Faculty Senate Convenes for Fall Meeting

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At its Oct. 18 meeting, the Faculty Senate spent reviewed work from the past year and conducted business related to new action items. President G.P. “Bud” Peterson called the meeting to order and made brief comments about recent business at the Board of Regents (BOR). Rafael Bras, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, followed with additional notes from BOR proceedings (see page 4) and mentioned the recent death of a student.  John Stein, vice president of Student Life and dean of students, said that the student was involved in many areas of the campus community and had a number of friends and peers who may be affected by his passing. Stein asked that if instructors have students who are struggling with the loss and request an extension on an assignment that the instructor consider granting that request if possible. Changes to the Faculty Handbook, presented by Joe Hughes, chair of the Statutes Committee, centered around the hiring and promotion of non-tenure track faculty. Discussion took place around concerns regarding academic professionals, particularly on the topic of letters of recommendation when those at other institutions may not understand the role these positions play at Georgia Tech. Changes were approved, but further discussion will take place to ensure academic professionals are properly prepared for the new guidelines.  Committee representatives provided annual reports from the past year. Of note was an increase in nominations reviewed by the Faculty Honors committee, which reviewed 41 nominations last year — an increase from 26 the previous year.  Nathan Moon, committee chair, was pleased with the increase, but continued to press for more.  “There’s a great deal of excellence on campus, and we want to recognize it, especially in areas where we usually have underrepresentation in awards,” he said. “We want our nominations to accurately reflect the diversity of the campus community.” The group is also working with Staff Council groups to coordinate honors across campus and is reviewing award guidelines to be sure the descriptions are accurate and encourage nominations.  The Institute Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (IUCC) met 20 times over the past year, reviewing and approving school and name changes, new degree possibilities, and new degree options. It approved 52 new courses, denied one request for a new course, and deactivated 138 courses — a win for the course catalog, said Committee Chair Rhett Mayor. “We try to avoid having a lot of courses that aren’t offered very often,” Mayor said. The Institute Graduate Curriculum Committee (IGCC) had the same net negative in courses for last year, adding 43 new courses but deactivating 113. The IUCC also reviewed and deactivated three study abroad programs due to low enrollment.  Victor Breedveld, IGCC chair, discussed the Master of Science in Analytics Program’s pre-proposal to offer an online version of the degree, akin to a smaller-scale Online Master of Science in Computer Science. Applications to the Analytics program have far outpaced the enrollment capacity of 45 students. The online offering would have the same degree requirements as the on-campus version, but with a lower tuition rate and limited student support services (such as career counseling, seminars, or support for conferences). The online degree would only offer two tracks, Analytical Tools and Computational Data Analytics, omitting the Business Track that is available in the residential degree program. The program prospectus must be approved by the BOR, including the lower tuition rate, before it comes to fruition.  The IGCC also reviewed prospectuses for a new Ph.D. in Machine Learning and a new Master of Science in Real Estate Development. It also worked with the Office of Graduate Studies to increase Tech’s minimum required TOEFL score from 79 to 90, bringing it in line with peers and many requirements of individual schools and colleges.  Breedveld noted the increase in some of the IGCC’s activity, as the Institute’s graduate population is its largest ever, with more than 11,000 students. Much of that growth is in the Online Master of Science in Computer Science Program, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students.    For full presentations and meeting minutes, visit


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Kristen Bailey
  • Created: 10/25/2016
  • Modified By: Kristen Bailey
  • Modified: 10/25/2016

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