Meeting of August 27, 2013

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building


With an addendum recording business later conducted via email ballots



Members Present:        Balch (new, CoC-IC), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (Vice-Chair, ECE), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Cunefare (ME), Downing (EII), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Grover (new, ChBE), Hernandez (new, Chemistry), Kirkman (Public Policy), Lyon (Chemistry), Neu (Chair, ME), Peterson (President), Powell (new, OSP), Schumacher (new, Psychology), Tucker (U’grad. Student), Turner (Business), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Washington (Grad Student), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE)


Members Absent:        Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Tyson (Chemistry), Weissburg (Biology), White (CoC), Wozniak (GTRC), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Guests:                        Baines (Dir. Info. Security, OIT), Balsam (Chair, Statutes), Cozzens (Vice-Provost for Grad. Ed. & Faculty Affairs), Potts (Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Ed.), Weber (Grad. Student), Weil (Gartner)


1.      Prof. Rick Neu, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.  He directed the Board’s attention to the posted Minutes of the June 18, 2013 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1). Prof. Cunefare pointed out that the record showed there was not a quorum.  Dr. Ron Bohlander (Secretary) recommended that he relabel the record of this meeting as Notes (not minutes) and that he send the Board an email ballot covering all items that were voted on during the June 18 meeting.  By consent, this was subsequently done, and all measures passed as recorded in the addendum at the end of these minutes.

2.      The Chair next called on Provost Bras to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

a)      The Provost explained that the President has been detained at the opening ceremonies for the new AT&T Foundry, an innovation center, on campus.

b)      Dr. Bras noted there had been much attention in the press to the announcement by Georgia Tech of its new online Master of Science in Computer Science on a MOOC platform.  For example, it received recent attention on the front page of the New York Times.

President Peterson arrived and provided further comments:

c)      He also commented that an excerpt of sophomore Nick Selby’s acclaimed convocation speech to new students would be utilized in Georgia Tech’s public service announcements during broadcasts of athletic events this season.  Nick’s speech went viral on the web with 4.5 million hits.

d)     He stated that national figures have taken notice and called attention to Georgia Tech’s work.  President Obama recently gave a speech in Buffalo, NY that commented favorably on Tech’s online MS in Computer Science degree.  Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker visited the Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) near Georgia Tech’s campus on August 23.  Anderson Cooper commented favorably on his CNN 360 program about Georgia Tech’s efforts to promote STEM education (STEM=science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

e)      The President explained further about the AT&T Foundry opening in Technology Square.  Ralph de laVega, President and CEO of AT&T Mobility, was there along with the Georgia Lieutenant Governor, and other industry and Georgia Tech leaders.

f)       Dr. Peterson reminded the Board that he would be presenting the Annual Institute Address on Thursday, August 29, 2013, at 11 a.m. in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons.  It would also be web cast.

g)      The building at 771 Spring Street in the area of Technology Square was recently approved for redevelopment as a new building for high performance computing.  The historic front third of the existing building would remain and be utilized as a component of the new building to be developed on the site.  Dr. Peterson reported that the ten-year anniversary of Technology Square would be celebrated in the first week of October.

President Peterson called on Provost Rafael Bras to add some remarks:

h)      Dr. Bras reported that College of Engineering Dean Gary May would chair the search committee to find a new Dean of the Scheller, Jr. College of Business and a search firm had been engaged.  The current Dean Steve Salbu planned to return to faculty duties as the Cecil B. Day Chair of Business Ethics on July 1, 2014.

i)        The Provost reported there were six courses in preparation for the online MS degree program in Computer Science.  A great deal of care was being given to this.  Admissions had not yet begun but the Institute had received 27,000 inquiries so far.  AT&T has expressed strong support for its employees to participate.

j)        Concerning non-degree MOOCs, it appeared that 400,000 persons had linked to Tech’s courses so far.

k)      Coming up in 2015 was the ten-year reaffirmation of Tech’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC).  Preparation had recently gotten underway for this important milestone.  The Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence, Catherine Murray-Rust, was heading up the steering committee for this preparation.  This would require the cooperation and contributions of a great many people on campus.  A required component of Georgia Tech’s report to SACS-COC would be a new Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).  Calls for specific proposals for 5-10 year efforts would be going out soon and would be required to be consistent with Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan.  In 2005 Tech’s QEP covered plans for the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and the International Program.  Dr. Bras asked for the cooperation and assistance of members of the Executive Board in this important endeavor.

l)        September 19-20 was going to be a very busy two days, encompassing GT Family Weekend, a meeting if the Georgia Tech Foundation Board, the first meeting of the GT Arts Advisory Board, and the opening of the Engineered Art Exhibit.  The Arts Advisory Board comprised 23 members from outside Georgia Tech (so far) and were providing extraordinary support, said Dr. Bras.

m)    The Tech Starter program was going public on September 3, 2013.  It would provide opportunities for crowd sourced funding of research.

n)      Georgia Tech’s Strategic Plan had a new Advisory Group, chaired by Prof. David Frost, providing oversight and guidance.

3.      Prof. Neu called on Mr. Herb Baines, Director of Information Security in the Office of Information Technology (OIT), to introduce the next speaker.  Mr. Baines explained that OIT had arranged a contract with Gartner, Inc. that provided Tech faculty, students, and staff access to Gartner’s research reports and research assistance.  He introduced Ms. Allison Weil, Manager of Southeast Education Practice for Gartner, Inc. to explain this program to the Board.  She provided the Board with a handout shown in Attachment #2a and presented further information in slides found in Attachment #2b.  The program’s resources could be accessed via Slide 5 showed the fields covered by Gartner’s research.  Ms. Weil stated that their research covered not only technology advancements but also the lessons learned by other organizations in procuring and deploying those technologies.  Ms. Weil said that Georgia Tech has access to Gartner’s online database of reports on all the topics indicated in the Attachments, with no additional charge.  She and her team were willing to meet with any faculty, student, or staff group that needed help with the resources available from Gartner.

Q. With whom could reports be shared? Ans. Any other faculty member, student, or staff member at Georgia Tech.

Q.  Who prepared the Gartner reports?  Ans. Gartner analysts who were experienced professionals in the topic field.  They plumb expertise and inputs from many other sources in the field.

Q. Could Gartner research reports be cited in Georgia Tech authored papers?  Ans. Yes.

Q.  Who were Gartner’s competitors?  Ans. Two were Forrester Consulting and the Info Tech Research Group, but Ms. Weil said they were not vendor-independent and did not have an educational practice.  Q.  What about the Educational Advisory Board which some units of Tech used for educational program advice?  Ans.  Ms. Weil said there was some overlap of coverage in education program topics.  Mr. Baines said that the fee of $56K/yr that Tech paid Gartner had resulted in valuable support to planning for Tech’s infrastructure projects.  The Gartner reports have also provided information of value in Tech’s cyber security courses.

Q.  Did faculty members have access to more than reports? Ans. Yes, one could also schedule a call with a Gartner analyst for Q&A about the topic.

4.      Prof. Neu next called on student leaders, Mr. Arren Washington, President of the Graduate Student Body, and Ms. Lucy Tucker, Executive Vice-President of the Undergraduate Student Body.  They presented discussions of issues and goals for the year ahead from the perspective of student leaders. 

Mr. Arren’s presentation was presented as documented in Attachments #3a and #3b.  He explained that the first several slides were a review of the four issues which the past year’s graduate student leaders thought most important.  He provided explanations of these and updates and then wrapped up with pointers on issues for the year ahead.  The following were observations he shared on particular topics that expanded on the slides and handout:

·         Concerning the issue of sequestration, Mr. Washington recognized that this occurred due to forces outside Tech’s control but he expressed the hope that any resulting changes in graduate student assistantships would come in the future with more notice.  He expressed thanks to Provost Bras for help in ameliorating transitions. 

·         Fees to graduates students on average were equivalent to 20% of their income and constituted a very heavy burden.  Tuition increases had occurred with no reduction in fees.  Students requested as a priority the elimination of the Special Institutional Fee.  He noted that it was good that graduate student health insurance was increasingly subsidized and coming down in cost.  One of the Board members pointed out that the subsidy came from charges to research grants and the trajectory of increased costs to grants could result in fewer graduate research assistantship opportunities in the future.

·         Toward creating a better sense of graduate student community, progress was being made in preparing a GT6000 introduction to graduate student life that paralleled the GT1000 course for undergraduates.  Mr. Washington thanked Vice-Provost Susan Cozzens for support on this and many other graduate student topics.

·         The goals for 2013-14 were focused on Communication, Student Welfare, and Professional Development as outlined in Attachment #3b.

Dr. Bohlander and Prof. Neu noted that Ms. Tucker had recently completed a summer internship away from campus and welcomed her back.  She introduced herself as a fourth year BME student.  She explained that the undergraduate student body President, Nick Picon, could not be present due to an aerospace engineering class he was attending.  Ms. Tucker’s presentation was documented in Attachment #3c.  Her remarks focused on five topics in the undergraduate student strategic plan for the year ahead, as detailed in the slides; namely, academic affairs, campus affairs, communications & IT, external affairs, and finance.  Again, amplifications she covered included:

·         In the slide on Academic Affairs, the multifaceted grievances website mentioned was  While the site was really multi-faceted, it was thought of in some circles as the Dead Week grievance site which limited its visibility and effectiveness.

·         The International Student Football Clinic was intended to introduce this American sport to those not familiar with it.

Comment.  Slide 4 mentioned course critiques.  Prof. Butera recommended the old paper version of Georgia Tech’s course critique documents available in the library.  He felt these gave a good candid and balanced view of what courses and professors were like.

5.      Professor Neu called on Provost Bras to discuss Institute Practice and Policies Regarding MOOCs.  Provost Bras provided the Board with a copy of a memo he prepared on this subject, recorded in Attachment #4.  Dr. Bras stated that Georgia Tech had come through an initial learning period about MOOCs and now needed to use some lessons learned to create some regular procedures and policies to guide further development and implementation.  The attached memo outlined three topics as they related to non-credit MOOCs:

·         How MOOCs should be selected for development:

o Tech did not have the resources to develop all MOOCs that members of the campus might think of.

o Henceforth RFPs would be issued and proposals received.

o A panel would review the proposals and select those to be developed.  Criteria would be published soon.

·         MOOC creation, delivery, and review:

o Georgia Tech has developed a team based approach to nurturing the creation and production of courses.

o But some individual needed to be accountable for final decisions about whether to start offering a course at a particular time and also to make decisions when necessary to pull the plug and stop offering a course.  The Dean of GTPE would have the final say on those decisions after consultation with the faculty of the college or school associated with the course.

·         Task Force to review institutional policies related to MOOCs:

o There were still many questions unresolved.  For example, clarifications were needed on intellectual property management concerning these MOOCs.  There were policies and procedures needed concerning operations, and so on.  Today, when MOOCs were licensed, GTRC handled them like any other intellectual property, with the same revenue flow back.

o Reexamining all such issues would be a good thing to do, so the Provost would be chartering a Task Force in consultation with the Executive Board.

Comment: Prof. Balch has developed a few MOOCs and stated his support for this task force.   Faculty would appreciate help with roadmaps that better statements of procedure and policy would provide.  Provost Bras reiterated that he was proud of Georgia Tech’s moving fast in the arena of creating MOOCs. 

Q. Would Georgia Tech MOOCs someday displace courses in a classroom and reduce the need for graduate teaching assistants (GTAs)?  Ans. As of this date, no courses had been offered for credit as yet.  More use of MOOC formats could be used in the future to convey basic course material, with the classroom then used for in depth discussion – i.e., so-called “flipped courses”.  There were some early pilot efforts of that kind.  It was anticipated there would still be an ongoing need for GTAs, though the details of their engagements might change.

Comment:  Dr. Bohlander noted that the above discussion leading to a task force on MOOCs dealt exclusively with non-credit courses.  Whenever MOOC platforms were to be involved in credit courses, the Institute’s Curriculum Committees had jurisdiction under Tech’s statutes for the curricular content and the choice of an effective mode of delivery.  These committees were presently gearing up to meet those challenges.  Dr. Bras noted that SACS also believed that faculty control of curriculum content in such courses was required.

Q.  Was the announced Master’s degree in Computer Science vetted by the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee?  Ans. Yes.  Vice-Provost Susan Cozzens offered to send pointers to the string of reviews and decisions in the minutes of the committee and the Academic Senate.  The earliest approval came around February 2012. 

6.      The Chair called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee and Chair of its Subcommittee on Faculty Definition.  She brought the Board a progress report on the work of the subcommittee as documented in Attachment #5.  Ms. Balsam reminded the Board that the subcommittee was working to meet a charge from the Executive Board recorded in slide 1.  The “option 4” referenced in the charge pertained to a particular option recommended by the Provost’s task force on faculty definition that had been chaired by Vice-Provost Susan Cozzens.  The Executive Board subsequently endorsed this option and asked the subcommittee to work out the details (see  The principal features of “Option 4” were a) to do away with the category General Faculty, b) redefine Academic Faculty, and c) define the category of Research Faculty.  Associated changes in faculty governance structures and procedures would also be necessary.  Slide 4 outlined the scope of work of the committee. 

With the help of the Office of Human Resources and Institutional Research and Planning, the subcommittee looked at how these new faculty definitions would be applied to each existing title at Georgia Tech.  Each job title was provisionally classified as Academic Faculty, Research Faculty, or “not faculty.”

To improve its chances for obtaining “buy in”, the subcommittee recognized that progress was needed on two important topics not in its charge; namely, developing an option for a professional benefits package comparable to that for faculty and developing a Staff Advisory Council through which classified staff could have a voice in the campus community. These two measures could ease the transition for those who could lose faculty status through the redefinition of faculty categories.  Associate VP for Human Resources, Scott Morris, has undertaken to find solutions to meet those needs and has been making progress on both fronts.

Ms. Balsam noted in slide 11 that there were two new titles the subcommittee recommended be added.  Each would have its own promotion criteria distinct from research-titled professionals.  Mr. Chris Downing was working to develop the criteria for Extension Professionals and Ms. Nazia Zakir, the ones for Environmental Health and Safety Professionals.  

Q. If a person with a functional title in the Research Faculty list also held a professorship, how would that be handled?  Ans. They would retain their Academic Faculty privileges.

Q. The definition of Academic Faculty only referred to the member’s activity in education.  But what about their research roles?  Ans. That was a good point.  The subcommittee realized that in anticipating that the Academic Faculty Senate would work together with the Research Faculty Senate on research related policies and procedures.  But the subcommittee promised to look again at the wording of the definition of Academic Faculty and add appropriate words about research. 

Comment: Dr. Bras noted that having a definition and recognition of Research Faculty could do much to enhance the development of career paths for such faculty, something that was lacking today outside of GTRI.

Q.  What members of the General Faculty today would not fit in the Academic Faculty or Research Faculty.  Ans. For example, coaches and others not fitting one of the definitions.

Ms. Balsam and Dr. Bohlander noted (in re slide 15) that the Research Faculty Senate would rarely meet by itself and would usually meet in combination with the Academic Faculty Senate when questions of research policies and procedures were in question.  This combination of senates would be termed the Faculty Senate.  The Research Faculty Senate could have a distinct agenda occasionally to enhance career path support for such faculty, but most of the time, their business would be jointly framed with the Academic Faculty Senate.

Q.  Were there peer institutions with similar structures?  Ans.  An earlier Task Force on redefinition had looked at peer institutions but there were few parallels to the molds Georgia Tech was considering here.  This seemed an appropriate evolution to solve problems identified in existing structures at Georgia Tech.

Standing Committees could be very similar to those in existence today but would either belong to the whole Faculty, the Academic Faculty as redefined, or to the combination of faculty and staff.  Prof. Bob Kirkman would be heading up a review of the existence, charges, and membership of Standing Committees so that necessary reforms could be identified.

Q. What would the powers of the Executive Board be in the new system?  Ans. The powers would be essentially unchanged from those today.  The responsibility for managing any change in titles included in Academic or Research Faculty would be expanded.  Q. Would the Board still have the power to oversee and approve the agendas of faculty bodies and to charge standing committees and task forces with particular tasks on behalf of the faculty? Ans. Yes.  Dr. Bohlander explained that the subcommittee believed that it was still essential for the Executive Board to be the Faculty’s coordinating executive body for all faculty bodies.  Non-faculty members of the Executive Board would have voice but not a vote. 

Q.  When a similar proposal went to the faculty a few years ago, it did not pass.  Why was the new effort likely to be better and be more likely to pass?  Ans.  Ms. Balsam and Dr. Bohlander stated that the new effort had clearer, simpler definitions of faculty and had credibly better provisions for those who would no longer have faculty status.  The subcommittee was also careful to involve a wide range of affected groups in the planning.

Q. Would the initiation of a defined Research Faculty provide greater flexibility for a person who entered as a Research Scientist I to progress up the ranks even if they entered with a bachelor’s degree?  Ans. The subcommittee felt that it was important to maintain the requirement for at least a Master’s degree above entry levels of the Research Faculty.  But a recognized Research Faculty should provide more opportunities to support and encourage career development through the ranks if the members were prepared to work to meet the necessary standards.

Q.  Why were only two of the Assistant Deans of Students listed in slide 8?  Ans. Dr. Cozzens answered that those listed were the two whose jobs were engaged in issues in the classroom. 

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

News was heard from several members about Standing Committee start up activities.

Prof. Doug Williams reported that the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC) decided to meet twice per semester from now on instead of only once.  The first meeting this semester would be in Bainbridge and the second would be in November at Georgia Tech.

8.      Prof. Neu stated that each year the Board appointed someone to serve as Georgia Tech’s representative from the faculty to the USGFC.  Prof. Doug Williams has served in this role over the past four years and had indicated he was willing to serve another year.  In fact he had arranged for Georgia Tech to host the meeting of the USGFC in November.  Prof. Neu asked the Board whether they wanted to continue with Prof. Williams or make a change.  A motion was made and seconded to reappoint Prof. Williams and it passed without dissent.

9.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty, Dr. Ron Bohlander, to bring news about candidates and the election for Executive Board Chair and Vice-Chair for 2013-14. 

Dr. Bohlander reported he had received expressions of interest from three people – one for Chair and two for Vice-Chair.  He asked if there were any other nominations. 

Hearing none, he stated that Prof. Rob Butera was a candidate for Chair, and Profs. Bob Kirkman and Bob Wood were candidates for Vice-Chair.  Upon request, each introduced himself.  Dr. Bohlander thanked them for their offers to serve.

Dr. Bohlander suggested that Prof. Butera be elected by acclamation.  A motion was made and seconded to that effect and passed unanimously. 

He further suggested that he send the Executive Board an email ballot to determine which of the two candidates would serve as Vice-Chair.

Dr. Bohlander closed by thanking Prof. Neu for his important service as Executive Board Chair in the past year.  The Board gave Prof. Neu a round of applause.

10.  Professor Neu asked if there was any further business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 5:05 p.m.

Board members and guests adjourned to a reception in the Gordy Room.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

September 22, 2013


1)      Notes of the June 18, 2013 Executive Board meeting (which did not have a quorum).

2)      Gartner Program for research resources

a)      Handout brochure

b)      Presentation

3)      Student presentations

a)      Graduate student presentation

b)      Graduate student handout

c)      Undergraduate student presentation

4)      Memo from Provost Bras on “Institute Practice and Policies Regarding MOOCs”

5)      Progress report from the Faculty Definition Subcommittee of the Statutes Committee.


Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 27, 2013

Dear members of the 2013-14 Executive Board –

As indicated at today’s Board meeting

·         Rob Butera has been elected to serve as Chair of the Executive Board for the year ahead.  Congratulations, Rob, and thank you!

·         We are thankful to Profs. Bob Kirkman and Bob Wood for volunteering to run for Vice-Chair of the Executive Board for 2013-14. 

We need now to hear from you whom you would prefer to serve as Vice-Chair.

Please vote for one:

___  Bob Kirkman

___  Bob Wood

Please let me know your response by the end of Friday, 8/30/13, and I will let everyone know the result over the weekend.

A quorum of the Board members having participated, Prof. Bob Kirkman was elected to serve as Vice-Chair. 


Addendum #2

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 28, 2013

Dear members of the Executive Board –


As was noted in yesterday’s meeting of the Executive Board,  we did not achieve a quorum in the scheduled meeting of the Executive Board on June 18, 2013.  Accordingly, we must submit to you the following questions posed at that meeting.  In considering these questions, the members of the Board may review the documentation provided in the Notes of what transpired at the June 18 meeting (including Q&A) found at:


1.       Do you approve the minutes of the May 21, 2018 Executive Board Meeting?
___ Yes    ___ No  My concern is ___________________________________________________

2.       Assistant Registrar Wendy Mercousko stated "The Registrar’s Office has completed its initial audit process of the candidates on the August degree list. The academic units have been notified of this action. Academic units have been requested to review, edit, and report back any necessary changes." Registrar Reta Pikowsky subsequently stated to me that this process was completed and the final list fully vetted by the Academic Units and the Registrar’s Office.  Do you approve the summer graduates as recommended by the Registrar’s Office?
___ Yes    ___ No  My concern is ___________________________________________________

3.       Do you approve all minutes and action items from the May 9 and June 6, 2013 meetings of the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee, with approval of the Sapienza program contingent on completion of the Letter of Intent from Sapienza?  See
___ Yes    ___ No  My concern is ___________________________________________________

4.       Prof. Emilson Silva has left Georgia Tech and thus can no longer represent the Ivan Allen College on the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee.  The nominations chair, Prof. Rob Butera has recommended Prof. Kristie Macrakis (from HTS) to fill the vacancy from the present to August 2014. Do you approve this appointment?
___ Yes    ___ No  My concern is ___________________________________________________

5.       There is a record appended to the Notes of June 18, 2013 of Board appointments via email ballots appointing Profs. Ulgado, Sluss, and Klein to our Curriculum Committees.  See
Do you approve this record of appointments?
___ Yes    ___ No  My concern is ___________________________________________________

It would be helpful if we can complete this polling this week; thus, I ask that you get your responses back to me by close of Friday, August 30, 2013.

Seventeen voting members of the Executive Board participated in answering the questions in the above email ballot.  That qualified as a quorum. All of the questions were answered in the affirmative except for one voter who abstained on three questions. Thus all of the propositions were adopted without dissent.