SSE Faculty Meeting Minutes

1111 Goldring/Woldenberg Hall II
February 27, 2013
4:00 PM

Present: Agnew, Ahsan, Altiero, Alvarez, Aung, Baker, Boudaba, Brown, Caruso, Chen, Chrisey, Cortez, Cronin, Dancisak, Daniel, Darwin, Dawers, Derryberry, Di, Dohanich, Dotson, Fauci, Gaver, Gilbertson, Golob, Hebert, Heins, Herman, Horwitz, Hyman, Inglis, Jacobsen, Jayawickramarajah, Johannesson, John, Kaplan, Khismatullin, Koplitz, Lockman, Mao, McGuire, McPherson, Mettu, Mislove, Mitchell, Molix, Moore, Muneoka, Norton, O’Brien, O’Connor, Overstreet, Parrish, Perdew, Pesika, Popescu, Pratt, Reed, Richards-Zawacki, Rosenheim, Ruscher, Schuler, Shakov, Sherry, Sigler, Straub, Tasker, Tornqvist, Venable, S. Wang, Wee, Wenk, Wietfeldt

Guests: Cowen, Balsamo, Kerns, Sibley, Foose, Randolph, Schneider

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the meetings of 3 October 2012 were approved unanimously.

President Scott Cowen

President Cowen began his remarks by referring to a memorandum that he had sent to all Tulane faculty and staff on the subject of the future of higher education. He observed that higher education is undergoing a sea change that will impact universities for decades to come. He went into great depth regarding how Tulane must prepare itself to handle the challenges ahead. This involves re-thinking the strategic plan with more emphasis on cost containment and new revenue sources. He outlined a number of cost containment strategies and revenue generation strategies that should be considered in the university’s and the school’s strategic planning.

President Cowen praised the School of Science and Engineering for the remarkable progress it has made since Hurricane Katrina and its many strengths. He expressed confidence that the SSE will develop a strategic vision that will enable it to continue to thrive regardless of the many challenges.

Following his presentation, President Cowen fielded questions from the faculty. Among the many questions asked were how the university plans to address infrastructure, maintenance and power outage concerns, the effect of the new stadium on university finances and investment in academic programs, accountability metrics, diversification of external funding sources and publication rights, balancing selectivity and program size, the role and importance of STEM education, and the effect of federal budget decisions on the financial health of the university.

Following President Cowen’s remarks and responses to faculty questions and comments, Dean Altiero concluded by stating that the School must address the issues raised by the president as it develops its strategic plan and this would be the main topic of the next meeting of the SSE Executive Committee.

Office of Environmental Health and Safety

Ken Kerns, Assistant Vice President for Environmental Health and Safety, Jim Balsamo, Director of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, and Don Sibley, University Bio-safety Officer, addressed the group on three issues: the chemical cleanout process, ECO funnels and containers for organic solvent waste, and disposal of biological/medical waste. Mr. Kerns distributed a sheet addressing frequently asked questions about the chemical cleanout process, outlined the process in some detail, and emphasized that the disposal of unwanted chemicals is being handled free of charge this year only. He then said that to ensure that hazardous chemical wastes are not being poured down drains or left to evaporate, OEHS is providing ECO Funnel container systems free of charge. He distributed a flyer describing these systems as well as “ECO Funnel Request Forms.” Mr. Sibley addressed issues related to biological and medical waste. All emphasized that OEHS is in the business of helping faculty and students comply with health and safety standards and regulations. They then responded to questions from the faculty.

Office of Disability Services

Shawna Foose, Assistant Director of the Goldman Office of Disability Services (ODS), Anthony Randolph, Director of ODS, and Scott Schneider, Associate General Counsel, addressed the group on the expansion of the ODS office and the new services that they offer to students and faculty. The ODS is located in the Science and Engineering Lab Complex and its mission is to facilitate compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The presentation focused on services offered by the ODS and on procedures for course and exam accommodations. They then responded to questions from the faculty. Ms. Foose said that she would make her PowerPoint presentation available to the faculty after the meeting (attached).

Proposed Amendments to the SSE Constitution and P&T Guidelines

Dean Altiero gave an overview of proposed amendments to the SSE Constitution and the SSE Promotion and Tenure Guidelines that would formalize the process for reappointment and promotion of Professors of the Practice. He said that he would distribute the proposed amendments in advance of the next SSE faculty meeting at which time he will request a vote for their approval.

Old Business

There was no further old business.

New Business

Professor Carola Wenk, Department of Computer Science, announced that the university plans to submit a number of grant proposals to support data-intensive and high-performance scientific computing. She asked for input on existing or envisioned projects that involve large data transfers or high-performance computing cycles.


The meeting adjourned at 5:29 PM.

Minutes by Wayne Reed.

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