GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

MINUTES
(As corrected and approved by the Executive Board)

 

Meeting of April 2, 2013

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building

 

With an Addendum Covering an Electronic Ballot

 

Members Present:        Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (Vice-Chair, ECE), Cunefare (ME), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Neu (Chair, ME), Peterson (President), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Tyson (Chemistry), White (CoC), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)

 

Members Absent:        Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Downing (EII), Kirka (Grad. Student), Kirkman (Public Policy), Lyon (Chemistry), Mordel (U’Grad. Student), Turner (Business), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Weissburg (Biology), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wozniak (GTRC)

 

Guests:                        Cross (EVPR), Demyanek (Asst. VP EH&S), Rousseau (Chair, Inst. Council on EH&S)

 

1.      Prof. Rick Neu (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.

2.      He directed the Board’s attention to the Minutes of the January 29, 2013 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1). The minutes were adopted unanimously. 

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

a)      Mike Bobinsky had just started his work as Athletics Director and was at the NCAA Basketball Tournament for whom he had served as chair of the brackets selection committee. 

b)      President Peterson emphasized the importance of each employee reaffirming his or her commitment to the ethics standards set by the Board of Regents.  Every employee had to successfully complete this reaffirmation if they wished to continue their employment with the University System of Georgia (USG). 

c)      The President and the executive vice-presidents were in the process of hearing budget proposals for fiscal year 2014 from the deans and vice-presidents of the Institute. 

d)     The state legislature had finished its session and supported budget proposals important to the Institute, including $5 million to complete the Engineered Biosystems Building, $1.875 million to renovate the Chapin Building, and almost $50 million in USG formula funding.  Final decisions would be determined by the Governor. 

e)      The President and Provost had been holding town hall meetings in a Q&A format with faculty and staff members across campus. 

f)       The Ivan Allen Prize for Social Courage would be awarded on April 4, 2013 to John Lewis, civil rights pioneer and US Congressman representing Georgia’s 5th District.

g)      The When the Whistle Blows ceremony would be held at 5:15 pm after the Board meeting to memorialize members of the faculty, staff, and students who passed away in the last year.  It would be held by the steam engine on Cherry Street.

President Peterson asked Provost Rafael Bras to share other news:

a)      Dr. Paul Goldbart, Chair of the School of Physics had been appointed the new Dean of the College of Sciences.  College of Architecture Dean finalist visits were in progress.  Receptions had been planned for outgoing Deans Houston and Balfour for early May.

b)        Reports of progress on strategic plans were available on the Provost’s website and those of the other executive vice-presidents. 

c)      Ten public sculptures would be coming to the Georgia Tech campus in June 2013.  An external arts advisory board would soon be appointed.

d)     Work on MOOC style courses was proceeding with excitement.  Teachers involved were meeting for lunch every month.  There were now agreements with multiple companies that disseminate course offerings.  A Master’s Degree course in computer science would soon be Tech’s first use of a MOOC provider (Udacity) for a degree program.  This was confirmed by Mr. David White, Assistant Dean of the College of Computing.  Prof. Bras indicated that this degree had been approved for online delivery earlier by the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee.  The MOOC format was just a new form of online delivery.

e)      Africa Atlanta 2014 was kicking off on the occasion of the Georgia Tech African Film Series premiere on April 2, 2013, at the historic Academy of Medicine.  This was an initiative of the Ivan Allen College.

f)       Georgia Tech’s SACS 10-year reaffirmation and accreditation would be kicking off soon.  The process would result in a decision on continued accreditation from SACS in December 2015.  Provost Bras said that some of the preparation for this would involve self-study to collect information on processes and accomplishments; some would involve the faculty in creating a Quality Enhancement Plan for the future.  Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence, Catherine Murray-Rust, would lead preparation for the SACS reaffirmation.  She would form a committee soon of faculty and staff in support of this effort.

President Peterson asked Executive Vice-President for Research, Steve Cross, to add news.

a)      Dr. Cross expressed appreciation to Dr. Ron Rousseau for chairing the Institute Council on Environmental Health and Safety, to Mark Demyanek, Assistant VP Environmental Health & Safety, and to Nazia Zakir, member of the same office and member of the Executive Board, for their efforts on behalf of campus safety. 

b)      He said that Dr. Bob Guldberg, Director of the Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences, and Prof. Craig Forest (ME) were invited to the White House for the President’s announcement of an initiative on brain research. 

c)      Dr. Cross recently sent out a quarterly update on progress in research programs.  He invited Board members to get on the distribution of this report by request.

d)     National Science Board (NSB) would hold a roundtable event at Georgia Tech on May 1 to discuss faculty workloads.  This would be looking at phenomena that have led to increased workload, part of which might be attributed to increased reporting to federal agencies.  President Peterson indicated that the President’s Council of Advisor on Science and Technology (PCAST) supported this program and would join with NSB in publishing conclusions.

4.   Prof. Neu called on Dr. Ron Rousseau, Chair of Institute Council on Environmental Health and Safety to discuss concerns raised by the Executive Board at its previous meeting.  Prof. Neu stated that he had been in frequent contact with Dr. Rousseau and with Mr. Mark Demyanek, Assistant VP for Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S).  He reported that the EH&S team had been making great progress with the issues and concerns raised by the Executive BoardA new draft of excerpts of the Georgia Tech Laboratory Safety Manual and a list of faculty and staff members involved in the related committees were provided in advance of the meeting and as handouts (Attachments #2a and 2b).

Dr. Rousseau stated that the Institute Council on Environmental Health & Safety (IC-EH&S) was formed in 2006 under the aegis of the Office of the President and with a purpose of coordinating all aspects of safety on campus, particularly, laboratory safety.  The Council comprised the chairs of a number of topical safety committees as shown in Attachment #2b.  At the bottom of this handout were listed three related committees required to meet federal requirements and their members were listed on the websites cited in the handout.  Dr. Rousseau invited the Board members to see that all these committees were largely made up of their faculty colleagues.  The committees’ focus was on ensuring and improving laboratory safety throughout the campus.  The council met every other month.  Agenda items would typically arise from new regulatory requirements or reviews of problems experienced in particular laboratories that were of general interest as examples of problems to solve and prevent. 

Dr. Rousseau thanked members of the Executive Board for their comments which had led to improvements in the Georgia Tech Laboratory Safety Manual.  It continued to be a work in progress.  Dr. Rousseau recognized that much of the concern expressed in the January meeting of the Board had to do with disciplinary actions.  The Manual now directed all disciplinary actions to the appropriate Institute statutes and mechanisms used for all other important disciplinary actions.  It was not the business of the IC-EH&S to deal with disciplinary actions or sanctions in respect of how persons carry out their responsibilities.  EH&S did have the power to close a laboratory for an appropriate time if dangerous conditions were found that presented a threat to those working in the laboratory or its neighbors.  Prof. Neu confirmed that extensive changes had been made in the Manual in relation to the Board’s concerns.

President Peterson asked how this manual could become the formal policy of the Institute.  Dr. Ron Bohlander commented that EH&S had recently received an invitation from the Georgia Tech Policy Library to include the Manual in this central repository of Institute policies.  That would address one of the faculty concerns that it should be easy to find the Manual on line.  Mr. Demyanek affirmed that the Manual would be in the Policy Library and the changes just worked out would be reviewed by the administrative policy review process administered under the guidance of the Policy Library Steering Committee.  Dr. Bohlander explained that this review process also exposed new policy changes to the campus as a whole for a period of time to allow for comments to be received before a policy change was fully instituted.  The final step of becoming policy would be made under the authority of the President.  Dr. Peterson asked if formal approval of the Executive Board was required.  Dr. Bohlander said no but the Board would appreciate opportunities to comment.

Prof. Neu asked if there were any formal written policies about how the members of the various committees under the IC-EH&S were populated.  Ms. Zakir explained that the members of the Radiation Safety Committee were appointed by the Office of the President.  The rest were selected by the appointed committee chair who served on the IC-EH&S.  Mr. Demyanek said that the members of the committees were established in a memorandum from former President Clough.  Other than that, there had not been anything setting out terms of appointment or mechanisms for replacement.  Prof. Neu encouraged that more of this type of information be documented and accessible.  President Peterson encouraged that the Policy Library team consider having a section setting out the members of the various committees such as those under EH&S.  Dr. Bohlander promised to carry that idea forward to them.  Ms. Zakir noted that some policies and procedures needed to be updated rapidly to keep up with governmental regulations and she hoped that Georgia Tech Policy Library procedures for change would not slow that down. 

Comments and questions:

Comment:  Evolving safety policies and concerns should be discussed at regular meetings of the faculties of the schools involved so that all feel involved in addressing concerns and opportunities for improvement.

Q. How was liability for visitor safety addressed in the Safety ManualAns.  Mr. Demyanek said there was a section on visitors in the Manual; the whole document is over 130 pages and Attachment #2a is only an excerpt addressing the concerns previously addressed by the Board.  The IC-EH&S had sought advice from the Office of Legal Affairs and Risk Management on such questions.  Additions to the Manual were under consideration.  Georgia Tech was also working on a comprehensive Visitors Policy for the Policy Library. 

Q. Would other sections of the Georgia Tech Laboratory Safety Manual receive a similarly deep level of review commensurate with that evident in Attachment #2aAns. Yes.  The plan was to make at least an annual review of all sections.

Q. Were assessments made of the level and culture of compliance experienced in laboratories across the campus?  Ans.  That was an important concern raised by the safety committees.  They wanted to work with faculty on how to improve the procedures and make them as reasonable as possible to implement because that would build buy in and better results.  A culture of safety was an over-riding objective.

Comment: A commonly occurring concern among laboratory leaders across the campus was with an impression of a one-size-fits-all approach in the Safety Manual.  Laboratory leaders would prefer to have a more participatory engagement with EH&S in setting procedures and standards appropriate to the actual activities and risks present in each laboratory.  They would also like to have the opportunity to appeal for amendments of standards and procedures applicable to a given laboratory.  Response.  Ms. Zakir said that she was open to that and often worked alongside researchers to establish a technique.  There were some limits on how much this could be done due to limited staff.  Priority was given to situations with the highest risk.  Mr. Demyanek said that faculty experts often advanced EH&S staff members’ understanding of best practices and improved standards and prescribed procedures.  With more than 140,000 chemicals in the chemical inventory, individual risk assessments were a daunting prospect.  Some standardization was necessarily, but EH&S was open to appropriate flexibility. 

Q.  What was the timeline for approval of the revised Georgia Tech Laboratory Safety ManualAns. The latest revisions reflected here should be completed within a couple weeks and then would enter the administrative review for inclusion in the Georgia Tech Policy Library by this summer. 

Comment:  Dr. Rousseau reminded the Board that each principal investigator had an obligation to ensure safety in his or her laboratory.  This was a fundamental aspect of what faculty members did.

5.   The Chair called on Dr. Bohlander for some updates on initiatives.   The first was the subcommittee of the Statutes Committee recently chartered by the Executive Board to develop new definitions of faculty and the faculty governance procedures that would flow from them.  The subcommittee comprised members from the Executive Board and the Statutes Committee, as well as Vice-Provost Susan Cozzens and Assoc. VP of HR, Scott Morris.  They were meeting twice per month and were collecting data about faculty employees needed to see impacts of options under consideration.  Leaders from this subcommittee would meet with President Peterson soon to work out how best to encourage the formation of a staff advisory organization.  Such a group might combine with faculty representatives to provide advice, for example, on prospective changes in employment policy.  While faculty had no wish to dictate the form of a staff advisory organization, they recognized that the lack of a plan could impact acceptance of a change in faculty definition that might move some persons from faculty status to staff.

Secondly, in the new format Faculty Handbook there were sections marked as transitional.  These were sections of the existing Handbook that were significantly out of date and probably belonged in a different part of the Georgia Tech Policy Library. Mr. Pat McKenna, Associate VP of Legal Affairs and Risk Management, had recently put together a subcommittee of the Policy Library Steering Committee to look at a subset of the transitional policies that dealt with misconduct and conflict resolution.   Some of these were significantly out of date and not consistent with current organizational assignments or practice.  The subcommittee would look at recommending policies that were up-to-date and consistent with principles espousing ethical behavior, excellence, accountability, transparency, and consistency in the application of standards.

Faculty elections were almost completed.  The last day for voting would be April 10.  Dr. Bohlander showed that most voting happened right after email announcements and reminders.  The pace was typical so far and in the end about a third of the faculty would usually participate.  Dr. Bohlander reported on two requests for improvements from faculty members: 

1) That in future faculty would be asked to log in with their standard log-in credentials instead of supplying their birthdate as a credential.  The latter was viewed as not consistent with best security practice. 

2) That in the future, when all faculty had online websites of their own, that these would be included as links from the ballot so that more candidate information could be supplied.  

Dr. Bohlander thanked Ms. Monique Tavares in the EVPR Office, Mr. Mike O’Connor in the Provost’s Office, and Ms. Susan Chang in OIT for support to the election process. 

6.   Dr. Bohlander also presented a draft agenda (Attachment #3) for the faculty meeting on April 23 scheduled as a meeting of the Academic Faculty and Academic Senate.  Because there was a pending second reading of the revised format Faculty Handbook, the Board needed to call a combined meeting of the General Faculty.  Dr. Bohlander moved that the Executive Board call a meeting of the General Faculty to be combined with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Faculty and Academic Senate on April 23, 2013 and to also approve the draft agenda.  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously. 

7.      Prof. Neu polled committee liaisons for any reports of matters that should come to the Board’s attention:

Mr. Cliff Eckert reported that the Faculty Honors Committee had selected this year’s honorees.  They also had plans to make improvements in the process.

Dr. Cam Tyson noted that CETL and a Provost’s Committee brought non-academic courses for re-approval by the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee in accordance with new policies for such courses. 

Prof. Ken Cunefare reported on the Academic Integrity Committee’s deliberations on the sanctioning model for graduate students.  It was recognized that the imposition of an academic penalty upon a graduate student could make it impossible for the student to continue in their graduate program.  If a year’s delay for readmission to a class was imposed as was common, that could so interfere with the chain of pre-requisites as to make progress toward a degree nearly impossible.  However, the committee felt such impacts could not be taken into account and that graduate students should be held to a higher standard anyway.  No change in the sanctioning model was recommended. 

Ms. Nazia Zakir reported that the Faculty Benefits Committee was looking at ways to ensure that the Family Medical Leave Act was administered consistently across all units on campus.  The new childcare center would also be reviewed at the next meeting.  Problems with drop off and pick up traffic had been recognized.

Prof. Bob Wood passed on the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee’s request that the Provost make sure that all units had annual faculty appraisals completed in writing for all employees.  The Provost and President said such written reviews were required by the Board of Regents and Georgia Tech policy.  They said they would follow up.

Prof. Neu asked if there was any further business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 4:30 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

May 19, 2013

Attachments

1)      Minutes of the January 29, 2013 Executive Board meeting, as amended

2)      Environmental Health and Safety

a.       Georgia Tech Laboratory Safety Manual excerpt.

b.      List of persons participating in councils and committees associate with environmental health & safety.

3)   Agenda for a scheduled meeting of the Academic Faculty and Academic Senate combined with a called meeting of the General Faculty planned for April 23, 2013.

________________________

Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on April 12, 2013:

Dear Board Members –

 

I am pleased to report that the election results are in and there were no ties that we have to figure out. The level of participation this year was 35%, up some from previous years.

 

As last year, a couple of things did come up relatedto this election:

·         Dr. Tom Conte (CoC) recently resigned from the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and we need to replace him. There wasn’t time to expand the election at the last minute to cover this need. May we thus go ahead and appoint the runner-up in the CoC rep election just concluded; namely, Prof. Mark Riedl? He would be filling the remaining term from now until August 2014.

·         We just elected Tucker Balch to the Executive Board. When he takes office in August 2013, he will need to vacate his position on both the Academic Senate and the Statutes Committee. His unit will take care of the former election to fill the Senate vacancy. We need to appoint someone to fill the Statutes Committee. The runner up for this committee in the election just held was Dr. Chris James (GTRI-EOSL) and he would need to serve from August 2013 to August 2014. Both this and the above appointment are suggested consistent with our Bylaws in which we look to election runners up.

 

Thus, I ask you these questions:

1. Do you approve the attached election results?
_____ Yes _____ No Reason:

2. Do you agree to invite Appoint Prof. Mark Riedl (CoC) to the IUCC from now until August 2014 as part of CoC’s delegation?
_____ Yes _____ No Reason:

3. Do you agree to appoint Dr. Chris James to the Statutes Committee from August 2013 to August 2014?
_____ Yes _____ No Reason:

 

Please respond if possible by close of Tuesday, April 16.

 

Once I have your approvals, I will then:

· Contact all those elected with congratulations and information.

· Contact all those who were not elected with our thanks and encouragement to try again next year.

· Publish the results. We should treat the results as confidential until then so that the people involved hear about results properly.

A quorum of the Board members having participated, the election results were approved without dissent.