GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE

AND A CALLED MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 3:00 pm

Student Center Theater

MINUTES

1.      President Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m.

2.      He then provided the following remarks on matters of interest to the campus:

a)      The President reported on proposed FY15 budget items under consideration by the state legislature, including:

·      $1.7 million funding for design work on the renovation of the library towers;

·      $4.5 million for a new headquarters and storage facility on Marietta Street for the Environmental Health and Safety Department;

·      Request to strengthen the budgets for programs in “B units” such as GTRI and the Enterprise Innovation Institute

·      $45.6 million for University System of Georgia (USG) formula funding

·      Funding for USG major repairs and rehabilitation.

b)      Dr. Peterson had a few comments about progress in admissions for the next academic year:

·      Invitations for early admissions had been sent.  These applicants were very high-quality with an average SAT of 1485 and GPA over 4.0.

·      Regular invitations would go out on March 15.

·      Georgia Tech participated in the national Common Application program this year for the first time.

·      Total applications for admission were up 46% over last year.

·      This presented a special challenge because that much change, though a good thing, reduced confidence in historical models needed to predict how many invitations for admission to issue in order to reach a target incoming class size.

c)      Progress toward the $1.5 billion Capital Campaign goal was going well.

d)     The Strategic Plan Advisory Group was hard at work under the chairmanship of Prof. David Frost.  This group was charged with prioritizing and guiding projects. 

e)      The President and Executive Vice-Presidents planned to begin a round of Town Hall meetings with schools, colleges, and departments around campus.

f)       Effort toward the SACSCOC accreditation reaffirmation continued and candidate Quality Enhancement Plans (QEPs) were being evaluated by a steering committee.  Recommendations were expected soon.

g)      The Online MS in Computer Science had 380 students enrolled.  They were very well-qualified.

President Peterson called on Provost Rafael Bras to provide additional comments:

h)      Interesting visitors would be coming to campus:  Dr. Ernest Moniz, the Secretary of Energy, was coming April 16, and Junot Diaz, Pulitzer prize-winning author, on April 17.

i)        Three finalists for Dean of the Scheller Jr. College of Business would be named within a week. 

j)        Recent snows caused Georgia Tech to lose five class days.  Provost Bras called on Vice-Provost Colin Potts to explain a system of optional make up sessions (mostly in evenings) scheduled in such a way as to not conflict with regular classes or with each other.  Spring Break would not be affected.  Dr. Potts explained that the make-up sessions would be spaced out in time so as not to overload students too much.  The Provost thanked and commended Vice-Provost Potts and Registrar Reta Pikowsky for their hard work in working out the make-up schedule.

k)      Dr. Bras reminded attendees that the GT Arts Festival was ongoing.  The Margaret Guthman Musical Instrument Competition would be held February 21.

Comment.  Care for the students during recent snow events was commendable but the faculty felt some frustration about not knowing what was expected from them with respect to classes as the events unfolded.  It turned out that the GT Twitter feed was most informative.  Response:  President Peterson reported similar concerns from students including worries whether the Twitter feed held validated content.  In this instance, students trusted GT email messages more.  The President promised that more attention would be given to improved communication arrangements in the future.  

3.      Dr. Peterson asked for approval of the minutes of the previous meeting on November 19, 2013. 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. 

4.      Dr. Peterson called on Prof. Bob Kirkman, Chair of the Faculty Nominations Committee, to present information about upcoming elections for faculty governance positions.  He presented a slide with information about open positions – see Attachment #2.  Prof. Kirkman said that the Standing Committees were the core of faculty governance at Georgia Tech so these positions were very important.  He encouraged people to contact him with nominations and/or expressions of personal interest in the available positions.  He asked for help in getting information about this distributed. 

5.      President Peterson called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to present a first reading of a new version of the Faculty Handbook addressing changes in faculty definitions and associated matters of faculty governance.  President Peterson reminded everyone that Ms. Balsam had previewed this material in the November meeting and he also reported that these proposals had been endorsed by the Executive Board.  Ms. Balsam presented the material found in Attachment #3a and followed this closely.  In addition she referenced a proposed revised Faculty Handbook (Attachment #3b) and the existing Faculty Handbook (Attachment #3c). 

Following her presentation Ms. Balsam moved that the proposed changes in the Faculty Handbook be approved subject to approval at a subsequent second reading held in accordance with Georgia Tech’s Statutes. No second to the motion was required since it came from a Standing Committee.  President Peterson commented that the part of the material presented by Ms. Balsam advocating for a new staff council was not a formal proposal to the faculty, but it was potentially very important to the whole campus.  The staff members on campus have not had such a forum to provide recommendations to the administration, and this was needed.  Ms. Balsam and the President invited questions concerning the faculty proposals and motion:

Q Could the Institute Curriculum Committees have a majority of their members who were Academic Faculty but not tenure-track faculty? Ans. No, in fact the draft Faculty Handbook Sections 2.6.7 and 2.6.8 specified that all members of those two committees must be tenured or tenure-track.  Q.  What about the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee (FSGC)?  Ans. Section 2.6.3 required that four of the seven elected members be full professors.  That was already an existing requirement.  Furthermore there was a requirement in the existing and proposed Handbook that any matter dealing with tenure track faculty must be heard by persons of similar status and rank.

Q. Why was the term faculty being applied beyond the realm of tenure-track faculty? In particular, why were Academic Professionals and Instructors in particular included in Academic Faculty.  Ans. The University System of Georgia (USG) policies defined faculty to include those who were non-tenure track.  USG policies specifically provided for Academic Professionals and Instructors (among others) to be non-tenure track faculty.  The planning teams for these proposed Faculty Handbook revisions felt it was best to define faculty in terms of their participation in the academic enterprise or in the research enterprise, and so Academic Professionals and Instructors (and others) were included along with professorial titles in Academic Faculty because they contributed to the academic enterprise of the Institute.  Q. Did the Faculty Definition Subcommittee consider retaining the title General Faculty for non-tenure track participants on the academic side?  Ans. The Provosts’ Task Force recommended to the Executive Board that the term General Faculty be done away with as confusing, and the Executive Board agreed and charged the subcommittee with recommending a way to do that.  Provost Bras affirmed that view.  He also pointed to the advantages of better recognizing Research Faculty for their contributions.  Dr. Bohlander pointed out that broadening participation in some of the Academic Faculty Standing Committees was also urged by the faculty nomination committee because adding Academic Professionals would increase the pool of willing and able participants.  That said, a minimum number of tenure-track faculty have been specified on most of the Academic Faculty Standing Committees to ensure that tenure-track faculty did their part.

Q. Two new titles were mentioned on slides 7 and 10; namely, Clinical Professors and Extension Professionals (each with several levels).  Would those titles come about if the Handbook changes were approved?  Ans.  Ms. Balsam said that preparation for use of the Extension Professional titles was well along and planned for implementation.  Promotion criteria in line with those for Research Professionals would be used.  She asked Vice-Provost Susan Cozzens to provide an update on the possible title of Clinical Professor.  Dr. Cozzens reported there were two other universities in the USG that used a title like that but they used them very differently.  At the University of Georgia they were instructional faculty teaching courses involving clinical skills.  They were hired as members of an instructional unit.  At Georgia Regents University the title Clinical Professor was used only for non-paid adjunct appointments.  Her Office of Faculty Affairs felt that the second model better fitted the situation at Georgia Tech and the Office of Faculty Affairs was prepared to support establishing such uses of the title.  Dr. Bohlander acknowledged that there were medical professionals providing medical services within Georgia Tech who were interested in having professorial credentials to support the work they did with students interested in medical careers and in teaching courses when invited.  It was recognized that a good solution was needed for providing such credentials.  Comment:  Having a Clinical Professor designation could be important for future recruitment of top-caliber medical personnel who could expect to have such designations.  Response:  The best thing was to work with the Office of Faculty Affairs on a mutually acceptable arrangement.

Q. When the Research Faculty Senate came together with the Academic Faculty Senate, would the sum be much larger than the General Faculty Assembly today?  Ans. No, the representation rules were set to keep the size about the same as for the General Faculty Assembly today. However, research faculty members on the academic side of the Institute would have a better shot at participating in the new Faculty Senate.  Dr. Bohlander explained that today, members of the General Faculty Assembly coming from instructional units were by statute primarily tenure-track faculty members.  Research faculty from the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) had an unimpeded shot at participation in the General Faculty Assembly to the extent provided for GTRI representation, but from instructional units, each member of the Academic Senate (made up only of tenure track people) were automatically representatives also to the General Faculty Assembly and constituted the majority of the representation from instructional units.  Thus, the proposed new Faculty Senate (with both an Academic Faculty and Research Faculty components) would provide better balance in faculty representation.  The overall size of the Senate however was designed not to be very different from the General Faculty Assembly.

Q. Returning to the question of new titles, would they be included in the changes proposed? Ans.  The heart of what the faculty would be voting on here was the framework for faculty definitions and faculty governance.  There were important questions for particular cases which have been identified with real sympathy and commitment, but it was important to get the core right for all faculty.  Clinical Professor was one case that was not fully developed yet, but the case for something there had been seriously heard.  Q:  So it was possible that someone might be eliminated from General Faculty before a particular remedy was developed?  Ans:  That was not the intention. Ms. Balsam reminded people that the proposed revised Handbook was all that was covered by the motion.  The proposed list of titles was a separate question that would be covered by the Faculty Executive Board and the President’s Office.  Executive Board Chair, Prof. Rob Butera, affirmed that the Faculty Handbook that was the subject of the motion did not list titles at all.  It put a process in place for maintenance of a list of titles under the leadership of the Faculty Executive Board in collaboration with the President. 

The question was called and the motion passed with only a few dissenting votes.

6.   Pres. Peterson received a motion and a second to approve the minutes of the Faculty Benefits Committee for 10/21/13 and 12/2/13 and for the Statutes Committee for meetings on 1/9/14 and1/29/14. See Attachment #4.  There were no action items beyond those already approved in item 5 above.  The faculty voted to approve the minutes without dissent.

7.   The President then called on representatives of the Academic Faculty’s Standing Committees as follows.  In most cases the representatives followed closely the minutes in the committees’ files on the faculty governance website noted in Attachment #4 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.  Slides were used by some of the presenters as indicated by additional attachments. 

a)       Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC), Prof. Laura Hollengreen, Chair: 12/10/13, 1/7/14, 1/14/14, 1/21/14, and 2/11/14, with presentation in Attachment #4a.

Action Items. From 1/14:  CoA-Music – BS in Music Technology prospectus; EAS – 3 new courses; Chemistry & Biochemistry – 1 new course & modification in Minors in Chemistry and in Energy Systems involving course requirements; ISyE – request to join the Minor in Energy Systems with specification of course requirements; HTS – 5 new courses (some with attributes) & new Minor in Sports, Society, and Technology; General Education Subcommittee (GES) – social science attributes for 4 of the new courses from HTS; GES – requirements for statements of learning outcomes in syllabi of courses involving core attributes. From 2/11: Math – 1 course deactivated; CoA-Architecture – Research Option added to BS degree in Architecture.

 

It was moved to approve the action items, no second was necessary, and the minutes and this passed without dissent.  In the course of her presentation, Prof. Hollengreen mentioned that some pending matters could not get a review by the IUCC due to snow events and this might delay full accommodation of curriculum changes.  Pres. Peterson asked that the IUCC work with the Secretary of the Faculty (and the Registrar) to find work-arounds to make up for lost time if possible. 

 

b)      Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee, Prof. Jeff Jagoda, Chair:   1/16/14, 2/6/14, with presentation in Attachment #4b.

Action Items. From 1/16: Biology –changes in restrictions associated with 4 courses; Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Advisory Committee – RCR Academic Policy for Master’s Students; LMC – 1 new course, change all LCC courses designation to LMC, correcting required course listings for the PhD with major in Digital Media, and for the MS in Digital Media.  From 2/6: CoA-City and regional Planning – new certificate in Geographic Information Systems; CoA-Building Construction – 1 new course; Psychology – modification in the PhD with major in Psychology involving changes in course requirements; CoE, CoC, and Business – new MS in Analytics degree; elimination of undesignated MS degrees (listed in minutes) and of two discontinued degrees – elimination will be completed once any students in these programs have graduated. 

 

It was moved to approve the action items and the minutes. No second was necessary.

 

Q. In relation to slide 12, were we decreasing the number of required hours for the PhD in Psychology by the number of hours in the two courses no longer required?  Ans. There was no Institute requirement for a set number of hours necessary for a PhD at Georgia Tech.  The standard was mastery, not time. 

Q. Relative to slides 14-16, which Schools in the Colleges of Engineering and College of Computing were available as home units for students applying for an MS in Business Analytics?  Ans. The Schools of ISyE and CSE had been involved so far, but the Deans had signed off on this so, in principle, other Schools in those Colleges could become involved. The College of Business was involved as a whole.

In discussion, Architecture School Chair George Johnston offered a friendly amendment (accepted by Committee Chair) to exclude the undesignated MS degree with major in Architecture because this was still active with 25 students enrolled.  The motion passed as amended without dissent.

 

c)     Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee, Prof. Craig Tovey, Chair:  11/18/13.  No action items.

It was moved to approve the minutes and this passed without dissent.

8.   Dr. Peterson adjourned the meeting at about 4:45 PM. 

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Ronald A. Bohlander
Secretary of the Faculty

April 18, 2014

 

Attachments:

 

  1. Minutes of the November 19, 2013 meeting of the Academic Senate and General Faculty.
  2. Report of the Faculty Nominations Committee
  3. Proposed changes in the Faculty Handbook concerning Faculty definitions and Faculty governance

a)      Presentation

b)      Proposed Faculty Handbook.

c)      Existing Faculty Handbook

  1. Standing Committee minutes

a)      Explanation of work of IUCC

b)      Explanation of work of IGCC