Meeting of October 21, 2003

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); Mark (CoC); Schneider (MGT); Telotte (LCC);  Warren (EDI); Puckett (U. Student, for Watson); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).


Members Absent: Clough (President); Kahn (CEE); Marr (PSYCH); McGinnis (ISyE); Norville (G. Stu); Peterson (ECE); Uzer (PHYS). 


Visitors: Bennett (GTRI); Garton (GTRC/OSP); May (Pres. Office); McIver (Registrar)


1.      Barbara Henry (in behalf of Larry Kahn) opened the meeting at 3:10 PM.  She called for approval of the minutes of the September 23rd, 2003 Executive Board meeting.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


2.      The Chair called on Dr. Gisele Bennett (GTRI) to provide a status report on the activities of the Conflict of Interest Committee. (A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached -- Attachment #2 below). Bennett indicated that the committee was formed by the Executive Board nearly two years ago to review the Institute’s Conflict of Interest (CoI) policy and provide recommendations for revisions.  The need for such a review was recognized, and recommended, by both the Intellectual Property Policy Review Committee and the Distance Learning Committee.  She provided a list of Committee members (see Attachment #2) and indicated that the Committee is co-chaired by Jilda Garton (GTRC/OSP) and herself.  She stated that committee members were selected because of their prior experience and expertise in various aspects of the CoI issue, including establishment of start-up companies, consulting, and/or preparation of the original Georgia Tech policy.  Bennett indicated that the CoI Policy encompasses more than Intellectual Property and Distance Learning issues.  She enumerated the general topics to be reviewed in the CoI Policy, including: (1) Entrepreneurial activities, (2) Students (the revised Intellectual Property and Distance Learning Policies cover students; hence, there is a need to include them in the CoI Policy), (3) Use of GT Facilities, (4) Ownership in corporations, and (5) Impact on license from future research. She indicated that some of these issues are adequately addressed in the current policy, while others are not.


Bennett indicated that the policy to be developed must comply with related State, Board of Regents, and Federal policies (particularly NIH and NSF), some of which may not be complementary.  She indicated that the CoI committee will review these policies and, whenever appropriate, reference them in the Georgia Tech policy so that we would not need to continually update our policy.  She presented the timeline for the committee’s activities, and indicated that the committee expects to complete the first draft of the revised policy this Fall.  The final version of the proposed policy will be presented to the Executive Board and the Faculty Senate in the Spring.  Bennett indicated that the committee awaits a clarification of the State Policy on CoI; a strict “face-value” interpretation of such a policy would prohibit all consulting and technology transfer activities by State employees, which is counter to the traditional role of universities.    She called on Ms. Garton to elaborate on this issue.  Garton indicated that immediately after taking office, the Governor issued an Executive Order dealing with CoI issues for State employees, and that the Legislature did not enact any new legislation in the ethics area last year.  The Legislature may consider the issue at the next session; if so, the CoI Committee may need to harmonize its recommendations with the new legislation.    She indicated that Georgia Tech and other research universities in the Georgia University System have been meeting regularly; the aim is to articulate a consistent set of conflict of interest management principles so that faculty in these universities would be treated in a similar manner. 


A comment was made that the Distance Learning Committee went through a similar review process, and that in addition to reviewing applicable Government and Board of Regents policies, it was very informative to look at the policies adopted by peer institutions.  Garton concurred and indicated that she has compiled an extensive collection of policies adopted by other institutions, and that the CoI committee will look at such policies. 


A motion was made that the Conflict of Interest Committee should present its recommendations to the Executive Board in January 2004 and to the General Faculty in February 2004.  The motion passed without dissent.   The Chair thanked Dr. Bennett for her presentation.    


3.      The Chair called on Ms. Jilda Garton (GTRC/OSP) to present an overview of the functions and responsibilities of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, Institutional Review Board, and Institutional Biosafety Committee, along with the proposed changes to the appointment process for such committees. (Copies of the slides used in the presentation and a handout listing Federal Regulations that govern the appointments and compositions of compliance committees are attached -- Attachments #3 and 4 below). Garton began by indicating that this presentation has been motivated by concerns raised by a faculty member last summer regarding the appointment process to the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.  She described the organizational chart for GTRC and indicated that the Office of Research Compliance is headed by Barbara Henry, who reports directly to her, rather than through Sponsored Programs. The Office of Research Compliance is responsible for administration of committees that oversee/review the use of animals in research, participation of human volunteers in research, and the use of bio-hazardous materials including Recombinant DNA.  In each case, Federal law defines the body that institutions receiving Federal funds must have to oversee such research. She pointed to the handout (Attachment #4 below) which lists the various Federal Regulations that govern each of these three areas.  The regulations require that people who administer those functions report through a separate line of authority to the institutional official responsible for administration of compliance.  President Clough delegated authority for administering compliance to the Vice Provost for Research (Dr. Liotta), with explicit permission to sub-delegate to the Associate Vice Provost for Research (Ms. Garton).   


Garton indicated that a web page for research compliance has been established.  It offers guidance to the faculty on how protocols can be submitted in order to gain approval by the appropriate committee.  She listed the chairs of the three committees -- Robert Gregor for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), Phillip Sparling for the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Nael McCarty for the Institutional Biosafety and Biohazards Board (IB3).  She indicated that recent growth in our bio-sciences and behavioral sciences research has led to a logarithmic growth in the activities and protocols administered by theses committees.  She enumerated the responsibilities of the IACUC, including review and approval of proposals and/or modifications thereof, review and investigation of non-compliance, and continual review of ongoing activities.  IACUC members are dedicated and responsible; they care deeply about their role and responsibilities.  The regulations require that one Committee member must be from outside Georgia Tech; our outside member comes from the Humane Society and takes an active role in the committee’s activities, including review of protocols.   We also have on staff an attending veterinarian.  The Regulatory agencies responsible for animal research are the US Department of Agriculture (the Animal Welfare Act) and the Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare (Public Health Service Policy).  Assurance documents are filed annually with the Animal Welfare Office. 


Garton briefly described the operations of the Institutional Review Board, which oversees the use of human subjects in research; the Regulatory agencies responsible for such research are the FDA and NIH/OHRP.  IRB members are very dedicated and responsible; one of the members is a student.  The Institute Biosafety and Biohazards Board (IB3) is a relatively new entity.  Recently, our policies and procedures had to be revamped to comply with the Patriot Act, which places stringent requirements on handling of materials that could potentially become biological weapons.  The new policies and procedures will soon be placed on the web (within a month).  The Institutional biosafety officer (Lee Zacarias) is a member of IB3.   All three committees have the authority to suspend a research project in their respective area if it does not meet the standards; the committees are independent and autonomous, inasmuch as no administrator within the university, including the President and the Chancellor, can override a committee’s decision to suspend a research project.   However, if a committee approves a research project, the university may elect not to proceed with it. 


Garton indicated that appointment to these committees is currently made for one-year terms to give members the opportunity to step down if they wish.  However, a concern has been raised by a member of the IACUC that such one-year terms may influence the committee members’ sense of independence.  While the current policy was not meant as a way to remove “troublesome” members from such committees, nevertheless, the concern raises a legitimate issue that should be addressed.  Therefore, it is suggested that we ask the IACUC committee to address the issue, and, if they see fit, revise the appointment policy to establish a rotating/ staggered membership policy.  The revised policy will then be submitted to the Office of Animal Welfare for approval; it is doubtful that they would have any objections to such a change.   Garton indicated that she would not be in favor of imposing term limits since a great deal of expertise is required to serve effectively on such committees, and that people who have the expertise should be allowed to continue to serve if they wish. 


A question was raised regarding a general Georgia Tech statement of principle on the use of animals in research.  Garton indicated that Bob Harty (Director of Institute Communications) is taking the lead on drafting such a statement, which effectively states that Georgia Tech is fully committed to the humane care and use of animals in research, and that there are certain areas of research where only animal models can accomplish the goals, but we are committed to alleviating any pain and distress, and complying fully with all Government regulations.  She indicated that our committees are committed to these principles; they do not take lightly the idea that an experiment may be duplicative or that more animals will be used than justified. She indicated that we are also reviewing our security procedures and that our large animal facilities are housed in new buildings where security is very good.


Barbara Henry stated that she appreciates the proposal offered by Ms. Garton regarding membership on the committees to allow them to examine the current membership policy and revise it as appropriate.  She indicated that the concern regarding one-year appointments was raised by a member who has served on the committee since 1986.  He is a valued member who cares deeply about the duties and responsibilities of the committee; we certainly do not want to impose term limits that prevent people like that from serving on the committees.  She indicated that Federal Regulations are silent on the issue of term limits. A motion was made to refer the matter to the compliance committee from which it originated (IACUC).  The committee should review the membership appointment policy and make recommendations for revisions; if necessary, the recommendations will be reviewed by the Executive Board and Academic Senate.  The motion passed without dissent. 


The Chair thanked Ms. Garton for her presentation.


1.      The Chair called on the Provost to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The Provost offered the following comments:


a.       Today, at a meeting of the Technology Association of Georgia, the Governor announced that the State of Georgia will embark on a major initiative in Nanotechnology, the major part of which will be the construction of a building on the GT campus for cleanrooms.  The State will contribute $45M toward the construction of the facility; an anonymous private donor will contribute the remaining $36M.  There is a clear need for such a facility to replace our current facilities which were constructed in 1987; it was on the list submitted to the Board of Regents. This initiative will make it possible to quickly meet that need.  Planning will begin immediately and we expect to begin construction in 12 to 15 months.  Dr. Roger Webb is to be complimented for his efforts which helped make this project a reality.


b.      Next year we will begin construction of the M-building (Materials Molecular Science and Engineering Facility), an excellent addition to our Bioengineering/Bio-Sciences Complex.


c.       It now appears that the 2.5% cut in our FY04 State budget will take place; all Deans and Directors have been informed -- units will be officially informed in the November budget amendment.  All academic and research units will be affected, since the cuts can no longer be absorbed centrally.  With recent increases in State tax revenues, we are optimistic about the FY05 budget; hopefully, the planned 5% of additional cuts will not be necessary.  We will strive to minimize the impact on our “core business” – education and research. Some re-organization may be necessary to accommodate the budget cuts; there will be some implications on personnel since 80% of our budget is for personal services. The B-units (e.g. GTRI and EDI) may be affected more than others more than other units.  One should keep in mind that despite the budget cuts, for the past two years, every unit on campus has seen an increase in budget. 


d.      Dedication of Technology Square will take place this week.  The Mayor will join President Clough for the ribbon cutting on October 24th at 11 AM in front of the Management building.  Workshops will be held on Thursday October 23rd, while festivities will take place on Friday -- everyone is invited to attend.  Most of the units to be housed in Technology Square have already moved in.  In order to improve faculty access to Technology Square facilities, and coordination between the Georgia Tech Hotel and the Global Learning Center, Tim Gargis of GLC has been designated as the first point of contact for people who are planning any meetings or activities.


e.       Our classroom assignment has significantly improved; however, we need to improve utilization by increasing the number of early and late classes.



A question was asked as to where the new cleanroom facilities will be located.  The Provost indicated that the new Nanotechnology Research Center in which the cleanrooms will be housed will be located on Atlantic Drive across from the Bioengineering and Bioscience Building in the space currently occupied by the Electronics Research Building (ERB).  At this time arrangements are being made to relocate people from the ERB.  A question was asked as to scope of the State’s Nanotechnology Research initiative beyond the construction of the cleanrooms.  The Provost indicated that the building housing the cleanrooms will be called the Nanotechnology Research Center; it is analogous to what we did 15 years ago when the Microelectronics Research Center was opened.  We expect to have additional investments in the area of Nanotechnology (e.g. from GRA) over the next few years.  There were no further questions for the Provost.


2.      The Chair called on Ms. Jo McIver (Registrar) who requested approval for intercollegiate athletic teams to participate in post-season play.  A list of dates and locations of potential post-season play for each of the participating teams was presented (See Attachment #5).  She indicated that the list includes all possible post-season opportunities for athletic teams, and that the teams may not be invited to participate in all the events listed.  She indicated that the Statutes specify that the Board must approve before teams can participate in post-season play and that a “blanket approval” is being sought at this time rather than requesting approval when the teams are actually invited (one at a time).  A motion was made to approve the proposed dates for post-season play for various sports as presented by the Registrar.  The motion passed without dissent.



3.      The Chair called on Abdel-Khalik, who reported on the need to appoint the Nominations Committee for the Spring 2004 elections.  Two EB members will co-chair the committee; they, in turn, will recruit four other faculty members to serve on the Committee -- the names are to be presented to the Board for approval at the November 18, 2003 meeting.  He indicated that, traditionally, the EB is represented by the Vice-Chair and another member from last year’s committee; Barbara Henry (EB vice Chair) and Jack Marr (last year’s Committee co-chair) have agreed to serve.  Abdel-Khalik indicated that since both Ms. Henry and Dr. Marr will be rotating off the Board next year, it would be desirable to have a third Board member (whose term does not expire next year) also serve on the Committee in order to provide continuity.  Tom Horton volunteered to serve in that role.


4.      The Chair called for any other business.  A question was asked regarding the technology fee allocation for this year.  The Provost replied by indicating that, as we do every year, units are invited to submit proposals for technology fee funding in late August.  A committee consisting of three faculty members and four students (two undergraduates and two graduates) reviews the proposals, and ranks them.  The committee’s recommendations are advisory to the Provost.  During the past two years, the process has been streamlined by allowing the top ranked proposals to be identified and decided upon early in the process (around the end of October).  Typically, those proposals represent approximately 50% of the total funding available ($2.7M this year); units are advised of the outcome so that they can immediately begin purchasing equipment, software, etc.   The remaining proposals are decided upon around the end of November, and the entire process is completed before the end of the Fall semester.  This year, because of budget constraints on the various units, funds will be provided not only for the equipment themselves, but also for any additional items necessary to set them up; in the past, units were required to provide these additional expenditures.


There was no other business; the Chair adjourned the meeting at 4:15 PM.



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

October 24, 2003


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


1.Minutes of the EB meeting of September 23, 2003.

2.Status Report on Conflict of Interest Committee (Presentation by Gisele Bennett and Jilda Garton).

3.Research Compliance at Georgia Tech (Presentation by Jilda Garton)

4.Appointments to the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, Institutional Review Board, and Institutional Biosafety & Biohazards Board (Document          distributed by J. Garton).

5.2004 Post-season Play of Intercollegiate Teams