SSE Executive Committee Meeting

August 23, 2013
8:00 AM – 2:00 PM


Present: Altiero, Gaver, Graas (for Engleman), Heins, Kalka, Koplitz, Mao, McPherson, Mislove, Overstreet, Parker, Robinson, Ruscher, Sanchez, Tasker (also for Chen), Tornqvist, Wee

Guests: Dyba, Gessler, Rhines, Stofan

School Update

Dean Nick Altiero welcomed the group back for the start of the 2013-14 academic year and introduced Michelle Sanchez, who is now the Director for K-12 STEM Outreach. He also introduced Nicole Graas, Development Officer, who was standing in for Kat Engleman and he informed the group that Jeff Tasker would, in addition to representing the Neuroscience program, be standing in for CMB Department Chair Yi Ping Chen. He then proceeded to update the group on School of Science and Engineering metrics at the outset of the academic year including the number of faculty members at each rank, enrollment at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and trends in research funding, fundraising, and technology transfer/commercialization. There was a general discussion regarding the status of faculty hiring and Dean Altiero asked that each of the Department Chairs confirm with him their proposed faculty searches for academic year 2014-15.

Administrative Issues

Sandy Parker, Assistant Dean for Finance and Personnel, brought the group up to date on the implementation of the Kronos timekeeping system and the Human Capital Management (HCM) system. This lead to a lengthy discussion of problems being encountered in the implementation of these systems as well as the effect on staff operations in the various units of the School. She then went over the promotion and tenure timetable for the coming year and asked that each of the Department Chairs verify with her (by August 30) which faculty members would be coming up for reappointment, promotion and/or tenure this coming year. It was noted that a standard letter must be used to solicit external letters of evaluation for all actions that require external letters and that a template of that letter is posted to the SSE web site.

K12 STEM Education Issues

Michelle Sanchez, Director of K-12 STEM Outreach, distributed information on the AY 2013-14 Tulane Science Scholars Program (TSSP) and brought the group up to date on the growth of that program. She also asked that the Department Chairs promote faculty participation in the TSSP (distributing a form that faculty members can use to register TSSP courses) and in the Girls in STEM at Tulane (GIST) program.

Graduate Studies Issues

Janet Ruscher, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs, distributed a sheet that listed recent emails that she had sent to the Department Chairs and included data on the PhD and MS graduates of 2012-2013 and the admitted PhD and MS students for Fall 2013. She said that, shortly after the beginning of the Fall semester, she would distribute information on the number of doctoral students supported by research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and/or fellowships. Concern was expressed that there is insufficient office space to accommodate the growing number of graduate students on assistantships and it was agreed that the School needs to make identification of more graduate assistant space a top priority in the coming year.

Undergraduate Studies Issues

Beth Wee, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, distributed a sheet listing current undergraduate issues, a calendar of events flyer, and a flyer promoting a September 10 seminar focused on patents and start-ups. She went over the list of undergraduate issues and emphasized the importance of faculty participation in student events and maintenance of catalogue information and web sites. The first meeting of the SSE Curriculum Committee will be held during the third week of September so proposals for new courses or curricular changes must be submitted by September 13. She then brought the group up to date on the AAU undergraduate STEM education initiative and on Tulane’s participation in that activity.

The group was then joined by Dana Gessler and Brad Rhines from the Newcomb-Tulane College Academic Advising Center. They outlined the mission of the center and delineated advisor and advisee responsibilities. They also went over the features of the Academic Advising Center website with emphasis on links that can be used to report academic and non-academic concerns involving students. There was a general discussion regarding how we can better coordinate the work of the departmental faculty advisors with that of the advisors in the Academic Advising Center.

Alumni Relations and Development

James Stofan, Vice President for Alumni Affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the joint strategic plan of the Tulane Alumni Association (TAA) and the Office of Alumni Relations (OAR). He said that he planned to follow-up with Dean Altiero on the role of “School-Based Alumni Relations” in that plan. During the ensuing discussion, the group was joined by Chris Dyba, Senior Associate Vice President for Leadership Giving, who went over University and School fundraising goals with emphasis on the upcoming capital campaign. He urged the School to “think big” in setting its capital campaign goals. The importance of coordination between alumni relations and development was emphasized in the discussion that followed. Several members of the group expressed the view that a physical class gift is the best way to engage alumni from the very beginning in the spirit of giving back.

Budget Matters

Dean Altiero went over the budget situation in great detail and outlined the short-term and long-term plans for dealing with current budget challenges. He said that he planned to meet with each of the academic departments individually to present this information and answer any questions that the faculty might have. A lengthy discussion followed. Dean Altiero said that he would invite someone from the Office of Operations and Finance to the next SSE Executive Committee meeting to present the University perspective.

Strategic Plan

Dean Altiero went over three draft documents that had been distributed to the group in advance (SSE — Vision 2013, SSE Strategic Plan Summary, and SSE Academic SWOT) and asked for input from the group. At the conclusion of the discussion, he said that he would establish a timeline for next steps and append it to the minutes of the meeting. The timeline is as follows:

  • September 13 — Executive Committee Feedback to Dean
  • September 16 — New Drafts to Executive Committee
  • September 20 — Additional Executive Committee Feedback to Dean
  • September 23 — New Drafts to SSE Faculty and SSE Board of Advisors
  • October 2 — SSE Faculty Meeting
  • October 4 — SSE Board of Advisors Meeting

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