Meeting of April 8, 2014

Held in the Poole Board Room of the Wardlaw Building


With addenda recording business later conducted via email ballots



Members Present:        Bohlander (Secretary of the Faculty, GTRI), Bras (Provost), Coleman (GTRI-ELSYS), Cunefare (ME), Eckert (GTRI-ATAS), Gamble (CoA-Arch.), Kirkman (Vice-Chair, Public Policy), Peterson (President), Powell (OSP), Turner (Business), Tyson (Chemistry), Wood (ECE)


Members Absent:        Balch (CoC-IC), Butera (Chair, ECE), Downing (EII), Grover (ChBE), Hernandez (Chemistry), Picon (U’grad. Student), Schumacher (Psychology), Tavares (EVPR’s Office), Vuchatu (GTRI-ESD), Washington (Grad Student), Williams (USGFC Rep., ECE), Zakir (Radiation Safety)


Guests:                        Balsam (Chair, Statutes Committee), Herazy (Asst. Provost)


1.      Prof. Bob Kirkman, Vice-Chair, opened the meeting at 3:07 P.M. 

2.      There was not a quorum so no vote was taken at the meeting on the minutes of the March 4, 2014 Executive Board meeting (Attachment #1)See addendum at the end.

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

a)      The President and Executive Vice-Presidents had held townhall meetings with departments around campus.  If more were needed, Dr. Peterson’s office should be contacted.

b)      The annual “When the Whistle Blows” ceremony honoring those from the campus community who lost their lives in the past year would be held after this meeting.

c)      Significant progress had been made in planning for a Staff Council.  Twelve people would be appointed to a committee that will set the stage for logistics, communications, and elections to the Council (in the fall).  Those serving would have release time.

President Peterson called on Provost Rafael Bras to add some remarks:

d)     Promotion and tenure reviews (approximately 80) and critical reviews (about 40) were recently completed for all colleges.  Dr. Bras said he thought the process for these was improving.

e)      Dr. Maryam Alavi has been named the new Dean of the Scheller Jr. College of Business, effective July 1, 2014.  The current Dean, Steve Salbu, will direct a program on business ethics as Professor in the College.

f)       Today was the day that those employees with 10 or 25 years of service were honored.  Annual awards to faculty would be presented at the April 11, 2014 Faculty Honors luncheon.  April 17 would be the Student Honors luncheon.

g)      Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, would speak at the Sam Nun Forum which was focused this year on “U.S. Competitiveness amid a Changing Natural Gas Landscape: A View from the Southeast”.  Mr. Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize winning author would speak April 17 about “Education and Immigration in the U.S” as a kickoff event for the Arts@Tech Speaker Series. 

h)   The Quality Enhancement Project (QEP) was in preparation for the SACSCOC accreditation reaffirmation.  The selected project focused on service learning and sustainability and would be led by Drs. Ellen Zegura (College of Computing) and Beril Toktay (College of Business).

i)        The Strategic Planning Advisory Group have reported that implementation of the strategic plan was proceeding well.

j)    Admissions invitations were out and acceptance results would be due May 1.

President Peterson closed this part of the meeting with some comments about the topic of sexual assault and harassment of students on the campus.  In response to recent incidents reported in the press, one of Tech’s fraternities was first put on probation and then, after further investigation, was removed for three years.  Two students were suspended, and one expelled; appeals were in progress. A task force (which included students) had been appointed by the VP for Student Affairs prior to these incidents.  They recently made recommendations for improvement in policies and these would go to the faculty’s Student Regulations Committee the day after this Board meeting.  Some of the policy changes were simply required by law.  Others simply represented changes in Georgia Tech’s processes.  Details would be available in the minutes of the Student Regulations Committee and the next Catalog of the Institute for official results of the deliberations about policies and procedures.  President Peterson thanked the task force and indicated they would be reappointed. 

3.      Prof. Kirkman called on Dr. Colin Potts, Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education, to bring the Board news of some ongoing studies of possible alternatives to the academic calendar followed by Georgia Tech.  He handed out some notes to the Board found in Attachment #2 that described options developed by a few different committees of administration, faculty, and students.  Some committees focused directly on calendar options and some were interested because they felt today’s calendar was contributing to stress in ways that a new calendar might alleviate.  It turned out there was some coherence between the views and recommendations of the various groups; this suggested that a focused planning group could likely come up with a proposal that would meet many needs and expectations in the areas of academic affairs and student well-being.  The current efforts were not focused, as some previous studies were, on creating a trimester calendar in order to use space and other resources more evenly throughout the year.  That was not the present motivation, though some of the earlier ideas could be useful.  Present motivations were more along lines of streamlining the calendar and making it more flexible.

Dr. Potts pointed out that changing an academic calendar required a lot of careful planning because changes of this kind were not the sort that could be piloted.  Too many different kinds of things had to be synchronized with a calendar so an isolated pilot could not be devised.  In addition, a change once agreed needed considerable lead time to implement because calendars had to be announced considerably in advance.  Basically, if a change were agreed now, small changes would be possible no sooner than summer or fall 2016 and more significant changes, summer or fall 2017.  In evaluating options there would be many considerations, such as with financial aid, athletics program requirements, housing, requirements experienced by international students, etc. 

One of the areas of minor change had to do with deadlines for dropping/adding courses.  Detailed options were outlined in Attachment #2.  The objective was to change in such a way as to give students more time and thus more information on which to base decisions of that kind.  This would be helpful in reducing student stress.

Dr. Potts then described a major change under consideration for how the period before final exams (now known as “dead week”) might be made more effective.  Exam days would be scheduled in each of the last two weeks in the semester, with four reading and review days preceding each group of exam days.  The objective was to give students more time dedicated to review with fewer exams packed into one week.

The final types of changes Dr. Potts outlined were also more substantive and would need more planning and implementation time.  One of these involved the possibility of short terms within standard terms.  Students could take courses lasting, say, 5, 10, or 15 weeks within a 15-week term.  Another possible change would involve a trimester-like structure and possibly also terms within such terms.  Details were described in Attachment #2

A next step would be to draw up potential alternative five-year calendars.  A planning committee would be formed to explore the options and develop final recommendations, hopefully within the fall semester 2014.

Q. How would the proposed dead week changes accommodate lab courses or ones with major project reports? Students and professors have emphasized the importance of time extending into dead week for completing such assignments.  Ans. The reading and review periods would be implemented primarily for traditional courses.  Major projects could be due in those periods if that was planned in the syllabus.

Comment. The proposed change to dead week would have the effect of shortening teaching time by one week, and that would have a major consequence in many syllabi, especially in engineering courses. Response:  Indeed it would require some restructuring, but benchmarking has shown that Georgia Tech’s terms were now the longest in the country, so it would appear it should be feasible to construct syllabi for a shorter period of instruction.

Comment:  Modular terms (i.e. terms within terms) would offer multiple kinds of flexibility.  For example, flexibility in managing teaching load or in creating pairs of modules with different teachers for each.

4.      Prof. Kirkman next called on Dr. Ron Bohlander, Secretary of the Faculty, to discuss the establishment of the first formal lists of Academic and Research Faculty positions under the new definitions of faculty soon coming up for final consideration.  Dr. Bohlander presented draft lists (in Attachment #3a) based on recommendations of the Statutes Committee’s Subcommittee on Faculty Definitions.  He reminded the Board that the General Faculty meeting on April 22 would not be approving any lists of faculty titles; they would be focused on the framework for faculty definitions and faculty governance laid out in the proposed new edition of the Faculty Handbook.  But it would be desirable to be as transparent as possible about the titles that were likely to be included under the faculty definitions.  The authority for approving lists like this rested with the Faculty Executive Board and the President’s Office, per the proposed new Statutes.

Dr. Bohlander stated that the lists presented in Attachment #3a were nearly the same as those presented at earlier meetings of the Board and of the faculty.  Some Associate Dean and Associate School Chair positions had been deleted from the recommended list since the last presentation to the Board because it had been found that these positions were not well-defined and could be inconsistent with the definition of Academic Faculty in specific instances.  Associate Deans or Associate Chairs, who did fill roles consistent with Academic Faculty, would typically also hold an academic rank such as professor or academic professional, and thus would participate in the affairs of the Academic Faculty on that basis.  If that expectation was not met, steps would be taken to meet it.

Dr. Bohlander shared with the Board a look at a preliminary list of possible Administrative Officers just proposed by the President’s Office.  As this was very preliminary [and since has evolved substantially], it was not recorded here.  Dr. Bohlander reminded the Board that the President appointed Administrative Officers per policies of the Board of Regents (BoR) and some titles were prescribed by the BoR.  Attendees in the meeting commented that they expected that Administrative Officers designated to participate in faculty governance should have titles and job descriptions consistent with the definitions of Academic or Research Faculty.  The Faculty Executive Board must concur in the lists of Administrative Officers included as voting members of either the Academic Faculty or Research Faculty.  Asst. Provost Jennifer Herazy pointed out that the President could (and probably would) appoint some Administrative Officers who would not be designated voting members of the faculty and that was entirely at his discretion.  The President explained that his criteria for Administrative Officers were that they would have significant impact on the academic or research enterprise across the whole Institute and were members of the top executive team or reported to them. 

Since there was no quorum in this meeting, Dr. Bohlander noted that it would be necessary to revisit these issues and decisions later with a quorum.  He urged everyone to attend the April 22 meeting of the faculty to participate in the decision on the recommended changes to faculty definitions and faculty governance. 

Dr. Bohlander then directed the Board’s attention to Attachment #3b titled “Process for the Appeal or Petition of a Position for Participation in Academic or Research Faculty Governance”.  The proposed new statutes provided for appeals whenever changes were made to those titles designated to participate in faculty governance.  Faculty members affected by such a change could appeal to the Faculty Executive Board for reconsideration if their title was no longer designated to participate in faculty governance.  If an individual felt that he or she performed roles consistent with one of the definitions of faculty (Academic or Research) but the definition of their title was not consistent, then they would be encouraged to discuss the possibility of a title change with their unit supervisor and with the Office of Human Resources.  Attachment #3b also covered how the Faculty Executive Board could respond to proposals for new titles or the reconsideration of the designation of an existing title. Details were provided in the Attachment.  `

Q. Did there need to be something in the Faculty Handbook that covered how proposals for new titles would be handled?  Ans. The proposed new Statutes already said “Corrections, additions, or deletions from this list shall only be made with the approval of the Faculty Executive Board and the President.”  So it should be obvious that one could bring these authorities a proposal. 

Q. Should there be a defined process for an appeal if someone felt they should have had an Administrative Officer designation?  Ans. Since appointments of Administrative Officers were made at the discretion of the President, the President’s Office could define such a process.  It was not the purview of the faculty to do so.  Dr. Bohlander reminded Asst. Provost Herazy that the President’s Office recently drafted an administrative policy about Administrative Officers.  It would be appropriate to bring this to the Policy Library Steering Committee for inclusion in the Policy Library, and perhaps at that time, an appeals policy could be added. 

5.      Prof. Kirkman then polled committee liaisons for any reports of matters that should come to the Board’s attention.  The following were significant highlights not covered elsewhere:

·         Prof. Bob Wood reported that the Faculty Status and Grievance Committee (FSGC) was considering some matters referred to them.  Dr. Bohlander reported that, among those, the Statutes Committee had asked the FSGC’s advice on the disposition or improvement of Section 37.5.5 of the Faculty Handbook.

·         Ms. Michelle Powell reported that the Academic Services Committee was focused on regulatory compliance issues.

6.      The Vice-Chair called on Dr. Bohlander to tell the Board about progress in the ongoing faculty elections.  He reminded the Board that the last day for voting was the day after this meeting.  He showed a histogram of votes received per day so far in Attachment #4.  He reported that the percentage participation was already a record at about 36%.  He mentioned that this was the first year to use standard login credentials instead of employee ID and birthdate. 

7.   Dr. Bohlander noted Attachment #5 provided a proposed agenda for the planned April 22, 2014 faculty meeting.  An email ballot would be prepared to ask the Executive Board to

·         Combine a called General Faculty meeting with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Senate and the Academic Faculty on April 22;

·         Approve the proposed agenda; and

·         Approve the minutes of the March 4, 2014 meeting of the Board.

8.      Professor Kirkman asked if there was any further business.  Prof. Ken Cunefare asked that the Board seek clarification about the processes used to advance administrative policies to the Policy Library.  He noted a recent case of policy changes affecting Graduate Research Assistants and Graduate Assistants which were withdrawn after about ten days when a key concern came to light.  He questioned why these had apparently not been reviewed by the faculty.  Dr. Bohlander responded that they had been reviewed by the Chair of the Executive Board, who in turn had reported that “These policies were distributed to a range of faculty across the colleges associated with directing graduate programs as well as the chairs of the Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee and the Student Academic and Financial Affairs Committee.”  Dr. Bohlander said that the Policy Library Steering Committee (which included faculty representation by himself and Ms. Jeanne Balsam) worked hard to identify stakeholders for review of proposed changes. Then after the stakeholder review, proposed policies were announced on the Policy Library web site and the Georgia Tech Daily Digest as available for campus comment. If there were problems with the policies in question, then those problems were just missed in good faith.  Nevertheless, Dr. Bohlander promised to line up a briefing to the Board on the Policy Library process.

Hearing nothing further, Prof. Kirkman adjourned the meeting at about 4:50 p.m.


Submitted by Ronald A Bohlander, Secretary

May 20, 2014


1)      Minutes of the March 4, 2014 Executive Board meeting.

2)      Draft Changes to the Academic Calendar: Executive Summary

3)      Faculty titles.

a)      Draft lists

b)   Draft appeals and petition process

4)      Faculty voting statistics

5)   Proposed Agenda for the General Faculty Meeting combined with the Scheduled Meeting of the Academic Senate and Academic Faculty on April 22, 2014.


Addendum #1

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on April 9, 2014.

Members of the Executive Board  -


Since we did not have a quorum for our meeting yesterday, there is a time sensitive matter that we must decide via email.   While we are at it, we can also dispose of the question of approving last month’s minutes.  Here is what we need to do:


1.       In order to follow through on the second reading of the proposed changes in the Faculty Handbook to implement new faculty definitions and attendant faculty governance changes, we need to call a meeting of the General Faculty in combination with the meeting of the Academic Faculty and Academic Senate scheduled for April 22, 2014.  We also need to approve the draft agenda posted at

Do you approve calling the General Faculty meeting for April 22, 2014 in combination with the scheduled meeting of the Academic Faculty and Academic Senate, and do you approve the proposed agenda?

___  Yes               ___  No                Here are my concerns: ______________________________________________________________

2.       Do you approve the minutes of the Executive Board meeting on March 4, 2014 posted at

___  Yes               ___  No                Here are my concerns: ______________________________________________________________

Due to the time sensitive nature of item 1, I ask that you complete your balloting as quickly as possible and by close of tomorrow so I can get notice of the meeting out in a timely way.  If not enough responses are received by that deadline, I will extend the time, but let’s try to get this done.


Another item that came up yesterday is the matter of reaching conclusions about lists of positions designated as Academic Faculty or Research Faculty.  Discussions yesterday indicated needs for a bit more work. When ready I will bring these matters back to you for your consideration.

A quorum of the Board members having participated, both of the above were passed without dissent. 


Addendum #2

The Secretary sent the following electronic ballot to the Executive Board on April 11, 2014.

Dear Board Members –


Thank you for your promptness on the last ballot concerning the Apr. 22 meeting and agenda.  A quorum of Board members participated and the questions were answered in the affirmative without dissent.  Notice of the meeting is out.  Now I need your help with another ballot.


I am pleased to report that the election results are in (see attached) and there were no ties that we have to figure out. Once again, the level of participation grew a little this year over last to 36%.


Thus, do you approve the attached election results?
_____ Yes     _____ No                 My concern is   ______________________________________________________________


Please respond if possible by close of Tuesday, April 15.


Once I have your approvals, I will then:

· Contact all those elected with congratulations and information.

· Contact all those who were not elected with our thanks and encouragement to try again next year.

· Publish the results. We should treat the results as confidential until then so that the people involved hear about results properly.

A quorum of the Board members having participated, the above was passed without dissent.