Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 3:00 pm

Student Center Theater


1.      Provost Bras opened the meeting at about 3:06 PM and then provided the following remarks on matters of interest to the campus:

·         He reported that many actions were being taken as outcomes of the Strategic Plan Task Forces.  A series of articles would soon be published.  These could cover progress toward a Design Center, Arts Council, New Global Positioning strategies, Leadership Development in Teaching & Learning Communities, Service Learning, an X-Degree, Online Education, and Technology & Law Programs.

·         Three candidates each have been identified for the pending appointments of Deans of Architecture and Science.  Campus visits and finalists’ talks would occur soon.

·         Spring Commencement was scheduled for May 3-4, 2013 with Masters and PhDs on Friday and two sessions for undergraduates on Saturday.  The speaker for the graduate ceremonies would be Dr. Ruth Simmons, past President and Professor at Brown University.  The speakers for the undergraduate ceremonies would be Mr. Tom Fanning, President, Chairman, and CEO of the Southern Company, and Mr. Kevin Riley, Editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

·         March 28-29, Georgia Tech would be hosting a symposium of the National Academy of Engineering focused on Cyber Security.  Featured speaker would be Gen. Keith Alexander, commander, U.S. Cyber Command, director of the National Security Agency, and chief of the Central Security Service. 

·        The final round of the InVenture Prize program would be aired live on Georgia Public Broadcasting on March 13.

·         A Campus Climate Survey would be circulated soon to solicit input on possible ways to improve the working and learning climate on campus:

·        The Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) would be holding a workshop February 22 on “Dealing with Students of Concern” – or how to show students that faculty care for their emotional health. 

2.   Provost Bras asked for the minutes of the November 27, 2012 meeting to be approved.  He indicated that the minutes were posted on the faculty governance web site and no additions or corrections had been received. (See Attachment #1 below for web site reference).   The minutes were approved without dissent.  

3.   Dr. Bras called on Professor Rob Butera, Chair of the Faculty Nominations Committee, to talk to the faculty about the upcoming elections to the Executive Board and Faculty Standing Committees.  He introduced co-chair, Dr. Micah Coleman, and spoke about the importance of faculty governance, particularly in the committees that deliberate topics like proposed changes in curriculum.  Prof. Butera reviewed the list of open positions shown in Attachment #2.  He encouraged faculty members to volunteer or nominate someone.  Dr. Bras added his encouragement as well, saying that faculty governance worked to the extend people got involved.

4.   The Provost called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to present a major revision to the Faculty Handbook for a first reading under the provisions of the Statutes.  Her presentation was recorded in Attachment #3 and she followed the content of these slides closely.  Prior to this meeting, the faculty also had access to the entire proposed new Handbook at  Ms. Balsam stated that the revision had been in preparation for several years and its purpose was to make the Handbook easier to read and use.  Except for a few updates to keep pace with changes in titles at Georgia Tech, changes in BoR policies, and changes to reflect current practice, the proposed revision would not introduce significant changes in policy.  Ms. Balsam stated that the draft Handbook web page referenced above also provided a cross reference to the existing Faculty Handbook in the Policy Library at  Areas of the Handbook that did have notable changes were highlighted with gray shading in the new draft Handbook

Ms. Balsam explained each of the first six sections of the draft Faculty Handbook, and then said that Section 7 was an introduction to Transitional Sections that followed.  These were designated as Transitional Sections because they contained material that was informative but not primarily within the purview of faculty policy; such probably belonged elsewhere in the Georgia Tech Policy Library.  Faculty leaders would work with other members of the Policy Library Steering Committee, the Statutes Committee, and the Executive Board to bring these policies up to date and find the most effective location for them within the Policy Library.  They would not be moved from the Faculty Handbook however without the concurrence of the faculty in future meetings.

With slide 15, Ms. Balsam explained that the new proposed Faculty Handbook preserved the distinction that some portions of the Handbook were still to be considered Statutes and would always need two readings to make a change.  Such material was interleaved with non-Statute material on the same topic to make the Handbook easier to use.  The Statute parts were set off with markings to make them clearly identified.  New material or significantly changed policies or procedures were also highlighted with gray shading.  Most of these changes were proposed simply to note best practices that had arisen in the life of the Institute or to add some Board of Regents policies for completeness.  Ms. Balsam also explained how existing designations of faculty members would be preserved as outlined in slide 18 of Attachment #3.

Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, provided a brief tour of the proposed new format Faculty Handbook at

Ms. Balsam closed by making the following motion which was seconded:

“That the proposed new Faculty Handbook be approved subject to

         Approval at a second reading held in accordance with Georgia Tech’s Statutes; and

         Any material represented as essentially the same as the existing policy will be subject to this safety net: Any omissions or substantive changes not noted at the time of adoption may on request revert to the most recent previously approved edition of the Faculty Handbook until the issue can be addressed and the Faculty Handbook discrepancy resolved to the satisfaction of the faculty.”

Q. In cases where it was recognized that the existing Handbook did not properly represent actual existing practice, how was it decided that a change should be reflected in the proposed new HandbookAns. Changes like that were minimal and most often were an addition of an oft practiced extra step, or the deletion of something that was clearly no longer practical.  Faculty and Associate Deans were involved in guiding these changes based on considerable familiarity with common practice.  The initial Task Force and the Statutes Committee were committed to making only minimal changes in policies and procedures so that the faculty evaluation of the proposal could focus on improvements for usability. 

The motion was approved without dissent.  Dr. Bras stated the expectation that a second reading would occur at a faculty meeting on April 23, 2013.

5.   Ms. Jeanne Balsam then brought the faculty a second reading of a proposed change in Sections 5.6.7 & 5.6.8 of the Faculty Handbook regarding the duties of the curriculum committees in Academic Program Reviews.  This was handed out as Attachment #4.  The proposal would complete a change in assignments to the curriculum committees partially accomplished at the faculty meeting on November 27, 2012.  At that time, the faculty adopted a new plan with a change to Section 46.1.2 of the Faculty Handbook that lifted the requirement that the curriculum committees prepare summaries of findings from Academic Program Reviews.  Since the charges to the curriculum committees in Statute Sections 5.6.7 and 5.6.8 also mentioned this responsibility, a second reading of these proposed changes was required.  Dr. Bras assured the faculty that if future Academic Program Reviews recommended consideration of actual curriculum changes, those changes would come to the faculty curriculum committees for action.  The proposed change in the Faculty Handbook was simply to relieve the committees from the obligation to review and summarize the whole Academic Review reports which often contained much that was not curricular in nature.

Ms. Balsam moved that the Faculty adopt the changes proposed in Attachment #4.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

6.     Then Dr. Bras asked that the following minutes from Attachment #5 be approved.  Motions were made and seconded to that effect and passed without dissent.

Standing Committees of the General Faculty

a)      Faculty Benefits Committee (Prof. Bettina Cothran, Chair) 9/24/12, 12/3/12. No action items.

b)      Statutes Committee (Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair) 12/3/12, 1/7/13. No further action items.

7.      The Provost then called on representatives of some of the Academic Faculty’s Standing Committees for presentations to the Academic Senate as follows.  In most cases the representatives followed closely the minutes in the committees’ files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #5 below and so this text was not repeated here.  The following was an outline of the material presented showing the representatives that appeared to make the presentations.

Standing Committees of the Academic Faculty

a)      Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (Prof. Pradeep Agrawal, Chair): 11/20/12, 11/30/12, 12/11/12, 1/8/13, 1/15/13, 1/22/13, 2/12/13

Action Items. From 1/15: Math – 2 new courses; EAS – 3 new courses + modification in the BS degree in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences involving changes in research and course requirements + modifications to the Minor in Earth & Atmospheric Sciences updating published course requirements; CoC – a new subject code CX + 3 new courses + 8 renumbered courses + 8 deactivated courses + a cluster of new special topic course numbers + a new Minor in Scientific and Engineering Computing + a new Minor in Computational Data Analysis; Modern Languages & International Affairs – modification to the BS degree in International Affairs and Modern Language involving a designation of a language concentration and corresponding degree requirements; Modern Languages and Economics – modification to the BS degree in Global Economics and Modern Languages involving designation of a language concentration and other areas of specialization and corresponding degree requirements; Modern Languages – modification to the BS degree in Applied Language and Intercultural Studies adding Russian to the available language concentrations + approval of 15 new courses and deactivation of 8 courses + some changes in subject codes and course numbers and advanced standing credit rules. From 2/12: Applied Physiology – 1 new course & 1 deactivated; CoA-Bldg. Constr. – modification in BS degree in Building Construction involving a change in course requirements to respond to accreditation guidance; AE – modification in the BS degree in Aerospace Engineering involving a small number of changes in course requirements; BME – 1 new course; Public Policy – change in Pre-Law Certificate and in the Minor in Law, Science, and Technology involving changes in required course listings and options for both; ME – modification in the BS degree in Mechanical Engineering involving course requirements, two new courses, a course deactivation, and addition of a new Manufacturing concentration area making a total of 5 concentration options; Chemistry & Biochemistry – change in Minors in Chemistry and in Biochemistry involving course requirements and options + a change in a course title + 1 course deactivation; CoC & LMC – modification of the BS degree in Computational Media involving changes in required courses & 1 new course; LMC – modification of the BS degree in Science in Science, Technology and Culture changing its name to BS degree in Literature, Media, and Communication and involving concentrations pursued through a threaded curriculum with new course requirements + 2 new courses and changes in course codes to reflect change in school name.

Prof. Agrawal used Attachment #6 to further explain the above action items.  Before a motion was settled to approve the action items, considerable discussion ensued about the proposed curriculum change described in slide 3 of Attachment #6.  To summarize the committee’s recommendation:  Two alternative calculus courses, Math 1503 and 1504, would be offered for life science majors and would have less linear algebra content than the courses used by other schools, Math 1501 and 1502.  If students taking 1503 & 1504 later found they needed more linear algebra, they could take Math 1522.  Schools outside the life sciences in the Institute would be empowered to decide for themselves if Math 1503 and 1504 satisfied pre-requisites for their courses.  It was noted that currently, special sections of Math 1501 and 1502 were taught for some life sciences majors that followed the proposed content of 1503 and 1504 and that the proposed change was not so much a change in practice as simply to provide more transparency for what was already being done.   A number of concerns were raised about the proposed Math 1503 and 1504 and about the current practice of teaching special sections of 1501 and 1502, including:

         Implementation of Math 1503 and 1504 could set students up for hardship or a lot of uncertainty about pre-requisites should the students later change majors or need courses from other schools.

         Avoiding pre-requisite barriers by teaching special sections of 1501 and 1502 was not honest and was flying under the radar of pre-requisite expectations.

         Accepting diluted math courses could adversely affect Georgia Tech’s educational reputation.

         Two versions of courses would be acceptable as long as both were equally rigorous and either course would be accepted as satisfying pre-requisites.  But that did not apply to 1503 and 1504.

As a result of this discussion, Prof. Agrawal brought two motions:  1) To accept all minutes and action items except that described in slide 3 of Attachment #6.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.  2) To approve the action item described in slide 3 of Attachment #6.  The motion was seconded but failed on a show of hands.  That item was in effect sent back to committee.

c)      Graduate Curriculum Committee (Prof. Jeff Jagoda, Vice-Chair): 1/17/13, 2/7/13
Action Items. From 1/17: Economics – 1 new course; CEE – 2 new course & 1 deactivated; Economics, HTS, INTA, LMC, and Public Policy – new Certificate in Science, Technology, and Society + 7 new courses; Applied Physiology – new external dual Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) & PhD degree in which GIT will cover the PhD in Applied Physiology and Emory, the DPT. From 2/7: MSE & BME – 1 new cross-listed course; ECE – change in location of MS in ECE offered in China, from Shanghai to Shenzhen; Business – modifications in the MBA degrees in Global Business and in Management of Technology to have a common core as well as changes in course requirements, modified courses, 8 new courses, and expanded capstone projects.

Prof. Jagoda used Attachment #7 to further explain the above action items.  Prof. Jagoda moved to approve all minutes and action items above.  The motion was seconded and approved without dissent.

d)     Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee (Prof. Craig Tovey): 12/11/12.
Action item: Proposed clarifications of excused absence procedures.

Prof. Tovey used Attachment #8 to explain the actions of the committee.  The Academic Senate reached consensus that these actions were just editorial completions of action items approved in earlier meetings and did not need special approval at this time.  Thus, Prof. Tovey made a motion to approve the above minutes.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

d) Student Regulations Committee (Prof. Chuck Parsons): 12/13/12. No action items.  The Provost received a motion and a second to approve these minutes.  The motion passed without dissent.

8    Dr. Bras commented to the faculty that at the upcoming commencements only students graduating with honors would be allowed to wear commemorative cords.  Dr. Bras adjourned the meeting at about 4:45 PM. 



Respectfully submitted,


Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty

April 21, 2013




  1. Minutes of the November 27, 2012 meeting of the Academic Senate and General Faculty.
  2. Report of the Chair of the Faculty Nominations Committee.
  3. Presentation on a proposed major revision to the Faculty Handbook
  4. Proposed change in the Faculty Handbook concerning assignments to the curriculum committees concerning Academic Program Reviews.
  1. Minutes may be found at  
  2. Explanation of proposed undergraduate curriculum changes
  3. Explanation of proposed graduate curriculum changes
  4. Explanation of actions by the Student Financial and Academic Affairs Committee