Meeting of September 22, 2015

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building


Members Present:      Abrams (Ugrad student), Balsam (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Briscoe (GTRI-ATAS), Canellas (Grad student), Clark, Rick (Staff Council), Cross (EVPR), Feron (AE), Foster (Modern Lang), Garcia (AE), Grover (Vice-Chair, ChBE), Lotempio (GTRI-SEAL), Nation (GTRI-ELSYS), Riley (ECE),), Shepler (Chemistry)


Members Absent:       Balch (CoC-IC), Bras (Provost), Clark, Russ (CoC-CS), Cottle (Architecture), Dorsey (Staff Council), Hall (GTRI-CTISL), Hernandez (Chemistry), McIntyre (Business), Peterson (President), Powell (OSP), Schnepp (Staff Council), Schumacher (Psychology), Simpson (OSP), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE)



1.    Prof. Martha Grover, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:08 P.M.  Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Secretary of the Faculty, presented her with a commemorative gavel in recognition of the start of her term as Chair.

2.    Prof. Grover directed the Board’s attention to the minutes (Attachment #1) of their August 25, 2015 meeting. A motion to approve was seconded and passed without dissent.

3.     The Chair next called on EVPR Dr. Cross to remark on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.

a)     Congratulations to Mark Canellas as a newly admitted to PhD candidacy.

b)     New faculty member on campus is Sandy Winnefeld. He is recently retired as the Vice Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff; he is a fellow and Professor of the Practice in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.

c)     Discussed the dedication of the Engineered Biosystems Building two weeks ago.  Successful Faculty Shepherding Committee that we are trying to repeat with the High Performance Computing Committee and with the Tech Research Building.

d)     The Foundation meeting acknowledged we have met our campaign goal that we have been in since 2004.  The campaign will officially go through June of next year, but we have surpassed the $1.5 billion we were trying to raise.

e)     The new GTRI Director, Dr. Andy Gerber, started on August 1st and is off to a great start.

4.       The Chair addressed needed appointments:

a)     Faculty Benefits Committee: need to appoint the Staff Council representatives to the Faculty Benefits Committee.  They have recommended the two elected members serving on the Staff Council Compensation & Benefits Committee be the representatives to the Faculty Benefits Committee.  This is Tommy Little, Associate Director-Building Services and Leslie Hall, Lead Human Resources Information System.  Note the Faculty Handbook states the FEB will appoint 3 staff representatives to the Faculty Benefits Committee.  They have suggested since they have 2 elected representatives to their staff committee that they fill only two slots and maybe the Faculty Handbook be updated (this recommendation has been provided to Bob Kirkman for the standing committee review). A motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissent.

c)     Faculty Honors Committee: Prof. David Frost serves as an ex-officio member to the Faculty Honors Committee, as a liaison between the EVPR Honors Committee and the Faculty Honors Committee.  The FEB is asked to approve the appointment of Prof. Frost to fill the vacancy on the Faculty Honors Committee to complete the term of Prof. John McIntyre. A motion was made, seconded, and passed without dissent. 

5.     Prof. Grover discussed initiatives of interest (Attachment #2) for the Faculty Executive Board to consider:

a)     Prof. Bob Kirkman is continuing the review of the Faculty Standing Committees.

b)     Last meeting we approved the Task Force on Visiting Faculty and Prof. Rigoberto Hernandez is leading the effort.

c)     Discussing policies that would promote entrepreneurial activities (looking at our current policies as well), help build the local economy

d)      Understanding funding and budgeting at the Institute level, creating more transparency for the faculty

e)     Discuss the state of research faculty on campus and how to promote their career development.  GTRI does a good job supporting their research faculty; how are the academic units doing with support of research faculty and career development.

f)      Hearing some statistics about faculty RPT process and statistics.  Good to hear how we are doing with faculty retention and consistency across the units.  Ask Sandi Bramblett to share this with us.

g)     Learning environments is a task force out of the Provost’s office with objective to identify how to improve faculty teaching and learning environments for students.  Giving suggestions for chairs on how to work with and encourage faculty within their department.  Giving suggestions and helpful tips to the actual academic educators. Looking at CIOS scores to determine if this provides information to faculty to better their teaching performance.

h)     Looking at policies and procedures for post-tenure review/promotion

i)      Cost of education and how we see that at GT as well as in the national context

j)      How to promote diversity at GT/how we are doing with this

k)     Coordination with staff council.

l)      Suggestion that we may have an interest in is the campus master plan.  A topic of interest to both faculty and staff.

Discussion about the importance of environmental sustainability and diversity on this list.

6.       Prof. Grover called on the Student Government Association Undergraduate President, Ms. Jen Abrams, and Graduate President, Mr. Marc Canellas, to share the SGA priorities for the year:

1)     Student Government Association Undergraduate President, Ms. Jen Abrams:

She stated that the Undergraduate SGA has a cabinet of 13 people and it mirrors President Peterson’s cabinet.  Those student’s on a regular basis are working with Dr. Peterson’s cabinet to keep the communication open.

a)     Internally, SGA allocates the “student activity fee”, they control about 5.4 million dollars that they allocate throughout the fiscal year.  Trying to be transparent with the students while doing this, as well as making sure students are getting equal funding for activities

b)     Also working on fee increases when we need services on campus, but keeping balance by not having more fees than the students need.

c)     Making sure students know where they can get information regarding SGA.

d)     Externally, last year supported effort to rework the academic calendar.  Now they are working on class scheduling.  Working on the transition to new class times/lengths, trying to make this convenient for students and staff.

e)      Undergrads and graduates on the Learning Environments task force.  What does the learning environment in the classroom look like, what is the relationship between students/faculty, and how can we keep it positive

f)      “Campus inclusiveness”, dealing with issues of racial harassment, but also inclusiveness in general (no matter what you look like or identify with, you are a yellow jacket).

2)     Graduate President, Mr. Marc Canellas:

Main action role is to allocate the student activity fee; in a way that benefits graduate students.  Trying to make us more of an action body that affects the lives of graduate students.  There are three main goals for the year.

a)     Graduate Student Experience Survey- the first ever comprehensive survey for graduate students at GT (with questions having to do with mental health, advising, qualifying exams, PhD progress, work/life balance, international education, finance). Working with Office of Graduate Studies, Dr. Cozzens is supporting this, Office of Assessment, and the Ombudsmen who have a lot of the qualitative stories related to the survey. Going out in late January or early February.  The hope is this will have real results for the FEB to look at in the future.

There was some discussion/suggestions about topics for the survey:

§  Maybe it would be helpful to ask questions regarding how the student felt in their specific environment.

§  Maybe add a question about how much flexibility students have if they don’t like their research area, and would like to go work somewhere else?

§  Students should know policies regarding graduate student advisors

§  In certain disciplines, there is an expectation of how involved an advisor will be, for example in developing the thesis topic, some students like having more direction, some like to have more independence etc.

§  We are seeing more and more research in the undergraduate environment.  Some of the information you gather may also be of use to the undergraduate population.

§  A question you might want to ask: “why do you want a degree from GT?”

b)     Recruiting graduate student department groups.  Based on different departments, some have graduate student groups, graduate student advisory committees, or something else.  These groups are often dispersed and not coordinated. Graduate student life is often that way.  A grad student in one department often does not know what is going on in other departments.  A lot of the issues like cost, diversity, or mentoring are across campus coordinate these groups so they have some common way to communicate.  Trying to determine what that group is in each department or who is responsible for that group.  Goal is to organize and coordinate this over the year.

c)     Graduate Student white paper; what as graduate students do we see the future of graduate student education looking like?  Topics may include tuition and fees, different tuition levels, what we think mentoring should look like.  What paper topic: This is what Graduate SGA thinks graduate student education will look like.

7.  Prof. Grover polled committee liaisons for any reports of matters that should come to the Board’s attention.  The following were significant highlights not covered elsewhere:

a)     Representatives of the Staff Council, Rick Clark:

·        Going to be hosting another town hall in mid-October, there will be an opportunity to update staff about elections, which begin in November.

·        Doing a few information sessions around campus about nominations and the nomination process beginning tomorrow

·        Instead of having another survey for staff, they are going to pull together a focus group to talk about engagement, retention, and professional development on campus, and anything we feel like there may be gaps in that we may have heard from the staff over the past year.

b)     Paul Foster, Academic Integrity: nothing to report.

c)     Doug Nation, Student Regulations: will meet Thursday this week

d)     Erica Briscoe, Student Grievance & Appeal: nothing to report

e)     Eric Feron, Student Activities: scheduled to meet Oct. 1.


8. Ms. Balsam shared the proposed agenda (Attachment #3) for the upcoming meeting of the Faculty, Faculty Senate, and Academic Faculty Senate scheduled for October 20, 2015. The motion for approval was seconded and passed without dissent.

9. Prof Grover asked if there was any additional business and hearing none adjourned the meeting at about 4:35 pm.

Submitted by Jeanne Balsam, Secretary

October 26, 2015


1)     Minutes of the August 25, 2015 Faculty Executive Board meeting.

2)   FEB Initiatives for the year

3)  Agenda for Oct 20, 2015 meeting of Faculty, Faculty Senate, and Academic Faculty Senate