Meeting of August 28, 2012

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building


With Addenda Covering Recent Electronic Ballots



Members Present:        Bafna (Architecture), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Cunefare (ME), Downing (EII), D’Urbano (Chair, OSP), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Ingram (ECE), Kirka (Grad. Student), Kirkman (Public Policy), Leggon (Public Policy), Lyon (Vice-Chair, Chemistry), Millard (GTRI-ICL), Mordel (U’Grad. Student), Neu (ME), Peterson (President), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Turner (Management), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Weissburg (Biology), White (CoC), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE) , Wozniak (GTRC), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Butera (ECE), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Tyson (Chemistry)


Guests:                        Cozzens (VP Grad. Ed. & Fac. Affairs), Khanduri (SGA), Potts (VP Underg. Ed.),


1.      Mr. Chris D’Urbano (Chair) opened the meeting at 3:05 P.M.

2.      He introduced the new members of the Executive Board for the term 2012-15:

He also thanked those who had come to the end of their service on the Executive Board:

·         Sonit Bafna (CoA-Architecture)

·         Mary Ann Ingram (ECE)

·         Cheryl Leggon (Public Policy)

·         Dave Millard (GTRI-ICL)

·         (Mr. D’Urbano was also himself at the end of his term.)

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

a)      Dr. Peterson noted that he had delivered the Annual Institute Address in the morning. (Attachment #1).

b)      He reported that during the summer he and several other leaders made a trip to visit many Georgia Tech stakeholders around the state of Georgia.  They covered 46 counties and 900 miles, hearing firsthand how Georgia Tech might serve the state better.

c)      The Capital Campaign was going well.  $1.16 billion had been raised so far towards the $1.5 billion goal.  Notable was the gift of $50 million from Ernest and Roberta Scheller, Jr. after whom the Ernest Scheller, Jr. College of Business has been named.

d)     New facilities were progressing well:

·         The McCamish Pavilion basketball arena would be completed in a couple of weeks.

·         Completion of the Ken Byers Tennis Complex was expected in January 2013.

·         Work on the Engineered Biosystems Building had begun.

·         Renovation was in progress for the Mason Building and the D. M. Smith Building.

e)      Budgets for the campus units had been set, but then instructions were received from the Governor that another 3% cut was required.  This amounted to about a $6 million reduction in State support to Georgia Tech.  The President reported that the administration was going to try to take that entirely out of central cost items by constraining some new initiatives.

f)       Nevertheless, fifty-three net new faculty positions had been created in the past three years.  That was over and above about sixty replacement appointments on average each year.  Resources to support startup costs for new faculty members were significant and a challenge.  The addition of faculty was seen as a step toward improving the student faculty ratio.

President Peterson asked Provost Rafael Bras to cover other items of interest:

a)      Dr. Bras confirmed the above about new hires and stated that Georgia Tech was doing well with faculty and staff retention.

b)      There were about 300 more students in the incoming freshman class than had been expected, due to a higher than expected rate of students accepting places offered in the class.  All necessary arrangements had been made to take care of the extra students in terms of their needs in classes, advising, and housing, etc.  These students were very high quality: average GPA 3.89, average SAT 1394/1600. 

c)      Incoming graduate student enrollment increased also from 1,933 to 2,045, making 7,025 total graduate students.  This set Georgia Tech’s overall student enrollment at 21,575, the largest ever student body.

d)     Dr. Bras introduced two Vice-Provosts attending the Board meeting:  Dr. Susan Cozzens, Vice-Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs, and Dr. Colin Potts, Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education.

e)      Two Deans have indicated a desire to step down as dean as of June 30, 2013; namely, Dean Alan Balfour, College of Architecture, and Dean Paul Houston, College of Sciences.  They would be returning to teaching and research.  Search committees would soon be formed.

f)       A new Vice-Provost for International Initiatives has been named: Dr. Yves Berthelot who has served as President of Georgia Tech Lorraine in recent years.

g)      Dr. Bras commented on some initiatives in new education channels and media.  Georgia Tech signed on with twelve other universities in a cooperative effort with Coursera for offering online courses.  Dr. Bras said this was an experiment that was important to do.  However, educational services to residential students would remain Georgia Tech’s principal business.  So far about 57,000 students were registered taking five Georgia Tech courses through Coursera.  Dr. Bras announced a town hall on this topic to be held on Sept. 13, 2012 at 11 a.m. in the Clough Bldg.  He stated that, in offering any course through Coursera, Georgia Tech had the option to open them up to any registrant or to offer them only to Georgia Tech resident students.

h)      In November 2010, both the Student Government Association and the Academic Senate agreed to adopt a new Student Faculty Expectations document.  Dr. Bras showed the Board a poster that would be placed in each classroom on the campus showing off this agreement alongside already posted copies of the Student Honor Code.

4.      Mr. D’Urbano called on the presidents of the undergraduate and graduate student bodies to present their ideas of initiatives that would be important to students in the year ahead.  Mr. Michael Kirka, President of the Graduate Student Body, went first.  He presented his thoughts through slides found in Attachment #2a and explained that this presentation had been presented also to the President’s cabinet.  He covered four topics of priority interest to graduate students; namely, personal well-being, graduate student life, professional development, and costly mandatory fees.  The latter was an issue many graduate students have asked to be addressed because fees have risen significantly in recent years and made finances very tight for students. 

Mr. Eran Mordel, President of the Undergraduate Student Body, and Mr. Amit Khanduri, Executive Vice-President of the Undergraduate Student Body, followed with a presentation of the slides in Attachment #2b.  Their primary topics were concerns about financial assistance and the cost of fees; resources to help in academic pursuits (like a database of campus research opportunities); campus student life; and initiatives to enhance campus spirit.

Dr. Bohlander (Secretary) thanked the student leaders for sharing these thoughts with the Board, and commented that student leaders contributed to the betterment of all of Georgia Tech.

Q.  What thoughts did the students have about course critiques in light of including that topic on slide 4 of Attachment #2b?  Was there something missing that students wanted from the established Course/Instructor Opinion Survey (CIOS)?  Both the host of CIOS, the Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee would be interested in student ideas.   Ans. The students said they felt the CIOS needed to be restructured somewhat and make more information available to students about the classes evaluated.

Comment.  Faculty encouragement was given for the student leaders to reach out to students at other campuses to exchange ideas about common interests.

Comment.  In relation to the student’s interest in a possible smoking ban on campus, it was mentioned that the faculty’s Welfare and Security Committee had recommended more restricted smoking conditions a couple years ago and this committee could be approached by students to collaborate on a new campaign.  Response.  The student leaders stated that at UGA students recently narrowly passed a recommendation for a smoking ban.  Student leaders here felt that a phased ban might work better, starting with restrictions rather than an outright ban.  Dr. Bohlander indicated that the faculty did indeed encourage the administration to enact stricter restrictions, and he understood this was under consideration.  President Peterson noted the difficulties of determining and enacting wise policies for smoking.  For greater restrictions to work, faculty, staff, and students had to be overwhelmingly in favor of the change, or enforcement would be very difficult.  The campus could not afford to invest a considerable amount of time from campus police in such enforcement, given more critical safety needs.  The recent smoking ban at Emory University has worked because they established that overwhelming support.

Q.  Has the Student Government Association brought initiatives they want to accomplish to faculty standing committees for consideration and possible action?  Ans.  Students have had representatives to almost all faculty standing committees.  Students have brought many such initiatives to the Student Regulations Committee.  Follow-Up Q. Did the students plan to bring the initiatives presented in this meeting to faculty standing committees?  Ans. The students indicated they could do that. President Peterson indicated that the students were more accustomed to bringing such matters to the administration, particularly to the appropriate Vice-Provosts.  He cited the example of what was achieved in arranging better health insurance benefits for graduate students.  The President said he would welcome a partnership in future student initiatives with the faculty through its Executive Board and committees.

5.   Mr. D’Urbano called on Executive Board Vice-Chair, Prof. Andrew Lyon, to recommend someone to fill a vacancy on the Graduate Curriculum Committee.  Prof. Lyon explained that Rob Butera had been serving on this committee and under Tech’s bylaws he must relinquish that post to now serve on the Executive Board.  Prof. Lyon recommended the appointment of Prof. Paul Kvam (ISyE) to fill the vacancy.  The term for Prof. Kvam would be until August 2013.  Prof. Lyon moved for approval of this appointment.  It was seconded and passed unanimously.

6.   Mr. D’Urbano stated that each year the Board appoints someone to serve as Georgia Tech’s representative from the faculty to the University System of Georgia Faculty Council.  Prof. Doug Williams has served in this role over the past three years and had indicated he was willing to serve another year.  Mr. D’Urbano asked the Board whether they wanted to continue with Prof. Williams or make a change.  A motion was made and seconded to reappoint Prof. Williams and it passed unanimously.

7.   Mr. D’Urbano introduced Ms. Monique Tavares, Asst. VP for Research Administration and the representative of Georgia Tech’s classified staff on the Executive Board.  She had been serving in this role on the Executive Board for four years and it was appropriate to identify a new representative now or after a reasonable period of deliberation, in the interest of giving another individual the opportunity to serve.  Ms. Tavares was asked to make some recommendations for a process by which this transition could be arranged.  She reminded the Board that the Georgia Tech Faculty Handbook (Section 5.6.1) stated “The representative of the Classified Employees, without the right to vote, shall be appointed by the Executive Board after appropriate solicitation for recommendation.”  She said the challenge was how to do an appropriate solicitation.  It was also a challenge to know who would be the best singular representative of thousands of employees.  What was expected of this representative?  What role was to be filled?

Dr. Bohlander commented that there was no deadline on making a move.  It was reasonable to have a term commensurate with other terms but there was nothing set in the Statutes.  Thus, there was time to figure out and implement a reasonable process.  He suggested a reasonable goal of making a new appointment by the beginning of calendar year 2013.  At that time, the Board would also be appointing new staff and retiree representatives to the Faculty Benefits Committee; the resource used in identifying such candidates in that case was the Office of Human Resources (OHR).  Perhaps they should be asked to provide recommendations for the Board appointment too.  In the long run, it would be best if there were a Staff Council that could make recommendations, but that would take some time to institute and it would not be the purview of faculty to control that.  President Peterson expressed sympathy for the idea of classified staff having their own council, but acknowledged that would take some time.

Ms. Tavares asked for comment on the purpose of the classified staff representative to the Executive Board which was the top body in faculty governance.  Dr. Bohlander commented on Ms. Tavares’ question about the purpose of the classified staff representative serving on the Executive Board.  Over recent years, the Board had benefited from the insights these representatives offered based on their administrative experience and their sensitivity to the needs and outlooks of staff.  When the Board would consider initiatives that might impact staff, it could ask the staff representative for advice about possible effects and about how the initiatives would be received.  The staff representative’s wise counsel about how the campus works outside of the faculty had been very valuable.

The consensus reached was for Ms. Tavares to consult with OHR and bring a recommendation by the November meeting for a replacement classified staff representative to be appointed, effective January 1, 2013.

9.      Mr. D’Urbano then provided a brief summary (in Attachment #3) of highlights of the past year, 2011-12, in which he served the Executive Board as Chair.  He followed the highlights by asking for reports from committee liaisons and the USG FC representative.  Notable reports included:

Mr. David Millard reported there was a briefing by Darlene Wright to the Faculty Benefits Committee on the next Open Enrollment.  The second child care facility was now open but there were some problems to work out for how parents could drop off their children.  Drive-up possibilities were constrained by the location behind the Married Student Housing complex.

Prof. Sonit Bafna reported that the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee was acting on requests “for institutional functions for which excused absences from classes for the students involved were to be granted.”

Prof. Doug Williams reported that the University System of Georgia Faculty Council (USG FC) would meet in the fall but the date was not yet set and was being coordinated with the schedule of the new Executive Vice-Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, Houston Davis.

Prof. Mary Ann Ingram reported that the Statutes Committee was nearly ready to make a website available to show off an overhauled and reorganized Faculty Handbook with improved usability and updates from changes in Institute titles and Board of Regents policies. 

10.  Mr. D’Urbano called on the Secretary of the Faculty, Dr. Ron Bohlander, to bring news about candidates and the election for Executive Board Chair and Vice-Chair for 2012-13. 

Dr. Bohlander began by thanking Mr. Chris D’Urbano and Prof. Andrew Lyon for the great jobs they did in the past year as Chair and Vice-Chair.

He explained that five people had expressed interest in these positions for 2012-13 and thanked them for their willingness to serve:

          Rob Butera     Chair or Vice-Chair

          Bob Kirkman Chair or Vice-Chair

          Rick Neu        Chair or Vice-Chair

          David White   Chair

          Bob Wood      Vice-Chair

Dr. Bohlander asked if there were any further nominations.  There were none.  He then asked each of the candidates to introduce themselves and give some background on their experience and interests in faculty governance.

Then he explained that he would send out electronic ballots to those serving on the 2012-13 Board, first for the election of the Chair.  If no one got a majority of the votes, there would be a runoff.  The Vice-Chair ballots would be handled the same way once the Chair was determined.  Dr. Bohlander also explained that Executive Board member liaison assignments to standing committees would be determined after the Chair and Vice-Chair were determined.

11.  Mr. D’Urbano asked if there was any further business.  In view of problems recently experienced on other campuses, a request was made to get a briefing on how Georgia Tech was organized for risk management from the VP of Legal Affairs and Risk Management at a future Board meeting.  Seeing no other business, Mr. D’Urbano adjourned the meeting at about 5 p.m. The Board proceeded to a reception in the Gordy Room.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

September 25, 2012


1)      Annual Institute Address for 2012

2)      Presentations from student leaders

      a) Graduate Student Priorities presented by Mr. Michael Kirka

      b) Undergraduate Student Priorities presented by Mr. Eran Mordel and Mr. Amit Khanduri.

3)   Highlights of 2011-12 prepared by Mr. Chris D’Urbano, Chair.



Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on June 25, 2012:


Dear Executive Board members –


At our scheduled meeting last week, we did not have a quorum. Since a couple of the items are time sensitive, I am seeking to resolve the following questions by email:


  1. Do you approve the minutes of the Executive Board meeting of May 22, 2012 as posted at
    ___ Yes ___ No I see a need for the following mod ______________________________________________________________________________
  2. Do you approve the minutes and action items of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee as follows:
    Minutes 5/8/12, 6/12/12
    Action Items – From 6/12: HTS – 2 new courses and new minor Health, Medicine, and Society; CoC – modification in the Minor in Computer Science, involving course requirements, modification in the BS in Computer Science degree, involving one change in a required course?

___ Yes ___ No The problem is __________________________

  1. Do you approve the minutes and action items of the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee as follows:
    Minutes 6/7/12. Action Items: Economics – Modification in the MS degree with major in Economics, involving clarification of course requirements; Business – 2 new courses and a change in the course number assigned to one course.

    ___ Yes ___ No The problem is __________________________

    If the hyperlinks to the committee minutes do not show up in 2 and 3, please refer to
  2. Do you agree to appoint Prof. Han Zhang (Business) to fill a vacancy on the Faculty Honors Committee due to the resignation by Dr. Krishna Naishadham from his faculty position in GTRI? The term for Prof. Zhang would be from now until August 2014. The candidate was selected in accordance with Institute Bylaws.

    ___ Yes ___ No The problem is __________________________
  3. Do you agree to appoint Prof. Yi-Luen Ellen Do (Industrial Design in CoA) to fill a vacancy in CoA’s representation on the Graduate Curriculum Committee. The term for Prof. Do would be from now until August 2013.. The candidate was selected in accordance with Institute Bylaws.

    ___ Yes ___ No The problem is __________________________

Thank you for your attention to these questions. I would appreciate a response by end of Thursday, June 28, 2012.

A quorum of the Executive Board having participated, all of the above motions passed.


Addendum #2

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 2, 2012:


Dear members of the Executive Board –


First a little background: During fall and spring terms, the registrar comes before the Academic Senate late in the term and tells the faculty that the list of candidates for degrees in the coming commencement has been thoroughly reviewed by the academic units and by the Registrar’s Office and then she moves for approval of the list of degree candidates. For more consistent treatment of the summer term, she asks that the Executive Board now please act on behalf of the Academic Senate in receiving and acting on the same question. The Executive Board is empowered so to act under our Statutes. With summer term commencements coming up this Friday, and degrees due to be finalized by Aug. 9 in the following week, we need to act promptly. Thus, please respond on behalf of the Academic Senate to the following question:


The Registrar has advised me that the Summer list of degree candidates has been thoroughly reviewed by the academic units and by her office and revised as needed. She attests that the list now contains only candidates qualified for graduation. In accordance with GT tradition, she asks if you are prepared on behalf of the Academic Senate to endorse moving forward with the granting of degrees in the summer term on this basis?


___ Yes ___ No My specific concern is ___________________________________________________


Due to the time sensitivity, please respond by end of Monday, August 6, 2012.


A quorum of the Executive Board having participated, the motion passed.


Addendum #3

The Secretary sent an electronic ballot to the Executive Board on August 29, 2012:


Greeting to Voting Members of the Executive Board for 2012-13 –


There are nineteen voting members at this time ( and this message is only going to voting members. A quorum of participation in this ballot is 2/3 of 19 or 13 responses. The candidate who is ultimately selected must receive a majority of the votes cast when a quorum has participated within the time set for the election. I will ask that all ballots be returned to me no later than 11:59 pm on Friday, Aug. 31. The ballot may be decided earlier than that if any candidate receives 10 votes (which would be a majority of the maximum that can be cast) and at the same time at least 13 total votes have been cast. Otherwise, the ballot will be concluded at the close of Friday night if a quorum has been reached. If at that point no one has received at least 10 votes, I will come back to you with a runoff between the two people with the most votes, and we will do a runoff ballot. Your cooperation, promptness (as usual), and patience will be appreciated.


Please indicate one of the following whom you would prefer to be chair for 2012-13. Vote for one:


__ Rob Butera

__ Bob Kirkman

__ Rick Neu

__ David White

A quorum of the Executive Board participated; Prof. Rick Neu and Mr. David White received the most votes but neither had a majority of the votes cast. So there was a run off with the same ground rules as above.  Prof. Rick Neu was elected Chair of the Executive Board from votes received in the runoff.


The Secretary sent out an electronic ballot on Sep. 4 for the election of the Vice-Chair with the same ground rules as above and concluding on Sep. 6.  The candidates were Professors Rob Butera, Bob Kirkman, and Bob Wood.  Professors Rob Butera and Bob Kirkman got the most votes but neither received a majority so there was a runoff in which Rob Butera was elected.