Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting
January 23, 2008
Room B-113 Robinson Hall
I. Call to Order
II. Approval of the Minutes of November 28, 2007
IV. Unfinished Business
Motions from the Faculty Matters Committee:
Awarding of Tenure at the Time of Hiring in Competitive Searches Attachment A
Tenure Clock Extensions for Military Service and Serious Illness Attachment B
Motion to approve the proposed University Policy on Patenting University Inventions
V. New Business - Committee Reports
A. Senate Standing Committees
Executive Committee – Report Attachment D
Budget & Resources
Report on resolution of “9-over-12-month” deferred salary
Motions: Linda Samuels (SOM) and Jane Flinn (CHSS) are nominated to serve on the committee for development of a new university policy on Financial Conflicts of Interest under Federal Law. Phil Wiest (CHSS) is nominated to fill a vacancy on the ad hoc Task Force on Salary Issues.
Organization & Operations
B. Other Committees
Ad hoc Task Force on Salary Issues – Report Attachment E
Committee to Revise the Faculty Handbook – Report Attachment F
VI. Other New Business
Resolution seeking a nonvoting faculty representative on the Board of Visitors Attachment G
Motion to change the name of the Salary Task Force on Salary Issues to the Salary Task Force on Compensation Issues and add examination of compensation issues to its charge.
VII. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
Awarding of Tenure at the time of Hiring in Competitive Searches
Last year the Senate passed a motion requiring a “second level review” of direct hire candidates. Here we propose a second level review be required in all cases, including national competitive searches, where tenure is proposed to be granted at the time of hire.
In keeping with Section 1.3 of the Faculty Handbook that states, “In accordance with the best traditions of American universities, the faculty plays a primary role in…faculty personnel actions,” this policy applies to searches, (including competitive national searches), in which there is a proposal to award tenure at the time of hire.
Procedures. Faculty in the Local Academic Unit (LAU) will review the credentials of any individual who is a candidate for hire. These include, at a minimum, the opportunity to examine a curriculum vitae, meet with the candidate, attend a job seminar or formal presentation by the candidate, and review letters of reference. The LAU faculty then vote to accept or reject the candidate and, in a separate vote, determine whether to hire the candidate with tenure. The hiring process moves forward only when a majority of the LAU faculty who are eligible to vote accept the candidate.
If the candidate is nominated for tenure upon hiring, s/he must also be reviewed by the college- or school-level promotion and tenure committee. As stated above, the LAU review requires a majority positive vote by eligible faculty for tenure consideration. If the LAU faculty vote is positive and the chair recommends tenure of the candidate, the dossier is then sent to the college or school promotion and tenure committee. As with all tenure reviews, independent external letters from recognized experts in the candidate’s field must be obtained in a manner consistent with other tenure reviews, and candidates are held to the same standards as other candidates in that LAU. Since such hires may be made outside the normal annual promotion and tenure cycle, college and school promotion and tenure committees must develop procedures for reviewing candidates out of cycle.
Motions on Tenure Clock Extensions for Military Service and Serious Illness
Last year, the Faculty Senate approved a motion for Tenure Clock Extension for New Parents (May 2, 2007). We now propose tenure clock extensions for two other situations: 1) Being called up for Military Service and 2) for Serious Illness.
Tenure Clock Extension for Military Service
A tenure track faculty member who is also a member of the U.S. military and is called to active duty for a minimum of four months will be entitled to an automatic extension of the term in which she or he is currently employed. The extension will last for the duration of the active duty assignment, rounded to the nearest year. Therefore, an active duty assignment lasting between 4 and 15 months will earn a one-year extension, 16 through 27 months will earn a two-year extension, etc. This extension will be granted automatically upon the faculty member’s notifying in writing the chair of the department or the dean/director of the college, school or institute in which the faculty member serves. The faculty member should make the request prior to entering active duty and prior to September 1 of the academic year in which the tenure decision would have been made. .
Tenure Clock Extension for Serious Illness
A tenure track faculty member who becomes seriously ill will be entitled to an automatic extension of the term in which she or he is currently employed under the following conditions and definitions. First, “serious illness” will be defined according to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), already used by the university. The FMLA act requires certification of the illness by a physician. Once the certification has been approved by Human Resources, the faculty member can request delay of the tenure clock by notifying in writing the chair of the department or the dean/director of the college, school or institute in which the faculty member serves. The tenure clock will only be stopped when the faculty member uses sick leave according to the following guidelines. Four to 15 months of sick leave would make the faculty member eligible for a one year delay of the tenure clock, 16 through 27 months of sick leave would make the faculty member eligible for a two year delay of the tenure clock and so on. At the time of tenure consideration, a faculty member will be considered using the same criteria as those applied to other faculty in the college school or institute.
Motion to approve the proposed University Policy on Patenting University Inventions
The full text appears at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/senate/patent-policy.htm
Since the Nov. 28, 2007 Faculty Senate meeting, several revisions to the proposed policy were made in response to suggestions from faculty. The old and new texts are both included at the webpage linked above.
Faculty Senate Meeting Schedule Change
There are only 4-5 meetings during a semester and the agenda for each meeting is usually full. In order that the Faculty Senate complete its business in a timely way, the Executive Committee recommends that in the event classes are cancelled or the University is closed at the time of a scheduled meeting, the Faculty Senate will meet on Wednesday of the next week at 3:00 p.m. The Clerk of the Senate will send a reminder message and the agenda of the cancelled meeting will be followed.
At the Faculty Senate meeting of October, 10, 2007, lengthy and spirited discussion centered around classroom environment issues. As a result of this, a new university-wide committee has been formed: the Learning Environments Committee (working title). Associate Provost Rick Davis has been asked to convene and chair the committee. The following paragraph is an excerpt from a message of invitation he sent recently:
The University's Executive Council*, represented by Joy Hughes, in consultation with the Chair of the Faculty Senate, has created a new committee (see also task force, study group) to examine the question of classroom design and the learning environments that we inhabit. This committee will not principally be concerned with issues of scheduling and use patterns, as there is a preexisting body that looks at those issues regularly. Likewise, technology will be a subject of discussion of course, but insofar as it relates to a holistic view of learning environments and not as an end in itself. We will look at existing spaces, planned renovation projects, and clean-sheet ideas for new buildings. We will concern ourselves with color, light, space, and furnishings in addition to chalk and projectors. Among our tools will be a "sandbox" classroom in which we will have the opportunity to try out 3D full scale set-ups, and some electronic design tools as well.
The committee includes many faculty, including ex officio members from the Effective Teaching and Technology Policy Committees and the Chair of the Faculty Senate, so that the Faculty Senate and its relevant committees will receive regular reports and can provide feedback.
The first, and organizational, meeting took place on Wed., Jan. 16.
*Executive Council is composed of the President, Senior Vice President, Vice President for University Relations, Vice President for Information Technology, Provost, Vice President for University Development and Alumni Affairs, Vice President for University Life, Chief of Staff.
Report of the ad hoc Task Force on Faculty Salaries
Submitted by Rick Coffinberger, Chair
The Task Force met several times during the fall semester to identify data needs and strategies for obtaining a COLA adjustment and curbing the salary growth among the top levels of the central administration. The Task Force was disappointed albeit not surprised to learn that the Governor’s proposed budget contains no raises for faculty for the fiscal year 2008-9 and no support for a COLA for Mason Faculty. The Central Administration has indicated that they will introduce amendments to the Governor’s proposed budget but acknowledge that the Commonwealth is facing a revenue shortfall for the next few years.
The Task Force unanimously supported the call for a special meeting on February 6th to provide an opportunity to discuss issues of concern to the Mason Faculty as they teach and conduct research.
Report of the ad hoc Committee to Revise the Faculty Handbook
Submitted by Rick Coffinberger, Chair
The Committee to Revise the Faculty Handbook met over the summer and throughout the fall semester of 2007. We expect to complete development of proposed changes to the Handbook by May of 2008 and to solicit feedback from the Instructional Faculty during the early part of next fall. If this process proceeds as planned, a final set of recommended changes will be presented for approval by the Board of Visitors by the end of the fall.
RESOLUTION SEEKING A NONVOTING FACULTY REPRESENTATIVE
ON THE BOARD OF VISITORS
WHEREAS the success of George Mason University as an
academic enterprise and a world class institution would be enhanced by direct
communication between the Board of Visitors and the Faculty; and
WHEREAS a nonvoting student representative has for many years held a seat on the BOV to provide a student perspective; and
WHEREAS the Faculty representative would have no vote and would be subject, as a state employee, to all pertinent conflict of interest restrictions, there is no possibility that a conflict of interest can occur; and
WHEREAS the precedent for Faculty representation on Boards
has been successfully established in the Commonwealth at Virginia Commonwealth
University, VPI & SU and the College of William and Mary.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Faculty Senate that the BOV be requested to accept a nonvoting Faculty representative to the BOV who is elected by the General Faculty; and
If adopted, the Secretary of the Senate is instructed to
send this Resolution to the Rector and members of the Board of Visitors.
Sponsored by Senators Jim Bennett (CHSS), Rick Coffinberger (SOM), Mark Houck (ITE), Janette Muir (CHSS). Supporting sponsor: Toni Travis (CHSS)
Motion from the Task Force on Salary Issues
Motion: “To change the name of the Salary Task Force on Salary Issues to the Salary Task Force on Compensation Issues and add examination of compensation issues to its charge”
Discussion: The change was recommended by the Rector of the GMU Board of Visitors during his presentation to the Faculty Senate on November 7th, 2007. This broadens the charge of the Task Force and is consistent with its work on salary issues as salary and compensation issues are so closely connected.
Sponsored by Rick Coffinberger (SOM)