SCP (School of Cybersecurity and Privacy) Interim Faculty Policies

As of June 2, 2021

Overview of Governance

Georgia Tech has made a commitment for the SCP to bring together multiple disciplines, covering topics researched and taught in the College of Computing, College of Engineering, Ivan Allen College, and the Scheller College of Business (together, the “Governing Colleges”), with close coordination as well with Georgia Tech Professional Education, the Georgia Tech Research Institute and other parts of Georgia Tech as appropriate.

Numerous policies and practices vary amongst these different components of Georgia Tech.  For example:

(1) For research, differences often exist for instance in methodology, publication outlets, criteria for impact, and types of research laboratories and other resources required.  Colleges vary as well in methods for providing summer salary, travel, and other aspects of research funding, and have different expectations about whether and how researchers may contribute funding to their college.

(2) For teaching, differences often exist for instance for the expected teaching loads for tenure-track faculty, the availability and funding for teaching assistants, criteria for which students get priority when selecting classes, and operation and funding of Ph.D. programs.

(3) Service expectations and practices also differ, with varying emphasis on service beyond Georgia Tech to the research community (e.g., program committees and academic reviews), industry (e.g., when and whether to “count” patents and other commercial innovations), and government and civil society (e.g., testimony before Congress and uncompensated work with think tanks or other non-profit entities).

In recognition of the importance of multiple colleges to the success of SCP, the Provost’s Task Force to study the creation of the SCP stated that there would be a Council of Deans to provide overall governance for the SCP. 

The College of Computing provides administrative support for the SCP, except where a different College provides such support for an academic program or other activity.  As a rough analogy, the Council of Deans acts similarly to the Board of Directors for a company, with a role in strategic decisions, especially for issues with substantial impact on more than one college or its faculty members.

Discussion: One reason for drafting and publication of the SCP rules and policies is because of the stated goal for the SCP to serve as a model for other cross-disciplinary schools at Georgia Tech.  Having transparency about the governance structure for SCP is thus important not only for SCP but also for the broader Georgia Tech initiative to promote cross-disciplinary education, with participation of different colleges depending on relevant subject matter.

These Interim Faculty Policies may be amended as SCP begins full operations in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Chair

The Chair reports to the Dean of the College of Computing, consistent with the role of the Council of Deans and the Provost.  The Chair has overall responsibility for the operation of the School. With input and support from committees and individual faculty members, the Chair makes decisions regarding facilities, fulfillment of teaching needs, class scheduling, workloads, hiring, purchasing, salaries, staff duties, and web-presence.

The Chair is appointed for a duration of five years with the possibility to extend the appointment.

The School Chair appoints any Associate Chair, committee chair, and others to assure the functioning of the School, except as noted specifically below.

Committees

The Chair shall appoint members of committees, after consultation with the School Advisory Committee, and with input from School faculty and staff.  For joint appointments, the Chair shall receive information from faculty and staff concerning their service activities for their other school(s) or college(s). To the extent possible, and consistent with equitable distribution of service to the School, membership of committees should reflect the diversity of the School with regard to academic discipline, rank, gender, and racial and/or ethnic identity. As a guideline, joint appointments with at least 20 percent in the School will be eligible for committee assignments.

Committees shall operate under the direction of the Chair of each Committee. Meetings shall be called by the Committee Chair with provision of a meeting agenda sufficiently in advance to allow members to anticipate and prepare for a useful discussion and/or decision. Voting on contested matters should be done by recorded ballot and should be limited to those who are present (physically or by telecommunication) to participate and hear the discussion where the matter is subject to vote. Except for routine matters or with the approval of the School Chair or the majority of the committee, the use of proxies is not permitted.

The Chair may create a committee or task force for an ad hoc matter. Standing committees shall include:

  • Education Committee.
    • This Committee shall include the Program Directors for each masters’ program.  The Program Directors should meet regularly, at least once per quarter, with the Chair.
    • Decisions on curriculum would remain with the Curriculum Committee.
    • In addition to the Program Directors, the Chair may appoint others to this committee. The Committee shall oversee the quality, accessibility, and other operations of online delivery. As part of each SCP faculty member’s annual review, the faculty member shall report to the Committee and the Chair about that faculty member’s online teaching, including through programs administered by Georgia Tech Professional Education.
  • Admission Committee(s). Admissions for masters’ programs may be done under the supervision of each Program Director.  If needed, the Chair will create one or more committees to evaluate student admissions into each program, such as for an SCP Ph.D. student.
  • Curriculum Committee.  This committee oversees both undergraduate and graduate curriculum issues.
  • School Advisory Committee. Because the size and composition of the faculty has not been determined as of the summer of 2021, we do not know yet who and how many people will be eligible to vote for the School Advisory Committee.  These Interim Faculty Policies thus do not provide exactly how elections for the School Advisory Committee will operate.  Until such elections occur, the existing SCP Executive Committee will continue to advise the Chair; changes to the membership of the Executive Committee can be made by the Chair.
  • Once elections for the School Advisory Committee can be held, the expectation is that the following would apply:
    • No vote can take place until there is a critical mass of faculty with appointments in SCP.
    • Voting would be based on the rules for voting for other SCP matters, discussed below.
    • Faculty members serve staggered two-year terms to provide continuity (some schools use 3-year terms with no possibility of renewal).
    • Having representation from faculty with involvement/expertise from different Colleges is important – we would not want all the representatives to come from the same College.
    • Elections are often conducted by rank, among full, associate, assistant, and research faculty, although that is not required by the Faculty Handbook. How to ensure College representation AND rank representation needs to be figured out.
    • The Committee would likely have one or more at-large representatives, in addition to the minimum number of members on the committee based on rank (full, associate, etc.) and expertise (based on Colleges or some definition of areas of interest).
    • An SCP faculty member with 100% appointment probably should “count” as coming from a different College than CoC if their training and experience were outside of computing.
    • This committee provides input to the Chair regarding raise criteria, faculty performance reports, School vision and direction, and faculty governance.
    • The committee is also responsible for coordinating peer teaching review letters for untenured and tenured faculty.
  • Faculty Search Committees. Faculty Search Committees are created as needed in a form that best serves the School’s needs. Their purpose is to recruit full-time positions.
    • Any Search Committee is comprised of a minimum of three faculty members with an appointment or joint appointment in SCP. Responsibilities include drafting a position description to present to the faculty for approval by vote and reviewing applications to create a shortlist for recommendation to and vote by the faculty.
    • There may be one search committee during a year that will evaluate all candidates for hiring.  Alternatively, there may be more than one Search Committee.  For instance, there may be a separate search committee where the SCP Chair, after consultation with the faculty about hiring priorities, seeks to make a cluster hire or seeks to fill a specific position, such as a Chaired Professorship.
    • Each Search Committee Chair is responsible for placing position advertisements in professional publications/websites, communicating with applicants to coordinate campus visits and schedules, and maintaining records required in accordance with affirmative action and other administrative procedures. All applicant files will be available for evaluation by tenured/tenure-track faculty members in the School. Communication with or about candidates should be made only by members of the Search Committee or the School Chair and by other members of the faculty only with advance approval by Search Committee Chair.
    • Votes to recommend an offer to a candidate are made by the SCP faculty. After such a vote, all discussions and negotiations regarding salary, summer support, teaching requirements, and other job-related issues should involve only the School Chair and the candidate.
  • Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure / Periodic Peer Review Committee (RPT/PPR). The RPT/PPR Committee is chaired by one senior faculty member. The committee is responsible for all matters relating to reappointment, promotion, tenure, and periodic peer review, before any such matters proceed to subsequent levels of consideration at the School, College, or Institute level.
  • Discussion: During the 2020-2021 academic year, the SCP Chair formed an Executive Committee to assist in standing up the School.  Going forward, the plan is to have an elected School Advisory Committee to advise the Chair.  Section 4.2. of the GT Faculty Handbook states that the faculty shall “Establish an elected Faculty Advisory Committee.  This Committee shall be composed of full-time members of the Instructional Unit, elected by written vote of the Unit’s Faculty.  The Chair of the Committee shall be elected by the Committee from among its members.  The Committee shall advise the Academic Head of the Instructional Unit on all matters concerning the welfare of the Unit.”

            During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Curriculum Committee worked intensively on multiple topics, including on how to create an SCP-relevant thread in the College of Computing.  Other tasks have included: identifying the range of teaching offerings across Georgia Tech relevant to SCP: studying how to incorporate SCP content more regularly into existing CoC and other courses; and identifying other initiatives the may meet SCP goals, including the possibility of a thread or similar approach in ISyE and other components of Georgia Tech. 

            There already exist multiple Georgia Tech masters programs in cybersecurity in both in-person and online format, and other programs relevant to SCP have been under consideration. The proposed Education Committee is designed to help coordinate the multiple online programs.  The Education Committee will assist the School and the Chair in understanding what courses faculty members are teaching, to ensure course coverage and appropriate level of teaching across the faculty.  An Associate Chair for Graduate Education may provide administrative support for the SCP’s programs. For teaching that provides extra compensation, SCP will seek to provide fair opportunities across the SCP faculty.

The SCP will have three program directors for the MS Cyber degree who will represent the three participating colleges (this could become four if Scheller participates in the program in the future). These program directors should have a joint appointment in SCP and their home colleges to serve as a bridge across the schools that participate in delivering cybersecurity education programs.

The Education Committee is not mandated by GT Faculty Affairs but will serve the unique needs of SCP. It will have more of program operation and development roles. We can recommend that it consist of the three program directors, Curriculum Committee Chair and a GTPE representative. Because of its operational role, it could be chaired by the Associate Chair of SCP who is responsible for education. This committee could also drive new program development and send proposals, when ready, to the Curriculum Committee.

            Further details on faculty hiring and RPT are included below.

Faculty Participation and Voting Procedures

Participation in Faculty Meetings. Consistent with the SCP goal of including insights from multiple people and disciplines, participating in general faculty meetings is open to those with courtesy appointments or any percentage appointment to SCP, including for tenure-track faculty, research faculty and Professors of the Practice. In addition, individuals such as students who serve on an SCP committee are invited to participate for faculty meeting discussion of proposals from their committee. Others may be admitted to a faculty meeting at the discretion of the Chair.

Voting for promotion and tenure purposes.  Consistent with Institute rules, only tenure-track faculty with the rank of at least associate professor vote on granting tenure and promotion to associate professor.  Only tenure-track faculty who are full professors vote on promotion to full professor.  For these deliberations, participation is only for those eligible to vote.  Consistent with Institute rules, tenure-track faculty will be eligible to vote if they have at least an appointment of 38.5 percent  in the SCP.

Voting for purposes of hiring faculty.  For an initial hire of a person to Georgia Tech, tenure track faculty with a joint appointment of at least 20 percent will be eligible to vote for an initial hire.  In addition, research faculty or Professors of the Practice with an appointment of at least 20% will be eligible to vote.

Voting for other purposes. As a general rule, a joint appointment of at least 20 percent will qualify tenure-track faculty, research faculty, or Professors of the Practice to vote on other matters that come before the faculty.  In addition, additional persons can be eligible to vote if a resolution is passed to approve such additional persons, by majority vote of those eligible to vote for purposes of hiring faculty.  In general, votes are taken by a show of hands, except for voting for promotion and tenure purposes.  Votes are taken by secret ballot at the discretion of the Chair or at the request of any faculty member, and a second.

Discussion:  In terms of “voice” – the ability to speak at a faculty meeting, the multi-disciplinary nature of SCP counsels in favor of welcoming a wide range of persons to be able to speak at faculty meetings.  Individuals with different educational histories, employment experience, and other perspectives can assist in developing an inclusive SCP that welcomes diverse intellectual perspectives related to cybersecurity and privacy.

In terms of “vote,” the SCP is expected to grow significantly during its early years, with inclusion of tenure-track faculty, research faculty, Professors of the Practice, and others.  There are reasons to support having a relatively inclusive set of voting individuals especially during the early years of SCP; the rules here enable voting for non-promotion matters with a 20 percent joint appointment.  That allows individuals to participate more fully in SCP initially, as individuals and units on campus adjust to individuals potentially having a growing percentage of their appointment in SCP.  That percentage may become higher after the initial period, such as three academic years; at that time, SCP may wish to grant voting privileges to those with at least a 38.5 percent appointment in SCP.

Joint Appointments

The Chair of SCP shall be the responsible person for negotiating joint appointments with other academic units. 

Under Institute rules, each faculty member with a joint appointment should have a Home Unit that has responsibility for administrative activity for the individual.  The Chair of SCP will coordinate with the other participating academic unit(s) to supply letters of evaluation for all promotion/salary decisions.

For teaching load, the GT colleges vary considerably.  Currently, the standard load is 6 units for College of Computing, 9 units for the School of Engineering and Scheller, and 12 units in Ivan Allen College.  For 100% appointments to SCP, the teaching load expectation will be the same as the College of Computing (currently, 6 hours). The default for joint appointments is that the percentage of appointment to SCP shall apply to teaching.  For example, suppose there is a faculty member with a 50% appointment in SCP and 50% appointment in Ivan Allen.  This faculty member can meet their teaching obligations with one course in SCP (50% of the 6 unit requirement) and two courses in Ivan Allen (50% of the 12 unit requirement). 

One approach for sharing teaching loads between units is to have a professor teach an extra course some years but not others.  For instance, the professor might teach one additional course every two or three years; e.g., two courses one year and three courses the next year.

Discussion: This text tracks the Georgia Tech policy for joint appointments, at https://policylibrary.gatech.edu/faculty-handbook/3.3.1-tenure-track-faculty-appointments.

For teaching load, the Governing Colleges vary widely, from a low of 6 units in the College of Computing to 12 units in Ivan Allen College.  The default rule seeks to reflect the teaching expected by each college that a faculty member is part of. Different expectations about teaching load may be negotiated as part of the joint appointment.  If there are no specific provisions in the joint appointment, then the default rule applies.

Expectations of Faculty and Assessment Criteria

Each Georgia Tech school has made a commitment to teaching, research, and service. SCP has the opportunity to define those three terms as they relate to cybersecurity and privacy. SCP’s mission is to foster research, service, and teaching across multiple traditional fields, including for topics relating to business, computing, engineering, international affairs, and public policy. Each faculty member is trained within one or more of such disciplines, and evaluations appropriate to such disciplines will apply, with special attention to the value of research, teaching, and service that implicates more than one such discipline.  As guidance, expectations may be assessed as follows;

Research and Contributions to the Field – A standard measure for research includes substantial publications in venues appropriate to the field of a faculty member’s terminal degree, or to another field relevant to the topics of cybersecurity or privacy, including refereed journals, books and refereed book chapters. Consideration will also be given to papers presented at professional conferences, successful grant applications, and innovative pedagogical research.

Teaching – Effective teaching is measured, for example, by student course evaluations, teaching awards, classroom observation by a group of peers and participation in the CTL Faculty Fellow seminars, course development, and innovative instructional methods. High response rates to student course evaluations should be sought appropriately.

Service – Service activities extend beyond membership in professional organizations or committees. Demonstrated leadership or contribution to the organization or group, or to a broader public, is valued. Service may also include publication reviews and mentoring colleagues or students.

SCP Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure (RPT)

SCP follows the guidelines of Georgia Tech’s Faculty Handbook, as outlined especially in Sections 3.3.3 to 3.3.9 (see http://www.policylibrary.gatech.edu/faculty-handbook/3.3-tenured-and-tenure-track- faculty for an overview).  Faculty participating in an RPT process must be tenured faculty members who are at the rank, or higher than the rank, of that level/rank which the faculty member is seeking for promotion.  The procedures applied here for SCP RPT process apply to 3d-year critical reviews as well as consideration of tenure and promotion to either Associate Professor or Full Professor.  The procedures include a Subcommittee formed to evaluate an individual candidate, followed by the School RPT Committee.

Subcommittee Membership

  • The Subcommittee will usually have 3 members, set up by School RPT Chair, in consultation with School Chair.
    • The Subcommittee Chair shall be charged with leading the evaluation, and serves as Liaison with the Candidate.  The other members of the Subcommittee remain anonymous from the Candidate.  (A variation that may be considered is to have 3 members of the Subcommittee be anonymous, with a separate faculty member serving as Liaison to the Subcommittee with the Candidate.)
    • Each member of the Subcommittee shall have a professional background with expertise to evaluate the Candidate. An additional faculty member may be added for good reason, such as to ensure that the Subcommittee has the necessary expertise to evaluate the Candidate’s full body of work.
    • If up to 50% of the Candidate’s appointment is in another school, then at least one member of the subcommittee shall be in that school.  Such a member will be selected in coordination with the Chair of a school in which the Candidate has a joint appointment.

Committee Membership

  • All voting members of the SCP faculty, except for the SCP Chair, shall constitute the SCP RPT Committee.
  • For tenure-track promotion and tenure decisions, eligible faculty in the SCP are required to vote “yes”, “no”, or abstain (though no reason for abstention is required).  For critical reviews, eligible faculty have those same voting options in addition to reappointment with counseling and reappointment with warning.  Participation in a School RPT meeting can be either in person or, for good cause, remotely.  Only individuals who have participated in deliberations are eligible to vote.
  • If the College RPT Chair is on the SCP faculty, then that person votes at the College level, but not in the School RPT meeting.
  • The Chair shall sit in meetings of the RPT Committee but shall not express views about the Candidate.

Subcommittee Charter

  • Conduct a fact-based and fair assessment of the Candidate.
  • Do not advocate a Candidate.
  • Subcommittee members do NOT vote at the subcommittee level but do have a vote at the RPT meeting.
  • Identify appropriate letter writers for the Candidate.
  • Evaluate the Candidate’s CV and Statements to understand the strengths of the case.
  • Evaluate letters.
  • Create a casebook that is based on facts and is fair.
  • Present the case to School Faculty at the RPT Meeting. Lead the conversation and answer questions.
  • Provide materials to RPT Chair to present the case at the College Level

Timeline for Promotion to Associate or Full Professor, or for Tenure

The following timeline provides guidance.  It is not a violation of SCP faculty rules if the timing varies from this timeline.

  • MAY
  • Identify 7-10 letter writers for Candidate without knowing Candidate’s list of letter writers.
  • For each letter writer, provide an email address, a short bio, and URL, so people not in the area know who they are.  You can also a short paragraph to state the reason for this choice.
    • The Liaison may already know the Candidate’s list.  Do not use that to choose your list of names. In fact, do not mention these names to the rest of committee and ignore it in this stage.
  • Work with School RPT Chair to generate a list of Letter Writers (10 + 2 Alternates) by merging Candidate’s and Committee’s list. Identify those chosen from each list.
    • The Liaison to work with Candidate on Statements.
  • JUNE
  • Candidate’s Package DUE.
    • Letter writers approved by School Chair and Deans (they can add more but cannot remove anyone).
    • Letter Requests Sent.
  • AUGUST
  • Meet to evaluate Candidate’s Case based on CV and Statements (without letters).
    • Start Drafting the CASEBOOK (RPT Chair will provide a template).
  • SEPTEMBER
  • Meet to evaluate Candidate’s Case with Letters.
    • Finalize CASEBOOK.
  • OCTOBER
  • Prepare presentation for RPT Meeting (RPT Chair will provide a template).
    • Present CASE to School RPT Meeting
    • Finalize CASEBOOK with votes and points of discussion
  • NOVEMBER
  • Case moved to College RPT. School RPT Subcommittee’s task concluded.

Important Guidelines and Best Practices

  • Discretion: The Subcommittee should not discuss any aspect of the case in a public setting.
  • Subcommittee members should not identify themselves to the Candidate, ever (even after the case is done). The only person to identify himself or herself to the Candidate is the Liaison.
  • Letters will be made available through a secure, password-protected site. Be careful with all these letters and do not email them around. All printouts should be shredded after use. Emails can be deleted after the subcommittee role is concluded.  Use only secure sites to share casebook during editing.

Discussion: The SCP faculty rules describe the process for a candidate whose principal unit is SCP.  This discussion addresses some topics for candidates who have a joint appointment of less than 50% in SCP. 

An important goal for SCP is to create a process that will be fair and transparent for candidates with joint appointments, including when the principal appointment is in a different school or college.  To help achieve that, SCP plans to work with the other schools in order to provide context and support for joint candidates.

Where the candidate has a joint appointment, our understanding of Institute policy is that at least one member of the subcommittee outside of SCP would be a faculty member of SCP.  Such participation by an SCP faculty member can help explain SCP-related work to the other school’s faculty.

One potential issue is where the joint candidate publishes in non-traditional journals.  For example, suppose an ECE/SCP joint appointment publishes in a law journal. (Note – Google H-index is not considered a reliable measure for impact of law review publications.)[1]  In such an example, SCP can provide context for the ECE faculty, such as by sharing a statement about publications that are less familiar to the ECE faculty, including indicia of academic rigor and impact.  Such a statement might be written by the SCP Chair or RPT Committee.  The goal would be to provide information known to SCP that would assist in a fair assessment of the candidate’s promotion case.

As another source of context for consideration of a joint appointment, the request to outside letter writers could specifically ask them to explain the impact of the candidate’s work, in terms understandable to faculty who may not be familiar with SCP-related research.  Such an explanation of impact and area of research can be especially helpful where the publication outlets are different than the ones most familiar to the other school’s faculty.

VERSION: This text is current as of June 2, 2021.


[1] https://leiterlawschool.typepad.com/leiter/2016/08/more-on-the-uselessness-of-ranking-law-reviews-by-google-scholar-h-indices.html