Meeting of May 22, 2012

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building




Members Present:        Bafna (Architecture), Black (Grad. Student), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), DíUrbano (Chair, OSP), Kirka (Grad. Student), Lyon (Vice-Chair, Chemistry), Mordel (UíGrad. Student), Neu (ME), Peterson (President), Turner (Management), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), White (CoC), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)


Members Absent:        Creel (UíGrad. Student), Cunefare (ME), Downing (EII), Ingram (ECE), Leggon (Public Policy), Millard (GTRI-ICL), Tavares (EVPRís Office), Tyson (Chemistry), Weissburg (Biology), Wozniak (OTL)


Guests:                        Guvanasen (Grad. Student), Herazy (Provostís Office), Llewellyn (AVPLE), Nair-Reichert (Economics, & Provostís Office), Tomajko (Library),


1.      Mr. Chris DíUrbano (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.

2.      Mr. DíUrbano asked Mr. James Black, outgoing President of the Graduate Student Government Association, to introduce new student government leaders, as follows:

         Mr. Michael Kirka, President of the Graduate Student Government Association and a PhD student in ME.

         Mr. Gareth Guvanasen, Executive Vice-President of the Graduate Student Government Association and a PhD student in the field of neuro-engineering in ECE.

         Mr. Eran Mordel, President of the Undergraduate Student Government Association and studying for a BSIE in ISyE.

         Mr. Amit Khanduri, Executive Vice-President of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, was not able to be present

Mr. DíUrbano gave the new student leaders a hearty welcome.  Dr. Bohlander thanked Mr. Black and Ms. Creel for their many contributions to Georgia Tech in the past year in their roles as presidents of the graduate and undergraduate student bodies.† (ms. Creel had another engagement and was unable to be present.)  Dr. Peterson commended Mr. Black for leading the way to improved health insurance for graduate students at Georgia Tech.

3.      Next Mr. DíUrbano introduced two new members of the Executive Board who were just elected and were being seated early on the Board because the incumbents had recently left Georgia Tech.  The new members were:

         Dr. Micah Coleman from GTRIís Electronic Systems Laboratory.

         Prof. Debby Turner from the College of Management.

Mr. DíUrbano welcomed and thanked them for their willingness to begin their service early.

4.      The Chair directed the Boardís attention to the Minutes of the April 3, 2012 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  These were approved unanimously.

5.      The Chair next called on President Peterson to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

a)      Dr. Peterson clarified recent events concerning the closing of the BQP fraternity house.  Due to repeat infractions while the house was on probation, the Georgia Tech administration withdrew institutional recognition of the fraternity.  In response, the national BQP organization closed the house.

b)      The President noted the following construction projects in progress or starting soon:

         McCamish Pavilion construction continued with occupancy planned in October.

         The current Bill Moore Tennis Center demolition was beginning in preparation for the new Ken Byers Tennis Center construction.

         The new Engineered Biosystems Building construction was planned to start July 1.

c)      The Board of Regents (BoR) sent Georgia Tech its FY13 budget in April.  Formula funding was re-established and Maintenance, Repair, and Rehabilitation funding was renewed.  These would make a $12-14 million difference to Georgia Tech.  Techís Executive Vice-Presidents were now at work with the units on their budgets with a goal to have all unit budgets in place by July 1.

President Peterson asked Provost Rafael Bras to cover other items of interest:

d)     Dr. Bras noted the retirement of Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Andy Smith, after 42 years of service.  Unfortunately Dr. Smith could not be at this Board meeting due to jury duty.  Dr. Bras expressed the appreciation of the Board and of many across the campus for Dr. Smithís sterling service over the years.  A special reception was planned in honor of his retirement during the afternoon of Tue., May 29 in the Clough Commons.  Also noted was the retirement of Vice-Provost for Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, Dr. Ray Vito, also very much appreciated for his contributions at Georgia Tech.  A reception was planned in honor of his retirement on August 22.

e)      Two new vice-provosts have been appointed.  Dr. Susan Cozzens would serve as Vice-Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs, starting June 1.  Dr. Colon Potts would serve as Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education, starting August 1. 

f)       Dr. Bras stated that he asked Dr. Cozzens to assemble a team to revisit the question of the definition of General Faculty at Georgia Tech.  While the last attempt at redefinition was voted down by the faculty in November 2010, it was widely recognized that the current definition was out of date and needed attention.  Dr. Cozzensí group will prepare a draft recommendation to bring back to the Executive Board.

g)      The process had begun to look for a new Vice-Provost for International Initiatives.  This position was vacated by Dr. Steve McLaughlin when he accepted the Chair of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.  The goal of the search was to have someone ready to serve by September 1.

h)      Dr. Bras stated that the number candidates who accepted offered freshman admission for the fall semester was about 200 more than would usually be expected to accept.  Plans for accommodating the increased load were underway.  The goal in the long run was not to increase the number of students at Georgia Tech, said Dr. Bras.  Eventual enrollment numbers in the years ahead could be controlled by throttling back on transfers into the junior-senior years.  Dr. Bras expressed pleasure that those accepting enrollment had average SATs and GPAs higher than the average over all the offers that were made.  This was an encouraging trend.

i)        Strategic Plan implementation projects were making good progress.  Eleven presentations were heard by the Steering Committee, the Deans, and the Presidentís Cabinet on April 25.  Among the task forces reporting were Revitalizing Undergraduate Education, the Design Initiative, Living and Learning Community on Leadership, Technology and Law, and the X-Degree.  The Steering Committee would continue its work in the year ahead.

President Peterson covered some additional topics:

j)        The criterion for admitting transfers into Georgia Tech had changed.  The grade point average (GPA) necessary to be considered used to be 2.7; it was now 3.0.  Dr. Peterson stated that the GPA required would likely rise to 3.3 over time. 

k)      The first Leadership Living and Learning Community was planned to open in fall 2012.  Dr. Bill Schafer had reported that 104 students have applied to participate; full capacity would be 110. 

6.      Mr. DíUrbano stated that the next topic would be a review of plans for Academic Program Reviews for the year ahead as called for in the Faculty Handbook.  He reminded the Board that Ms. Susan Paraska had organized these reviews in previous years in her role as Director, Program Review and Accreditation within the Provostís Office.  She recently took a position as Director, Institutional Effectiveness, at Kennesaw State University.  Mr. DíUrbano asked Provost Bras to explain how this function would be led under the new organization of the Provostís Office. Dr. Bras stated that this function was now the responsibility of the Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence and Dean of the Libraries, Dr. Catherine Murray-Rust.  Mr. DíUrbano then called on those representing this Office; namely, Associate Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence, Dr. Donna Llewellyn, and Associate Dean of the Libraries, Kathy Tomajko. They provided the Board with a handout of the proposed plan of Academic Program Reviews in Attachment #2.  Dr. Llewellyn said that her team was trying to come up to speed with these new assignments quickly.  They were also studying the current Academic Program Review process and some changes could be recommended for implementation at a later point.  Thus, the focus at this meeting would just be on the plan for the 2012-13 academic year.  What would be done in the out years could change from what was shown in Attachment #2.  Dr. Llewellyn stated there were a couple of programs originally scheduled for a review in 2012-13 that would be held back.  The Professional Masters in Applied Systems Engineering (PMASE) was only just beginning to graduate people from this program and so it was premature to evaluate the program.  The Information Security program might also be delayed a year; discussions were still underway with that program. 

Dr. Bras offered to describe the Academic Program Review process as he understood it:  First, there was a self-assessment in the unit responsible for the program.  Then a standardized ďindicators documentĒ was prepared by Ms. Sandi Bramblett, Executive Director of Institutional Research and Decision Support.  Next, a visit was conducted by a group three to six external experts in the field nominated by the chair of the unit culminating with a report and an exit interview led by the Provost and involving appropriate Vice-Provosts.  It was up to each unit responsible for an academic program how best to use the external review report of recommendations, but an answer to the recommendations was expected to be given ultimately.  The BoR required each program to be reviewed at least every seven years for undergraduate programs and at least every ten years for graduate programs, as described in Georgia Techís Faculty Handbook Section 46.1.  Dr. Bras stated that Georgia Tech was fully committed to meet the BoR standards but the important thing was to use these reviews to help Georgia Tech continually make the improvements needed in keeping with its desire for excellence.  Dr. Bohlander pointed out that the Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum Committees had a role on behalf of the faculty in overseeing the review process.  Until a few years ago, the Executive Board had established Curriculum Review Committee to provide this oversight, and then in 2009, the Faculty Handbook was changed to make the curriculum committees responsible.  It was supposed that this would be synergistic with their other curriculum duties.  Dr. Bras noted, however, that the actual course structures of the programs reviewed were rarely emphasized in the reviews; attention instead was given to the satisfaction of the students and of the industry segments served by students educated in the program.

Dr. Llewellyn reported that a group was being formed to consider possible changes in the Academic Program Review process.  She was working with Associate Deans of the colleges so that all the colleges would be represented, along with appropriate representatives from Vice-Provosts and other administrators involved.  She said it might take a year to fully develop recommendations.  Dr. Bras stated his support for there being standards for these reviews so that some common elements could be found in reviews of all programs, regardless of the unit responsible.  He asked if it might be possible to conduct reviews across all programs in a school rather than doing reviews degree by degree.  It was recognized that interdisciplinary degrees would need to be handled in a different way.  Dr. Bohlander supported the quest for the best way to do the program reviews and said that it would be easy to consider amendments to the Faculty Handbook when new recommendations were ready.  Concerning the possibility of coordinating reviews such that all in one school could be done at one time, he cautioned that external stakeholders still cared to know whether each degree program had merit.  So the identities of individual programs in reviews must still be preserved.  Dr. Peterson agreed, saying that Tech had eliminated some programs that had insufficient students to sustain them, and it made it easier to get approval of new programs at the BoR when it was clear that Tech was also eliminating unnecessary programs.

It was moved to approve the schedule of Academic Program Reviews for 2012-13 (in Attachment #2), but with the announced delay of review of the PMASE program and a possible delay of another.  The motion was seconded and passed unanimously. 

7.      Mr. DíUrbano called on Executive Board Vice-Chair, Prof. Andrew Lyon, to make a recommendation of an appointment to fill a vacancy.  Prof. Lyon reported that Prof. Jonathan Clarke had accepted a new role in the College of Management that would not be consistent with his continuing to serve on the Graduate Curriculum Committee in the 2012-13 academic year and beyond.  In accordance with the Instituteís Bylaws, Prof. Lyon moved that the Board appoint Prof. Koert Van Ittersum from the College of Management to fill this vacancy during the period August 2012-August 2015.  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.

8.      Mr. DíUrbano said the Board would next hear from Dr. Bohlander about a proposed schedule of faculty meetings in the academic year 2012-13.  Dr. Bohlander provided a handout outlining the proposed meetings as shown in Attachment #3.  Using other illustrations Dr. Bohlander showed the Board how these meetings were situated in relation to other important dates such as fall and spring break and BoR meetings.  He stated that the schedule had been cleared with the Registrarís Office and the venues proposed.  He asked that the Presidentís Office request changes as needs emerged.  He moved that the proposed schedule be approved, subject to amendments that might later be needed by the Presidentís Office.  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously.  Dr. Peterson suggested that the Executive Board consider scheduling their meetings in different buildings around campus so that the Board would get more familiar with a variety of venues.  Dr. Bohlander promised to look into it.

9.      Mr. DíUrbano asked for reports from committee liaisons.  Highlights included:

Mr. Raj Vuchatu reported that the Academic Services Committee was working with their subcommittee to review the Open Access Policy presented to the last meeting of the Executive Board.

Prof. Doug Williams reported that the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC) met for their spring meeting on February 25.  The Council passed a several resolutions for the consideration of the Chancellor.  1) To request a 12 month pay option for academic year faculty at colleges not yet having this; 2) To make sure health insurance programs were fully in place before faculty members had to elect a plan;  and 3) To recognize domestic partners in benefits and services.

10.  Mr. DíUrbano asked if there was any other business.  Mr. Mordel (new Undergraduate Student Government Association President) said that he appreciated the opportunity on the previous day to attend a meeting on the Strategic Plan Implementation.  He was particularly interested in the topic of future models of undergraduate education.  He asked President Peterson or Provost Bras to comment on the degree to which distance learning might transform education at Georgia Tech, or any other future directions.  Dr. Bras commented that major changes in worldwide undergraduate education were already underway, but it was not clear to anyone exactly where these were headed.  He acknowledged that there was increasing interest in providing education as efficiently as possible to as many as possible.  New technology for education delivery was pretty well established, but the format for delivery and assessment was apt to change more.  An important question at Georgia Tech was how could the undergraduate learning experience be made better here?  If that could be answered and accomplished, then it would also be good to address how to provide education more widely, through distance learning and the like.  Dr. Bras noted that there was a difference between providing access to education and the giving of degrees.  Widespread access to educational materials via the Internet was not by itself equivalent to a degreed education at an institution of higher learning.  Inasmuch as high-quality educational content may become ubiquitous over the next few decades, the challenge was to maintain a high quality value add from a residential experience in learning.  Georgia Tech aspired to that.  Dr. Peterson surmised that the future might hold two kinds of degrees, from non-residential and from residential programs, and he believed it was likely they would be valued differently.  He asked how the role of faculty members might change if their students were tapping into content from sources off campus as well as on campus?  Impacts were likely to vary across the spectrum of types of classes.  Graduate education might be less affected because it was already conducted on the basis of individual instruction and mentorship.  Dr. Bras observed that Georgia Tech already had some non-traditional education offerings such as a very strong professional education program, teaching of over 400 high school students via distance learning, and some degrees given via distance learning.

Dr. Bohlander urged the members of the Board to try to attend the next meeting scheduled for June 19.  The Board would then be acting in the stead of the Academic Senate, as provided in the Statutes, to consider and hopefully approve late breaking curriculum proposals so they would be ready to implement in the fall term.

11.  Mr. DíUrbano adjourned the meeting at about 4:15 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

June 16, 2012


1)      Minutes of the April 3, 2012 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Plan for Academic Program Reviews.

3)   Proposed calendar of faculty governance meetings in 2012-13