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Academic Leadership Meeting Minutes

October 30, 2013

Q 202


NOTE:  At times, issues of confidentiality may require that some items discussed in meetings be excluded from these minutes.


ALC MEMBERS:  Austin Asgill, Tom Ball, Sam Beadles, Jill Brady, Renee Butler, David Caudill, Richard Cole, Nancy Colyar, Lance Crimm, Tom Currin, Meg Dillon, Ameen Farooq, Alan Gabrielli, Bob Homer, Ruston Hunt, Wendy Kallina, Alana Kyriakakis, Andrew McMorran, Yongli Ma, Thomas Nelson, Julie Newell, Mark Nunes, Iraj Omidvar, Jeff Orr, Nikki Palamiotis, Phil Patterson, Hassan Pournaghshband, Dawn Ramsey, Jeffrey Ray, Han Reichgelt, Ronny Richardson, Tony Rizzuto, Becky Rutherfoord, Raj Sashti, Khalid Siddiqi, George Stickel, David Stone, Denise Stover, Mark Sugalski, Linda Sun, John Sweigart, Zvi Szafran, and Tim Zeigler




GUESTS:  Leigh Ann Holton, Lee Webster



Item 1. Room Scheduling in Response to Building D going Offline

It had been decided that classroom scheduling would be done centrally by Leigh Ann Holton to facilitate efficiency and in response to Building D going offline.  Plans have changed and Building D will be available for the spring semester.  If everything goes according to new schedule, the Building D renovation should start in the Summer 2013.  It was Zvi's understanding that the consolidated scheduling would still be done for the spring semester except that Building D would be available.  Leigh Ann talked about issues found when interviewing departments about their space/technology requirements.  Lee Webster was asked to assist Leigh Ann with the technology issues.  He has added all of the teaching tools to AdAstra but there are still things to be worked out.  He suggested more testing and a staged implementation plan.  Zvi suggested that Academic Affairs has two choices:  go ahead and do the optimized scheduling with no guarantee of attributes, or put off central scheduling to a later semester. One issue is that some departments went ahead and put their classes in classrooms while others were waiting for the optimization to happen.  Suggestions/concerns from the Council:


  • Szafran urged the chairs to encourage their faculty to view the classrooms assigned during the testing phase to make sure everything is in the room that they will need to teach.
  • Has Georgia Highlands scheduled classes in rooms assigned to them?  No.
  • The consensus was for option one with a virtual optimization testing.  All departments who have scheduled classes outside their assigned classrooms should remove them as soon as possible.  Leigh Ann offered to come to the departments to help them if they need it.  Faculty will need to communicate their teaching needs to their chair and admin so that they can share that with Leigh Ann.  Chairs and deans need to carefully review the requests from the faculty to be sure they are accurately reporting true needs.
  • Jill Brady reminded the Council that change will be happening and that pre-registration will be happening for summer and fall at the same time.  Jill will send out the new deadlines for entering classroom assignments under the priority method.
  • Tom Currin expressed his dismay that consolidating the classroom input was brought up a year ago at Deans Council and was assured that everything would be working.   Lee Webster responded that he wasn't aware of this a year ago and as soon as he found out went to work to help Leigh Ann get this implemented and to find solutions to any problems that may come up.  Lee assured the Council that they would do everything possible to get this up and working.



Item 2. Updates


Dr. Szafran updated the Council on the following:


  • Introduced the new Library Director, Nancy Colyar.  
  • The Author's Reception is tomorrow at 3:00 PM.
  • Szafran recently attend the fall RACAA meeting and shared some of the topics discussed:
    • Online courses - must have accommodations for handicapped or learning-disabled students and should be built in from the beginning and not when a handicapped student actually registers for the class.  Szafran offered suggestions for compliance.
    • Regents Advisory Committee on Mathematics - talked about appropriate Math courses for non-STEM programs and stated that this is a recommendation not a mandate.  Szafran suggested that our non-STEM departments might want to consider this recommendation.  
    • Faculty need to take sick leave when they are out sick even if another faculty member covers their class.  It appears that this is not happening in all cases and needs to be monitored.
    • Amorous relations - no relationships are allowed with anyone who has supervisory over someone else in any capacity.
    • MOOCs - consensus appears that MOOCs are a passing idea but probably useful in some ways.  Zvi and some others will be attending a meeting on this in the near future and will share the results.
    • Growth - overall growth in the USG is down by about 6,000.  The majority of institutions were flat or down.  SPSU was up, but Szafran urged the Council not to take this for granted.  Congratulated everyone on doing a good job in this area.
    • Raises - the Board of Regents is doing everything possible to get the word out that USG employees need a raise and that good faculty and administrators are leaving for better paying jobs.  Encouraged all to spread the word where ever possible.
    • No fee increases will be allowed.  New course fees are discouraged per Zvi.
    • Diversity Summit - gave a report on our Cross-Cultural Committee work at the meeting which received many positive comments from the other attendees.
    • Budget – will be moving from a formula based on enrollment to a formula based on retention and graduation.   Details have not been worked out but the formula will apply not only to the delta but also to the base budget.  Szafran reported that 40% will be based on retention, i.e., the number or percentage of students who hit milestones of 15 credits, 30 credits, 60 credits, 90 credits.  Institutions will receive points for each of these as students achieve the milestones.  Sixty percent of the funding will be based on the number of graduates - not the percentage but the number who actually graduate.  Szafran stated that we must graduate more students without compromising academic integrity and rigor.  This new formula does not apply to graduate students.  Zvi will work with UITS to develop web reports to help track these students once the details have been worked out.
    • Reverse transfer - Szafran explained that discussions are ongoing to implement this program that under certain circumstances would help students who transfer to another institution get an Associate’s degree from their first institution.
    • New hires – Szafran sent the deans instructions for making their list for new hire requests.  Szafran needs to know who is retiring and must be replaced and those positions that don't need to be filled.  Funding will be very tight for hiring for next year and Szafran urged the deans to be frugal and honest.
    • Affordable Care Act - moving to a time based rather than a credit based time card system.  Will affect student workers as well as other employees.  There will be a conversion chart for faculty to determine work hours.  Classification of faculty will also change.  Zvi and Alana are working together on things that might affect full-time limited-term faculty and will share information as it is available.



Item 3.  Web Reports Tool for Creating/Updating Advisor Assignments


Julie Newell reported that the committee on advising has come up with a web report tool for creating/updating advisor assignments.  Julie gave a demonstration of the web report and explained the difference in academic advisor, which is faculty, and registration advisor which is faculty or professional advisor as this is causing confusion for advisors and students.  Julie will distribute an updated user’s guide in the next few days and is happy to work with any of the departments who may need help.  Advisors were supposed to be assigned by September but the tools were not ready.  Julie will send the user’s guide to Zvi for distribution.



Item 4.  Report on On-line Campus Task Force


The Online Task Force committee has been established but all are welcome to attend the meetings.  The committee had their first meeting yesterday afternoon.  The committee reviewed a presentation from the Education Advisory Board.  A podcast was made and will be available to everyone.  Szafran will also share the slides with anyone with an SPSU email address since this is copyrighted material.  Szafran further stated that this committee will be will be very transparent.



Item 5.  Report on Mini-Grants


Szafran stated that $75,000 was available last year for three categories: 1) project-based learning, 2) projects to address bottlenecked courses, and 3) interdisciplinary projects.  He gave a status report on each category of projects and stated that they will be changed slightly this year but that the overall amount of funding and basic categories will remain the same.  Proposal deadlines will be staggered so as to not overwhelm Betsy Adams with all of them being submitted at the same time.  Proposals must state specifically what the outcomes are expected to be, i.e. paper, presentation, seed grant, etc.  Final report must state what the outcomes were.  Some proposals last year were turned in so close to the deadline that Betsy and her team were not able to review the budget.  Szafran stressed that proposals must be turned in with plenty of review time.





Item 6.  Maximizing Instructional Productivity


Szafran stated that Item #6 is not as pressing since it was decided earlier in this meeting to go back to the original way of scheduling classes for this semester and this topic will be postponed to another ALC meeting.  Szafran encouraged all to read the booklet from EAB that was distributed to the deans.



Item 7.  New Business


  • Becky Rutherfoord stated that Rich Cole and Kathryn Bedette requested information and encouraged all to get it turned in.  She also encouraged everyone to take advantage of Wendy Kallina's expertise.
  • Zvi announced upcoming events on campus.
  • Julie Newell announced that seven faculty have not completed DegreeWorks and that she shared the names of those who have not completed the training with their chairs.
  • Searches:
    • Dean of Students - 124 applicants; the search committee is being chaired by Rich Cole
    • Academic Affairs budget person will be coming to a conclusion soon
    • International Program Director – search is progressing
  • Academic Integrity Committee - needs names of faculty that want to be included



Action Items





Future Agenda Items



Meeting adjourned at 4:07 PM.