GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES

Meeting of August 30, 2011

 

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building

 

With Addenda Covering Subsequent Electronic Ballots

 

 

Members Present:        Bafna (Architecture),  Bennett (Mgt), Bishop (GTRI-ELSYS), Black (Grad. Student), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bowman (Chair, INTA), Buck (ECE), Creel (U’Grad. Student), Cunefare (ME), Downing (EII), D’Urbano (Chair, OSP), Ingram (ECE), Leggon (Public Policy), Lyon (Vice-Chair, Chemistry), Millard (GTRI-ICL), Neu (ME), Peterson (President), Ready (GTRI-EOSL), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Tyson (Chemistry), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Weissburg (Biology), White (CoC), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)

 

Members Absent:        Bras (Provost), Gordon (Assessment), Jenkins (GTRI), Marder (Chemistry), Wozniak (OTL)

 

Guests:                        Balch (CoC), Balsam (Statutes Chair), D’Unger (Academic Services Committee Secretary), Herazy (Provost’s Office), Hollengreen (IUCC Vice-Chair), Khanduri (SGA VP), Llewellyn (CETL Director), Mitchell (Academic Services Committee Chair), Riley (IUCC Past Chair), Smith (SVPAA), Utschig (CETL)

 

1.      Dr. Kirk Bowman (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.

2.      Dr. Bowman introduced those who were joining the Executive Board for the academic year ahead; namely, Ken Cunefare, Chris Downing, Jud Ready, Cam Tyson, and Raj Vuchatu.  He also thanked those who were completing their three-year term on the Executive Board; namely, Carlee Bishop, John Buck, Jon Gordon, Jeff Jenkins, and Seth Marder.  Dr. Bowman noted that he was also completing his term.

3.      The Chair directed the Board’s attention to the Minutes of the June 21, 2011 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  These were approved unanimously.

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

a)      Dr. Peterson commented on recent or ongoing construction projects:

·         He praised the new $100 million Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons and the adjacent Tech Walkway.  The Clough Commons was the venue for the President’s Annual Institute Address earlier in the day. See Attachments #2a and 2b.

·         The bus transit center had been completed.

·         The project to renovate steam heat delivery was nearing completion and benefited from $6 million in federal stimulus funds.  The campanile fountains and rain collecting cistern had been completed.

·         The North Avenue corridor was being upgraded to make it safer for pedestrians and more attractive.

b)   President Peterson called on Dr. Andy Smith to comment on the freshman class.  Dr. Anderson noted the following highlights:

·         Class size was shaping up to be approximately 2700.

·         Sixty percent of the freshmen were from in-state.

·         There was a significant increase in minorities.

·         Freshman class included 38% females, bringing the overall undergraduate female population at Georgia Tech to 32%.

·         Average SAT was 1384.

c)   Dr. Peterson commented on NCAA communications with Georgia Tech about shortcomings they believe occurred in Georgia Tech’s intercollegiate athletics program.  Georgia Tech has decided to file an appeal of the NCAA findings and penalties.  Dr. Peterson explained that to succeed on appeal, the decisions of the NCAA investigative team would have to be clearly contrary to the evidence, or the penalty would have to be demonstrably excessive.

d)   The President said he was very pleased with the progress toward implementing Georgia Tech’s new strategic plan.  Sixteen campus-wide initiatives were underway.  One of the benefits of the strategic plan was that it allowed the campus to focus on the future without being consumed by present limitations.  In answer to a question about faculty involvement in strategic plan implementation, the President said that faculty made up the majority of participants in each task force that was developing each of the sixteen initiatives.  Generally these initiatives were campus-wide in their scope and participation.  Some would conclude their work quickly and some would take years.

5.   Dr. Bowman called on Dr. Helena Mitchell, Chair of the Academic Services Committee, to report on their findings in the past year.  A report from the committee was handed out (Attachment #3a) and Dr. Mitchell made a presentation from Attachment #3b.  The Secretary of the Committee, Dr. Amy D’Unger, was also introduced.  Dr. Mitchell noted that the Academic Services Committee comprised members representing diverse parts of the campus, which assisted the committee with its work.  She thanked Mr. David White, Executive Board Liaison to the committee, for his contributions.  She explained that the committee chose to focus this year on support for the strategic plan in carrying out the general mission of the committee; as stated in the Statutes, this mission was to review and recommend improvements in academic services.  Four areas were chosen as ones to concentrate on; namely the library, research centers, space planning and information technology, and faculty relations and campus climate.  Leading experts and administrators for each of these areas were invited to meet with the committee as they gathered information.  For each of these areas, specific issues were identified along with prospective actions that might be taken to address the issues.  These findings were all detailed in Attachments #3a and 3b.  Dr. Mitchell said that they would appreciate the help of the Executive Board in providing feedback on the issues and potential action items that were articulated.  Which of these should have the highest priority?

Questions and comments:

Comment: Concerning the faculty climate survey on faculty and staff relationships, Dr. Ingram said the Advance Professors program had been conducting a study of potential improvements in reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) and would be happy to make their findings available.  Also the new Vice-President for Institute Diversity, Dr. Archie Ervin, was considering conducting some climate surveys.

Q. Dr. Peterson asked how the many suggestions developed by the committee could best be communicated to those who needed to consider them.  Was there a formal mechanism? Ans. Dr. Mitchell said that the committee would furnish its report to those with whom they already met concerning the identified areas.  She reiterated her request for guidance from the Executive Board.  Dr. Bohlander observed that the Academic Services Committee was in a different position from some of the other Standing Committees because it was apt to consider and make recommendations about areas that the committee had no authority to dictate, even with a vote of the faculty.  Many of the action items listed in the Academic Services Committee report addressed things that other departments and administrators would need to consider to decide on appropriate actions.  He said that the Executive Board members could be most helpful in providing the committee with further information on who they knew was working on things relating to the committee’s recommendations.  The committee then could meet with those working toward outcomes consistent with its recommendations and work to catalyze progress. 

Comment: Concerning, the recommendation to work toward a faculty club, Dr. Bohlander offered to help.  He stated that he had served as an officer of Georgia Tech’s faculty club in prior years before it closed down for lack of the financial resources to continue.  He said there had been other attempts to revive the faculty club since its closing and it was a significant challenge to sustain such a thing financially.

Q. Concerning recommendations to develop more meeting spaces for faculty and graduate students in the library, what specific needs were identified?  What types needs were not met by conference rooms and laboratories in and around research facilities on campus?  Ans. Dr. Smith said he understood the third floor of the library would be developed as a graduate student focused space serving Masters students particularly.  Dr. Mitchell also pointed to the convenience of the library for meetings by interdisciplinary teams who needed a central site gathering place.  She observed that some rooms in the library were underutilized. 

Comment.  Research centers have become vital communities for academic dialog, and they could be model for improved faculty climate. 

Dr. Peterson summarized by recommending that the Committee meet with the lead administrators for the four areas the committee identified; respectively: Dean Murray-Rust on the library, Dr. Steve Cross on research centers, Mr. Steve Swant on space planning and information technology, and Provost Rafael Bras on faculty relations and campus climate.  He asked the committee to work with them to exchange perspectives and encourage progress.  Dr. Mitchell said that was in line with the Committee’s thinking.  Dr. Bohlander reiterated his request that Board members send Dr. Mitchell tips about groups working on the areas the committee had identified.

6.   Dr. Bowman called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to cover some news from her committee.  Ms. Balsam reported that the planned new website for the Faculty Handbook was now active at URL www.facultyhandbook.gatech.edu.  It had been implemented in Drupal as a content management system, with support from the Enterprise Systems Division of GTRI (which also manages WebWISE on behalf of the campus).  Ms. Balsam provided a brief demonstration of the features of the new site.  She noted that the current published handbook was the September 2008 edition.  Changes in the Handbook approved by the faculty since September 2008 were listed on a link from the home page of the Handbook as well as on the Faculty Governance website at www.facultygovernance.gatech.edu.  Ms. Balsam said that Dr. Bohlander and she were working to implement a September 2011 edition which would incorporate these changes and hoped to have this published soon.  She noted that many other websites had already been updated to point to the new URL for the Faculty Handbook; in addition, the old URL www.academic.gatech.edu/handbook now forwarded automatically to the new site. 

Ms. Balsam stated that many additional things needed to be updated in the Faculty Handbook, including all references to Board of Regents (BoR) policies.  The BoR had recently renumbered the sections in its Policy Manual and so many of Georgia Tech’s Handbook references to the BoR Manual were out of date.  Ms. Balsam asked the Executive Board for permission for the Statutes Committee to revise all references to the latest BoR numbering scheme as part of its ongoing work.    It was moved and seconded to approve this request.   There was a question whether the Board had the authority to grant this request.  Dr. Bohlander said he felt the request was for a reasonable editorial privilege which had no bearing on the content.  Such editorial actions were equivalent to correcting spelling errors.  Ms. Balsam pointed out that the BoR published a cross-reference table between their old and new section numbers and she would use that.  The Statutes Committee Board liaison, Dr. Ingram said that it was generally expected that the Statutes Committee would help ensure that the Handbook’s content would be consistent with the Institute’s Statutes which in turn were expected to be in harmony with BoR policy, so the request was consistent with the normal role of the Statutes Committee.  The motion passed unanimously.

Dr. Bohlander followed up with some observations.  Specific needs for changes in the policies recorded in the Faculty Handbook would continue to arise from time to time.  However, recent reviews of the Handbook showed clearly that many of the Handbook sections were out of date with current organizational processes and structure.  A major overhaul of its content was needed.  Dr. Bohlander stated that Ms. Balsam and he would meet with Mr. Pat McKenna as the President’s designated lead in Georgia Tech policy manual reform to discuss how best to organize the overhaul of the Faculty Handbook in concert with similar efforts in other policy manuals of the Institute.  The Statutes Committee would continue to have the lead for the reform of the Faculty Handbook but this needed to be coordinated with administration efforts.  One of the resources the Statutes Committee would use was the report of a task force that SVPAA Andy Smith had commissioned in 2008. 

7.   Dr. Bowman called on Dr. Bohlander to introduce candidates for the offices of Chair and Vice Chair of the Executive Board for the 2011-12 academic year.  First, Dr. Bohlander thanked Board members for their input about their preferences for standing committee liaison assignments.  He stated that final assignments would not be made until the Chair and Vice Chair were selected because they would not be serving as liaisons.  Dr. Bohlander reported that three members had been nominated to serve as either Chair or Vice-Chair; namely, Mr. Chris D’Urbano, Dr. Andrew Lyon, and Mr. David White.  Dr. Bohlander recommended that he send the 2011-12 Executive Board members an email ballot to which each member would respond by indicating their first and second preference for Chair from these three names.  He would assign 2 points to each first choice and 1 point to each second choice.  Then he recommended that the person with the most points be designated as Chair and the one with next most points be designated as Vice Chair.  He asked if there were any objections and none were offered.  Each of the candidates introduced himself and provided a little background on his experience and perspectives.

8.   Dr. Bowman thanked Dr. Doug Williams for his service during 2010-11 as the representative of Georgia Tech’s faculty to the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC).  Dr. Bowman stated that Dr. Bowman had served for two years and was eligible and had agreed to be reappointed by the Executive Board to serve again in 2011-12.  In this role, he would also continue to meet with the Executive Board to bring news of USGFC actions and seek input to help him with his representation of Georgia Tech on the USGFC.  Dr. Williams said that the USGFC was 3-4 years old and the BoR officially recognized the USGFC during the past year.  The Council has usually met twice per year.  A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously to reappoint Dr. Williams for the 2011-12 academic year.

9.   Dr. Bowman called on Ms. Monique Tavares, the representative of Georgia Tech classified staff on the Executive Board.  Ms. Tavares reported that she had served for three years, and thus it seemed fitting to consider who might be appropriate to appoint for the next three years.  There was no rule in the Handbook about how long the staff representative should serve, but elected members served three years so this length of service seemed fitting for the staff representative as well.  Her purpose in bringing this topic to the Executive Board was to get suggestions on how to identify potential candidates.  The staff representative served without vote on the Executive Board and was to be “appointed by the Executive Board after appropriate solicitation for recommendation.”  She observed that some consideration be given to choosing a staff member that other staff members might reasonably feel was truly representative of their outlook within the campus community.  A staff member from central administration might not meet that test.  Dr. Bohlander thanked Ms. Tavares for her three years of service and said it would be fine if she served another three; however, there were other fine candidates and so this was an opportunity to pass the baton and provide an opportunity for another voice.  He noted that Ms. Tavares and her predecessor, Ms. Pearl Alexander, were sensitive to the feelings and experiences of staff members across the Institute and could bring insights from this community forward.  The ability to do that was an important quality to seek in future appointees.  Dr. Peterson stated that the voices of staff were important and this was a very important position.  There was not yet a staff council, so under the present rules of governance, it was the only official voice of staff to the administration. 

The following suggestions were offered by Board members:

·         It would be good to appoint a staff member who has served in direct support of research and teaching.  Some specific examples were mentioned and noted.

·         Staff members recognized for excellence in the annual faculty / staff awards ceremony could be considered. 

·         Advice could be sought from Mr. Scott Morris (Assoc. VP for Human Resources).

The consensus was that Ms. Tavares be tasked to follow up on the above suggestions and bring recommendations back to the Executive Board.

10.   Dr. Bowman asked Dr. Bohlander to introduce and moderate the discussion of a question that had arisen concerning faculty oversight of the Class and Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS) administered by the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL).  In preparation for this discussion, Dr. Bohlander had pointed Board members to the minutes of the Executive Board meeting of April 5 and the faculty meeting of April 26 in which changes to the CIOS had been briefed by representatives of CETL.  During particularly the latter meeting, a number of concerns were raised; subsequently, Dr. Tucker Balch, a member of the Academic Senate, asked if a process of formal faculty review of future CIOS changes could be devised that would lead to a vote up or down by the Academic Senate.  Dr. Bohlander said that was the question on the table. 

Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that CETL had always sought the opinions of faculty in constructing the survey in question.  They had come to the Board before they started the last round of changes and the Board had helped them assemble a task force (including faculty and students) to advise on changes.  After a new CIOS was worked out, CETL came back to explain the changes to the Executive Board, and then they briefed the April 26, 2011 faculty meeting.  However, there was no agreed process for a vote of a faculty body on the changes nor a process by which the faculty could prepare for an informed vote based on a focused study of the proposed changes.  The only mention of CIOS in the Faculty Handbook was in Section 18.8 and this did not delegate oversight by faculty to any group or process.  Since this was a teaching matter, the Academic Senate would have jurisdiction if oversight were provided.  Generally, when matters came to a vote of the Academic Senate, they were considered first by a Standing Committee in some depth, and the Committee then made a recommendation to the Senate.  If the Academic Senate said no to the recommendation, the matter would go back to the committee for any appropriate further consideration.  The question about formal faculty oversight for CIOS boiled down to: Which Standing Committee should have this charge?  If the Academic Senate ultimately had to vote on the issue, one of its Standing Committees should look at the matter first and make a recommendation.  Dr. Bohlander suggested the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee seemed to be optimal.  Although they had one of the heaviest workloads of any committee, changes in CIOS only came up every several years. 

He opened the floor to discussion of the question of how best to provide formal faculty oversight of CIOS.  He introduced Dr. Donna Llewellyn, Director of CETL and another staff member of CETL, Dr. Tris Utschig; Drs. George Riley and Laura Hollengreen, from the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC); and Dr. Tucker Balch, Professor in the College of Computing and member of the Academic Senate.

·         Dr. Tucker Balch stated that the recent improvement to CIOS was certainly needed.  He reflected on the April 26, 2011 meeting of the Academic Senate [combined with the General Faculty meeting] and noted that significant amounts of criticism were voiced, though some of it may not have been well-founded.  He was disappointed to find that there was no process by which the comments could be considered for possible further improvements of the CIOS instrument.  (He did recognize that at the time the improvements to CIOS were briefed to the faculty, there was some urgency to get the new version ready for the summer term.  He agreed it was appropriate to meet those deadlines.)  After the meeting, he had asked if the Executive Board could consider how to arrange for formal faculty decisions in the case of future changes.  He cited two reasons: 1) CIOS results mattered for tenure and 2) for promotion.  He recognized that faculty had indeed had input up to now, but it would be good to have a mechanism for decisions.  

·         Dr. Llewellyn stated that she was dedicated to active faculty governance and CETL would welcome formal faculty oversight of content changes in CIOS.  She said that CETL administered CIOS to see that it was done well and the data were used properly.  But fundamentally, CIOS was a faculty instrument and faculty should control it.  She reiterated that it was important in late spring 2011 to proceed with the plans that were laid out so that the summer term could be surveyed on time.  She agreed that assigning faculty oversight of CIOS to a Standing Committee would better fill CETL’s need for faculty input.

·         Dr. Bohlander stated that he realized that the IUCC had one of the largest loads of any Standing Committee, but CIOS came up only once every several years and they seemed to be the best aligned academic standing committee.  Dr. Riley said that he was fairly certain the IUCC would agree to take this on. Dr. Llewellyn confirmed that changes were infrequent: there had only been three major changes since 1999.

·         Dr. Llewellyn also said that whenever CETL was going to develop new content for CIOS, she would still want a task force involving faculty and students to help them.  The IUCC would not have to be involved in the development, just in the validation of the outcome.  Of course members of the IUCC and other faculty could be given the opportunity to participate in the development if they wished. 

·         Dr. Riley said that impacts on reappointment, promotion, and tenure (RPT) had to be considered very carefully due to the effects on faculty careers.  The IUCC or any other committee should take the time to seek additional faculty input in reaching its conclusions.

·         Dr. Weissburg expressed concern that too much emphasis was being placed on the impacts on faculty.  CIOS after all existed to help students express how well the teaching and learning process was going for them, so faculty oversight might go overboard in regulating its impact on faculty.  Some faculty may also not know enough about effective teaching methods to expertly guide the content of CIOS.  It could be a mistake to be heavy handed in guiding the work of CETL which has expertise in this area.

·         Dr. Balch said there was sufficient interest and caring in the faculty about pedagogy, and the way to ensure that students continued to be served was to ensure they also were involved in any improvements to CIOS.   He was concerned that more thought be given to what was the most meaningful part of the survey results for the support of RPT decisions.

·         Dr. Bowman expressed concern that oversight by a standing committee and by the Academic Senate might drag the process out and prevent agile improvements.  Dr. Riley stated that some of the evaluation could be done in parallel with some of the development so that the development of the changes and the support for those changes reached closure at about the same time.  Dr. Llewellyn also assured the Board that CETL involved students in their developments so that student input and buy-in were secured.  It was suggested that a couple members of the IUCC participate in each development task force to facilitate good communication with the IUCC.

·         Dr. Llewellyn also reflected on the questions and comments that some faculty members voiced at the April 26, 2011 meeting.  She said it was difficult to calibrate them and there was no process by which to ascertain if they needed to be considered further.  The processes recommended here would help.

·         Dr. Ingram suggested that the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee had expertise in things to avoid in faculty evaluations and they might be able to help those charged with CIOS oversight.

·         Dr. Weissburg reiterated his concern with balanced input from students and faculty and asked if there were any committee with balanced composition.  The consensus was no.  Dr Bohlander observed that the faculty of Georgia Tech was charged with a duty to look out for the academic well-being of students and he believed faculty took that seriously.  For example, a significant part of the IUCC agenda was the hearing of petitions from students concerning their academic loads and the like. 

·         Dr. Bohlander also stated that a method of oversight of CIOS should be written down in an amendment to the Faculty Handbook.  In the meantime, it was reasonable for the Executive Board to make an interim assignment to a Standing Committee.

·         A question was asked why an ad hoc committee charged with helping to develop the CIOS did not also make a recommendation to the Academic Senate for the approval of the CIOS.  The answer was that such a recommendation had not previously been made part of the ad hoc committee’s charge.  Support was voiced for a standing committee so they would always be there if needed and so there might be better institutional memory.  It was noted that Standing Committees were elected by the faculty and carried more weight.  It was recognized that a new standing committee should not be formed just for CIOS oversight because it would usually have nothing to do.

·         A question was asked if the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee (IGCC) could be involved instead (since the IUCC had so much to do already).  Dr. Llewellyn said that the CIOS was used in both undergraduate and graduate classes but it tended to be of interest mostly in measuring undergraduate teaching effectiveness.  There were certainly more undergraduate students and courses.  Dr. Llewellyn noted that CETL often met with the Academic Services Committee because the programs of CETL were perceived to be an academic service, but she understood why CIOS content was more of an academic faculty matter. 

A motion was made and seconded to assign the IUCC the duty to review recommended changes to the CIOS from CETL and to make a recommendation to the Academic Senate about whether to implement proposed changes.  The motion passed with one No vote.

7.   Dr. Bowman asked for reports from committee liaisons:

·         Dr. Neu reported that the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee was reviewing written procedures for appeals with a goal of improved clarity.

·         Mr. Millard said the Faculty Benefits Committee had helped a new day camp program get started so faculty and staff had somewhere to bring their children when schools were not in session. 

Dr. Bowman stated that this was his last meeting.  He provided a report on the highlights of the past year which was documented in Attachment #4.

8.   Dr. Bowman asked for any additional business.  Dr. Bohlander thanked Dr. Bowman for leading the Board with grace and wit, and he thanked Mr. D’Urbano for filling in ably for Dr. Bowman when he was traveling. 

Hearing no further business Dr. Bowman adjourned the meeting at about 4:50 p.m., and all attendees went to a reception in honor of the Board for both academic years represented at the meeting. 

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

September 19, 2011

Attachments

1)      Minutes of the June 21, 2011 meeting of the Executive Board

2    President’s Annual Institute Address (text and slides)

3)   Report and presentation of findings by the Academic Services Committee

4)   Report by the Executive Board Chair on the Highlights of the 2010-11 year.

 

________________________

Addendum #1

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 5, 2011:

Dear Fellow members of the 2010-11 Executive Board –

 

We have received notice of a few resignations that mean we have some vacancies to fill. Vice-Chair Chris D’Urbano has followed our bylaws in contacting runners up from the prior election and has secured agreements to serve if appointed. He recommends the following appointments for your consideration:

·         Ms. Denise Johnson Marshall (Office of the Dean of Students) is proposed to fill the unexpired term 2011-14 on the Academic Services Committee, following the resignation of Sara Fuchs (Library).

·         Dr. Tris Utschig (CETL) is proposed to fill a term 2011-14 on the General Faculty Assembly replacing Ms. Karen Head (CETL) who has resigned.

 

Do you agree to these appointments?

 

____ Yes to both

____ No to both, because:

Yes to this one: ________________________ but not this one ____________________________ because:

 

Please let me have your answers by close of business Tue. Aug. 9 so we can get them lined up for the meetings ahead.

A quorum of the Executive Board having responded, both appointments were affirmed without dissent.

 

________________________

Addendum #2

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 31.

 

Dear Voting Members of the 2011-12 Executive Board –

 

Please indicate your preference for persons to serve as leaders (Chair and Vice Chair) of the 2011-12 Executive Board from the following candidates:

Chris D’Urbano

Andrew Lyon

David White

 

First choice: _______________________ (2 points)

Second choice: _______________________ (1 point)

 

Please send me your completed ballot by 8 a.m. Tue. Sep. 6.

 

A quorum of the Executive Board having responded, Mr. Chris D’Urbano received the most points and was elected Chair.  Dr. Andrew Lyon receiving the next most votes was thus selected Vice-Chair.