To: Ron Bohlander, Faculty Secretary
From: Ty Herrington, Chair, Statutes Committee
Re: Report of Statutes Committee Results from Voting Period Concluded Nov. 16, 2010
After deliberate and close review of Anderson Smith's Task Force's version of the Faculty Handbook, the Statutes Committee has voted to retain the current version of the Handbook rather than adopt the Task Force version.
The Committee determined that the Task Force version, which does not retain the current version's clear separation and notation of the distinct categories of Policy, Statutes, Bylaws, and "Other Key Faculty Governance," would not provide an adequate informational framework from which a reader/user could understand the synthetic relationship, and thus impact, of policy on application of statutes and bylaws. The committee has noted that the guidance of policy is as important for understanding the statutes and bylaws as is the language itself.
The Committee has also found that the more efficient structure of the Task Force's version omits descriptive text and policy that is nevertheless necessary for interpreting appropriate application of the statutes and bylaws. To illustrate with one example, the committee's vote to retain the current version of the Faculty Handbook reflects acknowledgement that it is important to preserve the language describing Georgia Tech's policy to enable and encourage faculty governance; this is clearly noted in Section 5 of the current version but the Statutes Committee failed to locate material to this effect in the Task Force version.
Based on a vote to retain the current version of the Handbook, the Statutes Committee has reviewed the Grievance Committee's changes to the current Handbook language and concluded that the new material should be incorporated, conditional upon a clarification in the new language providing that "appropriate status" in section 14.3.3 would be defined as "equal rank and higher."
The Statutes Committee voted to publish the materials referenced by url on the cover of the current Faculty Handbook and remove the notation that the material has been adopted but not published.
Addendum to Statutes Committee Voting Report of 11.16.10
Re: Vote to Retain the Current Version of the Faculty Handbook
Submitted by Ty Herrington, Chair of Statutes Committee
The material here is provided to further clarify the Statutes Committee's conclusions and votes in response to its review of the Task Force version of the Faculty Handbook.
The vote to retain the current version of the Handbook was not a rejection of the Task Force version. The Statutes Committee learned from our review of both versions of the Handbook, particularly when we began to examine other committee's submissions of changes to Handbook language, that understanding the changes in context was not only important, but also necessary. This led us to the finding that it is necessary to maintain the clear denotations of policy, statutes, bylaws and "Other Key Faculty Governance" along with the more comprehensive expressions of policy and instructional information that are present in the current Handbook.
We established that the role of our committee is not so much to be productive as it is responsiveŚwe review and consider and then respond. But the consideration and responses could not help but lead to aspirational desires. So we understand that as a committee we are not likely to be in a position to create such a thing, but the work we completed in reviewing and analyzing the two versions of the Handbook led us to conceptualize the potential for developing a wholly different, but integrative structure that would provide a means to bring together the Task Force work and the architecture of the current Handbook that maintains specific denotations of policy, statutes, bylaws and "Other Key Faculty Governance," while also maintaining the more comprehensive nature of the current Handbook. The report on the vote was limited only to a report of the vote, alone, and did not allow provision of the more aspirational wishes of the Committee.
The Committee entered the review process with a basis of belief that not only the Task Force materials, but other materials created to enable governance, were developed with positive intentions to foster efficient and cooperative interactions among administrators, faculty, and staff. At all points in the Committee's review process the voting members of the Statutes Committee have treated the Task Force submission with respect for the work done and we have assumed that the Task Force version of the Handbook was created to provide a more efficient structure to benefit all members of the campus community. Nevertheless, for the reasons above, the Committee concluded that it would be best to retain the current version and integrate the Task Force version within a broader structure.
In specific, we surmised that the Georgia Tech community would benefit from further development of a digital version of the Faculty Handbook that retains the current Handbook as a core database, but establishes hypertextual links from the core that could allow provision of valuable contextual frameworks for issue-specific foci. We saw that another benefit of a broader digital, hypertextual structure would be that it would also allow integration of materials such as the Task Force work, graphic explanations, and other forms of informational and explanatory materials, while also maintaining the guiding architecture as well as the policy and informational materials that are a part of the current Handbook. On these bases, the Committee voted to retain the current Handbook.