Academic Services Committee

Minutes

November 30, 2005

 

 

 

Members Present:  Robert Braga (CHEM), Carol Colatrella (LCC), Jeffrey Donnell (ME), Joseph Hoey (OARS), Maureen Kilroy (Grad Office), Nancey Green Leigh (AICP), Jim Sowell (PHYS)(Chair), Jane Weyant (CoE).

 

Members Absent:   Bobby Beaulieu (SGA), Myrtle Turner (GTRI). 

 

Visitor:  Anderson Smith, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs  

 

1.        The meeting came to order at 1:05 p.m. on November 30, 2005 in the College of Engineering Conference Room. 

 

2.        Anderson Smith responded informally to questions raised by committee members.  In the summary below, the questions are represented in italics, and the subsequent responses are paraphrased. 

 

·         What are your  immediate goals as Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs?

 

Generally the goal is to emphasize those functions that support undergraduate studies at GT; in particular, the idea is to make it easier for students to obtain information about administrative procedures at GT.  One form this support might take would be to develop a centrally-located walk-in office where students would be able find answers to basic questions about navigating through the problems of campus life.  SGA has expressed interest in the development of such an information office as well.  A second possible support activity might involve the creation of a GT academic advising network, which would develop and communicate a set of best practices for students who need to learn how to succeed at Georgia Tech.  For both the academic advising network concept and the walk-in information office concept, the idea would be to coordinate functions that already exist on campus, but that may be widely distributed and poorly publicized. 

 

·         How much is being done to help students obtain research experience? 

 

The Undergraduate Research Office now works to match interested students with opportunities in the different departments at GT.  This matching supplements the research opportunities that different departments already provide to their undergraduates.  A new hire will soon oversee the funds that are used in support of undergraduate research and will work with the different units to develop NSF undergraduate research programs. 

 

·         How is Technology Fee money allocated?  Is Technology Fee money ever used to fund new initiatives?

 

Tech Fee money is distributed by a faculty and student committee.  There is great demand to maintain or enhance existing, proven activities, so it may appear that new initiatives are infrequently funded.  For developing new instructional programs, it may be possible to develop pedagogical grants for faculty members interested in innovations in teaching and learning.  In general, it seems best to promote pedagogical experimentation at the unit level, with the idea of then translating successes to other Institute units.  It is desired that the proposed Learning Center would provide a place for such instructional experimentation. 

 

·         Will tenure reviews be adjusted to emphasize undergraduate teaching?

 

There have been no discussions of this.  However, Georgia Tech is changing, and undergraduate instruction is receiving increased emphasis. 

 

·         The libraries at most major research universities are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; the GT Library—other than the Commons area—is often closed on weekends and holidays.  Are there plans to keep the Library open for longer hours? 

 

The goal is to keep the Undergraduate Learning Center (ULC) and the Library open 24 / 7, but funding for this is still to be located.  More generally, the complex that will be formed of the ULC and the Library will be designed to provide a number of spaces and services for students: 

A-    The Library’s East Wing will be developed as a space for students to work in groups.

B-     The ULC would coordinate and integrate existing tutoring activities that are now conducted in various places around campus.  The idea here would be that the ULC would provide centrally-located space which would make various tutoring programs both convenient and visible to large numbers of students. 

C-     A Communications Center is being considered to respond to needs in written communication, oral presentation and the like.  A committee will soon be formed to develop a plan for such an entity. 

 

Other initiatives are ongoing at GT, though they may not be directly connected to the ULC.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative has been mentioned already.  Another initiative is related to the International Plan; a new coordinator will be hired to locate and cultivate international internships for our students. 

 

·         Will support for CEISMC / K-12 programs be increasing?

 

K-12 programs are valued and will be supported.  K-12 programs speak to the problem of attracting excellent students to GT, and there is an ongoing search for ways to do this.  One response to this need is the Honors program that is being developed; students admitted as Honors students might grouped in special sections of 15 or 20 students, with courses tailored in some fashion to the needs and skills of Honors students.  The Honors program might be a 2-year program, leaving the colleges and schools to determine what these students might be asked to do during their subsequent years at GT. 

 

3.        The next meeting of the Academic Services Committee will take place in January, 2006.      

 

4.        The meeting was adjourned at 2:05 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Jeffrey Donnell, Secretary