Institute Review Committee Minutes

September 7, 2001



Members Present:  Paul Wine (Chemistry and Biochemistry), Russell Gentry (Architecture), Ronald Arkin (Computing), Jim McClellan (Electrical and Computer Engineering), John McIntyre (Management), Steve Usselman (History, Technology, and Society), and Joseph Hoey (Assessment)


Members Absent:  Farrokh Mistree (Mechanical Engineering) and Bob McMath (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs). 


  1. Following introductions, members reviewed the role and purpose of program review

(a)                to provide ongoing, formative, structured evaluation of all academic programs at GT

(b)                to comply with the Board of Regents mandate

(c)                and to enable GT to meet SACS requirements. 


Roles for Institute Review Committee members were also discussed, including being a liaison with programs within each college going through review, working as committee of the whole to assure adherence to guidelines and quality of process, and to report on an annual basis to the Provost and Academic Senate on findings and any recommendations necessary.


  1. Members reviewed the draft notice letter to schools/colleges whose programs are up for review.  Several suggestions for revisions to this letter were brought up:


(a)                adjusting the due dates for various components of the review to reflect actual practice

(b)                more fully describing the contents of the data profile

(c)                identification of the persons responsible for conducting the review within each school, so that IRC liaisons can more easily keep in touch with the progress of reviews within their college.


Joseph Hoey was encouraged to make necessary revisions to the notification letters and to get them out to the affected programs within two weeks.


  1. Several points were mentioned in connection with the program review process itself.  First, the process must be seen as fair by the parties involved.  Second, open channels of communication are the single biggest key to successful review processes and the committee will need to maintain open lines of communication as a top priority.  Third, since program review can be perceived as a substantial threat by those undergoing review, IRC members will need to be sensitive to that fact and will need to reinforce the notion that program reviews at Georgia Tech are improvement-oriented rather than judgment-oriented.  The timing of reviews was also discussed, and the possibility of staggering reviews to commence at different points in the academic year was mentioned, however no definite decision was reached on this point.


  1. The role of the IRC in relationship to the Institute was a topic of extended discussion.  While the faculty handbook currently mandates review of all undergraduate programs every 5 years, this has not been undertaken at the Institute level.  It will be necessary for the IRC to work out its relationship in this regard with the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and with the Institute Graduate Committee, and to coordinate reporting efforts to the Academic Faculty.  The suggestion was advanced that the respective chairs of these committees be invited to meet with the IRC in the near future. 


Election of a committee chair was not undertaken at this particular meeting, but will be taken up on September 12th at the next meeting.