Georgia Institute of Technology

Report on the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee

2006-2007 Annual Report

19 September 2007


Members:  Richard Barke, George Riley, Jerry Seitzman, Gil Weinberg, Nancy Wong, Paul Benkeser,  Larry Bottomley, Al Ferri, Christopher Jarrett,  Charles Parsons,  John Stasko,  Mark Guzdial,  Michael Schatz,  Terry Snell, John Tone,  Don Webster, Doug Williams,  Bobby Beaulieu,  Reta Pikowsky, John Stein

Meetings: The IUCC held 27 meetings during the 2006-2007 academic year plus additional meetings on focused topics (General Education, Study Abroad, and Program Review). The work of the committee falls into four main categories (Curriculum Items, Student Petitions, General Education, Study Abroad, and Program Review). Activities in each of these areas are outlined below.


Paul Benkeser served as Chair of the Committee. Charles Parsons served as Vice-Chair of the Committee. In addition to presiding over the meetings, the Chair and Vice-Chair were often called upon to assist the Registrar in the periods between meetings and between terms.


Curriculum Items: Over the 2006-2007 academic year, the IUCC approved several modifications and additions to Georgia Tech’s degrees.


New courses were approved in:

  1. Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
  2. Public Policy
  3. International Plan
  4. Computer Science
  5. International Affairs
  6. Military Science
  7. Materials Science Engineering
  8. Biology
  9. Biomedical Engineering
  10. Cooperative Education
  11. History, Technology, and Society
  12. Psychology
  13. Aerospace Engineering
  14. International Plan
  15. Civil & Environmental Engineering
  16. German
  17. Russian
  18. Spanish         


Changes were approved that affected the following degree programs:

  1. Several programs added the Research Option and the International Plan
  2. Public Policy
  3. College of Computing
  4. Computer Science
  5. Economics and International Affairs
  6. Materials Science and Engineering
  7. School of Literature, Communication, & Culture
  8. College of Architecture
  9. History, Technology, & Society
  10. Psychology
  11. Aerospace Engineering
  12. Civil Engineering
  13. Modern Languages
  14. Biology
  15. Biomedical Engineering


New degree programs:


There were no new degree programs proposed.


Student Petitions and Appeals: The IUCC acted on 576 (579 in the previous year) petitions,  reviewed 23 written appeals of denied petitions, and heard 13 in-person appeals (21 in the previous year) of denied petitions. Approved by the Registrar, under the authority of the Committee, were 298 (140 in the previous year) petitions related to   readmission after the first drop, use of a “D” grade when the second attempt of the course resulted in an F grade, and requests to return in the following term after withdrawing.  


2006-2007       576 petitions, 36 appeals, 298 petitions handled administratively                             (910 total)

2006-2007       579 petitions, 21 appeals, 140 petitions handled administratively                             (740 total)

2004-2005       738 petitions, 27 appeals

                        (765 total – number of administrative approvals not reported)


Processing some of the petitions under the “administrative action” category that the Registrar can act on has off-loaded some of the work of this committee. The appeals, particularly the written appeals, are very time consuming.


General Education: Gil Weinberg, Chuck Parsons served on this subcommittee.  There was no activity to report.  This subcommittee activates and addresses issues only as they arise. This past year saw no general education issues arise that required action.


Program Review: Richard Barke and Larry Bottomley served on this subcommittee. Program review reports for Building Construction, Industrial and Systems Engineering, Management, Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, and Mathematics were approved at the May 2, 2007 meeting. The program review report for Physics was approved at the June 13, 2007 meeting.


Study Abroad: Al Ferri, Chris Jarrett, and Doug Williams served on this subcommittee. The Study Abroad Subcommittee met twice this year. A total of 19 faculty-led study abroad programs were approved.


 Approved on October 23, 2006:


Approved on November 27, 2006: 


            *Officially approved by email vote on February 2, 2007.


Summary: The heavy workload of this committee may likely get worse as more petitions are generated as a result of changes, such as the “Fixed for Four” tuition plan, that put more pressure on students to graduate as quickly as possible. This may likely result in more petitions related to the 36-hour rule and possibly more requests for concurrent enrollment.  Concern has arisen concerning students who enrolled Summer 2007, did not do well academically, and were put on drop. 


It is possible that students will push forward in summer, even if performance in the Spring was not good, just to keep on track with finishing as quickly as possible. If this is a trend, it will surely lead to more petitions. Data are being gathered to determine if a trend may be emerging.


The Register will request a meeting with GTAAN this fall to discuss the petition process and the criteria used to make the decisions.  Time in meetings is too often spent trying to determine whether the documentation supports the request adequately and/or addresses the timeframe of the events that the student cites as reasons for his/her academic struggle.  Better preparation of the petition would save time in committee meetings. The Registrar is also taking steps to ensure better prescreening of petitions once they are submitted to the Registrar’s Office.  The Registrar’s Office is also conducting a review of the Banner Student Module to determine how improvements in technology and/or better communication strategies might alleviate some of these problems.


We recommend that the Student Rules and Regulations Committee review the participation in extracurricular activities policy regarding intercollegiate athletics. Rather than having the IUCC act on and approve petitions, a change in policy seems to be appropriate. These petitions always need to be addressed in a timely fashion particularly after the Summer and Fall terms. If the rate of approval is 100%, there seems to be no need to continue with the current policy.


It is important to note that the majority of this committee’s time is spent on student petitions, not on curricular matters.