Meeting of November 18, 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); McGinnis (ISyE); Peterson (ECE); Schneider (MGT); Telotte (LCC);  Uzer (PHYS); Norville (G. Stu); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).


Members Absent: Evans (GTRI); Gentry (ARCH); Mark (CoC); Warren (EDI); Watson (U. Student). 


Visitors: Bohlander (GTRI)


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


a.       Since our last meeting, both Technology Square and the Savannah Campus were opened.  Many of the State’s political leaders have visited our new facilities and have been highly complimentary of what we are doing both here and in Savannah. 


b.      The President indicated that he is chairing the selection committee for the Rhodes scholarship; one Georgia Tech student (Nate Watson) is among the applicants.


c.       We are closely monitoring the budget process.  This month we have had to implement a 2.5% cut in our FY04 State budget; we had no choice but to pass this cut to the units -- academic units were asked to cut their budget by 2.25%, while administrative units were asked to cut 3.0%.  We have been asked to plan for a 5% cut in the FY05 budget; with increases in State tax revenues during the past three months, we are hopeful that the State economy will turn around and that such a cut will not be necessary.  Nearly all other universities, including private universities, are faced with similar challenges ($40M budget cut at MIT and layoffs at Yale).


d.      Our endowment income has rebounded this year after two years of decline.  Compared to other universities and non-profits, our endowment has consistently performed in the top quartile.  


A question was asked as to whether the Board of Regents is considering any incentives for early retirement in order to address the budget cuts.  The President indicated that the Board of Regents has not discussed that possibility.  He pointed to the case of the University of California, who took that approach nearly a decade ago.  Unfortunately, many of the good faculty decided to take the offer, retire, and get a job at another university.   The Provost added that in the past, most of our faculty were covered by the Teachers Retirement System (TRS).  Now, the number of faculty covered by TRS is rapidly declining; most of our faculty are covered by the Optional Retirement System, so that such incentives would not have a significant impact.  The President added that we are fortunate that the increases in intuition and work load money have helped offset some of the budget cuts we have had so far. There were no other questions for the President.


2.      The Chair called for approval of the minutes of the October 21st, 2003 Executive Board meeting.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


3.      The Chair called on Ron Bohlander, Chair of the Statutes Committee, to discuss plans for organizing the Faculty Handbook.   (A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached -- Attachment #2 below).  Bohlander indicated that the current Faculty Handbook has two formatting problems:  (1) the handbook sections are numbered to an excessive depth, and (2) the html version is not easily read.  He demonstrated both problems by showing examples of current sections in the Handbook.  He enumerated other issues that need to be addressed; notably, information on a specific topic may, in some cases, be spread out in different sections/chapters of the Handbook.  Additionally, we do not take full advantage of hyperlinking and indexing.  He indicated that he had examined several good examples of Handbooks from peer institutions and that in some cases, in addition to the linear version, sections related to key topics can be easily extracted and viewed.  Some of them have a more dignified appearance, utilizing attractive headers and modest use of color. 


Bohlander outlined the proposed steps to be undertaken by the Statutes Committee to improve the Faculty Handbook.  A cross-section of Faculty Handbooks from peer institutions will be examined before the end of December; a specification based on our needs and best practices will then be derived (by January).   One or more prototypes will be created by transforming the current text to the new format (by February).  Additionally (by March), hyperlinks will be included in the web form, an index will be included, and “modular views” of key topics may be created.  The aim is to present the recommended changes to the Faculty at the April 20, 2004 meeting.  The proposed changes involve formatting changes only; no change in content is contemplated.  However, should inconsistencies be identified during this re-formatting process, they will be carefully catalogued, and addressed/resolved in parallel as a separate matter. 


A question was asked as to whether the Committee intends to also examine the Handbook for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Bohlander indicated that this would be an excellent suggestion, and that he intends to call on Ms. Claudia Huff for input on this matter.  A motion was made to charge the Statutes Committee with the task of re-formatting the Faculty Handbook following the proposed steps outlined in the presentation.  The motion passed without dissent. 


4.      The Chair called on Barbara Henry and Jack Marr, Co-Chairs of the 2004 Nominations Committee, to present the proposed committee membership list.  Ms. Henry indicated that several faculty members from various units have agreed to serve on the Nominations Committee and that she is awaiting responses from representatives of the Colleges of Computing (Navathe) and Management (Jayaraman).  A motion was made to approve the proposed membership list for the 2004 Nominations Committee, including the two members from the Colleges of Computing and Management (see Attachment #3). The motion passed without dissent.   


5.      The Chair presented the proposed agenda for the Fall meeting of the Academic Senate to be held on December 2nd, 2003 (See attachment #4).  He indicated that the meeting will also be designated as a called meeting of the General Faculty since there are agenda items of interest to the General Faculty.  Dr. Chameau suggested that Howard Rollins be listed in the agenda as a co-presenter for the International Activities Overview.  The proposed agenda was approved without dissent.


6.      The Chair called for any other business.  A question was asked regarding the status of the SACS accreditation effort.  Specifically, at the presentation made by Dr. Lohmann and Dr. Hoey two months ago, they indicated that a web site link would be provided so that faculty can view the various sub-reports documenting our compliance status with respect to the various requirements.  The Provost suggested that the Chair should contact Jack Lohmann to inquire about the status of the reports; he also suggested that members may wish to visit the GT-SACS accreditation website ( to view the activities/progress made so far. 


A question was asked regarding the status of the “Grade Inflation” report prepared by the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee.  The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that the report has been published and can be viewed at the following address: (  He also indicated that a conference presentation based on the study will be published by the Committee.


There was no other business; the Chair adjourned the meeting at 3:45 PM.



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

November 20, 2003


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


1.      Minutes of the EB meeting of October 21, 2003.

2.      Needed Improvements in the Faculty Handbook Format (Presentation by Ron Bohlander).

3.      Proposed Membership List for 2004 Nominations Committee.

4.      Proposed Agenda for December 2nd, 2003 Fall Meeting of the Academic Senate and Called Meeting of the General Faculty