GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

The Executive Board

MINUTES

Meeting of June 19, 2001

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building

 

 

Members Present: Boyd (Stu Servcs); Callen (ECE); Estes (EDI); Hall (Bio); Jayaraman (Mgt);  Richards (GTRI); Swank (GTRI); Welch (GTRI); Williamson (Liby); Chameau (Provost); Alexander (Staff Rep); Childress (G. Stu): Kavanaugh (U. Stu.); E.Thomas (SoF):

 

Members Absent: Abdel-Khalik (ME);  Allen (Arch); El-Sayed (Chem); McGuire (LCC); Schwan (CoC); Wardi (ECE); Clough (Pres.); Liotta (Vice Provost).

 

Visitors: Bob McMath (Provost Office); Brent Carter (MSE); Matthew Realff (ChE); Chuck Donbaugh (OHR).

 

1.      The meeting was brought to order by Gisele Welch, (acting as Chair in the absence of Said Abdel Khalik ) at 3:00 p.m. She welcomed Jean Lou Chameau to his first meeting of the Board in his new role as Provost. Chameau stated that his own agenda included a stronger emphasis on Undergraduate Education while continuing to develop the Graduate programs. Tech is stretched thin, needs more resources and should optimize use of those resources that are available.

2.      Welch invited Chameau and McMath to comment on recent developments at Tech.

McMath stated that we had been successful in having the Board of Regents place the Undergraduate Learning Center on the official list of building projects. This building will be a partnership between the Academic Units, OIT and the Library. It will include some classrooms, laboratories for Introductory Science Courses, Advisement Offices, CETL and some faculty space. Freshman and Sophomore students will spend a lot of time in that building which will provide an integrated set of programs. In response to a question, Chameau stated that it will take 3 to 4 years to obtain design funding. Tech will need to raise a portion of the funds privately.

Chameau commented that the number of new faculty hired for the Fall was the largest contingent in ten years. This should help to improve the student to faculty ratio. In part, the new hires are a benefit of the Yamacraw project. Also this last year will show a record level of research support in the region of $235-240M. About 55 percent goes to Academic Units and 45 percent to GTRI; this ratio is inverted from the status a couple of years ago.

Callen asked whether the Faculty Club was still part of the plan for the Undergraduate Learning Center Building. McMath replied that this was the case and it would be funded privately. McMath was asked whether it was still the intent to demolish the Hightower building and replied that this was the case.

Welch asked Chameau whether we had the space and facilities for all the new faculty. Chameau responded that there will be a short-term space crisis but this will be alleviated in 18 to 27 months when new buildings are ready. Alexander asked whether the new intake will improve the diversity situation; Chameau replied that there would be improvement in the number of female faculty but no significant improvement in the minority situation.

Welch asked whether there were funds to support faculty in development of new courses. McMath replied that such funds will be available; also that we will soon have experience from the first year of the Undergraduate Research Initiative. Chameau stated that GTRC will fund this research initiative for the next two years.

Dwight Hall asked about the status of the new parking deck. Chameau replied that this would not be turned over to Tech for some months and consequently the number of parking places available in the Fall will be about 1500 to 1800 less than the number of spots requested.

3.      Welch moved that the Executive Board minutes of May 15, 2001 be approved; this was agreed without dissent.

4.      Welch called on Brent Carter to give a review of the operations of the Student Activities Committee, which he chairs. Carter stated that the committee meets 2 to 3 times a term as needed and devotes 95 percent of its time to approval of charters and constitutions for new student organizations. The Statutes also call for the committee to review regulations for fraternities and sororities. In practice there has been little activity in this regard although in the past year there have been some reviews related to changes in regulations caused by the Semester conversion. The statutes also call for the committee to review regulations related to student housing, publications, intramural athletics and the Student Center; in practice the committee does not engage in such activities. The consensus of the committee is that it should not be involved in matters such as housing and should confine itself to student activities. The committee does have the responsibility of approving student activities budgets and they accomplish this in a subcommittee which has a 50 percent student representation. Hall asked whether it was necessary to review all constitutions regularly. Carter replied that this was not necessary but that they had asked all organizations to review their constitutions to insure conformity with the semester changes.

Welch asked whether there is anything which can improve the committee’s operations, Carter replied that there has been some question in the past year as to whether the SGA is a “Student Organization” subject to review by this Committee. They may work on this in the coming year and have a proposal for clarification.

 

5.   Welch called on Matt Realff to review the operations of the Student Computer Ownership Committee of which he is the Chair. Realff provided a handout (see below) detailing the activities of the committee. Sixty percent of business is in hardware and software specification; 40 percent of business is related to advising OIT on its decisions. The Statutes [2.8.1.7.(o)(6) ] call for the committee to “encourage the use of computers in education”. They believe that this is not an appropriate role for the committee and they should confine themselves to specification of hard and software and to encouraging OIT to provide facilities. They are concerned that decisions on the computer bookstore are being made without formal input from this committee.

Realff presented some figures on the costs to Tech for supporting computer use and stated that they may wish to recommend to the Board some revisions on how these costs are budgeted.

Chameau commented that there are hundreds of initiatives in the instructional use of computers and the committee would certainly not wish to be involved in details. Obviously if there were some major initiatives these should go through the committee.

In response to a question as to how decisions are made on changes to hard and software, Realff stated that a notice soliciting proposed changes was distributed by the Secretary of the Faculty, and as a result there were two proposals for change. Both were turned down on the grounds that the requested changes would not have campus-wide utility.

Realff stated that when the bookstore management is transferred to a third party it will not be clear how to fill the committee position reserved for a representative of the bookstore.

 

6.  Welch called on Kavanaugh to present the newly proposed Student Bill of Rights. This was distributed (see attachments). It is basically the same as the version in the catalog. The revised version is under consideration through the Student Regulations Committee and no difficulties with acceptance are foreseen at this time.

 

7.   There was a brief discussion of the need for the scheduled Executive Board meeting on July 24th. Since no business requiring urgent attention is anticipated it was decided to cancel that meeting.

 

8.  Thomas reported that the recent consideration of retroactive award of “Professional Classified Staff” status to current employees had revealed sixteen cases where a change was appropriate. The only practical change to work conditions was that in eleven cases the vacation accrual rates will be altered.

 

9.  On behalf of the Registrar Thomas moved the following:

“The list of degree candidates for Summer 2001 commencement was sent to the College Deans on June 15, 2001 and has been made available to the academic departments on-line. It is moved that all candidates who satisfactorily complete their requirements by noon on Tuesday, July 31, 2001 be awarded their degree at the summer commencement on August 3, 2001.”

This was passed without dissent.

 

10. Thomas stated that the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee has asked that the Board act  on behalf of the Academic Senate to approve the Minutes of the UCC dated March 21. Expedited approval is requested in order that new programs can start this Fall. The item #9 in those minutes refers to creation of a “Study Abroad Committee”; consideration of how to create that committee is covered by a report of the “Committee on Committees” which the Board will consider in August. Thomas therefore moved that “The Board approve the March 21 minutes of the UCC with the exception of item #9. This was agreed without dissent.

 

11. Thomas introduced a note from Mostafa El Sayed.who acts as the Board liaison to the Faculty Honors Committee. There is some concern in that committee as to whether nominations for the “Outstanding Teacher Award” are to be restricted to Academic Faculty or whether the nominations are open also to General Faculty with teaching roles. In the last year the award was in fact given to a person who has the status of an “Academic Professional”. Thomas and McMath both commented that it was not clear who had the responsibility for setting the rules for awards. Callen commented that perhaps one should ask the opinion of the group which funded this award in the first place; that group is the “Class of 34". There was general agreement that when the rules were originally formulated there were very few people engaged in teaching who were not “Academic Faculty”. This has now changed and there are perhaps 20 or so persons with the title of “Academic Professionals” and some 30 persons from GTRI who had regular teaching duties.

Richards moved that “The Honors Committee should be encouraged to embrace the larger definition of eligibility, should propose a restatement of eligibility criteria and then bring this to the General Faculty Assembly for approval.” This was agreed without dissent.

 

12. Gisele Welch drew the attention of the Board to a request from Chuck Donbaugh that General Faculty status be extended to Larry Sudduth of Physics and asked Donbaugh to explain the situation. Donbaugh stated that Sudduth’s position has been reclassified from Research Scientist II, a position carrying General Faculty status,  to “Academic Advisor” which is a classified staff position. In the past when such changes have occurred, Tech has always arranged for the Benefits enjoyed by that person to be unchanged. In the course of researching the present matter the Attorney General has opined that, in the case of such a change, the person must revert to the benefits appropriate to a staff position. Specifically Sudduth would lose his eligibility for participation in the Optional Retirement Program and would be forced to change to TRS. In making the reclassification Tech had assured Sudduth that there would be no change to his benefits. Donbaugh stated that in order to make good on this assurance it will be necessary for Tech to confer General Faculty status on Sudduth. For that reason he presents this petition. (See attachments). He further stated that the rules perhaps allow him to award that status on his own initiative but that he thought it preferable for this to be done by the Board as a specific action for this individual.

Welch stated that all elected members of the Board had received an email from Sudduth requesting that this action not be taken.

Young asked why this action was deemed urgent. Donbaugh replied that he had originally told all persons that benefits were not an issue, but had only one week ago received the Attorney General’s opinion that he was incorrect. Donbaugh was instructed that continuing Sudduth in the Optional Retirement Program was in violation of State law. Donbaugh feels a need to protect the employee’s position and fully intended that the benefits be maintained without change. Callen asked whether there were any salary consequences. Donbaugh stated that the salary remains unchanged and this is in about the mid point of the range for Sudduth’s new position. Donbaugh stated that much of Sudduth’s complaint is related to his removal from the Research Scientist position and this has resulted in a legal action.

Jayaraman asked whether we are permitted to assign a person to a position against their wishes. Donbaugh replied that any employer has the right to assign and define work. The Department’s position was that the work assignment was not appropriate to the title of “Research Scientist”. The unit sent a list of duties to OHR and OHR determined that the duties are similar to staff positions in other unites.

Young asked whether this approach will be extend to other people in similar positions. Donbaugh replied that they are identifying any other persons with similar situations. In the past, such a change would never have caused a loss of benefits. Sudduth submitted a grievance to the FS&G committee which made a recommendation that the President denied. The Board of Regents has upheld the President’s position. The problem of benefits eligibility has arisen since the process of change was started and was never an issue when the original complaint was filed. Alexander commented that there are likely to be other people to whom this situation will apply when transfers are made. Chameau commented that we have made such transfers in the past and always retained benefits. If the Attorney General’s statement stands then we will need to revisit all past cases and perhaps bring them all to the Board in the present fashion. It might be better to handle Sudduth as one member of the group rather than as a special case. Hiring of a person into a Research Scientist position where no research was involved was quite frequent in the past. It was generally understood that we should not seek to change the status of such people after many years of service. Are we now in a situation where we will be taking away the “Research” title from many established people. Donabugh replied that there was no plan to review and change all cases. This present event was an independent action of this one unit.

Richard moved that “The Board not vote on the petition presented by Donbaugh”. This was approved with a single dissenting vote.

Chameau asked Donabugh whether, if the Attorney General’s opinion stands, it will be necessary to review all past actions where persons have been transferred from General Faculty to Staff positions. Donbaugh replied yes.

 

13. Welch stated that a committee was being formed to review the Institution’s plan relating to Intellectual Property Rights and Commercialization. She asked that each member seek persons interested in participating and send those names to her.

 

14. There being no further business the Chair closed the meeting at 5:15 p.m.

 

Respectfully Submitted

 

 

Edward W. Thomas

Secretary of the Faculty

June 21, 2001

 

Attachments to the Archival Copy of the Minutes

(1) Agenda

(2) Notes on the Student Computer Ownership Committee prepared by Realff

(3) Student Bill of Academic Rights. (Dated January 30, 2001) Presented by Kavanaugh

(4) Minutes of UCC dated March 21, 2001

(5) Memo of Mostafa el Sayed to Thomas dated June 7, 2001

(6) Petition to provide General Faculty Status to L. Sudduth. From Donbaugh, dated June 18, 2001