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Deans Council Meeting

September 25, 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:   Thomas Nelson





Item 1. Approval of minutes


August 21, 2013 Deans Council Meeting Minutes – approved

September 4, 2013 Deans Council Meeting Minutes – approved



Item 2. Updates


Dr. Szafran updated the Council on the following:


  • New Degree Proposals – the Biotechnology proposal has been submitted to the System Office for review.
  • Budget – SPSU has just received the budget spreadsheet from the System Office for the next budget cycle.
  • Russ Hunt – Gave a brief update on recent grants received.
  • Han Reichgelt gave an update on Game Jam.   Hunt suggested he contact SAP for sponsorship in the future.
  • NRC - A representative from the Human Resources Department at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission came to campus today for a presentation about SPSU’s nuclear program.  The Nuclear Regulatory Commission oversees all nuclear plants in the U.S. and in China and recently recruited a Mechatronics graduate.
  • Rich Cole announced two ACM events – a presentation and exhibit on Barcelona and Paris by the Architecture students this afternoon and Pegah Zamani will be presenting her High Museum lecture on Frida and Diego here on campus.



Item 3. Prior Tenure Credit Issues


Szafran briefly described some issues involving inconsistencies in our Policies and Procedures and those of the Board of Regents as it applies to allowing faculty to go up for early promotion and/or tenure.  The University is allowing faculty a one-time opportunity to apply for prior tenure credit if it was not given at the time of hire.   Szafran asked that the deans and chairs review the faculty requests and submit letters to him and stressed to the deans to be proactive and make sure all tenure-track faculty are made aware of this.


Han asked about the possibility of a second promotion/tenure review process for those faculty hired in January.   Need to talk about whether spring semester can count as a full year for mid-year hires - this is not our current policy.



Item 4. Low Productivity Programs and Retention


Szafran talked about the Board of Regents’ process for reviewing low productivity programs.  The Board of Regents is looking not at enrollment in a program but rather at the number of graduates produced.  


Han is concerned about retention and how it affects program productivity, and the school's limited ability to control retention because of the high number of D, F, and W rates in gateway courses.  Szafran explained D, F, and W rates and stated that D, F, and W rate improvement is part of our Complete College Georgia plan.  Szafran also mentioned the recent resolution from the USG Faculty Council stating that student success rates should not be a primary method of evaluating faculty.  Comments/concerns from the Council:


  • Retention and progression is a major concern. Han suggested that the deans review WSHR 700 web report on grade distribution.
  • How do we handle retention when the cause is clearly out of the department's control?   Szafran responded that we do have control – we can look at success rates, and if they are low, can try to find out what the underlying cause is.  If students are not successfully completing courses, we have an obligation to try to determine why.  If the cause is outside the course—prerequisites, accepting students that are inappropriate for that type of course—that can be dealt with, and if the cause is within the course, that needs to deal with that.
  • Accrediting Boards suggest that programs that do not have accrediting boards seek outside assessment.   Szafran stated he believes Dean Nelson will be [corrected—at the meeting Zvi said “is”] using outside evaluation in A&S comprehensive program reviews.  Szafran suggested bringing this up at our next meeting so that Tom Nelson can provide feedback.  
  • Han has extensive data on courses in his school and examples of what his faculty are doing to increase success rates in problematic courses.  
  • Currin shared what his faculty are doing in his school.  
  • Szafran stated that our SAT scores are third in the state and based on this, we should have graduation rates around 50% or 60% but we are underperforming and we need to look at what other schools are doing differently.  
  • Ray - we need to look at teaching excellence.  Students’ learning styles have changed over the years and we need to look at this.  CTE is an excellent resource for our faculty.  
  • Han stated that we do not know where students go when they leave here.  Our new IR Director, Wendy Kallina stated to him that she believes she can find data on where our students go when they leave here.  
  • Student Success Initiative - expensive to join but they have extensive data.  
  • Han stated he is opposed to spending money on this and in favor of developing something on our own, using Cognos.  
  • Also suggested was more intensive mandatory early warning advising for students.  
  • Hunt thinks all of the investigation into this is a waste without agreeing that something must be done about it.  
  • Szafran stated that the chairs, deans, faculty committees, and faculty themselves need to look at low student success rates as a serious issue.  
  • Cole stated his full agreement with Szafran that success rates should be looked at and used to open the door for conversations with faculty to determine what needs to be done in courses with low success rates.



Item 5. Report on Last Year’s Mini-grants


Postponed due to the absence of Tom Nelson.



Item 6. New Business


  • Szafran clarified that the document reviewed last Wednesday on volunteers is not a requirement.
  • Regarding the earlier discussion about funding for undergraduate research – Currin reported that the faculty in School of Engineering are encouraged to write this into their grant proposals and would encourage all faculty to do this instead of asking for funding from the VPAA or mini grants.   Further he would like to see something come through the UCC requiring student research as part of the curriculum.
  • All grant proposals should go through the dean first and then to Betsy Adams. Hunt stated that they do not ask the faculty if they have discussed the proposal with their chair and dean but are being more proactive about notify all parties involved in the grant proposal.  When approached, Hunt stated that they will do everything possible to support the faculty member's grant proposal.  Hunt also clarified that the school has the right to reject a grant offer before it is awarded.
  • Student funding for conference attendance – was previously denied unless certain circumstances were met.  Bill Prigge asked the Controller and it is now less restrictive and falls into the same category as student competition teams, etc. The Council is in favor of supporting such endeavors by students.




Action Item(s):




Future Agenda Item(s):




Meeting adjourned at 3:38 PM