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Deans Council Meeting

August 21, 2013

 B 120



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


Members:  Rich Cole, Tom Currin, Ruston Hunt, Thomas Nelson, Jeffrey Ray, Han Reichgelt, Zvi Szafran


Members Absent:   Jeffrey Ray


GuestsTom Ball and Ronny Richardson for Jeff Ray, Jill Brady, Leigh Ann Soublis, Kasey Helton, Bill Prigge



Item 1. Updates

Dr. Szafran updated the Council on the following:

  • Biotechnology full proposal is ready - will go to Dr. Rossbacher soon and then downtown.  This program is projected to be in net revenue position at all times.
  • Currin - Construction Engineering addressed two concerns in the interim ABET report and ABET has extended their accreditation for 6 years
  • ACBSP - report has been submitted from Business Administration
  • Zvi emailed Linda Noble regarding our proposed HIT BS degree and DPS
  • Budget – The System Office is putting together the Fiscal Year ‘15 budget.   Formula funding will likely be down a bit due to decline in enrollment.  Insurance costs are up; affordable care act will impact budget; some cuts may be necessary.  This is the FY ‘15 budget request that will be submitted to the Governor.  Capital requests have been submitted for the next five years.  No definitive answer as to how SPSU will be affected yet.  FY ‘16 will be the first year graduation/retention rates will affect formula funding.
  • The Writing Center is now open in the ATTIC in the Student Center.  Terry Carter is the director.  Han suggests it also be open later in the evening.  
  • Hunt – is hosting a program on Oct 22 in coordination with the Cobb Chamber and Georgia Tech.
  • Fall keynote lecturer Ben Echols of Georgia Power will be here on September 5 speaking on Electric Vehicles.  This event is co-sponsored by Interface and First Year Experience.
  • There will be no faculty observer today because Joel has class at this time.  Unsure if another representative will be selected.
  • Han - received grant from CDC



Item 2. Space Planning Issues

Bldg. D will be going offline spring semester for renovations.  Bill Prigge and Leigh Ann Holton were invited to explain the plan for this renovation and for relocating classes.  The project will replace the HVAC and renovate offices and classrooms.  SPSU will be interviewing firms in the near future.  The project planning phase is expected to be completed by January/February 2014 with construction to begin immediately thereafter.  Faculty will be relocated to Norton Hall (14-15 offices available) and will put two faculty per office.  Offices will be furnished.  No exact time frame has been identified for the project to be completed but Bill estimates a year, perhaps longer.  Leigh Ann has been running scenarios to see how we can accommodate classes without using Building D.   Bill went over the space utilization project, of which we were a test facility, and found that we were only at 30% utilization.  These results will hurt our chances for getting new buildings but may help us get money for renovating and resizing classes to optimize usage.  When might math faculty move? Space in the Norton Hall should be ready late October early November but faculty could wait until after finals to move.  Bldg. D will need a technology upgrade - Bill stated that this will be part of the plan.  Consultant took data from Banner and a physical inventory of all classrooms.  Full data is available.

Leigh Ann passed out a handout she prepared on room utilization looking at Spring 2013 numbers for Building D.  She talked about the findings of her report.  We also need to think about Georgia Highlands and ELS as we go forward with planning.  Issues/concerns from the Council:

  • doesn't want math to be given "leftovers" when assigning classrooms
  • suggest use of lower level labs for classroom space
  • can specific classrooms be assigned for use by Math?
  • Trailers?  don't want to take away parking spaces
  • take down Bldg. K and add trailers--Plan is to make that area "green space"
  • Can conference rooms be used at night for classroom space?  Leigh Ann thinks this can be covered by effectively scheduling classrooms

Szafran responded:

  • use 12:00 MWF and perhaps TR as well even if meetings have to be rescheduled to a different time
  • shift class times when possible, perhaps offering classes until 10:00 PM
  • utilize Friday more; MWF instead of MW
  • schedule classes earlier when possible
  • force departments out of rooms they don't need - make them choose their favorite classroom and have them schedule classes in there all day long to 75% and only then start using their second classroom choice, etc.


  • Currin prefers to take the class choice away from the departments and turn it over to Leigh Ann or someone else.  Establish parameters for courses and have someone else schedule the classrooms only, not do the schedule itself.
  • Ronny brought issue with Zvi's approach - not all classrooms are the same size thus filling up a large classroom first would potentially put small classes in a large room.
  • Suggest each department continue to build schedule with time but allow Leigh Ann to allocate the room.
  • Classrooms are far more standardized than a few years ago so are much more interchangeable.
  • Some classes must be in certain rooms such as DFN, how many more are there?  Yes, strength and materials, many in CSE and ARCH.
  • Have Leigh Ann do a dummy run based on Spring 2013 to see how it would have looked.  She did that and found bottlenecks.  She is willing to work with the departments to determine anomalies.
  • Leigh Ann start with last spring’s schedule and talk to departments to see where bottlenecks were and determine where classes could have been moved.
  • Look at different time schedules, especially for night courses and then have Leigh Ann run her program.
  • Zvi suggests starting classes at 6:00 PM, 7:30 PM, and 9:00 PM.  Female faculty are concerned about assigned parking spaces and walking to their car so late. University Police are available to escort employees to their cars. Use Saturdays as a teaching day, especially as an alternative to night courses.
  • Even if construction takes a full year, there will be growth and other capital projects so this is not going to be temporary problem and needs a permanent solution.
  • Chairs and deans need to be looking historically to see how many sections of a course were offered and what the enrollments were in each section and plan accordingly for the future.
  • Need to look at registration as a whole, payment deadlines, etc. because many students claim they can't register for a course because of funding.  Low enrollment in a course may cause it to be cancelled.  Zvi says to look at historical data to see what the numbers were in the past, consider growth and make a reasonable decision.
  • Consensus judgments:  Schedule classes MWF at 12? Yes; TR? No; schedule night courses until 9:00 PM?  Yes; Saturdays? Yes
  • Tom Ball - encourage hybrid courses but schedule classrooms appropriately.
  • Essential that we develop a plan for funding, etc.
  • Faculty space - how to find space for new faculty, etc.  Currin feels negotiating and begging other departments for office space is a sign of poor planning.  Need serious discussions about office space and where faculty are going to sit. Part-time faculty in Engineering do not have an office and must sit in a common space with computers but no printers or privacy to meet with students.
  • Currin - labs are not multi-purpose, all are special purpose labs underutilized.  
  • Zvi - need to go room by room and do inventory of labs and make decisions about special purpose labs that are not being used.
  • Student organizations - Tom Nelson - IEEE claims they use and need their space.  It doesn't appear that they actually use this space.  Zvi stated we need to look at office space, determine what we are going to do about part-time faculty, student organizations, etc.
  • Hunt - use special purpose labs for student group meeting rooms and research centers.
    Prigge, do they really need student group meeting rooms or storage space?
  • Richardson - hard to be a department when faculty are all spread out in different buildings; need to address faculty office space now - real issue

Leigh Ann will run a report based on Spring 2013, have conversations with each department to see where courses could have been relocated to a different time slot, and get back to us.  Leigh Ann will update Zvi on a regular basis.  Zvi wants departments to look hard at where classes can be rescheduled at less utilized times.  



Item 3. Graduate Faculty Status Issues

Postponed to a later date.




Item 4. Enforcement of Pre-requisites

Han talked about an issue they are having with enforcing pre-requisites.  He explained that the problem occurs when a student registers in the fall for a pre-requisite of a course they plan to take in the spring semester.  Banner will allow them to register in spring but what happens is if they fail the course in the fall Banner does not automatically remove them from the registered class.  He stated we are not enforcing our own policies and ABET may have issues with this.  He asked if there is a process in place to remove schedules of students who fail the pre-requisite course?  Jill - there is a program that would remove schedules for lack of pre-requisites, but it would affect transfer and transient students as well who legitimately should be allowed to take the course.  Time is tight between semesters and so timing of when to do this can be an issue.  How do other institutions handle this?  Jill responded - at the departmental level.  The Registrar's office provides a report for the department and they take care of removing the students from the course and notifying the students that they have been dropped.  The faculty member should also announce in class that all students must have the pre-requisite required or they will be dropped.  Manually dropping students can be time consuming.  Most USG departments manually drop schedules for their own courses.

Can the program be set to look at the grade achieved in the pre-requisite and if failed, drop their next class?  Jill responded that no program is available at this time but IT could be asked to look at this.  Have this happen as soon as grades are rolled.  Zvi asked Jill to check with IT to see if this is workable solution.  Students must also be notified that they have been dropped so they can choose another course.  This only affects students who register before grades are posted.




Item 5. New Business



Action Item(s):




Future Agenda Item(s):

Adjourned at 4:23 PM PM