Meeting of November 6, 2012

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building



Members Present:        Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (Vice-Chair, ECE), Cunefare (ME), Downing (EII), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Kirka (Grad. Student), Mordel (U’Grad. Student), Neu (Chair, ME), Peterson (President), Turner (Business), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Weissburg (Biology), White (CoC), Wood (ECE), Wozniak (GTRC), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Kirkman (Public Policy), Lyon (Chemistry), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Tyson (Chemistry), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)


Guests:                        Allen (FAR), Allvine (GTAA), Balsam (Chair, Statutes), Llewellyn (AVPLE), Moore (AVP), Zegura (Chair, OA Subcommittee)


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

2.      Prof. Neu directed the Board’s attention to the Minutes of the September 25, 2012 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 confirmed that Mr. Dan Radakovich, Director of Athletics, had resigned to take a position at Clemson University.  A search committee for his replacement had been formed chaired by alumnus Steve Zelnak Jr.  Other members were Prof. Sue Ann Allen (Faculty Athletic Representative), Al Trujillo (Past Chair of Alumni Association), Roddy Jones (student athlete), and Mr. Steve Swant (EVP Admin. & Finance), with staff support from Mr. Pat McKenna (AVP Legal Affairs & Risk Management), and Lynn Durham (Chief of Staff).

b)      John Carter, Georgia Tech Foundation president and chief operating officer (COO), announced he would step down on June 30, 2013.  A search committee for his replacement had also been formed, comprised of President Peterson, Charlie Moseley (Georgia Tech Foundation Chair), John Weitnaur (alumnus and past GTF chair), Jim Lientz Jr (incoming GTF chair), and Gary Jones (GTF Treasurer and Professor of the Practice in the Georgia Tech Scheller Jr. College of Business).  President Peterson explained that the Georgia Tech Foundation (GTF) was a separate 501(c)(3) corporation.

c)      Construction of the Engineered Biosystems Building had started on 10th Street.  Byers Tennis Center construction was also underway.  The formal opening of the new McCamish Pavilion would be Friday, November 9, 2012, with the first men’s home basketball game against Tulane University, and the women’s first game against Tennessee in this venue on November 11.  Finally, the Mason Building for Civil & Environmental Engineering was undergoing a $10.5 million renovation. 

President Peterson, as Provost Rafael Bras to share other news:

d)     Dean Paul Houston (College of Sciences) and Dean Alan Balfour (College of Architecture) have announced their plans to step down when successors were found, probably by the end of the academic year.  Search committees for their replacements had been formed with Prof. Dave McDowell and Prof. Terry Blum chairing the respective committees.

e)      Eight online courses from Georgia Tech have been kicked off under the Coursera program, with around 130,000 enrolled so far.  Donors and foundations were helping with some of the costs.  More courses were in the pipeline.  Dr. Bras reported he had been appointed to Coursera’s University Advisory Board.  He reminded the faculty about a planned town hall meeting concerning online courses planned for 11 a.m., Dec. 6, 2012 in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Center.

f)       Fall commencement was planned for December 14 & 15, 2012 in the McCamish Pavilion.  The undergraduate commencement on the 15th would feature University System of Georgia (USG) Chancellor Hank Huckaby as the speaker.  The speaker for the graduate commencement on the 14th would be Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences.  The undergraduate ceremony would also include a presentation of an honorary degree to Mr. John Portman, renowned architect and Georgia Tech alumnus.  Dr. Bras announced that in future years the Georgia Tech Distinguished Professor of the Year would be the speaker at each fall graduate commencement ceremony.

g)   Georgia Tech had arrived at the 100th anniversary of its Co-Op program.  There have been more than 50,000 participants in this program over the years, and 5,000 currently enrolled.  The program has been very effective in helping students to obtain career experience and job opportunities. 

h)   The Provost reported that the Georgia Tech Strategic Plan Steering Committee had wrapped up its oversight of strategic plan task forces.  Reports had been received from all the task forces and many of their recommendations were being implemented.  A new implementation oversight group would be named soon. 

i)    Budgets for the 2012-13 year were being followed in a way that allowed some new initiatives to be implemented despite a further 3% cut to state support and the need to accommodate the needs of a larger enrollment than expected.  Planning for the following year had been started.

The following questions were addressed concerning all of the above:

Q. What have been the costs of Georgia Tech’s initiatives under the Coursera program? Ans. The costs were about $500 thousand last year and have been planned at about $1 million for this year.  Progress was being made toward building a revenue plan for this type of education but its full structure was not yet clear.  Decisions taken to push forward with online courses were made with the idea this was a necessary investment in an important part of the future of higher education. 

Q.  What prospects were there for pay raises which have been disallowed for the past four years?  The length of the moratorium was beginning to have a deleterious effect on morale and Georgia Tech’s competitive position in higher education.  Ans. The University System of Georgia was well aware of this situation and was committed to work with the Governor to explore any avenue for resolving this problem.

3.      Prof. Neu called on Prof. Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen, Faculty Athletic Representative, to present her annual report. 

Prof. Allen used the slides in Attachment #2 to present her report, and her remarks closely followed these slides.  She introduced Mr. Doug Allvine from the Georgia Tech Athletic Association and stated that he was responsible for collecting data on student athletes’ academic performance.  In relation to measures of graduation success rate, Prof. Allen stated that the results for the men’s basketball and football teams were substantially lower that desired.  This was underlined by Georgia Tech having the worst record overall in the ACC for 2011-12.  Dr. Peterson stated this was unacceptable.  Prof. Allen and Mr. Allvine reminded the Board that the graduation success measures recorded success over six-year periods (currently for the class that arrived at Tech in 2002-03) and were therefore lagging indicators.  Mr. Allvine has made some projections of where the teams were trending, and the results gave encouraging indications that Georgia Tech would substantially show improvement.  Prof. Allen also emphasized that, while there were problems in certain teams, many student athletes were doing exceptionally well academically and several teams performed at levels well above the norm for all students at Tech. Academic Progress Reports (APRs) were better indicators of near term performance, and those results were substantially better.  Several teams have perfect APR rankings, including men’s basketball for 2010-11.  None of Georgia Tech’s teams earned penalties from their academic performance for this year. 

4.      Prof. Neu called on Dr. Donna Llewellyn, Associate Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence, to tell the Board about a recommended change in Georgia Tech’s procedures for academic program reviews as found in the Faculty Handbook.  She made a presentation using the slides in Attachment #3a, and she handed out Attachment #3b showing a comparison of the relevant current and proposed sections of the Faculty Handbook.  Dr. Llewellyn explained that, with the Provost’s Office reorganization, responsibilities for accreditation and academic program review were placed with the Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence Office.  Dr. Llewellyn and Ms. Kathy Tomajko led a task force of representatives from the colleges to revamp the academic program review procedures.  Participants in such reviews had identified several aggravations in current procedures and areas for improvement. 

Currently, every five years, every degree program underwent a review.  This process began with provision of a data set from Institutional Research & Planning (IRP) about the program to the responsible unit. The unit then did a self-study of the state of the program and how it had changed since the last review. Through the unit’s dean’s office, a team of three to five external reviewers were invited to conduct a review and this team produced a report.  In current procedures, the Institute’s curriculum committees were charged with reviewing these reports and with producing a summary of conclusions. 

The questions identified included:

·         Once an academic review report was written, who actually looked at it and took action?  This was one of two primary foci of proposed changes ready at this time.

·         Who selected and approved the external review team?

·         Who did the self-study and how was that done?

·         How often were reviews to be scheduled?

·         Who provided oversight of the whole process?  This was the other area for near-term change.

Dr. Llewellyn reported that there was strong support from the curriculum committees and from others concerned with academic reviews to relieve the curriculum committees from their role in reviewing and summarizing recommendations from the academic reviews that are conducted.  Instead, it was recommended that review results be conveyed to the respective deans, vice-provosts and the Provost.  They would in turn be responsible for engaging the right people in following up on any actions needed in response to the reviews.  For example, if there was something in the review that required an adjustment in facilities, then facilities experts would be engaged.  It was a common misunderstanding that these reviews were primarily about curricula – they usually were not.  The Executive Board would receive a report about the highlights of these reviews so that the Board as senior representatives of the faculty could make sure that appropriate reviews and actions were taking place and could advocate for adequate resources.  In response to a question, Dr. Llewellyn said that she was charged with preparing the reports to the deans, the vice-provosts, Provost, and the summary reports for the Executive Board. 

Dr. Llewellyn, in reviewing Attachment #3b, noted that Sections 46.1.2, 5.6.7, and 5.6.8 needed changes to implement the above recommendations, as shown in the attachment.  She also noted that both 5.6.7 and 5.6.8 were slated to delete sentences that said “At the same intervals the Committee shall also study the division of curricula into Departments of Instruction and Centers, and the allocation of Departments of Instruction to Colleges. The committee shall report its findings to the Academic Faculty with appropriate recommendations.”  These sentences were recommended for deletion as no longer practical or consistent with common practice.

A motion was made and seconded to table this proposal.  In discussion, the concern motivating the motion was that the current process facilitated faculty driven curricular control and this should not be relinquished to an administration-driven process.  Dr. Llewellyn stated that so far as she had been able to find out, academic program reviews appeared usually to be devoid of curricular content.  Instead degree program were reviewed in terms of the movement of students through it.  Did they attract students; did they graduate students?  Were resources available to support the courses required by the degree?  The reasons that the curriculum committees asked to be removed from the academic program review procedures was that they were not actually reviewing curricular issues.  This was confirmed by Board members who had been involved.  Dr. Llewellyn noted that if an academic program review did raise a curriculum issue, then that particular issue would have to go to the appropriate faculty curriculum committee for consideration because no curriculum change was ever made at Georgia Tech without a review by a faculty curriculum committee.  In such cases, the curriculum committee would not have to wade through the totality of the academic program review.  In response to a follow up question, Dr. Llewellyn noted that there was not a consistent policy across the colleges to determine who conducted the program review self-studies in each unit.  The underlying intent was for there to be strong faculty involvement.  That was not followed as consistently as desired.  In light of these explanations, the persons who made the above motion and second withdrew their motion.

Dr. Llewellyn then reviewed current thinking concerning further steps to improve academic program reviews, using slides 8-11 of Attachment #3a.  She indicated that these ideas were still under study.  The primary focus needed to be on what helped Georgia Tech steer its course.  Board of Regents requirements were relatively generous compared to Georgia Tech’s own standards.  Tech would certainly comply with Board of Regents requirements.  Dr. Bras emphasized that Georgia Tech wanted to tune its process to be sure it got maximum benefit from the reviews. In response to a question, Dr. Llewellyn said that academic program reviews could not be replaced by accreditation reviews but they could be done together so that only one visiting team was needed for both. 

It was moved and seconded to endorse the proposal in Attachment #3b to the upcoming meeting of the General Faculty.  The motion was adopted unanimously.

6.   Prof. Neu asked Prof. Ellen Zegura, Chair of the Open Access Subcommittee, to present a final recommendation on a policy for the faculty to consider concerning open access to faculty publications.  She introduced the subcommittee co-chair, Dr. Steve McLaughlin. Their report at the present meeting was a follow up on earlier reports to the November 29, 2011 and April 3, 2012 meetings of the Executive Board.  Prof. Zegura now presented a final recommendation of a policy for open access to be added as Section 57 of the Faculty Handbook (Attachment #4a), a background document (Attachment #4b), and a document with answers to Frequently Asked Questions (Attachment #4c).  The Executive Board had chartered the Subcommittee on Open Access under the Academic Services Committee during its November 29, 2011 meeting.  This followed from earlier studies of the issue by the Library Faculty Advisory Board.  Since the earlier meetings cited above, Prof. Zegura stated that four town hall meetings had been held to help faculty understand this policy initiative.  There was also coverage of this in the Daily Digest and in The Whistle.  In preparing final recommendations, there had been extensive consultation with Ms. Jeanne Balsam and the Statutes Committee, with the whole Academic Services Committee, and with the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC), Legal Affairs, and the Library which is home to SmarTech, Georgia Tech’s online document repository. 

Prof. Zegura pointed out small changes since April:

·         Guidelines for notification about any desired delay in open access were separated from those for other forms of notification.  The recommended policy also limited the amount of delay to one year (or less).

·         It was clarified that the “Open Access Policy and Implementation Committee” would be charged by the Provost.

·         SmarTech licenses would be upgraded to read that GTRC would hold the licenses for use of copyrights.

She stated that the FAQ document resulted from actual discussions with faculty. 

Prof. Zegura reported that the Academic Services Committee met yesterday and agreed to recommend the policy in Attachment #4a to the faculty at the upcoming faculty meeting.  It was proposed that the policy, if adopted, would be effective January 1, 2013. 

Q. How would an individual faculty member know whether their preferred publisher would be likely to cooperate with the proposed policy?  What would help them know whether they needed to invoke the waiver of this policy?  Ans. The SHERPA/RoMEO service: mentioned in the FAQ was very easy to use and the library would also provide assistance in getting such answers.  Many faculty members published in a consistent set of journals and would quickly get a sense of what their favorite journals allowed.  The Open Access Policy and Implementation Committee would also be open to suggestions for other helpful approaches.

Q.  What were legitimate reasons for opting out? Ans. No reason needed to be given.  Q. Why does the policy not say a waiver would be granted if the journal would not cooperate with the policy?  Ans. Faculty could have many reasons that would lead them to a notification they were invoking the offered waiver.  This format was found to be successful in the open access programs followed by other pioneering universities.  Many journals have stated that they would allow publications to be archived in an open access repository if the university’s policy required it, and they have accepted that a policy in the proposed format qualified.

Q. What version of an article would be archived? Ans. The last version that the author produced, including corrections that arose in the paper’s review process.

A motion was made and seconded to endorse the policy in Attachment #4a to the faculty when they met later in the month.  The motion passed with one dissenting vote.

7.   The Chair called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to provide a preview of a coming revised Faculty Handbook in a new format.  This was an update of an earlier briefing at the April 3, 2012 meeting.  Her presentation followed closely the slides in Attachment #5 and reported on an effort spanning more than five years.  This project was aimed at an overhaul of the Faculty Handbook that would make it more user friendly.  The proposed new version of the Handbook was now available for faculty review at, in comparison with the current version at The former website also provided further comparison tools, background explanations, and a mechanism for feedback or questions.  Ms. Balsam reported that town hall meetings would be held in January 2013 to discuss the proposal and answer faculty questions.  Then it would be brought to the faculty for a first reading in the planned February 19, 2013 meeting of the General Faculty, and for a second reading at a meeting to be called on April 23, 2013.  She stated that the motions to approve the proposed new Handbook would be couched with a safety net clause.  Anything that was not flagged as an intentional change in policy or procedure would be subject to reversion on request to the previous Handbook if a subsequent problem with the new Handbook uncovered an unintended change.  It was suggested by a member of the Board that the site for the proposed new Handbook include explanations about the recommended changes. Ms. Balsam confirmed that would be done.

8.   The Chair called on Prof. Rob Butera, Vice-Chair to recommend an appointment.  He moved that the Executive Board appoint Prof. Angus Wilkinson (Chemistry) to fill a vacancy from now until August 2014 on the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee occasioned by a leave taken by Prof. Rob Whetten (Chemistry).  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously. 

9.   Prof. Neu called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, to present a motion concerning the next faculty meeting.  He stated that there was a scheduled meeting on November 27, 2012 of the Academic Senate.  It was necessary combine this with a called meeting of the General Faculty so that they could consider the changes to the Faculty Handbook that were introduced in the above agenda items 5) and 6).  He showed the Board the proposed agenda in Attachment #6He moved that a called meeting of the General Faculty be combined with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate on November 27, 2012 and that the attached agenda be approved.  The motion was seconded and approved unanimously. 

10.  Prof. Neu asked if there was any further business.  Prof. Ken Cunefare came forth with two matters:

The first was expressed in some slides presented by Prof. Cunefare as Attachment #7.  They reflected his concern with an email from a representative of the Environmental Health and Safety Department covering new procedures for enforcement of expected laboratory safety measures.  The concern was that enforcement along the lines outlined in the email appeared to lack adequate due process and might lead to unsafe shutdowns of laboratory facilities.  The Board heard that this email had been written in response to several serious findings in recent inspections of some laboratories on campus.  The members of the Board did sympathize with the concerns about process and tone in the communication described in the attachment.  After much discussion, the consensus was that the motion offered at the end of Attachment #7 was not the appropriate first step.  Instead, it was concluded that the Executive Board would invite Mr. Mark Demyanek, Asst. VP Environmental Health & Safety, and Dr. Ron Rousseau, Chair of Institute Council on Environmental Health and Safety, to its next meeting so these concerns could be discussed.

The second issue was expressed in slides presented by Prof. Cunefare as Attachment #8.  He expressed a concern with a recent newsletter from the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement about pending enforcement of regulations about how student organizations were to be named.  These rules concerning the use of the name of Georgia Tech or its alternatives or abbreviations were perceived not to have been enforced uniformly up until now and were felt not to be flexible enough.  Moreover some student organization names were not strictly compliant with these rules but had been in place long enough that they had important brand recognition.  The Board expressed support for the motion expressed at the end of Attachment #8 to “Charge the Student Rules and Regulations Committee, in concert with the Student Activities Committee, to develop policies and procedures to permit student organizations to use ‘GT’ in their names and marketing materials.”  The motion was passed without dissent. 

Dr. Bras agreed to convey the above two concerns to the appropriate responsible parties.  [The Executive Board Chair also subsequently passed the above charge on to the two committees.]

Prof. Neu asked again if there was any further business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 5:50 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary, and amended at the direction of the Executive Board

January 29, 2013


1)      Minutes of the September 25, 2012 Executive Board meeting

2)      Report of the Faculty Athletic Representative

3)   Proposed change in Academic Program Review procedures

a)      Presentation

b)      Recommended changes in the Faculty Handbook

4)   Proposed Policy for Open Access to Faculty Publications

a)      Policy wording

b)      Background

c)      Frequently Asked Questions

5)   Report of the Statutes Committee on proposed new format Faculty Handbook

6)   Agenda for a combined General Faculty and Academic Senate Meeting on November 27, 2012.

7)   Presentation on a concern with environmental health and safety enforcement

8)   Presentation on a concern with the naming of student organizations