SSE Executive Committee Meeting

October 24, 2008

8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


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

Guests: O’Rourke, Kozar, Inghram, Christie, Maczuga, Miscenich

Updates and Current Issues

Nick Altiero brought the group up to date on School of Science and Engineering enrollment figures and research funding. There was some discussion about how undergraduate students are advised prior to formally declaring a major. Since a large number of freshmen are "undeclared," it was agreed that those leaning toward science and engineering majors need to be identified early and guided to the appropriate pre-requisite courses. The School needs to continue to working closely with Dayna Gessler, the lead science and engineering advisor in Newcomb-Tulane College, and the other N-TC advisors assigned to science and engineering students. Graduate enrollment increased this year but the number of new international students was flat. Nick re- iterated that we need to place a high priority on graduate recruiting this year, including the recruiting of international students.

Faculty recruiting is going extremely well. Since last year, the School has lost 2 tenured/tenuretrack faculty members but added 12. The total number of tenured/tenure-track faculty in the School is now 111, up from 95 in academic year 2006-07 and 101 in academic year 2007-08. In addition, we are conducting 10 faculty searches, including 5 Endowed Chair positions. All of this faculty hiring implies a large commitment to start-up packages and laboratory renovations and the group discussed ways to maximize the amount of funding, internal and external, available for these purposes. Overall, the School now has 146 faculty members, including 23 professors of practice and 12 research professors.

The School concluded the 2007-08 fiscal year in the black. Nick and Sandy Parker will be meeting individually with the School's Chairs and Directors to discuss their 2008-09 budgets. 

The group also discussed measures being taken to increase the diversity of the student body and the faculty. It was suggested that the School expand its relationships with Xavier University and Dillard University to include 4+1 master's degree programs in which the student would receive a BS from Xavier or Dillard and a MS from Tulane. Also the School's increasing involvement in K- 12 education initiatives, including the popular Tulane Science Scholars Program (TSSP), can be targeted to increasing undergraduate enrollment of minority students. The School will engage student organizations such as Women in Science, the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, the National Society of Black Physicists, etc., to assist in recruiting and retention activities.

SACS Preparation

The group continued its discussion of preparation for the fall 2010 SACS accreditation visit. Each of the units in the School continues to develop a mission statement that encompasses all of its activities. Additionally, each degree program at the undergraduate and graduate level is developing a list of learning outcomes and associated metrics. At a future meeting of the Executive Committee, we will share the latest drafts of these mission statements and program learning outcomes lists and develop some level of standardization across the School. It is anticipated that this will be completed by the end of the fall semester.

Vic Law, Jim McGuire, and Annette Oertling have been appointed to the university's SACS Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) committee. This committee has been charged with developing a new initiative focused on student learning that will be included in the SACS report.

Office of Research

Tanya O'Rourke, Director of Grants and Contracts Accounting, joined the group to discuss the University's cost transfer process. She was joined by Kathy Kozar and Scott Inghram. Tanya informed the group that in order to assure compliance with federal policy on cost transfers between research accounts, the University will only consider approval of cost transfer requests submitted within 90 days of the expenditure. The details of the University policy can be found at and all relevant staff members are being apprised of the policy and trained on procedures and forms.

There was a general discussion about research policies and administration. Several members of the group requested that, if at all possible, accounts be automatically shut down if and when they go into deficit.

Technology Transfer and Business Development

Jake Maczuga, Associate Vice President for Technology Transfer and Business Development, joined the group to discuss faculty entrepreneurship. He was joined by John Christie and by Aaron Miscenich, Executive Director of the New Orleans Bio- innovation Center. Jake and John briefed the group on the activities of the Tulane Technology Transfer Office and offered to meet with the faculty to answer any questions they might have (note: a meeting with the faculty was subsequently held on November 13, 2008). Aaron briefed the group on the bio-innovation center focus on assisting the development of biotechnology- related companies looking to commercialize technologies from universities in the greater New Orleans area. A new 65k square foot incubator facility is being built on Canal Street and is expected to open in December 2009.

This topic generated a great deal of discussion and it was agreed that we should aggressively pursue more entrepreneurial activity in the School. Nick will constitute a task force made up of faculty, Board of Advisors members, and alumni who are experts in technology transfer, to develop a strategy for the School.

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