Meeting of August 19, 2003

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center



Members Present: Allen* (Arch); Boyd* (Stu. Servcs); Cabot (OIT); Chameau (Provost); Clough (President); Evans (GTRI); Gentry (Arch); Henry (OSP); Huff (GTRI); Kahn (CEE); Marr (Psych); McGinnis (ISyE); Peterson (ECE); Telotte (LCC)  Warren (EDI); Puckett (for Watson, U. Stu); Alexander (Staff Rep); Abdel-Khalik (SoF). [* Departing 2002-03 Board Members]


Members Absent: Horton (GTRI); Mark (CoC); Norville (G. Stu); Schneider (Mgt); Uzer (Phys.) 


Visitors: Hayes (Undergrad Admissions); May (Pres. Office)


1.      Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM.  He welcomed the new Board members and thanked the departing 2002-03 members for their outstanding service.  He called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community.  The President offered the following comments:


a.       We have an excellent incoming freshman class of about 2200 students with average SAT score of 1337 and GPA of 3.79.   Total GT enrollment will be approximately 100 students more than last year because of increases at the graduate level and in the number of transfer students.  The Provost and Vice Provost are working hard to make sure that all the courses needed by the students are taught, which is challenging in times of tight budgets when it is difficult to hire part-time instructors.


b.      Our faculty members continue to win CAREER awards; Georgia Tech’s total number of award winners is second only to U of Illinois-UC, well ahead of MIT.


c.       Research revenues continue to be strong, reaching a record of about $370M -- a milestone, since it is nearly twice our State funding.


d.      We had a large (15%) tuition increase this year.  However, compared to our peer group, our tuition remains low -- last year, our in-State tuition was 20th among our 21 peer institutions, while our out-of-State tuition was 17th out of 21.  Our position on the list has not changed, since others in the peer group have raised tuition even more than we have.


e.       We will be dedicating 12 new facilities in the near future.  Dedication of Technology Square will take place on October 23-24.  The morning of Oct. 23 will be devoted to a program on “Technology and the Global Economy,” with outstanding speakers, including the CEO’s of HP, BellSouth, and Wal-Mart (Mike Duke -- a GT alumnus), and the French Minister of Technology and Research. The afternoon of Oct. 23 will be devoted to breakout sessions on various topics such as biotechnology and IT.  The football game against Maryland will take place that evening.  The second day will be a festive day with bands, entertainment, ribbon-cutting, etc. It will be open to students, faculty, and Midtown residents. The Governor will speak on the first day, while the Mayor will join us for the ribbon-cutting on the second day.  Several other facilities will be dedicated next week, including the renovated Coon building, which now houses the psychology department.  The new facilities will provide a large number of state-of-the-art classrooms (ES&T, Technology Square, and College of Management) which will relieve some of the pressure as we continue to renovate our existing classrooms.


f.        The new Campus Recreation Center is now open -- an impressive facility.  Work is in progress on the next phase which will be completed next year.


g.       We are still concerned about the State budget.  We (and all other State agencies) may be faced with an additional 2.5% cut for the current (04) fiscal year -- so far, the total cut in our State budget is $28M.  The Chancellor is making a strong case that the University System should be spared from further cuts.  For FY05, State agencies may be faced with an additional 5% budget cut.  So far, most of the GT cuts have been absorbed centrally; the institute leadership has worked very hard to “shield” the academic units -- in fact, we have had a net addition in the number of faculty.  However, if the projected additional cuts are to take place, the academic units will be affected.  We are working hard to increase our gift funding and income from royalties, etc. to compensate for the cuts in our State budget; however, these sources take time to develop. 


A question was asked as to whether the Technology Square activities on October 23rd will be open.  The President indicated that the morning program is for invited guests because of seating limitation in the College of Management Auditorium; however, the lectures will be web-cast with direct feeds to other auditoriums to handle overflow.  The afternoon activities will be more focused, and there is no concern about attendance; Bill Rouse (ISyE) will be coordinating these activities.  The activities on the second day will be open to everyone. 


2.      The Chair called for approval of minutes of the July 22, 2003 meeting of the Executive Board.  The minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1 below).


3.      The Chair called on Ms. Ingrid Hayes, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, to report on the impact of the latest Supreme Court rulings on admission policies at Georgia Tech. (A copy of the slides used in Ms. Hayes presentation is attached -- Attachment #2 below).  Ms. Hayes began her presentation by providing an overview of recent events in the area of affirmative action which led to the most recent Supreme Court rulings.  She indicated that in 1996, California’s Proposition 209 abolished affirmative action in public-sector education programs, including admissions, recruiting, and outreach.  Also, in 1996 the 5th Circuit Court ruled against the University of Texas (the Hopwood decision), thereby prohibiting the use of race as a factor in the admissions and financial aid policies of both public and private schools.  In response, Texas implemented the “10% rule,” whereby students who graduate in the top 10% of their high school automatically gain admission to any of the State schools.  In 2000, the Circuit Court ruled against the University of Georgia by declaring that the use of race/gender in admissions violates the equal protection clause.  In response, UGA has suspended the use of these two factors in their admission policy; additionally, they have suspended the use of “legacy status” as a factor in their admissions.  Finally, the latest Supreme Court rulings resulted from two 1997 law suits brought against the University of Michigan regarding the use of race/ethnicity in admission decisions; one was directed toward undergraduate admissions (Gratz v. Bollinger), while the other was directed toward their Law School admissions (Grutter v. Bollinger).   


In the Gratz v. Bollinger case, the University of Michigan admitted that they used race as a factor in their undergraduate admissions policy; of a maximum total of 150 points, 20 points were assigned based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.  The Supreme Court ruled such “Point system” to be unconstitutional.  In the Grutter v. Bollinger case, the UM Law School asserted that its policy is necessary because of a compelling State interest in diversity -- a “critical mass” of students with various backgrounds is needed as a part of the learning experience; individual reviews were used to assess the merits of each applicant (rather than a blanket point system).  The Supreme Court supported the school’s use of such narrow tailoring of their Law School admissions.


In response to the Supreme Court rulings, the University of Michigan will modify its undergraduate applications to request additional information on the applicants’ families’ educational and financial backgrounds, in order to provide opportunities for first-generation college students, and enhance economic diversity.   Because of the large number of applicants, the changes in the admissions process will be expensive; additional readers had to be hired to conduct the “individual reviews” required by the Supreme Court when race and socioeconomic factors are to be taken into consideration in the admissions process.  This will also impact the processing time required. 


Hayes described the admissions process at Georgia Tech.  She stated that ten years ago Georgia Tech did use race as a factor in the admissions process.  However, when challenges to the admissions policies of UGA and other universities began to surface, Georgia Tech prudently re-evaluated and adjusted its policy, which led to the “holistic review” used in our current policy.  Four components are used in evaluating applicants, which, together with targeted recruitment, have helped us maintain a strong program with a diverse student body.  The four freshman admission criteria are: (1) High School academic information, primarily the grades and the courses taken (2) Standardized test scores (SAT or ACT), (3) Activities and leadership, including sports and extracurricular activities since their high school freshman year, and (4) Personal Statement.  Temporary staff, primarily former admissions and high school guidance professionals, read the personal statements; they are trained in order to provide uniform and fair evaluations of all applicants.   


Hayes indicated that for the 2003 freshman class, there were nearly 89,000 prospects, which yielded nearly 8500 applicants, of whom nearly 5300 were accepted.  The expected freshman enrollment is 2200; the exact number has not been finalized at this early time in the Semester.  The admitted freshman class is strong with an average SAT of 1337 and an average high school GPA of 3.79 -- comparable to those for previous years.   She indicated that special efforts are devoted to recruiting underrepresented students, while striving to maintain the level of excellence of our student body.  The Minority Recruitment Team is a group of current Georgia Tech students who participate in targeted contacts, make phone calls, participate in overnight visits, and tours; they are highly motivated and convey their enthusiasm to minority students who may be considering Georgia Tech.  The FUTURES program is specifically targeted toward female students.  Previously, the program was held in the spring and was focused on non-engineering majors.  Now, the program is open to all students, including engineering students, and will for the first time be offered in both the fall and spring.  The admissions office works closely with other Georgia Tech groups and programs, such as CEISMC and Women In Engineering, who work with underrepresented student groups.


Hayes provided a summary of SAT and High School GPA data for women, African-American, and Hispanic students among the 2003 freshman pool;  1507 women with an average SAT of 1344 and HS GPA of 3.84 were admitted -- the corresponding numbers for African-Americans are: 334, 1286, and 3.70, and for Hispanics: 237, 1349, and 3.75, respectively.  Of those, the data for students who paid their deposits are: Women -- 608, 1311, and 3.81; African-Americans -- 126, 1262, and 3.70; and Hispanics -- 71, 1298, and 3.70, respectively.  She noted that the average SAT score for all 126 African-American freshmen (including athletes) is 1230, and that when athletes are excluded the average score is 1262.  Approximately 15% of the incoming African-American freshmen are athletes, versus 3% for the entire freshman population.  These data highlight the strong academic performance of all groups in our incoming freshman class. 


Hayes indicated that, consistent with the recent Supreme Court rulings, the current framework permits the use of race or ethnic background as a “plus” in the admissions process; however, it cannot be a “decisive factor.”  Each applicant must be considered as an individual with no single characteristic defining what he/she contributes to diversity.  Some schools (including UM) have expanded the meaning of diversity to include socioeconomic, geographical, and even rural (versus urban) diversity.  The Georgia Tech policies and procedures fall well within the Supreme Court mandates; much work was done by our legal staff before the decision was rendered.  Our legal office and others on campus continue to examine our processes to determine if any modifications are necessary.  In preparation for the “next wave” of challenges, colleges are conducting legal reviews of their policies and practices.  It is likely that there will be a surge of legal challenges against other activities such as recruiting, outreach, financial aid, race-based scholarships, etc.  Many people are examining the opinions of the dissenting Justices in the recent Supreme Court decision in order to anticipate some of those potential legal challenges.  Colleges are also looking for creative ways to continue their commitment to diversity (e.g. the 10% rule). 


Hayes concluded her presentation by summarizing the next steps/actions to be taken by Georgia Tech.  First, we must determine what changes, if any, are to be made in our policies and processes? -- This will require an extensive review of our activities.  Second, we must continue to expand our qualified applicant pool -- efforts and resources need to be directed toward reaching and encouraging underrepresented students to come to Georgia Tech.  Additionally, we should continue to strengthen our existing outreach and retention programs to help us maintain our diverse student body.  The entire campus community (not just the administration) should articulate Georgia Tech’s interest in diversity, and its importance to all of us.  Finally, we must remain committed to our diversity goals -- that was the reason behind the success of the UM Law School; it was clear from all their policies, practices, mission statement, etc. that they have a “compelling interest” in, and commitment to, diversity, which resulted in the favorable ruling by the Supreme Court. 


The President commented that in addition to the efforts being made to recruit freshmen from underrepresented groups, considerable effort is being made to increase the number of transfer students from such groups.  We are fortunate to have strong relationships with several historically-black schools such as Morehouse and Spelman, from which we get a large number of transfer students, primarily in engineering; the transfer students typically do better than students who come in as freshmen.  We have also been successful in attracting minority students to our graduate programs through intensive recruiting efforts.  We graduate the largest number of minority students in engineering at all levels, and are near the top in several areas of science.  In order for us to be a diverse institution, we need to look at all levels, not just the freshman level.  The President pointed out that a round-table discussion will be held with our legal staff, and several members of the State Attorney General’s Office who have examined the recent Court decisions; they will discuss this issue with the campus community at large.  He indicated that while the Court’s decisions may not provide a great deal of “latitude,” they may allow us to use a process similar to our President’s Scholars Program, which involves intensive individual evaluation of each applicant. 


A question was asked as to the fraction of minority students graduating with an undergraduate degree from Georgia Tech who enter through the dual-degree program, as opposed to those who enter as freshmen.  Ms. Hayes indicated that approximately 60% of our minority graduates enter through the dual-degree program.  A question was asked as to whether the data presented earlier include students in the GTREP program.  Hayes indicated that the 2003 freshman class data does not include GTREP students; those students are not counted within the GT pool until they complete their sophomore year. A question was asked as to whether the recent Court rulings prohibit or endanger targeted programs such as Black Engineers week, etc.  Hayes indicated that, at this time, the Court ruling deals only with admissions practices.  The concern, however, is that opponents of affirmative action may begin to look at other activities, such as recruiting, outreach, and special scholarship programs, as a vehicle for legal challenges to affirmative action.  She indicated that although some of our programs (e.g. Welcome Weekends) may target specific groups, no one is excluded from participating, if they wish.  A comment was made that undergraduate admissions is a centralized process, while graduate admissions are done at the unit level -- how do we make sure that the ideas developed for our undergraduate admissions are applied at the graduate level?  Is there an opportunity to discuss such issues with people involved in graduate admissions for the various units?  Hayes indicated that she is confident that there will be many opportunities for such discussions, and that it is a good idea to engage more people across the Georgia Tech community in such discussions.  The President indicated that we have recently conducted a legal review of our outreach programs; he asked Dr. May to comment on such a review.  Dr. May indicated that we have nearly two dozen programs targeted towards recruitment of different groups such as minority students and women. In some cases, the sponsor of the program specifies that the money should go to students with a specific ethnic background (e.g. Hispanics).  Also, some of the programs advertise themselves as being “exclusive,” which may be troublesome in the long term.   However, at this time, the Court’s rulings do not provide a clear direction as to what, if anything, should be done with such programs.


A question was asked about the method by which the four admission criteria are weighted, and whether such weighting is consistent among applicants.  Ms. Hayes indicated that the weighting process is indeed consistent, and that the four criteria are combined to produce an “admissions index.”  A regression formula is used to combine the four factors with grades having the heaviest weight.  A follow-up question was asked regarding admissions of student-athletes.  Hypothetically, if we were to admit a student-athlete with relatively low SAT score and acceptable high school grades, would that provide a legal basis for a non-athlete to claim discrimination and file a law suit. Hayes responded by indicating that our undergraduate admissions policy provides us with the discretion to evaluate students and consider any special talents they may bring to the University.  She pointed out that legacy students also receive special consideration in the process.  She indicated that she is also responsible for handling athletic admissions, and that such admissions are reviewed by an Executive Admissions Committee, which examines each student individually.  The Athletic Association provides a number of services to those students to help them academically.  The President indicated that since coming to Georgia Tech, he has never exercised a “Presidential Exemption” to admit a student athlete, and that our student-athletes are admitted through the special admissions process overseen by the faculty through the Executive Admissions Committee.  Students must have a good GPA; we have seen very few SAT scores below 1000. Coach Gailey has done an excellent job recruiting players from around the Country; he is looking for students who can succeed within the Georgia Tech academic environment.  Additionally, the new NCAA rules on progress towards graduation are stricter than Georgia Tech’s rules, so this issue may take care of itself.  It is doubtful that Georgia Tech would be the target of a law suit of this type, given the process we use (as opposed to those for other universities). 


A question was asked regarding the retention rates for minority students.  Ms. Hayes indicated that the retention rates for minority students are similar to those for the entire student population (about 68%) and that the retention rate for African-American female students is slightly higher than the average.  The President indicated that we are working hard to improve the retention rates for all our students.  The Chair thanked Ms. Hayes for her outstanding presentation.        


4.      The Chair called on Dr. Jack Marr (Psych) to provide an update on the appointment of additional members to the ad hoc Committee on academic quality for undergraduate education.  Marr indicated that in addition to the “core members” approved by the Board at the last meeting, several faculty members and students have been contacted by Dr. McMath (Vice Provost) to inquire about their willingness to serve on the committee.  The membership list should be finalized within a week; at that time, the list will be submitted to the Board for approval by an E-Mail ballot. 


5.      The Chair presented the proposed agenda for the September 30, 2003 Fall meeting of the General Faculty to be combined with a meeting of the General Faculty Assembly and Academic Senate (see Attachment #3 below).  He indicated that the main item on the agenda is the President’s State of the Institute address.  Other items include a discussion of proposed changes to the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee, Institutional Review Board, and Institutional Biosafety Committee.  Additionally, meeting minutes and annual reports for the various standing faculty committees will be presented for approval.  He indicated that the meeting will be held at the Global Learning Center to offer faculty the opportunity to visit the newly-opened facilities at Technology Square.  The proposed agenda was approved without dissent. 


6.      The Chair initiated a discussion of the possibility of allowing each elected member of the Board to name an “alternate” to attend (and vote) at Board meetings in his/her behalf when he/she could not attend.  He indicated that Board members may occasionally have to miss meetings because of travel or teaching schedule conflicts, etc.  By naming an alternate, members can ensure that their units are represented at all Board meetings.  The idea is for each elected member to name one alternate from the same constituency represented by him/her.  The alternate is to be designated at the beginning of the year; alternates remain the same throughout the year to ensure continuity.  A question was asked as to whether the alternate must be from the same unit as the member.  The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that each Board member represents a “constituency” which may include several units (e.g. a College). A comment was made that perhaps the person who received the second highest number of votes in the election can be designated as the alternate. A question was asked as to whether meeting attendance has been a problem.  The chair indicated that attendance has not been a problem, and that the proposal is merely intended to offer members added flexibility.  The Chair suggested that members should reflect on the idea of naming alternates, and be prepared to discuss the idea at the next Board meeting.  The Secretary of the Faculty indicated that if members approve this idea, the matter will need to be referred to the Statutes committee to draft the necessary Statutes modification(s).  It was agreed to defer discussion of this matter to the next Board meeting.


7.      The Chair discussed the procedure for electing the 2003-04 Chair and Vice-Chair for the Board.  He indicated that, preferably, the nominees should have completed at least one year of service on the Board, and requested that nominations for the two positions, including self-nominations, be E-Mailed to the Secretary of the Faculty no later than Friday August 29, 2003.  The Secretary of the Faculty will conduct E-Mail ballots to elect the Chair and Vice-Chair; the results will be reported at the September 23rd, 2003 meeting.  The procedure was agreed to without dissent.


8.      The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty to discuss the Committee Liaison assignments for next year.  Abdel-Khalik pointed out that there are 15 standing faculty committees and that each of elected Board member will be assigned as a liaison to one of the committees.  He indicated that members will be asked (by E-Mail) to provide three assignment preferences; the liaison assignments will be made based on these preferences and will be reported before the next Board meeting. 


9.      The Chair asked if there is any other business.  The President invited members to offer any comments or suggestions to the administration.  Allen stated that the recent changes to Fifth Street and the Midtown area brought about by the construction of Technology Square are very pleasing and that the President is to be congratulated for such an accomplishment.  A comment was made that improvements in the campus physical environment should also enhance our student retention rate.  A question was asked as to who is running the Georgia Tech Hotel.  The President indicated that the Hotel is managed by Crestline, who specialize in operating university hotels -- they also operate the Emory Hotel.  They won the contract after competing with others such as Marriott and Hilton, and have provided a strong financial guarantee to Georgia Tech, which they will continue to honor despite the downturn in the economy after 9/11.  He indicated that the challenge is to remain competitive and to limit the rates to meet the needs of the Georgia Tech community. Boyd expressed her appreciation to the Board for their support of students and invited members to attend two student-sponsored activities to be held in the near future:  BYU night on August 28, and Georgia Tech’s night at Six Flags on September 5.    


10.  The Chair adjourned the meeting at 4:25 PM and invited members to attend a short reception in the Gordy room to honor departing 2002-03 Board members and welcome the new 2003-04 members.



Respectfully submitted,


Said Abdel-Khalik

Secretary of the Faculty

August 22, 2003


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


1.       Minutes of the EB meeting of July 22, 2003.

2.      Undergraduate Admissions and Affirmative Action -- Maintaining Excellence in a Changing Environment (Presentation by Ingrid Hayes).

3.      Proposed Agenda for September 30th Meeting of the General Faculty