2019-08-12 BoD Meeting Minutes

Agenda

  • Announcements
    • Minutes from last meeting are on the forum
    • Dawna needs help running the health supplies vending machine
      • The administration is not interested in helping
  • Visit from Title IX
    • There is a new Title IX director (Hima Vatti); this is the fifth week in her role
    • She has been at Caltech for 10 years and is looking forward to working with us to advance Title IX
    • How to approach the administration about the health supplies vending machine
      • The office is working on finding a third party company to help stock the vending machine
      • How to ensure that this continues (if the administration does not commit to running this, there is a risk that it will go away)
        • However, we need to find the right department to be in charge of this
    • Note that the Title IX office wants to be a liaison between students and administration and wants to hear as many voices as possible
    • Title IX Student Council
      • There is a body of graduate students that meets with the office regularly
      • This is a good way to get involved if you want to voice concerns
      • This meets once a month and there is lunch
      • There are no attendance requirements
      • Email allie@caltech.edu if you are interested in joining or have questions
    • Sexual harassment and diversity training for faculty
      • It is actually California law that anyone who supervises others has to do 2 hours of sexual harassment training
      • However, now there is a new law that all employees have to take this training
      • Caltech is implementing a policy to make sure that all employees are trained by January 1
        • At least there has been some good feedback and engagement with faculty
  • New reimbursement process
    • See the new reimbursement process on the GSC website
    • The process has switched to an online only reimbursement process
    • Note that everything is public (including the balance sheet for the GSC, although this will be implemented later)
    • You can also track your reimbursement requests through the process on the website
  • Division updates
    • One thing that may be important for all divisions is to make a transition document to help
    • BBE - David Brown
      • BBE town hall last year, asked people to prioritize what they wanted to talk about
        • Number 1 topic was engagement with grad student community within the division (the town hall was not well-attended, ~35 people or 10% of the divison)
        • 2: inconsistency of funding (people are getting different amounts of money for equipment, TAing etc)
        • 3: Level of guidance from adviser - not getting enough advising
        • 4: Course requirement were inconsistent and not well-describd
        • 5: Self-advocacy with the adviser
      • Formed a BBE GSC, meeting with Steve Mayo (division chair), but he wants to make sure that there is continuity
        • Meetings are all scheduled in advance, including one that overlaps with personnel change
        • Steve Mayo is committed to making sure that the TA requirements are transparent
          • Actually this is true all across the institute, and the discussion of this has taken up two faculty meetings
      • BBE has implemented a policy where the adviser needs to be absent for the portion of the committee meeting
      • We also updated the course catalog for BBE; there were many discrepancies, but it was not updated in time for this year’s catalog so it should be implemented next year
    • CCE - Karli Holman
      • Here representing the Chemistry GSC
      • Again, there were only about 50 people at the townhall (which is also about 10% of the division)
      • Concerns were brought to the faculty and they are working on facilitating change
        • Poorly defined expectations especially in terms of Caltech mandated vacation
          • There is also no policy on sick days
          • How to make sure that this info gets out to the whole grad student community
        • Candidacy requirements are inconsistent
          • Working on getting the information out about the requirements and updating the website
        • Changes with the rotation system
          • There is another meeting scheduled for feedback about the rotation system
        • There is not a lot of oversight for faculty
          • Worry about close knit relationship between faculty so it is hard to find someone to talk to candidly about