Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

April 2, 2008

Room B-113 Robinson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.

 

 

I.          Call to Order

 

President Alan Merten

 

II.        Approval of the Minutes of March 5, 2008

 

III.       Announcements

 

IV.       Unfinished Business

 

V.        New Business - Committee Reports

 

               A.  Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee

Request for Faculty Senate recommendation to Emeritus/Emerita rank               Attachment A

 

Academic Policies                                                                                       

 

Budget & Resources

 

Faculty Matters

 

Nominations

Carrie Meyer is nominated to serve on the 2009 Celebration Committee

 

Karen Hallows is nominated to serve on the Student Tuition and Fees Task Force

 

James Bennett, Esther Elstun, and James Harvey are nominated as candidates for faculty appointee to the GMU Foundation Board of Trustees

 

Peter Pober is nominated to serve on the Fenwick Fellow Selection Committee

 

Organization & Operations 

Senator Apportionment 2008-2009                                                                  Attachment B

 

Motion to amend the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate                                        Attachment C

 

 

               B. Other Committees

   Ad hoc Task Force on Compensation Issues:  Motions from the Task Force    Attachment D

 

Ad hoc Task Force on Research Productivity Report – Part One                     Attachment E

 

VI.       Other New Business

                                                                                                                             

VII.           Adjournment


 

ATTACHMENT A

 

Request to the Faculty Senate for exceptions to the current requirements for conferral of Emeritus/Emerita rank

 

The existing requirements in the Faculty Handbook for conferral of honorary Emeritus rank are: tenured Associate Professors and Professors with ten or more years of service. The recommendation from the peer faculty is accompanied by recommendations from the Dean, Provost and President.

 

The Faculty Handbook Revision Committee will propose changes to the requirements as part of the revision process. The key change proposed is to eliminate the requirement for tenure so that full-time Term Associate Professors and Professors with ten or more years of continuous academic service also qualify. All recommendations are “in recognition of outstanding dedication to the university”.

 

This year there has been a cluster of Term faculty retiring from the university with 20 or more years of service who would qualify for the honor were the new Faculty Handbook in effect. The opinion of the Faculty Handbook Revision Committee is that long and loyal service with demonstrated dedication should be recognized with this conferral of honorary status. That these individuals all were part of Mason’s institution-building and that they did so as untenured faculty is notable. In addition, there are three Assistant Professors (one tenured) who retired from GMU this year after many years of service for whom the same honor is requested.

 

Motion:

 

The Faculty Senate recommends conferral of the honorary rank of Emeritus/Emerita to the Term Assistant Professors, the tenured Assistant Professor, the Term Associate Professor and the Term Professor who have been recommended by their respective Deans.

 

[The recommendations of the Deans will be distributed at the Faculty Senate meeting.]

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT B

 

Allocation of senate seats for 2008-2009

1        The Senate Charter states in section I.B. that “By March 1st of each academic year, the Senate Committee on Organization and Operations shall establish the representation from each unit….”

2        The results are as follows (see next page). Comments follow.

         Most notable change: The College of Health and Human Services loses one Senator, and the School of Management gains one.

         As in the previous year, ICAR and Krasnow individually do not meet the threshold requirement as defined in Section I.B.1. of the Charter. Thus, they are pooled into a single collegiate unit for the purposes of allocating senate seats. The result is that ICAR and Krasnow together get one senator to represent them.

3        As in the previous year, these results are based on instructional FTE numbers provided to me by Jang Wan Ko (Ph.D.) of Institutional Research and Reporting.

4        The data used in the calculation are the official census data as of  Fall 2007. These are the latest official instructional FTE data that are available.

 

The Senate Charter reads “The number of senators representing each collegiate unit… shall be determined… based on the [FTE size] on February 1st of each year….”

As in previous years, Dr. Ko advised against using data as of February 1st because they are not official, are not complete, and in fact are incorrect. Official census data are released in November and March (“around the 15th”). Therefore, as in previous years, I interpret the Charter to mean “the official data available as of February 1”.

5.         The Senate Charter also states in Section I.B. that “The directors of the independent institutes shall designate one of their number annually to serve on the Senate.” This is consistent with the description of the ex-officio members listed in Section I.A. Thus, the directors of ICAR and Krasnow can decide between the two of them which one will be the ex-officio member representing both of them.

 

 Apportionment of Elected Senators for 2008/2009

Unit

Allocation

Change

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

17

0

College of Education & Human Development

6

0

College of Health and Human Services

3

-1

College of Science

7

0

College of Visual and Performing Arts

3

0

Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution/ Krasnow Institute *

1

0

School of Management

4

+1

School of Law

2

0

School of Public Policy

2

0

Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering

5

0

 

Total: 50

0

 

* Neither ICAR nor Krasnow meet the threshold FTE requirement, so they are pooled for the purpose of allocating senators. The threshold is [total Univ Instr FTE]/50 rounded up.

 

Faculty Headcount and FTE, Fall 2007

Academic Division/Unit

Status

Instructional Faculty

Research Faculty

2007 HC

2007 FTE

2007 HC

2007 FTE

 

College Humanities and Social Sciences

FullTime PartTime

379 259

376.1 101.4

32 0

32.5 0.0

 

 

Total

638

477.5

32

32.5

 

College of Education and Human Development

FullTime PartTime

104 194

104.0 57.8

1 2

1.0 1.7

 

 

Total

298

161.8

3

2.7

 

College of Health and Human Services

FullTime PartTime

74 67

73.5 22.1

8 1

8.0 0.5

 

 

Total

141

95.6

9

8.5

 

College of Science

FullTime PartTime

183 63

177.2 23.8

86 14

83.8 6.7

 

 

Total

246

201.0

100

90.5

 

College of Visual and Performing Arts

FullTime PartTime

55 69

55.0 29.7

0 0

0.0 0.0

 

 

Total

124

84.7

0

0.0

 

Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

FullTime PartTime

18 14

18.0 3.3

1 0

1.0 0.0

 

 

Total

32

21.3

1

1.0

 

Krasnow Institute

FullTime PartTime

6 3

6.0 0.8

10 0

10 0.0

 

 

Total

9

6.8

10

10.0

 

School of Management

FullTime PartTime

79 53

77.8 18.0

0 0

0.0 0.0

 

 

Total

132

95.8

0

0.0

 

School of Law

FullTime PartTime

32 63

32.0 17.3

11 3

11.0 0.6

 

 

Total

95

49.3

14

11.6

 

School of Public Policy

FullTime PartTime

40 22

40.0 5.8

29 3

29.3 0.6

 

 

Total

62

45.8

32

29.9

 

Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering

FullTime PartTime

111 101

111.0 31.8

20 5

20.0 2.8

 

 

Total

212

142.8

25

22.8

 

Academic Unit Total

Full-Time Part-Time

1,081 908

1,070.6 311.8

198 28

196.6 12.9

 

Total

1,989

1,382.4

226

209.5

 

 

Division/unit

Instructional** % of total FTE

X50

07-08 Allocation

08-09 Allocation

Change

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

0.35

17.27

17

17

0

College of Education and Human Development

0.12

5.85

6

6

0

College of Health and Human Services*

0.07

3.458

4

3

-1

College of Science

0.15

7.27

7

7

0

College of Visual and Performing Arts

0.06

3.06

3

3

0

Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution**

0.02

0.77

1

1

0

Krasnow Institute**

0.00

0.25

 

 

 

School of Management*

0.07

3.465

3

4

1

School of Law

0.04

1.78

2

2

0

School of Public Policy

0.03

1.66

2

2

0

Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering

0.10

5.16

5

5

0

Total Faculty

1.00

50.00

50

50

0

 

* Rounding requires that either the College of Health and Human Services or the School of Management be rounded up; S of M has more instructional FTE.

** Neither ICAR nor Krasnow meet the threshold FTE requirement (the threshold is [total Univ Instr FTE]/50 rounded up = 28), so they are pooled for the purpose of allocating senators.

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT C

 

Motion:

 

The O & O Committee moves to amend the bylaws of the Faculty Senate, ARTICLE IV Section 1 c. by inserting the word “elected” before the word “membership”, so that it reads:

 

Meetings of the Senate:

 

c. The quorum for Senate meetings shall consist of a majority of the elected membership. However, the quorum for authorizing conferral of degrees and for considering other matters related thereto shall be a minimum 20 percent of the whole Senate membership.

 

 

Rationale:

 

The membership of the Senate consists of 50 Senators elected from the collegiate units and 13 ex officio members (the President, Provost, Deans/Directors, Director of the Libraries). Most of the ex officio members rarely attend Senate meetings (see, for example, the Faculty Senate Attendance webpage 2006-2007). Therefore, obtaining a quorum is made more difficult than if the quorum were a majority of members who would be expected to attend on a regular basis. Since the Faculty Senate meets only once a month during the Academic Year, the lack of a quorum significantly interferes with the work of the Senate. As stated in Roberts Rules of Order, in the absence of a quorum, any business transacted is null and void.

 

 

A change in the quorum in no way affects the voting rights of any member.

 

 

According to the bylaws of the Faculty Senate:

 

“All motions to amend these bylaws shall be read and debated at two successive regular meetings of the George Mason Faculty Senate held in the same academic year. Following the second debate, a vote on the motion to amend shall be taken. A two thirds majority of the voting members of the Senate present and voting shall be required for passage of such an amendment.”

 

The vote on the motion to amend the bylaws will take place at the next meeting on April 30, 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT D - Please refer to Faculty Senate Minutes March 5, 2008 discussion:

 

Motion 1. The Faculty Senate calls for the prompt creation of an ad hoc Committee for Consolidation and Compensation (CCC).  Its charge will be to develop a four-year plan, to be presented to the BOV with a request for immediate implementation, for eliminating the longstanding disparity (in terms of real purchasing power) between the salaries of GMU faculty and staff and their counterparts in other colleges and universities in the Commonwealth.   This plan will include aggressive efforts to persuade the General Assembly to address our need for COLA funding, but it will place primary emphasis on the reallocation of existing GMU resources as well as increases in student tuition and/or fees.  The Committee will consist of 3 tenured Faculty elected by the Faculty Senate; the President of the Staff Senate or his/her designee; and the President of the Student Government Association or his/her designee.  Senior Vice President Scherrens should appoint an ex-officio representative to the Committee to provide budgetary data and analysis as needed.  The Committee will make a preliminary report to the Faculty Senate in September, 2008 and a final report in November, 2008.

 

Explanation:  It has now been 7 years since the Senate raised the issue of low faculty salaries and the need for a COLA. Since that time, faculty and staff earning power has decreased, and present prospects for significant state-based assistance in addressing low salaries and a COLA are unlikely in light of a projected budget shortfall for FY2009-2010 and a temporary freeze on the salaries of public employees.

 

Throughout this time, GMU has continued to grow, creating new campuses and programs and allowing for a marked increase in student enrollment, despite low per-student funding from the State.  It is now time for the University to enter a new stage in which it dramatically slows growth, consolidates its existing programs, and addresses the salary needs of its employees.

 

Raising tuition and/or fees is an unpleasant but justifiable necessity in light of the failure of the State to improve faculty and staff salaries. The additional tuition monies will be used to fund need-based scholarships as well as to improve faculty and staff salaries. GMU students also have the option of reducing the cost of higher education by choosing to attend NOVA for their freshman and sophomore years.  It should also be noted that compared to most students of national research universities, GMU students graduate with a relatively low amount of debt. 

 

Recently, it has been the State’s policy to provide a small but significant financial contribution to colleges and universities if they do not raise tuition above a specified amount.  If this State policy is proposed for the upcoming fiscal year, it should be “the highest priority” of our President’s lobbying efforts to convince the Legislature that the need for a cost-of-living-adjustment for GMU employees should make GMU an exception: GMU should be allowed to receive its full share of public funding and also raise tuition as it sees fit.  

 

If passed, this Resolution will be sent by the Faculty Senate Chair the Presidents of the Staff Senate and Student Government Association as well as to Vice President Scherrens  with a request for immediate action. The Senate Nominations Committee will arrange for the election of the three faculty members.  The Rector of the BOV and President Merten shall be informed of these actions.

 

 

Motion 2.  The Consolidation and Compensation Committee shall also consider lesser but important steps that can be taken to improve Faculty and Staff employment conditions. For instance, to speak to the case of the Faculty:  in recent years there has been serious discussion of expanding the Faculty Study Leave Program and implementing a policy for phased retirements.  It seems that these improvements would be seen by the Faculty as well deserved recognition of their invaluable contributions to building and maintaining the University.  This motion asks that these and similar possibilities that may be proposed be reported to the Faculty Senate at its October 2008 meeting.  The Committee’s report will then be forwarded to the President and the BOV for their approval and implementation. The Staff Senate shall also be asked to propose ways to improve Staff working conditions and benefits.

 

Explanation:  It should also be noted that the benefits to Faculty that are suggested in this motion would improve the University’s ability to recruit and retain Faculty.

 

If passed, this Resolution will be sent by the Faculty Senate Chair to Vice President Scherrens and the President of the Staff Senate with a request for immediate action. The Rector of the BOV and President Merten shall be informed of these actions.

 

 

 

Motion 3. The Faculty Senate shall create an ad hoc committee responsible for developing a plan for insuring the observation of sound management practices in the rewarding of administrative raises and related compensation.  This Committee for Best Practices for Administrative Compensation (BPAC) will propose merit-based evaluation policies for academic administrators at the level of Assistant Dean and above that have clear performance criteria; a high degree of transparency; and meaningful inputs from multiple stakeholders.  The Committee will consist of three tenured faculty elected by the Faculty Senate. The President and Provost will each be invited to designate one ex officio member (a total of two). The Committee shall make a preliminary report to the Faculty Senate in September, 2008 and a final report in November, 2008.  The Committee’s final report along with the Senate’s response to it will be promptly presented to the BOV with a request for immediate implementation.

 

 Explanation:  As a public institution receiving significant funding from tax-payers, George Mason University should conduct itself in accordance with “best practices” in order to maintain the optimal good will and support of the public. At present there are clearly defined criteria (teaching, research and service) for faculty raises. These raises (often quite small) are subject to careful evaluation at the level of the local academic unit, usually by both a salary committee and a chair, and they undergo subsequent review by the appropriate Dean as well as the Provost.  Information about both the salaries and the annual raises of Faculty are easily accessible to all Administrative and Instructional Faculty. Furthermore, Faculty receive standard benefit packages.  While perhaps not a perfect system, these carefully developed measures insure a significant degree of integrity and fairness which is supportive of Faculty morale and the well-being of the institution.

 

The practice for determining the raises and benefits of the President, Provost, Deans and Directors, as well as their upper-level staffs, is seemingly quite different—seemingly because in many cases there is insufficient information to know.  Because of this lack of transparency about performance standards, salaries and other forms of compensation, it is understandable that many Faculty question whether best practices are being employed and whether performance standards comparable to those used for the Faculty also apply to upper-level Administrators.  Faculty concern about these matters and the attendant erosion of Faculty morale has become acute in recent years as the average raises of the Faculty have been quite small and those of the upper-level Administration relatively large (often surprisingly so).  The Faculty, the larger University, and the Public would be well served if this problem were addressed.

 

If passed, the Senate Nominations Committee will arrange for the election of three faculty, and the Senate Chair will request that the President and Provost appoint designees to the Committee. The Senate Chair will also inform the Rector of the Board of Visitors of these actions.

 

 

Motion 4. The Faculty Senate shall conduct annual evaluations of how effectively the President and Provost as well as their immediate staffs have collaborated with the Faculty Senate in matters pertaining to joint governance of the University.  The results of the evaluations will be sent to the Board of Visitors and the General Faculty.  In addition, representatives from the Senate Executive Committee and the Faculty Representatives to the Board of Visitors will arrange to discuss the report with the Board of Visitors as deemed necessary.  These evaluations should be one important factor in determining the annual raises of the President, Provost and other Administrators discussed in the reports. They should also be given careful consideration when these officers apply for renewal or extension of their contracts.  The first evaluation will occur in Spring 2008.

 

Explanation:  The Faculty Senate currently conducts an annual evaluation in which the Faculty assess the performance of the President and Provost (as well as the Deans and Directors). While this assessment is helpful and should be continued, it would also be useful to have the Senate, given its unique relationship to the Central Administration, conduct its own evaluation. The General Faculty delegates to the Faculty Senate “the responsibility for participation in governance at the university level” (Handbook, 1.3.1), and the Senate interacts regularly with the President and Provost regarding “all governance issues not internal to any single school or college” (Handbook, 1.3.2).  Given this mandate, the Senate has both a special need for effective relations with the chief administrative officers, as well as their immediate staffs, and a unique perspective upon how well these officers are collaborating with the Senate to promote joint governance and sound university policies. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the Senate conduct its own annual evaluation of the President, Provost and members of their staffs (with whom they have had significant working relations within the preceding year) and that it share this information with the General Faculty, which it serves, and with the Board of Visitors, so the Visitors may have a better understanding of the degree of faculty satisfaction with the performance of the chief administrative officers of the University.     

 

Process: The Executive Committee in consultation with the Senate Committees and Faculty Representatives to the BOV will compose a draft version of the assessment to be presented for discussion and approval by the full Senate no later than the end of the Spring semester.  The approved report will then promptly be sent to the Board of Visitors, the General Faculty, and the President and Provost.

 

The assessment will be a narrative report, and it will include, but not be limited to, the performance of the President and Provost, as well as their immediate staffs, in the following areas:

 

--The inclusion of the Senate from the beginning in discussion of new or altered university-wide policies that have the potential to significantly affect the future direction, definition, and operation of the University;

--The demonstration of a knowledge of and respect for the Faculty Handbook;

--The willingness to meet with the Senate (and its various committees and task forces) in a timely manner;

--The timely provision of information the Senate needs to operate effectively.

 

In Fall, 2008 the Senate will review this process and make needed changes.

 

If passed, the Senate Chair will report this Motion to the Rector of the Board of Visitors and to the President and Provost.

 

 

Motion 5. The Faculty Senate Task Force on Compensation shall make a special effort to bring these Senate Motions to the attention of the GMU Faculty and Staff.  The Compensation Task Force will work with the Senate Clerk to arrange for digital copies of these motions to be sent to all Faculty and for hard copies to be placed in Faculty mailboxes.  Faculty will be invited to submit to the Senate Clerk an indication of their support or objection to these motions. Copies of the Motions will also be sent to the Officers of the Staff Senate with a request that they be distributed to all Staff.  In addition, the Task Force on Compensation is encouraged, to the extent its time allows, to arrange for these Motions to be discussed in various University fora such as meetings of the colleges, of local academic units, and of the AAUP.  All Faculty are encouraged to help with this process. 

 

Explanation:  The content of the Motions is of great importance and interest to the Faculty and Staff.  Accordingly, it is essential that the Senate take reasonable measures, and sometimes even extraordinary steps, to call these Motions to their attention. To assist in this process, all Senate members will be asked to volunteer to help with such matters as distributing the hard copies to the Faculty and arranging for these Resolutions to be discussed in their local academic units.

 

 

Motion 6. The GMU Chapter of the AAUP shall be asked to endorse the above motions and assist in disseminating information about them.

 

Explanation:  These motions are consistent with the mission of the AAUP, and the proposed collaboration promises to be beneficial to both parties.

 

 

 

ATTACHMENT E

 

The full text of The Task Force on Research Productivity’s Report on the Results of the Faculty Survey is posted on the Faculty Senate website at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/senate/TF-research.htm.

 

Executive Summary, Conclusions, and Recommendations

 

The online survey of the Task Force on Research Productivity received a strong response rate from faculty, with 227 responses received.  Those responses identified a number of areas which faculty perceived to interfere with increasing research productivity and securing additional external funding.  Important areas singled out by the numerous comments received included lack of space for research activities; lack of technical and clerical/budget support, particularly at the departmental level; workload [teaching and service] too high for research; lack of support from OSP, and lack of budget to support research.   The items which received the strongest negative comments from faculty included financial items [budget management, Banner, fiscal policies, purchasing], and research compliance, especially the IRB.  Perhaps the most damning comments were several statements to the effect that Mason has failed to develop an effective research culture, and that faculty are assailed from all sides with impediments and roadblocks to publication and funding.  Some of these were accompanied by statements that faculty are forced by the lack of facilities/support to do their research in non-Mason facilities, depriving Mason of funding.  The committee suggests that the university use the results of this survey to take a broad look at many areas that may be improved in an effort to eliminate faculty barriers, as this holistic approach may better facilitate change in the research culture at Mason.  Some target areas where processes or policies may be improved include:

 

            Deans and Directors: assess staffing in order to request/allocate support staff to effectively support scholarship, including technical support, purchasing staff, and budget analysts, as appropriate.  Insure that your own unit has adequate support for research and grants. Identify and request needed space and DE to support scholarship.  Instill research culture among staff where needed.

            Budget: enhance budget software and fiscal practices to make sure financial data is accurate, timely and easy to use.  Provide information and workshops to faculty and support staff who want to better understand software and budget procedures.

            Compliance: assume a more proactive approach to facilitate scholarship that is fully compliant.   Currently, activities of the compliance office are viewed as obstructive of scholarship.  Develop guidance materials that will facilitate a better understanding of compliance procedures and work more closely with faculty so that applications are processed as efficiently as possible.

            OSP: review practices [already in progress] with a view toward increasing support for faculty in obtaining/managing funding.

 

In summary, Mason, despite its stated intentions of growing its research funding, currently has a number of perceived internal barriers to scholarship and funding.  Growing the funding depends on a reduction of those barriers and a collaborative effort on the part of administration and faculty to develop effective systems and processes to support research.