GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

 

FALL MEETING OF THE ACADEMIC SENATE & CALLED MEETING OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

 

Tuesday, November 28, 2006, Student Center Theater

 

MINUTES

1.      The President opened the meeting at 3:10 P.M. and offered the following comments on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

a.       He began by welcoming John Stein as the new Dean of Students.  John has been at Georgia Tech prior to this appointment, serving in several different capacities including Interim Dean of Students.  He was the unanimous choice for the regular position of Dean and everyone is very pleased to have him in this role.

b.      One of the activities that John Stein and Dr. Bill Schafer (VP, Student Affairs) have been involved in is a program called “Finding Common Ground.”  Planning began about six months ago and the first phase was just concluded.    The idea of the program is to initiate frank and open dialog on our campus between all points of view, and to help people understand how to have such dialog.  This is particularly valuable to students so they can take this with them into their lives outside this campus.  In the final week of the first phase there were three events that brought together student leaders and other students to discuss issues that are almost impossible to discuss.  Facilitators were made available but administrators were purposely not present.  Conversations were positive and many points of view were heard.  This activity culminated with a well-received presentation by Ms. Maya Angelou to approximately 4000 students, faculty, and staff.  The President congratulated Alison Graab (SGA President) for an outstanding job.  Follow-on activities are planned based on these good beginnings.

c.       The President also congratulated Georgia Tech faculty working in the area of biotechnology and nano-medicine who began last year to win a series of competitions held by the National Institutes of Health.  This represented a breakthrough for Georgia Tech because heretofore it was not much identified with medicine.  Georgia Tech and its collaborators won funding for three centers:  one focused on cardiovascular medicine; another, together with Emory, concerned cancer; and the third dealt with the repair of RNA and DNA and involved collaboration with both Emory and Medical College of Georgia.  Winning three in less than two years is a remarkable achievement.

d.      Georgia Tech recently had an excellent dedication of the Klaus Advanced Computing Building.  This was held slightly in advance of its availability for use but the time for the ceremony had to be fixed well before occupancy could be assured.  Full utilization will begin in January 2007.  The President indicated that the Building is set to be awarded a Gold LEED Award from the U.S. Green Building Council.  Georgia Tech previously won a Silver LEED award for the College of Management building in Technology Square.  These awards show that Georgia Tech is going to considerable lengths to make their buildings environmentally friendly.  Although initial costs are higher, the Institute expects to earn this back within about five years in decreased energy and water costs.  In the case of the Klaus Building, special arrangements have been built in to capture all the rain that falls on the building and put it to use for irrigation and the like.  This also reduces the load on the sewers.

e.       Georgia Tech will be dedicating the Molecular Science and Engineering Building this spring.  Events and classes are already scheduled in this beautiful building.

f.        The Fifth Street Bridge Park will be dedicated on December 5, 2006.  The funding for that bridge came from the Department of Transportation, who also worked with Georgia Tech on the design.  Tech will have the responsibility to take care of the trees and plants going forward.  It is hoped this will be a very positive connection between Technology Square and the rest of the campus.  The project has been such a good experience that the DOT has indicated they are interested in similar projects for the Tenth Street and North Avenue bridges.  Georgia Tech encourages cooperative ventures like these which can improve such campus access points.

g.       Georgia Tech is continuing in the quiet phase of the Capital Campaign.  The overall goal is to raise $1 billion.  It is estimated that the calendar year will end with about $350 million in commitments and the fiscal year with more than $400 million.  When the $450 to 500 million milestone is reached, the campaign will be announced publicly.

h.       After December 13, 2006 the President’s office and others from the Carnegie Building will relocate to 828 West Peachtree Street, across the street from the Biltmore Hotel.  This will permit contractors to renovate the heating and air conditioning systems in the Carnegie Building and will take four to five months.

2.      The President called for approval of the minutes of the previous meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate held on October 10, 2006. He indicated that the minutes had been posted on the faculty governance web site and that a link was provided from this meeting’s agenda. The minutes were approved without dissent. See Attachment #1

3.      The President called on Jonathan Sangster, President of the Interfraternity Council, to tell the faculty about an opportunity for faculty and staff participation in a student-led Habitat for Humanity house-building project.  The project is called “The House that Tech Built.”  About eight months ago the student team started intense fund raising and has raised $100 thousand so far.  This comes from 100% participation by the Greek community in addition to donations from alumni and corporations.  The Bradley-Turner Foundation contributed $15,000 to fund a documentary on the project.  Four days of building have already been completed and he announced the three remaining as Dec. 2, 8, and 9.  Mr. Sangster invited faculty, administrators, and staff to join the team for any or all of the remaining build dates at the house located about two minutes from campus on North Avenue.  Mr. Sangster gave the meeting attendees instructions about registration on line and where and when to meet before a build.  Lunch and long-sleeved tee shirts commemorating the project are provided to participants.  The website for the project is documented at  www.greekhabitat.gatech.edu.

4.      The President called on Ms. Reta Pikowsky (Registrar) to present the degree candidates for the Fall Commencement.  The Registrar indicated that the list of degree candidates for the Fall 2006 commencement has been circulated to the Academic Departments and Deans.  It was moved that these candidates be awarded their degrees.  The motion passed without dissent. 

5.      The President called on Prof. Paul Griffin, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to present a second reading of changes in the Statutes affecting membership in the General and Academic Faculty of the Institute.

Prof. Griffin used the PowerPoint presentation found in Attachment #2a and details were circulated with the agenda as found in Attachment #2b.

Prof. Griffin indicated that the principal changes were in two parts.  First the Archivists have been added as members of the faculty.  Their qualifications are the same as those for Librarians and so it is proposed to include them in the faculty in an identical way.  This means General Faculty Status for Archivists I and Academic Faculty Status for Archivists II, III, and IV.  The Executive Board had asked the Statutes Committee to propose an amendment to cover these needs.

Second, Professor of the Practice was added to the list of titles making up the General Faculty.  Details concerning Professor of the Practice were added to sections 17.6 and 17.7 of the Faculty Handbook but the proposed change in membership of the General Faculty needed a second reading.

Finally, Prof. Griffin pointed out some wording changes in Section 5.3.1 simply to make the terminology more consistent with the rest of the Handbook and with the Board of Regents Policy Manual.

Prof. Griffin moved that the General Faculty approve the proposed changes.  The motion was seconded and approved without dissent.

6.      The President called on Ericka McGarity, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of the Office of Student Integrity, and Prof. Jeff Streator, Chair of the Student Regulations Committee to present a proposed revision of the Student Code of Conduct.  The President explained that the need for a revision had been felt for a significant time.  Dr. Bill Schafer, VP of Student Affairs, began to look at this when he first came to Georgia Tech and realized that the existing Code was overly elaborate in some respects.  This sometimes led to protracted appeals that delayed resolutions of student conduct situations.  So this realization led to over a year’s work by a team of people including Ms. McGarity, Prof. Streator, and a great many faculty, staff, and students.

Prior to the faculty meeting materials were made available concerning the revisions, as listed in Attachments #3a – 3c below.  During her presentation to the faculty, Ms. McGarity also made use of a PowerPoint presentation included as Attachment #3d.

Ms. McGarity began by explaining a little more about the motivations and history of the revisions in the Code.  Revising the entire Code of Conduct is a major undertaking and so it helped a great deal that Georgia Tech had new leaders in the area of student affairs that were quite supportive of the need and process for change.  Many faculty members, students, parents, and other stakeholders provided input that the adjudication process needed to be streamlined.  Administrators recognized that every two or three years, revisions are necessary to bring the Code up to date with current trends in judicial affairs and changes in legal requirements.  Ms. McGarity said the revisions were also seen as an opportunity to make the Code “more user-friendly to the entire campus community while maintaining educational value.” 

She explained that a nationally respected consultant (and GT alum), Dr. Donald G. Gehring, conducted an evaluation of the Code in October 2005 and provided his recommendations.  A Student Code of Conduct Revisions Committee was formed comprising students, faculty, and staff from across the campus.  They met throughout the spring of 2006 and prepared guidelines for what the Code should contain and accomplish.  Based on the revisions recommended by this committee, Gary Wolovick, an attorney with GT’s Office of Legal Affairs, and Ericka McGarity rewrote the Code.  Drafts of the new Code were then reviewed with senior officials in Student Affairs, with the GT Student Code of Conduct Revisions Committee, and with all the student and faculty committees regularly involved with Code of Conduct and Honor Code work (see Attachment #3d for details).  This included the faculty’s Student Activities Committee and Student Regulations Committee.  The revised Student Code of Conduct was finally approved on November 16, 2006 by the Student Regulations Committee for recommendation to the Executive Board and then to the Academic Senate.

Since this is a complete rewrite, a line by line comparison is not possible.  The complete old and new documents are included in the attachments for comparison.  Features of the revision include reorganization and reformatting for easier reference.  Topics are better grouped and the flow of topics better matches the life cycle of a case.  For example, definitions of charges are provided, followed by the processes used to handled cases, then explanations of the possible sanctions, and finally explanation of the appeals.  One of the big improvements is the inclusion of clear timelines (expressed in business days) by which actions are expected. 

Ms. McGarity next explained what the Code has to say about prohibited academic misconduct.  Most of the charges are the same as before, albeit more clearly described.  One was added; namely, “Distortion: Any act that distorts or could distort grades or other academic records.”  This provided flexibility to handle cases that do not fit in the traditional charges but is needed in academic matters that are outside traditional classroom situations, such as in the co-op program.

In contrast, there were many revisions to the non-academic misconduct charges.  In some cases, charges that used to be rather broad, like “alcohol and drug abuse,” have been separated into separate alcohol and drug abuse charges.  Other examples include detailing several kinds of “sexual assault and misconduct” and delineating “harassment” and “sexual harassment” as separate alleged offenses.  A charge of “abuse of Student Code of Conduct Procedures” has been added to stem cases where students simply try to stonewall the process of adjudication by not responding to communications or failing to show up for appointments for hearings and the like.  This might also include cases where a student might try to get another student to give false information.

Ms. McGarity then turned to the flow charts shown in Attachments #3b1 and 3b2.  These are not literally part of the Code of Conduct but will be included in explanatory brochures students can use to better visualize the process.  In the case of alleged academic misconduct, an accused student would either be called to the Office of Student Integrity (OSI) or the case might be handled by a Faculty Conference instituted as an alternative resolution last year.  If the latter alternative is utilized a record of the resolution must be forwarded to OSI to ensure due process and a consistent record of all cases.  For those students whose matter is handled by OSI instead of by a Faculty Conference, the student participates in an investigation meeting in which the student is informed of the charges, the process, and possible outcomes.  Then the student’s statement is taken, including information about witnesses and others who may have relevant information.  OSI subsequently meets with all witnesses.  At this point the case is assigned either to a low-level or the high-level track, depending on the severity of the case.  Low-level academic cases are typically first offenses that would result in a warning, or possibly probation.  This case would be heard by a Student Conduct Administrator and, if the decision is appealed, would go to the Dean of Students.  More severe cases (including severe first offenses) follow the high-level track where the student has a choice between having the case heard by a Student Conduct Administrator or by the appropriate Student Conduct Panel (in this case, the Honor Committee, which includes both faculty and students).  Students are provided with statistics on outcomes from each option as well as guidelines about sanctions, established by the faculty Academic Integrity Committee.  Any subsequent appeals are heard by the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Affairs.

Non-academic cases are handled in a very similar way with a few exceptions.  First, there is no faculty conference option.  If a Student Conduct Panel is chosen in high-level cases, the Undergraduate or Graduate Judiciary Cabinet is used.  These are student panels only so they hear the case but make their findings in the form of a recommendation to the Dean of Students who then makes the decision on sanctions. Any appeals in high-level cases are heard by the Vice President for Student Affairs.

A question was raised about what the Georgia Tech community could do that would lower the incidence of infractions.  A concern was raised particularly about Internet plagiarism.  Ms. McGarity confirmed that she sees many such cases.  The most frequent academic cases involve unauthorized collaboration and Worldwide Web plagiarism.  She indicated that OSI is happy to make presentations to classes about the importance of avoiding plagiarism and the Honor Advisory Council is also happy to assist.  Another good step is to include expectations in this area in each class’ syllabus.  Unfortunately, not all students understand plagiarism as well as one would like.

The President then called on Dr. Jeff Streator who moved that the faculty approve the revised Student Code of Conduct as presented.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

7.      The President called on the Chairs of two Standing Committees of the Academic Senate to introduce minutes from their respective committee meetings and action items therein.  He indicated that these minutes were published on the faculty governance web site and that a link was provided from the formal agenda for this meeting. (All committee minutes have been posted on the web -- see Attachment #4 below).

a.       Paul Benkeser, Chair of the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there were four meeting minutes to be approved (10/4/06, 10/18/06, 10/25/06, and 11/8/06) and two with action items.  All have been posted on the Faculty Senate web site.  Highlights of the action items from the October 4 meeting:  The committee heard proposals from the College of Computing for changes in their undergraduate degrees.  Four new CS courses were proposed and thirteen de-activated.  The committee approved these proposals along with proposals to participate in the Research Plan and the International Plan.  This resulted in a major overhaul of the BS in Computer Science and the BS in Computational Media.  The committee also approved: a new course from the School of International Affairs; a change in the degree requirements for the BS in Economics and International Affairs; changes in the pre-law minor and pre-law certificate from the School of Public Policy; a new course numbering scheme for ROTC military science to bring Georgia Tech’s system of numbering in line with the rest of the University System of Georgia; the Research Option for the bachelors degrees in Applied Mathematics and Discrete Mathematics from the School of Mathematics; and two new courses in Materials Science and Engineering along with minor changes to their curriculum.  At the October 25 meeting, the committee approved four new courses from the School of Biology and one new course cross-listed between Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Biomedical Engineering.  The meetings of October 18 and November 8 were meetings to hear petitions and did not have action items.  (See details in Committee meeting minutes – Attachment #4 below).  A motion to approve each of the action items and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 10/4/06, 10/18/06, 10/25/06, and 11/8/06 passed without dissent.

b.      Bill Green, Chair of the Graduate Curriculum Committee, indicated that there were two sets of minutes to be approved (10/26/06 and 11/16/06), both with action items.  The committee recommends approval for a short list of new classes (in CHBE, CHEM, BMED, and MGT) and another short list (of MGT courses) to be made inactive.  The committee also approved a request from the Management College to reduce the number of elective hours in the MBA program from 31 to 24, and reduce the total number of hours to get the degree from 61 to 54.  The reduced numbers still exceed levels the profession considers to be required for accreditation.  Dr. Green brought a discussion item to the attention of the faculty.  A question has been raised to the committee about whether a student can write a single dissertation document and submit it to the PhD programs of two different institutions for separately issued degrees.  The question arises in the context of a potential cooperative arrangement between Tech and an institution in another country, but one that does not propose a joint degree.  The committee has expressed to the Georgia Tech administration a sense of the committee that this practice is not a good one.  Dr. Green asked that faculty members offer their opinions to the committee in case this comes up again.  Preferences from the floor were expressed for dual degrees rather than concurrent separate degrees in situations where universities are cooperating.  Dr. Green pointed out that the discussion and opinion of the committee is not considered to represent a formal decision or action item at this time.   (See further details in Committee meeting minutes – Attachment #4 below)A motion to approve the Graduate Curriculum Committee meeting minutes of 10/26/06 and 11/16/06 and the action items therein passed without dissent.     

8.      The President called for approval of the minutes of Standing Committees of the General Faculty which do not contain any action items, all of which have been posted on the web (see Attachment #4 below for web site listing of minutes of all Standing Committees)

a.       Academic Services Committee meeting of 10/10/06.

The minutes were approved without dissent.

9.      The President then called for the reading of two 2005-06 committee annual reports that were carried over from the previous meeting.  These annual reports can be found via the link at Attachment #4.

a.       Ron Bohlander read the annual report of the Faculty Honors Committee for and by arrangement with Prof. Bill Hunt who was in class at the time of the meeting.  The standard procedures were followed last year in arriving at the recipients of the various honor awards.  Dr. Bohlander then reminded the faculty who the recipients were.  Details are found in the 2005-06 annual report of the committee, which may be found via the link provided below with Attachment #4.

b.      Mike Rodgers, Chair of the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee reported that between Sep. 1, 2005 and May 15, 2006 they received three inquiries, resulting in one informal hearing.  Such a volume is somewhat below normal.  Then between May 15 and Aug. 31, 2006, the Committee received 12 inquiries, resulting in nine grievance cases that were accepted for investigation.  This level of activity is well above normal and represents a considerable backlog carried forward into the fall 2006 term.

10.  The President called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Ronald A. Bohlander

Secretary of the Faculty

December 22, 2006

Attachments to be included with archival copy of the minutes:

  1. Minutes of the October 10, 2006 meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate:
  2. Proposed changes in the Statutes:

a.       PowerPoint Presentation

b.      Detailed changes

  1. Proposed revisions to the Student Code of Conduct.

a.       Outline of proposed changes.

b.      Proposed new Code.

                                    1.      Flow chart for how academic cases would be handled.

                                    2.      Flow chart for non-academic cases.

c.       The existing Code adopted May 16, 2005 (for comparison).

d.      PowerPoint presentation.

  1. Minutes and Annual Reports of Standing Committees of the General Faculty and the Academic Senate