SSE Executive Committee Meeting

April 30, 2010

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


Present: Altiero, Chen, Engleman, Gaver, Darwin (for Heins), Pratt (for John), Kalka, Kaplan (for McGuire), McPherson, Nelson, Oertling, Parker, Ruscher, Schmehl (also for Koplitz), Tasker

Absent: Wee

Guest: Keith, Mislove, Schuler

Graduate Student Database

Elizabeth Keith, Senior Program Coordinator for Graduate Programs, gave an overview of the newly implemented Hobson admissions and enrollment management software, including the Apply Yourself application system. All relevant departmental staff have now been trained in the use of this software and the system is operational. When fully implemented, the system will provide support for the entire SSE graduate studies operation from initial inquiries through alumni status.

Task Forces

Dean Nick Altiero reminded the group that he is establishing a number of task forces to advise on potential new degree programs in the School of Science and Engineering. The current plan is to establish four task forces to focus on computer science, materials science and engineering, geological engineering, and human factors engineering, respectively.

Mike Mislove, Buchanan Professor of Mathematics, has been asked to Chair the Task Force on Computer Science and he joined the group to present his initial thoughts and to seek their input. Mike distributed a document entitled "Draft Outline for Computer Science Track," which he proposed could be a first step toward re-introducing Computer Science at Tulane. He said that the initial goal is to offer a program that would allow a student to explore the relationship between computer science and a related discipline (her/his major). Success of such a program would be dependent on faculty members from across the University willing to commit to senior projects that are software-based. There was an extensive discussion that addressed the resources that would be required for both this immediate proposal and the longer-term goal of a full computer science curriculum (department?), the logistics of future faculty appointments in computer science, suggested task force members from the computer science community, and so on.

Follow-up on SSE Board of Advisors Meeting

Nick reported on the 9 April 2010 Board of Advisors meeting. It was decided at that meeting that the Board will now be sub-divided into six working committees and that these will be: Undergraduate Studies (Tulane member: Beth Wee); Graduate Studies and Research (Tulane member: Russ Schmehl); K-12 STEM Outreach (Tulane member: Annette Oertling); Technology Transfer and Business Development (Tulane member: Nick Altiero); Alumni Relations (Tulane member: Chair of SSE Alumni Relations Committee); and Development (Tulane member: Kat Engleman).

Kat Engleman, Senior Director of Development, reported on the meeting of the Board of Advisors Development Committee. She said that she is working with committee members to develop a strong case for investing in the School of Science and Engineering and to help make that case to potential investors. As part of the University effort to double the size of the Development Office, the School of Science and Engineering will be assigned an additional Development Officer and a shared Program Coordinator, both of whom will be located in Boggs. There was a discussion about the need for more high quality departmental and SSE publications. Kat asked that the Department Chairs continue to provide her with the names of key alumni with him she and Nick should meet.

Tim Schuler, Chair of the SSE Alumni Relations Committee, joined the group to report on the meeting of the Board of Advisors Alumni Relations Committee. He reported that this is a very energetic committee that has accomplished a great deal. The most notable achievement of this committee has been the establishment of annual alumni awards and the alumni awards ceremony that is now held the evening before the spring Board meeting. He noted that the committee is now seeking nominations for next year's awards. [There was a concern raised about the definition of a "young" alumnus. Currently the definition is someone who is within 10 years of graduation as this coincides with the University definition. Most members of the Executive Committee are of the opinion that this should be extended to at least 15 years.] The Board of Advisors Alumni Relations Committee is now exploring ways to engage the SSE Alumni Council and ways to use social networking sites to engage alumni.

Russ Schmehl, Interim Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, reported that the Board of Advisors Graduate Studies and Research Committee has requested a comparison to peer and aspirant universities so that they can better understand where our graduate programs currently stand and what we need to do to be more competitive. He is working on compiling that data. The committee has focused on doctoral enrollment as an important metric and Russ pointed out that the Hobson software discussed earlier will be a very useful tool for attracting and retaining outstanding graduate students. He also gave the group a report that included graduation events scheduled for May 18, results of BOR graduate fellowship applications, and an update on PhD admissions for fall 2010.

Annette Oertling, Assistant Dean for K-12 Outreach, reported that the Board of Advisors K-12 STEM Outreach Committee has just been established and will hold their first meeting in October 2010. She distributed a flyer at the April 9 Board meeting outlining the goals of this newly established committee and she is now recruiting Board members to volunteer for service on the committee.

Agenda for May 6 SSE Faculty Meeting

The group discussed the agenda for the final SSE faculty meeting of the year, scheduled for May 6.

Committee Assignments for Next Academic Year

Nick urged all Department Chairs to complete their AY2010-11 committee assignments before the summer break. All assignments to University-wide committees must also be completed, including representatives that need to be elected by the faculty. AY2010-11 committee assignments will be posted to the SSE web site.

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