Meeting of September 23, 2014

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building



Members Present:        Balch (CoC-IC), Be (Staff Council), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (ECE), Cross ( EVPR), Eisenberg (U’grad. Student), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Grover (Vice-Chair, ChBE), Hall (GTRI-CTISL), Hernandez (Chemistry), Kirkman (Chair, Public Policy), Lyon (Grad. Student), Palmer (Staff Council), Powell (OSP), Riley (ECE), Schumacher (Psychology), Shepler (Chemistry), Simpson (OSP), Stewart (Staff Council), Turner (Business), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Peterson (President), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)


Guests:                        Herazy (Asst. Provost), Murray-Rust (Heads of SACSCOC Reaffirmation), Zegura (QEP Co-Leader)


1.      Prof. Bob Kirkman, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:03 P.M.  Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, presented him with a commemorative gavel in recognition of the start of his term as Chair. 

2.      Prof. Kirkman directed the Board’s attention to the minutes of their August 26, 2014 meeting.  A motion to approve was seconded and passed without dissent.

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

a)      The ABET accreditation visit to the College of Engineering earlier in the day had gone well. 

b)      The transition to a tobacco-free campus seemed to be going well.  Signage was out.  Smoking cessation help would be available. 

c)      Provost Bras said that prevention of sexual assault and violence on campus was something all needed to support.  Ms. Lynn Durham, Chief of Staff to the President, chaired a task force to look at measures needed to support this.  Their recommendation was to create an office focused on prevention.  A consultant was helping put this in the context of increasing overall wellness in the campus community.  A key area would be education about what was acceptable and not acceptable behavior.

d)     At the President’s Planning Retreat last month, the conclusion was reached that the challenge was going to be keeping up the pace of progress over recent years.  The number of faculty at Georgia Tech had increased in spite of the economy.  Research volume increased 40%.  Donations were coming in well.  Administrative efficiencies had allowed Tech to absorb $100 million in cuts of state support.  Applications for admission were up and up.

e)      The SACSCOC compliance report was submitted on September 10.  The accreditation team planned an on-site visit at Georgia Tech over March 9-12, 2015.

f)       Professors Mark Hay and Dimitri Mavris were recently named Regents Professors by the Board of Regents, and Drs. Helena Mitchell and Lora Weiss were named Regents Researchers.

g)      All the donations had come in to allow Georgia Tech to purchase eight of the sculptures which had been displayed on campus in the recent Engineered Art exhibition.

4.      Prof. Kirkman called on Prof. Ellen Zegura, to tell the Board about plans for Georgia Tech’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) which would be an important part of its SACSCOC reaffirmation of accreditation.  Professors Zegura and Beril Toktay have been designated as co-leaders for establishing this plan.  Prof. Zegura used Attachment #2 as the basis of her presentation.  The focus of the QEP in this cycle was going to be on sustainability and service learning.  Prof. Zegua noted that feedback from students indicated they felt well-prepared in the subject matter of their disciplines, but felt much less so in societal, cultural, and environmental impacts of professional practice.  Slide 17 depicted a number of alliances and faculty members who could serve as resources to this initiative.  Slide 20 emphasized that many students would be exposed early on to sustainability and service concepts and then those who chose to could go deeper as their education progressed.  Prof. Zegura invited feedback on the plan from Board members and promised to circulate a draft narrative of the plan through the Secretary of the Faculty [which was accomplished subsequently]. 

Dr. Bohlander asked when would be the best time for this to be briefed to the entire faculty?  The next two meetings were scheduled for October 21 and November 18.  Prof. Zegura said November 18 would be better in their schedule.  

5.      Prof. Kirkman next called on Dean Catherine Murray-Rust to give an update report on the SACSCOC accreditation reaffirmation.  She told the Board that QEP was an extremely important part of the reaffirmation process and the steering group for this was very pleased with the progress thus far.  They were aiming to get the QEP to SACSCOC by Christmas break.  They also hoped to get a publication out to people on campus so they would be aware of the plan.  About 80 percent of the SACSCOC onsite visit in March 2015 would be devoted to a review of the QEP.  Board members should be prepared to receive an invitation to attend presentations and answer questions from the reviewers.  Briefings ahead of that time to raise awareness would be arranged.  Georgia Tech’s compliance certification report was submitted September 10.  It ran to about 500 pages this time, compared with about 150 pages last cycle. About 150 people at Georgia Tech participated in assembling the narratives in this report. It was then sent by SACSCOC to their offsite review team for their perusal.  They planned to meet November 4-7 offsite to finalize their Focused Report based on their assessment of Tech’s report and other evidence they will have gathered.  This report will contain follow up questions that the reviewers need Tech to answer.  Tech’s replies to those questions would be due about the same time that the QEP would be delivered.  These answers would be conveyed to the on-site review team along with any additional comments from the off-site review team.  At the end of the on-site review in March, there would be a formal read-out of their findings to Tech’s president and executive leaders.  A written final report would then follow and Tech would have the opportunity in the summer to respond to any concerns raised in the SACSCOCreport.  The SACSCOC board would make their final decisions on Georgia Tech’s accreditation reaffirmation in December 2015.

Dean Murray-Rust reviewed several advancements in Georgia Tech processes which have been spurred on by the reaffirmation efforts, including

·         Formation of a standing management committee on substantive change (i.e. major new degrees and new international programs).

·         Increased emphasis on programs focused on systematic measurements and improvements of institutional effectiveness in all units of the Institute (academic, research, and administrative support).

·         Drawing together of an academic affairs policy manual within the online Policy Library.  Academic policies have heretofore been scattered across the Catalog and several web sites focused on particular processes.  Now they were being centered in a new cohesive manual from which particular processes could draw guidance.

Prof. Kirkman asked for questions:

Q. Who was leading the way in the formation of the Academic Affairs Policy Manual?  Ans. Contributions were being made by the Provost’s Office, the Policy Library leaders, and the Secretary of the Faculty in identifying where academic policies had been stated across many existing documents.  The first edition of the manual primarily was built on links to these existing policies.  A couple policies were added: one on substantive change, setting up the standing management committee and processes, and one on dual and joint degrees.  All processes involving the Policy Library were overseen by the Policy Library Steering Committee in which the faculty were represented by the Secretary of the Faculty and the chair of the Statutes Committee.  The faculty representatives had led in identifying the need for the Academic Affairs Policy Manual.  Dr. Bohlander stated his belief that in the long run, the leaders in defining the content of the Academic Affairs manual would be the Provost’s Office and the faculty.  He explained the overall process for change in the content of the Policy Library followed this sequence:  a need for change was identified; it was reviewed by the Policy Library Steering Committee;  stakeholders were identified and consulted by the policy owner; the policy was refined; it was reviewed further by the Policy Library Steering Committee; it was published via the Library website for campus-wide comment; adjustments were made and reviewed if necessary; then it went to appropriate bodies of the faculty, or the President’s cabinet for approval; finally the President reviewed and approved.

Q. Would the Institute have an opportunity after reaffirmation to critique the reaffirmation process?  Was the process becoming too cumbersome? Ans. The presidents of the SACS academic member institutions could decide together to institute changes in the reaffirmation process.  Georgia Tech participants planned to document the level of effort and costs involved.

6.      Prof. Kirkman recognized the three officers of the new Georgia Tech Staff Council who were present and were also ex officio members of the Faculty Executive Board; namely, Mr. Dwayne Palmer, Chair, from OIT; Dr.  Christie Stewart, Vice-Chair, from CRC; and Ms. Andrea Be, Secretary, from the Office of Industry Research.  He welcomed them and called on them to tell the Board about the new Council.  Mr. Palmer opened with thanks to the faculty for welcoming them and sharing perspectives.  He began an overview of the Staff Council with Attachment #3 which told the story of how the Council was formed, its planned structure, and planned future events.  It was intended to give the Institute’s staff a voice to the administration, like that the faculty and students already had.  Ms. Be covered the inaugural appointed council who was serving until elections of Council members were completed.  Dr. Stewart described the eventual composition of the Staff Council and how 17 new members would be elected to fill out 200 seats on the Council.  She explained that the three current officers of the inaugural Council would stay on to provide some continuity, but the whole Council would hold an election of the officers going forward. 

Dr. Stewart explained that five standing committees of the Council were envisioned whose chairs would be members of the Council.  The rest of the members of the standing committees could come from other members of the Council or the staff at large and would be appointed.  She reviewed the areas of interest covered by the committees and noted that overlap with some faculty standing committees was recognized.  The proposed committees and their scopes included:

·         Committee on Health and Wellbeing

      Employee wellness


      Family support

      Community service

      Work/life balance

·         Committee on Employee Engagement



      The employee experience



      Building a great place to work

·         Committee on Campus Physical Environment

      Transportation and Parking


      Workplace Safety


·         Committee on Compensation and Benefits

      Compensation tools and programs

      Benefits/Retirement options

·         Committee on Communications

      Impact of internal and external communications

      Building awareness of staff council

Mr. Palmer added that the officers of the Georgia Tech Staff Council were now Georgia Tech’s representatives to the University System of Georgia (USG) Staff Council.  The next meeting of the USG Staff Council would be held in October.  He asked if the Board had any questions.

Q. Student representative Justin Eisenberg asked if there would be any involvement of the new Staff Council with the existing Student Staff Council.  Ans. After the election was completed, the Staff Council planned to reach out to the Student Government Association (SGA) for coordination, just as it would with the faculty.  Mr. Eisenberg explained that he was not referring to the SGA, but rather to an existing Student Staff Council which represents student employees of the Institute.  Mr. Palmer asked Mr. Eisenberg to give him further details about that body.    

7.   The Chair then explained plans for the Faculty Executive Board’s effort to refresh the charters and memberships of the Faculty Standing Committees.  The Board was provided copies of Attachment #4 which Prof. Kirkman explained.  He stated that the need for this effort partly arose from the recent redefinition of faculty and partly from the realization that these committees had not been refreshed for more than a decade.  It was particularly important that the charters reflected a clear understanding of what matters the faculty was expected to decide or where their input was just advisory. Clarity needed to be reached about those things that faculty members were obligated to do in the committees and things they were entitled to do when needs arose but did not have to be done every year.  Any required interactions with staff or with student government leaders needed to be addressed. Designations of ex officios to committees needed to be reviewed and adjusted where necessary.  Finally, it was necessary to review what special designations of faculty categories were needed on each committee.

Prof. Kirkman stated that a task force would be formed to work on this.  Members of this task force so far comprised the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary of the Faculty Executive Board but that other members of the Board would be solicited to serve as well.  Volunteers were welcome.  The plan was to host a series of meetings with current members (including ex officios) and past leaders of each of the Standing Committees.  Also invited would be selected stakeholders in the areas of responsibility of each committee, such as those listed in Attachment #4.  Board liaison members would be invited to the respective discussions.

The plan was to hold these meetings during the fall term.  Vice-Provost Susan Cozzens had offered staff support in lining up the meetings.  The goal was to have proposals ready to go to the faculty during the spring term.  These were covered in Statutes of the Faculty Handbook so amendment would require two readings to be fully approved.  Dr. Bohlander expressed the hope that the changes could be incorporated in plans for the spring elections and that revised charters could guide the actions of the faculty committees in the 2015-16 academic year.

Prof. Kirkman asked the Board for feedback:  Was this process reasonable and acceptable?  Were there any suggestions of additional stakeholders?  No objections or comments were raised so the Chair asked that Board members email him later if they had suggestions.

8.   Prof. Kirkman called on Prof. Martha Grover, Vice-Chair, who moved to appoint Prof. Thanos Nenes to fill an unexpired term from now until August 2016 on the Faculty Honors Committee following the resignation of one of its members.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent

9.   The Chair called on Dr. Bohlander to present proposed members of subcommittees of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the approval of the Board.  He handed out Attachment #5 showing the proposed makeup of the Study Abroad Subcommittee (which is actually joint with the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee) and of the General Education Subcommittee of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.  Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board of their role in approving subcommittees which could include members from outside the parent committee when special expertise was needed.  He said that the structure and reporting arrangements were designed to affirm the parent committee’s responsibility for overseeing the work of these subcommittees.  The subcommittees would bring recommendations to the parent committee.  They would decide what to recommend to the Academic Faculty Senate who would have the final say in each case.  Dr. Bohlander moved that the members of subcommittees listed in Attachment #5 be approved.  The motion was seconded. 

Q. Prof. Buterea asked: Was the Board approving the existence of the subcommittees or just the members?  Ans. These standing subcommittees already existed, so today the Board was approving the members.  But the Board sometimes helped establish subcommittees, as it did when it helped establish the Faculty Definition Subcommittee of the Statutes Committee last academic year.  Prof. Butera explained that there was interest in the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee on being host to the Committee on the Responsible Conduct of Research and making it a subcommittee.

The above motion passed without dissent.

10. Dr. Bohlander continued by explaining the proposed agenda (Attachment #6) for the upcoming meeting of the Faculty, Faculty Senate, and Academic Faculty Senate scheduled for October 21, 2014.  His motion for approval was seconded and passed without dissent.

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

Prof. Butera reported that the Office of Legal Affairs and the Student Regulations Committee recommended an adjustment in the regulations concerning student sexual misconduct aimed at better compliance with legal standards.

Dr. Shepler reported that the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee was taking a serious look at the standards for allowed absences for participation in sporting events in light of some special requests.

12. Professor Kirkman asked if there was any further business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 4:33 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

November 1, 2014


1)      Minutes of the August 26, 2014 Executive Board meeting.

2)      Presentation on the Quality Enhancement Plan

3)   Presentation on the Georgia Tech Staff Council

4)   Proposal for the Review of Standing Committees of the Faculty and of the Academic Faculty

5)   List of proposed IUCC Subcommittee members.

Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Faculty Executive Board on October 6, 2014:

Members of the Faculty Executive Board –


In accordance with, our Board has been asked to appoint a faculty member to serve on the “Committee on the Use of Institute Facilities”.  Bob Kirkman, Martha Grover, and I have conferred about this and would like to suggest we appoint Bob Pikowsky, an academic professional and Director of GT’s Pre-Law Program from the School of Public Policy.  Bob also served well for several years as chair of the faculty’s Welfare and Security Committee.


Would you agree to appoint Bob Pikowsky for this role?


_____  Yes              _____ No            My concern is _______________________________________________________


It would be helpful if I could hear back from you by close of the day Wed. 10/8.

A quorum of Board members having participated the question was answered Yes without dissent.