Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 3:00 pm

Student Center Theater





1.      Provost Rafael Bras opened the meeting at 3:02 P.M. and offered the following comments on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

a)   Dr. Bras called attention to the arrival of several new key people in the Georgia Tech Community:

·         Dr. Zvi Galil – the new Dean of the College of Computing;

·         Dr. Jackie Royster – the new Dean of the Ivan Allen College;

·         Dr. Archie Ervin – the new Vice-President of Institute Diversity;

·         Dr. Robert McGrath – the new Vice-President and Director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute;

·         Dr. Amir Rahnamay-Azar – the new Senior Vice-President for Administration & Finance;

·         Mr. Scott Morris – the new Associate Vice-President for Human Resources.

b)   The search for a new Dean of Engineering was continuing with a search committee chaired by Professor Mostafa El-Sayed.  The goal was to have a new Dean by July 1.

c)   Work continued on developing implementation plans for Georgia Tech’s new strategic plan.  This was consuming significant time from the Executive Vice-Presidents.  Task forces have been formed for most of the ten main initiatives identified under the plan.  Dr. Bras especially mentioned an emphasis on finding ways to increase interaction between students and faculty.

d)   The Clough Commons was on schedule to open in the fall of 2011, with an inaugural event planned that would be a very special occasion.  A faculty steering committee, chaired by Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, Andy Smith, has been at work planning programs for this important campus facility.  The Clough Commons would be administered by the Dean of the Libraries.

e)   Concerning budgets, Dr. Bras reported that the latest budget decreases called for by the Governor for Fiscal Year 2011 had been anticipated by Tech’s administration so these adjustments were already in place.  Budget expectations for Fiscal Year 2012 included additional cuts, he said but final figures and the impact of possible changes in tuition and fees were not yet known.  He noted that, for the first time in many years, the Governor’s proposed budget did not include any “formula funding” to provide adjustments in funding to universities to cover the costs of increased enrollment. Dr. Bras also commented on the difficulties that expected new cuts in the HOPE Scholarships might present to Tech students.  Dr. Bras expressed confidence that in all these things the Georgia Tech community would be able to cope with the challenges.

2.      The Provost asked for approval of the minutes of the meeting of November 16, 2010, a meeting of the Academic Senate and General Faculty.  He indicated that the minutes were published and posted on the faculty governance web site and that there were no known additions or corrections. (See Attachment #1 below for web site reference).   The minutes were approved without dissent.

3.   The Provost called on Mr. Chris D’Urbano (Vice-Chair of the Georgia Tech Executive Board and Co-Chair of the Nominations Committee) to talk about upcoming elections to faculty standing committees.  Mr. D’Urbano presented the chart in Attachment #2 showing the committees for which new members would be elected. The terms for these positions would start in August 2011 and run for three years.  Those slots for which the Nominations Committee had too few nominations were highlighted in red.  He asked that faculty contact him or the Nominations Committee co-chair, Dr. Andrew Lyon, very soon with further offers to serve or with nominations of colleagues.  Mr. D’Urbano took some questions:

Q. What was the deadline for nominations?  Ans. The committee hoped to close nominations by March 4.

Q. How would the faculty know who was on the ballot? Ans. Online voting was planned and each faculty member would get a link to their own online ballot.  The election was planned to run from March 30 – April 13.

Q. How could encouragement be given to students to be more involved in faculty committees? Ans. Student government leaders made all arrangements for students to fill the appropriate slots on faculty committees.  They were quite diligent in doing so but sometimes the meeting schedules of faculty and students were hard to synchronize.  In such cases all the parties tried to find solutions.

4.   Dr. Bras next called on Mr. Jeff Steltzer, Director of Conflict of Interest Management, to propose a revision of the Institute’s Conflict of Interest policy as found in Section 38 of the Faculty Handbook.  A comparison of the new and old policy statements was provided to the attendees (Attachment #3a). Mr. Steltzer provided an overview summarized in Attachment #3b.  He explained that in general the new policy statement was mainly provided to explain things more clearly; toward this end, a number of definitions were added.  One of the changes was in the use of the term “Responsible Representative of the Institute.”  Under federal regulations this was intended to mean a single point of contact for the whole Institute, and one who was obligated to make reports to sponsoring agencies.  Thus, the old use of this term to refer to an employee’s immediate supervisor was not in line with regulations.  The term “Responsible Unit Official” would be used instead to refer to a supervisor.  The new policy also reflected Georgia Tech’s current reliance on its online disclosure system.  It also showed that the Institute’s Conflict of Interest Office was responsible for the review of all disclosures and would involve unit management in that review.

Mr. Steltzer moved that the proposed revised version of Section 38 of the Faculty Handbook be accepted.  The motion was seconded.

Q. Would there be any new burdens on the faculty as a result of this proposal? Ans. No.  Disclosures of financial conflicts and consulting involvements would remain much as they have been.  Ongoing improvements would be made in the online forms.

Q. Did this change require two readings? Ans. Dr. Bohlander replied that one reading was sufficient.  Two readings were only required for changes in statutes and bylaws, and this section of the Handbook was neither.

The motion passed without dissent. 

5.   Dr. Bras called on Professor Paul Neitzel, Chair of the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee, to present a proposed change in some of the procedures of that committee as found in Section 14.3.3 of the Faculty Handbook.  A comparison of the new and old policy and procedures statements was handed out to the attendees (Attachment #4).  Dr. Neitzel explained that the first change involved a minor procedural issue.  The number of people in the random pool of faculty members from which a hearing committee would be drawn was changed to 25 to be consistent with the procedure for another kind of hearing committee.  The second change provided that when a hearing involved a question of tenure or other academic faculty questions, then only academic faculty members would be serve on the hearing committee.  Moreover, only those of appropriate status and rank would be included; for example, if a matter concerned a question of the promotion of an assistant professor to associate professor and tenure, then associate professors and above would serve, and if the question involved a professor, only professors would serve. The need for this was made clear by recent experiences with panels.

Dr. Neitzel moved that the proposed change in the Faculty Handbook be accepted.  It was seconded and passed without dissent.

6.   Provost Bras noted that there were minutes of the Statutes Committee [dated 11/10/10, 11/16/10, & 2/1/11] that needed approval.  Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Acting Chair of the Statutes Committee, noted that the action items from these meetings had just been approved under business items 4 and 5 above.  A motion to approve the minutes passed without dissent.

7.   The Provost then called on representatives of Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty to present minutes of recent meetings and any action items requiring approval.  In most cases the representatives followed closely the reports in the committees’ files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #5 below and so this text did not need to be repeated here.   The following was an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to make the presentation. 

a)   Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (Prof. George Riley): (Prof. George Riley, Chair): 11/30/10, 12/14/10, 1/4/11, 1/18/11, 1/25/11, 2/8/11

Action Items. From 11/30: CETL – allowing 3 courses to count for degree credit; Mgt – modification to BS degree in Business Administration so that 6 hrs from Engineering & Management minor can count toward degree requirements; Psych – change in course requirement specifications for psychology minor; approval of a list of courses carrying the Ethics attribute.  From 1/18: EAS – modification of the BS in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences degree involving a change in the chemistry courses required; CoC – 1 new course & 1 deactivation; Modern Languages – modification to the BS in Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies to add Chinese, French, and German tracks + 25 new courses & 4 deactivated; MSE – modification in the BS in Materials Science and Engineering degree, adding four semester hours to the requirements, changing course requirements, changing grade requirements, and specifying three 15-hour concentrations (Polymer & Fiber Materials, Structural & Functional Materials, or Biomaterials) from which students must choose + 17 new courses.     From 2/8: Public Policy and College of Management – new minor in Leadership Studies; Biology –modification of the BS in Biology as regards course requirements and course names, + 3 new courses & 2 deactivations;  Mgt – 1 new course; CoC – modification in the BD degree in Computer Science in the course requirements for a number of Threads + 2 new courses.

All minutes and action items were approved without dissent.  Dr. Riley noted that in addition to the curriculum changes, the committee was also responsible for hearing and deciding on petitions for changes in individual student’s course requirements.  They heard over this period 136 petitions, and 95 were granted, 37 denied, and the balance tabled for insufficient information.  He noted that petitions were considered in detail often taking considerable time.

b)   Graduate Curriculum Committee (Prof. Julie Babensee):   1/20/11, 2/10/11
Action Items. From 1/20: ME – Two dual MSME degrees with Grenoble Institute of Technology, one to be offered at Grenoble INP Phelma in Grenoble (France), at GT Lorraine in Metz (France), and at GT Atlanta, and the other to be offered at Grenoble INP Ense3 in Grenoble, at GT Lorraine in Metz, and at GT in Atlanta; College of Engineering – MS in Enterprise Transformation (Executive Program) involving 17 new courses; Biology – 4 new courses & 6 deactivations; CoC – modification in the MS in Computer Science with 13 degree specializations, each with its own course requirements; CETL – grade mode changes to 3 courses and 2 variants thereof.  From 2/10: CoC – Change the MS and PhD programs in Computational Science and Engineering from 12-month programs to 9-month programs (i.e. no summer courses), modification of grade basis of one course and the credit hour range for another + 7 new courses; ECE – Two new dual MSECE degrees with Grenoble Institute of Technology, one to be offered at Grenoble INP Ense3, at GT Lorraine, and at GT Atlanta, another to be offered at Grenoble INP Phelma, at GT Lorraine, and at GT Atlanta + a third dual MSECE degree with Ecole Supérieure D’ingénieurs En Electrotechnique et Electronique (ESIEE);  Computer Science, ISyE, and Mathematics – modification of the PhD with a major in Algorithms Combinatorics Optimization, involving changes in course requirements; School of City and Regional Planning and School of Public Policy – new dual Master of City and Regional Planning and Master of Science in Public Policy, including required courses, concentrations/specializations and a capstone research paper in both areas.

All minutes and action items were approved without dissent. 

c)   Student Regulations Committee (Prof. Chuck Parsons, Chair: 2/10/11
Action items: Three recommended policy changes as follows: 1) to the No Hazing policy in the Student Organizational Code of Conduct, 2) to the Grade Substitution policy, and 3) to the Campus Alcohol Policy.

Minutes and action items were approved without dissent.

8.   The Provost then called on Mr. Austen Edwards, student Director of Academic Affairs for student government.  Mr. Edwards introduced his colleague John Miller who assisted with the presentation.  They reminded the faculty that they approved a new Student Faculty Expectations document at the last faculty meeting.  Since there were several changes made in the document during that meeting, the students promised to come back and show the faculty the final version.  Mr. Edwards and Mr. Miller provided an overview from Attachment #6a and the full text of the Student Faculty Expectations document was also handed out (Attachment #6b).

Q. What did student expectation #9 mean by “petition process for graded homework”?  Ans.  It simply meant that the student and faculty member would discuss (usually during office hours) any questions about homework, such as questions about what was wrong or how credit was given.  In this context a student could also ask the faculty member to re-grade something. 

9.   Hearing no further business, Dr. Bras adjourned the meeting at about 4:30 PM.


Respectfully submitted,


Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty

April 22, 2011


Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:


  1. Minutes of the Meeting of the Academic Senate and General Faculty November 16, 2010.
  2. Request for nominees for faculty committees
  3. Proposed changes in conflict of interest policies and procedures.
    1. Comparison of new and old policy statements
    2. Overview
  4. Proposed change in some procedures of the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee.
  5. Minutes of Standing Committees
  6. Student Faculty Expectations
    1. Overview
    2. Text of new policy to be published in the Institute Catalog.