GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

The Executive Board

MINUTES

Meeting of November 27, 2001

Poole Board Rm., Wardlaw Building

 

 

Members Present: Abdel-Khalik (ME); Allen (Arch); Boyd (Stu Servcs); Estes (EDI);  Hall (Bio); Kahn (CEE); Mark (CoC); Swank (GTRI); Wardi (ECE); Clough (Pres.); Alexander (Staff Rep); Childress (G. Stu); Thomas (SoF).

 

Members Absent: Henry (OSP); Jayaraman (Mgt); Marr (Psy); McGuire (LCC); Richards (GTRI); Welch (GTRI); Chameau (Provost); Kavanaugh (U. Stu.)

 

Visitors: Bob McMath (Provost Office); Sandra Corse (LCC)

 

 

  1. Said Abdel Khalik, Chair opened the meeting at 3:05.
  2. President Clough commented:

 

(a) The Institute of Paper Science and Technology (IPST), which is located adjacent to the campus, has over time become more integrated with Tech and it now seems appropriate to discuss the possibility of IPST merging with Tech. Students, all graduate students, rely on Tech’s Student Services for support; many students take courses from Tech. Discussions on a merger have started under the leadership of Liotta. The IPST is primarily funded by dues paid by the Paper Industry and also has a good endowment. To implement a merger, however, would require a commitment by the State for funding on the same basis as Tech itself is funded. Faculty would either seek tenure track positions at Tech in the normal manner or would remain in positions of the Research Scientist type. Administratively the IPST might become a large “Center” with its own degree programs.

Clough was asked whether he would see any problems for students in such a transition. Clough replied that changes would occur over a period of time; currently-enrolled students would most likely have the requirements for their degrees “grand-fathered”; any changed requirements would be for new students only. Students would be the major beneficiaries of the merger since their options would be improved.

(b) The Speaker at commencement will be Shirley Jackson, President of Rensselaer. We will bestow on her an Honorary Degree. For the first time graduation will include students (eight in number) for the programs in Savannah.

(c) Budgets will receive a 2.5 percent “temporary cut” in the present year that will mostly be absorbed centrally. There is a strong likelihood that the cut will persist through next year.

(d) Prospects for capital investments for the next year are, however, good. The Advanced Computing Center will be started, along with additional renovation projects. The planned “Undergraduate Learning Center” will move closer to implementation. Tomorrow there will be groundbreaking for the renovated SAC complex that we hope to name the “Olympic Recreation Center”.

 

  1. The minutes of the October 23rd meeting of the Executive Board were approved.
  2. Sandra Corse, Chair of the Statutes Committee, was invited to present the proposed changes to the By-Laws of the Statutes related to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UCC) and Graduate Committee (GC). The changes were requested by the UCC and by the Secretary of the Faculty; copies of the proposed changes were distributed (see attachments). For the UCC the Dean of Students will be added as a member; the formula for arriving at representation would be changed to increase committee size and to provide a minimum of two representatives from each College. For the GC the formula used to calculate representation would be changed but the effect would be that there would be no change to current representations. Also the revised statutes would show that each of the two committees was to carry out review of academic programs on a six-year cycle.

Corse stated that the Committee had discussed an alternative form of the statutes that would exclude any mention of formulae for calculation of representation but would instead require the Executive Board to, annually, set the composition of the UCC and of the GC. She said that there was some strong support for such an approach but that the committee did not present this as their proposal for the faculty. The Statutes committee did however seek comment on the notion. The EB Chair commented that this alternative approach appeared to be vague and to give a responsibility to the Board that seemed inappropriate. Others commented that they saw no problem in adopting a formula for representation that might need to be changed in say four to six years time.

It was moved that the proposal by the Statutes Committee be accepted for inclusion in the February 5th meeting of the General Faculty Assembly. This was approved without dissent. The EB Chair stated that the February 5th meeting would need to be designated as a “Called Meeting of the General Faculty” for the purpose of considering this change to the By-Laws of the Statutes.

5.  The Chair called on Bob McMath to discuss the working of the 5-year post tenure review process. We are now in the fifth year of the first full cycle of the program and it is appropriate to review its operations.

McMath stated that the process was working reasonably well and had caused a subtle change in faculty culture. In the first year the process had mirrored the Promotion and Tenure process with committee-type reviews at all levels. Then there had been a sharp change to place the entire weight of the process on the Schools and to create an Institute-level body whose sole function was to ensure that the process was followed properly and evenly throughout the units.

There were two possible outcomes of a review. A favorable review where the following review would take place after the normal period of five years. A less favorable review where the case would be reconsidered after three years in order to determine that there had been an improvement. Out of the 254 faculty reviewed to date only ten had received the less favorable review. Two of these were from the first year of the cycle and had now been subject to the required review after three years. In both of these cases the situation was now deemed to be favorable and for both the next review would be at the end of a normal five-year period.

McMath reviewed the numbers of faculty impacted by this. At the start of the process there were 647 tenured faculty who were eligible for review during the first five-year cycle. Of these, 254 had undergone the review already, 100 had either retired or given notice of retirement so that review was deemed unnecessary.  About 20 were give permission to delay the review and a number were occupying positions as Chairs and Deans who are reviewed in a different manner. During the five years, approximately 160 faculty had been promoted and tenured and therefore entered the five year review cycle. The prospect of a review had undoubtedly change the career plans of some faculty. The process had not been a disaster, nor had it been without benefit.

Abdel-Khalik asked whether the Institutional Oversight Committee had worked properly and commented that it had no designated Chair. McMath replied that the IOC was not reviewing the cases with the detail given to P&T decisions; it seemed to work well. He himself was not a designated member of the IOC but in practice functioned as Chair. Thomas commented that the rules (article 3.7.2.5.(f)) required that the “unit process assessment” performed by the IOC be forwarded eventually to the committees of the unit’s post tenure review committee; this does not appear to have taken place uniformly. McMath said he would look into this.

McMath presented lists of current and past members of the IOC. Since it is the intent that membership be periodically rotated we should now consider replacing Dagenhart (Arch) and Parsons (Mgt) who had both served on the IOC for a number of years.  The Secretary was instructed to seek suggestions of names from the EB members representing the relevant Colleges.

McMath was asked how the administration would handle a case where a person was deemed to have not made adequate progress in remedying deficiencies after the 3-year period.  He replied that such cases would be referred to the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee (under paragraph 3.7.2.6 of the procedures) that has always been the standard procedure for dealing with a case of inadequate performance. 

6.   The Chair initiated a discussion on the question of quorums for committees. There was a particular problem with the Student Honor Committee that had twice been unable to perform necessary case reviews due to its meetings not having a quorum present. He noted that if a member could not attend a meeting, the  Statutes permitted that person to send a person to replace them and vote in their place.

Boyd stated that the Student Honor Committee was referenced not only in the Statutes but also in the Student Honor Code and in the Student Constitutions. One cannot make a replacement “out of the blue” and the rules for replacements were not the same in all of these documents.  The difficulties are compounded by legal implications; use of a non-standard procedure might lead to a successful challenge in the courts. The problems with the Student Honor committee had now reached crisis levels with a substantial backlog of cases.

Childress asked whether the committee meetings were scheduled in advance and were therefore predictable. He indicated that if the problem of attendance was with the Graduate Student member then he would address this matter. Boyd replied that the Graduate Student member was not one of the absentees; meetings were scheduled only when needed.

The Chair suggested that one might add to the by-laws of this Committee a specific provision regarding alternate membership that would emphasize the method of dealing with unavoidable absences and make it clear that this was regular procedure. He suggested to Corse that the Statutes Committee consider doing this.

Boyd was asked whether there was anything the Institute could do to streamline the process and reduce the number of cases. Boyd replied that the total number of Honor Code violations had mushroomed in recent years to about 350/yr. National surveys show that about 10 percent of all students admit to cheating at one time or another so that perhaps our large number of cases is consistent with the size of our overall student body and merely indicates that the Honor Code is working. It seems unlikely that the total number of cases can be reduced. The “character” of the violations is generally “inappropriate collaboration”.  Students are told to work individually but in practice collaborate on assignments. The second most prevalent violation is plagiarism from the internet.

7.       The Chair initiated a discussion of major agenda items that might be included in the Assembly meeting either on February 5th or 26th. It was suggested that the Dean of Libraries be invited to address the February 26th meeting of the GFA and discuss the question of moving entirely to the use of electronic versions of journals and the termination of subscriptions to paper copies. For February 5th, which is a combined meeting of the Senate and Assembly, it was suggested that McMath initiate a discussion of grading policy.

8.       The Chair asked Wardi to report on the activities of the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee. He stated that this had met for the first time last week. Part of the meeting was devoted to a report by McMath on the status of student advising. This appeared to be satisfactory. There had also been a free-ranging discussion on the purpose and visibility of the committee. One function is to identify issues requiring study and then produce a report on their findings. Last year they reviewed admissions and concluded that this was being handled satisfactorily. A second function is to respond to any concerns identified through the EB. They suggested that the EB might, each year in the fall, identify one or two topics for the committee to study.

Abdel Kahlik responded that he would really like to see the committee identify, and suggest to the EB the subjects it believes require study.

9.   The Chair asked Swank to report on the activities of the Faculty Benefits Committee. She stated that they were meeting bi-monthly and had active participation from the two appropriate administrators, Grovenstein and Donbaugh. Last year they had made some recommendations on Long-Term Disability Insurance and thought the Board would pursue these to implementation. They are now discussing with Grovensteain and Donbaugh how these might be implemented. The Committee also wished to compare Benefits at Tech with peer institutions. A survey of our own would be costly. National organizations are currently performing nationwide comparisons and the committee plans to rely on that information. They meet on Feb 5th to review staff conditions.

Clough commented that salary comparisons should be done within disciplines and not by comparison of Schools; there are few public schools whose complement of programs is comparable with those at Tech.

Swank stated that the Benefits Committee sought a more regular participation by their Faculty Liaison person. Her attendance was not always possible due to other commitments. Should the Board designate alternates or could a liaison send to meetings a representative who was not a member of the Board? Thomas was of the opinion that it would not be appropriate to send a replacement who was not connected with the Board. The purpose of the liaison assignment was to facilitate transfer of information and concerns between the Board and the Committee. It was the responsibility of the Liaison to decide how to carry this out and whether or not routine attendance at the committee meetings was necessary.

Abdel- Khalik suggested that the Board might want to designate specific alternates to act as Liaisons for each of the committees.

10. The Chair asked Doug Allen, co-chair of the Nominations committee, to propose the names of persons to form that committee for the 2002 elections. Allen stated that it was important to have a representation that spanned as many different components of Tech as possible. He proposed that the formal committee should consist of :  Welch (Chair- member of the EB), Allen (Co-chair member of the EB), Sayle (ECE), McIver (Registrar), Horton (GTRI) and Johnston (Library). Also that Kolodner (CoC) and Turner (Mgt) should be appointed to assist the committee. This proposal was accepted without dissent.

[Note added by Secretary: Subsequent to the meeting Allen states that Ken Knoespel (HTS) will also assist the committee. The President of the SGA advises that Ellen Neidlinger will be the student representative]

11. The Chair asked for any other business. Leo Mark asked that the proposal by the College of Computing for an MS in Information Security be placed on the agenda for the December 4th Senate meeting for approval. Early approval was important to the College. They will in the next three weeks submit a very large proposal to NSF which is centered on this program; they would prefer to be able to state that this program is fully approved. He expected that this would be a very short item for the agenda.

Thomas commented that it was the agreed policy of the Senate that decisions on such matters would be made only if the documentation of the request had been distributed in advance of the meeting. As of today the Graduate Committee had not yet transmitted to the Secretary any minutes covering this matter (which we understand was dealt with only in early November). Therefore there is nothing to provide to the faculty as advance information or documentation. The Chair of the Graduate Committee sees no reason why the discussion of the item should not take place on February 5th as currently scheduled. Kahn commented that he had attended the Graduate Committee meeting where this program had been discussed and that there had been extended discussion; he anticipated extended discussion also at the relevant Senate meeting. Clough cautioned that faculty are very concerned about process and that taking something out of the normal order is likely to lead to a negative tone in the discussions.

It was suggested that the Board should review the proposition by e-mail and vote on whether to “endorse” it. The Senate would then routinely review the matter fully on Feb 5th as planned.

 

There being no further business the meeting was closed at 5:00 pm.

 

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Respectfully submitted

 

Edward W. Thomas

Revised November 29, 2001

 

Attachments to the Archival copy of the Minutes:

(1) Agenda Copy

(2) Proposed revisions to Statutes 2.8.1.7(j)(1), 2.4.6.2.(a)(6) and 2.8.1.7.(k)(1). New Statute 2.4.6.2.(b)(8).