GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
THE EXECUTIVE BOARD
Meeting of June 15, 2004
Held in the Poole Board Room of the
Members Present: Cabot (OIT); Clough (President); Henry (OSP); Horton (GTRI); Kahn (CEE); Mark (CoC); Marr (PSYCH); Peterson (ECE); Schneider (MGT); Telotte (LCC); Warren (EDI); Andersen (U. Student, for Phuong); David (G. Student); Abdel-Khalik (SoF).
Members Absent: Alexander (Staff Rep); Chameau (Provost); Evans (GTRI); Gentry (ARCH); Huff (GTRI); McGinnis (ISyE); Uzer (PHYS).
Visitors: Benkeser (BME);
1. Larry Kahn (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 PM and called on the President to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. The President offered the following comments:
In preparation for the FY06 budget, we are working with several groups
b. The President participated in a panel discussion at the G-8 Summit. He also made a presentation to the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Convention; Georgia Tech’s ATDC was nationally recognized by receiving the Department of Commerce’s Award for Excellence in Economic Development (best business incubator and best example for university-led economic development).
The President’s Dinner was held last Friday at the
d. The President met with the GTRC Board; grants and contracts are at a record level with substantial increases over last year made by many units, including GTRI, COE, and COS.
e. We will be operating with a balanced budget this year; however, our flexibility will be reduced. The reduction in the equipment trust fund will impact our ability to match grants from Federal agencies. Endowment income which is directed toward scholarships will come under increased pressure because of tuition increases. The State’s contribution to our budget is about 23% (versus nearly 30% several years ago).
f. We are actively working on fund-raising; the COM has received a $15M anonymous challenge grant (need to match it); this will close out the debt on the COM building.
g. President met with several alumni groups around the country to build relationships in preparation for future capital campaigns; there are many young successful entrepreneurs who are aware of what is happening at Georgia Tech and are motivated to support the Institute.
h. The Engineering Education Summit will be held in July; President chaired the “Engineering 2020” project for the National Academy of Engineering -- a three-year project which is aimed at developing a curriculum to meet the anticipated needs for 2020.
There were no questions for the President.
2. The Chair called for approval of the minutes of the April 13, 2004 Executive Board meeting. He stated that an error in the attendance list has been brought to his attention and will be corrected. The amended minutes were approved without dissent. (See Attachment #1).
3. The Chair called on Dr. Paul Benkeser (BME), Chair of the Student Regulations Committee (SRC), to brief the Board on the proposed grade substitution policy currently under discussion by the SRC. He indicated that this issue is related to the quality undergraduate education initiative sponsored by Jack Marr, which was undertaken by the Board last year and led to the formation of the ad hoc committee chaired by Bob McMath. Benkeser distributed copies of the SRC meeting minutes dealing with discussions of the grade substitution policy (see attachment #2 below; item #2 of SRC minutes dated February 9, 2004, and item #1 of SRC minutes dated March 15, 2004). Benkeser stated that last Spring the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (UGCC) forwarded the proposed policy to the SRC and that the intent is to improve retention of first year students. The proposed policy allows students who receive a grade of “D” or “F” in a course to repeat the course and have the original grade excluded from the computation of their GPA.
discussions at the SRC February 9th meeting, the proposed policy was
restricted to apply only to 1000- and 2000-level courses during the first year
of residence at GT; the course has to be re-taken within two semesters of the
term in which the initial course was taken (the draft policy forwarded by the
UGCC was broader). This can be done only once per course with a maximum
of two courses total. The committee circulated the proposed policy
to the various academic units and SGA; feedback was “bimodal.” Anecdotal data
referenced during the committee’s discussions indicated that when students
repeated courses in the
Bramblett stated that the first report (Phase-I Study) has been posted on the web (Attachment #3) and that the second report (Phase-II) will be published after corrections are made. She stated that the Phase-I study examines the potential impact of the grade substitution policy on students who are considered to be “academically at-risk” (GPA between 1.0 and 1.7), while Phase-II deals with student who are generally doing well except for one or two problems (i.e. had a D or F in one or two courses) in their first year. She stated that the policy will have no impact on HOPE Scholarship eligibility since the HOPE Scholarship Program considers all grades received whether or not the institute forgives some of them.
A comment was made that it is obvious that if the policy were to be implemented, the GPA for the affected students would increase. However, the probability that a student with a 1.7 GPA at the end of his/her freshman year will actually graduate may be extremely low due to the cumulative nature of science and engineering education. As to the other group of students, increasing the GPA from 2.7 to 3.0 would have little impact on their decision to stay or leave Georgia Tech. A question was asked as to whether the increase in retention from 90% to 92% is statistically significant. Bramblett indicated that this was a simple analysis to quantify the impact of grade replacement, and that no statistical significance tests were performed. A comment was made that 90% retention at the end of the freshman year is very high compared to the past, and that if one were to institute a policy of “complete grade forgiveness” in the first year to further increase retention, it would contradict what Georgia Tech is supposed to represent, namely, a highly selective and rigorous institution. A comment was made that the ad hoc committee on quality undergraduate education has looked at the issue of retention, and that one needs to recognize that unlike comprehensive universities such as Harvard, Duke, UNC, or Virginia, a student who comes to Georgia Tech and later decides not to pursue a technological/scientific education would have very limited options. This may have a larger impact on retention after the first year than grade substitution. A comment was made that this is also true for places such as Cal Tech, where the available program options are even narrower; their graduation rate is nearly 85% versus nearly 98% for some of the Ivy League schools. A comment was made that the study conducted last year by the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee shows that grades have increased significantly over the past several years and that there are many possible reasons for such an increase -- the students are much better, but the course requirements may not have significantly changed. The proposed grade substitution policy is counter to the process of increasing rigor to match the higher student quality; it also reinforces the wrong behavior. A comment was made that a student repeating a course and significantly improving his/her grade does not signify reinforcement of bad behavior.
commented that regardless of how we ultimately decide on this issue, it is
important to know what the competition is doing -- we lose many students to
Duke; they emphasize their high graduation rates when prospective students and
their parents visit their campus. If one looks at the USNWR rankings, our
graduation rate is not even in the top 75, which is one of things that hurt us
in the National rankings and perceptions of parents and students.
Institutions such as MIT and Cal Tech, with whom we compete for students, have
grade forgiveness policies. An increase of 1 or 2% in the retention rate
is very significant; we have done many things and spent a great deal of money
to increase freshman retention from 85% to 90% over the past several years --
an increase from 90% to 92% would be significant. Grade substitution may
not be the answer but we need to understand all the ramifications; if schools are
rescinding such policies, we need to understand why. We want to bring the
best students to our campus, not only in engineering, but also in the liberal
arts, where we compete with the
A comment was made that in many introductory courses (e.g. Physics), multiple-choice exams are used; when other exam formats are used, the grades drop substantially -- this raises questions about instruction, performance evaluation, and the students’ understanding of the subject matter. The question is how to remain competitive and maintain the highest quality of education experience at Georgia Tech. A comment was made that “expectations” set by the institution’s “culture” have a significant impact on students’ performance; the long-term implications of such policy changes may be very broad, and we need to move carefully on issues of this type. A question was asked as to how such a change may impact the alumni attitudes; many alumni are very generous and they pride themselves on the rigorous experience they had at Georgia Tech. The President indicated that most alumni recognize that today’s students are smarter and the material is much harder than it was in the past. Some alumni did not appreciate the “harsh” treatment they received and, because of that, they do not contribute to our fund-raising; however, the majority of our alumni appreciate the excellent education they received, which prepared them for competition. Most alumni are proud that Georgia Tech is in the top ten public universities, and understand that issues such as student retention are important for us to remain competitive.
The Chair thanked Dr. Benkeser, Ms. Bramblett, and Ms. Hamm for their effort and indicated that it is important for the SRC to closely interact with the ad hoc committee on quality undergraduate education on this issue.
4. The Chair
initiated a discussion on Athletics and Faculty Governance. A copy of the
slides used in his presentation is attached (Attachment
#4). He indicated that this discussion has been motivated by the
recent publication of two reports by the Coalition of Intercollegiate Athletics
(Attachments #5 and 6), along with recent actions
by NCAA. He indicated that the aim is to seek Executive Board concurrence
with several proposals regarding Georgia Tech athletics. He pointed out
that the State of
Kahn stated that in order to enhance communications between the faculty and campus athletics, the Faculty Athletics Representative (FAR) will make an annual presentation to the Academic Senate. He stated that last year, the FAR (Professor Nemhauser) made a presentation to the Executive Board, and that it would be more effective and meaningful if these reports are made annually to the Academic Senate. He indicated that Professor Nemhauser is in agreement with this proposal. Kahn stated that in order for the FAR to truly-represent the faculty, the President will consult with the Executive Board regarding the appointment of the FAR prior to making that recommendation to the Athletics Association. The term of the appointment (as provided in the Athletics Association Bylaws) is three years, and the appointments are renewable. Additionally, the President will consult with the officers of the Executive Board regarding the appointment of other faculty members to the Athletics Association Board in order to ensure broad representation by the faculty. The President indicated that at this time engineering may be more-heavily represented on the Athletics Board and that it is important to involve faculty members from other areas -- the NCAA requires diversity in representation; we will consider ethnicity, gender, and areas of interest within the institute in making such appointments. He stated that the three-year renewable term assures that members don’t serve too long and eventually become “co-opted.” It is, however, desirable that the FAR serve longer than one three-year term in order to gain experience in representing the Institute at NCAA and ACC.
Kahn described the
Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics; he referred to the Coalition’s charter (Attachment #6) and its recently-published document on
the governance of campus athletics (Attachment #5).
He stated that the Coalition was started by faculty leaders at several
institutions who were concerned about how athletics (rather than academics) seem
to dominate over at the affairs of the university. It was started at the
The President indicated his agreement with the proposals; he stated that Georgia Tech is very unique in both the composition of our Athletics Board and the governance of athletics, and that many members of the Coalition would be very pleased to have a structure such as ours. He concurred with Dr. Kahn regarding the importance of enhancing communications between the faculty and the Athletic Association. Kahn stated that there are many positive things taking place in Georgia Tech athletics that need to be communicated to the campus community; he pointed to the strong academic performance of student athletes (e.g. the average GPA for the Golf team is 3.54, while that for the women’s swimming team is 3.50; the Football team has an average GPA of 2.6). The President pointed to the important role played by the Georgia Tech coaches in attracting outstanding student athletes and emphasizing the importance of academics.
A question was asked as to whether there is any evidence that the Coalition has had any influence on NCAA. The President indicated that it is difficult to tell since the NCAA itself has decided to do something about academics. A follow-up question was asked as to the effectiveness of such a Coalition, and the level of influence we may have by joining it. Kahn indicated that athletics is an important part of campus life, and that by having a knowledgeable representative (Faculty Athletics Representative), we can have an effective voice on the Coalition.
A motion was made to: (1) publish information regarding the Athletics Association in the Faculty Handbook; (2) the Faculty Athletics Representative will make an annual presentation to the Academic Senate, (3) the President will consult with the Executive Board regarding the appointment of the Faculty Athletics Representative, and (4) the President will consult with the Officers of the Executive Board regarding the appointment of faculty members to the Athletics Board. The motion passed without dissent. The Chair indicated that the Statutes Committee will be asked to draft the necessary Handbook modifications.
A motion was made to seek a vote by the Academic Senate on whether or not to join the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics. The motion passed without dissent.
5. The Chair called on the Secretary of the Faculty (SOF) to present administrative matters. Abdel-Khalik stated that several appointments need to be made to fill vacancies on standing faculty committees. He indicated that the proposed appointments have been made in accordance with the procedure previously established by the Executive Board [recommended appointee is the person who ran for election to a similar position in the previous election and received the highest number of votes among those who were not elected or subsequently appointed]. He stated that the recommended appointees have all been contacted and have agreed to serve upon formal appointment by the Executive Board.
a. Don Webster (CEE) has agreed to serve as one of the Engineering representatives on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for a three year term [04-07] in place of Janet Hampikian (MSE) who will be leaving Georgia Tech.
b. Min Zhou (ME) has agreed to serve as one of the Engineering representatives on the Graduate Curriculum Committee to complete the unexpired term [04-05] of David Hertling (ECE) who has retired.
c. Valerie Lafond-Faviers has agreed to serve on the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee to complete the unexpired term [04-06] of Heidi Rockwood (ModLangs) who has retired.
d. Carol Senf (LCC) has agreed to serve on the Student Honor Committee for a three-year term [04-07] in place of Ray Vito (ME) who stepped down from the Committee.
e. Mary Axford (Library) has agreed to serve on the Student Honor Committee to complete the unexpired term [04-06] of Jim Foley (CoC) who has been elected to the Executive Board.
A motion was made to approve the recommended appointments. The motion passed without dissent.
initiated as to the preferred location to hold meetings of the Academic Senate
and General Faculty Assembly. Abdel-Khalik indicated that these meetings
have traditionally been held at the Student Center Theater, with the exception
of the President’s State of the Institute address (September 30, 2003 meeting
of the General Faculty) which was held at the
6. It was agreed to cancel the July 20th, 2004 meeting of the Board since no business has been brought to the Chair’s attention.
7. The Chair called for any other business; hearing none, he closed the meeting at 4:45 PM.
Secretary of the Faculty
June 21, 2004
Attachments (to be included with the archival copy of the minutes)
1. Minutes of the EB meeting of April 13, 2004. http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/EB2004-041304-MinutesRevisedwbpg.htm
2. Committee meeting minutes: http://www.facultysenate.gatech.edu/CommittMin003-004.htm