Engineering, an appointment of major importance.  The search committee would be named soon, he said.

f)   Dr. Bras mentioned the proposal the University of Georgia would soon make to the Board of Regents to inaugurate an expanded engineering program with new engineering degrees.  Georgia Tech was giving attention to how such a development could affect Georgia Tech programs.  For example what affect would there be on Georgia Tech programs in Savannah? 

Dr. Peterson added a few more points:

a)      A final budget for Fiscal Year 2011 had still not been received.  The Governor had requested options for 4, 6, 8 and 10 % reductions from preliminary budgets.  President Peterson said he expected that a budget would be formally set within a few weeks.  He expressed confidence that a workable budget would result without further faculty or staff cuts.

b)      The President reported that the University System of Georgia (USG) was formally chartering a system-wide Staff Council with representatives from each of the member institutions of the USG.  An informal council had existed for some time but had not been formally recognized.  He noted that Georgia Tech did not have an organized staff council of its own and that creating one could influence the facultyís efforts to redefine membership in the General Faculty.  Not having a Georgia Tech staff council has meant that there was no representative body here from which to choose a representative for a USG Staff Council.  Ms. Monique Tavares and Ms. Jan Brown (from College of Sciences, now retired) had been asked by the President to represent Georgia Tech as observers until such time as staff could choose their own representative.  Dr. Bohlander suggested that the USG staff council take a look at lessons learned from the formation of the other USG councils.  For example, the research universities represented only about 10% of the number of USG units but had the vast majority of faculty and staff.  Consequently, thought should be given to the fairest distribution of votes.

c)      The search for a new Vice President of Institute Diversity should be concluded soon, Dr. Peterson said.  In the discussions about this position, an idea emerged to consider developing a new service; namely, a drop-in care center faculty and staff could use to provide a safe place for their children when the normal care provider was not available.  Many details remained to be worked out.  Prof. Mary Ann Ingram stated that this would allow a faculty or staff member to carry on with urgent campus duties and have backup childcare on days when normal arrangements were not available.  Dr. Peterson cited some of the features of a system inaugurated at the University of Colorado shortly before he left and observed that it was a benefit to both the faculty or staff member and to the institution (because of enhanced productivity).

4.      Dr. Bowman next introduced a review of pending topics for discussion over the year ahead.  He urged Board members to also seek out topics of concern from colleagues and to bring these matters to future meetings for discussion or referral to appropriate standing committees.  Dr. Bowman called on the Secretary, Dr. Ron Bohlander, to summarize the status of several topics awaiting resolution in the year ahead. 

First Dr. Bohlander introduced the guests in the heading of the minutes who have been instrumental in dealing with these matters.  He also explained that John Semmens was filling in for SGA Undergraduate President Corey T. Boone who was away for this meeting.  He thanked Mr. Semmens for his work with SGA in identifying student representatives for most of the faculty committees.

Dr. Bohlander led discussions from the outline shown in Attachment #2.  The following were highlights of these discussions and the recommended next steps.

         Second reading of the proposed change in definition of General Faculty postponed.

O       A Task Force chartered by the Executive Board on October 7, 2008 worked for a year and a half in developing a recommended plan.  This effort was driven by two things:  1) It used to be that only faculty had access to portable retirement plan options.  The faculty had agreed to add certain titles to the ranks of faculty on a temporary basis until access to portable retirement could be made widely available to university employees. The legislature has since made that possible.  2) Many new titles were being created and more adaptable definitions of faculty were needed.

O       The General Faculty voted in favor of the plan developed by the Task Force upon the first reading on April 27, 2010.  The second reading was originally scheduled for the upcoming October 14, 2010 meeting.  However, that has been postponed at the request of the President and Provost.

O       Provost Bras wished to better understand the plan and reasons for the proposal as he would have a role in administering some of the proposed processes.

O       There was a possibility that people in positions no longer identified with General Faculty would then have a role in a staff council. Provisions to grandfather current staff involved in the change could cause confusion about where they fit in new governance models. Thus these developments were linked.

O       It was noted that new hires to newly classified staff positions would earn less vacation initially as compared with those classified as faculty.  Vacation allotments would not be affected though for existing employees in titles affected by the change and holding grandfathered faculty status.

O       It was not the facultyís job to define how to structure a staff council, though guidance and suggestions were welcome. .

o   Action: A meeting would be held between the Provost and leaders of the Task Force to resolve a plan to go forward on a new General Faculty definition.  The President would work with the Office of Human Resources on possible models for a staff council.

         Overhaul of the Faculty Handbook

o   In 2008, Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, Andy Smith, commissioned a Task Force of experienced administrators to review the Faculty Handbook and recommend changes that would improve its accuracy, usability, and readability.  This was to include as far as possible updates to make policies and procedures consistent with current practice and Board of Regents policies.

o   A recommended draft of revisions was turned over to the facultyís Statutes Committee early in January 2010 for their consideration and refinement in anticipation of eventual presentation to the faculty when the committeeís work was complete.

o   The committee has been working to ensure that the new document would accurately reflect faculty governance practices and preferences.  They were also addressing questions about whether a separate section on Statutes and Bylaws was still needed.  These matters were also part of larger questions about the respective authority of the administration and the faculty in setting policy.  It was recognized that wise policy making also required specialized input on legal limitations and on policies set at a higher level such as the Board of Regents.

o   Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that the President has asked Pat McKenna (Assoc. VP for Legal Affairs and Risk Management) to head up a process of drawing together a unified body of policies and procedures.  The Faculty Handbook would be included in this set, along with what have been known as the Human Resources Manual, the Business and Finance Manual, and the student regulations in the Catalog of the Institute.  It was anticipated that some specific policies and procedures might be eliminated from one section of this policy and procedures library to another, in order to minimize duplication and optimal placement of topics.

o   Dr. Bohlander also mentioned the possibility of an Executive Board-led review of the charters and makeup of all faculty standing committees, something that has been done periodically and was last done around 2002-03.

o   Dr. TyAnna Herrington (Chair of the Statutes Committee) emphasized the importance of making the Faculty Handbook readily understandable.  She also noted that sometimes procedures existed without an adequate policy framework and could then become de facto policy.  She stated that the Statutes Committee was engaged in a process of categorizing sections of the Faculty Handbook as policy or procedural content, and noting content currently listed as statutes material or bylaws material.  She described some possible html techniques that could provide added flexibility in presentation of Handbook material.  The President observed that some of these considerations applied to the other sections of Georgia Techís policies and procedures.  He mentioned that he had previously found that an outside consultant could be helpful.

o   Action:  The Statutes Committee would seek a meeting with Pat McKenna, Gary Wolovick (Georgia Tech Senior Attorney), and the Secretary, in order to ensure that an improved Faculty Handbook could move seamlessly into the body of policies and procedures of the Institute.

         Data Security

o   In January of 2009 the Executive Board formed a Task Force on Data Security, upon the request of Reta Pikowsky (Registrar) and Herb Baines (Office of Information Technology, OIT).  Faculty and staff members from across the campus were appointed and John Leonard chaired the effort.  They concluded their work with a report to the Executive Board on April 6, 2010.  The Task Force was charged with recommending best practices for how faculty can keep data secure, particularly student and other personal identity data.  The Task Force was also to recommend effective messaging strategies for communicating with faculty.  Three other forms of data security were also recognized as important; namely, classified data, export controlled data, and proprietary information and intellectual property.

o   The primary recommendation of the Task Force was to form a standing committee to carry out their charge for the long run.  The Executive Board decided to look into what had inhibited the task force in identifying best practices or messaging strategies.  The Secretary provided the Board with an analysis of the situation at the June 22, 2010 meeting of the Executive Board.  His conclusion was that Georgia Tech leaders were asking questions about data security in a suboptimal way.  More comprehensive channels for communications and measurements of results were needed than a faculty committee could provide.

o   It was also observed that there was a great diversity of practice in units across campus as well as considerable differences between the security challenges presented by the different types of subject data listed earlier.  This contributed to the difficulty the Task Force had in focusing on action items.

o   It was recommended that the Executive Board work with the Presidentís and Provostís offices to encourage the development of more comprehensive solutions and to receive annual reports of progress.  Once adequate progress was being made, the possible need for a standing committee on data security could be revisited.

o   The President noted there was a new CIO and head of OIT, Jim OíConnor, and a new IT governance policy was emerging.  Data security plans needed to be harmonized with the governance policy.

o   Dr. Andy Smith mentioned the existence of a faculty-administrative team that coordinated resources for the safe keeping of student data; namely, the Student Information Systems User Group.

o   Dr. Bowman observed that there was always a technical side to a data security challenge and then there was a compliance side.  To ensure better compliance it was helpful to address instances of greater risk first and not treat all risks as if they were equally important.  Dr. Bohlander added that measurements of compliance were also essential so that systematic improvements could be made.

o   Action: Executive Board leaders would discuss how to proceed with persons designated by the President or Provost, including the leadership of OIT.

Dr. Bowman asked for any other issues needing attention.  Hearing none, he asked the Board to keep thinking and ask for inclusion on the agenda of future meetings.

5.   At the chairís request, Dr. Bohlander reviewed a draft agenda in Attachment #3 for the first faculty meeting of the year scheduled for October 14, 2010.  He said it was planned as a meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate and would be focused on annual reports of the Standing Committees.  Dr. Bohlander moved for approval of the agenda, this was seconded, and approved unanimously.

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

         David Millard reported that the Faculty Benefits Committee believed more staff members should be added to the committee and was working on a pilot plan.  Prof. Bettina Cothran, Chair of the Faculty Benefits Committee, stated that meetings were being held with Sharon Ray and others from the Office of Human Resources to work out options to involve more representatives of Georgia Tech staff.  It was anticipated that the staff representatives would be appointed initially.  The President expressed his support for this effort stating that it was important for a wider range of employees to have a voice in employee benefits.

7.   The chair asked if there was any further business.  The President stated that consideration was being given to restructuring coordination of events like the annual retirement dinner and the faculty and staff awards ceremony.  Presently Communications and Marketing handled such events, but he said that the Office of Human Resources was being considered for this role.  Hearing no further business Dr. Bowman declared the meeting adjourned at about 4:30 p.m.


Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

October 26, 2010


1)      Minutes of the August 31, 2010 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Outline of pending Executive Board business

3)      Agenda of the scheduled October 14, 2010 meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate