SSE Executive Committee Meeting

January 30, 2009

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


Present: Altiero, Burdsal, Chen, Engleman, Gaver, Pratt (for John), Koplitz, McLachlan, Nelson, Heins, Kalka, McGuire, Oertling, Parker, Ruscher, Dohanich (for Tasker)

 Absent: McPherson

Guests: Beck, Talarchek



Dean Nick Altiero reported on spring semester undergraduate enrollment, spring semester graduate enrollment, mid-year research funding, mid-year fundraising, and 2nd quarter budget numbers.

Undergraduate enrollment in the School is down slightly from spring 2008 despite an increase in the total undergraduate enrollment at the University but this is due in large part to the growing share of the undergraduate population enrolled in the new degree program in Public Health. Graduate enrollment in the School increased significantly over spring 2008 and research funding is also substantially higher than last year at this time. Fundraising from gifts/pledges is down significantly due to economic conditions but it is encouraging to note that the number of donors to the School of Science and Engineering is substantially higher than last year at this time.

Halfway through fiscal year 2009, the School budget is in remarkably good shape but is being strained by start-up packages for new faculty hires and research space renovation projects. The size of the tenure-stream faculty in the School has now grown from 95 in academic year 2007 to the current size of 111 and it is anticipated that it could reach 115 – 120 in academic year 2010 if economic conditions allow. There was a lengthy discussion about the budget and the issues included: the Universityʼs timetable for transitioning back to a de-centralized budget model; how undergraduate tuition may be distributed under such a model; the potential effect of the economy on undergraduate enrollment, graduate enrollment, research funding, and fundraising; and the investment that will be required for expanding the Schoolʼs infrastructure to accommodate its growth.

Dean Altiero reported that all staff evaluations have now been submitted to the Workforce Management office. However there is a problem with the faculty annual evaluation process as many faculty members are having difficulty inputting their annual report information into the Digital Measures database. There was some discussion about how to address this problem. Unfortunately it now appears that there will be no raises this year for faculty or staff members who earn an annual salary above some threshold level. There will, however, be the usual salary increments for faculty members promoted to the rank of Professor or Associate Professor.


Research Opportunities for Undergraduates

Gary Talarchek, Senior Program Manager in the Center for Research Education Activities at Tulane (CREATe), gave an overview of the center and addressed questions.    Information on the center can be found at The mission of the center is: to facilitate the creation of programs at the research-education interface, particularly those funded from federal and state programs; to foster minority participation in research-education programs at the pre-college, undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level; and to enhance the undergraduate experience through programs that promote active participation in research activities. Dr. Talarchek asked that he be made aware of all REU and other undergraduate research opportunities in the School and of all joint student/faculty publications as they appear in print.

Trina Beck, Director of Student Programs in Newcomb-Tulane College, distributed information on The Georges Lurcy Grant Program and the Newcomb-Tulane College Deanʼs Grant Program and addressed questions from the group. These two programs provide funding for undergraduate research. The deadline for applications to the Lurcy program is February 20 whereas applications for the NTC Deanʼs program are accepted at any time.


Deanʼs Office Issues

Carol Burdsal, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, reported on graduate student recruiting workshop that she recently attended. She plans to share what she learned with the SSE department graduate coordinators and to implement many of the ideas. Dr. Burdsal also brought up the subject of Center for Public Service (CPS) planning grants. Several SSE departments have yet to submit proposals and the next deadline is March 11. There was a discussion about the importance of full SSE participation in the planning grant program.

Annette Oertling, Assistant Dean for K-12 Outreach, gave an overview of the various K-12 programs in which the SSE is involved including the Tulane Science Scholars Program (TSSP), the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair (GNOSEF), the DOE Science Bowl, and FIRST robotics competitions. She pointed out that there are many public service opportunities associated with these programs.



There was a general discussion about technology services at Tulane. Dean Altiero agreed to invite the new Director of Technology Services, Charlie McMahon, to a future meeting.

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