SSE Faculty Meeting Minutes

212 Lavin Bernick Center
September 2, 2010

4:00 PM

Attendance: Agnew, Ahsan, Altiero, Alvarez, Ashbaugh, Aung, Birla, Bishop, Boudaba, Can, Caruso, Chen, Colombo, Cortez, Cunningham, Dancisak, Daniel, Darwin, Dawers, Di, Didier, Dotson, Gasparini, Gaver, Godbey, Golob, Ha, Hall, Hebert, Heins, Hopkins, Jacobsen, Jayawickramarajah, Johannesson, John, Jones, Kalka, Kaplan, Khismatullin, Kim, Koplitz, Lacey, Mague, Mao, McGuire, McPherson, Mitchell, Molix, Moore, Mullin, Muneoka, Murfee, Nelson, O'Brien, O'Connor, Oertling, Papadopoulos, Parrish, Parsley, Pascal, Pesika, Popescu, Pratt, Richards-Zawacki, Rosenheim, Ruscher, Schmehl, Shakov, Shevoplyas, Sigler, Szechter, Tasker, Taylor, Thien, Varela, Vijayaraghavan, Walker, Wang, Wee, Wietfeldt, Wilson, Wyland

Guests: Gering, Parker

Approval of Minutes and Roster of Voting Faculty

The minutes of the meeting of 8 March 2010 and 6 May 2010 were approved. The roster of SSE faculty for academic year 2010-11 was also approved. All of these documents have been posted to the web.

Introduction of New and Promoted Faculty

The respective Department Chairs introduced the following new faculty members: Yu-Ping Wang (Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering), Ravi Birla (Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering), Jeffrey Agnew (Professor of Practice, Earth and Environmental Science), Jeffrey Sigler (Professor of Practice, Earth and Environmental Science), Bruce Fleury (Professor of Practice, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), and Donata Henry (Professor of Practice, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology). In addition, Vinod Paliwal (Fulbright Visiting Professor, Physics and Engineering Physics) was introduced.

The following promoted faculty members were recognized by Dean Nick Altiero: Frank Jones (Professor, Cell and Molecular Biology), Hank Ashbaugh (Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), W Godbey (Associate Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Igor Rubtsov (Associate Professor, Chemistry), Torbjörn Törnqvist (Professor, Earth and Environmental Science), Alexander Kurganov (Professor, Mathematics), Michelle Lacey (Associate Professor, Mathematics), and Lev Kaplan (Associate Professor, Physics and Engineering Physics).

It was announced that Dean Altiero has been appointed as a Professor in Physics and Engineering Physics in addition to his appointment as a Professor in Biomedical Engineering.

Announcements, Updates, and the Year Ahead

Dean Altiero distributed copies of the School strategic plan, dated July 2007, as well as a March 2010 update. He said that the School is now entering year four of strategic plan implementation and it is time to assess our progress and adjust the plan for the future. "Phase two" of strategic plan implementation will commence as the University transitions to a budgetary model that will give greater financial independence to the Schools. The dean plans to work closely with the Executive Committee and the faculty in the development of phase two of the strategic plan and he will be meeting with the faculty of each department individually to begin the planning process. Associate Dean Gary McPherson praised the progress that has been made to date on implementation of the strategic plan and commented that the School has hired a significant number of outstanding junior and senior faculty over the past four years while maintaining a sound budget. Excellent progress in enrollment, research funding, and fundraising were cited. One indication of the School's growth is that the undergraduate enrollment in the SSE in the fall of 2010 is 1631 compared to 1372 a year ago, a nearly 19% increase. It was noted that this is putting enormous pressure on course offerings, especially at the introductory level. There was a discussion about how the increase in enrollment is being handled and the strain it is putting on facilities. There was also a comment about diversity of the faculty and student body and the importance of being more proactive in achieving diversity goals.

Lt. Col. Carol Gering, the new Air Force ROTC commander, made an appeal for more students to enroll in the program. She said that AFROTC has had a presence at Tulane since 1946 and it is now located at University Square. AFROTC has a strong R&D focus and heavily recruits scientists and engineers, She outlined the benefits of joining the AFROTC, including scholarship opportunities, and fielded questions about the program.

Associate Dean Beth Wee announced that the Faculty and Staff Day of Service on 27 August 2010 was a success and passed around a signup sheet for faculty interested in an SSE Habitat for Humanity Day proposed for 14 or 15 October 2010.

Amendments to Promotion and Tenure Guidelines

The following actions were taken on proposed amendments to the SSE Promotion and Tenure Guidelines.

1. Add the following to section B. "Department faculty who have served as a dissertation advisor or postdoctoral mentor to the candidate should not chair, nor perform the functions of chair, of the departmental P&T Committee convened to review the candidate." Referred to the Executive Committee for further discussion.

2. Remove the following from section B. "For cases of promotion to associate professor with tenure, a separate vote for tenure and promotion are required." Change the title of section E from "Promotion to Associate Professor with Tenure" to "Awarding of Tenure". Add the sentence "For an Assistant Professor, awarding of tenure is coupled to the promotion to Associate Professor" and remove sentences pertaining to separate votes on promotion to Associate Professor and the awarding of tenure. Passed by voice vote.

3. Add the following to section B. "The Department may seek additional information from collaborators of the candidate. The departmental letter should specify the context in which this information was obtained." Passed by voice vote.

4. Add the following to section C as an inclusion in the dossier. "For tenure cases, third-year review letters from both the home department and SSE P&T Committee as well as the Dean's summary letter to the candidate provided by the Dean's Office." Passed by voice vote.

5. In section G, add the phrase "no more than four" in reference to the number of names of potential external evaluators that may be suggested by the candidate. Passed by 28 - 10 vote.

6. Also in section G, replace "The originals of all letters of reference solicited and received by the department shall be forwarded to the Dean" with "All letters of reference solicited and received by the department and the SSE P&T Committee shall be forwarded to the Dean. For letters of reference that are submitted electronically, the transmittal email should be submitted to the Dean along with the hard copy of the letter. Passed by voice vote.

7. Add the following to section H. "If a SSE P&T Committee member resigns from the University or takes a leave of absence or sabbatical for more than one academic semester, a special election shall be held as soon as possible to elect a replacement by the voting SSE faculty. The elected faculty shall complete the vacated term on the P&T Committee." Passed by voice vote.

8. Add the following to the list of important dates. "August 15. Candidate submits information on potential external evaluators to the home department - does not apply to third-year reviews." Passed by voice vote.

9. Change "September 15. Home department submits candidate's CV, 5 selected publications, and names of four external reviewer's to the dean's office" to "September 7. Prior to this date, the candidate submits candidate's CV, 5 selected publications, and research plan to the home department and the home department submits these materials and the names of four external reviewers to the dean's office." Failed by 19 - 29 vote.

A number of other changes to the Guidelines were proposed by faculty members and Dean Altiero suggested that these be brought to the attention of this year's Promotion and Tenure Committee for future consideration.

SACS Accreditation, QEP and NRC

Associate Provost Brian Mitchell announced that the SACS report is about to be submitted and that the accreditation visit is scheduled for March 2011. He also commented on the associated Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that involves the enhancement of "engaged learning" at Tulane. The National Research Council (NRC) rankings of doctoral programs will be released soon but will be based on 2005-06 data. Since that was the year of Hurricane Katrina, Tulane data will actually be from 2004--05.

Old Business

There was no old business.

New Business

There was no new business.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:20 PM.

Minutes by Wayne Reed.

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