SSE Executive Committee Meeting

April 25, 2008

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


Present: Altiero, Burdsal, Engleman, Gaver, Heins, Kalka, Koplitz, McGuire, McPherson,
Nelson, Parker, Ruscher, Tasker

John, McLachlan

Report on Tulane Deans’ Council Meetings

Dean Nick Altiero reported on the Tulane Deans’ Council meetings of March 25 and April 22. Among the items reported and discussed were the following.
  •  A portion of each meeting has been devoted to preparation for the SACS accreditation visit in 2010 (see below).
  • Shannon Jones, Director of the Cowen Institute for Public Education reported on the activities of the institute and outlined mechanisms for faculty involvement. Each School was asked to identify a contact person and Annette Oertling was identified as the contact in the School of Science and Engineering.
  • The deans were briefed on the status of undergraduate admissions including the potential impact on course offerings, housing, and summer orientation sessions.
  • The deans discussed faculty hiring and retention issues. A partner website is scheduled to go online in May.
  • An English as a Second Language (ESL) course will be offered in the fall for international students. There will also be an intensive ESL session offered just prior to commencement of the fall semester.
  • The deadline for July – December faculty effort reporting (5-ledger grants) is April 30!
  • New faculty in AY08 can be found  at
  • A similar document for AY09 will be published in fall 2008. A web based form will be made available for entry of new faculty information. Schools were also urged to keep all faculty listings on their web sites up to date.
  • A process is being instituted for requests to extend the tenure probationary clock due to birth or adoption of a child, serious illness, care for a seriously ill child, spouse, or parent or professional disaster such as a laboratory fire (see the Faculty Handbook). This process involves submission of a simple form and approval of the relevant dean and the provost.
  • There will be a request for proposals (RFP) coming from the Office of the Provost in early July for new multi-disciplinary doctoral programs. Proposals will probably be due by March 2009.

Report on Health Science Leadership Council Meeting

Nick also reported on the activities of the Health Science Leadership Council (HSLC). The HSLC has appointed a faculty working group that has been asked to integrate the ideas presented by the various task forces in “Project 300.” The mandate to the working group is “to take a broad view, to consider interdisciplinary, integrative research strengths both within and outside your own expertise, and to develop a plan that focuses on capacity building, synergy and interaction among our research strengths.” The working group report is due on August 1, 2008. SSE representatives on the working group are Gaver, John, McPherson, and Tasker.

The HSLC is also taking a very hard look at research space and infrastructure, both current capacity and future needs.

Upcoming SSE Faculty Meeting

The group discussed the agenda of the final SSE faculty meeting of the year, scheduled for May 7. It was agreed that the agenda should include certification of degrees for the spring commencement, reports of the standing committees of the School, and the action items introduced at the March faculty meeting (amendments to the SSE Constitution, amendments to the SSE Promotion and Tenure Guidelines, and the new Dual Degree Engineering program).

Freshman Class

While the target number of freshmen for fall 2008 is 1400, it is possible that the final enrollment could be as high as 1700. The group discussed what additional resources would be required to accommodate 100, 200, or even 300 students more than the target number. The departments most affected by a larger than expected freshman class would be Mathematics, Psychology, and Physics. However, the other science departments would also feel some effect. As was done last year, the Office of the Provost will provide additional resources should the class exceed the target number. The number of students and the level of additional support available to each department will be determined during the first week of May.


There will be an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) site visit in the fall of 2008. This visit will involve assessment of the BS degree programs in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering. Each of these programs is now preparing a Self-Study which will be due to ABET on June 30. There was a discussion of the roles of the departments that provide support courses to these programs in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, and the liberal arts.

The next site visit of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation team will be in 2010. In preparation for that visit, all departments should be prepared to do the following in the near future.

  •  During the summer and fall of 2008, all faculty curriculum vita information must be  entered into the “Digital Measures” database.
  •  Beginning in January 2009, all faculty annual report information must be entered into the “Digital Measures” database.
  • By the end of the current calendar year, each department must develop a Mission Statement.
  • Beginning with the fall 2008 semester, there must be a syllabus on BlackBoard (in .pdf format) for every course offered and every syllabus must include course goals, objectives, and measurable outcomes. Syllabi must also include office hours.
  • By fall 2009, a new online assessment system will be implemented for course evaluations. This system will allow inclusion of curriculum and course specific questions for assessment purposes.

Alumni Affairs

The SSE Board of Advisors has a very active Alumni Affairs Committee chaired by Board member Lori Fischler. Lori has requested that each major in the School identify one faculty member to serve as a liaison to the Alumni Affairs Committee. She also requested that each major identify four students (a senior, a junior, a sophomore, and a freshman) to serve as resources for events, web site development and other alumni activities. Names should be submitted to the Office of the Dean prior to the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year. Department chairs should also be thinking of active alumni who could serve as members of the SSE Alumni Council.

Hurricane Plans

Nick referred the  group to the emergency preparedness site: and requested that all departmental and center hurricane emergency plans be brought up to date in advance of the hurricane season that commences on June 1. There is a standard template, available on that web site, that everyone should use.


The following dates were noted:

May 2 – SSE Jazz Fest Alumni Reception at Mulate’s Restaurant,
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
May 5 – The Pendergraft Professorship Investitures at Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II,
           3:00pm – 5:00 pm
May 7 – SSE Faculty Meeting in 240 Lindy Boggs Center,  
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
May 9 – The Tulane Engineering Forum at the Hilton Riverside Hotel,
8:00 am – 5:00 pm
May 16 – The Graduate Programs Recognition and Hooding Ceremony at Dixon Hall,
9:30 am – 11:00 am
May 17 – Commencement and Diploma Ceremony at the Louisiana Superdome,
9:30 am - 1:30 pm
June 13 – SSE Executive Committee Meeting in 600 Lindy Boggs Center,
8:00 am - 10:00 am
July 14 – SSE Executive Committee Meeting in 600 Lindy Boggs Center,
8:00 am – 10:00 am
August 22 – SSE Executive Committee Retreat in 600 Lindy Boggs Center,
8:00 am – 1:30 pm

Finance and Personnel Issues

Assistant Dean Sandy Parker said that the FY10 budget is finalized but that individual salaries have not yet been entered into the system. This should be completed by mid-May.

Undergraduate Issues

Associate Dean Carol Burdsal said that she would soon be contacting each of the department chairs for the purpose of certifying degrees of the spring graduates. This process needs to be finalized prior to the May 7 School of Science and Engineering faculty meeting. Associate Dean Gary McPherson will be contacting the department chairs concerning the certification of graduate degrees.

Carol also continues to facilitate approval of the capstone requirement for each of the majors offered in the School. She will be meeting individually with each department chair to go over what, if anything, is still required from them and to work through the details of the transition period for departments that have not had a capstone requirement in the past.

Development Issues

Senior Development Officer Kat Engleman reported that unrestricted giving to the School increased dramatically in March, a good sign that the School is establishing an identity with the alumni. She is working on a publication that will be used for fundraising purposes and is in the process of arranging a day for a School-wide photo shoot. Restricted giving remains focused on faculty positions, scholarships, and capital projects with top priority currently on the Taylor Laboratory renovation project.

New Business

The School will soon be conducting a thorough space analysis to determine if that space is being effectively utilized and, if not, what changes can be made to improve utilization. Christner, Inc. will assist with that analysis. The first meeting with them is scheduled for June 13.

There was further discussion about the reappointment review process for professors of practice (see Executive Committee minutes of January 10, 2008) and it was agreed that, in the case of a professor of practice who has not yet attained the level of Senior Professor of Practice, all senior professors of practice in the department shall join the departmental committee of tenured faculty in the review of the case.

School of Science and Engineering, 201 Lindy Boggs Center, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5764