GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
Meeting of February 15, 2005
Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center
Members Present: Akins (Prof Prac); Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Clough (President); First (Phys); Foley (CoC); Gentry (Arch); Horton (GTRI); Hughes (ECE); McGinnis (ISyE); Peterson (ECE); Telotte (LCC); Uzer (Phys); Warren (EDI); Phuong (U. Student); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).
Members Absent: David (G. Student); Evans (GTRI); Huff (GTRI); Schneider (Mgt); Yen (BIOL)
Visitors: Bruckman (CoC); Colatrella (LCC); Fox (Pub Policy); Lohmann (Assoc. Provost); May (Pres. Office); McDowell (ME); Realff (PTFE); Rollins (OIE), Schafer (VPSA)
1. Leon McGinnis (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM. He called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. The President offered the following comments:
a. The House and Senate have voted on their respective versions of the FY05 supplemental budget; it is considerably smaller than previous years.
b. The Legislature has started looking at the FY06 budget; the Governor’s budget looks very good and we hope they do not change it very much. There are two additional items we will concentrate on -- the additional money owed to GTRI ($3.9M has been restored and ~$700k is still owed), and funding for the so-called “minor projects” (~$5M to renovate the Old CE building); the Governor’s budget does not include any funding for such projects.
c. The final step in this year’s Promotion and Tenure review process has just concluded (President/Provost-level review) -- an outstanding group of candidates from all colleges. The Provost is spending an increasing amount of effort in creating counter-offers to fend off the offers received by our faculty from other schools. We will be working with the Governor’s office, the Legislature, and the Regents to enhance the competitiveness of our salary structure -- this will be our top priority for next year.
d. Tonight, the Alumni Association will hold an event entitled: “Innovations Here and Now.” This is the third such event aimed at highlighting the contributions of our faculty (the first two were held last year in Atlanta and Washington, DC). The events have been very well attended; 400 participants have registered for tonight event. Tonight’s Faculty participants will include Gary May (ECE/Pres. Office), Uzi Landman (Physics) and John McDonald (Biology).
e. In an effort to balance the Federal budget, research funding for many agencies (with few exceptions) will either decrease or remain the same; NASA and NSF will have slight increases. There is strong bipartisan support on the Hill for increasing R&D budgets.
There were no questions for the President.
2. The Chair called for approval of minutes of the January 11, 2005 meeting of the Executive Board. The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).
3. The Chair called on Dr. William Schafer (Vice-President, Student Affairs) to introduce himself and briefly discuss the main activities under his responsibility. Dr. Schafer joined Georgia Tech in July 2004 (from the University of Texas-El Paso). He indicated that Student Affairs encompasses a large array of services and activities including Career Services, the Success Center, tutoring, orientation, FASET, Campus Recreation Center, Dean of Students Office (which covers many areas including Academic Integrity), the Women’s Resources Center, Disability Services, Greek Affairs, Student Involvement, Diversity, Counseling Center, and the Ferst Center. Schafer stated that he is currently working with his staff on ways to “better-market” these programs and make students aware of the many opportunities available to them. He is also working with Bob McMath on a variety of issues/programs, including Leadership education and sophomore retention, and is working with student leaders (Amy Phuong and Kasi David) on student government issues. He continues to familiarize himself with Georgia Tech (his fifth university in 34 years), and the various Academic Senate committees which interact with Student Affairs. The Chair thanked Dr. Schafer for his presentation.
4. The Chair called on Drs. Jack Lohmann (Assoc. provost), Howard Rollins (Director, International Education), and Amy Bruckman (CoC) to present an overview of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to be submitted for SACS reaffirmation. A copy of the slides used in the presentation is attached (see Attachment #2 below). Lohmann began by presenting a timeline for the SACS reaffirmation process. The Compliance Report was submitted on September 10, 2004. An off-site review of the compliance report was performed on November 8-10, 2004; the outcome of that review was received on November 22, 2004. Of the 82 standards addressed in the compliance report, questions related to only eight standards were received; these deal with governance and administrative issues. A follow-up report responding to those questions will be submitted along with the QEP on March 15, 2005. Lohmann stated that it is very common for institutions to receive questions related to the compliance report, and that we do not expect any difficulty in resolving these questions. He expressed his appreciation to Dr. Joseph Hoey (Director of Assessment), who shepherded the compliance process. Lohmann stated that the QEP report is nearing completion; it is a focused report (~45 pages); an electronic copy will be distributed to members of the Executive Board and the campus community by the end of this week for review and feedback [see http://www.assessment.gatech.edu/SACS/QEP/QEP_D12-WEB.pdf] prior to submitting it on March 15, 2005. An on-site review visit will be conducted on April 26-28, 2005; the review will focus primarily on the QEP, and any other questions they may have. The entire reaffirmation process concludes when the Commission meets in early December 2005.
The QEP development process began nearly two years ago, and involved many people from various units around campus. During 2003, seven areas were identified as potential areas for the development of our QEP; all these areas had a “learning by doing” theme. During 2004, teams were formed to further examine these seven areas and prepare project proposals. The proposals were reviewed by the Council for Institutional and Academic Program Review and Accreditation (Chaired by Lohmann), and the Leadership Team (President, Provost, Sr. VP for Fin. & Adm., and Assoc. Provost); two areas were selected. Many good ideas were generated during the QEP development process; the selection of these two areas was based on the strategy of limiting the QEP to what is needed and necessary to achieve accreditation -- including additional activities in the QEP (even though we may in fact do them) is not necessarily in our best interest. The focus of the QEP will be “Strengthening the International Competence and Research Experience of Undergraduate Students.” It is atypical from QEP’s offered by other institutions, inasmuch as it has two focal points; nevertheless, these are two things that we want to do to improve the educational experience of our students. Also, there is a natural connection between the two areas. A five-year period has been selected (entirely up to us). The plan focuses on undergraduate students (does not mean that we do not care about graduate students -- we simply had to define the scope of an activity which can be accomplished to satisfy the accreditation requirements). The plan involves all colleges and several support units. At this time, the budget is ~$4.9M.
The presentation was continued by Rollins, who provided an overview of the “International Plan” component of the QEP. He stated that the Plan has been approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and the Academic Senate. It is a degree-long program intended to develop international competence of the students by integrating three elements into their major: (1) Study of a core set of international subjects consisting of a course in international relations, a course in global economics, a course related to a specific country or region, and a “culminating course” that integrates knowledge of the participants’ respective disciplines and their international experience (culminating courses may be offered within specific disciplines or in a multi-disciplinary context); (2) Second language proficiency equivalent to that achieved following two years of college course work in the language (can be done by taking courses or demonstrating proficiency through an examination); and (3) International experience through study, research, and/or work for at least 26 weeks (two terms) -- a higher language proficiency level is required (and is achievable) if students use the second language during their international experience. Students meeting these requirements would receive an “International Plan” designation on their diplomas and transcripts; this would signify to potential employers that they have international experience that ties into their major.
Rollins enumerated some of the key points of the International Plan. He stated that it is neither a new degree, nor a new minor. It is an option within existing undergraduate degrees; therefore, Board of Regents approval is not required. The Plan was approved by the IUCC and the Academic Senate (on January 19, 2005, and February 1, 2005, respectively). Among the key features of the Plan is its “academic-unit-specific” nature. Academic units which elect to participate in the Plan must develop a specific plan for each major and submit it for IUCC (and Academic Senate) approval. A faculty committee (consisting of undergraduate coordinators of the participating units) will coordinate the Plan; support and daily operations will be provided by the Office of International Education and the Division of Professional Practice. Rollins stated that, so far, a total of 16 academic units have participated in the discussions; 12-14 units will submit their individual plans for IUCC approval in March, so that starting next year (Fall’05) we will be able to advertise for at least 12 academic disciplines. Hopefully, over the next year or two, many other units will participate, and eventually all academic units at Georgia Tech may participate.
Rollins stated that this is a demanding program that will be of interest to Georgia Tech’s best students. The program is expected to start with ~100 participants in the first year (2005-06); we expect to reach a participation level of 300 students per year by the fifth year (2009-10), which corresponds to a steady state participation level of nearly 12% of the graduating class. It is important that students begin their participation early (i.e. as freshmen) in order to meet the language proficiency and international course requirements prior to their overseas international experience. The expected 12% participation level, together with our current participation level in other international programs (~34%), should bring Georgia Tech closer to the 50% goal stated in our strategic plan. This program does not replace existing opportunities for international studies or overseas experience; it may in fact stimulate additional interest in such programs. Rollins stated that many people around campus have been involved in the development of this Plan; a “Steering Committee” with at least one member from each of the six colleges has been established (see Attachment #2 for membership list). The committee has been meeting regularly to discuss the elements/requirements of the Plan. They have also met with undergraduate coordinators from 12 academic units who intend to adopt the Plan, and have closely coordinated with the Deans. Rollins enumerated some of the benefits to be gained by implementing the International Plan; it will enable Georgia Tech to attract top-notch students who might otherwise go elsewhere. It will give us a competitive edge over other top universities in light of the growing interest in international study (e.g. MIT and Harvard have placed added emphasis on international studies). The unique nature of the program will place Georgia Tech in a leadership role (both nationally and internationally) for integration of international study/experience into disciplinary studies. It is a “signature program” that other universities will want to emulate (a great deal of positive feedback has been received following a recent presentation of the program outline at a National conference).
The presentation was continued by Bruckman, who provided an overview of the “Research Plan” component of the QEP. She stated that getting undergraduates more involved in research represents one of the greatest untapped potentials in education at research universities such as Georgia Tech; her own academic research deals with learning by doing, and there is a great deal of synergy between what she has learned pedagogically from her research and what is being proposed in the QEP. The proposed undergraduate research plan has the potential to bring out the leadership capability of our students and help them think independently. The program consists of two initiatives: (1) a new campus-wide Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), and (2) A “Research Plan.” She stated that UROP will provide incentives for faculty and students to participate in the program by providing small grants for materials/supplies and travel. We hope to make the undergraduate research initiative one of the focal points of the capital campaign; as endowment funds become available, additional support will be provided to faculty and students. It is also hoped that the funds raised will sustain the program well beyond the five-year scope of the QEP. UROP will enhance awareness of research opportunities by organizing numerous “awareness events” for undergraduate students. She pointed to the high levels of student attendance at two annual events organized by the College of Computing (job fair in the Fall and research symposium in the Spring) as examples of the effectiveness of such events. UROP will also provide monitoring and assessment in order to make sure that participants are receiving a high quality experience and that they are learning from it. The second component, namely, the “Research Plan” parallels the “International Plan” described earlier by Howard Rollins. It will provide a degree designation signifying the student’s participation in an in-depth research experience.
Bruckman stated that many members of the campus community have been involved in the development of this program. A Committee with faculty representatives from all six colleges has been established to oversee the UROP and the Research Plan (see attachment #2 for membership listing). She stated that a set of default institute-wide requirements has been created for the Research Plan; however, since research is disciplinary in nature, academic units wishing to participate in the Program will be encouraged to develop their own requirements. Such requirements must be approved by the Undergraduate Research Advisory Group and the IUCC (for matters of curricular significance). The Undergraduate Research Advisory Group is an appointed committee consisting of one faculty representative from each college, two students, and the Director of Undergraduate Research. Participants in the Research Plan must complete at least nine units of research. This can be done either for pay or credit over at least two (preferably three) terms. Participants will be required to write either an undergraduate thesis or a research report. Such documents are intended to be substantial enough to show significant accomplishment by the students; however, they should not be so large as to deter faculty from participating. Participants will also be required to take an Undergraduate Thesis Writing laboratory (1 credit hour) during their last semester of research in order to help support them through the thesis writing process. This will also help the research advisors, inasmuch as the burden of assuring the documents’ quality will not be entirely theirs. It will also create a “support group” of peers writing their theses and research reports at the same time. The thesis must be read and approved by two faculty members from the participating academic unit. Theses will be evaluated based on originality, quality of the literature review, writing, technical/experimental/theoretical achievement (as appropriate for the discipline), and completeness.
A question was asked as to whether the undergraduate research initiative will incorporate the large number of undergraduate students at GTRI who are involved in research either through the co-op program or part-time employment. Bruckman responded affirmatively and indicated that research for pay is an acceptable part of the program; the important thing is that students are doing original research. Horton stated that GTRI would be glad to provide a senior member to work with the Committee to help integrate GTRI’s student research activities within the Program. A question was asked as to who would teach the thesis writing course. Bruckman stated that it has been (tentatively) proposed that the course be offered through LCC, and that Amanda Gable would like to teach it. A follow-up question was asked as to whether funding will be provided to LCC to develop/offer such a course. Bruckman stated that Bob McMath is prepared to fund such an activity. She stated that as the program grows more people will be needed to teach the course and that a campus-wide course number has been reserved, so that academic units wishing to offer their own version of the course can do so. A question was asked as to how the overseas experience component of the International Plan will be arranged (who will find/arrange the overseas work/internships for the participants?). Rollins stated that students will likely do their international study, research, and/or work experience in their junior year. So, there is some time lag between the point when the first group of students will be recruited (Fall 05 freshmen) and the point they reach that stage. During that time, the Division of Professional Practice will work with individual departments to develop international internship opportunities; a full-time person will be hired to develop/coordinate these internships. Lohmann stated that the overseas experience is not limited to paid internships; many faculty members have research connections overseas and can help facilitate research opportunities for students. Also, some students may elect to study at one of our overseas campuses or overseas partner institutions. Rollins offered an example where one of our partner institutions in Singapore with an active “industrial placement” program has offered to arrange for our students to participate in that program following one term of study.
A question was asked as to whether the steering committees for the International Plan and the Research Plan will report to the IUCC. Rollins stated that the International Plan faculty committee (consisting of undergraduate coordinators of participating units) will “coordinate” the program; however, all curricular matters related to the program will be submitted to the IUCC for approval. A comment was made that the steering committees are not subcommittees of the IUCC; instead, they are equivalent to faculty committees coordinating multi-disciplinary programs (e.g. bioinformatics) – these committees consist of faculty from the participating units and seek IUCC (or GCC) approval of curricular matters related to such programs. A follow-up question was asked as to what “curricular requirements” would be submitted by the International Plan for IUCC approval. Rollins stated that the IUCC has approved the “template” for the International Plan degree designation; units wishing to participate in the Plan need to submit their specific plan to the IUCC for approval. Also, courses developed to meet the core-international-subjects’ requirement need to be approved by the IUCC. A question was asked as to how the requirements leading to the designation on the diploma will be tracked. Hughes stated that, like all other degree requirements, the requirements for the International and Research Plans will show up on the Banner system. Rollins stated that there are some process details that remain to be worked out, and that efforts have been initiated to develop such processes. Participants will likely be required to complete a form detailing how they have met the Plan’s requirements, and that “sign-off” by different offices, including OIE, Modern Languages (for language proficiency), and the Registrar, will be required. A question was asked regarding the meaning of the requirement that the research conducted by the students as a part of the Research Plan be “original.” Bruckman stated that this is not the same as originality requirement for a PhD thesis or a journal article; nevertheless, the student has to be engaged in a substantial piece of work that requires original thought, and that it helps to have a second faculty reader in assessing the significance and originality of the work. A follow-up question was asked as to whether the program will offer some guidance to the faculty on this issue. Bruckman responded affirmatively. The Chair thanked Drs. Lohmann, Rollins and Bruckman for their presentation. The Provost stated that a great deal of effort has been put forth by many individuals around campus in developing these programs, which go well beyond what is required for SACS accreditation, and that they should be congratulated for their work.
5. The Chair called on Drs. Mary Lynn Realff (PTFE), Mary Frank Fox (PUBP), David McDowell (ME), and Carol Colatrella (LCC) to present an overview of the promotion and tenure tools developed as a part of the ADVANCE Program. Copies of the slides used in the presentations are attached (see Attachments #3a through 3d below). A copy of the 2004 Annual Report for the ADVANCE Program was distributed (see Attachment #4 below). Realff provided an overview of the ADVANCE Program; she stated that this NSF-funded Program addresses five areas: (1) Inter-college network of professorships; (2) Collection and use of resource data for equity and development of best practices (data are being collected to see how we are doing and to compare the experiences of the 19 institutions with such grants); (3) Holding annual retreats for women in science & engineering with school chairs, deans, and the Provost (next conference will be held on March 31st and April 1st, 2005 at the Global Learning Center); (4) Strengthening and extending the scope and impact of family-friendly policies (she pointed to the day care center, and the three nursing-mom centers as examples – a fourth center will be housed in the Klaus computing building now under construction); and (5) Institutionalizing training in evaluation for P&T committees (the focus of today’s presentations).
Data on the number of female faculty members in each of Georgia Tech’s six colleges, for 1997-98, 2000-01, and 2003-04 were presented; the combined totals were 96, 120, and 140, respectively (see attachment #3a). Realff stated that at this time, nearly one-third of all Georgia Tech faculty offers are being made to women. Data on the rank distributions for female faculty during the same three years were presented. She stated that the large fraction of assistant professors (49%) for 1997-98 indicates that women faculty were being hired, however, they were leaving before being promoted. The fraction of women faculty at the Associate and Full Professor levels increased from 51% in 1997-98 to 67% in 2003-04. Data on the number of female faculty in administrative positions were also presented; the number increased from four in 1997-98 to ten in 2003-04. She stated that in 1997-98 there were no female faculty holding the rank of Regents Professor or endowed chairs at Georgia Tech; the number increased to four in 2001 with the appointment of the four NSF ADVANCE Professors, and now stands at 13. These data point to the progress made by Georgia Tech in enhancing the opportunities for female faculty over the past several years. The Provost commented that the data will look even better when the results of this year’s P&T reviews are included.
Mary Frank Fox continued the presentation by discussing three conditions that support greater equity in evaluation: (1) Complete information on the candidates’ records and qualifications; (2) Clarity of standards/criteria for evaluation; and (3) Open processes. She stated that when more information on the candidates’ records and qualifications are provided, other non-performance related factors such as race, gender, physical ability, or national origin are less likely to be brought up during the evaluation process. This is consistent with Social Comparison theory which maintains that in the absence of information, people are more likely to make subjective evaluations based on non-performance based characteristics. Additionally, when the evaluation criteria are ambiguous, outcomes based upon personal or social characteristics are more likely to occur. Studies indicate that the more loosely-defined and subjective are the criteria, the more likely it will be that persons with majority-group characteristics will be perceived as being superior. On the other hand, when the evaluation criteria are standardized, clear bias in evaluation tends to be reduced. She stated that while flexibility is desirable in organizations such as colleges and universities, it should not mean that evaluation standards can be varied depending on the preferences of the evaluators. The third condition, namely, open processes in hiring, promotion, and allocation of awards, enhances equitable decision making. On the other hand, non-systematic processes tend to cause non-performance related characteristics to be brought into the evaluation. Studies have shown that when the identity of the decision maker is kept secret, people are more likely to base their decisions about whom to hire on criteria of social similarity to themselves and/or the groups to which they belong.
Dave McDowell continued the presentation by providing an overview of the activities of the Promotion & Tenure ADVANCE Committee (PTAC). He pointed to the website http://www.advance.gatech.edu/promotion.html where the committee’s report (370 pages) can be found. The report is organized in subsections; it can be explored interactively on the web or downloaded in pdf format. The goals and deliverables of PTAC were: (1) Identify measures that can improve our P&T processes across the board (improve the process for all faculty and incorporate factors that promote equity in evaluations as discussed by Mary Frank Fox); and (2) Provide awareness of the wide range of aspects related to faculty development and evaluation prior to and during P&T deliberations. He stated that there are two audiences for the PTAC report, namely, faculty being evaluated for promotion and tenure, and members of RPT committees conducting the reviews. The report includes supporting materials to guide new faculty through the process of preparing their P&T documentation, and provides an explanation of the important things to be emphasized during their early years at Georgia Tech. The report also provides information to senior faculty who serve on the P&T review committees which may place a different light on various aspects of the review process. The PTAC deliverables included the final report posted on the web, and an interactive, web-based, tool for Awareness of Decisions in Evaluating Promotion and Tenure (ADEPT) to be described later by Carol Colatrella. A list of PTAC members was provided; the committee included members from all six colleges, representing different races, national origins, and gender (see Attachment #3c). Several liaison members from the offices of the Provost and the Vice-Provost (McMath) were also involved.
A time line for the committee’s activities beginning with the committee’s charge by the Provost in 2002, and ending with completion and posting of the final report in March 2004 and release of the alpha version of the ADEPT tool in the Fall’ 04 was presented. It included: studies of the various forms of bias (collecting and reading existing literature on various areas of potential bias -- Fall 02); gathering information from units (administrative aspects as well as nuisances on how various activities are prioritized -- Nov. 02 to Jan. 03); developing case studies for the web-based mentoring instrument (Spring 03); and administering a faculty survey (Spring 03); examination and revision of the best-practices document, and development of the web-based ADEPT tool (alpha version completed in Spring 04, with limited release in Fall 04). A second edition of the ADEPT tool is under development, and is expected to be released later this year.
Among the best-practices issues addressed by the committee is consistency of P&T processes. This does not mean that all units have to do it exactly the same way; it does mean, however, that the three factors which promote equity in evaluation (discussed earlier by Mary Frank Fox) should be imbedded within such processes. The committee examined consistency in various aspects of the P&T process, including: committee structures (both peer and unit-level committees); methods of appointing members of the evaluation committees; methods of requesting reference letters and guidelines for dealing with them; guidelines for committee communications with the unit chair; clarity of guidelines for preparing packages across the various units; clarity of expectations within the units/colleges (to be posted on the college website); and a clear sense of ethics and high standards. He stated that the process itself should be completely open, transparent, and well-understood; however, the deliberations of the various evaluation committees are not open. The PTAC survey was prepared with considerable input from assessment experts; it was administered in the Spring’ 03. Questions were clustered in several areas including: resource allocation and success; mentoring and networking; perceptions of evaluative methods and procedures; interdisciplinary collaborations; entrepreneurship; environment/culture at GT; and demographic information. The survey results indicated statistically-significant differences in faculty responses depending on rank and gender.
The committee reviewed the existing best-practices document published by an Executive Board ad hoc Committee nearly 5 years ago, and interviewed unit chairs, administrators, advisors, and RPT committee chairs across campus. Based on that information, along with input from various aspects of the PTAC studies and the results of the PTAC survey, an extensive document of recommended best practices was prepared by a subcommittee chaired by Paul Benkeser. It is a very useful document for unit chairs and members of RPT committees, inasmuch at it would help them “calibrate” their methods. The web-based ADEPT instrument is an interactive tool developed by the PTAC committee with input from the ADVANCE conference. It contains case studies (with some role playing, which is a key component); the PTAC survey results, the results of the bias studies, and the best practices recommendations are incorporated in different places within the instrument. McDowell concluded by summarizing the main recommendations offered by the PTAC committee: (1) RPT committees in various academic units should be proactive in leading faculty discussions related to the recommended best practices and the benchmark survey; and (2) the PTAC report should be periodically revisited prior to each P&T season as a reminder of the responsibilities of the candidates in preparing their cases, as well as those of RPT committee members and mentors.
A question was raised as to whether the committee has examined issues related to promotion of research faculty (e.g. at GTRI). McDowell stated that the committee included a representative from GTRI; however, the study focused on the academic side of Georgia Tech. He stated that the scope of the study was decided at a higher level; nevertheless, he acknowledged the importance of the issue given the fact that GTRI has more than 600 research faculty members. A follow-up comment was made that it is important to examine the Faculty Handbook when preparing the next edition of the best practices document in order to address issues related to promotion of research faculty. A comment was made that the Faculty Handbook allows a great deal of flexibility in how the P&T policy is to be implemented by the various units. McDowell stated that the PTAC Committee examined the policies included in the Faculty Handbook in detail, and found no areas which needed to be changed. A comment was made that one can argue that current P&T practices violate two of the three equity requirements discussed by Mary Frank Fox. First, the criteria used for hiring faculty to senior positions, and for evaluating faculty in various units are not consistent. Additionally, the process, particularly as it relates to hiring of people at the level of school chair and above, is not open; an outside search firm is often used so that the names of the candidates and their records can be kept confidential. A follow-up question was raised as to whether the committee has looked at the possibility of making the P&T process entirely open (placement of all records/information on the web with open public discussion and votes by members of the various evaluation committees). Realff stated (and others concurred) that the process itself should be open and well-understood; however, the deliberations are not open. She stated that it is important for people going through the process to understand how committees are structured and how members are chosen (everyone should know how the process is going to work ahead of time). Fox stated that the PTAC initiative is trying to move us toward a process where more information is made available, with systematic evaluation processes, and greater clarity in the evaluation criteria. While it is all a “matter of degree,” these are all positive steps in the right direction; the PTAC recommendations have moved Georgia Tech much farther than any other institution.
Carol Colatrella continued the presentation by describing the “Awareness of Decisions in Evaluating Promotion and Tenure” (ADEPT) instrument. She acknowledged the contributions of Janet Murray and John Goetzinger in developing it, and stated that ADEPT is designed to prepare candidates and members of evaluation committees. It is a downloadable instrument which can be accessed at: http://www.adept.gatech.edu. It is also linked to the ADVANCE web page. The website contains information on the process used to develop the instrument, background information on procedural error and bias, a list of people who have helped work on the instrument, and nine case studies of fictional individuals, which describe the types of careers that are likely to be present within a research university such as Georgia Tech. The website also contains an annotated bibliography of bias and evaluation with nearly 120 scholarly sources, which provide backup for the activities provided in the instrument for individuals and groups. Colatrella stated that ADEPT is currently under construction; at this time the nine case studies are available. Each of the nine case studies deals with significant issues identified by PTAC as relevant to GT (e.g. interdisciplinary research, ethnic bias, fluctuating productivity, etc.). As an example, she pointed to the case study of “Patty Shen,” which addresses the issues of fluctuating productivity, and requesting/being granted a leave of absence during the probationary period. The account narrative provides both personal and professional information about the candidate; while much of the information included in the narrative does not “appear” during the P&T process, it is the type of information that everyone seems to know and may influence their decision. Colatrella stated that individuals serving on P&T committees may review the case studies on their own; committees should review and discuss them together in order to calibrate their decision making. The College of Engineering used them in the college-level evaluations this past cycle, while the Ivan Allen College used them as practice cases introduced in a manner similar to that used for real cases.
Colatrella described a simulated meeting (included as a part of the case study), where P&T discussions of the subject takes place. She and other PTAC members prepared dialogues for the fictional committee members (“little plays”); individuals using the instrument play the role of the fourth person on the committee. One first reads the case account, meets the fictional committee members, reads the vita describing the candidate’s accomplishments (publications, service, teaching, etc. presented in a short template format prepared by Dave McDowell). One then joins the meeting (written as cartoon dialogues); the committee chair makes his/her comments, and the discussions ensue. There are three points where the user can engage in the dialogue. As an example, the simulated meeting dealing with “Jane Perez” was described; the issues in this case are “interdisciplinary research” and “ethnic bias.” Committee members have different views on whether interdisciplinary research is good or bad; the participant has the opportunity to engage in the deliberations, ask questions, and influence the outcome. The second phase of the simulated meeting links the dialogue with research reports on bias in evaluation; footnotes providing explanations, resources, and links to important documents, e.g. the Faculty Handbook and the PTAC report, are provided. So far, three simulated meetings with follow-up analysis have been constructed.
Colatrella described another section of the ADEPT tool – “Navigating Your Career,” which is intended to serve as a source of advice for junior faculty, and to help senior faculty with issues that may come up as they mentor junior faculty members. As an example, the case of a junior faculty member whose course is viewed by undergraduates as “too demanding” was shown. Students complained to the instructor, the department chair, and the dean of students about the demanding nature of the course. What should a junior faculty member do in a situation of this type? – Possible actions include changing the course requirements; doing nothing; consulting with the department chair and colleagues (recommended action); etc. Colatrella stated that over the course of the following year, she will continue to develop the instrument; faculty members were encouraged to contact her with suggestions for improvement.
A question was raised as to whether there is a unique “correct” outcome to the simulated meetings for the case studies examined in the ADEPT tool. Have the outcomes of these simulated meetings been calibrated against the expectations of Georgia Tech faculty? Colatrella stated that the case studies were intentionally designed to deal with “gray areas,” which makes them ambiguous; while the scenarios are hypothetical, the issues are relevant to Georgia Tech and other research universities. There is value in discussing the issues involved in such cases, inasmuch as it allows the people making the decisions to think about/examine their own standards. A follow-up question was asked as to whether any feed back is provided to the user(s) to indicate whether the “correct” outcome has been achieved. Realff indicated that when the case studies were presented at the ADVANCE conference, different groups produced different outcomes depending on the participants. She stated that the feedback received from college-level committees which examined the case studies prior to this year’s P&T cycle indicates that the cases have stimulated considerable discussion and debate (they are not cut-and-dry cases), which helped “calibrate” the committees and get people to think about their own standards. McDowell stated that the case studies are not meant to specify what is right or wrong; they are meant to portray realistic ambiguities that one is likely to encounter during P&T evaluations. A comment was made that, over the years, the biggest “calibration” problem for the committees has been whether or not they know the expectations presented to the candidates when they were first hired – for example, a candidate may have been hired with the understanding that he/she will work in an interdisciplinary area, while committee members may have different views on the worth of such work. Additionally, committee members may not know what the candidate had been told for the previous five years. A comment was made that it will be interesting to see how this instrument will be received by department-level P&T committees. Realff indicated that the instrument is available on the web and is easy for anyone (including other universities) to download it and try it out. A comment was made that it would be a good idea to include cases dealing with research faculty promotions; Colatrella concurred. The Chair thanked Drs. Realff, Fox, McDowell, and Colatrella for their presentations.
6. The Chair discussed plans for the upcoming Executive Board retreat. He stated that he has had discussions with Joe Hughes and Said Abdel-Khalik over the past month regarding setting the agenda for the Executive Board. A “white paper” on the issues identified during the discussions is attached (See Attachment #5 below). He stated that during the past decade dramatic changes have taken place at Georgia Tech, including the Olympics, Technology Square, GT-Lorraine, GT-Savannah, GT in China, etc. The Executive Board plays a very important role in terms of faculty governance at Georgia Tech. However, one can argue that the Board has become largely “reactive” – problems are addressed as they appear. Given the rapid change taking place at Georgia Tech, it may be appropriate for the Board to step-back, examine what is happening, and formulate some questions that the Board, and the faculty as a whole, should be thinking about. This will help the Board become more proactive about where we are going. He stated that based on the input provided by Board members, we have decided to hold an on-campus, half-day retreat on April 12th, 2005 (1:00 to 5:00 PM) to address these questions. Two facilitators will lead some “brainstorming” sessions, which will hopefully lead to a set of questions for the Board to address. He stated that one of the main issues addressed in the white paper (Attachment #5) is the Georgia Tech “brand” – what does it mean when we have campuses in Metz, Savannah, Shanghai, or Gwinnett County? To prepare for the April 12th retreat, the March 15th Board meeting will be devoted to presentations from several people who will provide an update on what is happening at these other campuses. He stated that the retreat is an opportunity for us to do something useful that will help the institute head in the right direction. The logistics and the agenda are being worked on at this time, and will be sent to the Board later.
7. The Chair called on Dr. Joe Hughes, Co-Chair of the 2005 Nominations Committee, to present the proposed Ballot for the Spring 2005 Faculty Elections (see Attachment #6 below). Hughes stated that the Committee consisted of six faculty members and one student, and was co-chaired by Tom Horton. He stated that one of the three candidates for the EB slot from the Services & Central Administration units has left GT and was replaced by another candidate (the posted Ballot reflects the change). Each EB slot has three candidates, except for the Ivan Allen College because of the small number of eligible candidates from IAC. He stated that with the creation of new committees and expansion of some existing committees, it has become more difficult to fill the slots for all Academic Senate Committees; filling the slots for the General Faculty Committees is considerably easier. A comment was made that it would be a good idea to capture some of the techniques used this year to recruit faculty members to run for elections, which may be very helpful in the future. The Secretary of the Faculty stated that the elections procedures will be similar to those used last year; it will be a web-based process; voting will begin on March 30, 2005 (Wednesday after Spring break) and will continue for two weeks; a reminder will be sent to all faculty at mid point and a second reminder will be sent two days before the end of the voting period. A motion to approve the Ballot for the Spring 2005 Faculty Elections as proposed by the Nominations Committee passed without dissent.
8. The Chair called for any other business; hearing none, he adjourned the meeting at 4:55 PM.
Secretary of the Faculty
February 20th, 2005
Attachments (to be included with the archival copy of the minutes)
1. Minutes of the EB meeting of January 11, 2005. http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2005-011105-Minuteswp.htm
3. Promotion and Tenure Tools at Georgia Tech