Meeting of August 26, 2014

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building



Members Present:        Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Cunefare (ME), Cross (new, EVPR), Downing (EII), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Eisenberg (U’grad. Student), Grover (new, ChBE), Hernandez (Chemistry), Kirkman (Public Policy), Lyon (Grad. Student), Palmer (new, Staff Council), Peterson (President), Riley (new, ECE), Schumacher (Psychology), Shepler (new, Chemistry), Simpson (new, OSP), Stewart (new, Staff Council), Turner (Business), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Balch (CoC-IC), Butera (Chair, ECE), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Hall (new, GTRI-CTISL), Powell (OSP),Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Tyson (Chemistry)


Guests:                        Cozzens (Vice-Provost for Grad. Ed. & Faculty Affairs), Herazy (Asst. Provost), Pocklington (Marketing & Communications Manager), Williamson (Asst. VP Administration & Finance)


1.      Prof. Bob Kirkman, Vice-Chair, opened the meeting at 3:06 P.M.  He reported that the Board Chair, Rob Butera, was in route back from a professional society board meeting.  He directed the Board’s attention to the posted notes of the June 17, 2014 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1).  He noted that this meeting did not have a quorum and any business that had to be conducted was done subsequently via email ballots recorded at the end of the notes.  No vote was needed on the notes themselves and no corrections were received.

2.      Prof. Kirkman then introduced members of the Board added by recent actions of the faculty or by the spring elections (noted in the member lists above).  He noted that for this semester, undergraduate students would be represented by one of the Student Government Association (SGA) vice-presidents, Justin Eisenberg, because the SGA Undergraduate President and Executive Vice-President have classes that conflict with the Board meetings and Faculty Senate meetings.  Prof. Kirkman also introduced officers of the new Georgia Tech Staff Council who were present, Mr. Dwayne Palmer (President) and Dr. Christie Stewart (Vice-President).  The Vice-Chair noted the importance of this new Council for Georgia Tech and stated that there would be a briefing on this Council at the next Board meeting.

Prof. Kirkman also thanked those on the Board who were at the end of their term and this would be their last meeting.  Thanks were expressed for years of dedicated service from the following retiring members:  Prof. Ken Cunefare (ME), Mr. Chris Downing (EII), Dr. Cam Tyson (Chemistry), Mr. Raj Vuchatu (GTRI), and Monique Tavares (Staff Rep.).

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

a)      There was an announcement recently of a partnership between Georgia Tech and the Atlanta Public School (APS) System.  In this, Georgia Tech would grant automatic admission to any valedictorian or salutatorian graduating from this school system, provided they met appropriate minimum criteria.  All need-based aid requirements would also be met using private donations.  Dr. Peterson noted that Georgia Tech spends $50 million/year on need-based aid for all students, which covered 60% of all need-based requirements. 

Q. Could the automatic admission part of this (for top students) be extended to other schools like private schools in the Atlanta area?  Ans. That was an interesting idea but the focus for the beginning was on APS to give them a needed boost.  If this was successful, Tech could look at whether there was a means to expand it.

b)      Georgia Tech was becoming a tobacco-free campus beginning with this fall semester.  The Board of Regent’s requirement was for that to be accomplished by October 1 for all of the University System of Georgia (USG).  Georgia Tech was going ahead with it from the beginning of the semester.  The goal was to improve the health, comfort, and environment on campus and there would be smoking cessation resources made available.

c)      The President had created a mental health task force which had reported out and several of their recommendations were being put in place.  The number of counselors in the Counseling Center had been increased by five.  A wellness initiative had also been put in motion to support wellness for students, faculty, and staff over a broad scope.  A sexual violence task force had also been created and had reported out recommendations.  A number of policy initiatives resulted and were adopted by the Academic Senate in their April 22, 2014 meeting.  The administration had recently asked Ms. Sonja Alvarez-Robinson, head of GT’s Strategic Consulting Office, to recommend some organizational structure to support the programs arising from these initiatives, within 60-90 days. 

d)     Dr. Peterson summarized the NCAA sanctions that were recently reported in the newspaper.  Most of these were a confirmation of sanctions that were self-imposed involving the resignation or release of some coaching and compliance staff.  Georgia Tech recommended an additional two years of probation and the NCAA concurred.  In addition, going forward, the chief compliance officer, Ms. Shoshanna Engel, would report to Georgia Tech’s general counsel. 

e)      The USG Chancellor, Dr. Hank Huckaby, would be visiting Georgia Tech on September 25, 2014 and meeting with selected members of the faculty and administration. 

f)       The Capital Campaign was proceeding well.  The goal was to raise $1.5 billion by December 2015.  At this point, $1.45 billion has been raised.  The President stated that the goal might be reached one-year early but the campaign would continue through the planned period in any case.  Already $55 million had been raised specifically for the G. Wayne Clough Georgia Tech Promise [Scholarship] Program.  Funds had been raised for 82 of the 100 new faculty chairs sought through the campaign.

g)      Dr. Peterson reported on a number of campus construction programs which made a lot of progress during the summer.  The grove north of the Library had been redone.  Streetscapes along Techwood Drive across from the football stadium were redone.  The Towers Residence Hall was renovated.  Renovation of Glenn Residence Hall was underway and would be completed next year.  The sidewalk on Ferst Avenue between the Nanotechnology Center and Physics had been rebuilt and a bike lane added in the road.  The construction of the new Engineered Biosystems Building had come a long way during the summer and would be completed in a year.  Atlantic Street had been raised 8-9 feet as part of the Eco-Commons project.  Planning had stepped up for a new High-Performance Computing Building on Spring Street across from the Georgia Hotel Parking Deck.

h)      President Peterson said he would be giving the Annual Institute Address Thursday, August 28, 2014, at 11 a.m. in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons auditorium.

i)        The President thanked the leaders of the new Staff Council for stepping forward in this important endeavor.

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

j)        Dr. Bras noted that Governor Deal held a press conference in Georgia Tech’s Klaus Advanced Computing Building on August 25 to announce his proposal of new high school curriculum requirements in which computer science courses would fulfill high school foreign language, math or science requirements. Deal also asked the State Board of Regents to accept those new standards for admission into the USG schools.  Prof. Doug Williams noted that Georgia Tech’s general education requirements included one semester of programming so all Georgia Tech majors required this.  Governor Deal’s proposal would better prepare incoming students for this.  President Peterson suggested that Georgia Tech could perhaps offer some educational opportunities to high schools students like Tech does in calculus.

k)      Enrollment for the fall semester had turned out to be very close to the target numbers.  There were approximately 2,805 incoming first-year students.  It was an outstanding cohort:  The average SAT score was 2,134 (up 36 pts).  94% of the incoming class had taken AP Calculus or equivalent.  Graduate student enrollment was about 8,000 students, including about 1,250 in the online MS in computer science program.  MS programs over all now had more than 200 more students than last year, whereas PhD students were fewer this year by about 26.  These numbers were not final as it was still very early in the semester.  Looking at enrollment across the colleges, some were growing Dr. Bras reported, some were holding steady, and some declining in enrollment.

l)        The special “Engineered Art” outdoor sculpture exhibits around campus had officially closed but eight of the fifteen sculptures were purchased through private donations and would stay on campus.

m)    The SACSCOC accreditation reaffirmation process was coming up to its first major reporting milestone on September 10.  Provost Bras commended the efforts of the committee who had been preparing all the materials for this report. 

n)      Four faculty members would be feature speakers at the 2014 Decatur Book Festival; namely, authors John Cressler and Kristie Macrakis, and speakers Randy Engle, Pete Ludovice, Jenny Singleton, and James Wray.  In addition, Brittain Fellows Lauren Neefe and Caroline Young, as well as undergraduate students Jack Anninos, Brent Hornilla, and Ritika Ravichandra, would represent Georgia Tech in poetry.

4.      Prof. Kirkman called on Ms. JulieAnne Williamson, Asst. VP of Administration and Finance, to tell the Board about Georgia Tech’s progress in initiatives to achieve a tobacco and smoke-free campus.  She presented the material in Attachment #2Ms. Rachel Pocklington, Communications and Marketing Manager, was also introduced as having an important role in this initiative.   Ms. Williamson stated that Georgia Tech was gradually ramping up its campaign for a tobacco-free campus.  The objective was to build grass roots support for the positive things that would come from this development.  She explained that the emphasis would be on the simplest message that the whole campus would be tobacco-free.  There would be no special locations identified where tobacco would be given a pass, including places that might not literally be owned by Georgia Tech.  If they were within the campus, they were considered part of the tobacco-free campus.  The term “enforcement light” meant a reliance on awareness, communication, and education.  Signage would progress gradually and respectfully.

Q. Would the tobacco-free policy include the GT Hotel in Tech Square? Ans. This was a good example of the simple message “Georgia Tech is a tobacco-free campus.”  Georgia Tech Professional Education had been working hard in preparation for their communications with their clients. 

Q.  What was the definition of Tech’s campus? It was not clear in the mid-town area. What about the restaurants adjacent to the GT Hotel and Global Learning Center on Fifth St? Ans. Again “Georgia Tech is a tobacco-free campus” would apply. 

Q. Would these policies push students off campus to get tobacco and might that lead to increased risk for students?  Was there any initiative to address that? Ans. Student safety was a very important thing.  But tobacco was also not a safe thing.  So in encouraging a safe experience on campus, all aspects needed to be addressed.  It was expected to take time for desired cultural change to gather momentum.  Strategies to get the best outcomes would evolve. 

5.      Prof. Kirkman next called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, to give a report on progress in implementing the new faculty definitions and associated changes in faculty governance that were adopted by the faculty in their April 22, 2014 meeting.  Dr. Bohlander stated that he had been working with the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to identify all those who held titles which were on the official lists of titles for Academic Faculty and for Research Faculty that were adopted by the Faculty Executive Board and the President's Office.  This effort also identified those persons who had held General Faculty status but who did not hold a title included in Academic or Research Faculty title lists.  Those persons received letters then from OHR informing them that they were no longer designated as faculty but their benefits would continue undisturbed and they had a right to appeal that their title be added to the lists of faculty titles if they wished.

Since those letters went out in early August, Dr. Bohlander stated that he had received five inquiries from people concerned about their status but that so far none of these had been elevated by the person inquiring to a formal appeal to the Faculty Executive Board.  Some of these concerns were believed to be solvable through possible personnel actions involving possible alternatives in the titles held by these individuals.

Dr. Bohlander reported that he had checked on all those who would be serving in faculty governance bodies like faculty standing committees.  He categorized each person serving in the year ahead as Research Faculty or Academic Faculty, and of the latter, which were tenure track or not.  He reminded the Board that the faculty had decided that anyone who had been elected to a faculty committee, but later not designated as a faculty member due to the redefinition, would nevertheless be allowed and encouraged to complete their term on that committee.  There were only about three such persons found, and everyone else would be serving completely in accordance with the eligibility rules in the Faculty Handbook as amended in April.  Dr. Bohlander noted that all of the members of the standing committees of the Academic Faculty were either tenure-track faculty or librarians/archivists because they had been elected when that was required of all academic faculty.  In the future there would be more people from titles like Academic Professional wherever the new rules permitted.

The Secretary explained that he was now preparing to ascertain how many new members of the Academic Faculty Senate and of the Research Faculty Senate would need to be elected in each unit of the campus with faculty.  He had already mapped all continuing representatives with unexpired terms into these two senates.  He could see that the Academic Faculty Senate would have a surplus of members from many units because academic faculty members who held seats only in the General Faculty Assembly would be joining their colleagues from the old Academic Senate and both be seated in the Academic Faculty Senate.  This overpopulation would be left undisturbed and solved only through attrition.  On the other hand, there were relatively few research faculty members from academic units who had served in the General Faculty Assembly, so academic units would be electing substantially more research faculty to the Research Faculty Senate in the fall.  Dr. Bohlander expected to be ready soon to provide instructions to all units about the elections they needed to hold.

6.      Prof. Kirkman stated that each year the Board appointed someone to serve as Georgia Tech’s representative from the faculty to the USGFC.  Prof. Doug Williams had served in this role over the past four-five years and had indicated he was willing to serve another year.  Prof. Kirkman 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.

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

Since all the committees were engaged in their very earliest start up activities, there were no substantive reports.

Dr. Bohlander reported he had been in touch with all committee chairs to assist them with their start up activities and ensure that they would be ready for year-end reports to the Oct. 21 meeting of the faculty coming up.  He also reminded the Board that there would soon be workshops with each of the standing committees as part of the process to examine what charges and membership rules should change for each.  Finally, he stated that Faculty Executive Board Liaisons to the Standing Committees for the year ahead were not yet set.  Those determinations required that the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board be known first.

8.      The Vice-Chair called on Dr. Bohlander again to bring news about candidates and the election for Faculty Executive Board Chair and Vice-Chair for 2014-15. 

Dr. Bohlander began by thanking Profs. Rob Butera and Bob Kirkman for their important service as Executive Board Chair and Vice-Chair in the past year. 

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

Hearing none, he stated that Prof. Bob Kirkman was a candidate for Chair, and Prof. Martha Grover was a candidate for Vice-Chair.  Upon request, the two candidates spoke briefly about their perspectives.  Dr. Bohlander thanked them for their offers to serve.

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

9.      Professor Kirkman asked if there was any further business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 4:20 p.m.

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

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

September 20, 2014


1)      Notes of the June 17, 2014 Executive Board meeting (which did not have a quorum) plus a record of subsequent email ballot results.

2)      Tobacco-Free Campus Plan