Deans Council Meeting
September 25, 2013
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,
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Future Agenda Item(s):
Meeting adjourned at 3:38 PM