Meeting of March 11, 2008

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Center




Members Present: Alexander (Staff), Ballard (GTRI), Barnhart (GTRI) , Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Braga (Chemistry), Bras (ME), Clough (President), Dagenhart (ARCH), Gaimon (Mgt), Henry (Co-Vice-Chair, ORC), Morley (Math), Rossignac (Co-Vice-Chair, CoC-IC), West (Chair, GTRI), Wester (Grad Student), Whiteman (ME), Williams (ECE/GT-S) , Wood (LCC)


Members Absent: Huey (EAS), Parvatiyar (U. Grad Student), Price (IMTC), Schuster (Provost), Stein (VPSS)


Visitors:  Allen (President’s Office), Strike (Statutes Committee, GTRI)

1.         Ms. Leanne West (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.  She asked for approval of the minutes of the February 19, 2008 meeting of the Executive Board (Attachment #1)This was approved without dissent.

2.                  Ms. West called on Barbara Henry (Nominating Committee Chair) for a recommendation of an appointment to fill a standing committee vacancy.  Ms. Henry recommended that the Board appoint Paul Benkeser to the Student Regulations Committee to fill the unexpired term of Peter McGuire who retired recently.  The term remaining will be through August 2009.  She pointed out that Prof. Benkeser was asked to serve in accordance with the By-Laws because he was a recent runner up in election to this committee. She said he will also continue to serve on the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee and will provide valuable liaison between these two committees.  This was approved without dissent.

3.         Ms. West then called on President Clough to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community:

    1. Pres. Clough reported the Legislature was still working on its 2008 and 2009 fiscal year budget decisions and has a goal to be finished by the first week in April.  This would allow the Regents to make follow-up decisions at their April meeting.  Pres. Clough also reported that the Governor has amended his recommended budget downwards due to reduced revenue predictions.  This affects the Governor’s recommendation on salaries, which has been reduced to a raise of 2%, down from the original recommendation of 2.5%.  In addition, the latest recommendation was to generate maintenance, renovation and repair (MRR) funds from bonds rather than from the operating budget.  This could make it difficult to get as much bonded funding as Tech needs for projects like the Undergraduate Learning Center because total bonding is capped.  Pres. Clough reported that private fundraising for the Undergraduate Learning Center has reached $25 million and is going well, but it would help in securing this if the State’s commitment could be nailed down. So far, the State’s commitment to “formula funding” of the University System continues to be affirmed, Dr. Clough said.

b.      Dr. Clough reported that the capital campaign has raised well over $550 million so far.

c.       He also spoke about a new private university in Saudi Arabia called King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).  It has been initiated with an endowment of $10 billion.  As part of their start up strategy, KAUST plans to partner with other established universities around the world.  They have asked for proposals from Georgia Tech for work of mutual interest concerning carbon capture.  Dr. Clough said that the Washington Advisory Group, a consulting firm based in Washington, DC, has facilitated some of the discussions of this agenda.  Profs. Bill Koros and Ron Rousseau from ChBE have been particularly active in these proposals.  Dr. Clough indicated that KAUST will not place any restrictions on the diversity of faculty who may participate in the research.  Announcements on proposals were expected soon, Dr. Clough said.

Dr. Clough asked for questions and responded to this one:  How does formula funding of Georgia Tech work?  Does funding come to the Schools in proportion to their enrollment?  Ans. Dr. Clough reminded the Board that the formula is based on enrollments fiscal year 2007, so measures of each school’s growth in relation to that year will play a key role in determining how much extra each school gets in funding.  He indicated that funding is not based just on simple formulae because other commitments have accumulated and must be fulfilled.

4.         Ms. West then called on Dr. Andy Smith, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, to explain an initiative from the Chancellor’s Office concerning intellectual diversity.  She also referred the Board to a statement prepared by the American Council on Education (ACE) titled “Statement on Academic Rights and Responsibilities.” (Attachment #2.

Dr. Smith explained that for two years state legislators have tried to get an intellectual diversity bill passed.  This would seek to guarantee that students would get all sides of any issue and not just whatever side the professor wants to present.  He said such a policy would be very difficult to enforce.  Whether or not such a bill passes, the University System wishes to be on record in support of intellectual diversity.  Thus, the Chancellor’s Office has adopted a strong statement prepared by ACE and shown in the attachment.  Dr. Smith reported that this would be made available from his web site and from the Dean of Students.  He asked that the Board arrange for it to be added to the Faculty Handbook as well.

Dr. Smith addressed the following question from the Board:

·         Q.  So if a student felt that a grade was not “based on considerations that were intellectually relevant to the subject matter” of their course, they could point to this in filing a grievance?  Ans. Yes.  They could do that today, even without this statement.  They can go to the Student Grievance and Appeal Committee.

Ms. West called on Mr. Tim Strike, chair of the Statutes Committee, to comment on getting this material into the Faculty Handbook.  He said his committee would be happy to take this on and recommended that it be placed outside the Statutes so this could be accomplished in one reading.   Dr. Smith mentioned a section that deals with related material as a possible natural place. 

This matter was referred to the Statutes Committee.

5.         Ms. West called on Ms. Henry again to report on the work of the Nominating Committee.  Ms. Henry referred the Board to a copy of the final ballot prepared by the Committee (in Attachment #3).  She reported that a few of the races would be run with just enough candidates for the openings and they would run unopposed.  She also pointed out one case of the Student Honor Committee that did not have even that many candidates.  There were three candidates and four openings on the committee. 

Ms. Henry thanked the Nominating Committee again for their hard work:  Jilda Garton, Tom Horton, Richard Barke, Patty Sobecky, and Bert Bras.  She also thanked Jarek Rossignac for his help.

Dr. Bohlander explained the urgency for the Board to adopt the ballot that Ms. Henry presented because the election would begin just a little over two weeks from this meeting.  With respect to the Student Honor Committee where there was one less candidate that the minimum needed, he said there were two courses of action: 1) The Board could adopt the ballot but be receptive to another candidate to be found before the election begins.  Time permitting, any new candidate would be submitted to the Board for endorsement prior to the election.  Or 2) if no additional candidate were found, the three persons available could be elected, and after the election, the Board could fill the remaining vacancy by appointment. 

Accordingly, Ms. Henry moved that the Ballot in Attachment #3 be approved with the understanding that a name will be added if possible later for the Student Honor Committee and submitted to the approval of the Board; if not, the vacancy will be filled by appointment.  This passed without dissent.

6.         The Chair then called on Dr. Bohlander to discuss upcoming elections to the General Faculty Assembly and the Academic Senate.  He presented a table showing the units that needed to elect new representatives to the General Faculty Assembly or Academic Senate (Attachment #4) based on rules for apportionment in the By-Laws.  Page 2 of the table shows where individual units within Services and Central Administration have grown large enough to elect their own representatives, in accordance within recent rule changes provisionally approved by the faculty at their February 5, 2008 meeting.  Based on this Dr. Bohlander recommended that the Athletics department, Alumni and Donor Relations, Contracting, Enterprise Innovation Institute, the Library, and OIT each be asked to elect the number of representatives indicated in the tables through elections that they each will organize in their respective units.  The Executive Board would then make arrangements to elect one more representative to the General Faculty Assembly through online balloting from all the remaining members of Services and Central Administration, in accordance with the Ballot just adopted.  Dr. Bohlander moved that the Executive Board approve the plan for General Faculty Assembly and Academic Senate elections as presented in Attachment #4.  This was seconded and passed without dissent.

Dr. Bohlander also thanked Andy Fox and Steve Green (OIT), Maryann Fogarty and Pearl Alexander (OHR), and Monique Tavares (Office of Faculty Career Development Services) for their diligent assistance in greatly improving the accuracy of the database used to determine members of the faculty for purposes of voting in these elections.  Barbara Henry added her thanks also for this work as she said she was aware of many who had been passed over for participation in recent elections.

7.         Ms. West asked Dr. Bohlander to continue with a discussion of an idea of a new Central Policy Library to eventually replace material now contained in the Faculty Handbook.  Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board of the introductory discussion of this topic covered in the February 19, 2008 meeting. (See minutes Attachment #1, section 10.)  He used Attachment #5 to present an outline of what such a Central Policy Library would contain.  He described this as a web resource for faculty, staff, and students to use spanning what today is in the Faculty Handbook, the Human Resources Manual, the Business and Finance Manual, and the Student Regulations. 

He then moved to a discussion of an outline of the policy library shown in the attachment and said this provided a long range picture of where a number of current efforts to improve policy in particular areas could come together in time.  The four main sections of the policy library were faculty policies, human resources policies, business and finance policies, and student regulations.  In is outline, the only items listed for human resources, business and finance, and student regulations were ones in the Faculty Handbook that overlap with these other bodies of policy.  These items could be combined or eliminated if completely redundant. He said that it may take a year or two to develop the whole library in a form like this.  Dr. Bohlander reported that preliminary discussions with Andy Smith and his team and with Chuck Donbaugh and his team were encouraging and more coordinative discussions would be held to ensure harmonious development.

He said that the concept of today’s Faculty Handbook is problematic in that it combines providing statements of policy with describing various organizations in the Institute and its support services.  Typically the sections that are informational become significantly out of date because they are not viewed as primary sources of information.  Organizational web sites are more current.  This has been frustrating to those who try to keep the Handbook up to date and easy to understand.  So the underlying proposal is to retire the Faculty Handbook and have instead a non-redundant faculty policy section in a central policy library like that outlined in the attachment.

In reviewing possible schedules to accomplish this, Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that Andy Smith (SVPAA) has had a team working on recommendations of improved wording in Faculty Handbook policy. He said that this team has made notable progress in drafting improved sections on Periodic Peer Reviews and on Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure. He said he anticipated that this would be ready to go to the Statutes Committee for their consideration soon and that the committee in turn would be able to bring recommendations to the faculty as a whole in fall 2008.  Some items could appear as early as the April 22, 2008 meeting.  Further work on the overall schedule would be addressed during late spring 2008.

The last section of Attachment #5 set out some procedural principles, emphasizing collaboration and working from a shared vision in building the Central Policy Library.  Dr. Bohlander said that clear leads would be assigned for developing particular sections of the Policy Library.  He applauded the Georgia Tech culture of collaboration and said that faculty input was expected and welcomed.

Dr. Bohlander also indicated it may be possible in the future to integrate the Statutes, By-Laws, and other policy statements so that particular topics are addressed in an integrated way, in contrast with the present situation in which particular topics are addressed at different levels in each subdivision of the Handbook.

Dr. Bohlander moved that the Executive Board adopt the plan in Attachment #5 in principle as an architectural concept.  The motion was seconded.  Questions from the floor:

·         Dr. Bert Bras asked if the topics shown in the Business and Finance section of the Policy Library outline were a complete list.  Dr. Bohlander answered that no those listed are just the ones currently in the Faculty Handbook and a more complete list would include the topics currently housed in the Business and Finance Manual as well.  Dr. Bras said he was particularly interested in matters of intellectual property management as it affects contracts with sponsors, and Dr. Bohlander agreed that it would be important to have this included in the Policy Library.  The current section on intellectual policy in the Faculty Handbook does not deal much with contracting and this aspect may not be covered in the Business and Finance Policy Manual either.  Such policies do exist on the web pages of the Office of Sponsored Programs and related pages.  Dr. Bras mentioned other items that would be useful in the Policy Library such as Travel Authorization forms and procedures.  Dr. Bohlander said that, in putting together the Central Policy Library, gaps of coverage will need to be identified and filled.

·         Mr. Eric Barnhart asked that policies be included from the Georgia Tech Research Corporation concerning contract management.  Dr. Bras made a follow up comment that even understanding the scope of responsibility of affiliated entities like the Georgia Tech Research Corporation and the Georgia Tech Foundation would be helpful.

After this discussion the above motion passed without dissent.  Dr. Andy Smith spoke up to endorse these steps and also thanked his team (Monique Tavares, Jane Ammons, Jan Brown, Carole, Moore, and Kate Wasch) for the hard work they have contributed toward these goals.

8.         Ms. West asked for any reports from Standing Committee liaisons on the Board. The following was covered:

·         Prof. Tom Morley picked up a topic introduced at the last meeting concerning the review of processes inaugurated during the last major revision of the Student Code of Conduct, accomplished in November 2006.  He made a motion that

The Executive Board shall create an ad hoc committee of students and faculty to study and review the academic integrity process under the new Student Code of Conduct.  Members of this committee should be drawn from the Academic Integrity Committee, the Honor Committee, Student Regulations Committee, and the Honor Advisory Board.  The committee together with the assistance of the Office of Student Integrity should review and report on the new student academic integrity process and make recommendations to the Executive Board, the Senior Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs, and the Dean of Students in September 2008.

The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.  The Secretary suggested that Tom Morley be empowered to make the arrangements and report back to the Chair on progress.  This was agreed.

·         Prof. Bob Wood asked on behalf of the Student Activities Committee who initiated the change in academic eligibility for student activities that the faculty adopted in their November 27, 2007 meeting?  Dr. Bohlander replied that, based on the minutes he has seen, student representatives brought that proposal to the Student Regulations Committee who brought it to the faculty meeting.  Dr. Bohlander suggested that the Executive Board liaisons to these two committees work together to encourage better collaboration in the future when matters of mutual interest arise.  (Prof. Doug Williams was noted as the liaison to Student Regulations.)  Dr. Morley reminded the Board that one of the issues involved in the change the faculty made was that the old restrictions were unenforceable concerning participation in student activities when a student was on academic probation. 

·         Dr. Wayne Whiteman commented for the Welfare and Security Committee about several enhancements introduced recently for notification to the campus community in case of emergencies.  He mentioned GTENS, a new campus loudspeaker system, and weather emergency notifications.  He noted that an Environmental Protection Agency inspection was also in progress on the campus.  Dr. Andy Smith clarified that the experts on campus were drawn from other units of the University System of Georgia (USG) with the sanction of the EPA.  Their purpose was to identify issues in environmental safety that need attention, and then if Georgia Tech responded appropriately, the issues would be resolved and fines avoided.  Georgia Tech was the first of the USG schools to go through this process that eventually all will follow.  In response to a question, Dr. Smith clarified that this was an official EPA audit; it just was not staffed by EPA personnel.

·         Prof. Richard Dagenhart reported that the Faculty Honors Committee had met and conveyed their recommendations for 2008 honorees to President Clough.  The honorees will receive their awards at the Faculty and Staff Awards luncheon on April 10, 2008.

·         Prof. Cheryl Gaimon talked about progress in the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee concerning their project to survey students about class attendance.  This survey would seek information about what motivates classroom attendance and what are positive and negative aspects of the classroom environments today.  She indicated that the committee may want to seek faculty feedback on the form of the survey at the next faculty meeting.  Dr. Bohlander asked that she have the committee line that up with him before he drafts an agenda.

·         Ms. Barbara Henry stated that the Faculty Benefits Committee has been talking about new investment opportunities for the Optional Retirement Plan.  There has also been discussion of options for expanding capacity in Georgia Tech childcare center(s).

·         Prof. Jarek Rossignac said that a vacancy has been filled on the Student Computer Ownership Committee and they have elected a new chair, Prof. Jonathan Giffin.  The committee has met their deadline for posting information on the computer equipment necessary for incoming students for the summer session.

·         Dr. Bohlander asked all liaisons to correspond with their committees and ask that they please send in promptly any minutes to be considered at the April 22, 2008 faculty meeting.

9.         Hearing no other new business, Ms. West adjourned the meeting at about 4:15 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

April 8, 2008


1)   Minutes of the Executive Board Meeting on February 19, 2008.

2)   “Statement on Academic Rights and Responsibilities” prepared by the American Council on Education

3)   Ballot for 2008 faculty elections

4)   Tables of apportionment for General Faculty Assembly and Academic Senate representation

5)   Proposal for a Central Policy Library