SSE Executive Committee Meeting

May 29, 2009

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


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

Guests: Maclaren, McKee


Updates and General Issues

Dean Nick Altiero reported that two SSE faculty members will be taking leaves of absence to serve at the National Science Foundation. Daniel De Kee has been appointed to an IPA assignment in the Engineering Education and Centers Division of NSFʼs Engineering Directorate and Carol Burdsal has been appointed as a Visiting Scientist in the developmental biology cluster of the Integrative Organismal Systems Division of NSFʼs Biological Sciences Directorate.

Due to economic uncertainty, the University has now imposed a faculty and staff hiring freeze. Current faculty searches in the School can be completed but no new faculty or staff searches will be authorized unless there is a very compelling reason.

The University has completed the staff compensation analysis and has developed a Compensation Resource Guide which it has posted to the Workforce Management Office website along with a new salary structure for University staff. It has also completed an analysis of current staff classifications and salaries to determine what adjustments need to be made for employees whose salaries are below their new pay grade minimums. Unfortunately this has been put on hold because of the current financial climate. We have been assured, however, that it remains a priority for the University when the resources become available.

There will be a number of major campus construction projects commencing this summer. These include the Dinwiddie Hall renovation, the McAlister Place project, and a major upgrade of campus lighting.

SACS preparation remains a very high priority for the institution. The following areas were again discussed: academic assessment form submissions; administrative assessment form submissions; deansʼ annual reports to the Provost; faculty credentials; and professional personnel credentials. During the discussion, it was agreed that Carol Burdsal would draft program outcomes and metrics for our doctoral programs. It was also agreed that Don Gaver would share with the group some information on the “course roundup” process employed in the Department of Biomedical Engineering to satisfy ABET assessment and continuous improvement criteria.


Teacher Preparation and Certification Program

Linda McKee, Director of the Teacher Preparation and Certification program at Tulane, and James Maclaren, Dean of Newcomb-Tulane College, joined the group to give a program overview and to ask that more SSE faculty members be made aware of the program. Dr. McKee distributed a folder with detailed information about the opportunities for certification in Early Childhood Education (PK-3), Secondary Education (6-12) and Dance (K-12). She cited the current teacher shortages in foreign languages, special education, mathematics and science and emphasized the importance of participation by the science, mathematics, and engineering disciplines. During the discussion, it was suggested that we might want to consider a 4+1 program at Tulane that would lead to a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree.


Academic Issues

Associate Dean Carol Burdsal reported that there are some problems with the Unified Code of Graduate Student Academic Conduct that was adopted by the Schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Liberal Arts, Medicine, Science and Engineering, and Social Work and by the Graduate Studies Student Association (GSSA). She has discussed her concerns with Brian Mitchell, Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Research, and now plans to work with the SSE Graduate Studies Committee to re-visit certain elements of the code.

Dr. Burdsal also reported that she and Elizabeth Keith, Sr. Program Coordinator for Academic Programs have been reviewing the on-line Graduate Catalog and other graduate studies website information to make certain that everything is current, accurate, and up to date.


Research and Facilities Issues

Associate Dean Gary McPherson has been assigned responsibility for completing a comprehensive survey of SSE research space in support of the universityʼs indirect cost proposal to the NIH. Each unit will need to identify a contact person to work with him and provide required data on all research space occupied by that unit. As soon as these contacts have been identified, Dr McPherson will provide each with copies of the forms that need to be submitted. He will compile the data for the School and submit it electronically by the August 31 deadline.


Finance and Personnel Issues

Assistant Dean Sandy Parker reminded the group that all hurricane plans should now have been updated and submitted to Greg Southworth in the Office of Emergency Response. We will request all of SSE plans in electronic form to be posted to the web with a password to protect personal contact information. It was strongly suggested that each unit also include contact information for new and continuing graduate students.

The end of the current budget year is June 30. Because of large non-recurring expenditures such as faculty start-up packages and space renovations, this yearʼs budget is being stretched to the limit.Departments were asked to defer large expenditures until July if at all possible.

Room 600 has now been equipped with Access Grid video conferencing capability.


Development Issues

Kat Engleman, Sr. Director of Development for SSE, distributed information on establishing endowed funds in the School to support faculty positions, scholarships, and other targeted needs. This information is being provided to all major gift prospects and will be posted to our web site.

Ms. Engleman also distributed information on unrestricted gifts to the School through May. To date, the number of donors to the Schoolʼs Annual Fund is up by 18% over the same time last year and the total amount of Annual Fund giving to the School is up by 30%. This is a sign that the new School is succeeding in establishing an identity with the alumni.


Outreach Issues

Assistant Dean Annette Oertling briefed the group on activities in the Tulane Science Scholars Program (TSSP), the Greater New Orleans Science and Engineering Fair (GNOSEF), and the FIRST Robotics and Lego League competitions. She noted that all of these programs are supported by external funding sources.

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