SSE Executive Committee Meeting

July 19, 2006

8:00 AM – 1:30 PM


Present: Altiero, McPherson, Gaver, Mullin, John, Koplitz, Flowers (for Nelson), Heins, Kalka, McGuire, Ruscher, Dohanich (for Tasker), Meffert (for McLachlan)

Absent: De Kee, Burdsal, Parker


Web Pages

Nick Altiero demonstrated the School of Science and Engineering web site ( and welcomed suggestions on how it can be expanded or improved. He said that the site is being maintained by Mudbug Media but that most of the content is being managed by Nancy Walker in the dean’s office using Contribute 3 software. There appeared to be a general consensus that all of the academic departments would like to have the same arrangement, i.e. Mudbug Media support with a staff or faculty member enabled to manage the content using Contribute 3. Nick agreed to add the academic departments to the Mudbug Media contract and to have ILC provide Contribute 3 software training. Centers are also welcomed to join this arrangement if they so choose.

All were strongly urged to send good photos to Nancy Walker ( and Barbara Hogue ( that can be featured on the web site or in school publications. The school will produce a professionally done publication annually or semi-annually.

There was much discussion about keeping the News and Events sections of the web site continuously active and up to date. All departments and centers were urged to send news articles and scheduled events to Nancy at It was agreed that if the departments and centers would maintain News and Events sections that Nancy can simply check those on a regular basis and feature them on the main site as well.

A suggestion was made that there be a standardized web page for each faculty member with educational background, previous positions, selected publications, etc. Nick agreed that we would add this to the web site.


The Undergraduate Catalog can now be found at Nick asked each department to make certain that its section is correct and up to date. It was recommended that we make any necessary changes ourselves. This can be accomplished by requesting the .doc file from Ana Lopez, updating that file, and returning it to her.

Also there was general agreement that there should be a standard format for all departmental sections. Nick will ask Carol Burdsal to handle this. A question was raised about which faculty members should be listed in the departmental sections of the catalog and it was agreed that, in addition to tenured and tenure-track faculty members, professors of practice, lecturers, research professors, and visiting professors should be included.

There was a discussion about the Mathematics and Science Requirements that have been established for a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree. It was the consensus view that this section needs to be revisited by the SSE Committee on Undergraduate Programs and changes need to be made. For example, not all courses offered by the listed departments qualify as “science” courses and they should be excluded (the committee can be charged with determining which courses qualify as science courses and which do not). Also, all MATH courses are 4 credits so requiring 6 credits doesn’t make much sense.

Andrew Martinez strongly recommended a “quality of work” requirement that would allow the School of Science and Engineering to “un-declare” majors who are not making adequate progress toward the degree. This will be particularly important for the engineering programs because of accreditation requirements. He recommended that we do this soon so that it is clear to all incoming students.

Nick said that he has met with George Bernstein to discuss the desire of the Anthropology and Economics departments to offer both BA and BS degree options. It is Nick’s strong view that the BS students must meet the requirements for the BS degree defined by the School of Science and Engineering. George agreed to talk to the chairs of these departments about what would need to be done to satisfy these requirements. This will probably involve us accepting certain Anthropology and Economics courses as science courses and adding them to our approved list, another matter that the Committee on Undergraduate Programs can handle. A question was asked about students who dual major in programs offered by two different schools and it was confirmed that the degree received would be associated with the primary major.

A question was asked about the Pharmacology minor. Does this still exist? Nick will investigate.


Nick is drafting a Constitution for the School of Science and Engineering that will need to be approved by the faculty. Several issues pertaining to the content of the Constitution were discussed.

It was decided that Professors of Practice and Research Professors would be non-voting members of the faculty.

It was also decided that the administrative group (Deans, Chairs, Directors) would constitute the Executive Committee of the School, that there would be a Graduate Committee and an Undergraduate Committee each consisting of departmental representatives appointed by the Department Chairs, and that there would be a Nominating Committee and a Grievance Committee each consisting of departmental representatives elected by the faculty of the department.

[Note: The Executive Committee will meet from 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM on the following Fridays: August 25, September 22, October 20, November 17, January 19, February 16, March 23, and April 27. The faculty as a whole will meet in late August with President Cowen on the agenda, in late September with Provost Barron on the agenda and then from 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM on the following dates: November 29, February 13, and April 12. The entire staff of the school will meet from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM on September 22 and February 16.]

Nick asked each of the departments to take a look at their representatives to the Graduate Committee and Undergraduate Committee and to replace any who cannot serve for whatever reason. Daniel De Kee will organize a meeting of the Graduate Committee and Carol Burdsal will organize a meeting of the Undergraduate Committee at which the respective committee Chairs for 2006-07 will be elected.

The Promotion and Tenure Committee will consist of 9 faculty members elected at-large by the faculty from a slate prepared by the Nominating Committee. Except in very rare circumstances, all members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee will be full Professors. Department Chairs will be eligible to serve on the Promotion and Tenure Committee.

It was noted that some of the current faculty searches will probably involve rank and tenure decisions and it is likely that one or more will need to be addressed prior to the election of a Promotion and Tenure Committee. Should that occur, the Department Chairs will constitute an ad hoc committee.

The most controversial issue was whether to use the title of “Department Chair” or “Department Head”. While there was general agreement that departmental leadership should be able to exercise a high level of authority, there was concern about how faculty would react to the use of the term “Head” as opposed to “Chair.” Nick agreed to detail the duties of Department Chairs in the Constitution so that there are no misunderstandings. He said that he is still leaning toward the use of the title “Department Head” but that this is not as important as properly articulating the duties and authority of the departmental leaders.

Promotion and Tenure Process

Nick is drafting Promotion and Tenure Guidelines for the School of Science and Engineering that need to be approved by the faculty. Several issues were discussed.
It was agreed that external letters of evaluation would not be required for third-year review cases. For other actions, two to four letters would be requested from reviewers selected by the departmental promotion and tenure committee and a minimum of two letters would be requested from reviewers selected by the School promotion and tenure committee.

It was also agreed that promotion and tenure dossiers would be in standardized format and confined to single 3-ring binders. Nick agreed to provide a color-coded 3-ring binder for each candidate with clear instructions on the ordering of content.

The following timetable was established: CV due October 1; full dossier with departmental decision due to School P&T Committee by January 19; P&T Committee recommendation to Dean by February 7; recommendation to Provost by February 16. For mid-year hires, the timetable would be as follows: CV due January 19; full dossier with departmental decision due to School P&T Committee by April 27; P&T Committee recommendation to Dean by May 16; recommendation to Provost by May 25.

Faculty Issues

Nick updated the group on the status of the faculty. We currently have 126 regular “budgeted” faculty positions in the School of Science and Engineering. Prior to Katrina, 14 of those positions were unfilled. Since Katrina, 16 additional faculty members have left or have indicated that they are leaving. There are 6 faculty searches in progress and all other open faculty positions are currently frozen.

The School has 12 endowed chair positions, 5 endowed professor positions, and 4 endowed early career professors positions. Hereafter endowed chairs will be 5-year renewable appointments, endowed professorships will be 3-year renewable appointments and endowed early career professorships will be 1-year renewable appointments. Securing additional endowed faculty positions will be a high priority when the capital campaign is renewed in December.

We have now hired 6 professors of practice and 2 assistant research professors. According to the Faculty Handbook, professors of practice are automatically promoted to senior professors of practice upon appointment to a third three-year term. School policy pertaining to research professors will be posted to the web.

We discussed faculty load policy in the School of Science and Engineering. It was agreed that each department needs to set a standard teaching load for research-active faculty members that is comparable to the load at peer institutions. Nick asked that each Department Chair let him know what that load should be in her/his department and to let him know if her/his department has a reduced load for junior faculty. It was agreed that a full teaching load for a faculty member who does no research and does not have an administrative assignment should be 3 three-credit courses per semester and that this would constitute a 90% load, the remaining 10% being allocated to service. It was pointed out that LAS has had a policy of no teaching load in the semester following a successful third-year review and Nick agreed to institute such a policy in the School of Science and Engineering.

Staff Issues

Nick said that we have approximately 60 staff members budgeted on 2-ledgers and about 30 budgeted entirely on soft money. He expressed concern about consistency of job titles, job descriptions, and overload and bonus policies. He has sought clarification from Human Resources and plans to work with the Executive Committee to establish more uniformity within University guidelines.

There are a number of staff members who teach classes and supervise laboratories and the question was raised as to whether or not these individuals could be reclassified as Professors of Practice. It was agreed that this would be appropriate if the individual holds a PhD degree and that we should make these changes. Is a PhD degree required for a Professor of Practice? If so, should School policy allow for Professors of Practice with an MS degree under special circumstances? This needs to be addressed.

Student Issues/Other Issues

There was insufficient time to discuss these issues so they will be deferred to future meetings or handled via email.


This was discussed very briefly. Nick said that the School of Science and Engineering will ultimately occupy the following buildings on the uptown campus: Boggs, Israel, Stern, Fortier, Thomas, Blessey, Taylor, Mechanical Engineering, Mechanical Services, and Engineering Labs. The Taylor Building is scheduled to be remodeled and the last three buildings will ultimately be replaced by a new Science and Engineering Building (at which time we will probably relinquish Fortier). The School also occupies some space in the Reilly Center and at University Square. It was pointed out that the CBR oversees space in the J. Bennett Johnston Building downtown and there may also be some excellent opportunities at RiverSphere.

Gary McPherson and Nick are in the process of planning for space reassignments that will be taking place between now and July 2007. It was emphasized that space is not owned by departments but is assigned to them, that departmental spaced may or may not be contiguous, and that space will not necessarily be allowed to sit empty because of “open positions”.

Strategic Planning

See the last 6 slides of the attached PowerPoint presentation! The first step in the process will be intra-divisional strategic plans that include interdisciplinary research thematic areas, degree programs with interdisciplinary components, and regional/community relevance. Nick outlined the desired characteristics of a “division” and emphasized the need to define a new vision for engineering within the context of a unified science and engineering school. He said that he would work closely with the Department Chairs as they construct these plans and offered to meet with them and the faculty of their department/division as needed. Each division must submit a first draft of its plan to Nick by Monday, September 11. The draft divisional strategic plans will be used as a basis for crafting a school- wide plan. This will be done by the Executive Committee with input from external advisory groups.

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