Meeting of November 5, 2013

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building



Members Present:        Black (Grad. Student), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (Chair, ECE), Cunefare (ME), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Hernandez (Chemistry), Kirkman (Vice-Chair, Public Policy), Peterson (President), Powell (OSP),
Schumacher (Psychology), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Tucker (U’grad. Student), Turner (Business), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Balch (CoC-IC), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Downing (EII), Grover (ChBE), Tyson (Chemistry)


Guests:                        Balsam (Chair, Statutes), Cozzens (Vice-Provost for Grad. Ed. & Faculty Affairs), Herazy (Provost’s Office), Potts (Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Ed.), Weber (Grad. Student), Weil (Gartner)


1.      Prof. Rob Butera, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:07 P.M.  He directed the Board’s attention to the posted notes of the September 24, 2013 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1). Since there was not a quorum at this meeting, the notes were unofficial but he asked if there were any suggested changes.  None was mentioned.

2.      The Chair next called on President Peterson to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  Before he began, Dr. Peterson introduced Dr. Tim Lieuwen, Executive Director of Georgia Tech’s Strategic Energy Institute, Professor in Aerospace Engineering, and a participant in the Executive Leadership Institute that the University System of Georgia (USG) put in place to encourage and develop emerging leaders.  Assistant Vice-Provost Jennifer Herazy was also participating in that Institute.

a)      Saturday, November 2, 2013 was both Georgia Tech’s Homecoming and also Legislative Day.  For the latter occasion Georgia legislators were invited to learn more about the campus and attend the homecoming football game.  Over 100 attended.  The alumni turned out in record numbers for Homecoming.  About $12 million in alumni gifts were received. 

b)      The National Competitiveness Forum was held in Washington, DC on October 30, 2013, and participants connected to Georgia Tech were prominently involved.  Georgia Tech’s new Online Master’s Degree in Computer Science also received significant national news exposure.

c)      Georgia Tech began participating this year in the new national Common Application system whereby students can apply for admission to Georgia Tech and many other universities through a common process.  Dr. Peterson indicated that there had been significant difficulties in implementation but adaptations had been found.  Both President Peterson and Provost Bras praised the Georgia Tech people involved in the application process for their resourcefulness and diligence. They particularly thanked Messrs. Paul Kohn (VP Enrollment Services), Rick Clark (Director, Undergraduate Admissions), and Jim O’Connor (VP Information Technology) for their efforts.

d)     Georgia Tech would be hosting the Georgia Tech Cyber Security Summit on November 6, 2013 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center.

e)      The annual campus safety walk would also be held November 6 in which administrators and students would tour the campus to identify areas for improvement in safety.

f)       President Peterson said that a Mental Health Task Force he appointed had given him their report.  Planning for implementation of many of the recommendations would begin soon. The focus so far has been on how to help students, but the dimensions of concern could expand later.   Vice-Provost Colin Potts stated that some Georgia Tech practices, such as early withdrawal deadlines, created more stress than necessary and adjustments should be considered.

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

g)      Dr. Bras reported that applications were running more than 40% ahead of last year’s pace so far.  President Peterson noted that was on top of a 70% increase in applicants over the past five years. Dr. Bras explained that the effect of the Open Application program could result in an overall increase in applicants by the end of the application period but that the increase so far could be more a matter of making early applications easier.

h)      The Provost stated that Georgia Tech had come through the strictures occasioned by the recent federal government shutdown without too much damage, but the experience had shown the need for good fiscal planning and cash flow management to address any possible future problems of this kind.

i)        The new Online Master of Science in Computer Science degree program completed its three-week open application period.  More than 2,000 applications were received of which approximately 440 would be offered enrollment.  The overall quality of the applicants was very high.

j)        The Board of Regents has recommended a couple of Georgia Tech projects to the Governor for next year’s budget.  One of these would provide planning money for a major renovation of the library that would transform the library into something closer to the adjacent Clough Learning Commons.  In addition, Georgia Tech and Emory had been working on plans for some joint operations and shared services.  The Caddell Building used by the School of Building Construction would also be renovated if the budget recommendations were approved.  A private gift was also dedicated to that purpose.

k)      Provost Bras encouraged members of the Board to provide all possible assistance to Georgia Tech’s accreditation reaffirmation efforts underway for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  Georgia Tech was due for reaffirmation in 2015 but preparation was already underway with a team headed by Vice-Provost Catherine Murray-Rust.

l)        The France-Atlanta celebration hosted by Georgia Tech and the Consulate General of France in Atlanta began October 23, 2013 and was still underway. 

m)    Africa-Atlanta 2014 would be kicking off activities on November 6, 2013 under the leadership of Dean Jackeline Royster.

3.      Prof. Butera called on Dr. Ron Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty), to present information about the General Education Subcommittee of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC).  He explained that the IUCC was meeting at the same time as the Board and therefore asked him to present the explanation in Attachment #2.  IUCC had a standing subcommittee focused on meeting the general education requirements of the USG.  The memo in this attachment explained improvements planned for the year ahead.  It concluded with a list of proposed members of the subcommittee.  Their appointment needed to be affirmed by the Executive Board particularly in this instance where the proposed chair was not a member of the IUCC; such an action would be in accordance with Institute statutes.  Dr. Bohlander explained that the proposed chair, Professor Larry Bottomley, was highly qualified by past experience on the IUCC.   Dr. Bohlander moved for the approval of the proposed subcommittee members listed in Attachment #2 and the motion passed without dissent. 

4.      The Chair next called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Statutes Committee Chair, to present proposals for several changes in the Faculty Handbook

a)      The first set covered changes in Sections 3.3.9, 3.3.10, and 3.1.2 of the Handbook as described in Attachment #3a comparing proposed text with existing text. 

·   Concerning the specification of promotion and tenure packages in Section 3.3.9, Ms. Balsam explained that the Statutes Committee had received a request for the change to allow packages of up to five pages in length.  In addition, margins and type specifications were believed no longer needed.  Prof. Cunefare commented that he believed that existing margin and type specifications were still needed lest review boards get packages that were difficult to read. Ms. Balsam accepted his recommendation as a friendly amendment.  Prof. Butera asked what motivated the recommended change in 3.3.9.  Vice-Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs, Susan Cozzens, explained that Provost Bras asked her to lead a task force to consider improvements in promotion and tenure process.  It was found that some colleges were presently allowing much longer packages than the three-page limit.  It was felt that a uniform standard should be enforced and the 3-5 page limit was recommended as a compromise.  Dr. Cozzens said that the page limits would be firmly communicated to all units when the next round of promotion and tenure applications opened in January 2014.  Then if packages were later received at the College or Institute level that did not comply, they could and would be sent back.  President Peterson stated that the Provost as chief academic officer had the authority to enforce this policy and ensure that non-compliant packages were not evaluated at the College or Institute levels.  Professor Cunefare also recommended that the words “should be” be amended to “shall be” for additional clarity.  This was also accepted as a friendly amendment – both changes were reflected in the amended Attachment #3a’.

·   Concerning the proposed change in the Promotion Review policy in 3.3.10, Ms. Balsam explained that the section highlighted in Attachment #3a’ on page 2 was an unnecessary step and was recommended for deletion.  The letter already required from the Dean was sufficient notice of the Institute’s promotion decision in any given case.  If a promotion decision were aggrieved through the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee, then their recommendation to the President would result in a letter from the President to the candidate.  But otherwise, a letter from the President was not necessary.  Dr. Cozzens stated that this recommendation also originated in her office and was made when it was realized that the President had no role in the promotion and tenure process other than his writing a redundant letter.

·   Ms. Balsam explained that the change recommended in 3.1.2 was to bring stated policy in clearer agreement with the indicated Board of Regents policy concerning annual written performance evaluations.  President Peterson stated that Institute leaders were working hard to ensure that all such performance evaluations were in fact completed each year.  This recommended change would further emphasize the Institute’s commitment.  Dr. Bohlander pointed out that the Board of Regents’ commitment was quite clear and Tech needed to be consistent in that regard.  After discussion, the Board decided to change the word “will” in the recommended text of Attachment #3a to “shall” as shown in Attachment #3a’

·   It was moved, seconded and passed without dissent that the Executive Board endorsed the recommended changes as amended in Attachment #3a’

b)      The next set of recommended changes were described in Attachment #3b and covered next steps in the disposal of sections of the Faculty Handbook that had been designated as Transitional Sections when the last edition of the Handbook was approved by the Faculty.  Transitional sections were ones that had been identified as not part of essentially faculty policy.  They were also out of date, obsolete, and better handled either elsewhere in Georgia Tech’s Policy Library or by departmental websites.  Since April 2013 when the Transitional Sections were identified, the Statutes Committee, Policy Library Steering Committee, Office of Human Resources, the Legal Affairs Office, and other Institute experts had evaluated the content of these sections, identified where better material could be found outside the Faculty Handbook, and helped build recommendations for disposal of the Transitional Sections.  Ms. Balsam went through Attachment #3b which detailed the findings of more up-to-date information with hyperlinks to its locations.  One of the Transitional Sections 37.5.1 was identified as one that could not yet be transitioned to an alternate policy source. More study was needed to develop a more up to date policy and its best location in the Georgia Tech Policy Library.  In discussion with the Executive Board, another Section 37.5.5, was identified as one that should not be transitioned at this time.  The recommendation in Attachment #3b to just delete this section was not supported and Ms. Balsam accepted that recommendation.  She concluded then with the following recommendations:

That the transitional sections (except 37.5.1 and 37.5.5) be removed from the Faculty Handbook with the following provisions to help people with the transition:

·         Post links as documented in Attachment #3b until July 1, 2014 and then totally remove the sections.

·         Update the cross reference table available at the beginning of the Faculty Handbook.


Suggestions were made identifying additional links covering material in some Transitional Sections.  Ms. Balsam promised to add such references

Q. While one could identify important information in departmental websites, how could one be sure that such material would be maintained over time? Ans.  The point was that such material was not the responsibility of the faculty to maintain.  Departments were accountable for their operations and for communicating the policies and procedures surrounding those operations.  When such subjects were covered in the Faculty Handbook, the accounts tended to get out of date and not be authoritative.  Ms. Balsam also pointed out that many of the Transitional Sections dealt with topics of interest to all members of the campus community or all employees, and not just Faculty.  Thus, the Faculty Handbook was not the most logical place for non-faculty to look for authoritative information about such topics.  There were also legal risks to the Institute if a department had its version of a policy and the Faculty Handbook said something different.  Follow up comment:  It was clear that the Transitional Sections needed to be removed (with a couple exceptions) but the administration needed to ensure that high quality replacements could always be found in the Policy Library or departmental websites.

It was moved, seconded and passed without dissent that the Executive Board endorsed the recommended changes expressed in Attachment #3b but with the understanding that both Sections 37.5.1 and 37.5.5 would not be transitioned out of the Faculty Handbook at this time.

c)      Ms. Balsam moved on to a report of progress from the Faculty Definitions Subcommittee of the Statutes Committee.  Her presentation was made available as Attachment #3c as well as a draft of new language proposed for the Faculty Handbook in Attachment #3d.  The presentation in Attachment #3c outlined most of what Ms. Balsam covered.  She commented that the subcommittee had met with many groups around campus who might be affected in various ways and nearly all of these meetings resulted in improved plans and wording in the Faculty Handbook proposals.  She stated that it was planned to bring the proposed changes to the next meeting of the faculty on November 19 for a first reading.  This meeting would need to include a called meeting of the General Faculty.  [It subsequently happened that additional preparation time was needed and the first reading of the faculty definitions material was postponed to the February 18, 2014 meeting.]

Additional points emerged in discussion with the Board, as follows:

Q. How would one know if the list of faculty titles was only with the approval of the President and Executive Board?  Ans.  The President’s Office would be accountable (along with the Executive Board) for compliance with the policy, but they should consider having a version control mechanism in place that archives a record of changes.

Q.  Was Academic Program Director a new title?  Ans. No, the title had been created prior to the work of this subcommittee for persons who run professional masters programs and possibly other professional degree programs in the future.

Q.  Did the Board of Regents (BoR) intend for all librarians to be members of the faculty.  Ans. Yes, sanction for their inclusion was in the section of the BoR’s policy manual on Corps of Instruction.

Q. Many people held an Academic Faculty title (e.g. Professor) and also an administrative position listed as a Research Faculty title.  Of which faculty would such a person be a member? Ans. The tradition has been that a person with a professorial title would carry the privileges of that wherever they served.  Further clarification of that in the proposed Faculty Handbook language may be needed.

Q.  Should the Executive Board be renamed the Faculty Executive Board? If not, then it should be considered whether to include staff members who would be elected to the Executive Board.  Ans. The name probably should be changed to the Faculty Executive Board.  Doing so would underline the fact that the faculty depends on this Board as its highest spokesman and as an important coordinator of faculty governance.  The faculty would need to know that the Board represented them in an undiluted way. To create a broader Board with substantial number of voting members from the staff would also be at cross purposes with plans to create a separate advisory staff council.  It was recognized though that nonvoting delegates from such a staff council to the Faculty Executive Board would ensure that the faculty members were aware of staff perspectives.  Continued engagement of student delegates was similarly planned.

Q. Questions were posed about Executive Board quorums.  Ans. When the Executive Board would meet on its own business, then the quorum would be a majority of its elected members as drafted in Attachment #3d, Section 2.1 under the subheading Composition.  This arrangement was in line with recent suggestions from the Board about improved quorum arrangements.  When the Board might be called on to act on behalf of the Academic Faculty Senate or on behalf of the Research Faculty Senate between the times of the meetings of those representative bodies, “then only members of the Executive Board from that Faculty [were] eligible to vote in considering that action, and a quorum for that vote [would be] a majority of the elected members of that component of the Faculty.”  Those provisions could be found in the drafted Section 2.1 under the subheading Powers.

Q. When the proposed arrangements were agreed, how would the transition be managed for elected members of the Executive Board and the Senates?  Ans. A transition plan would be developed.  It was imagined that change would be implemented by attrition.  That is, people who were already serving would be encouraged to continue until, under the new scheme, new representatives needed to be elected.

Q. The new Executive Board would be a few members larger than at present [i.e. about five more in total].  Would that be a problem?  Ans. No, it would still be manageable, especially since there would be a better quorum rule.

The Board praised the work of this subcommittee and gave them a round of applause.  Provost Bras encourage Board members to encourage support for these proposed changes.  A motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissent that the Executive Board endorsed the recommended changes just presented.

5.      Professor Butera called on Dr. Bohlander for matters pertaining to the upcoming faculty meeting on November 19, 2013.  Dr. Bohlander explained that this meeting was scheduled as a meeting of the Academic Senate.  Since there would be a need to consider changes in the Faculty Handbook, it would be necessary to combine this with a called meeting of the General Faculty.  Dr. Bohlander showed the Board a draft of the agenda for this meeting in Attachment #4.  He moved that a meeting of the General Faculty be called to be combined with the scheduled Academic Senate meeting and that the agenda be approved.  The motion was seconded and approved without dissent.

6.      The Chair then polled committee liaisons for any reports of matters that should come to the Board’s attention:

Updates were heard from several members about routine activities.

Ms. Nazia Zakir reported that the Faculty Benefits Committee recently learned that the Office of Human Resources had a new Director of Total Rewards.  This person made a presentation to the Committee on the benefits open enrollment that would begin in the next week. “This person would also focus on the strategic importance of benefits in recruiting faculty and staff.  In other business, the Committee was discussing how their charter might be improved.  

7.  Professor Butera asked if there was any further business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 5:20 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

January 25, 2014


1)      Notes of the September 24, 2013 Executive Board meeting (which did not have a quorum).

2)      Memorandum and recommendation on the General Education Subcommittee of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.

3)      Proposals for changes in the Faculty Handbook

a)      Initial recommended changes in the following sections of the Faculty Handbook:

1.         Promotion & Tenure processes, Section 3.3.9

2.         Periodic Peer Review, Section 3.3.10

3.         Annual Reviews, a subset of Section 3.1.2

Amended recommended changes

b)         Recommended disposition of the sections of the Faculty Handbook after Section 7 – the Transitional Sections.

c)         Presentation on changes in the definitions of Faculty at Georgia Tech and accompanying changes in faculty governance.

d)         Draft language for the Faculty Handbook proposed to implement the changes in faculty definitions and accompanying changes in faculty governance. 

4)      Agenda for a scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate and called meeting of the General Faculty on November 19, 2013.