Meeting of September 24, 2013

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building


With an addendum recording business later conducted via an email ballot



Members Present:        Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (Chair, ECE), Cunefare (ME), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Grover (ChBE), Hernandez (Chemistry), Kirkman (Vice-Chair, Public Policy), Lockwood (Uígrad. Student), Peterson (President), Powell (OSP), Schumacher (Psychology), Washington (Grad Student), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Balch (CoC-IC), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Downing (EII), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Tavares (EVPRís Office), Turner (Business), Tyson (Chemistry), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD)


Guests:                        Allen (FAR), Demyanek (Asst. VP EH&S)


1.      Prof. Rob Butera, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M. 

2.      There was not a quorum so no vote was taken at the meeting on the minutes of the August 27, 2013 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).† See addendum at the end.

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

a)      The President said he understood that the football game coming up on Thursday evening created difficulties for faculty and students in parking.† The administration was working to minimize the impact as best they could.

b)      Dr. Peterson reported that the University System of Georgia (USG) opted this year for a common plan for voluntary benefit offerings across the system.† Georgia Tech was able to keep most of what it had.

c)      He also noted the recent 10th anniversary of Technology Square and that the Crum and Forrester Building was being transformed into a part of a future High-Performance Computing Building.

d)     The Department of Professional Practice (DOPP) and Career Services could in the future be combined into a single unit to better serve students over a wider span of career assistance.

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

e)      Dr. Bras stated that applications would be received for the new online MS in Computer Science beginning on Oct. 7 and thereafter for a three-week period.  There would be five courses offered, each with about 100 students.  Classes were scheduled to start about January 14, 2014. 

f)       Work toward SACS accreditation reaffirmation had begun.  Dr. Bras asked for maximum faculty and student support.

g)      Family Weekend was celebrated the weekend before this meeting, with approximately 750 families participating. 

h)      A first meeting was held of the external advisory board for Arts@Tech.  There were presently 27 members with a goal eventually of about 50 members.  The new Engineered Art: An International Sculpture Exhibit at Georgia Tech was toured during the meeting On Sep. 21, 2013.

i)        The new crowd source funded Georgia Tech Starter was up and running and now open for investments from outside the campus community. 

j)        The search had begun for a new dean of the College of Business.  Dr. Gary May was chair of the search committee. 

3.      Prof. Butera called on Prof. Sue Ann Bidstrup Allen (Assoc. Dean of the College of Engineering and Georgia Techís Faculty Athletic Representative), to present her annual report on Techís intercollegiate athletic program.  Prof. Butera noted that this presentation would also be given in the November Academic Senate meeting. Prof. Allen made her presentation using the slides provided in Attachment #2.  She pointed out that the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) data presented in Attachment #2 was the same as that presented last November because the Institute was not allowed by the NCAA to publish new data until later in the fall.  She hoped to have an update released by the Academic Senate meeting in November 2013.  The GSR presented for student athletes in slide 8 was for the 2005-06 cohort and for that same cohort the Federal Graduation Rate for all students at Georgia Tech was 79%.  For all student athletes it was 63% (over a four-class average) but the NCAA GSR measure was 76%.  Prof. Allen noted that some sports had dramatically lower numbers in the table Ė e.g. menís basketball.  It was known that the trend was now dramatically improving but new figures were not yet releasable.  The Academic Progress Rate (APR) figures were also presented and Prof. Allen noted that these gave more immediate indications of academic achievement.  Here, basketball and football students were shown to both be performing well.  The trends were also markedly turning up. 

Q. What was being done to raise the academic success of student athletes in teams like menís basketball? Ans. The upturn in APR was an early indication that results were improving.  The current coach was very supportive of sound academics.  Time was planned in each game trip for studying, in contrast with practices in previous years.

Q. Were scholarships limited to six years?  Ans. No, if a student remained in good standing their scholarship was allowed to continue in force.

Comment.  It would be good to limit weekday games in all sports.  Response.  The ACC Presidents kept a close watch on that as did the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee.  Both have pushed back on proposed schedules that were believed to involve too much away time and schedules were adjusted when possible.

4.      Prof. Butera next called on Mr. Mark Demyanek, Asst. Vice-President for Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S), to present and discuss a draft updated scope and policy for EH&S.  A copy of proposed administrative policy documents were made available to the Executive Board as shown in Attachment #3a along with a list of members of the various EH&S committees (Attachment #3b).  Mr. Demyanek explained that the EH&S Lab Safety Manual had been reviewed by the Executive Board earlier in the year and feedback was also received from other constituents on campus.  This was part of Georgia Techís new process for review of administrative policies in which stakeholder input was sought and important.  The Manual was posted to the Georgia Tech Policy Library in April 2013.  Not captured completely at that time was the structure of EH&S committees through which faculty members were able to influence care of environmental health and safety matters on campus.  These committees were instituted by President Clough in a memorandum sent to Tech departments in the 2006-07 academic year.  Attachment #3a contained a proposal to supersede the Clough memo with an entry into the Policy Library covering the charter for the Council on Environmental Health and Safety Policy and those for the Councilís constituent committees. All were faculty led, Mr. Demyanek stated, and these bodies provided the primary channel for feedback from the departmentsí operating laboratories.  He explained that the Council received and considered recommendations from all the constituent committees which were focused on particular kinds of laboratory work or hazards.  He reviewed the scope of each committee as documented in Attachment #3a.  He explained that a set of federally mandated committees listed at the end of Attachment #3b was separately administered by the Georgia Tech Office of Research Integrity. 

Dr. Bohlander explained that Attachment #3a had two parts:  The first two pages contained information the Georgia Tech Policy Library Steering Committee used to document and guide the efforts of departments in developing new policy documents.  The remaining pages contained the proposed policy itself.

Q. Had there been any feedback on this draft policy that indicated a need for changes?  Ans. GTRC provided suggestions for improved differentiation between the committees Georgia Tech established on its own and those mandated by federal regulations.  Those improvements were already included in Attachment #3a.  The committees under the EH&S Council also provided suggested improvements in clarity. 

Q. Would the faculty or the Executive Board need to adopt this policy?  Ans. No, this was a policy that was the responsibility of the administration to bring forward and adopt.  The Office of Environmental Health & Safety was charged by the President with responsibility for this area including the establishment of appropriate policies.  In doing so, the Georgia Tech policy process required that stakeholders be consulted and the Executive Board was identified as one of those on behalf of the faculty.  President Peterson commented that this development was part of a campaign to move policy out of the realm of memos into entries in the Georgia Tech Policy Library. 

Comment.  It was suggested that a better policy owner might be the Council on Environmental Health and Safety Policy rather than an office of the administration.  Response.  The President felt that faculty input was vital but that having a faculty led council be accountable for environmental health and safety compliance policy would be more than the faculty would want to take on through a council or committee.  Mr. Demyanek commented that it was difficult keeping the committees of the Council fully populated with faculty members because of the perceived time commitments involved.  He also noted that expertise in applicable federal regulations was required to keep the Instituteís policies and oversight in compliance.

Comment.  It was noted that the language of the proposed policy did grant the Council and its committees a lot of responsibility in developing policy recommendations, but the question remained whether there was enough faculty input as these bodies were presently constituted.  It was further noted that the chairs of the committees were faculty members and thus had a significant presence on the Council.  Staff experts were also involved and provided vital input especially on regulatory frameworks.  The faculty to staff ratio on the Council was noted as 7:6. 

Q. How were the members of the Council on Environmental Health and Safety Policy determined?  Ans. Faculty members were the chairs of the constituent committees.  The committees chose their chairs.

Comment.  Granted that it was sometimes difficult to convince faculty members to serve on these committees, grassroots faculty feedback has been asking for a few more of their peers on these committees.  So the effort to recruit a few more should still be made.  This could also ensure adequate inputs were received even in times when some members had conflicts in attending meetings.  Response.  Examples were given in which that was already underway.

Q.  Was the review process for this draft policy still open to further suggestions concerning organization and clarity?  Could a Word document version be provided to facilitate suggestions?  Ans. Yes.  Mr. Demyanek said he would provide that.  Dr. Bohlander suggested that the Policy Library Steering Committee would be open to such improvements.

Q.  How was the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) coordinated with such policies?  They were usually indicated as the first organization to call in an emergency.  Ans. GTPD was named as the first organization to call because they were on duty 24/7 and best equipped to get responses started.  The Office of EH&S coordinated closely with GTPD.

Q.  If the Office of EH&S was the policy owner for this policy, did they have the final say if the policy was adopted?  Ans.  Dr. Bohlander explained that a draft policy could also be proposed by a third party, not the policy owner.  So provision was made for a policy owner, as the party administratively identified with the responsibility for an area, to make a recommendation about any proposed change as part of the process.  Then as a last step, proposed policies went to the Presidentís cabinet and the President for final approval.  Prof. Cunefare reiterated the importance of the Council on Environmental Health and Safety Policyís recommendations in these decisions.

Comment.  It was suggested that a future meeting of the Executive Board should include a refresher briefing on the process for the adoption of administrative policies.  Response. Dr. Bohlander said he would be glad to help arrange that.

Q. What was the status of the EH&S Lab Safety Manual?  Ans. The comment period came to a close and the current edition of the Lab Safety Manual was entered into the Policy Library in April 2013.  But this manual was a living document so further recommendations for improvement were welcome.  The Council on Environmental Health and Safety Policy was responsible to receive such suggestions.

5.      Prof. Butera then polled committee liaisons for any reports of matters that should come to the Boardís attention:

         Prof. Doug Williams reported that the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USGFC) had a meeting a week before the Board meeting.  It included a presentation and discussion led by Executive Vice Chancellor & Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Houston Davis, concerning several topics including online teaching, consolidation of University System of Georgia institutions, unit goals and missions, competitive salaries, health care cost inflation, workload issues, state funding, and how best to measure quality in teaching.  Some consideration was being given to increasing the cadre of USGFC officers to include a chair, chair elect, past chair, and secretary.  Dr. Davis also indicated that he wanted an annual report from the USGFC in future.

         Ms. Nazia Zakir noted that the Faculty Benefits Committee was concerned about how to effectively communicate with employees about news from their area.

         Prof. Ken Cunefare said that the Academic Integrity Committee would focus on refinement of the sanctioning model during the year ahead.

6.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty, Dr. Ron Bohlander, to present the proposed agenda for the scheduled meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate on October 22, 2013.  He provided a copy in Attachment #4.  In light of the lack of a quorum, Dr. Bohlander stated that he would follow up from this meeting with an email ballot to approve the minutes from September 24, 2013 and to approve this agenda.† See below.

7.      Professor Butera asked if there was any further business.  Dr. Bras provided some preliminary indications of applications for enrollment in the 2014-15 year.  He was concerned about the rate of graduate student applications which seemed to be down somewhat.  He also stated that there would a Town Hall Meeting on MOOCs in the Student Center Theater on October 24, 2013, 3-4:30 p.m.

Hearing nothing further, Prof. Butera adjourned the meeting at about 4:50 p.m.


Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

November 5, 2013


1)      Minutes of the August 27, 2013 Executive Board meeting.

2)      Faculty Athletic Representative Report

3)      Environmental Health & Safety on the campus.

a)      Draft updated scope and policy

b)      For comparison, see for existing policy in the GT Policy Library

c)      List of members of EH&S committees.

4)      Proposed agenda for the scheduled meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate on October 22, 2013.


Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on October 7, 2013.

Dear Board members Ė


At our last meeting of the Board on Sep. 24, we were just short of a quorum and so a couple of matters that we would have voted on then need to be done through this email ballot.


1.      Do you approve the minutes of the previous Executive Board meeting August 27, 2013?

____  Yes     ____ No    My concern is _______________________________________________________________


2.      Do you approve the agenda for the scheduled meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate on October 22, 2013.

____  Yes     ____ No    My concern is _______________________________________________________________



These questions will be open this week for your answers until the end of Wed., Oct. 9, 2013. 

A quorum of the Board members having participated, both of the above were passed without dissent.