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SSE Executive Committee Meeting

August 22, 2008 
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM


Minutes 

Present: Altiero, Burdsal, Engleman, Gaver/Walker, Heins, John, Kalka, McGuire, McLachlan, McPherson, Nelson, Parker, Ruscher, Tasker 

Absent: None 

Guests: Guedry, Lopez, Mitchell, Southworth 

 

Updates and Follow-ups 

Nick Altiero reported on the Deans’ Council meeting of August 19. Among the topics discussed were: the faculty merit review process; faculty rosters and CVs on school and departmental websites; keeping the President, Provost, Development Office, and Government Affairs apprised of initiatives in the schools and departments; the required training for all postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in research programs on the responsible conduct of research; the Tulane electronic Research Administration (TeRA) project; and SACS preparation. Ann Kovalchick has requested the names of faculty and staff members to assist her in the assessment of candidate software packages for the implementation of TeRA and Nick has already volunteered Gary McPherson and Sandy Parker. It was decided that Geralyn Caradona and Lori McGinley would also be asked to participate. 

The deadline for the Board of Regents Graduate Fellows program and the BoR/SREB Graduate Fellowships to Promote Diversity program is November 14.

Carol Burdsal will coordinate proposals involving the School of Science and Engineering. Carol will also coordinate proposals involving the School of Science and Engineering being submitted to the “Innovation and Interdisciplinary in Graduate Education at Tulane” program. Proposals are due December 19. One or more of these could evolve into an IGERT proposal. 

Nick asked that each Department Chair provide $1,000 per year in faculty development funds for each professor of practice employed by that department. These funds should be made available beginning with the current fiscal year. There was discussion about the salary levels for professors of practice and the potential for instituting a merit raise process. Nick said that he would address those issues during the coming year. 

Cedric Walker requested assistance in identifying speakers for the TIDE 145 Grand Challenges in Science and Engineering course. He provided a list of topic areas. 

 

Strategic Plan Implementation 

Nick Altiero reviewed progress to date in the implementation of Vision 2018, the strategic plan for the School of Science and Engineering. This included an emphasis on faculty hiring, enrollment at the undergraduate and graduate levels, research funding, and fundraising (annual giving, endowment, and capital projects). 

With the undergraduate Engineering Physics program now in place, consideration will be given to other academic programs proposed in the strategic plan (or perhaps beyond those proposed in the strategic plan). For each of these proposed programs, a committee consisting of faculty members and external advisors will be appointed. Suggested programs could be at the undergraduate level, the graduate level, or both. Note that any proposed doctoral level program would need to be included in the “Innovation and Interdisciplinary in Graduate Education at Tulane” proposal mentioned above. 

The group discussed expansion of the technology transfer component of Vision 2018. Strong support was expressed for a larger entrepreneurial component in both research and academic programs, including a stronger partnership with the A.B. Freeman School of Business. Nick agreed to invite someone from the Office of Technology Transfer and Business Development and someone from the new Bio-innovation Center to the next Executive Committee meeting. Kat Engleman said that there is considerable interest in this area among our alumni. 

Nick and Gary McPherson will be meeting with the University architects and the external firm hired by the University to begin work on the School of Science and Engineering space strategy, which will include the Taylor Lab renovation. Hopefully this will be completed before the end of fall. All departments will be involved in this planning process. 

Kat again requested that departments provide her with “white papers” focusing on proposed endowed faculty positions, new laboratories, and other initiatives that they would like to see incorporated into the fundraising plan of the School.

 

Hurricane Preparedness 

Greg Southworth, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, joined the meeting. Greg gave a PowerPoint presentation in which he outlined the University hurricane plan and key changes that have been implemented since Hurricane Katrina. 

It was emphasized that each unit should keep its hurricane plan up to date as well as its contact lists. Greg said that the University has now agreed to post the hurricane plans to the web but the contact lists (that have alternative phone numbers and email addresses) will remain confidential and in the hands of the appropriate unit supervisors. There was some discussion about emergency power and it was agreed that the Stern, Boggs, and Israel buildings will be on the priority list for University-supplied emergency power. Greg assured the group that these three buildings should retain uninterrupted power even in the event of a prolonged campus outage. 

Nick Altiero asked that each unit review its hurricane plan to make improvements, to incorporate “best practices” from the hurricane plans of other units, and to update contact lists. There was some discussion that included concerns about keeping graduate students on the payroll if there is a prolonged evacuation and maintaining a sufficient supply of liquid nitrogen and liquid helium in locations accessible to critical laboratories. Nick asked if the computer “mirror site” included all University computing services or just email and web services. Greg said that it was the latter. 

 

Accreditation 

Associate Provosts Ana Lopez and Brian Mitchell joined the meeting to discuss SACS accreditation. Brian gave a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Tulane University SACS Accreditation Re-Affirmation: Faculty Information Sessions, Fall, 2008” which was later emailed to the group. The University’s compliance certification documentation is due in September 2010 with a site visit expected in March 2011. 

Brian explained that an important component of the process must be a new initiative focused on student learning: a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The University is in the process of developing such an initiative and is soliciting ideas from the faculty. 

This fall the focus is on posting all course syllabi, including learning outcomes, on the electronic myTulane Learning System. Also each department is to develop a mission statement, each program is to develop learning outcomes, and faculty credentials (including adjunct faculty, part-time faculty, and staff who teach) are to be entered into the electronic Digital Measures. Each of the nine academic departments in the School of Science and Engineering has drafted a mission statement and undergraduate program learning outcomes and Nick Altiero distributed these to the group. It will now be necessary to develop program learning outcomes for all graduate programs and to develop mission statements and outcomes for administrative units as appropriate.

There was some discussion about mapping course learning outcomes to program learning outcomes and the requirement that these outcomes be measurable with some mechanism in place to use the measures to improve the courses and programs. There was also some discussion about what is required to certify faculty credentials.

 

Fall Events

Candy Guedry joined the meeting to discuss events planned for the fall. This began with a review of the logistics associated with the arrival of the class of 2012. On Sunday, August 24, there will be two receptions held in the lobby of Boggs. The first, at 12:00 noon, will be hosted by the SSE Honors Society and is intended as an orientation to the activities of that group. Recipients of honors scholarships have been invited to this reception, as have their parents. At 1:00 PM, the SSE open house will begin. All new students and their parents are welcomed to attend. Each academic program will be assigned a room in Boggs and there will be signs directing the students to those rooms, where they can meet the faculty and have their questions answered. Department Chairs should be present at both receptions and should encourage as many faculty members as possible to be present at the second event.

Don Gaver said that Biomedical Engineering will conduct a more formal orientation for their incoming students immediately following the open house, at 2:30 PM. Other programs may want to follow this lead in the future. There was also some discussion about orientation events for graduate students. The Office of the Provost will be offering an orientation session for all new teaching assistants on August 25 and it appears that most of the departments in SSE have scheduled their own orientation sessions for new graduate students. 

The next meeting of the SSE Board of Advisors is scheduled for October 3. All members of the Executive Committee are invited to the reception on the evening of October 2 at the Audubon Park golf course club house, 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM. The meeting on October 3 will be in two parts: the full Board will meet in 600 Boggs from 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM and the committee breakout sessions are scheduled in the afternoon from 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM. Following the committee meetings, the SSE will have an open house from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM and we would like to organize some tours of laboratories and other facilities of interest. The school will also host a hospitality suite from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM in the Lavin-Bernick Center. Finally, there will be an SSE hospitality tent outside of the football stadium on October 4 from 9:00 AM until game time. 

 

School Operations 

Nick Altiero reported that he is re-organizing the Office of the Dean and he distributed a draft of the new office org. chart. Already in place are the following changes: Gary McPherson will now be the Associate Dean for Research and Facilities; Carol Burdsal will now be the Associate Dean for Academic Programs; and Annette Oertling will be appointed Assistant Dean for Outreach. Sandy Parker’s position will continue to be Assistant Dean for Finance and Personnel and Kat Engleman will now be the Senior Director of Development. There will also be a rearranging of some staff functions and, hopefully, some additional staff to cover pressing School needs. Those details will be announced as soon as they are finalized. 

An issue prompted by the above re-organization was whether or not we should now merge the Graduate Studies Committee and the Undergraduate Studies Committee into a single curriculum committee. After some discussion, it was decided that the committee structure should be left as it is. Nick indicated that he might appoint and ad hoc committee to advise on research development in the school. 

There are still a few openings on faculty committees for the 2008 – 09 academic year. Nick directed the Department Chairs to www.sse.tulane.edu/pages/SSECommitteeMembership.php to see if they still need to submit any representatives. It is critical that the Nominating Committee and the Promotion and Tenure Committee meet early in the fall semester. Note that there is now an ad hoc Alumni Affairs Committee.

There are two faculty meetings scheduled for the fall semester: October 1 (with the Provost) and December 8 (with the President). Both are scheduled for 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764 sse@tulane.edu