January 13, 2012
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Present: Altiero, Gaver, Chen, Robinson, Koplitz, Törnqvist, Heins, Kalka, Mao, Ruscher, Tasker, Burdsal, Wee, Oertling, Parker, Engleman
The group welcomed two new Department Chairs: Anne Robinson (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) and Tor Törnqvist (Earth and Environmental Sciences).
Dave Gowdy, Director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, gave a presentation on the requirements associated with J visas and H visas. In particular, he focused on new rules that affect the salary requirements for postdoctoral scholars on H visas.
Dean Nick Altiero gave an overview of events that will take place during the Spring semester. These include the Boh Investiture Ceremony (March 9), the FIRST Robotics Bayou Regional (March 15 – 17), SSE Week (March 19 – 23), the Tulane Engineering Forum (March 23), SSE Research Day including the Outstanding Researcher Ceremony (April 12), the SSE Distinguished Leadership Circle Reception and Alumni Awards (April 12), the Board of Advisors meeting (April 13), the Graduate Hooding Ceremony and Reception (May 18), and the Unified Ceremony and SSE Celebration Toast for Graduating Seniors (May 19). The logistics of these events were discussed.
The group discussed amendments to the SSE Constitution that were on the agenda of the recent (December 8) SSE Faculty Meeting. These were as follows.
On February 15, Dean Altiero and Associate Dean Beth Wee will attend a meeting in the Provost's office to discuss problems associated with the large undergraduate enrollment. The group was asked for input and there ensued a lengthy discussion of the impact the large undergraduate enrollment has had on class size, course availability, classroom availability, laboratory availability, undergraduate research opportunities, study abroad, and so on. It has been proposed that converting to a 4 course per semester system could help alleviate the problem. The pros and cons of such a system were discussed and Dean Altiero asked that the members of the group submit their views on this matter to him within the next two weeks.
Staff evaluations can be completed online and are due to the Workforce Management Office (WFMO) no later than February 29. In addition, hard copies of all SSE staff evaluations must be provided to the dean's office.
With respect to SSE faculty evaluations, the following dates are important. Each faculty member must enter his/her 2011 activities into Digital Measures no later than February 1. Department Chairs should meet individually with their faculty members prior to February 15 to discuss their annual performance in the areas of research, teaching and public and institutional service. Each Department Chair must then meet with Dean Altiero no later than February 29 to go over the performance of each faculty member. As in the past, all salary increases will be merit based and will be determined by the Dean after consultation with the Department Chairs.
It is university policy that expenses for purchase of alcohol are generally not reimbursable in connection with meetings or meals where only university employees are present. Exceptions to this must be approved by Dean Altiero in advance and the reason for the exception must be clearly documented.
A question was raised about back-up power. Dean Altiero said that all critical SSE equipment and labs are now on the co-gen system and should not be vulnerable to prolonged power outages. If an investigator has a concern about brief power outages, he/she should invest in a UPS back-up system.
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