Meeting of November 4, 2014

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building



Members Present:        Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (ECE), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Eisenberg (U’grad. Student), Grover (Vice-Chair, ChBE), Hall (GTRI-CTISL), Hernandez (Chemistry), Kirkman (Chair, Public Policy), Palmer (Staff Council), Peterson (President), Powell (OSP), Schumacher (Psychology), Shepler (Chemistry), Stewart (Staff Council), Turner (Business), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Balch (CoC-IC), Be (Staff Council), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Cross ( EVPR), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Lyon (Grad. Student), Riley (ECE), Simpson (OSP)


Guests:                        DesRoches (FAR), Herazy (Asst. Provost), Murray-Rust (Dean of Libraries)

1.      Prof. Bob Kirkman, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:03 P.M. 

2.      He directed the Board’s attention to the minutes of their September 23, 2014 meeting found in Attachment #1.  A motion to approve was seconded and passed without dissent.

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

a)      Congress recently requested information from colleges on support to student athletes in areas like medical care and scholarships.  Georgia Tech reported strong support in both areas.  For example, scholarships were continued at Tech even when students were unable to play.  Congress also had indicated that every college would be required to survey their students concerning how sexual assaults were handled on campus.  The American Association of Universities was in the process of preparing a survey instrument that they would recommend.

b)      The Georgia Tech Advisory Board met recently. 

c)      Homecoming Weekend was a great success.  The Class of 1989 raised $1.1 million; the Class of 1974 raised a little over $10 million; and the Class of 1964 raised a record $33 million.

d)     The Capital Campaign was continuing well and would run through December 2015.  The goal of $1.5 billion was almost accomplished but there were other specific goals that were still receiving focused attention.  For example, Tech had a goal to raise funding for 100 endowed chairs. 

e)      The Ivan Allen Prize for Social Courage would be presented to Beatrice Mtetwas on November 13.  She would be the fourth recipient of this prize.

f)   President Peterson reported that Provost Bras was recently at the White House for a presentation about the administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Initiative.  At the same time President Peterson was on campus for a University System of Georgia task force meeting on campus safety.

g)   Dr. Bras mentioned how pleased he was to meet Georgia Tech alumni working in President Obama’s administration.  Dr. Peterson also noted that Georgia Tech had begun a federal government internship program to complement the one that had been in existence for a long time in Georgia government.

The President asked Provost Bras to share other insights and news:

h)      The Provost reported that, sadly, Prof. Sandy Slaughter (from the College of Business) had passed away the day before this meeting.

i)   Georgia Tech recently convened a round table discussion of online education in New York City and it went well.  Other leaders from around the country attended.

j)    Georgia Tech enrolled a record 8,427 graduate students this year.  This did include the 1,200 online students, but even without those, the residential number would have been larger than last year.  Professional masters degrees showed dramatic increases, in line with goals of the Institute.

k)   The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) named Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute one of four winners of their 2014 Innovation and Economic Prosperity University Awards.  Tech “received the ‘Innovation’ award for its technology-based economic development efforts, including the commercialization of ground-breaking inventions, the evolution of a leading business outreach and economic development organization, and the transformation of empty city lots and abandoned warehouses into an innovation neighborhood” according to a press release from APLU.

4.      Prof. Kirkman called on Dr. Reginald DesRoches, Chair of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering who also served as Georgia Tech’s Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR).  He came to present his annual FAR report to the faculty and Prof. Kirkman noted that this report would also be delivered at the next meeting of the Academic Faculty Senate.  Dr. DesRoches presented the material in Attachment #2 and followed this material closely in his remarks.  Highlights included the fact that the men’s basketball program had a perfect score on its Academic Progress Rate for the last three years; the academic metrics of the football program had been steadily improving; Tech’s Graduation Success Rate had been steadily improving; and notably, star golfer Mr. Ollie Schniederjans planned to stay with his academic program to graduation in spring 2015 despite enticing possibilities of a lucrative professional career (which undoubtedly would come later in due course).  Schniederjans was noted as both the 2013-14 Player of the Year and member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll.  Several other student athletes with champion character were also recognized as noted in the attachment. 

In response to questions about how academic progress of student athletes was monitored, Dr. DesRoches stated that checks and balances were in place at Georgia Tech.  For example, if any class had a concentration of student athletes making up 20 percent or more of the class, then the class roll and grades earned in that class were scrutinized carefully by a committee of faculty and administrators to ascertain that legitimate academic progress was being made. 

Dr. Peterson pointed out that Faculty Executive Board member Prof. Debby Turner was also on the Georgia Tech Athletic Association Board of Trustees and another faculty point of contact for any concerns about Tech’s intercollegiate athletic program.

5.      Prof. Kirkman next called on Dean of the Libraries, Catherine Murray-Rust, to give a report on plans for the renovation of the Georgia Tech library buildings and facilities.  She presented the materials in Attachment #3.  Dean Murray-Rust started by explaining that a re-imagining of the library had begun back in the context of the planning for the adjacent Clough Building.  Originally, the renovation of the library was part of the plan for that building but for economic reasons the library’s renovation became uncoupled.  In the meantime, the Clough Building had been built and was very successful, logging about 3.2 million visitors per year.

By summer 2013, state priorities had been reset and planning of the library renovation was restarted with fresh re-imagining.  Planning was undertaken with the help of a Kansas City architectural firm BNIM and a local firm LP3.  At present, the library comprised two main sections:

The Crosland Tower built in the 1960s and the Price Gilbert Memorial Library Building built in the early 1950s and a registered historic building. It was recognized that the library at Georgia Tech had made a major transition to mostly electronic collections of journals.  About 95% of new acquisitions were in electronic form, as one might expect for an institution focused on technology.  Liberal arts and architecture still needed more paper artifacts but the rest preferred electronic media.  There were 1.34 million visits to the two library buildings in the 2013-14 academic year and the dominant use was focused in the computer-based tools in the library.  Indeed, network connections to library resources from outside the buildings were even more important.

These facts spurred on planning and development of a Library Service Center (LSC) to be jointly owned with Emory University, as depicted in slide 5.  There a shared collection will be housed that would be used by both campuses.  Today’s collections from the two institutions only overlapped about 17% so the joint collection represented a major expansion for both partners.  A new building with high-density storage has been planned to be built on the Briarcliff property at Emory to house this collection with ground breaking in December 2014 and completion by fall 2015.  The building would feature special climate controls suitable for long-term preservation of paper collections.

Tech’s two existing buildings on the Georgia Tech campus were in fairly bad shape and in need of a major overhaul.  Together they have 230,000 ft2.  Some of that would be lost in modifications necessary to bring the buildings up to current building codes.  Crosland Tower particularly needed changes for fire safety and modern restrooms. 

Library planners were also working with consultants from Brightspot Strategy LLC on re-imagining the programming of the renovated library spaces that would be created after renovation.  Three principles were identified: “scholarly community, inspirational space, and long life, loose fit.” The latter meant a space that could be easily changed over time to meet changing needs with a minimum of reconstruction.  That could be done for example with fairly open spaces in which activities were segmented more by furniture solutions than by walls. 

A vision for the new library expressed in slide 8 focused on more active outreach and individualized service to members of the Tech community.  Some potential programming elements for the library were listed in slide 10.  Some form of virtual browsing of the collection housed off campus in the LSC was also contemplated.  The current library buildings were estimated to provide 1,000 seats for people to use; more would be needed in the renovated library.

The renovation construction has been planned to start in 2016.  Crosland Tower would close and be worked on first; then Price Gilbert.  The full project was expected to span four years.  Dr. Peterson stated that the library renovation would be about an $80 million project and the LSC would require $35 million.  The LSC would be a project undertaken by Emtech Biotechnology Development, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit corporation created in the time when Emory and Tech began to collaborate on biomedical engineering.

Q. Where would archives of the Institute be housed?  Ans. Most Georgia Tech archives would be kept in the LSC because the environment is best for them there, but Tech archives would be owned exclusively by Georgia Tech.  Some especially rare items could be kept at Georgia Tech.

Q. What would be done for digital archives? Ans. There were special challenges in preserving digital media and the ongoing means of reading them.  Some Georgia Tech and GTRI faculty were experts in such matters and were working with the library to develop good solutions.  This was a recognized growth area in archiving.

Q. Was there any collaboration between the library renovation and the student center renovation concerning plans for programming space? Ans. The kinds of programming in the two facilities would be distinct.  The main distinction was that events in the student center could be social and house student club activities but events in the library would be principally academic in nature.  Library and Clough Commons space would not generally be rented to any group.  The occasion when the Institute allowed the Clough building to be used by a movie production was a special exception.

6.      Prof. Kirkman called on Prof. Rob Butera to go over the report of the Board’s Subcommittee on Academic Program Reviews (APRs) provided as a handout and found in Attachment #4a.   The documents of each APR in the periods 2012-13 and 2013-14 were studied by at least two members of the subcommittee and highlights were assembled by the team.  Common themes found across several of the reviews were then summarized in the report as a set of general findings and a set of specific ones.  Prof. Butera explained those and concluded by saying that this effort seemed to succeed in providing a meaningful high-level review of the APRs conducted under Georgia Tech’s new APR process; he recommended that something similar be done each year by the Faculty Executive Board.  Dr. Bohlander noted that the fall was a good time of the year for the subcommittee to do its work because then the past year’s APRs had run their course and all the necessary documents should have been assembled.

Provost Bras commented that the subcommittee identified credible key issues and he commended the subcommittee members for their work.  He also commented that the great thing about the APR process was that practical action items were identified at the end of each review with some care, recognizing that that not all external reviews were on target and not all things could be accomplished right away with the resources available.  But generally there still were some issues remaining that Tech needed to work hard to solve.  [After this meeting, the Provost provided the Board with a report, included here as Attachment #4b, about follow-up actions taken as a result of the subcommittee’s efforts.] 

7.   The Chair then called on the Secretary of the Faculty, Dr. Ron Bohlander, to present the proposed agenda for the upcoming Academic Faculty Senate meeting found in Attachment #5.  He explained the agenda and moved that it be accepted as proposed.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

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

Prof. Doug Williams reported on the October 11, 2014 meeting of the USG Faculty Council held at Georgia Gwinnett College.  He stated that both the chancellor and vice-chancellor attended.  Discussions were held at the meeting concerning system budgets and related fiscal matters but not much could be firmed up until after the elections (held on the same day as this Board meeting).

Ms. Nazia Zakir reported that Prof. Joe Hughes was now chair of the Statutes Committee and the Committee was working on a recommendation to move the transitional sections of the Faculty Handbook into the main part of the Handbook.  Ms. Zakir also reported on developments in the Welfare and Security Committee in which she participated as head of Environmental Health and Safety.  There had recently been discussions in the Committee about how the Institute would handle a situation if someone presented Ebola symptoms at the health center.  Equipment had been purchased to prepare the health center in case someone needed to be treated there.  Ultimately, the plan was to transfer an infected person to Emory University Hospital should one appear.  A contractor would be engaged to assist with cleanup if the need arose.  The President reported that a recent simulated drill went well.

Prof. Butera reported that the Student Regulations Committee was considering a change in student rules to reflect changes in how students’ email services were provisioned.  The rule had been that a student must check his/her Georgia Tech email account for new mail once a day.  Since Georgia Tech now allowed students to use off campus email services, the rule needed to be changed to require students to check email daily on whatever service they registered with the Institute.  The Board discussed the pros and cons of the underlying services changes, but acknowledged that the rules needed to reflect reality.

9.   Professor Kirkman asked if there was any further business and Dr. Bohlander asked for permission to inform the Board of a coming development.  He told the Board that he had decided to retire around the first of June 2015 and that therefore a process needed to be put in motion to find a new Secretary of the Faculty.  He reported that the leadership team of Profs. Kirkman and Grover, Dr. Bras, Asst. Provost Jennifer Herazy, and Dr. Bohlander had been assembled to develop a recommendation that could be brought to the Faculty Executive Board in a future meeting.  Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that Georgia Tech statutes specified that the President would appoint the Secretary after consultation with the Faculty Senate.  Recommendations would first be brought to the Faculty Executive Board.

Hearing no other business, the Chair adjourned the meeting at about 5:00 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

January 25, 2015


1)      Minutes of the September 23, 2014 Executive Board meeting.

2)      Report of the Faculty Athletic Representative

3)      Briefing on plans for library renovation

4)      Academic Program Reviews

a.       Report of the Faculty Executive Board Subcommittee

b.      Subsequent response from the Provost’s Office

5)      Proposed agenda for the Academic Faculty Senate meeting to be held November 18, 2014.

Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Faculty Executive Board on December 1, 2014:

Dear members of the Board –


We have a duty to fill by appointment a vacancy for the unexpired term of Dr. Donna Llewellyn on the Faculty Honors Committee.  As you know, she will be leaving later this month for a new post at Boise State and we wish her all the best in that adventure.  Ordinarily we would seek to appoint someone who was a runner-up for this committee in a previous election, but we are out of such runners up. 


We have recognized that there are two major groups of faculty honors that are selected each year: those selected by our standing committee ( and the Faculty Research Honors ( selected by a committee appointed by the EVPR.  In the interest of better cross-fertilization between the two committees (which may be useful in our planned Standing Committee refresh), our Vice-Chair and lead for appointments, Martha Grover, contacted the EVPR’s office for a suggestion of a faculty member from the Research Honors Committee who might also be willing to serve on our Faculty Honors Committee.  The EVPR’s Office suggested Prof. J. David Frost from Civil and Environmental Engineering. 


Accordingly, would you agree to appoint Prof. Frost to the Faculty Honors Committee to serve from now until August 2015?


___ Yes                ___ No                 My concern is __________________________________________________________________________


Please try to get your response back to me by the end of this Thursday, December 4, 2014.

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