Meeting of March 4, 2014

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building


With an addendum recording business conducted via an email ballot



Members Present:        Balch (CoC-IC), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (Chair, ECE), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Downing (EII), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Grover (ChBE), Kirkman (Vice-Chair, Public Policy), Peterson (President), Powell (OSP), Schumacher (Psychology), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Turner (Business), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Cunefare (ME), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Hernandez (Chemistry), Tucker (U’grad. Student), Tyson (Chemistry), Washington (Grad. Student),


Guests:                        Balsam (Chair, Statutes), Cozzens (Vice-Provost for Grad. Ed. & Faculty Affairs), Herazy (Provost’s Office), Murray-Rust (Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence)


1.       Prof. Rob Butera, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M

2.       He directed the Board’s attention to the minutes of their February 4, 2014 meeting (Attachment #1).  A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes.  The motion passed without dissent.

3.       The Chair next called on President Peterson to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. 

a)      Dr. Peterson reported that he and the Executive Vice-Presidents were conducting town hall meetings around campus with units that requested it. 

b)      The President commented that the Georgia legislature had almost completed its work, having just passed cross-over day.  The budget matters reported in the last Board minutes were all continuing to be supported.  Some state support for employee raises could also be included. Any changes to gun carry regulations on campus were not yet certain at the time of this meeting. 

c)      The Capital Campaign was moving along well toward its $1.5 billion goal by the end of 2015.  $47 million was raised recently for the GT Promise scholarship program.  Seventy-eight new endowed chairs and professorships have been funded out of a goal of one hundred.

d)     A Director would soon be announced for the LGBT Resource Center. 

e)      A search was underway for a new Senior Vice-President of Administration and Finance.

President Peterson called on Provost Rafael Bras for additional comments:

f)       Provost Bras reported that projects organized under the GT Strategic Plan were going well. 

g)      Three finalists for the new Dean of the Scheller Jr. College of Business had been identified.

h)      Several visitors of note were planning to come to campus soon:

·   Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, - April 16.

·   Junot Diaz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, in 2008.

i)        Work toward SACSCOC reaffirmation continued.

j)        Georgia Tech lost five class days to snow this year.  A plan for optional make up sessions was published, and Dr. Bras thanked the Registrar’s Office for their work in devising this plan.  Spring Break would not be affected.

k)      The Admissions Office was working hard to meet their March 15 deadline for decisions on offers of regular admissions.  The President commented that the number of applicants had increased by 150% over the past seven years.

l)        The Arts@Tech Festival went well.  The 2014 Clough Art Crawl was in progress, as was the Africa Atlanta celebration led by Dean Royster, Dean of the Ivan Allen College.

4.       The Chair called on Dean Catherine Murray-Rust, Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence, to brief the Board on efforts underway toward accreditation reaffirmation with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  She utilized the materials in Attachment #2 in her presentation.  She stated that the reaffirmation was a peer-reviewed process administered by SACSCOC, one of nine regional accrediting agencies. The US Department of Education also exerted influence over accreditation.  The purpose of reaffirmation was to determine whether Georgia Tech was academically and organizationally qualified to award academic credit.  The focus would be on plans needed for improvement.  In addition to the notes in Attachment #2 concerning the organization of the Georgia Tech team working on reaffirmation, Dean Murray-Rust commented on the contributions also made by information technology specialists in providing the websites necessary to facilitate the work of external reviewers.

There were two key parts to the reaffirmation, Dean Murray-Rust said; namely, the Compliance Certification, and the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).  The former was in the nature of a process audit, and the latter a thematic faculty-driven project through which the Institute would commit to bring about important new programs to enhance student learning opportunities.  Five responses had been received from faculty groups in answer to a call for concept papers for the QEP.  A faculty review committee down-selected to two of the concepts, one on sustainability and one on community engagement.  The faculty groups involved were asked then to find a way to make an even stronger concept come out of a synergy of the two original ones.  This resulting concept would be discussed on March 6 with a SACSCOC consultant to help with further refinement.  In 2005 it was possible to pick two QEP projects and the development of the International Plan and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program were selected and very successful.  In the present round, rules had changed and only one project could be selected, it had to involve at least three colleges, had to have a clear connection to the Strategic Plan, and could not be a continuation of something Tech was already doing.

President Peterson stated that Dean Murray-Rust would be making a similar presentation to the Georgia Tech Advisory Board and to the Georgia Tech Foundation. 

5.       Prof. Butera called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary, to set the stage for the Executive Board and President’s Office to establish new formal lists of Academic and Research Faculty.  He presented the material shown in Attachment #3 and reminded the Board that the faculty was half way through the consideration of new faculty definitions in a draft Faculty Handbook.  The second reading of the proposed changes would be heard at a faculty meeting on April 22, 2014.  By that time it would be necessary for the Executive Board and President to agree on a list of titles that were consistent with the new definitions of Academic Faculty and Research Faculty.  The draft Faculty Handbook also made provision for appeals in cases when a title was eliminated from participation in Faculty Governance. 

Dr. Bohlander reviewed the latest thinking about titles to include in these lists as briefed at the February 18, 2014 faculty meeting.  At the time of the February meeting, a new title of Clinical Professor was under consideration for inclusion in the Academic Faculty list.  It was believed this could be used by doctors, counselors, and psychologists who served student health needs but also taught and advised pre-med students.  More recently, research about models at other University System of Georgia institutions indicated that a better course of action was to leave these medical personnel in their medical staff positions but offer them adjunct Clinical Professor appointments if there was an instructional unit on campus willing to do so.  If that worked out, then the title Clinical Professor would not be listed in the list of Academic Faculty titles because Adjunct titles were not included as participants in Institute faculty governance under Board of Regents policies.  But it would still be a title that recognized and empowered the educational contributions of the medical staff. 

Dr. Bohlander stated that there were some titles included in Georgia Tech’s human resources databases as academic faculty or research faculty but which were not included in proposed arrangements for faculty governance.  Examples were Visiting Professors (academic) and Post-Doctoral Fellows (research). They would remain in the human resources databases as faculty positions but would not be included in lists of faculty titles participating in faculty governance.

Slide 7 outlined the work remaining.  Official lists needed to be settled, ideally by the second reading of the Faculty Handbook changes so that faculty at that meeting would know how the new definitions would be applied.  In addition to lists of Academic and Research Faculty, there was also a list of Administrative Officers for the President to set.  President Peterson stated that he would name the titles that would be considered Administrative Officers, but the Executive Board would then decide which ones would be voting members of the Faculty.  Dr. Bras pointed out that this would also need to include a designation of such Administrative Officers with the Academic or Research Faculty.  Dr. Bohlander stated that the draft Faculty Handbook would be proposed to be in force as of July 1, 2014 if the faculty approved it on April 22.  The time in the interim would be used to get databases and other arrangements in place to support the decisions taken.

Dr. Bohlander asked the President and Provost to review the draft title lists in Attachment #3 and provide the Executive Board with any recommended changes, if possible, before the next Executive Board meeting.

Q.  Prof. Kirkman asked if a mechanism for a hearing had been defined as contemplated in the provision for title appeals?  Ans. Dr. Bohlander stated that details had yet to be worked out.  He imagined that a person wishing to file an appeal would notify the Secretary or Chair of the Faculty Executive Board.  That request would be acknowledged, some background research would be conducted, and then a date set for the hearing at the next feasible meeting of the Board.  Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Chair of the Statutes Committee, commented that it was important to judge an appeal by comparing the job description of a title in question with the definitions of Academic and Research Faculty.  The President agreed and noted that some faculty might have duties inconsistent with their title but consistent with a Faculty definition.  Such cases would not be in the jurisdiction of the Board but would need to be worked out with their unit and with the Office of Human Resources.  Board hearings would address appeals pertaining to a title, not an individual’s status.  If multiple people had concerns about a given title, a consolidated appeal would be made concerning the title in question.

6.      Prof. Butera reminded the Board that, at their last meeting, Dr. Donna Llewellyn presented a review of the new Academic Program Review (APR) process adopted by the faculty in November 2012, and she summarized a year’s worth of results.  A concern had been raised when the new process was proposed to the faculty in 2012 about whether faculty’s oversight of APRs was diluted in the new plan. There was a consensus that faculty used to be engaged ineffectively in the process, and the new plan provided more meaningful input.  The faculty’s Executive Board was designated to provide top-level oversight and reinforce faculty leadership, but the Board processes had not yet been defined.  The Chair called on Dr. Bohlander to present some suggestions about how those might be implemented.

Dr. Bohlander provided some background and suggestions using the material in Attachment #4.  Slides 2 and 3 showed the expectations for the APR itself and for Executive Board oversight stated in Section 4.3 of the Faculty Handbook.  Slide 4 also showed that SACSCOC required that faculty have primary responsibility for the quality and effectiveness of the Institute’s curriculum, and those were two key purposes for the Institute’s APRs. Given efforts toward SACSCOC reaffirmation, it was essential to work out the Executive Board’s role. 

Dr. Bohlander made several suggestions in slide 5 for how the Executive Board could fulfill its oversight responsibilities.  He noted that during its February 4 meeting the Board received a lot of results from specific APRs.  There was not enough time to derive meaning from these reports during the meeting.  So he suggested the formation of an Executive Board subcommittee to work with Dr. Llewellyn and

·         Recommend a scope and process to fulfill the expectation of Executive Board oversight of APRs.

·         Review past year’s APRs to identify any salient issues raised concerning the quality and effectiveness of the curriculum.

·         Identify any outstanding barriers to improvement that need to be overcome.

·         Make a report to the Executive Board

Dr. Bohlander stated that the above was not in any way intended to impede APR processes outlined in slide 3 prior to final oversight by the Executive Board.  Those processes were understood to be working very well and to be much more effective than older processes they replaced.  Most APR processes focused on the improvement of specific programs and faculty members were involved significantly both in the assessment of those programs and in follow up improvement efforts.  The Executive Board’s role would be to provide high-level oversight focusing attention on any recurring issues and ones with core Institute impacts.

Q.  Prof. Butera noted that the revisions to the APR process adopted in fall 2012 were premised on the realization that academic program effectiveness was significantly affected by program resources and was only partly about curriculum choices.  Was the term “curriculum” being redefined to include resource questions?  Ans. Dr. Bohlander suggested that resource issues were important, but after they were dealt with, it was still important to care about whether learning quality and effectiveness were being achieved.

Q. Prof. Grover asked if it would be appropriate instead to give ovrsight back to the Institute Curriculum Committees?  Ans. Dr. Bras re-emphasized that often the quality and effectiveness problems to be solved were not matters of curriculum choices of the type the curriculum committees addressed but things like having adequate finances, attracting new faculty with needed new skill sets, and needs for new facilities.  The curriculum committees felt passionately that they were not being used effectively in providing oversight of APR results because what one does to assess the quality and effectiveness of a curriculum and what to do about involved a different world of metrics than those used to evaluate proposals for changes or new curricula of the kind typically brought to the Institute Curriculum Committees.  At the same time, Dr. Bohlander said that he did not want the Executive Board subcommittee weighed down with a mountain of details either.  They should work smart and find a level of attention that was feasible and effective.

Comment:  Dr. Bras recommended that the subcommittee ask Dr. Llewellyn to provide them with summary information across multiple APRs.  Response.  Yes, such summaries would be valuable.  The important role of the faculty’s subcommittee would be to provide faculty insights and sensitivities to detect areas that may need more emphasis from time to time.

Prof. Butera himself volunteered to serve on the subcommittee and asked for other volunteers.  Others who volunteered were Profs. Tucker Balch, Eric Schumacher, Debby Turner, and Dr. Ron Bohlander.  Dr. Bras concluded by commending the new APR process for working very well in identifying needs and opportunities for meaningful improvement. 

7.   Prof. Butera then called on Vice-Chair Bob Kirkman to give the Board a report on progress in securing nominations for the upcoming elections to faculty standing committees, Executive Board positions, and other positions included in the spring elections.  Prof. Kirkman showed the Board a report on nominations that were still needed (Attachment #5).  The first slide showed cases where there were just enough nominees to cover the openings but with the candidates running unopposed.  More nominees were still needed in those cases so the races would provide the voters with choices.  The second slide covered cases where there were not yet enough nominees even to cover the openings.  Prof. Kirkman asked his fellow Board members to forward to him ideas of people who could be additional nominees.  Dr. Bohlander commented that if no more nominees were received, there would be considerably more uncontested seats than usual.  If there were not enough nominees even to cover the openings, the Board would be asked to fill the vacancies by appointment.  Since the Board would then have to think about who to appoint, it would be best to do that now and get them nominated instead.  He also commented that having contested seats not only gave voters a choice, but it also provided the Board with a reserve pool from which to draw candidates for appointments when openings occurred later due to resignations for one reason or another.  Thus, there were good motivations to aggressively find more nominees. 

8.      The Chair then polled committee liaisons for any reports of matters that should come to the Board’s attention:

Prof. Doug Williams gave a report on the spring meeting of the University System of Georgia Faculty Council meeting on March 1, 2014.  Minutes would be available when they were approved around the time of the fall meeting and would be posted at  Interesting features of discussions led by Vice-Chancellor Houston Davis included advocacy for restoring the Galileo program in library funding and discussion of an option to pay nine-month faculty employees in twelve equal payments if faculty members so chose.  There also was discussion of some cases where some faculty members were trying out the use of open access texts for entry-level courses.  Pilot projects were said to have saved students $700 thousand in the aggregate. 

Mr. Cliff Eckert reported on the decisions of the Faculty Honors Committee in their selection of honorees.  Ms. Monique Tavares reported that the Faculty Honors Luncheon would be held for formal recognition of the honorees on Friday, April 11, 2014. 

Mr. Raj Vuchatu reported that the Student Computer Ownership Committee recently updated the Student Computer Ownership Guide.   

Other liaisons reported routine activities.

9.      Professor Butera asked if there was any further business. 

Provost Bras commented that Georgia Tech students had prepared a white paper on suggested academic calendar changes for Georgia Tech.  He said the student’s recommendations has much in common with another report from a mostly faculty task force associated with a Strategic Plan project.  Dr. Bras stated that Vice-Provost Colin Potts was working to bring such proposals together and move them forward for serious consideration.  Prof. Butera reported that Dr. Potts was lined up to brief the Board on this topic at their next meeting.  Dr. Bras said that the lead time for changes was almost two years so it was necessary to be very deliberate in getting something going.  Prof. Williams noted a University of Toronto study which showed that Georgia Tech had the longest semester of any major university.   

Prof. Martha Grover mentioned that she had an issue she would bring up at the appropriate time concerning improvements in gender inclusion on campus.  A preliminary discussion was arranged for those interested right after the Board meeting.

Hearing no further business, Prof. Butera adjourned the meeting at about 5:00 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

April 5, 2014


1)      Minutes of the February 4, 2014 Executive Board meeting.

2)      Report on preparations for SACSCOC accreditation reaffirmation.

3)      Background material needed to prepare formal lists of Faculty titles of people planned to be involved in faculty governance after July 1.

4)      Preparation for Executive Board processes for oversight of Academic Program Reviews.

5)   Progress report on nominations for faculty governance positions in the spring elections.



Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on March 14, 2014:

Dear Board members –

I have the pleasure of forwarding to you a ballot for your approval that has been prepared by our excellent Nominations Committee. Please join me in thanking them, as follows:

From Executive Board

Bob Kirkman, Public Policy, Assoc. Professor - Chair

Nazia Zakir, Radiation Safety Officer – Co-Chair


Ellen Durham-Jones, Architecture, Professor

Pamela Pollet, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Senior Research Scientist

Mary Lynn Realff, MSE, Assoc. Professor

Daniel Tabor, GTRI-Cyber Technology and Information Security Laboratory, Research Engineer II

Sid Sreeram, Student

So the question for today is, do you approve the attached ballot to be used this year to conduct elections for the Executive Board, Faculty Standing Committees, and a slot on the General Faculty Assembly for which the Executive Board is responsible?

____ Yes, I approve.  ___ No, I do not. The problem is, or a tweak needed is: ________________________________

The Nominations Committee has worked hard to find candidates who are qualified according to our statutes and bylaws to meet the particular requirements set for each position. I have scanned the names on the ballot and believe the identified candidates to be qualified. As it happens, there are six races in which candidates are running unopposed because not enough candidates came forward despite vigorous requests.  Should more candidates  for these openings come through in time, with your indulgence we will let you know and add them. 

Let me know of any questions.

We’re on a fast track so a prompt response is appreciated. I will close this email ballot at the end of Wed. Mar. 19.

A quorum of Executive Board members having responded, the question was answered in the affirmative without dissent.