Statutes Committee

Minutes of January 20, 2004

 

 

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

 

Members Absent: Jonathan Moore - OTL

 

Vacancy: Student representative

 

Visitors:  Joseph Hoey, Director of Assessment

 

1.       Ron Bohlander, Chair, called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. in Centennial Research Building room 503.

2.       The minutes of the Sep. 10, 2003 and Dec. 2, 2003 meetings were approved.

3.       Ron introduced the request from the Executive Board that the committee consider changes to the Faculty Handbook that will better support requirements for the Institute’s re-accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  Joseph Hoey provided additional background.  The GIT SAC Compliance Group has identified the following five issues as ones needing attention that includes strengthening of the Faculty Handbook policies and procedures:

·         “The Institute must establish and implement a policy mandating the collection and maintenance of current academic credentials of all instructors, specifically including part-time and visiting instructors (SACS Comprehensive Standards, Programs – Faculty #20).

·         “The Institute must establish and implement a policy mandating the evaluation of all instructors, specifically including part-time and visiting instructors.  This policy should include a provision whereby each college must develop and publish criteria for the evaluation of instruction (SACS Comprehensive Standards, Programs – Faculty #21).

·         “18-hour rule for grad assistants: The Institute must develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure that all graduate teaching assistants hold a master’s degree in the teaching discipline or 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline prior to becoming listed as an instructor of record for any course at GT (lab, lecture, recitation, or otherwise) (SACS Comprehensive Standards, Programs – Faculty #20f).

·         “Direct supervision, training and evaluation of grad assistants: The Institute must develop and implement policies and procedures to ensure that all graduate teaching assistants are under the direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, are provided regular in-service training, and are provided planned and periodic evaluations (SACS Comprehensive Standards, Programs – Faculty #20f).

·         “The Institute must establish and implement a policy requiring each degree program to have published student learning outcomes; demonstrate that it assesses on a regular and systematic manner whether students achieve these outcomes; and provide evidence of program adjustments based on those assessment results.  This applies to each degree program, BS, MS, and PhD, including all interdisciplinary programs (SACS Core Requirement #5; Mission, Governance and Effectiveness #16; and Programs #1).”

4.       Ron explained the rationale for the draft changes to the Handbook that he had prepared and had circulated in advance of the meeting.  The changes focused on three things:

·         Updating references to the Board of Regents (BOR) policy manual to the latest edition on their web site.  (Being up-to-date is good in itself but the later edition is also in better harmony with current SACS requirements.)

·         Making more use of the BOR policy manual as a first approach to filling gaps identified by the SACS Compliance Group. (Using the BOR as a standard helps to remove controversy in the changes since we follow these policies anyway.)

·         Making simple additions to fill a few remaining gaps in our policies to support SACS requirements.

5.       It was agreed that a more detailed review of the proposed changes in the Handbook would come next and include:

·         Russell Gentry and George Johnston would give a careful review of the proposed changes as academic members of the Statutes Committee.

·         Joseph Hoey and Jack Lohmann (from the Provost’s Office) would do so as well and would refer the current draft to the deans for their review.

·         All agreed to set a deadline for getting comments back to the chair by Feb. 6.

6.       It was further agreed that the committee would plan to bring recommended changes to the faculty at the regularly scheduled Feb. 24th meeting, for a first reading, and to the April 20th one, for the second reading.  This will enable the changes to be in place before final preparations are made for accreditation evaluations in the fall.

7.       Since support for accreditation is on this fast track, the Statutes Committee decided to concentrate on making SACS-related changes and to delay bringing planned Faculty Handbook format improvements to the faculty.  We will continue to develop format improvements in parallel to the extent we are able but will wait until all the changes needed by SACS are in place before introducing format changes to the faculty.  Care will be taken not to confuse the SACS evaluators with format changes.

8.       To meet the dates set forth in paragraph 5 above, the Statutes Committee agreed to meet next on Feb. 10, at 10 a.m.  Then Ron will bring their recommendations to the Executive Board later the same day.

9.       The meeting was adjourned by 11:45 a.m.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Bohlander, Chair