Meeting of November 29, 2011

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building



Members Present:        Bennett (Mgt), Black (Grad. Student), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Downing (EII), D’Urbano (Chair, OSP), Ingram (ECE), Leggon (Public Policy), Lyon (Vice-Chair, Chemistry), Millard (GTRI-ICL), Neu (ME), Peterson (President), Tyson (Chemistry), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), White (CoC), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)


Members Absent:        Bafna (Architecture), Creel (U’Grad. Student), Cunefare (ME), Ready (GTRI-EOSL), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Weissburg (Biology), Wozniak (OTL)


Guests:                        Balsam (Chair, Statutes Committee), Hayslett (Academic Services Committee), Herazy (Provost’s Office), Khanduri (SGA VP), Smith (SVPAA), Tovey (Chair, Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee), Zegura (Chair, Faculty Library Advisory Board)


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

2.      After receiving his official commemorative chair’s gavel, the Chair then directed the Board’s attention to the Minutes of the October 25, 2011 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  These were approved unanimously.

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

a)      Dr. Peterson addressed concerns about personal safety on campus and in the surrounding community.  A number of recent assaults had occurred, raising questions about appropriate responses.  Campaigns had also begun to urge students to be vigilant about their surroundings and to take prudent precautions.  Dr. Peterson reported that overall crime trends were down as a result of there being 25% more officers added over the past three years.  The President also reported that a new system called Jacket Guardian would be coming available in early 2012 that would bring members of the campus community additional emergency services provided through their cell phones.  He offered to arrange a briefing for the next Executive Board meeting.

b)   The University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor would be coming to an upcoming meeting of the Georgia Tech Foundation.  A possible topic the Chancellor could speak about might be prospects for possible consolidation of some units of the USG.  The President said that such initiatives were unlikely to involve Georgia Tech.

c)   Dr. Peterson said that Georgia Tech’s top Georgia legislative priority this year was to obtain $64 million to build a new Engineered Biosystems Building.  $34 million would be raised from other sources for this building.  It would be located on the southwest corner of 10th Street and Atlantic.   Other legislative priorities included: a) Restoration of formula funding, and b) proposed increases in tuition.  Efforts would be made to move some student cost from fees to tuition, because some forms of student assistanceships could cover tuition (but not fees).

The President called on Provost Rafael Bras to make additional comments:

a)      Dr. Bras discussed the reorganization of the Provost’s Office which was underway.  He had just held a meeting with the Provost’s Office staff to present plans.  Dr. Bras covered highlights which could also be found at and in Attachment #2. There were three drivers for change: a) the rest of the Institute’s leadership had reorganized and the Provost’s Office needed to be better aligned, b) it was necessary to be responsive to the Institute’s new Strategic Plan, and c) there were opportunities to attain better efficiencies.  Implementation of the reorganization would be underway in activities through spring 2012.

Q. Will there be any decreases in positions?  Ans. There would be fewer Vice Provost positions.  The overall numbers of positions would stay about the same but some people would move to new positions.

b)      Dr. Bras indicated that additional funds had recently been allocated to the colleges for teaching costs depending on each college’s needs.  Funds to hire new faculty would also be allocated. 

c)      The Provost reviewed some early indications of trends in freshman applications for the next academic year.  Applications were higher this year overall, and applications for engineering and computing particularly showed increases. 

d)     The Tech Promise Program, which provides financial support to students from low income families, has been very successful so far.

e)      Dr. Bras asked for suggestions of ways to improve communications with faculty members and between faculty and students.  He reported several initiatives that were underway:

·         Tech would be adopting a “Year of Engagement” with a theme for the year that will provide topics of discussion and of study that relate to the selected theme.  This would be overseen by the Dean of Learning Excellence and the Libraries. 

·         A new program on Leadership in Living and Learning Communities has been funded. 

·         New awards for teaching excellence would be administered by the Vice-Provosts.

·         The Executive Vice-Presidents were hosting monthly dinners with randomly selected faculty members to promote better communication between faculty and the Provost and other EVPs. 

4.   Mr. D’Urbano called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary, to provide some background to the next topic.  Dr. Bohlander explained that occasionally Standing Committees needed to address a topic within their purview in some depth and with the help of specialized expertise.  The Institute’s bylaws provided a mechanism for the standing committee to charter an ad hoc subcommittee for this purpose, with the assistance of the Executive Board.  Typically some of the members of the subcommittee would come from the parent committee, and some would be appointed due to their interest and expertise.  In cases of ongoing needs, the Standing Committee could form a Standing Subcommittee.  He showed a relevant excerpt from Section 10.7.1 of the Bylaws as follows: 

“When a Standing Committee needs assistance to accomplish its charge, the Chair with approval of a majority of the Committee may appoint appropriate subcommittees with the approval of the Executive Board.  Subcommittees so appointed shall be chaired by a member of the appointing Standing Committee, unless otherwise approved by the Executive Board, and shall be composed of appropriate persons in the Institute.  Subcommittees may fall into one of two categories, ad hoc or standing.  An ad hoc subcommittee shall be given a specific charge and a specific terminal date for its final report to be submitted to the parent committee.  A Standing Subcommittee shall exist upon a continuing basis in order to handle a specific charge of the parent committee.  Members of Standing Subcommittees shall be appointed annually. Members of a subcommittee may be present to provide whatever clarification is requested when their report is submitted to the Standing Committee and shall provide the same assistance in the meetings when the report is brought before the appropriate parent body.”

Dr. Bohlander stated that this guidance would be helpful in responding to proposals from the next two speakers. 

5.   Mr. D’Urbano called on the Prof. Ellen Zegura, Chair of the Library Faculty Advisory Board (LFAB), to present a proposal for a special subcommittee of the Academic Services Committee.  Mr. D’Urbano also introduced Ms. Marlit Hayslett, representing the Academic Services Committee, and Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee.  Prof. Zegura addressed the question whether Georgia Tech’s faculty should have a policy about open access to publications authored by faculty members, a question which the proposed subcommittee would further address.  She explained that an analysis of this issue was begun in the LFAB although the question was not uniquely a “library issue”.  It was, however, proper that faculty who were engaged in scholarly publications should consider having a policy about access to their work.  Prof. Zegura said that she had presented material like that in Attachment #3a to about fifteen meetings of various faculty groups across campus so far.   The presentation contained information on the principles that motivate a possible policy and information about what peer institutions have done.  It was reported that some federal funding agencies, notably NIH, has decreed that publications of all work funded by them must be available online for free.  Prof. Zegura acknowledged that some faculty have a concern that an open access policy like that or like ones adopted by some faculties could have the effect of diminishing the economic viability of some journals. Any demise of journals would threaten the culture of publication and peer review that faculty depended on.  To ameliorate that, most open access policies set an embargo time between when publications appeared in journals and when they became available through open access arrangements; in faculty mandated policies, there were typically also mechanisms for a given faculty member to opt out of open access if they so choose to do so.   Some publishers have developed policies compatible with open access if open access was mandated by funding agency or a participating university.  Prof. Zegura noted that there were many types of journals with different business models and different traditions in the various academic fields.  Thus, if Georgia Tech were to consider a policy like some of its peers, it should engage diverse faculty in careful consideration of the best construction of a policy. Prof. Zegura noted that example policies from peer institutions included statements of the principles behind open access as well as rules and implementation steps.  The statements of principle were important.

Prof. Zegura stated that the LFAB concluded that a special faculty group should be formed and charged with trying to form a Georgia Tech faculty policy for consideration by the faculty.  The subcommittee process outlined by Dr. Bohlander seemed to provide a good mechanism, and so Prof. Zegura was coming before the Executive Board to ask for its blessing in forming such a subcommittee.  She presented a proposed charter; discussion provided a few amendments leading to the final version in Attachment #3b.  She advocated having the final open access policy, if one emerged, brought to the faculty for a vote at the last faculty meeting of the academic year, on April 24, 2012, as outlined in the attachment.   It was moved and seconded to endorse the proposed charter and plan (as amended).

Q.  There has been discussion of a related initiative in which Georgia Tech might also provide open access to the data collected in research here.  In addition, consideration was being given to a faculty profile system. Should these initiatives be considered in combination with the open access to publications question?  Ans. Those were topics also worthy of consideration, but Prof. Zegura recommended these initiatives be treated separately.

Q.  What were some of the concerns with open access that had surfaced? Ans. One was the concern over possibly shaking the economic viability of journals, although delayed access was meant to address this.  Another was a perception that providing publications to open access portals was an unwelcome additional bother and that there was not a significant access problem needing a solution.  Some felt some concern that such a policy might then restrict faculty to publishing only in cooperative journals.  Prof. Zegura said that there have been some questions about cost, but Georgia Tech already had a portal to make publications available so startup costs to implement a policy were moot.

Q. Was SmarTech searchable? Ans. Yes, it was searchable not only within the archive, but also by Google which has indexed SmarTech. That meant that any publications were easily reached from outside Georgia Tech.

Comment:  Dr. Peterson stated that this issue had been discussed in some depth at the National Science Board on which he served, and discussion there was polarized: 1) There was a concern that publishing companies were holding the academic world to ransom with the subscription and publication fees charged, and 2) there was also the worry that publications could disappear through reduced business and the peer review processes would vanish with them.  Major federal funding agencies faced challenges in what to decide about their policies were potentially so large.  An institution like Georgia Tech might be able to make important creative contributions with less pressure because the scale of impact would be smaller.

Q. Was this a move to save the library money? Ans. No, because researchers were eager to see publications right after they were published and would not want to wait for a one year embargo period to run out.  Thus the library would still need to have subscriptions to journals.

Q. How long would the proposed access subcommittee exist? Ans. It would be finished and disbanded once its recommendation came to the Academic Services Committee and to the faculty as a whole.  This was planned to occur by April 24, 2012.

Q. Who would determine the chair of the subcommittee and would the chair have to come from the Academic Services Committee? Ans. The committee would choose the chair of the subcommittee and seek the Executive Board’s approval if the chair were not from the parent committee.

The motion passed unanimously.

6.   Mr. D’Urbano called on Prof. Craig Tovey, Chair of the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee (SAFAC), who also needed help with forming a subcommittee under his committee.  Prof. Tovey said he had two related requests:

·         He asked the Executive Board’s blessing for the committee to make a standing request for Dr. Paul Kohn, Vice-Provost for Enrollment Services, to attend SAFAC meetings and provide advice to the committee.  Prof. Tovey explained that one of the charges to the committee in Section 5.6.10 of the Statutes in the Faculty Handbook was to “originate or receive and make recommendations regarding all changes in policy, criteria, or procedure regarding student admission and readmission to the undergraduate programs of the Institute.”  To accomplish this, they needed to work with Dr. Kohn and this was likely to extend over multiple meetings.

·         Dr. Kohn has asked for a group of faculty called the Enrollment Management Advisory Group (EMAG) to be formed to advise his office.  Rather than forming a standalone committee, it was being recommended that EMAG be established as a subcommittee of SAFAC.  So the request was that the Executive Board endorse the formation of this subcommittee.  Prof. Tovey explained that there were significant enrollment issues to address; for example, how to set an optimal ratio of in-state to out-of-state students and how to achieve that through admission decisions.  He noted that ongoing transfers tended to make that ratio grow as a given class made progress toward graduation.  President Peterson commented that each increase of 50 out-of-state students over in-state students in enrollment netted $1 million in revenue due to increased tuition.  On the other hand Georgia Tech had a mission to serve students from the state so a balance must be struck. 

Q. Was Dr. Kohn a member of the faculty?  Could he just be added to the committee’s membership?  Ans. Dr. Bohlander responded that, yes, Dr. Kohn was a member of the faculty as a defined Administrative Officer of the Institute.  However, formally adding an ex officio member to a standing committee required an amendment to the Faculty Handbook.  It was prudent in the short term to just endorse a standing invitation to Dr. Kohn to help the committee (without vote). 

Q. Did SAFAC have other charges besides the one listed above?  Could it address the fact that student faculty ratios varied across the Departments of Instruction on campus?  Ans.  Prof. Tovey responded that, yes, SAFAC had other charges but these did not include addressing student faculty ratios.  Dr. Bohlander showed the Executive Board the other charges in Section 5.6.10 of the Faculty Handbook.

It was moved and seconded to approve the SAFAC making a standing invitation to Dr. Kohn to attend their meetings and provide advice and support, and to approve SAFAC working to form a Standing Subcommittee called the Enrollment Management Advisory Group (EMAG).  The motion passed unanimously.  Dr. Bohlander suggested to Prof. Tovey that SAFAC work out a proposed list of members of EMAG and a proposed chair.  He requested that such be communicated to the Executive Board for their review and approval.

7.   The Chair called on Executive Board Vice-Chair, Prof. Andrew Lyon, to report on progress in forming the Nominations Committee to prepare for spring 2012 faculty governance elections.  It was noted that the Vice-Chair of the Executive Board traditionally led the Nominations Committee.  Prof. Lyon said that his first step was to identify someone from the Executive Board to serve with him as co-chair and he was happy to report that Mr. David White had agreed to serve in that capacity.  Prof. Lyon asked members of the Executive Board for any suggestions for the remaining four positions on the Nominations Committee.  According to Section 5.5.3 of the Faculty Handbook, two would be academic faculty members and two, general faculty.  In addition, students would recommend one student to serve.  Dr. Bohlander stated that he would send out an electronic ballot for the Executive Board’s approval of the members of the Nominating Committee as soon as willing candidates were identified. 

8.   Mr. D’Urbano asked for reports from committee liaisons.  Highlights included:

Mr. Vuchatu reported that the Academic Services Committee was hard at work on more than open access.  It also was looking seriously at prospects for re-establishing a Faculty Club to promote creative interactions among faculty members.

Dr. Cam Tyson reported that the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee was dealing with many curricular proposals and was also looking at possible policies to regulate approvals and reviews of courses offered by non-academic units. 

Prof. Doug Williams said that the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC) met on Nov. 5.  Draft minutes of this meeting were subsequently passed to Secretary Bohlander and added here as Attachment #4.  Prof. Williams reminded the Board that the USGFC voted in three tiers and Georgia Tech was a member of the research university tier.  Measures requiring the approval of the full council could be adopted, then, only when a majority of each tier approved.

Prof. Nate Bennett confirmed that the Graduate Curriculum Committee was also looking at the question of approvals and reviews of courses offered by non-academic units. 

Mr. Dave Millard said that the Faculty Benefits Committee met on Oct. 31 and considered the following topics a) increased childcare options were nearing reality, b) retirees could keep their enrollment in HMOs if they were not yet enrolled in Medicare, c) some health services on campus could be offered to the faculty, including a dental office, and d) corrections were needed to some benefits literature which incorrectly stated that health benefits included hearing services (like hearing aids).  Mr. Millard reported that last year’s new Donated Leave program had seven requests with six approvals.  Some donated leave in the “bank” had not yet been used.

Prof. Mary Ann Ingram asked if the Statutes Committee Chair was part of the new Institute Policy Task Force.  Dr. Bohlander said she was indeed part of the Task Force and part of its steering committee.  He explained that President Peterson had asked representatives of the major policy authorities on campus to assemble and work together to harmonize policies and create a central online library of policies in which duplication across various sections was eliminated and a mechanism for harmonious updates was expedited.  The Task Force should begin to meet in January 2012.  President Peterson said the library would nominally have four sections: one on faculty policies, one for students, one for human resource policies, and one for business and finance.

9.   Mr. D’Urbano asked Mr. James Black, graduate student representative, to bring the Board some thoughts on the Georgia Tech Counseling Center.  Mr. Black asked Board members to try to be aware of students who were under a lot of stress.  He asked that such students be referred to seek help from the Counseling Center.  He commended Board members to be aware of the Center’s resources through its website at  Timely intervention in some cases could save lives.  Counselors were on duty 24/7.  Speaking of stressors, Prof. Bras encouraged faculty to be respectful of the rules surrounding “dead week” or the Week Preceding Final Exams in which certain restrictions on major assignments and exams applied.

10. Mr. D’Urbano asked for any additional business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 5 p.m. 

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

January 29, 2012


1)      Minutes of the October 25, 2011 meeting of the Executive Board

2)      Plan for reorganization of the Provost’s Office.

3)   Open access to publications by Georgia Tech faculty members

a)      Presentation

b)      Proposed subcommittee charter

4)   Draft Minutes of the USGFC meeting on Nov. 5, 2011.