SSE Executive Committee Meeting

April 26, 2013
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


Present: Altiero, Chen, Engleman, Gaver, Heins, Kalka, Koplitz, Mao, McPherson, Mislove, Oertling, Overstreet, Parker, Robinson, Ruscher, Tasker, Tornqvist, Wee

Absent: None

Various Topics

Dean Nick Altiero announced that the last Executive Committee meeting of the current academic year will be held on May 24, 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM, and the first Executive Committee meeting of the 2013-14 academic year will be held on August 23, 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM. The last SSE Faculty meeting of the current academic year will be held on May 8, 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM, and Provost Michael Bernstein will be on the agenda. He then commented on the following subjects:

  • Committee assignments for the 2013-14 academic year
  • Need for better unit web site maintenance
  • Spring course evaluation response rate and deadline
  • Faculty raises for the 2013-14 academic year
  • Status of promotion and tenure actions
  • Standard letter for requesting external promotion and tenure letters
  • Budget status

Finally, Dean Altiero went over the Commencement activities scheduled for May 17 – 18 and urged strong faculty participation. Availability of tickets for the Unified Ceremony was discussed.

Facilities Issues

Associate Dean Gary McPherson lead a discussion of power back-up needs for the upcoming hurricane season. He was scheduled to meet with the leadership of Facilities Services and Emergency Preparedness later in the morning to make certain that everyone was on the same page regarding which laboratories and offices will be backed up in the event of a prolonged power outage this coming hurricane season.

Dean Altiero and Dean McPherson then lead a lengthy discussion on the future of the machine shop. Work will begin soon to transition the shop to one that is more responsive to the needs of an integrated school of science and engineering as recommended in last year’s report from the faculty/staff task force that was appointed by Dean Altiero.

Development Issues

Senior Development Officer Kat Engleman lead a discussion on how Annual Fund giving is handled and outlined some pending changes to that process. The effect on departmental fundraising was discussed as was the subject of departmental endowed funds. There were many questions and concerns raised about fundraising and stewardship policies in particular and alumni relations in general. It was agreed that James Stofan, Vice President for Alumni Relations, and Chris Dyba, Senior Associate Vice President for Individual Giving, would be invited to the next SSE Executive Committee meeting.

Dean Altiero outlined the process for naming members to the SSE Board of Advisors and said that he is seeking nominations for the 2013-16 term. SSE Board members need not be Tulane alumni. The term starts July 1 so it is anticipated that the selection process will be completed by the end of May.

Undergraduate Program Issues

Associate Dean Beth Wee reported on SSE students who have won 2013 “Tulane 34” and other awards. These students will be honored in a number of ceremonies that will take place between now and Commencement and faculty attendance is strongly encouraged.

Graduate Program Issues

Associate Dean Janet Ruscher referred to a number of email messages that she had sent to departments over the past several weeks. One of the topics that generated a great deal of discussion was the competitiveness of financial aid packages being offered to prospective graduate students.

Dean Altiero reported on the graduate student “Open Forum with the Dean” held on May 22. It was a very constructive meeting. Financial aid was a major topic but several other concerns were raised. He and Dean Ruscher will follow up.

Administrative Issues

Assistant Dean Sandy Parker reminded the group that disaster preparedness plans need to be updated by May 1 in advance of the upcoming hurricane season. She then outlined a new on-line “Human Capital Management” system that would be operational as of July 1. Several staff evaluations have not yet been submitted and these must be done immediately as staff members whose evaluations have not been submitted are not eligible for raises. Finally she thanked the group for their cooperation in reigning in expenditures as we approach the end of what has been a challenging fiscal year.

Tulane Faculty Handbook

Morris Kalka reported on the discussions being held by a committee on which he serves that has been charged with making recommendations for updating and improving the Faculty Handbook.

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