SSE Faculty Meeting Minutes

213 Lavin Bernick Center
February 14, 2012
4:00 PM

Attendance:Ahsan, Altiero, Alvarez, Aung, Barbarin, Boudaba, Caruso, Chen, Cortez, Cronin, Dancisak, Daniel, Darwin, Dawers, Didier, Fink, Gasparini, Gaver, Gibb, Godbey, Golob, Hall, Hebert, Heins, Hopkins, Horwitz, Hyman, Jayawickramarajah, Johannesson, John, Kalka, Kaplan, Karubian, Khismatullin, Kim, Koplitz, Lacey, Lockman, Mao, Molix, Mislove, Mullin, Muneoka, Nelson, Norton, O'Brien, O'Connor, Parrish, Perdew, Pratt, Reed, Robinson, Rosenheim, Ruscher, Ruzsinszky, Schrader, Schuler, Shakov, Sherry, Straub, Talbayev, Taylor, Thien, Vasudevan, Walker, Wang, Wee

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 8 December 2011 were approved unanimously.

Introduction of New Faculty

The following new faculty members were introduced: Anne Robinson (Professor and Chair, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Bruce Gibb (Professor, Chemistry), Sunshine Van Bael (Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Mimi Sammarco (Research Assistant Professor, Cell and Molecular Biology), Robinson Negron-Juarez (Research Assistant Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). Torbjörn Törnqvist is now Chair of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

SSE Constitutional Amendment

The following amendments to the SSE Constitution were presented for a second reading: (1) delete sections VII.C.2.e and  VII.C.2.f, both of which appear in the faculty-approved SSE Promotion and Tenure Guidelines, and re-label section VII.C.2.g as VII.C.2.e; and (2) delete section VII.C.4. in its entirety as this section is inconsistent with the "Negative Recommendations" section of the SSE Promotion and Tenure Guidelines and is, in fact, inappropriate as the recommendation of the Promotion and Tenure Committee is confidential. The amendments were approved by a voice vote with one dissention.

Doctoral Program Reviews

Mike Mislove, one of four SSE faculty representatives on the Graduate Council, briefed the faculty on the external review of doctoral programs that will commence in 2012-13. The Graduate Council is developing the guidelines for these reviews. In 2012-13, doctoral programs in Mathematics, Physical Sciences and Engineering will undergo review.  Programs in the Health and Behavioral Sciences will not be reviewed until 2014-15. Self studies for the programs being reviewed this coming year are due in November 2012. Mike also reported that an Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies has been established and this will be headed by Associate Provost Brian Mitchell.

Committee Reports

Mark Fink, Chair of the Promotion and Tenure Committee, reported on the number of promotion and tenure cases handled by the committee to date and on the number of cases yet to be reviewed (which consists of midyear appointments and anticipated senior hires).

Jerry Shakov, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, said that the committee would soon be asking for all 2012-13 course syllabi in accordance with the SACS review process. He was then asked about course revisions and new courses pending committee action and he reported that all had now been approved. It was emphasized that all committee actions would be reported in the minutes of the committee and that committee minutes would be posted to the SSE website in a timely manner.

There was no Graduate Studies Committee report. Dean Altiero announced that Associate Dean Carol Burdsal has accepted a position at Bucknell University and would be leaving at the end of the current academic year. An internal search will be conducted to identify her replacement.

Nominations for "Tulane 34 Awards" are now due and Associate Dean Beth Wee can provide the criteria. All graduating students, including undergraduate, graduate and professional, are eligible for one of these awards (34 students will be honored).

W Godbey, Chair of the Grievance Committee, reported that there have been no grievance cases filed this year.

Tom Sherry, Chair of the Nominating Committee, reported that the committee has begun work on identifying candidates to run for committee positions for next year.

Tim Schuler, Chair of the Alumni Relations Committee, reported that the School now has a quarterly Newsletter that is distributed electronically. The committee has suggested that a professional publicist be hired to assist with this Newsletter as well as other School and departmental publications. Nominations are still be accepted for this year's SSE alumni awards, including the Outstanding Alumnus award, the Young Outstanding Alumnus (i.e. under age 35) award, and the Outstanding Alumnus Service award.

School Update

Dean Altiero reported on progress in implementing the new decentralized budget model. This has been complicated somewhat by the "headcount stabilization" that is being enforced by the University in light of uncertain economic conditions. He also reported that the University has begun a strategic planning process that will lead to a major fundraising campaign to begin in a year or two. All units in the School of Science and Engineering have recently submitted updates of their strategic plans to the SSE Dean's Office so the School is well-positioned for the University strategic planning process.

The Dean then lead a discussion of a number of important issues facing the School. The list of topics included the expectation of yet another very large freshman class, the increasingly difficult research funding climate, and the importance of increasing alumni giving to the SSE Annual Fund.

The Dean was asked when "headcount stabilization" would be lifted and he said that he did not know. He reminded the faculty that this implies that open positions can be filled but that no new positions would be approved without a very compelling argument and a budget plan. The number of faculty in the School grew at a significant pace in the years following Hurricane Katrina but has now stabilized at a little over 120 tenured/tenure-track faculty and 30 professors of the practice.

The Dean was also asked to give an update on the re-establishment of Computer Science. He said that he is committed to doing this and anticipates as many as three faculty members in this area by Fall 2012. He said that a special case has been made for establishment of this program and a budget plan has been submitted to the University. Alumni and corporate support will be critical to the program's success.

It is expected that Flower Hall will be ready for occupancy in October with a ribbon cutting scheduled for December 11. The first and fourth floors will be completed but the second and third floors will be "shell space" for future growth.

The Unified Commencement ceremony is scheduled for the morning of May 19 with the Newcomb-Tulane College Diploma Ceremony scheduled for later that afternoon. The SSE will host a reception at the Superdome between these two ceremonies More details are forthcoming. The Graduate Ceremony will again be held the Friday morning prior to the Unified Commencement and it will take place at Dixon Hall with a reception to follow at the Lavin Bernick Center.

Old Business

There was no old business.

New Business

There was no new business.

The next meeting of the faculty of the School of Science and Engineering is scheduled for 3 May 2012.


The meeting adjourned at 5:03 PM.

Minutes by Wayne Reed.

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