SSE Executive Committee Meeting

August 23, 2012
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM


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

Absent: Engleman, McPherson

Guests: Erekson, O’Rourke, Sanchez

Welcome and Introductions

Dean Nick Altiero welcomed the group back for the start of the 2012-13 academic year and introduced Stacy Overstreet as the new Chair of the Department of Psychology and Mike Mislove as the new Chair of the Department of Computer Science. He also noted that Janet Ruscher, former Chair of the Department of Psychology, is now the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs.

Review of Constitution, Voting Faculty List, Committee Assignments, and Meeting Dates

Dean Altiero reported that the following new faculty members are being added to the list of voting faculty: Courtney Baker, Quincy Brown, Doug Chrisey, Elizabeth Derryberry, Ramgopal Mettu, Brent Venable, Susheng Wang, Jiang Wei, Carola Wenk, and Kun Zhao. The following new professor of the practice is being added to the list of faculty with limited voting privileges: Michelle Sanchez. And the following new research professors are being added to the list of faculty who do not have voting privileges: Sean Gifford and Zhixiong Shen. He then went over the committee assignments for 2012-13 and asked that all vacant positions be filled before the beginning of classes.

SSE Executive Committee meetings for 2012-13 are scheduled for September 28, October 19, November 30, December 21, January 25, March 1, April 19, and May 24. SSE Faculty meetings will be held on October 3, November 15, February 27 and May 8.

Dean Altiero distributed the recommendations of the Professor of the Practice Task Force and noted that implementation of these recommendations will require amending the SSE Constitution and the SSE Promotion and Tenure Guidelines document. There was a lengthy discussion that included very constructive input from the group. It was agreed that a draft of proposed amendments will be distributed for further comment with the goal of having a final set of amendments for a first reading at the SSE faculty meeting scheduled for October 3.

Unfinished Business

The group went over the minutes of last year’s SSE Executive Committee meetings and SSE faculty meetings and identified the following topics as requiring further attention this year: building security and handicap access; doctoral program reviews; recommendations of the three task forces (Professors of the Practice appointments, centralized machine shop, and core instrumentation facilities); integration of the unit strategic plans into the School and University plans; Flower Hall occupancy and future build-out; and the new Department of Computer Science.

The Year Ahead

Dean Altiero reported on the first AY 2012-13 meeting of the Academic Affairs Council, held on August 21 and chaired by Provost Michael Bernstein. At that meeting, the following topics were covered: the new University Senate website, SACS Substantive Change Guidelines, the FY13 mission objectives of the Office of Academic Affairs, the University’s Strategic Planning Initiative, the new minor in Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship, and a number of faculty issues such as early tenure reviews and reviews of endowed chair holders. This year’s mission objectives for the Office of Academic Affairs are focused on strategic planning and capital campaign themes, graduate/postdoctoral education review, review of academic policies and procedures, review of undergraduate core curriculum requirements, academic review procedures, and faculty development and mentoring.

Dean Altiero then went over a number of areas of focus for the School of Science and Engineering this coming year including further development of the School’s strategic plan and integration of that plan into the University strategic plan, further development of collaboration with the health sciences including identification of projects for the newly renovated J Bennett Johnston Building, increasing external funding for research, effective utilization of new space in Stanley Thomas Hall and Flower Hall, and development of a budget model in support of the School's strategic goals and initiatives.,

Strategic Planning and the Upcoming Capital Campaign

The faculty has been provided with the following documents: a University-wide SWOT analysis completed by the University Trustees at their June retreat, a preliminary report from the Environmental Scan Committee, a preliminary report from the Diversity and Inclusiveness Task Force, and a report from the Data Profile Committee. Dean Altiero distributed to the group a list of topics that Provost Bernstein has asked each unit to address in the development of its unit plan. He asked that each unit reorganize and update the plan developed last year to be consistent with the format provided by the Provost. This will constitute the first step in the School’s planning process this year.

Administrative Matters

Sandy Parker, Assistant Dean for Finance and Personnel, went over a number of items including this year’s timetable for faculty actions, the status of unit hurricane plans, and the importance of including dates in entries to the Digital Measures database. She also emphasized that it is important to include biographical information of all adjunct appointments because this is a SACS requirement. She concluded by reminding the group that unexpended funds from endowed accounts may not be re-invested in the corpus account without prior approval of the Dean’s Office.

Tanya O’Rourke, Director of Grants and Contracts Accounting, briefed the group on management of cash flow for funded projects. She distributed information to the Department Chairs on projects specific to their individual units.

Graduate Program Issues

Janet Ruscher, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, reported to the group on the following: a course on Speaking Skills being offered to entering graduate students; a reception for new graduate students to be held immediately following orientation on August 24; the doctoral program reviews being conducted this year (self-studies from programs being reviewed are due November 1); a request for photographs to be used in recruiting materials; and a memorandum of understanding that is being developed for a 4+1 program with Xavier University.

She then reminded the group that it is not necessary to consult the SSE Curriculum Committee and the SSE Graduate Studies Committee on graduate curricular changes if the changes (a) retain consistency with SSE minimum requirements and Office of Academic Affairs requirements. e.g. 48 credits, comps; (b) are consistent with the program’s existing approved curriculum, e.g. additional options are provided to meet a specific competency; or (c) do not involve requirements outside the program.

Undergraduate Program Issues

Beth Wee, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, distributed a flyer listing upcoming student events for the Fall semester and she urged strong faculty participation in the SSE Open House scheduled for August 26, the reception for new SSE Honors Students scheduled for September 5, and the Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship workshop scheduled for September 27. She then went over a number of items including SSE Curriculum Committee procedures, STEM internships, the “Girls Do Science” event, and new courses in Computer Science. She concluded by drawing attention to a number of helpful SSE web links.

K-12 STEM Outreach Issues

Annette Oertling, Assistant Dean for K-12 STEM Education Outreach, introduced Michelle Sanchez, a new Professor of the Practice in Physics and Engineering Physics who will also serve as Assistant Director of K-12 STEM Education Outreach in the School of Science and Engineering. One of her duties will be to direct the Tulane Science Scholars Program (TSSP). She distributed a flyer describing the TSSP summer session program and asked the Department Chairs to bring this program to the attention of their faculty. The group also discussed the rules concerning non-affiliate minors participating in laboratory projects.

Development Issues

Senior Director of Development Kat Engleman was unable to attend so Dean Altiero delivered her report on FY12 fundraising results, FY13 fundraising goals, and the role that members of the Executive Committee can play in updating alumni records and identifying major gift prospects. The group was then introduced to Melissa Erekson, Corporate and Foundation Relations Officer, who will now be adding the School of Science and Engineering to the units on campus that she supports.

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