GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
FALL MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY
GENERAL FACULTY ASSEMBLY
MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE
Tuesday, October 16, 2007, 3:00 pm
Tech erasing traditional boundaries
Georgia Tech continues its sojourn into the 21st century as a university that is actively breaking down the barriers usually associated with educational institutions, said President Wayne Clough as he delivered his State of the Institute address to faculty and staff [on October 16, 2007].
Cooperation among its member schools and colleges, along with local and foreign governments and leaders, serve to make Tech’s students better prepared to undertake their studies in a broader context, both interdisciplinary and international, due in part to a university that is “collaborative in its nature.”
“As the 21st century unfolds around us, the future shape of that new technological research university is becoming clear,” Clough said. “It is innovative, continually reshaping its educational experience and refocusing its research thrusts to produce the talent and the discoveries the future demands. It embraces the challenge of creating solutions to the world’s seemingly intractable problems and shaping the way in which technology is used.”
Themed “Vanishing Boundaries,” the address used everyday examples on how Tech is successfully extending beyond established boundaries and limitations of education, from location to the melding of traditional courses of study. He highlighted the Horizon Wimba Live Classroom—from Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning—and the “Halo” high-definition virtual classroom developed by Arbutus Learning Center researchers and HP engineers as examples of physical location no longer being an impediment to delivering a course of study.
“Originally developed for
high-end, corporate video conferencing, the Arbutus systems will cost much less
and work for large-sized classrooms. We are hoping to begin using it soon for
classes that have students in
Diversity of students
Programs such as the Georgia Tech
Promise program were touted as providing more economic diversity on campus.
And for the last three years, Tech
has produced 10 percent of the nation’s African-American doctoral degrees in
engineering—even with 320 other accredited engineering programs across the
country. While saying no one person can receive credit for this, Clough singled
The International House on East Campus, created to be a mix of students from many cultures and nationalities, houses 48 students. Through an Institute program, they are aided in their efforts to share their cultures with each other and the campus.
Clough also lauded students’
volunteer efforts to reach out to communities, both locally and globally.
Members of Tech’s student body have helped
“We seek to achieve both [economic and cultural diversity], and use them to create a vibrant community of learners,” Clough said. “In short, we hope our graduates are educated for life, not just a job.”
Clough illustrated how the
barriers are breached beyond what one may think of as “technology” disciplines.
While Tech is not typically thought of as a medical school, recent partnerships
“Each year my wife, Anne, and I host the new faculty at the President’s House, and I ask many of them what attracted them to Georgia Tech. The most common response is the opportunity to work in a genuinely interdisciplinary environment,” Clough said. “Research is ongoing on our campus that will allow DNA to be repaired, that will allow nanoparticles to detect and destroy cancer cells before they spread and that will create diagnostic techniques for ovarian cancer.”
Efforts by the music department and the growing arena of video games were cited as how technology and the liberal arts were encouraged to commingle, in an attempt to end centuries of separation.
“We are deliberately encouraging our campus to be a place where the arts and technology interact. The by-product is enormous, as it helps humanize and inform the end result,” Clough said. “Our poet-in-residence, Tom Lux, is fond of saying that writing a great poem is not just an act of pure impulse, but is founded on structure as much as is the design of a bridge.”
As a marker for the university’s progress in this area, Clough pointed to the student-organized career fair held in September, where more than 400 companies (a new record) came to recruit. While he pointed out the “usual” companies—Boeing, Ford, Cisco Systems, IBM—others were new, including Medtronic, Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg and even Chick-fil-A, Wal-Mart and Walgreen’s, reflecting the university’s growing prominence not only in healthcare, but on Wall Street, in logistics and in marketing.
“We cannot assume we have completed the task of the lowering of our disciplinary boundaries, but I believe our culture is no longer tolerant of them,” he said.
cross-disciplinary subject, Clough outlined Tech’s research on the issues of
energy and climate change with the university’s partnerships with Oak Ridge
National Lab in a new, $125 million biofuels research center and a $12 million
partnership with Chevron to help develop alternative fuels for transportation.
He lauded the efforts of Peter Webster and Judy Curry in Earth and Atmospheric
Sciences, Strategic Energy Institute researchers Bill Koros and
Again showcasing the university’s
interdisciplinary nature, he also touted the team of faculty and students from
A global perspective
While other institutions actively
seek to send their students abroad, Tech seeks also to establish degree
programs and campuses overseas, with initial efforts exploring new doctoral
Established cooperative programs, as well as economic development activities, are in place in Ireland, France, Singapore and Shanghai, all used as examples of broadening the university’s reach beyond our national borders. As a result, relationships with business and government leaders are strengthened, cementing Tech’s efforts to help shape the global economy.
This has led to unprecedented
access to leaders in the highest levels of government internationally, as the
campus has welcomed the president of
“Georgia Tech is working hard to become a genuinely global university, and as I talk about the opportunities that are presented to us by vanishing boundaries, you are hearing these characteristics of a global university interwoven in all aspects of our efforts,” Clough said.
These efforts also extend closer
to home. The “natural” boundaries that have surrounded the campus in recent
years have given way to business ventures and increased cooperation with area
businesses, the city of
After years of becoming what
Clough described as “an island-state,” now the university works in tandem with
the city to bring development and business opportunities to areas that once
were in the midst of deterioration and blight. Technology Square on
“The new Georgia Tech is at once local, and also global, with 1,000 students on other campuses around the world or online,” Clough said. “Taken together, [the programs and activities offered] are the building blocks in the process of defining the technological research university of the 21st century—also known as Georgia Tech.”
After President Clough concluded
his address, he took a moment also to congratulate the women’s tennis team who
won the national championship in their sport.
He then opened the floor to questions and posed one to himself: What about the place of the individual
investigator in a world in which interdisciplinary collaboration is so
important? He said the answer is that
Tech continues to support the aspirations of individuals and it is appreciated
that such creative acts can make huge differences. Many of the problems of the day, however, do
require larger, more collaborative efforts.
So there is a place at Georgia Tech for both kinds of scholarship.
Justin Rubner, a reporter with the Atlanta Business Chronicle, asked Dr. Clough to expand on the subject of Georgia Tech’s initiatives in
2. After a brief intermission, the President re-convened the meeting at about 3:40 PM. He called for approval of the minutes of the meeting of May 1, 2007 [a meeting of the Academic Senate & Academic Faculty combined with a Called Meeting of the General Faculty]. He indicated that the minutes were published and posted on the faculty governance web site and that there were no additions or corrections. (See Attachment #2 below for web site reference). The minutes were approved without dissent.
3. The President then called on representatives of each of the faculty’s Standing Committees to present their annual reports and any minutes requiring approval. Explicit approval of the faculty for specific action items was also sought where required. In most cases the representatives followed closely the reports in the committees files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #3 below and so this text will not be repeated here. The following is an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to make the presentation. Where additional remarks where offered, these are noted.
Standing Committees of the General Faculty
Benefits (Bettina Cothran) – Annual
Minutes: 2/2/07, 3/28/07, 4/26/07, 8/28/07. No action items.
President Clough commented that House Bill 815 introduced in the last session of the Georgia General Assembly would broaden eligibility in the Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) to all salaried (i.e. “exempt”) employees and the amount of the employer contribution to ORP would be determined by the Board of Regents, as a measure to improve fair financial support to the program. While this bill did not pass within the time available in the last session, it will be pressed strongly in the next session.
Honors (Bill Hunt) – Annual
Bill concluded by urging faculty and schools to make nominations for the honors to be awarded in 2008. He stated he would be happy to speak to groups of faculty about this.
Status & Grievance (Tony Wasilewski) – Annual Report
President Clough commented that the past year brought an unusual number of cases that made this committee’s load especially heavy. The administration and faculty leaders are working with the committee to get them the support they need so they can better handle heavy loads in the future, should these occur. When a faculty member brings a grievance to the attention of the committee, it is important to get it resolved as quickly as possible.
d. Statutes (Tim Strike) – Annual Report
Services (Jeff Donnell) – Annual
Minutes: 4/19/07. No action items.
Welfare & Security (Jilda Garton) – Annual Report
Minutes: 9/7/06, 10/9/06, 11/27/06, 12/11/06, 1/8/07, 2/19/07, 4/9/07, 7/9/07. No action items.
President Clough commented on studies made at Georgia Tech before and after the Virginia Tech tragedy last April aimed at addressing Tech’s needs for emergency planning and preparedness. A considerable amount of work has been done, including the installation of new equipment to provide alerts to the campus in case of an incident. Dr. Clough expressed the hope that all members of the Tech community will sign up for the Georgia Tech Emergency Notification System (GTENS) which let’s members of the Tech community know vital information in emergencies via cell phone and text messages. The best thing is to sign up for all possible communication modes, so if one gets bottlenecked, the others might still get through. He stated that only about 50% are signed up so far and more are desired. There will also be a loudspeaker system installed on campus soon as another means of reaching the community. Dr. Clough asked the faculty to urge students to keep Tech updated about how to reach their parents in cases of emergency and he cited instances recently when such information would have made necessary notifications much easier. He said that it may be necessary in the future to require this information as part of each term’s registration process.
Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty
Curriculum (Paul Benkeser presented the Annual Report as last year’s
chair and Chuck Parsons presented minutes and action items as this year’s
Minutes: 5/2/07, 5/14/07, 5/18/07, 6/13/07, 7/11/07, 7/18/07, 8/1/07, 8/20/07, 8/23/07, 8/29/07, 9/12/07, 9/26/07.
Action items (from 9/12/07): Architecture: 3 new courses in building construction; BME: to participate in default Research Option, plus 1 new course and changes in minor and degree requirements; ChBE: 1 new course.
Curriculum (Gary Parker) – Annual Report
Minutes: 6/14/07, 8/23/07, 9/13/07
Action Items - from 6/14/07: ChBE: 1 new course; Architecture: 3 new courses;
Regulations (Jeff Streator) – Annual
Minutes: 9/7/06, 9/14/06, 9/28/06, 10/12/06, 11/2/06. No action items.
Academic & Financial Affairs (Patty Sobecky) – Annual Report
Minutes: 8/30/06, 10/31/06, 2/8/07, 4/11/07. No action items.
President Clough commented that discussions have been underway on another topic concerning campus security. If a faculty member believes a student may have issues that could be addressed through counseling, they can report concerns about this student to Student Counseling. Bill Shafer (Vice President for Student Affairs) told the faculty about new videos available on the Counseling Center website that can help in understanding and addressing stress experienced by students. He also stated that Rosalind Meyers (Assoc. VP Auxiliary Services) and he have convened a new committee of faculty, staff, and students to look at all the services and support to students in the area of mental health. From their inputs and the recommendations of Virginia Tech studies, there is a good prospect of fine tuning what is already a very good system in place today. He commented that John Stein (Dean of Students) is in charge of campus responses when specific issues arise and he is supported by the staff psychiatrist, the
Activities (Brent Carter) – Annual
Minutes: 6/22/06, 7/6/06, 7/18/06, 9/22/06, 10/13/06, 11/3/06, 12/8/06, 2/2/07, 3/2/07, 4/27/07, 7/26/07
Action items: Approval of all student activity charters and constitution revisions recommended by the committee as documented in their minutes and the annual report.
Student Grievance & Appeal (Rick Neu) – Annual Report
Dr. Neu noted that the fifteen cases heard in 2006-07 represented an increase of five in the number of cases over the previous year.
Honor (Gus Giebelhaus) – Annual Report
Dr. Giebelhaus opened with a reminder that the year was divided into a portion before the new Student Code of Conduct took effect on January 8, 2007 and afterwards. He said that this committee works very closely with the Office of Student Integrity (OSI) in the Dean of Student’s office and commented that the rise in cases from 320 last year to 347 this year is likely to have more to do with better education of the faculty about how to get help from OSI when there are possible issues with student integrity. Dealing with such things professionally through OSI is preferred over having faculty trying to cope with these matters on their own. Do-it-yourself remedies can lead to inconsistencies as well as possible personal legal liabilities. Dr. Giebelhaus also noted that under the new Student Code of Conduct cases are sorted into low and high severity cases and these are handled somewhat differently. In low cases, appeals go to the Dean of Students and in high cases to the office of the Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs. Dr. Giebelhaus thanked Dr.
Integrity (Tom Morley) – Annual
Minutes: 3/9/07, 4/20/07. No action items.
Dr. Morley explained that the committee is part way through the process of revising the Sanctioning Guidelines to bring them in line with the new Student Code of Conduct. These guidelines provide guidance for the severity of sanctions in relation to typical kinds of offenses under the code. A draft of the new guidelines has been drawn up and this is now out for review by faculty. Dr. Morley urged that comments be sent to him or to the current chair of the committee, Robert Kirkman. Dr. Clough thanked Dr. Morley and Dr. Giebelhaus and their committees for their hard work to make the processes under the student code of conduct significantly fairer and more efficient.
Computer Ownership (Jim McClellan) – Annual
Minutes: 11/16/06, 12/13/06, 1/26/07, 2/12/07. No action items.
Dr. McClellan particularly thanked staff members on the committee, Linda Cabot (OIT, now retired), Miles Edson (ResNet), and Alex Taubman (Bookstore), who make the work of this committee much more effective. He noted that the committee’s primary focus in the past year was on developing a recommendation (and getting it approved by the faculty) to require students to own laptop computers beginning with incoming students in the fall of 2008. He said that there are already pilot efforts in specific programs along similar lines, such as the one in the CS1 course in the
In each of the above committee presentations, the presenter moved for the adoption of the listed minutes and action items (if any). All were approved without dissent.
4. The President called for any other
business and began with several comments of his own. He said he would be meeting with his cabinet
in the week of October 29, 2007 to focus on how Georgia Tech should respond to
the drought in the
On another matter, he said there had been two very serious cases of abuse of Institute p-cards by staff members. Some of this involved detailed well-planned fraud. This is something the Institute, the State Attorney General, and the Inspector General’s Office of NSF are looking at very closely (because NSF funds were involved in some of this abuse). So Georgia Tech will be announcing new policies concerning p-cards this week. The existing system of checks was such that supervisors did not catch the fraud or abuse that was in progress. Future processes will involve more attention from faculty in verifying expenditures. P-cards that are not much used will in many cases be suspended. Tech will do all it can to accomplish a more reliable system and re-establish trust. For continuous improvement, a committee will be formed to evaluate how well processes are working going forward.
Dr. Clough then opened the floor to questions. One person had a follow up question about campus security and asked about making it possible to lock classrooms from the inside, because such a device would have been helpful in providing better sanctuary to students at Virginia Tech. Dr. Clough answered that such a step is being looked at seriously. He also offered to publish a report of Georgia Tech’s analysis of its own security posture as compared with a checklist developed by Virginia Tech.
Dr. Bohlander offered a word of thanks to all the faculty committee members and their leaders for their diligent work in support of faculty governance and the improvement of the Tech community. He also expressed his appreciation for all their cooperation in staging this “festival” of annual reports.
Hearing no further business, Dr. Clough adjourned the meeting at 4:40 PM.
Secretary of the Faculty
October 26, 2007
Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes: