SSE Executive Committee Meeting

November 9, 2007
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


Present: Altiero, Burdsal, Engleman, Gaver, Heins, John, Kalka, Koplitz, McLachlan, McGuire, McPherson, Nelson, Parker, Ruscher, Tasker

Absent: None

Guest: Maclaren


SACS Assessment Process – Burdsal

Carol Burdsal reported on the need to articulate “learning outcomes” for each of our degree programs and to implement processes to assess how well we are achieving these outcomes. This will be required of all units on campus in preparation for the SACS accreditation visit that will take place in 2010 – 11. The undergraduate programs in Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering already have assessment processes in place and they are being developed for the undergraduate program in Engineering Physics. These can be used as examples for the other programs. Nick Altiero asked that each of the department faculties meet to identify learning outcomes for each of their programs.


Summer School – Maclaren

Newcomb-Tulane College Dean James Maclaren joined the group to discuss course offerings for the summer of 2008. He said that the University will need to offer more courses in the second summer session this year than it did last year and asked that departments provide at least one- half as many courses in the second summer session as they do in the first summer session. Information packets will be distributed to the departments soon with a deadline for summer course submission.


Finance and Personnel Issues – Parker

Sandy Parker asked that all unit heads bring their certifications up to date on the on-line effort reporting system.

Nick Altiero reported that the University will be enforcing a maximum of 95% effort charged to grants by research professors. This will allow at least 5% of their time to be devoted to duties not associated with the grants, such as proposal writing.


Research and Graduate Issues – McPherson

Gary McPherson said that he had scheduled a meeting with the Department Chairs to discuss graduate student recruiting. Following that meeting, Christi Longlois and Eric Taylor will meet with each of the Chairs or their designees individually to discuss the development of recruiting materials and participation in graduate recruiting activities such as graduate fairs. There was a discussion about efforts to recruit more minority graduate students, including expansion of the highly successful program with Xavier University administered by the CBR, and our application to join the GEM consortium.

Gary announced that the BOR Fellows application deadline is November 14 and that the on-line application forms are different than in years past.


Development Issues – Engleman

Kat Engleman informed the group that she is developing a new tracking and reporting system that will include quarterly reports to the individual departments on Annual Fund contributions and restricted giving. She then outlined the activities of the Board of Advisors Development Committee, plans to draft a letter from the Dean to all science and engineering alumni explaining the role of the new School of Science and Engineering, and plans to develop a brochure outlining the highlights of Vision 2018, the School of Science and Engineering strategic plan.

Kat enlisted the help of Department Chairs in reaching out to alumni of their programs through newsletters and other communications. She said that she and the Dean travel regularly to a number of key cities and she asked for referrals of alumni that they could meet with during these visits. The next three trips will be to Miami, Chicago, and Dallas/Houston.


Old Business – Altiero

1.Nick Altiero led a discussion about the October 26 Board of Advisors meeting, including the activities of the five Board committees. The next Board meeting is scheduled for April 11 and it is imperative that the five committees remain active between meetings. It was suggested that we return to the tradition of inviting students to lunch with the Board and Nick agreed to do that beginning with the April 11 meeting. He also agreed to consider adding faculty speakers to future Board meeting agendas.

2. Nick again urged everyone to send accomplishments of faculty, students, staff, and alumni to Candy Guedry so that they could be forwarded to University Public Relations and included in various publications.

3.Nick announced that the special arrangement with the A. B. Freeman School of Business Postdoctoral Bridge Program, discussed at the previous meeting, has been confirmed. The conditions will be as follows.

  • A student who completes a PhD degree in any discipline in the School of Science and Engineering will be admitted directly into the A. B. Freeman School of Business Postdoctoral Bridge Program provided that
    • He/she graduates with at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA for all doctoral course work; and
    • He/she is recommended by his/her PhD advisor.
  • The student will receive a tuition waiver of 50% in the Postdoctoral Bridge Program.

4.Vijay John led a discussion about team teaching of graduate courses involving multiple departments. It was pointed out that there are already examples of this involving Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics, as well as Neuroscience. All were in agreement that this is a good idea at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. There were concerns, however, about how participation in team teaching a course should be treated as part of a faculty members teaching load. It was agreed that this needs to be defined. It was also agreed that such interdisciplinary courses need to be listed (or cross-listed) in such a way that students will be made aware of them.

5.Nick expressed strong interest in following up with Gabe Navar, Chair of Physiology, on his proposal that we develop an undergraduate minor or major in Physiology. A committee will be formed to look into this and the following were identified as members: Don Gaver, Jeff Tasker, David Heins, and John McLachlan.

6.Nick reviewed the faculty annual evaluation process and said that, beginning this year, special attention needs to be given to defining each faculty members load distribution (page 1 of the Faculty Annual Activity Report form). Nominally a 3 credit course counts for 30% load in a given semester and faculty members who do not have administrative assignments are expected to devote 10% each semester to service activities. Using these guidelines, it would be expected that time not allocated to teaching or service would be devoted to research. When each of the Department Chairs meets with the Dean in February to discuss faculty performance, the appropriateness of load distribution for each faculty member will also be discussed.

New Business – Altiero

1.Questions were raised regarding the process and timetable for reviewing Professors of the Practice. Nick said that he would seek guidance from the Office of the Provost.

2.There was a discussion about how to determine the “rank” of a research professor. Two proposals were made: (1) that all have the title Research Professor with no associated rank; and (2) that only those who author research proposals would have the title Research Professor while those who do not author research proposals would have the rank of Research Assistant Professor. This will be discussed further at a future meeting.

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