Meeting of September 23, 2003

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center



Members Present: Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Clough (President); Henry (OSP); Horton (GTRI); Huff (GTRI); Kahn (CEE); Marr (PSYCH); Norville (G. Stu); Peterson (ECE); Schneider (MGT); Telotte (LCC)  Warren (EDI); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).


Members Absent: Evans (GTRI); Gentry (ARCH); Mark (CoC); McGinnis (ISyE); Uzer (PHYS), Watson (U. Stu) 


Visitors: Hoey (OARS/Provost); Lohmann (COE/Provost); May (Pres. Office)


1.      Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM and thanked Board members for re-electing him Chair for a second term.  He called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The President offered the following comments:


a.       Nearly 800 parents attended the “Parents weekend” last week.  The event was very successful; it was organized by the Alumni Association, and included lectures by faculty members and tours of several campus facilities.  We would like to encourage parents to become more involved with Georgia Tech; hopefully, they will be more “philanthropic” and support scholarships and “student life” programs.


b.      The Georgia Tech National Advisory Board met here last week -- a highly distinguished group of about 50 people, many of whom are CEO’s of major corporations.   They provide valuable insight on future trends and opportunities based on their business experience, as it relates to Georgia Tech. They met with two groups of faculty and students in order to bring them closer to our campus life.


c.       Homecoming will be held the weekend after next; it will include a lot more than football with nearly a dozen faculty lectures.  These lectures have been well-attended since we started doing so about three years ago; credit goes to the Alumni Association for arranging these activities which showcase the talents of our faculty.


d.      Next Tuesday, the annual “State of the Institute” address will be delivered to the faculty at the Global Learning Center; it will also be delivered at later dates to the students and alumni.  The remarks will focus on how the new and renovated campus facilities will enhance learning and research at Georgia Tech.


e.       This Friday, we, along with all other institutions in the University System, will make a presentation to the Chancellor’s staff on how we will absorb a 2.5% budget cut this year and a possible 5% cut next year. We have had internal discussions with senior administrators, including the Deans and Vice-Presidents. Some open positions will not be filled; the support units will likely be impacted more than the core academic units.   Many positive things have been accomplished in the past few years, including the addition of 2 million square feet of space this year alone, and the hiring of outstanding junior and senior faculty.  We want to make sure that Georgia Tech remains on a positive trend and that we do not lose ground during these difficult budget times.


f.        Next Monday we will host the State Senate’s Higher Education Committee and the General Assembly’s Economic Development Committee; they had expressed interest in visiting Georgia Tech when we met them during the last Legislative session. We will give them a campus tour starting at Technology Square, and will have them meet with faculty and students.  The Chairs of these committees are very thoughtful individuals who are very positive about Georgia Tech.  Visits of this type help us build important relationships and deliver the right message to our State leadership.


g.       Dedication of Technology Square will take place on October 23 and 24.  The Mayor will join us for the ribbon cutting on October 24th at 11:00 in front of the Management building.  Our Savannah Campus will be dedicated on October 31st; three new buildings (near the airport) will house the GTREP program.  David Frost and his staff have done an excellent job leading our Regional Engineering Program.


h.       Bob McMath reports that the Ad Hoc Committee on Quality Undergraduate Education authorized by the Executive Board last month has already met and is getting off to a good start.


i.         The President indicated that he co-chairs (along with IBM’s CEO) the National Innovation Initiative of the National Council on Competitiveness.  The kickoff meeting will be held in late October and will be attended by Secretary Colin Powell.  Innovation is viewed as the key to helping the US face global competition and the transfer of many jobs overseas.  Dr. Clough is also involved in the President’s Council of Science and Technology Advisors, where he chairs the committee on semiconductors, materials, photonics, and nano-technology; one of three committees formed by the Council -- other two committees deal with energy and life sciences. He also chairs the Committee formed by the National Academy of Engineering on “Engineering in 2020.” It is a two-phase effort; the first aims at postulating what engineering will be like in 2020, while the second aims at designing the curriculum necessary to provide the skills to be needed.  These activities provide visibility to Georgia Tech at the National level.


There were no questions for the President.


2.      The Chair indicated that today’s meeting agenda has been modified; item #4 has been removed since Dr. Garton has been called for Jury Duty.  Her presentation, which deals with proposed changes to the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, the Institutional Review Board, and the Institutional Biosafety Committee, will be postponed till next month.  In light of this change, her presentation to the General Faculty meeting on September 30th will also be postponed to a later meeting following her presentation to the Executive Board. 


3.      The Chair called for approval of the minutes of the August 19th, 2003 Executive Board meeting.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


4.      The Chair called on Dr. Jack Lohmann (COE/Provost), and Dr. Joseph Hoey (OARS/Provost) to present a status report on activities related to SACS accreditation (A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached -- Attachment #2 below).  Dr. Lohmann began by stating that he serves both as Associate Dean for the College of Engineering and Associate Provost reporting directly to Dr. Chameau.  One of his tasks as Associate Provost is to help Georgia Tech prepare for the upcoming SACS accreditation.  SACS (the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) is a quasi-federal regional accreditation agency certified by the Department of Education.  It accredits institutions ranging from kindergarten to post-graduate education.  He stated that SACS accreditation encompasses more than just the academic aspects of an institution; it deals with the entire institution.  Re-accreditation is conducted on a ten-year cycle; Georgia Tech is scheduled for re-accreditation in 2005.   The process requires a great deal of effort and preparation to demonstrate compliance with all the criteria. 


Lohmann stated that he chairs the Georgia Tech Council for Institutional Academic Program Review and Accreditation (CIAPRA), which is currently focused on preparation for the SACS accreditation.  He indicated that as a part of the accreditation process, two reports need to be submitted.  The first (due on August 13, 2004) is a “Compliance Certification report,” which documents/demonstrates compliance with all SACS requirements.  The second is a “Quality Enhancement Plan” (QEP), which documents an effort/program we will undertake to improve and demonstrate our commitment to quality education.  In essence, the Compliance Certification documents what was done in the past, while the QEP looks at what we will do after the site visit in 2005.  He indicated that CIAPRA has been working on the SACS accreditation for nearly a year -- it has two subgroups, one is focused on compliance certification, while the other is focused on the QEP.   Joseph Hoey chairs the compliance certification subgroup; they have prepared a preliminary compliance report and presented it to CIAPRA earlier today.  Lohmann indicated that this presentation will focus on the compliance certification effort in order to give the Board a “heads-up” on where we stand and what needs to be done between now and August 13, 2004.  He stated that, based on today’s preliminary compliance report, we appear to be in full compliance with 54 of the 84 SACS standards we are required to meet, and are in partial compliance with the remaining thirty; there are no standards with which we are out of compliance.  He indicated that many of the 30 standards with partial compliance involve “administrative issues,” i.e. require better documentation, rather than changes in policies and/or procedures. He indicated, however, that there may be about half a dozen items involving policies and/or procedures which will require action by the Academic Senate.


The Provost pointed out that Council (CIAPRA) members represent the entire Georgia Tech community -- the academic units as well as all the supporting units (administration, finance, etc.) since the SACS accreditation process applies to the entire institution, rather than only the academic programs.  The President concurred and indicated that he, along with the Provost and Vice-Presidents have attended several meetings on the subject to assure our compliance. 


Hoey continued the presentation by indicating that it is important for the entire campus community to focus on where we are at this time and where we need to be in order to assure full compliance with all 84 requirements before August 13th 2004.  He indicated that the compliance report will be submitted electronically, and will be reviewed off-site till November 10, 2004.  SACS will then inform us of any shortcomings they may find in our documentation.  He indicated that our goal is to be in full compliance with all 84 requirements before next August; however, if we do not reach full compliance before the August due date, we should have a plan for how to come into compliance with any remaining items, which we can present to SACS.  Hoey indicated that the Council’s compliance subgroup has been meeting on a bi-weekly basis since January 2003 and that a great deal of progress has been made.  For each core requirement and comprehensive standard in SACS principles of accreditation, a member of the subgroup has been tasked with the preparation of a sub-report documenting where we stand at this time with respect to that requirement.  To do so, members have had to examine documentation (e.g. the faculty handbook, general catalog, etc.), and talk to people around campus in order to gather the necessary information.  This process has now been completed, and as was pointed out earlier, based on those sub-reports, we are substantially in compliance with 54 out of the 84 requirements, and in partial compliance with the remaining thirty.  The sub-reports have been placed on a secure web site; we will ask a wider segment of the campus community to look at them and provide feedback in order to make sure that the report is accurate, comprehensive, and fully-representative of our policies and practices.  The goal is to minimize the risk of being found out of compliance with any of the requirements.


Hoey stated that there are a few areas where substantive action may be warranted; they will be brought to the Board, especially those which require changes in academic policies and/or procedures, for discussion and action by the Academic Senate, if necessary.  He stated that institutional effectiveness is among the important areas addressed by SACS and that potential areas of risk for Georgia Tech include the need for all units to identify their expected outcomes, assess their achievement of outcomes, and provide evidence of improvement based on an analysis of the results. Information security, including student records and financial information, is also among the potential risk areas for Georgia Tech; internal audit will look at this issue to determine if we are in compliance with the SACS standards.  Potential academic risk areas include the “18-hour rule” for graduate assistants, and publication of graduate admission standards -- we know that we have them, however, there may not be a “centralized” graduate admissions policy. 


Lohmann elaborated on what is meant by the “18-hour rule;” he indicated that the rule requires that someone who teaches a class to students must have completed at least 18 hours of graduate work before that time.  He indicated that the Council is trying to understand exactly what SACS means by “teaching a class” -- the instructor responsible for the course versus a TA or a lab assistant.  He indicated that this is not a trivial issue and that, at this time, we are not sure if and where we may be at risk with regard to this rule.  A comment was made that in the past we had a problem in the College of Computing, where undergraduate students were teaching classes and that the problem no longer exists.  A follow-up comment was made that units need to be cognizant of the fact that when choosing TA’s, there are standards (SACS and BOR) to which we are held. 


Hoey enumerated the next steps to be followed by the compliance subgroup.  He indicated that the Georgia Tech community will be invited to comment on, and provide input to, the sub-reports to be posted on the secure web site.  The compliance subgroup will continue to refine the reports as information is received.  Recommendations for any changes to academic policies and/or procedures will be brought to the Executive Board.  Changes deemed necessary by the Executive Board will require a vote by the Academic Senate during this academic year in order to meet the August 2004 due date.  He concluded the presentation by providing the website address for the public section of the Georgia Tech SACS effort, and indicated that it includes an introduction by President Clough urging the entire campus community to comply with the standards.  Hoey also provided website addresses for the SACS standards and principles of accreditation.


A question was asked regarding the status of the Quality Enhancement Plan.  Lohmann responded by indicating that the QEP is essentially a project (to be defined by the institute) through which the institute demonstrates its commitment to quality education experience.  He indicated that the Council (CIAPRA) has been working for nearly a year to define an appropriate QEP.  This effort will require involvement by many others in order for the QEP to be meaningful to the entire institute.  He indicated that, at this point, the basic theme selected by the Council is “to enhance and expand the experiential learning of our students,” a theme which is integral to what we do at Georgia Tech.  At this time, the Council is working to identify the specific goals and components of the project; these include the undergraduate research experience, the undergraduate learning center, extra-curricular education, and global outreach.  The effort will primarily target the undergraduate population.  This theme fits well with what we do at Georgia Tech.  Next month, the Council will have a draft document to circulate to the Georgia Tech community to help define the QEP; the document will be refined over the next fifteen months, and will be submitted to SACS in January 2005. 


The President expressed his appreciation to Jack Lohmann, Joseph Hoey, the Council, and the Provost for their well-organized and systematic efforts in preparing for SACS accreditation.  He pointed to the importance of complying with all the criteria, and indicated that failure to do so would have negative consequences.  Institutes found to be in noncompliance would not be eligible for Federal funds -- a very serious consequence.  He indicated that he had served as an evaluator for three years, and that much of the discussion involved small institutions with limited resources.  He indicated that the process to be followed is somewhat different than that used in our previous accreditation and that Georgia Tech is among the first group of universities to undergo accreditation under the new process.  We will be able to provide recommendations and input regarding the selection of our evaluators, and will likely be evaluated by colleagues from research universities. 


A question was asked as to whether the Council has a timeline for all the necessary actions, so that we can be sure that all faculty approvals are secured before the August deadline.  Lohmann responded by indicating that he and Joseph Hoey are working on that issue.  He stated that now that the preliminary compliance report has been completed, we have a better idea as to where Georgia Tech stands with respect to each of the criteria.  Lohmann indicated that within the next two to three weeks, he and Joseph Hoey will identify the policies and/or procedures which need to be brought to the Executive Board and Academic Senate. A comment was made that the last Academic Senate meeting during the academic year is usually held in April; hence, there is a need to identify such issues quickly.  The Provost pointed out that since there are only a few issues of this type, they should be identified quickly and that we should move aggressively to formulate corrective actions and secure approval of the Academic Senate.  A question was asked as to whether such changes would require two readings.  The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that only changes in the Statutes and Bylaws require two readings/approvals by the General Faculty.   Hoey indicated that the compliance subgroup has been working hard, and that he is pleased that the preliminary compliance report has been completed nearly a year before the August 2004 due date.  This will give us time to make the necessary changes and implement any new policies and/or procedures.  Nevertheless, time is of the essence.


Lohmann indicated that part of the Council’s discussions has focused on interpreting the criteria, since some of them are qualitative in nature, e.g. “the institute must have effective processes in place to ensure quality education and experience.” Hence, there is a great deal of discussion on what constitutes a prudent, appropriate, and sufficient response for Georgia Tech, which assures our accreditation. 


The President pointed out that SACS accreditation involves all avenues by which Georgia Tech delivers its educational programs, not only in Atlanta, but also our internet delivery, Savannah, Singapore, Metz, etc.   The Provost pointed out that professional accreditation such as ABET tends to be “outcome-oriented,” whereas SACS accreditation is “process-oriented.” We are, therefore, trying to be systematic and formal in our preparations, as opposed to the ad hoc fashion by which we approached our previous SACS accreditation ten years ago. We also want the process to add value to our institute through the development of a meaningful QEP.


The Chair thanked Drs. Lohmann and Hoey for their informative presentation. 


5.      The Chair re-initiated the discussion held at the last Board meeting regarding the possibility of allowing each elected Board member to name an “alternate” to attend (and vote) at Board meetings in his/her behalf when he/she could not attend.  He solicited members’ comments on the subject.  A question was asked as to whether there is any negative impact when all groups are not represented at a meeting.  The Chair responded by indicating that, as far as he knows, we have always had a quorum at Board meetings, and that, after discussions, the Board has usually acted nearly unanimously on most issues.  One, however, does not know the extent by which the discussions would be influenced if all members are represented at each meeting.  A comment was made that large units have multiple representatives on the Board; hence, information flow and continuity are assured. 


A comment was made that if this change is to be implemented, it should be done informally, with the Board member designating someone he/she knows and trusts in their judgment.  A follow-up comment was made that this should include the option not to designate an alternate.  A question was raised as to whether the designated alternate would have the right to vote in the member’s absence.  A comment was made that there are similar situations in which alternates are named to represent each member on campus committees, e.g. the Federal regulations governing the Animal Care & Use Committee allow an alternate to be named for each member; an alternate has the right to vote his/her opinion, rather than follow the member’s wish.  A comment was made that it is desirable to be able to designate an alternate (i.e. a proxy) to attend in the member’s absence up to the last minute.  A concern was raised that the proxy vote may not reflect the opinion of the elected member.  A suggestion was made that a member can designate the person whom he/she was elected to replace on the Board as the alternate. A comment was made that we should take advantage of technology, and that we may not need alternates since members who are traveling can participate (and vote) in meetings through teleconferencing or video-conferencing. 


A question was asked as to whether we keep track of attendance and frequent absences.  The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that he maintains a record of attendance and that members who have to be absent from a meeting usually contact him ahead of time.  He indicated that he also contacts members who miss more than two meetings in a row to make sure that there is no long-term conflict (e.g. teaching schedule) which prevents a member from attending.  Dr. Schneider (COM) indicated that, as the sole representative for the College of Management, he was concerned because his class schedule this term conflicted with the Board meetings.  As a result, he and the SOF discussed the possibility of naming an alternate to attend in his behalf.  He indicated that he has since re-arranged his schedule and will be able to attend the meetings. 


A motion was made that a Board member, at his/her discretion, be allowed to designate an alternate to attend and vote in meetings during which he/she will be absent.  The motion failed. 


A motion was made to jointly-empower the Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary to resolve attendance conflict cases on individual basis in consultation with the affected Board member, and to inform the Board of their action.  The motion passed without dissent. 


The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that he will consult with the Chair of the Statutes Committee to determine if this action requires a change in the Statutes.


6.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty to present administrative actions requiring Board approval.  The SOF stated that in accordance with the procedures previously established by the Board, it is recommended that Ralph Mobley (Career Services) be appointed to fill the unexpired term (03-04) of William Barnes on the General Faculty Assembly representing the Services and Central Administration units.  Mr. Barnes is no longer employed by Georgia Tech. A motion to approve the appointment of Ralph Mobley to the GFA passed without dissent.


7.      The Chair called for any other business; hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 4:15 PM.



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

September 26, 2003


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


1. Minutes of the EB meeting of August 19, 2003.

2.Preparing for SACS Reaffirmation  (Presentation by Drs. Jack Lohmann and Joseph Hoey)