Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

April 30, 2008

Room B-113 Robinson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.



I.          Call to Order



II.        Approval of the Minutes of April 2, 2008



III.       Announcements



IV.       Special Orders


         Motions to amend the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate                                            Attachment A


         Election of Faculty Senate Chair, 2008-2009


V.        Unfinished Business and General Orders


         Ad hoc Task Force on Research Productivity Report                                          Attachment B

         Ad hoc Task Force on Compensation Issues                                                        Attachment C



VI.       New Business - Committee Reports


               A.  Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee


Academic Policies                                                                                       


Budget & Resources                                                                                     Attachment D


Faculty Matters




Organization & Operations


               B. Other Committees

Ad hoc Task Force on Compensation Issues                                               Attachment E


               C.  Other Committees: Annual Reports


         Senate Standing Committees                                                                       Attachment F


         University Standing Committees                                                                  Attachment G


         Senate Ad Hoc Committees                                                                        Attachment H



VII.     Other New Business


            A.             Proposed Policy for Federal Financial Conflict of Interest                     Attachment I



VIII.    Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty



IX.       Adjournment












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.





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.



To amend the bylaws of the Faculty Senate, ARTICLE IV Section 7 a. by inserting the word “elected” before the word “member”, so that it reads:


Meetings of the Senate


a. On his or her own initiative the Chair may call a special meeting of the Senate. In response to any petition signed by 20 percent of the elected members of the Senate, the Chair must call a special meeting to be convened within six instructional days.


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 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


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. 







The Task Force on Compensation Issues presented several motions at the April 2, 2008 meeting. (See Agenda and Minutes of the meeting.) During discussion, the meeting adjourned.


The Task Force asks permission to withdraw the motions.


Please see Attachment E.







To:       Faculty Senate

From:   Budget and Resources Committee, Phil Buchanan, Chair

Re:       Direct Expenditures Report

Date:    April 15, 2008


At the beginning of the academic year, the Executive Committee asked the Budget and Resources Committee to review the allocation of university direct expenditures resources among the various units and the adequacy of common resources.  The goals were two-fold.  First to determine the degree to which there are substantial differences in the amount of direct expenditures resources allocated to the different units that could influence the unit’s ability to achieve their missions.  Second, to determine from first level administrators (typically departmental chairs) whether their units have the necessary non-direct expenditure resources (such are office/lab space or graduate assistantships) to achieve their missions.


Attached are Tables that report the details of our findings.  The following is a summary:

·        As disclosed in Table 1, over the three-year period 2005-2007, approximately 20% of the Educational and General expenditures were for Direct Expenditures; that is, all expenditures other than salaries and benefits.

·        According to Table 2, for 2007 about 21.7% of total direct expenditures were made by the academic units with the balance going to non-instructional units.

·        There was substantial variation in the proportion of the academic unit’s total expenditures going toward direct expenditures.  Major units such are IT&E, CHSS, CHHS and CEHD expend about 5-7% of their budgets on direct expenditures while other units such as SOM and SOL and Krasnow expend substantially more (14-24%) of their budgets on direct expenditures.

·        With the assumption that direct expenditures are a function of the number of full-time faculty, as opposed to FTE faculty, it was determined that there was substantial variation on direct expenditures per full-time faculty member.  Table 3 discloses that the SOL and SOM expended about $39K  and $24K, respectively, per full-time faculty member while a similar numbers CHSS, ICAR and CHHS were only about $7.5K, $8.3 and $8.8, respectively, in 2007.  Note that Krasnow’s expenditures were very high per faculty member but in 2007 only 2.4full-time faculty were assigned to that unit.

·        The survey of first-level administrators (typically department chairs), reported in Table 5, found consistent dissatisfaction with the support for GTA’s and GRA’s and general satisfaction with technology.  It was also noted that there was moderate dissatisfaction with Office and Lab space and Grant Writing and Grant Administration support.

·        Table 6 shows that, by a wide margin, the first-level administrators think that if additional resources were to become available that such resources should be devoted to GTA’s and GRA’s.

·        The administration does recognize the disparity among the units and is attempting to allocate additional direct expenditure resources to units that are in need.


If you have any questions on this report please feel free to contact any member of the Budget and Resources Committee.







The Compensation Task Force presents the following tentative motions for brief discussion.  After gaining input from the Senate, the Task Force will make necessary revisions and propose the motions for Fall, 2008. If approved, the motions will be sent to the President, Provost and Board of Visitors with a request that they be implemented for the 2009-10 academic year.



1. At the April 2, 2008 meeting of the Faculty Senate, President Merten mentioned the possibility of a 10% tuition increase for academic year 2009-10. The Senate supports this idea, and we ask that at least half of this increase be used to provide need-based student financial aid and across-the-board raises for all instructional faculty, lower-level administrative faculty and classified staff


2. The Faculty Senate ask that the monies gained from the salaries of retiring faculty be used to provide across-the-board raises for all tenure-line faculty.


3. We ask that the Faculty Study Leave Program be substantially increased so that tenured instructional faculty can anticipate receiving a semester of study leave every 7 years.


4. We ask that the University continue its present retirement policy for instructional faculty and also create a policy for phased-retirement, so that faculty may choose between the two.



ATTACHMENT F – Senate Standing Committee Reports AY 2007-2008


1.  Academic Policies – Janette Muir, Chair

Committee Members:  Julie Christensen, Jim Kozlowski, Mary Williams, and Michael Wolf-Branigin


The Academic Policies committee met four times this year and communicated regularly through email about the following issues:

·         Clarifications to the University Incomplete Policy (two motions passed);

·         Consideration of a campus-wide textbook policy (referred back to O&O);

·         Consideration of course repeat policy (will look at this again in ‘08-‘09);

·         Review of credit given for foreign languages in the AP/IB programs (referred to Admissions committee);

·         Review of Mason catalogue changes for ’08-’09.


2.      Budget and Resources – Phil Buchanan, Chair

Committee Members:  Rick Coffinberger, Karen Hallows, Joe Scimecca, and Ray Sommer, and Jessica Bowdoin (ex-officio, Library)


The Budget and Resources Committee met 7 times in the 2007/08 academic year.  Phil Buchanan was elected Chair at the first meeting.  The committee completed the following projects during the year:

·        Brought to the attention of the administration problems related to faculty being paid over 12 months.

·        Participated in a task force to resolve issues related to 9 over 12.

·        Working with the administration to secure faculty salary data to be posted to the Senate website.

·        The Committee undertook a major project that examined the level of direct expenditures by the various units of the University.  A copy of that report will be included with the minutes of the May 2008 Senate meeting.

·        On a monthly basis, the Chair attended meeting of the Budget Planning Group.



3.      Faculty Matters – Larry Rockwood, Chair

Committee Members:  Frieda Butler, Dave Kuebrich, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, and Jim Sanford


The committee met 6 times during the academic year.  Issues considered were:


1) Guidelines for Amplified Sound;

2)  Review of Vending Sales and Solicitation Procedures for Johnson Center, Student Union I and II;

3) Awarding of Tenure at the time of Hiring in Competitive Searches;

4) Tenure Clock extensions for Military Service;

5) Tenure Clock extensions of Serious Illness;

6) Post-tenure review policies.


Motions were taken to the floor of the senate dealing with issues 3, 4 and 5 above.  Item 6 was sent to the Faculty Handbook committee.


The committee, as usual, is administering the annual Faculty Evaluation of Administrators.  This year we decided to ask the faculty to fill out the evaluation form on line, instead of by paper.  Although we are still gathering data, the return rate appears to be comparable to those of past years.



4.      Nominations – Jim Bennett, Chair

Committee Members:  Mark Houck, Linda Monson, Jane Razeghi, and Peter Winant

The Faculty Senate Nominations Committee conscientiously filled every  vacancy requiring a Faculty representative throughout Academic Year 2007-2008; in November, the Committee conducted an election among the General Faculty to select Faculty representatives to the various Committees of the Board of Visitors; and,  in February, the Committee conducted an election among the General Faculty to select four members
of the Provost Review Committee.



5.      Organization and Operations – Lorraine Brown, Chair

Committee Members:  Ernest Barreto, Jean Moore, June Tangney, and Phil Wiest


During the academic year, 2007/2008, the Organization and Operations Committee referred items requiring study and action to the appropriate standing committees. The committee met to discuss and propose an Amendment to the Senate By-Laws. Ernest Barreto's report on apportionment of seats in the Faculty Senate was also presented to the Senate.


ATTACHMENT G – University Standing Committee Reports AY 2007-2008

1.  Academic Appeals – Flavia Colonna, Chair

Committee Members:  Lloyd Cohen, Michael Hurley, Walter Morris, Michael Naor, and Bob Pasnak


The Academic Appeals Committee met to discuss the appeal filed by a graduate student concerning the termination of his Ph.D. studies. The reason for the dismissal was the expiration of the time limit for being admitted to candidacy and the student’s low G.P.A. After meeting with representatives of the Provost Office and of the graduate program for clarification, the Academic Appeals Committee granted a provisional extension of the student’s doctoral studies timeline until the fall of 2010 to advance to candidacy and three additional years to complete and defend his dissertation.


2.  Admissions – James Carroll, Chair

Committee Members:  Frieda Butler, Kelly Dunne, Ramon Planas, Peter Pober, and Eddie Tallent


During the 2007-2008 academic year, the Admissions Committee met in September, October, November, and February.  Eddie Tallent, Associate Dean/Executive Director of Undergraduate Admission and Andrew Flagel, Dean of Admissions guided the committee through the process and shared a variety of statistics indicating positive growth in all areas of admissions.  The committee is pleased to report the process is running smoothly with continued improvement.  Average entrance GPA has gone from 3.2 in 2001 to 3.5 in 2007.  The admissions rate in 2001 was 68.06% and in 2007 was nearly 55%.  The committee wishes to thank Admissions for their passion and hard work.



3.  Athletic Council – Linda Miller, Chair

Committee Members:  Robert E. Baker, Julie Christensen, Sharon deMonsabert, and Phil Wiest


2008 Report to the Faculty Senate by the Faculty Athletic Representative


The Athletic Council met in October, February and April this year to provide information to members about NCAA issues, academic support services and the academic performance of our student-athletes. Sub-Committees met separately to conduct business relative to the committee’s work and to begin preparation for the next NCAA Certification. 


General Oversight Subcommittee (Chair, Max Baker)

The committee met and reviewed the EADA (Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act) required by federal law.  Any discrepancy in funding between teams was attributed to the competitive success of the team; those teams who remained competitive through tournament/conference play required more funding for travel, etc.  The university is in compliance with the gender/equity ratio (General Oversight Subcommittee Spring 2008 Report)


Academic Integrity Subcommittee (Chair, Phil Wiest)

The committee reviewed the NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) four year cohort results.  All Mason teams achieved 925 or higher (1000 points per team is 100%) in 2006-2007.  Academic Support Services are now located in the West Physical Education module.  The new facility provides space for both large and small study groups, a computer lab and tutoring services.


The committee reviewed the data from the survey conducted in spring 2007, regarding the effectiveness of Academic Support Services provided by the Athletic Department and by the University. More than half of the approximately 450 student athletes responded.  Summary of the data revealed that 80% found the academic services of the Athletic Department and advising of faculty helpful, and that hours and location of services provided are adequate and beneficial. Committee recommendations include: publicizing more widely that academic services are available to student-athletes after they have exhausted their eligibility, and refining the survey to target the student-athletes who used the tutoring services.


The committee investigated grade distributions in classes taught by instructors affiliated with the Athletic Department.  Research of instructors, class rosters and grades from spring 2005 through fall 2007 revealed no irregularities in the grade distribution for student athletes versus students generally. (Academic Integrity Subcommittee Spring 2008 Report)


Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee (Chair, Jevita deFreitas)

An external review of compliance procedures is required by the NCAA every three years.  Kathleen Batterson of the CAA conducted a very thorough review of all things involving compliance.  She met with the compliance officer, compliance staff, registrar, financial aid, admissions and with the Faculty Athletic Representative. The report is not yet available.  The Office of the Registrar hosted a meeting to present information on degree audits and how they can be used to certify student athletes to the Athletic Department academic coordinator staff. (Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee Report Spring 2008) 


Student Welfare Subcommittee (Chair, Bob Baker)

The committee focused its efforts on enhancing its relationship and communication with the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) and increasing the number of Exit Surveys completed by student athletes.  The committee would like to use the results of the Exit Survey to inform its work with student athlete welfare.  The Exit Interview survey is available to all student-athletes on the SAAC website and all senior student-athletes have been sent a survey via email.  (Student Welfare Subcommittee 2008 Report)


In the 2006-2007 academic year student athletes were compared with the general student body with the following results:

                                                Student Athletes           Students Generally

            Males                                 2.97                                   2.83                                   

            Females                              3.20                                   3.00

            Combined                          3.07                                   2.91                


* All GPA statistics computed by the Office of the Registrar


I would like to thank each member of the Athletic Council for their commitment to excellence and invaluable guidance and support.



Linda Miller

Faculty Athletic Representative

April 24, 2008


Cc:       President Alan Merten

            Senior Vice-President Maurice Scherrens

            Assistant Vice President/Director, Athletics Tom O’Connor

            Senior Associate Athletics Director Sue Collins


4.  Effective Teaching – Doris Bitler, Chair

Committee Members:  Karen Hallows, Giuseppina Kysar, Lynne Schrum, Bob Smith, and Melanie Szulczewski

Since the teaching evaluation form and process were recently reviewed and revised, the committee decided to use this year to concentrate on another part of its charge, that is "To develop and help implement procedures which encourage and reward effective teaching, and to enable faculty to improve their teaching effectiveness".   We decided to focus on the faculty classroom experience, so we designed a survey to acquire input from all classroom instructors in the areas of general classroom environment, classroom technology, and resources for instructors (i.e., academic support offices).  The survey will be available online shortly, and we will continue to gather data through the end of May.  An analysis of the responses will provide information that we hope will be used to guide next year's Effective Teaching Committee agenda.  The Committee thanks the Center forTeaching Excellence for access to the online survey software, and recognizes Giuseppina Kysar for her work on the online version of the survey.

5.      External Academic Relations – Deborah Boehm-Davis, Chair

Committee Members:  Dave Kuebrich, Nance Lucas, Michelle Marks, Peter Pober, and John Riskind



6.      General Education – Rick Davis, Chair

Committee Members:  Alok Berry, Don Boileau, Rose Cherubin, Kim Eby, Douglas Eyman, Sheryl Friedley, James Harvey, Susan Hirsch, John Kulesza, Christena Langley, R. Claire Snyder, Hugh Sockett, Karen Studd, Cliff Sutton, and Peter Winant



7.      Grievance Committee – Sheryl Friedley, Chair

Committee Members:  John Crockett, Howard Kurtz, Miriam Raskin, and Joseph Reid


The committee had no business brought forward to conduct this year.


8.      Minority and Diversity Issues - David Kravitz, Chair

Committee Members:  David S. Anderson, Heibatollah Baghi, James Metcalf, and Raja Parasuraman


The charge of the MDIC is “to work in concert with the Equity Office, Minority Students Services Office, other pertinent administrators, and campus organizations in developing and implementing means to ensure nondiscrimination, tolerance, and protection of the rights of all persons affiliated with the University; and to facilitate dialogue among those connected with the University and those in the broader community on matters concerning minority populations and diversity issues.”


On October 11, 2007, the MDIC met and agreed that it would build on last year’s activities of information gathering and initiating discussions with other campus offices. Two specific activities were identified: (a) Learn about perspectives of students and faculty/staff about minority and diversity issues, including being welcomed, supported and safe. (b) Develop guiding principles for addressing minority and diversity issues.


On November 12, 2007, the MDIC discussed a formulation of guiding principles that the MDIC will promote. These principles will pertain to the entire University community–students, faculty, and staff. Fairness, non-discrimination, equity, promotion of diversity, inclusion, and respect for multi-cultural perspectives were among the principles that were discussed. There was general agreement that the committee’s focus should be on: (a) aspects of diversity related to under representation vis-à-vis positions of power or responsibility. (b) increased representation of under represented groups into the mainstream of the University community. (c) increasing a culture of inclusion, in which all perspectives are considered. The committee further agreed about the need to assess how the University community currently feels about issues of inclusion.


On December 10, 2007, the MDIC discussed relevance of the Quality of Work Life survey to questions of diversity. It decided to meet with an appropriate administrative representative to explore the results of the last survey and suggest questions about inclusion for the next survey.  This inclusion of the MDIC was welcomed by Vice President for University Life Sandy Hubler, who works with the survey preparation.  


There was then a gap of several months when the MDIC did not meet due to the Committee’s inability to obtain data from the previous Quality of Work Life survey. This inability was due to the serious illness of the faculty member who has primary responsibility for the data, along with the lack of any alternative access to the data. The MDIC recommends that the QWL data be maintained in a central location, such as Institutional Research & Reporting, so that access to the data will not be determined by the availability of any single individual.


On April 14, 2008, the MDIC met and discussed the 2006 Affirmative Action report presented to the Board of Visitors on January 31, 2007. It noted the need for increased representation of women and minorities in several units on campus and wondered about the role of turnover in creating the underrepresentation. This question strengthened the previously-determined desire to include items about inclusion on the next Quality of Work Life survey.



9.      Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning

Committee Members:  Penelope Earley, Laurie Harmon, Jeng-Eng Lin, Steve Ruth, Linda Samuels


The Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning Committee did not convene this year.


10.   Salary Equity Study – Kristine Bell, Chair

Committee Members:  Karen Hallows, Don Seto, Carol Urban

There was no activity for the committee this year.  The salary equity study is on hold pending receipt of updated data from Human Resources.


11.  Technology Policy – Stanley Zoltek, Chair

Committee Members:  Melissa Martin, Goodlet McDaniel, Star Muir, Paula Petrik, Iosif Vaisman, and Steven Weinberger

The Committee has met 5 times during the 2007-2008 academic year and will meet for a sixth time on April 28. In addition to the Committee members, Dr. Hughes, Mr. Robert Nakles, Ms. Sharon Pitt, and Mr. Walter Sevon attended the meetings representing the ITU.

Topics covered included:
1. Responding to faculty complaints, consulted with DOIT to review and appropriately modify procedures/policies related to upgrades/changes in classroom technology. At a subsequent meeting Sharon Pitt presented DOITS revised plan for supporting teaching and learning. This plan is heavily focused on seeking faculty input of the broadest type.
2. Represented faculty in the development and implementation of the Mason portal. (The portal project, as currently conceived, will be targeted at faculty/staff.)
3. Reviewed with Walt Sevon the timing for conversion from Windows XP to Vista
4. Represented faculty on subcommittees overseeing the rollout of CE6 (Blackboard).
5. Reviewed Fall '07 faculty satisfaction survey results (survey of faculty using technology equipped classrooms).
6. This summer the chair of the committee will coordinate the development of a plan for more effectively scheduling technology enhanced classrooms. The chair will seek the guidance of the committee at its April 28 meeting.


12.  Writing Across the Curriculum – Stanley Zoltek, Chair

Committee Members:  Irene Bruno (Spring 2008), Pamela Cangelosi, Susan Durham, Anne Marchant (Fall 2007), Tom Owens, Ellen Rodgers, Beth Schneider, Andrew Wingfield, and Terry Zawacki (ex-officio).  Consultants to the committee:  Melissa Allen, Dan Joyce, Glenda Morgan, and Shelley Reid.  Assistant to the program:  Sarah Baker


The committee has met six times this academic year, and will hold its final meeting on April 28.


The committee's charge includes: advising the director of "Writing Across the Curriculum," regularly reviewing (WI) syllabi and assisting with activities and events related to writing Across the Curriculum.


 This semester activities included:


 1. Continued the practice of having the director of WAC send a reminder each semester to department chairs and to teachers of writing intensive courses of WI requirements.


2. Reviewed and produced a report how academic units fared on the writing questions on the graduating senior survey.  Met with two chairs to discuss concerns about student responses.


3. Reviewed and finalized the draft of writing profiles for COS and CHHS.


4. Discussed the fact that there is no WI course for one of the concentrations in MedTech major. At this writing, we haven't yet received a WI course proposal although the department is aware that such a course is required.


 5.  Received notice of the writing intensive course for FAVS.


6. Continued supporting writing awards given by departments through matching awards.


7. Reviewed all WI syllabi and produced a report on WI course compliance across the University.


8.  Agreed to provide the WAC perspective to the committee reviewing two plagiarism detection software packages.


 9. Reviewed and made recommendations for the redesigned WAC website to be launched in the summer.


10. Created a wiki to exchange and review WAC documents.


ATTACHMENT H – Senate Ad Hoc Committee Reports AY 2007-2008

1.  Committee to Revise the Faculty Handbook – Rick Coffinberger, Chair

Committee Members:  Kevin Avruch, Lorraine Brown, Martin Ford, David Harr, and Suzanne Slayden


The Committee to Revise the Faculty Handbook is currently comprised of four members elected by the Faculty Senate and two members appointed by the Provost.  The Committee met for several hours every other week during the Fall of 2007 and weekly during the Spring of 2008.  The Committee also met during the summer of 2007.  The Committee expects complete a draft of proposed Handbook revisions by the end of May.  During the summer the draft will be distributed to the Faculty with copies to the President, Provost, and Rector for review and comment.  Following this review and comment period, the Committee will meet to consider those inputs and additional revisions to its draft.  Thereafter, a revised draft will be presented to the Faculty Senate for discussion and approval during in the fall semester.  If all proceeds as planned, a final draft of proposed revisions will then be submitted to the Board of Visitors for its consideration.



2.  Task Force on Compensation Issues – Rick Coffinberger, Chair

Committee Members:  Jose Cortina (Fall 2007), Rutledge Dennis, Dave Kuebrich, June Tangney, and Phil Wiest (Spring 2008)


The Task Force presented a brief report on the salary level of selected high-level administrative faculty at a special Senate meeting in February of 2008.  In addition, the Task Force has met frequently during this academic year and also communicated regularly by e-mail.  The Task Force continued to seek access critical data on Administrative Faculty benchmarks (i.e. the annual CUPA report on such) from the Provost but is still being denied access to the CUPA data base. We continue to “brain storm” about ways to address faculty-wide compensation concerns especially the high cost of living in this area as compared to other areas of Virginia.



3.  Task Force on Satellite Operations – Gerald Hanweck, Chair

Committee Members:  John Crockett and Aimee Flannery



4.  Green Education Task Force

Committee Members:  David Brazer, Susie Crate, Greg Guagnano, and Jim Willett



5.       Task Force to Assess the Course Evaluation Form – Cliff Sutton, Chair

Committee Members:  Cynthia Beck, Lawrence Butler, Kimberly Eby, Kris Smith, and Mary Williams

The task force was put into place somewhat late during the Fall 2007 semester. We met four times during the Spring 2008 semester, and also used e-mail to perform portions of our work. We informed ourselves by reviewing the history of how the currently used evaluation form was developed and adopted, by talking with our colleagues, by having discussions with a student focus group (to which representatives of Student Government were included among those invited), and by studying some data provided by IRR. This report should be considered to be an intermediate progress report since we have not yet been dismissed and we plan to complete our work during the 2008-2009 academic year.

To summarize our beliefs at the present time, everyone on the task force thinks that the course evaluation form currently in use can benefit from some changes. Currently, we are focusing on two major types of changes.

  1. Modify the wording of some of the existing items, delete some of the existing items, and possibly add a small number of new items. (It is hoped that such modifications will make the intended meaning of the items on the form clearer, and that the modifed instrument will be a better way to gain useful information about course and instructor quality. The home page of the Task Force's web site ( link: ) has a link to a web page which shows some of the changes we are currently considering.)
  2. Creating more than one version of the course evaluation form (e.g., there could be a version for laboratory courses, a version for seminar courses and small classes in which student participation plays a key role, and a version for lecture classes in which student participation does not play a key role).

We welcome feedback from the members of the Faculty Senate, other faculty, students, and administrators. E-mail may be sent to Clifton Sutton ( address: ). During the next academic year we plan to finalize a set of suggested changes to the currently used evaluation form.

To conclude this report, here are a few nuggets of information that we uncovered through our discussions with students and faculty.

  • Some students (perhaps a lot of them) don't consider the course evaluations to be very important since they believe that the university's administration doesn't attach a lot of importance to them.
  • Many members of the faculty believe that the administration places too much importance on the outcome of the student evaluation of teaching and courses, and that other information should also be adequately considered when teaching is judged during the annual review of the faculty.
  • Online student evaluation of courses and teaching is being seriously considered by the administration. (A pilot study is being conducted this semester, and a large-scale switch to online evaluation could occur as soon as the next academic year.) An online evaluation process will make it easier to accommodate using different versions of the evaluation form for different types of classes.


6.      Task Force to Improve Research Productivity – Robert F. Smith, Chair

Committee Members:  Alok Berry, Sharon deMonsabert, Michael Laskofski, and Julie Zobel


Our report on the Results of the Faculty Survey (March 18, 2008) is posted on the Faculty Senate website.


7.      Report from the Faculty Senate representative to the Johnson Center Policy Board – Larry Rockwood


1) In the 2007-08 AY the board monitored the use of the JC Meditation space.


2) The Center for Digital Fluency was awarded and now occupies JC 311.


3)  Members of the JC Policy Board have been formulating a recommendation to President Merten that the JC Policy board expand into a “Student Space and Services Advisory Committee”  to ensure that students, faculty and staff needs and interests are represented when determining current and future space and services in all non-academic space, including, but not limited to, Student Unions I and II as well as the JC.  The recommendations of this new committee would then be passed on to the University Space Advisory Committee.





Federal Financial Conflict of Interest Policy


From: Barry W. Stevens, Director, Research Policy Development

Subject: University Policy on Financial Conflicts of Interest in Federally- Funded Research


This memorandum transmits for your review a proposed revised university policy on financial conflicts of interest in Federally-funded research. By consensus, the committee that developed this policy endorses its contents and recommends that it be adopted by the university.  The members of the policy development committee were the following:

Danny Menasce, Associate Dean, Volgenau School of Information
Technology and Engineering
Keith Howell, Associate Dean, College of Health and Human Services
Peter Barcher, Associate Dean, College of Education and Human  Development
Linda Samuels, Professor, Management
Jane Flinn, Associate Professor, Psychology
Matt Kluger, Vice President for Research and Economic Development
Jennifer Murphy, Director, Office of Technology Transfer
Mike Laskofski, Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
Tom Moncure, University Counsel

I chaired the committee and served as facilitator, researcher, and drafter.

A revised policy on financial conflicts of interest in Federally-funded research is needed to update the university’s current policy, which was adopted on October 1995 and is not fully consistent with current university practice.  Federal oversight of financial conflicts of interest has recently become more focused.  A revision of the policy presents opportunities not only to ensure that the university meets the requirements of Federal regulations but to strengthen standards to ensure that the design, conduct, and reporting of Federally-funded research is not biased by any conflicting financial interest of an investigator. 

 The principal features of the revised policy are the following: 

1. The policy updates and streamlines the process for the required disclosure and review of “significant financial interests” that could give rise to a conflict of interest.  Investigators may make required certifications online.  If they believe they have such an interest, they disclose it to their Dean or Institute Director, or that officer’s designee, who evaluates it to determine whether a conflict of interest may exist.  If that initial determination is in the affirmative, the matter is referred to a university-wide conflict of interest committee that reviews the disclosure and, if the Vice President for Research agrees that a conflict exists, works with the investigator to develop a management plan to ensure that the conflict is managed, reduced, or eliminated.  The Dean or Director, or that officer’s designee, monitors the investigator’s compliance with the terms of the agreed-upon management plan.

2. While it applies to investigators engaged in any Federally-funded research, the policy provides that disclosures must be made prior to the university’s submission of an application for funds only where expressly required by the funding agency (the Public Health Service and the National Science Foundation).  For funding from all other Federal agencies, disclosures are due 30 days after the submission of the application.

3.  Its provisions are intended to be user-friendly.  For example, the policy provides guidance to investigators on what interests are covered by Federal disclosure requirements and incorporates university commitments required by Federal law in ways that do not create unnecessary administrative burdens.

The full-text document: Proposed Federal Financial Conflict of Interest Policy