GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

The Executive Board

MINUTES

Meeting of April 9, 2002

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building

 

 

Members Present: Abdel-Khalik (ME); Allen (Arch); Boyd (Stu. Services); Estes (EDI); Hall (Bio) Henry (OSP); Jayaraman (Mgt); Kahn (CEE); Mark (CoC);  Marr (Psy); McGuire (LCC); Wardi (ECE); Welch (GTRI); Clough (Pres); Chameau (Provost); Alexander (Staff Rep); Michaels (G. Stu). Thomas (SoF)

 

Members Absent: Swank (GTRI); Richards (GTRI); Kavanaugh (U. Stu)

 

Visitors: McMath (Provost Office)

 

 

1.                  Said Abdel Khalik, chair opened the meeting at 3:05 pm. He first welcomed Alan Michaels, recently elected as President of the Graduate Student Body, who will sit on the Board as the Graduate Student representative.

2.                  The Chair asked for approval of the minutes of the March 12, 2002 meeting of the Board. No changes have been requested since these were posted. Approval was agreed without dissent.

3.                  The Chair asked Sandra Corse, Chair of the Statutes committee, to discuss the three Statutes changes which will be introduced at the April 23rd meeting of the General Faculty; the proposals were attached to the agenda:

(a)  Corse stated that the first item is a second reading of the change to the Undergraduate Curriculum and Graduate Committees. She intends to propose first that the words “rounded up” be changed to the words “rounded to the nearest whole number”. This will prevent confusion. The Board agreed that this item was ready for presentation.

(b)  Corse then introduced a proposed minor change to the Student Regulations Committee which would show the Registrar as a non-voting member. In practice the Registrar has always attended these meetings and the change just brings the statutes in line with current practice. The Board agreed that this was ready for presentation for a first reading.

(c)  Corse then introduced the rather extensive proposed changes to the charges of the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee. These changes are at the request and suggestion of that committee:

(i)     The charge that faculty denied a promotion in ten years should be given an automatic review [item 2.4.6.1.(e)(2)]  would be deleted entirely. In many respects the need for this action is superseded by the 5-year post-tenure review policies.

(ii)    The charge that the committee should annually review general policies regarding teaching loads, salaries etc., [item 2.4.6.1.(c)(3)] would be altered to state only that an “occasional review” would take place and be reported to the Faculty. In practice the annual review activity has never taken place.

(iii)   The charge relating to the type of grievances accepted by the committee [Item 2.4.6.1.(c)(5)] will be altered to include matters related to “relations between or among faculty members”. Apparently many of the problems reviewed by the Committee are of that type.

(iv)   The procedures related to record keeping [Item 2.4.6.1.(c)(5)] will carry the additional requirement that at the end of each year all records will be transferred to the Secretary of the Faculty for suitable archiving. This is a policy already implemented by the Board.

(v)    All sections would be renumbered to accommodate the proposed changes.

(vi)              Section 2.4.7.2.(h) of the Statutes is part of the Promotion and Tenure section and mostly repeats the requirement for review of faculty denied promotion in ten years. With the change given in (i) above this item is irrelevant. Thus it is proposed to remove all this section with the exception of the last sentence (which relates to promotion denied for budgetary reasons).

The Board agreed that all these items were ready for presentation to the Faculty at the April 23rd meeting.

4.                  The Chair called on President Clough to make his remarks:

 (a) Clough stated that the legislative session was still in progress and the longest in Georgia history; the delay is related to redistricting. FY2003 continuation budget will include a 3.25 percent average salary raise. Moves to “cap” the amount of raises were defeated. The Yamacraw building lease payment, important for Tech, has been approved. There were moves to make larger cuts in the Savannah based GTREP program than were planned for the Georgia Tech campus; we have managed to largely reverse that cut. This move was essential if we are to seek accreditation for the two degree programs currently based at GTREP. We are trying to keep the Savannah and Atlanta budgets separate. There are funds for the Savannah campus construction and that is under way. Overall budget cuts were originally planned to be at 5 percent  but this has now increased to 7 percent. Fortunately the Governor has continued the $25M “hold harmless” payment which covers the loss of formula funding related to the reduction in registered student credit hours which occurred at the time of semester conversion. The budget proposals await the Governor’s signature.

(b) The Board of Regents office has yet to make decisions on tuition costs. These will undoubtedly rise to partly offset the budget cuts.

(c) US News and World Reports has published its list of Graduate program rankings. Tech comes out very well. Overall, we stand fourth in Engineering with most of the Engineering programs in the top ten of their field. The list also includes the first rankings of Science programs since 1996. Physics has risen from 50th place to 32nd and many science programs are now in the top 10 percent of their fields.

(d) Applications are slightly down from last year, mostly through reduction of demand in the computing area. This is a national trend.

(e) On the national level there is debate on IP rights and commercialization. Ownership of patents developed with government funding is now ceded to the Universities. There are moves to redress the imbalance between NIH and NSF funding which has occurred in recent years.

5.   The Chair called on Karen Boyd to discuss the progress on the revised “Student Code of Academic Conduct”. She stated that this is the second phase of a planned revision of the code of conduct. The document was recently approved by the Student Regulations Committee and they wish to present this to the Senate for approval on April 23rd. She provided a handout describing the changes (See attachments below) and discussed the following major features:

(a)  Reflecting the changes to communications it is proposed that e-mail will be the official point of contact with a student. This is, however, unsatisfactory if the students have left Tech and in such cases we shall use the last postal address of record.

(b) There are changes in “Hearing Procedures”. Some basic information has been added and statements make it clear that the same procedures apply to all panels. Clarifications have been made to the question of conflict of interest and the role of the complainant. Criteria for appointment of hearing panels have been taken out of the code and instead reference is made to the constitutions of the bodies that appoint such panels.

(c)  There are changes to the nature of sanctions. The concept of “Suspension held in Abeyance” has been added. Loss of good standing would be a separate sanction and not be mandatory for students on disciplinary probation.

(d)  In the appeals procedure we have removed the complainants right of appeal.

The Chair said that this revised code should be posted for Faculty review. Young said that the text would be sent to the Secretary for posting within 48 hours. Clough asked whether the revisions represented major changes from the past. Boyd stated that the changes mostly codify current practice. Most disciplinary matters (approx 95 percent) are dealt with by the Dean of Students, who is the fist point of contact in all such matters. The Chair asked for further comment on removal of the complainants “Right of Appeal”, Boyd stated that it is standard legal practice that the accuser has no right of appeal of a decision. The accused can appeal the result of a decision. Marr asked about the procedures to check that penalties were being implemented. Boyd admitted that her office was not “real good” about doing that at present but this was being worked on. If a student fails to comply, they are reminded, and ultimately a “hold” can be placed on their registration. Wardi asked whether we have community service punishments. Young stated that these could be used but that most organizations preferred to work with people who volunteered .

The Chair suggested that the Board accept this document as ready for presentation to the Academic Senate and this was agreed without dissent.

6. The Chair introduced the question of “Grading Policy”. We had asked Marr to create a proposed “Charge” to the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee (SAFAC) to consider this matter. Marr said that McMath had presented data showing that overall GPA had increased over time by an amount which is not in parallel with SAT. Grade inflation is an acknowledged problem at major universities. The question generates an enormous amount of anecdotal information. Good information about Tech is on hand and needs to be analyzed. In turn this will set a foundation for a discussion on how to enhance performance through the use of grading. The basic question is whether standards are congruent with quality. There are many reasons for grade increases; one reason could be better teaching. He presented his proposal for a “Charge” which was attached to the agenda (see attachments).

Wardi stated in his opinion the main questions were how to improve learning and teaching, whether there was grade inflation and whether the grading was fair. The study should include comparisons with peer institutions. When he discussed this task with the SAFAC he expected that they would receive a very broad and open charge so that they could decide what needed to be done. He believed that the SAFAC would set up task groups to pursue the various issues.

Marr stated that there are problems in comparisons with peer institutions; it is necessary to make sure that programs are comparable. The issue of fair grading is important and included in his points. The charge is only to provide guidance, and the committee will chart its own course. Abdel Kahlik stated that it would be preferable to start with a well-defined initial set of questions.

Wardi replied that the SAFAC would do a fine job, and he would prefer the initial charge to involve a smaller number of direct questions. He was concerned that the present questions focused too much on grade inflation and there might be loss of momentum if the SAFAC was presented with this full list.

Abdel Khalik stated that most relevant issues were included in Marr’s list and it was not efficient for this Board to debate a reduction in the number of charges. He therefore suggested that Wardi, Marr and the Chair of the SAFAC, together, formulate a reduced set of charges and present them to the Board at its next meeting. This was agreed.

Marr stated that he would have the “Assessment Seminar” focus its last meeting of the year on this topic.

7. Abdel Khalik asked the Secretary to introduce the results of the recent elections. Thomas stated that the number of ballots cast (407) was almost the same as last year (411). He drew member’s attention to the attachment to the agenda that gave the list of persons who had secured the largest vote in each race. There were a number of problems for the Board to resolve:

(a) In the second race for the Statutes committee it had been discovered that one candidate was not an eligible member of the General Faculty; there was an error in the records of OHR. The relevant candidate had withdrawn their name. The secretary therefore proposed that the race be considered as being between the remaining two candidates and he had listed the person who had secured the largest vote. He asked approval of the Board to declare that person (Moore) to be elected; this was agreed without dissent.

(b) Robert Atkins had been elected to two committees and wished to serve on only one; Faculty Benefits. The Secretary therefore proposed that Atkins not serve on the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee where he was also elected. Instead he proposed that Gisele Welch, who received the highest vote of the remaining eligible candidates, should be declared elected to the FS&G committee. That was agreed without dissent.

(c) April Brown is listed as a continuing member of the Graduate Committee but she is leaving Tech. The Secretary proposed that the candidate from Engineering who received the largest vote of persons not elected, Jianmin Qu (ME) be appointed to serve instead of Brown. This was agreed without dissent.

(d) The secretary also noted that with the election of Turgay Uzer to the Executive Board he would no longer be able to serve as a member of the FS&G committee and a replacement would need to be found. We would normally select a person who ran for office in the present election but who did not win their race. There were four candidates for the two positions on this committee. One candidate was elected in the normal manner (Verreist) , one was elected to the Board and cannot serve (Telotte), one withdrew (Atkins) and has been replaced by the fourth candidate (Welch). Thus there is no person remaining. The Secretary was unable to propose a name to replace Uzer and stated that he would leave this as a problem for the new Secretary to solve when the various bodies convened in August.

(e) The Secretary asked that all other names on the list be confirmed by the Board and that he be permitted to announce these as the results of the election. This was agreed without dissent.

8. The Chair asked the Board to consider whether it was necessary to meet on both May 14 and June 18th as scheduled; proposed agenda items for these meetings are very few. He proposed that the May 14th meeting be canceled and we next meet on June 18th. This was agreed without dissent.

9. The Chair then asked whether there was any other business, and there being none he adjourned the meeting at 4:30 pm.

 

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Respectfully submitted,

 

Edward W. Thomas

Secretary of the Faculty

April 10, 2002

 

Attachments to the archival copy of the minutes:

(1) Copy of the Agenda.

(2) Proposed changes to Statutes.

(Also posted as items # 12,14 and 15 of web page http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/notices_2.html)

 

(3) Revised Student Academic honor code

(To be posted as item #16 on the web page http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/notices_2.html)

(4) Grading Policy; proposed committee charges by Marr, dated 04/09/02

(5) List of persons elected to committees in Spring 2002

(To be posted as item #4 on web page http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/yelectindex.html)