Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Present:   Allen (ChBE), Das ( SGA, IWC Rep), Pikowsky (Registrar), Tovey (ISyE)


Visitors: Kohn (Provost’s Office, Enrollment Services)


Note: All action items in minutes require approval by the Academic Senate. 


1.       There was no quorum.


2.      Due to the lack of a quorum, the Minutes from the October meeting will be edited as necessary and sent by the Chair for an electronic review and vote. The next Senate meeting is on November 17 at which time the Minutes will be approved.


3.      Discussion continued on the new undergraduate admissions policy. Although there were no strong objections to it, and no recommendations for changes, there was some discussion about clarity and how the new policy would affect, if at all, the process of selecting and admitting students. Highlights of the discussion included questions and the sense that there are many other topics and issues to explore:

·         How do we achieve a highly competitive pool of applicants?

·         How are we viewing needs related to size and composition of the incoming freshman class?

·         How does the mix of incoming freshmen interact with the incoming transfer students to round out the incoming undergraduate student body each year?


There was some discussion about the gender composition of the undergraduate student body, compared with M.I.T. which enforces a 50-50 composition.  At Georgia Tech there are no plans to emulate M.I.T. in this regard. There have been some increases in the percentage of female undergraduates enrolled at Georgia Tech.  These increases have been due to a significant increase in the number of female applicants, and an improved yield ratio of those accepted.
Dr. Kohn will be invited back or asked to join the committee on a regular basis to continue the sharing of information and to obtain  feedback on initiatives as they are put on the table.


4.      Given the time left in the meeting, it was decided that the next agenda will include the report on athletic travel schedules and excused absences during finals week.


5.      There was an issue of an excused absence that was not being honored by a professor.  Dr. Tovey will formulate two possible motions and ask the Committee for their input via email.  Once a motion is accepted and passed, further action will be taken to address the issue.


6.      In the discussion of incoming transfer students, a past study of freshmen who ultimately didn’t complete the degree was mentioned as food for thought.  This study and a follow-up freshman program showed that intervention with these students in the first semester made a difference in their success. Retention increased once this program was put in place. This might be food for thought as we look at the incoming transfer classes.  Some schools also observe that transfer students are more often either very high performing or very low performing than non-transfer students.   Future investigation of this topic might be useful for retention strategies. Historical data might contain patterns that would enable one to detect at-risk transfer students in advance.


7.      Transfer admission was discussed in relation to the existing pipelines and strategies for how students are recruited to the various programs on campus. It is unlikely that any significant changes will occur to the transfer recruitment process in the near future.


8.     Dr. Kohn reported that there has been a significant increase in applications for undergraduate admission from China.  He has sought input from the faculty in regard to how these applications can be evaluated based on the relative quality of the academic experience of the student. He is putting into place a pilot program for faculty to participate in the review process.


9.      Dr. Kohn also provided a review of current financial aid challenges. He provided a report from the College Board on trends in higher education and talked about how institutions go about meeting needs and why in some cases it is possible for institutions to have no unmet need. He also talked about HOPE and Zell scholarships and suggested that a review of the Tech Promise scholarship program might be of interest to the Committee and can discuss it at the next meeting.  He also talked about institutional resources and what are likely to be on-going challenges in the financial aid area.





Reta Pikowsky