GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
FACULTY EXECUTIVE BOARD
Meeting of March 3, 2015
Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building
With an Addendum recording a matter decided by an Email Ballot
Members Present: Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Butera (ECE), Cross (EVPR), Dorsey (Staff Council), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Eisenberg (U’grad. Student), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Grover (Vice-Chair, ChBE), Hernandez (Chemistry), Kirkman (Chair, Public Policy), Peterson (President), Riley (ECE), Schnepp (Staff Council), Schumacher (Psychology), Stewart (Staff Council), Turner (Business), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)
Members Absent: Balch (CoC-IC), Bras (Provost), Clark (Staff Council), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Hall (GTRI-CTISL), Lyon (Grad. Student), Powell (OSP), Shepler (Chemistry), Simpson (OSP)
Guests: Allen (Postdocs@Tech)), Balsam (Secretary-Elect), Cozzens (Vice-Provost), Herazy (Asst. Provost), Hughes (Statutes Chair), Pikowsky (Registrar), Stone (Dir. Postdoc Programs), Zegura (QEP Lead)
1. Prof. Bob Kirkman, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.
2. He introduced the Vice-Chair and Secretary of the Staff Council, newly elected by the Staff Council; namely, Debbie Dorsey and Meredith Schnepp, respectively. They along with the Staff Council Chair, Rick Clark, will each have a seat on the Faculty Executive Board for 2015.
3. Prof. Kirkman directed the Board’s attention to the minutes of their January 27, 2015 meeting found in Attachment #1. A motion to approve was seconded and passed unanimously.
4. The Chair next called on President Peterson to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:
a) The President noted that the SACSCOC accreditation review team would be on campus the following week for the accreditation visit. Much of the attention would be directed at Georgia Tech’s Quality Enhancement Plan, about which the Board would hear more later in this meeting.
b) The Georgia Legislature was continuing to meet, and support remained strong for Georgia Tech’s budget priorities. In particular:
· $1.9 million was requested as additional funds for ATDC. $729K had been advocated by the House so far.
· $5 million was requested to renovate the Holland plant which provided heating and cooling services to campus buildings. A little over $4.1 million had been supported by the House so far.
· Tuition changes were under consideration, including a possible transition of some special fees into tuition.
· $40 million was being asked for the next phase of the library renovation, with another $35 million that would be needed in the year after next.
c) The Engineered Biosystems Building on 10th St was nearing completion. Opening was planned for June 1. The cost of the building was financed by state and private contributions, 80% of which would have been paid by the opening.
d) A new High Performance Computing Building was being planned for a location in Tech Square near the Georgia Tech Hotel on Spring Street. Requests for Quotations were out for the planned 700,000 ft2 building. It would be a mixed tenancy building in which Georgia Tech would occupy about half the spaces, and companies, the balance.
e) WorldPay recently made a $1 million gift and mentorship commitment to Georgia Tech to support Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) and the creation of a Financial Technology accelerator in ATDC. The company also planned soon to move its headquarters into Atlantic Station.
f) A recent campus leaders retreat was held on February 24. Mr. Burns Newsome, Director of Compliance for Title IX, led a discussion of issues around sexual violence.
g) A science symposium was held February 26 to honor Dr. Charlie Liotta’s 50-year career in research, education, and leadership at Georgia Tech. Distinguished speakers and participants came from all over the world.
h) Speakers for the spring commencement have been set: President Emeritus Wayne Clough will speak at the graduate student commencement on Friday evening, May 1. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be the speaker for the morning Bachelor’s commencement, May 2, and Gen. Philip Breedlove, Commander, Supreme Allied Command, Europe, will be the speaker at the afternoon session.
The President asked EVPR Steve Cross to share other insights and news:
i) Sponsored research awards at Georgia Tech were up so far this year compared with last.
j) Dr. Cross noted that companies increasingly wanted to open offices near to Georgia Tech to promote technical interchanges. This was understood to benefit both parties as it strengthened research and translated into better company products and services. In addition, scholarship in techniques of innovation and entrepreneurship was also benefitted. Students have been eager to learn about innovation from programs like the InVenture competition.
k) Dr. Cross congratulated Ms. Nazia Zakir (who was present as a member of the Faculty Executive Board) on her appointment as Director of Environmental Health & Safety. He noted that Tech was trending toward a lower rate of safety incidents and he was happy to see that.
5. Prof. Kirkman called on Prof. Ellen Zegura, to tell the Board about the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) which Georgia Tech had proposed as part of its SACSCOC accreditation reaffirmation. Prof. Zegura reminded the Board that she had previously provided in-depth briefings on the QEP. The Board received a handout of key talking points about the program in Attachment #2a and she reviewed some of those. The Board was also provided longer informative documents in Attachments #2b and 2c via links from the meeting agenda. Prof. Zegura stated that, fundamentally, the QEP was about sustainability and community engagement and their intersection. Both topics were being defined very broadly. Two new sophomore-level courses would be developed and offered, each approaching the intersection from opposite ends of the duality: sustainability concepts with applications in communities and community engagement concepts with applications in sustainability. These courses would be developed and taught by teams of faculty from multiple disciplines. In response to a question about whether they would fulfill General Education curriculum requirements, Prof. Zegura said that was not worked out yet and appropriate proposals would be brought to the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee in due course. She stated that the program would promote the creation of Serve-Learn-Sustain projects and education opportunities. There would be a QEP Office created reporting to the Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education. This office would help coordinate course, project, and partnership development. The aspiration was to change the undergraduate culture to embrace such activities as a natural part of learning. Formal kickoff of the program was planned for January 2016.
Q. How would the visiting SACSCOC team engage with faculty and students to learn about their awareness of the QEP? Ans. Details were not known beyond the fact that some faculty and students had been invited to have lunch with some of the accreditation team.
Q. Were there specific plans for deeper Server-Learn-Sustain elements beyond the sophomore year? Ans. Deeper dives would appear as traditional capstone projects or as “learning pathways” (i.e. a series of learning engagements) that could rise to the level of a certificate or designations on degrees. Those details were still being worked out.
Q. How would student engagement in these topics be tracked and what levels of engagement would be tracked? Ans. Under discussion with the Registrar were schemes of designators that would identify courses with traceable content. There was also an initial effort within the School of Mechanical Engineering to develop a prototype software tool to track student engagement in projects. Community engagement would include activities outside of the curriculum and it was anticipated that the Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement would cooperate in the QEP and provide a tracking software tool. The QEP team has developed detailed plans for assessment and targets for engagement.
Q. Were there plans to work with Facilities Management on sustainability projects? Facilities had a sustainability committee that would like to be involved. Ans. Yes, Facilities had expressed an eagerness to engage students in such. Dr. Cross pointed out that Georgia Tech had been recognized for exemplary sustainability already but could always use help to get even better.
6. Prof. Kirkman skipped ahead in the agenda to provide more time for participants to arrive for a topic which would be taken later. So he next called on Prof. Martha Grover, Nominations Committee Chair, to report on progress in preparing a slate of nominees for faculty governance elections. A draft of the ballot was circulated for comment. [An Addendum to these minutes provides a link to the final ballot endorsed later by the Board.] Prof. Grover thanked the other members of the Nominating Committee for their service; namely, Cliff Eckert (Vice-Chair), Rosa Arriaga, Sonit Bafna, Laura Margaret Burbach, Doug Flamming, and Pamela Pollet. She stated there were just a very few issues yet to resolve. Meetings would be held soon with the committee to get a final ballot to recommend to the Board. Dr. Bohlander (Secretary) commended the Nominating Committee for their work and said this was the most complete ballot that any nominating committee had ever produced while he was serving as Secretary. He told the Board they could expect to receive an email asking to approve a final ballot in the next few days. Voting was planned to start March 25 and finish April 8.
7. With the concurrence of the Chair, Dr. Bohlander introduced the topic of a possible need for a task force that could lead eventually to the formation of a faculty standing committee. The focus would be on support of Georgia Tech post-doctoral fellows as well as temporary or visiting faculty. He reminded the Board that the Faculty Redefinition Subcommittee had identified the need for some mechanism to support this part of the Georgia Tech community. Post-doctoral fellows have for several years been considered members of the research or academic faculty, depending on the focus of their work, but after the redefinition of faculty, post docs were no longer eligible to participate in faculty governance as voting members of the faculty. Previously, they were part of the voting faculty technically but generally not involved due to pressing time commitments in their work and the brevity of their tenure at Georgia Tech. While the work of redefinition of faculty was underway, the subcommittee met with some post-doctoral fellows who had formed affinity organizations like Postdocs@Tech and also met with leaders in the Office of the Vice-Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs who could articulate needs of this community. The subcommittee envisioned that a task force or standing committee could be formed that would comprise faculty members interested in the support of the post doc community along with ex officio administrators and post docs. It was also recognized that temporary and visiting faculty might have similar concerns that could also be addressed.
Dr. Bohlander introduced some people who were leaders on campus in this field; namely, Vice-Provost Susan Cozzens; Director of Postdoctoral Programs, Ms. Jana Stone; and representative of Postdocs@Tech, Ms. Caley Allen. Dr. Bohlander said there were two objectives in this Board meeting: 1) discussion of the scope of a support group like a taskforce or standing committee, and 2) identification of some people who should be part of an initial task force.
Ms. Stone passed out Attachment #3 with some notes about Post Docs and Part-Time Faculty. In response to a question, she used the handout to illustrate that there were many kinds of people who generally fell under these headings. In addition there were fulltime visiting faculty (both academic and research). This created a variety of needs, but with some common ground. Prof. Hernandez asked what post docs and temporary or visiting faculty had in common, and Dr. Bohlander responded that they both were designated as faculty types of employee but without participation in faculty governance. Thus, as Prof. Kirkman noted, there was a need to provide them with an advocacy channel just as Georgia Tech had done for regular faculty, for staff, and for students. If it turned out there was not enough common ground, then multiple advocacy channels could be added as options to consider. President Peterson urged the preparation of a matrix of all the kinds of employee with appropriate parameters included to identify the distinctions. Dr. Bohlander recognized that the needs of post docs were somewhat clearer at this point and it was fine to focus there as a beginning.
Ms. Stone pointed out that the handout summarized a number of issues and concerns that a task force might be able to help address. These included issues with appointment terms, benefits, appraisals, mentorship, professional development support, and conflict resolution. Overall, post docs and other similarly positioned employees would like to feel like they have a voice and place in the community. Professor Hernandez provided examples of the challenges faced by post-doctoral fellows who have outside support but then do not have access to the same benefits as fulltime employees of the Institute. There was further discussion of the intricate regulatory hurdles faced in such situations.
Ms. Stone stated that she already had an Advisory Council for her Postdoctoral Programs Office that had met once. Some faculty members, post docs, and representatives of relevant campus services were appointed as members of this council. Their initial meeting focused on questions concerning appointment guidelines. Dr. Bohlander said that the purpose of a task force for advocacy of post docs and the like would not be to replace Ms. Stone’s Office. The proposed premise was that a task force as part of faculty governance would bring added value and weight to getting issues addressed.
Dr. Bohlander asked Ms. Allen to share some thoughts on other needs from the perspective of post docs. She said the issues outlined in the handout were important but in addition, post docs wanted to feel less isolated and to be members of a community of shared experience. The world of a post doc often did not reach much further than his/her faculty sponsor and one or two office mates. A larger networking community was wanted. Toward that end, post docs got together this past September to host a first post doc research symposium in which there were about twelve presented talks and about sixty posters. Post docs from many schools across Tech participated. Grant-writing, career development, and other professional development workshops were being organized. The encouragement of faculty was felt to be important to the success of such efforts.
Dr. Bohlander drew this to a close stating the hope that the idea was not dropped of advocacy for these communities. He asked if there were volunteers from the Board who would like to work with Dr. Cozzens, Ms. Stone, and Ms. Allen to put together recommendations about a task force. Profs. Rigoberto Hernandez and Rob Butera volunteered. Dr. Bohlander asked them to follow up with Dr. Cozzens et al. and bring the Board back some recommendations.
8. Prof. Kirkman then called attention to Attachment #4a which was a rough draft of possible changes to the charters and make up of Faculty Standing Committees. This was a mark-up of the existing Faculty Handbook Section 2.6 and following prepared by a task force of the Faculty Executive Board comprising Prof. Kirkman, Prof. Grover, Dr. Bohlander, and Ms. Zakir. Prof. Kirkman also handed out a summary of key thoughts in the draft changes as Attachment #4b.
Prof. Kirkman prefaced his remarks by reminding the Board that an effort to review the Standing Committees had not been accomplished in almost two decades and the recent faculty redefinition effort sharpened the realization that a review was needed. The task force met with almost all the Standing Committees, their chairs and past chairs, many current members, and other knowledgeable people who regularly interacted with the committees. The only Committees not yet covered were the Faculty Benefits Committee and the Welfare and Security Committee because those needed joint discussion with the new Staff Council which was still getting organized. Prof. Kirkman noted that those parts of Attachment #4a that appeared in gold were statute material from the Handbook and would require two readings to amend.
Prof. Kirkman drew attention to some of the committees with the most change recommended. For example:
· The proposed formation of a new Academic Integrity Committee combining to some degree the scope of the existing Academic Integrity Committee and the Student Honor Committee. The existing Student Honor Committee was set up to form a standing jury pool for hearing cases of infractions of the student code of conduct. Their work load had been greatly reduced because students often exercised an option to have their cases heard by administrators instead of by faculty and students from the Committee. The Academic Integrity Committee was created to oversee all efforts to promote academic integrity and recommend steps to improve outreach and supporting processes. The current draft recommended that the high-level functions of the two committees be combined and that the new Academic Integrity Committee would largely oversee the formation of a jury when necessary rather than be the jury pool itself.
· Questions had been raised about whether the Student Computer Ownership Committee needed to continue as an elected standing committee. Could it instead be appointed or perhaps become a standing subcommittee of an elected standing committee? Subcommittee members could largely be appointed with attention given to the expertise of those appointed. Not in question was whether faculty should lead a process to determine annually the minimum standards for computers purchased by students. The question was principally about how the expertise was to be assembled.
· The Scholarship Services Committee was a proposed new name of what today was known as the Faculty Services Committee. Prior to last year, it had been named the Academic Services Committee. Because its focus was not restricted to Academic Faculty, the name was changed to avoid confusion, but the members of this committee pointed out that they had long been concerned with assessing and improving services to more than just faculty. They had often assessed bookstore services to students and library services to scholars in the community beyond current faculty and students. The new Committee name was suggested to overcome the limitations of the current name.
· The drafted duties of the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee had been rearranged to make clearer the core duties that must be done. Those were largely in determining excused absences from class for other Institute sanctioned activities. The Committee would also serve as a resource for the faculty to investigate and advise on other matters of concern in the list of “may do” activities. The task force was not confident that this was yet a good scope for this committee. Vice-Provost Cozzens expressed concern about the part of the scope having to do with recommendations about graduate and undergraduate financial aid. Dr. Bohlander stated that in the past the voice of this committee was simply that of an advocate for resolving problems students were experiencing; the committee did not try to how financial aid should be administered. In discussion, comments were also made about possible overlapping scope between this committee and the Student Regulations Committee.
· The Student Organization Oversight Committee was a new name and new suggested approach to what was today the Student Activities Committee. It was realized that some of the work of the committee could be delegated to administrative action, much as some petitions to the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee were handled by administrators. But experienced members of this committee stated that the real value-add was in mentorship and interaction with student groups when they needed problem solving help.
· In the section on the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee, the task force attempted to clarify the role of the committee in helping schools and colleges administer appeals and serve as a second level of appeal when needed.
Prof. Kirkman asked for comments or questions:
Q: What could be done to ameliorate the work load of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC)? The load of petitions is particularly weighty. On the other hand, splitting that off to a separate committee would simply create a committee no one wanted to serve. Could the committee be made larger to spread the load? Ans. Prof. Riley noted that Attachment #4b mentioned the possibility of course relief and he was not in favor of that because people might be motivated to serve then for “wrong” reasons. Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that a few years ago, faculty complained that the committee had gotten too large and was hard to fill all the slots. That growth had been fueled by increased enrollment at Tech and so the formulas had been amended to keep a lid on the size of the committee. It was already one of the largest of the standing committees. He suggested instead the option of forming some subcommittees for certain functions and appointing some faculty from outside the parent committee to help with those functions.
Comment: There were Academic Professionals who could help with some curriculum matters if the rules of membership of the curriculum committees were not restricted to tenure-track faculty. Counterpoint: While indeed some academic professionals might be well-qualified to assist in some activities of the curriculum committees, the tenured and tenure-track faculty believed they needed to continue to hold the responsibility for decisions about curriculum per se
Comment: Registrar, Reta Pikowsky, explained that petitions were now handled by the whole IUCC because when they tried to have a subcommittee, they would often not get a quorum and students were not being well-served if there was not a good cross-section of faculty to hear their cases.
Comment: Some large universities solved the problem of curriculum decision work load by delegating most or all of the work to their colleges; they did not bring final decisions to an Institute level. This could be especially relevant to petition work load, where a college could deal with a petition and the Institute committee could act only when requested in appeals of the college decisions. Ms. Pikowsky said that she still saw value in the checks and balances of Institute-level discussion of curriculum decisions. Support was voiced for Institute decisions because students generally took courses from more than one college and students’ curricula should not then be determined by just major colleges.
Comment: It was noted that some petitions were today not resolved at the school or college when they really could be. Perhaps some guidance could be provided to schools and colleges to encourage more resolution there.
Q. President Peterson asked if the role of the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee as a second level of appeal was something new. Ans. Dr. Bohlander said that the duties of this committee were now just stated in simpler terms. Those listed in Attachment #4a were consistent with the actions of this Committee as stated in the last several years of annual reports and in accordance with the Student Academic Grievance Procedures in the Georgia Tech Catalog. According to the Catalog, after a decision of the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee the student’s only recourse was to the Provost and only for a procedural review. Prof. Hughes noted that Section 2.6.12 should reference the Georgia Tech Catalog wherein the procedures followed by this committee were codified. Dr. Bohlander noted that there could also be further improvements needed to Section 4.7 of the Faculty Handbook that listed various matters on which students could appeal.
Comment: Dr. Bohlander noted that the standing committee task force asked the Office of Legal Affairs to suggest some clarifying language for the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee (FSGC) concerning when appeals of faculty dismissals should follow the procedures laid out in Section 3.1.10 (pre-dismissal hearings) vs those in Section 3.1.9 (post-dismissal hearings). He also pointed out that all reports from the FSGC were slated to go to the President in existing policy and that might not be consistent with the President’s and Board of Regents’ guidelines for appeals. President Peterson noted that greater clarity could be added to Sections 3.1.10 and 3.1.9 concerning the terms used to describe faculty eligible to participate in the procedures described in those Sections.
Comment: The existing duties of the Student Regulations Committee stated that they “Originate or receive all proposed changes in or amendments to Institute policies and regulations pertaining to the student body, both graduate and undergraduate.” Vice-Provost Cozzens noted that could be overly broad. For example, her office considered the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee to be the body which established graduate admissions standards. Dr. Cozzens also pointed out an overlap of authority of Student Regulations Committee with the Academic Integrity Committee. Thus the language of the Student Regulations Committee should be tuned up and de-conflicted with the duties of other committees. That said, Prof. Hughes suggested that the Student Regulations Committee be given exclusive authority of just that section of the Catalog called student regulations. That would make the Student Regulations Committee’s oversight of that section of the Catalog analogous to the Statutes Committee’s oversight of the Faculty Handbook. President Peterson recommended that the Faculty Executive Board reach clarity about who should make particular decisions about matters governing students and clarify that in the Handbook. There really were two parts to this: a group should be designated to decide on a given policy matter, and then the Student Regulations Committee could have oversight over keeping the student regulations section of the Catalog harmonious.
Comment: If the Student Computer Ownership Committee were to become appointed, then appointments should be structured to ensure the committee contained a cross-section of viewpoints so there would be good balance in setting requirements. Narrowly defined preferences should be avoided in the decisions taken. Enthusiasm was also expressed for continued strong instructional faculty participation in these decisions.
Comment: Consideration should be given to adding a charge to the Student Organization Oversight Committee to provide guidance and expectation management for the duties of faculty advisors to student organizations. Guidelines rather than formal requirements were needed that were not too restraining or fraught with legal ramifications.
Comment: Mr. Justin Eisenberg, SGA Representative, expressed concern with the wording of one of the draft duties of the Student Organization Oversight Committee; namely, “Review, provide input, and approve all appropriate proposed changes in any Constitution of the Student Body.” Mr. Eisenberg explained that currently, if such an amendment to a student constitution was proposed, it was then voted on by the entire student body. He expressed concern about how a faculty committee vote would be inserted into the process. President Peterson reiterated the importance of carefully choosing when the faculty should decide something and which faculty body should be involved. Prof. Kirkman stated that the current statutes required such a change to be ultimately approved by the Faculty Senate, and the draft moved the decision to the Standing Committee level. President Peterson posed a hypothetical question: If the students decided to recommend a new fee to support a renovation of the student center, should that fee come to the Student Organization Oversight Committee or another faculty body for approval? Or should it only go to the Administration? It was noted that today the Student Activities Committee had a charge to “Review all proposals from the Student Government to the President recommending the amount and distribution of student activities fees.” So, the current draft for the Student Organization Oversight Committee section simply continued that charge.
Prof. Kirkman wrapped up the discussion of the subject draft with a request to Board members to send any further thoughts or questions to him. He stated that the work of this review was still very much a work in progress. President Peterson commended the task force for the considerable work already accomplished.
9. Prof. Kirkman then polled attending liaisons to or representatives of a number of organizations for any reports of matters that should come to the Board’s attention.
Prof. Riley reported that last week the IUCC only had to decide on twenty petitions. Seventy-five were able to be handled administratively.
Prof. Wood reported that the FSGC was able to mediate a dispute without having to send a recommendation to the President. Such occurrences were rare. President Peterson stated that the FSGC also recently recommended a reversal of a previous decision of the administration and the President’s Office accepted their recommendation.
Ms. Debbie Dorsey reported that the newly elected Staff Council was working to review and approve bylaws that had been drafted by their inaugural committee. They would then be working on appointments to their planned standing committees; namely, Employee Health & Well-Being, Employee Engagement, Campus Physical Environment, Compensation & Benefits, and Communications Committees. Dr. Bohlander noted that the Faculty Executive Board would like to have discussions with the Staff Council at a leadership level initially about areas of mutual interest in the two sets of standing committees. He recommended that the two bodies work together to harmonize those committees with mutual interests. This would also assist in working with administration units concerned with the topics at hand.
10. Hearing no other business, the Chair adjourned the meeting at about 5:05 p.m.
Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary
April 7, 2015
1) Minutes of the January 27, 2015 Faculty Executive Board meeting.
2) Update on the Quality Enhancement Plan in the SACSCOC Reaffirmation preparations.
c) Full plan
3) Briefing on Postdocs and Part‐time Faculty for Faculty Executive Board
4) Discussion of possible revisions in the membership and charges for Faculty Standing Committees
The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Faculty Executive Board on March 10, 2015:
Dear Board members –
Our Nominations Committee has completed their work and propose the attached ballot. Please let me know by return email if you approve of this ballot.
___ Yes ___ No My concern is _______________________________________________________
Please try to get your response back to me by the end of Thu. Mar. 12 so we can get these names entered in the online election system.
May I also take this moment to thank Martha Grover and Cliff Eckert for leading this nominations team, and to thank the rest of the team as well for a wonderful job: Rosa Arriaga, Sonit Bafna, Laura Margaret Burbach, Doug Flamming, and Pamela Pollet. Job very well done!!
A quorum of the Faculty Executive Board having provided answers, the majority decided the question in the affirmative.