Faculty Meeting

School of Science and Engineering Tulane University
240 Lindy Boggs Center

May 7, 2008
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM



Voting (57):

Altiero, Anderson, Burdsal, Christenson, Colombo, Corey, Cortez, Daniel, Dauns, Dawers, Didier, Diebold, Dohanich, Flowers, Gaver, Godbey, Golob, Grayson, Ha, Han, Herman, Inglis, Jayawickramarajah, Johannesson, John, Kalka, Kaplan, Lacey, Law, Lockman, Mague, McGuire, McPherson, Mitchell, Molix, Moore, Mullin, Murfee, O’Brien, O’Connor, Overby, Papadopoulos, Parsley, Pratt, Purrington, Reed, Rice, Rogers, Rosenheim, Ruscher, Schmehl, Schrader, Sherry, Sulkes, Szechter, Varela, Walker

Non-Voting (14):

Alvarez, Aung, Caruso, Dancisak, Dotson, Grisbaum, Hopkins, Jacobsen,
Oertling, Piringer, Prindle, Shakov, Wee, Wyland


The minutes of the meeting of 24 March 2008 were approved unanimously.


Dean Altiero reported on the following:

  • It appears that the fall 2008 freshman class will be on the order of 1600 students. This is the most selective class in Tulane’s history. More incoming students have identified majors offered by the School of Science and Engineering than any other school.

  • At the end of the 3rd quarter, the total amount of external research funding awarded to faculty members in the School of Science and Engineering was 15% ahead of last year’s pace.

  • Unrestricted fundraising improved dramatically in March. This is an indication that the new School of Science and Engineering is establishing an identity with the alumni. We continue to have a very strong year in targeted giving (scholarships, endowed faculty positions, infrastructure).

  • The University has approved going forward with planning for the Taylor Laboratory renovation and the installation of a clean room facility in Stanley Thomas Hall. Also discussions continue on the possibility of a downtown integrated science facility to house collaborative research involving the School of Science and Engineering, the School of Medicine, and others.

Certification of Degrees

Associate Dean Carol Burdsal presented the names of undergraduate students to be certified for receipt of their degrees at the May 17 graduation ceremony and Associate Dean Gary McPherson presented the names of graduate students. The faculty approved both lists contingent upon satisfactory completion of requirements.

Committee Reports

The following standing committee reports were presented and discussed:

  • Executive Committee. Dean Altiero stated that minutes of all Executive Committee meetings are posted to the web and he would be happy to address via email any questions about specific items in those minutes.

  • Promotion and Tenure Committee. Professor Mike Herman, Chair of the Committee, gave the following report: “During the 2007-08 academic year, the Promotion and Tenure Committee considered five third year review cases, the tenure cases of four senior hire candidates, and four tenure cases, three of which also involved promotion to Associate Professor. The committee received no cases involving promotion to the rank of Professor. Proposed changes to the Promotion and Tenure Committee guidelines were also recommended to the faculty concerning negative decisions in early tenure cases and regarding the possible actions of the committee in cases that have been returned to the department because the committee recommendation is counter to the departmental recommendation.”  The first recommendation had its first reading at the March 24 meeting and is an action item at this meeting.

The second above recommendation is presented for a first reading at this meeting and will be acted on at the next meeting. This proposed amendment to the SSE promotion and tenure guidelines is as follows: “In all evaluations, if the P&T Committee recommendation counters the departmental majority recommendation, the P&T Committee shall return the case to the department for reconsideration, as specified in section B. The response of the department to the recommendation of the P&T Committee will be added to the dossier. After receiving the response of the department, the P&T Committee may decide to reconsider the case. If the committee reconsiders the case, the resulting vote will be forwarded to the dean along with a summary of the discussions and reasons for the vote, signed by all voting members.”

  • Graduate Studies Committee. Associate Dean Gary McPherson stated that minutes of all Graduate Studies Committee meetings are posted to the web. He further stated that graduate student recruiting has improved across all of the departments within the school but that there has been a significant drop in international applications. This is an issue that must be addressed in the coming year.

  • Undergraduate Studies Committee. Professor David Rice, Chair of the Committee, reported that the committee generally meets twice per semester and that they post all committee actions to the web. He also reported that Dean Altiero has now appointed Carol Pizer, Assistant Dean of Academic Advising in Newcomb-Tulane College, as an ex officio member of the committee.

Since the last meeting of the School of Science and Engineering faculty, the Committee re-visited the Dual Degree Engineering Program proposal (first reading at the March 24 meeting, action item at this meeting). The committee endorsed the proposal by a vote of 4 in favor, 2 opposed, and 1 abstention.

  • Grievance Committee. The Grievance Committee has never met and has therefore never elected a Chair.

The Committee on Faculty Tenure, Freedom, and Responsibility (FTFR) of the University Senate has made some recommendations for inclusion in the grievance procedures of all of the schools and a number of those recommendations are under consideration by the School of Science and Engineering (first reading at the March 24 meeting, action item at this meeting). It was proposed that the FTFR recommendations not included in the current vote be referred to next years Grievance Committee for further consideration. This motion passed with 56 in favor and 1 abstention.

  • Nominating Committee. Professor Russ Schmehl, Chair of the Committee, presented a proposed ballot including candidates for the following positions: Secretary of the Faculty, Parliamentarian, Promotion and Tenure Committee, University Senate, Graduate Council, and Center for Public Service Executive Committee. One recommended candidate (Purrington for University Senate) withdrew as he is already serving as an at- large member. There were no further nominations from the floor. The ballot was then approved and it was agreed that a mail election would be conducted during the week of May 12 – 16.

Action Items

The following action items were discussed and voted on by the faculty.

  • Amendments to the Constitution of the Faculty.

  1. Changes to sections I.A. and I.B.1.b. to grant voting privileges to senior professors of practice, professors of practice, senior lecturers and lecturers on matters pertaining to courses and curricula and allowing service on committees focused solely on course and curricular matters including the Undergraduate Studies Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee. The amendments passed with 57 in favor, none opposed, and no abstentions.

  1. Change to section VII.F.1. to prohibit a faculty member from serving simultaneously on the Grievance Committee and the Promotion and Tenure Committee. The amendment passed with 54 in favor, 1 opposed, and 2 abstentions.

  1. Change to section VII.F.2.a. to stipulate that, prior to the filing of a formal grievance, informal resolution should be first sought at the home unit level and, failing that, in consultation with the dean. The amendment passed with 57 in favor, none opposed, and no abstentions.
  1. Change to section VII.F.2.b. to stipulate that formal grievances and complaints must be in writing. The amendment passed with 57 in favor, none opposed, and no abstentions.

  1. Change to section VII.F.2.j. to stipulate that all parties have the right to appeal to the FTFR. The amendment passed with 57 in favor, none opposed, and no abstentions.

A recommended change pertaining to the timeliness of responding to grievances was referred to the Grievance Committee for further consideration along with other recommendations of the FTFR as mentioned above.

  • Amendments to the Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.

  1. Addition of the following statement in section B: “In cases of promotion and/or tenure, the letter from the department should highlight the candidate’s achievements in each of the following areas: scholarship, teaching, and service. In third year review cases, the letter should address scholarship and teaching, and it may discuss service. If a candidate is proposed for early tenure, the reasons for this should be discussed in the letter.” The amendment passed with 57 in favor, none opposed, and no abstentions.

  1. Deletion of the following phrase in section E: “..., but in such cases the consequences of a negative decision are the same.” and addition of the following sentence: “A negative decision on an early tenure review shall not affect the candidate’s original tenure clock.” The amendment passed with 57 in favor, none opposed, and no abstentions. A suggestion was made that there be some limit on the number of times that a candidate can seek early promotion and it was agreed that an amendment to this effect could be considered next year.

  1. Addition of the following sentence in section G: “The candidate should also clearly identify who were the directors of her/his doctoral work.” The amendment passed with 57 in favor, none opposed, and no abstentions.

  • Dual Degree Engineering Program with partner universities. Dean Altiero agreed that this program would be referred to as the “Dual Degree Engineering Program” in all documents including memoranda of understanding with partner institutions. The program passed with 48 in favor, 7 opposed, and 2 abstentions.

Minutes by Wayne F. Reed

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