SSE Executive Committee Meeting

September 21, 2007
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM


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

Absent: Parker

Dean’s Council Report - Altiero

Nick Altiero reported on the Tulane University Deans Council meeting of September 18. The most significant items discussed were as follows:

  • There will be a Newcomb-Tulane College undergraduate diploma ceremony following the Unified Commencement ceremony on May 17. This implies that there will need to be a separate hooding/diploma ceremony for our graduate students. The School of Science and Engineering plans to partner with the School of Liberal Arts and other schools that would like to join us to conduct a graduate ceremony on the morning of May 16.
  • The Provost’s Office is developing an information packet that can be presented to prospective faculty members. Each school and department can then add to this packet as appropriate. They are also developing a web site that will contain employment opportunities for partners of faculty hires.
  • The Provost’s Office will require faculty members who hold endowed positions to report on the use of their annual discretionary funds. This will not be a great deal of paperwork: just a brief proposal at the beginning of the fiscal year and an accounting at the end of the fiscal year.

Health Science Leadership Council Report - Altiero

Nick reported on the Tulane University Health Science Leadership Council meeting of September 18. The most significant items discussed were as follows.

  • Dr. Roy Weiner is the lead Tulane investigator on an NIH Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA) proposal that is joint with the Pennington Biomedical Research Institute and the LSU Health Sciences Center. I have provided Dr. Weiner with a list of faculty members in the School of Science and Engineering with whom he plans to meet.
  • The School of Medicine and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine have received funding from the Collins C. Diboll Foundation to establish an Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory downtown that will house specialized equipment such as cell sorters. The plan is to develop something along the lines of the uptown Coordinated Instrumentation Facility. There was general agreement that researchers from the downtown campus and the uptown campus should be encouraged to use these shared facilities and that we should develop additional shared facilities such as a university-wide machine shop.
  • We are in the early stages of discussing a new life sciences building or complex. This facility will house researchers from the School of Science and Engineering, School of Medicine, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and other schools involved in life science research. A working group will be set up to develop plans for this facility.

Finance and Personnel Issues – Parker

Sandy Parker was unable to attend because of a scheduling conflict. Nick had the following announcements: sabbatical leave requests for AY09 are due today; he will be meeting with the Provost on September 27 to discuss faculty and staff hiring plans; and all units need to check the Tulane emergency web site to make certain that their hurricane emergency plans are posted and up-to-date.

Research and Graduate Issues – McPherson

Gary McPherson was joined by Christi Longlois, Sr. Program Coordinator for Student Affairs, and Eric Taylor, Program Coordinator for Graduate Programs. They distributed graduate student enrollment figures by major. As of today, there are 343 graduate students (258 PhD and 85 MS) in the School, of whom 129 are new (63 PhD and 66 MS). Gary then distributed FY07 research funding data by department. The School attracted $21.1M of external funding during the past fiscal year. There was a general discussion about trends in graduate enrollment and research funding.

There was the usual discussion about facilities including an update on departmental moves and a warning about maintenance work that will take place in Stern over a ten week period that will include the holidays.

Gary reminded the group that the 3rd round of phase II research enhancement fund proposals are due on October 8. Also, the School will be submitting a proposal to join the Graduate Education for Minorities (GEM) program that provides fellowships for minority students to enroll in graduate programs in science and engineering.

Undergraduate Issues – Burdsal

Carol Burdsal discussed ABET preparations for Biomedical Engineering and Chemical Engineering, both of which will have site visits in fall 2008. There will be a meeting involving these two departments as well as Mathematics, English, and the basic science departments to discuss what must be collected this year in preparation for the visit. Carol also reported on the status of the new Engineering Physics program and the development of dual degree science and engineering programs with partner institutions.

The first meeting of the Undergraduate Studies Committee is scheduled for next week curricular changes and new course requests should be submitted as soon as possible. A question was raised about the Newcomb-Tulane College restriction on students taking computer science courses offered by the School of Continuing Studies. It was agreed that we should support a lifting of that restriction.

There will be a meeting next Monday concerning Study Abroad and students should be encouraged to attend as we are making an effort to dramatically increase participation in the program.

Development Issues – Engleman

Kat Engleman reported on her travels with and without the Dean to raise funds for the School. The emphasis has been on multi-year pledges to support scholarships and faculty endowments as well as infrastructure support. While we are having a good fundraising year we still have our work cut out for us in establishing an identity for the new School. Kat is planning strategic plan “roll-out” events around the country to engage alumni in the vision for the School.

Nick went over the plans for Homecoming weekend (October 24 – 26) including the Board reception on Thursday evening, the Board meeting on Friday, and the hospitality tent at the football game on Saturday.

Faculty and Staff Hiring – Altiero

In addition to the current faculty searches, Nick plans to request additional critical faculty searches as well as critical staff searches. As mentioned above, this request will be presented to the Provost on September 27. Nick again emphasized the importance of aggressively seeking women and minority candidates as diversity is an important goal in the School’s strategic vision. He distributed information on the ADVANCE database hosted by Rice University which identifies female graduate students and postdocs in science and engineering.

It was suggested that candidates for senior positions meet with faculty from departments other than the one in which they are interviewing, especially if they are working in cross-disciplinary areas.

Publication - Altiero

The School is currently working on three publications to be completed this fall: the first semi- annual magazine of the School of Science and Engineering; a promotional piece for Vision 2018, the School’s strategic plan; and a publication honoring the endowed faculty positions in the School. We are still looking for good stories for the magazine and these should be submitted to Candy Guedry. Stories about faculty, students, alumni, etc. are all welcomed.

Old Business

Yesterday was the faculty election deadline. Ballots are being counted and election results will be announced later today. Most, if not all, committee positions are now filled.

Nick has yet to receive from each of the Department Chairs a departmental definition of “research productivity” and corresponding teaching load policy. Department Chairs who have yet to submit this information were asked to do so.

There has been no word yet from the central administration on the definition of “centers” and “institutes.”

Nick reiterated that he would invite the new Dean of the Medical School to a future meeting of this group. Dean Ben Sachs will be joining Tulane in November.

New Business

Several Department Chairs will be concluding their terms this year. Each will be given the opportunity to consider an additional term and in each of those cases an internal review will be conducted regarding reappointment. The terms of current deans and chairs end in June of the following years.

  • 2008 – David Heins, Morris Kalka, Steve Nelson
  • 2009 – Jim McGuire, Janet Ruscher
  • 2010 – Carol Burdsal, Brent Koplitz
  • 2011 – Nick Altiero, Don Gaver, Gary McPherson
  • 2012 – Vijay John
  • 2013 – YiPing Chen

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