Statutes Committee

Minutes of December 2, 2003



Members Present: Ron Bohlander - GTRI (Chair), Jim Cofer - GTRI, Russell Gentry - Arch (Exec. Bd. Liaison), George Johnston - Arch, Jonathan Moore   OTL, Tim Strike - GTRI


Members Absent: E. W. Looney – student




1.       Ron Bohlander, Chair, called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. in Centennial Research Building room 215.

2.       He presented an overview of a request of the Executive Board that the Statutes Committee address and resolve concerns with the format of the Faculty handbook.  This same overview was presented to the meeting of the General Faculty held later in the day on Dec. 2 and is in the official record of that meeting.  The primary issues were to address were a) handbook section numbering to an excessive depth, b) readability of the online version of the handbook, c) difficulty in locating all related material on given subjects, d) accessibility for persons with special needs, and e) overall attractiveness of the documents.

3.       Members of the committee reported on their impressions from reviewing the online handbook material of 19 peer institutions.  The committee commended the handbooks of four other institutions as valuable examples of good approaches, although none captured all the points deemed to be best practices as they would apply in our culture.  The four are MIT, Penn State, University of Michigan, and the University of Wisconsin.

4.       In brainstorming, the committee identified the following characteristics they would like to achieve in improved formatting for Georgia Tech’s faculty handbook:

·         Having no more than three levels of outline numbering; e.g.  1.1.1.  Lists below this level could have letters and numbers outside of the section numbering system.

·         Tables(s) of Contents could be made with fewer levels.  In online versions, the content lists could vary in depth, according to how deeply the user was tunneling in.

·         The primary handbook document can be online in paged html format, with a downloadable pdf version of the whole also available.

·         Html paging should be set up to minimize the need for navigation by scrolling.

·         A search engine should be provided focused on the handbook.  An index should also be provided if feasible.

·         Hyperlinks should be placed in the document to help in navigation to related material.

·         An overall professional appearance should be achieved with tasteful use of color.

5.       Next steps: Ron Bohlander offered to use these characteristics to create a prototype of a limited section of the handbook.  He also offered to explore what resources we would be able to draw on to accomplish an overall revision.  Resources for maintenance should also be investigated.

6.       The next meeting of the committee was set for January 20, 2004, at 10 a.m.

7.       The meeting was adjourned by 11 a.m.



Respectfully submitted,

Ron Bohlander, Chair