Meeting of March 2, 2004

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center



Members Present: Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Evans (GTRI); Gentry (ARCH); Henry (OSP); Horton (GTRI); Huff (GTRI); Kahn (CEE); Marr (PSYCH); McGinnis (ISyE); Schneider (MGT); Telotte (LCC); Uzer (PHYS); Norville (G. Student); Watson (U. Student); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).


Members Absent: Clough (President); Mark (CoC); Peterson (ECE); Warren (EDI).


Visitors: McMath (Vice Provost); Harker (Tech Licensing).  


1.      Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM and called on the Provost (in behalf of the President) to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The Provost offered the following comments:


a.       The Legislature has started addressing the FY 05 budget.  The President and the Chancellor are working hard to make sure that the Governor’s recommendations to fully-fund the formula and MRR (Maintenance, Renovation, and Repair Fund) are adopted.


b.      We are seeking additional funding for GTREP (GT Regional Engineering Program) in order to accommodate its rapid enrollment growth, and to restore ETACT funding (Equipment, Technology, and Construction Trust Fund), which was zeroed out in the Governor’s FY05 budget recommendation. ETACT is very important for research universities since it provides matching contributions to external funds.  We are also seeking additional funds to accommodate the integration of IPST within Georgia Tech; formula funding is based on enrollment data from two years ago, which does not include IPST.


c.       There have been no formal discussions yet on tuition and fees for next year; those recommendations are usually discussed by the Board of Regents at the April meeting (after the Legislature completes the budget). We have reported to the Chancellor and his staff on how our tuition compares with our competitors/peers.


d.      We have a meeting later today with the GT Foundation Board; while the stock market has significantly improved during the past year, endowment income is still down because it is based on a three-year moving average.


e.       In response to the budget cuts, there have been some layoffs on campus (~50 so far; total of ~80-100 is expected by the end of June).


f.        The Chancellor’s office has announced that our School of Modern Languages will receive an award for their innovative teaching programs (school has had several innovative programs, including those with Monterey Tech in Mexico and the Technical University of Munich).


A question was asked as to how the summer program cuts announced by several schools will impact the coop program.  The Provost responded by indicating that cuts in the summer program are limited to three units (ME, CEE, and IAC) with severe budget cuts; other units will offer summer courses at the same level as last year (or slightly more). The Provost stated that Bob McMath will be working with those three units to see how we can minimize the impact on their summer programs; he is currently working with the Ivan Allen College since many students trying to get a full load of courses this summer can use some courses in humanities or social sciences. The Provost indicated that over the past 15 years, the School of Mechanical Engineering has had a sizable endowment; income from that endowment has recently decreased significantly (~11% next year). A follow up comment was made that cuts in the summer programs may signify a lack of commitment to the coop program; the Provost indicated that this is inconsistent with his view on the importance of the coop program. There were no other questions for the Provost.


2.      The Chair called for approval of the minutes of the February 10, 2004 Executive Board meeting.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


3.      The Chair called on Dr. Robert McMath (Vice Provost) to report on the activities of the Ad Hoc Committee on Quality Undergraduate Education.  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (Attachment #2 below).  McMath indicated that the committee was formed by the Executive Board last summer following discussions stimulated by a “white paper” authored by Jack Marr entitled: “Congruent Quality in Undergraduate Education: Can we make grade inflation irrelevant?” (Attachment #3 below).  At the same time, a report entitled: “What do undergraduates think about their academic experience at Georgia Tech?” was completed by McMath (Attachment #4 below).  These two documents provided a starting point for the ad hoc committee’s discussions.  A list of committee members was presented (see Attachment 2); it includes representatives from all standing faculty committees which deal with undergraduate education, along with three students (representing SGA and other student organizations), and other faculty.  McMath indicated that by virtue of their service on such standing committees, most ad hoc committee members will have direct responsibility for implementing the committee’s recommendations. 


McMath reviewed the ad hoc committee’s charge as defined by the Executive Board: “exploring and evaluating what quality undergraduate experience is, or should be at Georgia Tech, and ways of sustaining the highest possible quality commensurate with the abilities of our students.” He stated that the committee began its work by reviewing the charge from the Executive Board and the two documents prepared by Marr and McMath (Attachments #3 and 4 below), along with several other published reports (national), in order to understand the issues involved.  The committee “brainstormed” on the best method for identifying and categorizing areas which need improvement and examples of best practice.  From the beginning, emphasis was placed on insuring implementation of the committee’s recommendations.  The committee requested and received input from most academic units based on student-faculty discussions.  Many schools on campus have had ongoing faculty-student discussions on this issue for some time. Much of the material to be included in the committee’s final report has come from the input provided by the various schools and colleges.  The report will take the form of an annotated and categorized list of issues; the issues will be categorized in two ways: (1) from easiest to hardest and (2) based on where they “touch” the system (viz. curricular matters, faculty-student interactions, training of TA’s, effect of semester conversion, etc.). Among the difficult issues identified is the difference between “learning” and “pattern recognition,” where students navigate through a series of hurdles to pass a course without actually learning the subject, which leads to inadequate preparation for subsequent courses. Recommendations will be offered on where and how these issues can be addressed within the institute’s structure.  Periodic follow-up of the state of undergraduate education will be recommended.  It has been suggested that the current faculty standing committees, including the curriculum committees, may not be able to handle all the issues identified.


McMath stated that the committee will assemble the draft report at a meeting scheduled for the week of March 15.  The report will be completed by the end of March and circulated to the Executive Board before presenting it to the Academic Senate on April 20.  No immediate policy or curriculum changes/action items will be presented to the Academic Senate; instead, the material to be presented will be informational; specific action items will be formulated later.


A question was asked as to where the two documents referenced in the presentation (documents authored by Marr and McMath) can be found.  It was agreed that McMath will forward the documents to the Secretary of the Faculty for inclusion in this meeting’s minutes (see Attachments #3 and 4 below). A comment was made that many of the problems we see at the freshman and sophomore level (e.g. introductory physics courses) are related to how students are taught in high school; many students do not have the ability to think analytically.  A follow-up comment was made that there is a large difference between students from Georgia high schools and those from other states, and that it is important that this discussion makes reference to student preparation at the high school level.  McMath responded by indicating that the committee recognizes this problem; however, rather than simply recommending remediation, we would like to structure the curriculum in a manner that allows us to educate the students to think in a different manner.  While their high school preparation may be deficient, students admitted to Georgia Tech are very bright and should be able to succeed.  A comment was made that student groups on campus were very pleased with last fall’s discussions on quality undergraduate education.  A follow-up question was asked as to whether the discussions with student groups will continue this spring and next fall.  McMath indicated that he has been invited to speak to the student leaders before the end of this term, and that he is willing to present the committee’s report in whatever venue the students deem appropriate.  A question was asked regarding the freshman “grade forgiveness” proposal currently under study by the Student Regulations Committee;  Professor Marr suggested that the issue should be discussed by the Executive Board (in the context of quality undergraduate education) before it is presented to the Academic Senate by the Student Regulations Committee.  The Chair thanked Dr. McMath and the committee for their effort on this important issue.


[Note related to item #5 below:  McMath pointed out that the “Academic Bill of Rights” resolution (to be discussed later in the meeting) which was voted on by the Senate Higher Education Committee yesterday (SR611) has been significantly modified from the original version circulated to the Executive Board, and that the new version is relatively innocuous (new version essentially redrafted using AAUP language). He suggested that the Chair should contact Andrew Harris for an updated version.] 


4.      The Chair called on Dr. George Harker, OTL Director, to provide an overview of the operations of the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL).  A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (Attachment #5 below).  Harker stated that OTL was started in 1992 by his predecessor (Barry Rosenberg).    He described OTL’s mission, a critical component of which is to provide service to the GT community in all areas of intellectual property (IP).  OIT evaluates and protects the IP rights of Georgia Tech, its faculty, and students; commercializes the IP through licensing and start-ups; generates income for future research and education; contributes to local, state, regional, and national business competitiveness and economic development; and encourages innovation and invention by members of the GT community.  The objectives of OTL are closely coupled to its mission:  income, service, economic development, and public good.  An organizational chart showing OTL’s position within the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC), and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (Charles Liotta) was presented (see Attachment #5).   GTRC is a not-for-profit 501-C (3) Corporation (started in 1937); faculty sign their IP rights to GTRC when they are hired.  The GTRC manager (Jilda Garton) reports to a separate Board of Directors; the President and Provost serve on that Board.  The Board has nine outside members, including two venture capitalists and other business leaders.  GTRC also includes the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), which handles contracts with industry and federal agencies.  A list of OTL team members was presented; along with the Director, the team includes an Associate Director, an Administrative Coordinator, a Patent/Licensing Administrator, three Technology Licensing Associates, a Graduate Assistant, and two student assistants.  The former Associate Director (Kevin Wozniak) was recently hired by Georgia State University (GSU) to start an Office of Technology Licensing; OTL covered IP issues for GSU since they did not previously have a similar office. 


An outline of the Technology Transfer Process was presented.  Harker emphasized the importance of documenting the IP description by the faculty conducting the research; a signed/witnessed disclosure is then filed with OTL.  For multiple inventors, the disclosure also specifies the percentage contribution by each of the inventors; it is important that the split be consistent with the actual contribution levels since all subsequent royalties are distributed accordingly.  OTL evaluates the disclosure to assess its merit, commercial value, and “protectability.”  Meritorious inventions/software packages are then protected.  New patents cost approximately $10k to $12k; hence, OTL has to be selective in patent filing.  Harker indicated that, frequently, the inventors are the best “marketers” for their IP through their contacts, conference attendance, and publications.  A business partnership is formed, and the product is commercialized.  Royalty payments (typically 2-6 % of sales) are returned to GT to be shared with the inventors and their units (colleges).  Currently, 33% of the net income is returned to the inventors.  [The first $2500 paid to the inventors is based on gross income (i.e. without deducting expenses).]  Royalty income is provided annually for the life of the patent (20 years).  There is no cap on the amount to be paid to the inventors.  A fraction of the royalties (17 to 33%) is paid to the unit (typically the college or GTRI); the Dean decides on how that money is distributed – frequently, it is returned to the researcher’s department.  The fraction distributed to the unit is17% for royalties up to $500k, 27% at the $1M level, and 33% beyond $1M.    


Since OTL was started in 1992, there have been 1255 invention disclosures, 289 patents issued (41 last year), and 166 technology licenses.  A table showing OTL statistics for each of the past four years was presented (see Attachment #5).  The data point to recent significant increases in the number of invention disclosures (226 for FY03), patent applications and patents issued, invention and software licenses, and start-ups formed.  Income ranged from $2.24M in FY02 to $4.6M in FY01.  The increases are due to the research-active faculty hired by Georgia Tech in the past few years, as well as increased faculty awareness of OTL services.  Currently Georgia Tech ranks fourth in the State in the number of Patents issued (Bellsouth and Scientific Atlanta lead the list), and is well ahead of other universities in the State.  The Venture Lab was started two years ago (under Wayne Hodges); they help faculty prepare a business plan, combine the faculty’s technical expertise with the business expertise of another person (sometimes from outside GT), and launch a start-up company.  Most faculty members prefer to remain employed by GT, while owning a part of the start-up company and consulting for them.  Start-up companies generally stay “close to home”, and represent an important part of our economic development.  Ten start-ups were formed in FY03.  Harker suggested that the relatively low annual income is related to the nature of the licensed technology (versus, for example, a $1B new drug) and the fact that we do not have a medical school.  Increased activities in the bioengineering area and collaboration with Emory will rectify this issue; however, biotech inventions usually take eight to ten years to fully unfold. 


Currently, there are 34 start-up companies in which GTRC holds equity, and 22 others in which GTRC holds no equity (equity held by the inventors).  Venture capital funding has been improving (since last June); three of our companies have received $22M in funding during the past six months alone.  Negotiations are currently ongoing to fund three other start-ups.  OTL is working with faculty and start-up CEO’s to provide supporting advice; GTRC does not have a Board seat on these start-ups, and does not wish to run them (prefer non voting shares).  A chart showing the various entities/groups with which OTL interacts, including: inventors; research centers; university leadership (to resolve conflict of interest issues); existing companies; start-ups; the Business School (student projects to evaluate start-up companies); engineering entrepreneurship (give talks); the investment community (the Atlanta technology angel group); other institutions; and ATDC.  Harker concluded by presenting a list of key OTL improvements/involvements during the past two years; these include fostering a friendly/customer-focused organization and a professional, business-oriented staff; new professional offices; starting a newsletter (Technology Transfer BUZZ); increased IP training; increased outreach to both the business and venture communities; improved cooperation with other Georgia Research Universities and CDC; meetings with the Deans; establishment of a new IP policy; better alignment of OTL and industry contracting including parallel reporting to the OSP Director and OTL Associate Director;  formation of Georgia Nanotechnology Alliance; development of inter-institutional IP agreement with Emory; meeting with prospective faculty; and assisting with industry visits. 


A question was asked as to how faculty view technology transfer as a form of publication.  Harker indicated that faculty often ask whether they would get credit for such activities in tenure reviews; this issue is handled differently from one department to another, however, it is generally very difficult for untenured faculty to become involved in commercialization activities.  A question was asked about examples of successful technology transfer inventions, and whether the “Smart Shirt” invention has been successful.  Harker indicated that commercialization of the “Smart Shirt” is progressing, and that sales of other products are growing rapidly (e.g. eight years after licensing “machine vision”).  Other inventions (e.g. microneedles) are progressing well. A question was asked as to who decides on the company to whom the technology is to be licensed.  Harker indicated that, by policy, OTL has the authority to make that decision.  However, in nearly all cases, they work closely with the inventors, since their cooperation is necessary for the success of the technology.  Sometimes OTL shies away from licensing the technology to a large corporation in order to give the inventors the opportunity to start their own company, because such start-ups tend to stay in Georgia.  The Chair thanked Dr. Harker for his presentation.


5.      The Chair initiated a discussion of the Senate Resolution dealing with the “Academic Bill of Rights” (SR611).  He stated that he was contacted by the Chair of the Faculty Senate at Georgia State University regarding this issue and indicated that the issue is being presented to the Executive Board since the next Academic Senate meeting will not take place till April 20, which may be too late for the Georgia Tech faculty to express an opinion on it.  He distributed a draft memorandum from the Executive Board to the State’s Legislative leaders expressing opposition to SR 611 (See attachment #6 below; note: this statement was drafted based on the original language of SR611).  He indicated that the main concerns with the original Senate Resolution were highlighted by AAUP; among those concerns is the possibility that a precedent may be established whereby laws dictating what happens in the classroom may be enacted.  A comment was made that while such a concern may be valid in some other states, it should not be a matter of concern in Georgia since the Board of Regents has the sole authority for everything that happens in the University System of Georgia.  The Chair indicated that while the State Constitution grants that authority to the Board of Regents, he is still concerned about the possibility of establishing a precedent.  A comment was made that student leaders are concerned with such a resolution since it may make it possible for someone to file a lawsuit if they were to invite a speaker without inviting someone else with a different ideology.  A follow-up comment was made that students at the University of Wisconsin nearly lost control of their student activity fees as a result of similar concerns.  A comment was made that a Senate Resolution has no enforcement power and does not have the force of law.  A follow up comment was made that while such resolutions may not have the power of law, it is important to respond to them, since they open the door for a student who disagrees with a professor to sue him/her by claiming “indoctrination.”  A comment was made that if the Executive Board is to make a statement on this issue, it is important that we examine the latest version of the Resolution as passed by the Senate Committee. The Chair concurred and indicated that he will contact Andrew Harris to obtain a copy; further discussions may need to be done by E-Mail.  A comment was made that it would be appropriate to pass a resolution stating that the Executive Board opposes any shift in authority from the Board of the Regents to the Legislature or anyone else.  It was suggested that the Board should wait until the Chair receives a copy of the new version of the Resolution before taking any action; members concurred.     


6.      The Chair presented the proposed agenda for the called meeting of the General Faculty combined with meeting of the Academic Senate and Annual meeting of the Academic Faculty to be held on April 20th, 2004 (See attachment #7 below).  He indicated that the meeting will also be designated as a called meeting of the General Faculty since two of the Handbook modifications presented by Ron Bohlander at the February 24th General Faculty meeting involved changes in the Statutes and will, therefore, require a second reading.  Mr. Watson suggested that the agenda should include the proposed modification to the Academic calendar which will soon be voted on by the Student Regulations Committee. The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that this item will be included as a part of the committee minutes approval process (item #6 of the Draft Agenda); action items requiring separate approval by the faculty are individually presented.  The proposed agenda was approved without dissent.


7.      The Chair called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:35 PM. 



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

March 8, 2004


Attachments (to be included with the archival copy of the minutes)


1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of February 10, 2004.

2.      Ad Hoc Committee on Quality Undergraduate Education (Presentation by Robert McMath)

3.      Congruent Quality in Undergraduate Education:  Can we make grade inflation irrelevant? (Report by Jack Marr)

4.      What do Undergraduates think about their academic experience at Georgia Tech? (Report by Robert  McMath)

5.      Overview -- Office of Technology Licensing (Presentation by George Harker III)

6.      Draft memorandum from the Executive Board to leaders of the State Legislature.

7.      Draft Agenda for April 20th, 2004 called meeting of the General Faculty combined with meeting of the Academic Senate and annual meeting of the Academic Faculty.