SSE Executive Committee Meeting

December 14, 2007
8:00 AM – 9:30 AM


Present: Altiero, Burdsal, Engleman, Gaver, Heins, John, Kalka, Koplitz, McLachlan, Diebold(for McGuire), McPherson, Nelson, Parker, Ruscher, Tasker

Absent: None

Guest: Sachs


Dean Benjamin Sachs

Ben Sachs, the new Senior Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Medical School, made a presentation on the status of the health sciences at Tulane and his plans and priorities for the future. This was followed by a question and answer period. A great deal of the conversation with Dean Sachs focused on the future of collaborative research involving the School of Science and Engineering, the School of Medicine, the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and the Tulane University National Primate Center.


Finance and Personnel Issues – Parker

Sandy Parker announced that each of the departments have now been assigned individual annual fund accounts to which unrestricted giving targeted to their departments will be directed.

Sandy asked that each of the Department Chairs help her obtain brief biographies of new School of Science and Engineering faculty members who have joined or will be joining the University during AY07-08. The list should include tenured/tenure-track faculty, professors of the practice, research professors, visiting professors, and postdoctoral fellows. These biographies are needed for a web site being developed by the Office of the Provost.

The Office of the Provost has informed us that all professors of the practice are to be evaluated during the second year of their three-year appointments. This means that 7 professors of the practice in the School of Science and Engineering must be reviewed during the spring semester of 2008. The Office of the Dean will prepared dossier notebooks for each of these cases and will provide them to the relevant departments. The dossier notebooks will be identical to those used for third-year reviews (i.e. no external letters required) but it will be understood that the Research section would not normally apply. The Office of the Provost guidelines for appointment and review of professors of the practice are still in draft form but, once completed, will require appropriate amendments to the SSE Constitution. In the meantime, the School will conduct these reviews in the following manner: (1) each candidate will be asked to complete the dossier notebook and submit it to her/his Department Chair; (2) the Department Chair will then convene a meeting of the department’s tenured faculty to review the case and prepare a letter of assessment that includes the committee’s recommendation (vote) on renewal; (3) this letter and an optional letter from the Department Chair will be added to the dossier and the entire package will be submitted to the Dean no later than March 1; (4) the Dean will then make his recommendation to the Provost.


Research and Graduate Studies Issues – McPherson

Gary McPherson gave an update on moving School of Science and Engineering departments and centers into the science and engineering building complex. All of the moves scheduled for the current phase have been completed with the exception of some Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences laboratories that are to be moved into space formerly occupied by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. There are also questions about the allocation of space in Stanley Thomas Hall that is not temporarily assigned to Newcomb-Tulane College Academic Advising.


Undergraduate Studies Issues – Burdsal

Carol Burdsal distributed examples of learning outcomes and assessment plans that could serve as models for SACS accreditation requirements. It was agreed that each program in the School of Science and Engineering needs to identify learning outcomes before the end of the current academic year so that these can be incorporated into course syllabi in the fall of 2008. Nick requested that each program submit a draft list of learning outcomes no later than March 1 so that they can be discussed at the March 7 Executive Committee meeting.

Note: A related topic, currently being discussed by the Newcomb-Tulane College Curriculum Committee is the required “capstone experience.” Unfortunately there was insufficient time to address this issue so it will be placed on the agenda of the January 10 Executive Committee.


Development Issues – Engleman

Kat Engleman said that she intended to meet with each of the Department Chairs to discuss their goals in securing endowed faculty positions, i.e. chairs, professorships, and early-career professorships. She also reiterated her plan to provide quarterly reports to each of the departments on both restricted and unrestricted giving targeted to departmental needs.

Kat emphasized the importance of her being involved from the outset in any fundraising efforts at the departmental level, including targeted appeals and relationships with prospective donors. She would also like to be more involved with departmental advisory boards where they exist.

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