Meeting of February 4, 2014

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building


With an addenda recording business conducted via email ballots



Members Present:        Balch (CoC-IC), Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Butera (Chair, ECE), Cunefare (ME), Downing (EII), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Grover (ChBE), Hernandez (Chemistry), Kirkman (Vice-Chair, Public Policy), Powell (OSP), Schumacher (Psychology), Tyson (Chemistry), Weber (Grad. Student), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Wood (ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Members Absent:        Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Peterson (President), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Tucker (U’grad. Student), Turner (Business), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD)


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


1.      Prof. Rob Butera, Chair, opened the meeting at 3:07 P.M. 

2.      The Chair next called on Provost Bras to comment on matters of interest to the Georgia Tech community. 

a)      Dr. Bras explained that President Peterson was at the State Capitol meeting with legislators.  Georgia Tech priorities in the budget under consideration for FY15 included:

·         $1.7 million in bonds for library renovations

·         Funds to relocate Environmental Health and Safety Headquarters and hazardous material storage.

·         Increased funding to the so-called B-units of Georgia Tech like GTRI and the Enterprise Innovation Institute

·         $45.5 million in formula funding for the University System of Georgia (USG); and

·         Funding for general repairs and renovations.

b)      Georgia Tech participated in a White House summit on higher education and committed to continue and expand programs to increase opportunities for young people to attend Georgia Tech through initiatives like the Clough GT Promise scholarship program.

c)      Dr. Bras reported that early admissions offers had been made.  A total of 25,000 total applications were received overall, which is very high: 46% above last year.  The quality of the applicants was excellent.

d)     Good progress continued toward the $1.5 billion Capital Campaign goal.

e)      The work of the Strategic Plan Advisory Group was going well under Dr. David Frost, chair.

f)       Several townhall meetings were planned in the spring at schools and colleges around the campus.

g)      Dr. Bras recommended that faculty promoting initiatives in Washington, DC, be sure to involve Georgia Tech’s Washington office.

h)      Interviews were proceeding well in the search for a new Dean for the Scheller Jr. College of Business.

i)        Dr. Bras thanked the Institute Promotion and Tenure Committee for the extra effort they expended to get their reviews done catching up from the days the campus was closed for snow.

j)        SACS accreditation reaffirmation efforts were proceeding under the direction of Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence, Catherine Murray-Rust. The Provost reported that five proposals had been received describing candidates for Georgia Tech’s Quality Enhancement Program (QEP).  A decision on the QEP would be made in March.

k)      The new Online MS in Computer Science degree program began January 15 with 325 people enrolled.  The quality of the students was very high.

l)        Georgia Tech’s Arts Advisory Board would meet for the second time February 21-22 during the TechArts Festival (February 14 – March 1).  There were thirty members of the Arts Advisory Board so far.

Q. How did Admissions manage to handle that large an increase in applicants?  Ans. The Admissions team worked very hard and long hours.  They took an extra week to finish decisions about early admissions offers.  Dr. Bras said that faculty members who were interested could volunteer to help and would be trained.

Q. What did Tech believe caused the increase in applicants?  Ans. There were probably multiple causes including for example: More outreach, improved application services, Georgia Tech’s reputation, free publicity from the notable convocation speech by Nick Selby and from interest in the new Online MS in Computer Science, and the use of the Common Application system.  Most schools using the latter did not see as much increase so that was not the sole explanation.

Q. Were applications to the graduate programs also up? Ans. Yes, but not by as much.

Q.  Were applications for admission from Georgia residents also significantly up? Ans. Yes.

Q.  Did Georgia Tech intend to have a larger first year class in the year ahead?  Ans. No, but it would be difficult to predict the yield from admissions offers given large increases in applicants occurred.

Q.  Was Georgia Tech looking at plans for future weather emergencies and the like?  Ans. Yes, a meeting on that would be held on Feb. 5.  Prof. Cunefare recommended that Tech be ready to make more use of shelter-in-place arrangements.

3.      Prof. Butera directed the Board’s attention to the minutes of their November 5, 2013 meeting (Attachment #1).  A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes.  The motion passed without dissent.

4.      The Chair called on Dr. Donna Llewellyn, Assoc. Vice-Provost for Learning Excellence, to brief the Board on Academic Program Reviews (APRs) in the past year and the schedule of coming reviews.  She presented the information contained in Attachment #2 and also handed out confidential notes from the APRs conducted during the past year.  These could also be obtained from and Dr. Llewellyn told the Board members she could authorize any who were interested to have access to this site; they should just send her an email request.  She reminded the Board that the faculty and administration changed the APR process last year and slide 2 showed a number of improvements made to support the new process.  All APR documents could be stored and shared through the new website noted above.  Clear guidelines were set for self-study reports and procedures were set in place to create greater consistency across the Institute.  The 2013-14 round of external reviews for the year would start in February 2014.  Slide 3 provided an important outline of the process for feedback to the instructional unit subsequent to their APR.  This process was designed to develop an action plan in response to the APR agreed by the faculty and administration responsible for the academic program.  Progress on that action plan would be reported annually and outcomes would be summarized in the next cycle’s APR.  Dr. Llewellyn noted that in addition to the items outlined in Slide 3, the Executive Board had an important oversight role on behalf of the faculty.  The expectation was that the Executive Board would review all the APR results from the past year and note any significant issues that were recurring or under resourced. 

Slide 6 showed the planned schedule of APRs for 2014-15 and 2015-16.  It was noted that only three APRs were scheduled for 2014-15 while fourteen were scheduled for the following year.  Board members recommended to Dr. Llewellyn that these calendars be re-planned for better balance in load.  She said she would be actively looking at that and noted that schedules were sometimes affected by changes in leadership.  Some new school chairs or Deans wanted APRs early in their tenure to provide early baselines and guidance, and others preferred to get better oriented themselves before undergoing a review.

Dr. Llewellyn then summarized the material in the confidential reports handed out.  One of them was a summary of the findings in each of the APRs from 2012-13.  Others provided example full APR reports and excerpts of reports of the Feedback Meeting results from some of the APRs.  Dr. Ron Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty) encouraged the Board to be faithful to its role in providing top-level faculty oversight of the process and outcomes of APRs.  If the Board saw issues that needed more attention, it was their duty to urge attention to solutions.  Provost Bras commended everyone involved for making the new APR process work.  He stated that it was a much more effective system for making improvements in response to program operations and outcomes studied.  The Provost noted that his involvement and that of the Vice-Provosts was not to determine what should be done but to encourage the faculty and instructional unit leaders in their quest for improvements.  The new APR processes had been so successful, that the pattern would now be used for the improvement of administrative programs in the Provost’s Office. 

Q. When were annual updates due on action plans from the last APR?  Ans. Dr. Llewellyn said that progress reports were due by the end of spring semester.  This would make visible whether the actions planned were really happening. Dr. Bras noted that the APR process led to various recommendations but sometimes responsible leaders would later reach conclusions that some recommendations were not in fact the best courses of action.  Program leaders were empowered to do what they felt was best for the Institute and its students.  It was expected that explanations would be given if courses of action were selected that differed from APR recommendations.

Comment:  Prof. Butera stated that he had experienced APRs both from the perspective of an academic program contributor and as a member of the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee which used to be responsible for reviewing APR reports.  He said he felt the new processes were much more effective uses of people’s time in driving improvement.

Q. How much were faculty expected to be involved in vetting proposed lists of external reviewers?  Ans. The process of choosing external reviewers was one of the things that were standardized in the new APR processes.  In order to line up 4-5 external reviewers, a list of 20 needed to be proposed because some would not be available.  The program and its Dean were required to prepare and submit to the Provost and appropriate Vice-Provost for approval the proposed list of reviewers along with justifications for the names.  The Provost’s Office would look at appropriate credentials and the types of institutions represented.  Follow-up recommendations from Board members:  Consider having a mechanism in setting the review teams whereby faculty members in the program could comment on any concerns with the makeup and overall bias of the proposed external review team.    Provost Bras said that such a recommendation was best addressed at the Deans’ level.  Dr. Llewellyn said that she met with the Dean and program leaders for planning prior to their APR and she went over how to pick external reviewers and how to set up the self-study.  Strong encouragement was provided for the involvement of faculty in both aspects of the APR; further emphasis on that would be provided in future. 

5.      Prof. Butera called on Ms. Jeanne Balsam, Statutes Committee Chair, to present recommended changes in the Faculty Handbook dealing with new definitions of Faculty and associated matters of faculty governance.  Her presentation was made available as Attachment #3a as well as a draft of new language proposed for the Faculty Handbook in Attachment #3b. Comparison could also be made with the existing Faculty Handbook in Attachment #3c.  The presentation in Attachment #3a outlined most of what Ms. Balsam covered.  She commented that she was emphasizing mostly new aspects that were developed since her preview briefings to the Board and to the faculty the past November.

Ms. Balsam noted in slide 9 that the new title of Extension Professional would follow the same promotion processes as the other research faculty titles on that slide. 

She noted that the definition of Administrative Officers in slide 12 was new material added to be sure that this role was properly defined in accordance with Board of Regents policies.  A list of possible Administrative Officer titles followed in slide 13. During the Executive Board meeting, there was some discussion about the framing of the statements in Slide 12.  [Clearly such officers were to be appointed by the President, and the discussions in the Board were followed by further consultation with the President and Provost in the days following the Board meeting.  As a result, some changes were made in the definition of Administrative Officers in subsequent editions of the draft Faculty Handbook prior to its first reading to the faculty on February 18.] 

Q. What were examples of titles that would no longer be members of the faculty?  Ans.  The two biggest groupings were coaches and people in the Development Office (unless they would be designated as Administrative Officers).  Post-doctoral fellows were another large group who would not participate in faculty governance due to their limited time at the Institute but many would still hold research faculty titles.

The Board discussed how members of the Board could help get the word out about this initiative.  Provost Bras encouraged Board members to actively support these proposed changes.  A motion was made, seconded, and passed unanimously that the Executive Board endorsed the recommended changes just presented.

6.      Professor Butera had to leave the Board meeting for another meeting.  Vice-Chair, Prof. Bob Kirkman, called on Ms. Nazia Zakir, Board Liaison to the Faculty Benefits CommitteeShe moved to reappoint the following staff and retiree representatives to the Faculty Benefits Committee for calendar year 2014:

Dr. Wayne Book            retiree

Ms. Amy Herron            Controller’s Office

Ms. Debra Lee               OIT

Mr. Tommy Little          Facilities

The motion was seconded and passed without dissent.

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

Updates were heard from several members about routine activities.

Dr. Cam Tyson reported that the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee recommended a plan for training in the Responsible Conduct of Research for Masters degree students engaged in research.  Ms. Michelle Powell reported that compliance policies would be aligned with such academic policies once they were adopted by the faculty. 

Ms. Powell also reported that Robert Gerhart briefed the Academic Services Committee on the IT Master Plan.  She asked Prof. Kirkman what the next steps would be after the survey he conducted with the Standing Committees concerning their charters.  Prof. Kirkman said he believed a task force should be formed to review the responses and make recommendations.

Ms. Nazia Zakir reported that participation in the recent faculty benefits open enrollment period was high (about 95%).  At the recent meeting of the Faculty Benefits Committee there was discussion about complaints concerning the newer of the two daycare facilities due to problems with communications and high staff turnover.  There was also concern over salary compression issues. 

Prof. Martha Grover reported that the Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee had discussed progress in planning for the X-Degree.  In answer to a question about who would approve custom degree plans, Provost Bras stated that he understood there would be a faculty committee established to review and approve such degree plans.  The IUCC would set guidelines that would have to be followed.

Prof. Bob Kirkman reported that the members of the Nominating Committee were approved via email ballot [as noted below]. 

8.      Prof. Kirkman called on Dr. Bohlander to present the proposed agenda for the meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate scheduled for February 18, 2014 in Attachment #4.  It was moved and seconded that the agenda be approved.  The motion was approved without dissent.

9.      Professor Kirkman asked if there was any further business and, hearing none, adjourned the meeting at about 5:00 p.m.

Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

March 2, 2014


1)      Minutes of the November 5, 2013 Executive Board meeting.

2)      Report on Academic Program Reviews.  See also

3)      Proposals for changes in the Faculty Handbook

a)         Presentation on changes in the definitions of Faculty at Georgia Tech and accompanying changes in faculty governance.

b)         Draft 2014 Faculty Handbook proposed to implement the changes in faculty definitions and accompanying changes in faculty governance. 

c)         Existing Faculty Handbook for comparison

4)      Agenda for a scheduled meeting of the General Faculty, General Faculty Assembly, and Academic Senate on February 18, 2014



Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on January 29, 2014:

Friends – Bob Kirkman has asked that we approve his recommended Nominating Committee for the spring elections right away so they can get started.  The plan below is in accordance with our Statutes - see – three academic faculty members and three non-academic.

From Executive Board

Bob Kirkman, Public Policy, Assoc. Professor

Nazia Zakir, Radiation Safety Officer


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

Do you approve this Nominating Committee?

___ Yes                ___ No                 My concern is ____________________________

Please provide your answers by close of Friday, January 31.

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


Addendum #2

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on February 6, 2014:

Dear Board members –

Prof. Chris Paredis (ME) has resigned from the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee (representing the College of Engineering) in order to take an assignment for a couple years at NSF.  Our Vice-Chair has contacted the most recent runner up in elections to this post in accordance with our Statutes and she has agreed to serve if appointed.  Accordingly,  do you agree to appoint Prof. May Wang (BME) to fill the unexpired term until August 2014?  [Note she has also agreed to be a candidate for election for the 2014-17 term.]

___ Yes                ___ No                 My concern is ______________________________________________________________

Please respond by the close of Monday, February 10.

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