Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

January 21, 2009

Room B-113 Robinson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.


I.          Call to Order


II.        Approval of the Minutes of Nov. 19, 2008


III.       Announcements


IV.       New Business - Committee Reports


               A.  Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee


Academic Policies                                                                                                                           


Budget & Resources

      Faculty Retirement Transition Leave                                                      Attachment A


Faculty Matters

Motion from the committee                                                                  Attachment B



Joe Scimecca is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Faculty Matters Committee


Organization & Operations



               B. Other Committees



V.        Other New Business



VI.       Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty



VII.     Adjournment

Attachment A

Faculty Retirement Transition Leave



The guidance below is designed to assist Mason’s tenured faculty in transitioning from full-time active service to retirement. The Faculty Retirement Transition Leave guidance should be utilized by academic units as a management tool and a strategic opportunity to address staffing needs within the academic unit. The utilization of the process outlined below will be based on available funding at the academic unit and staffing resources.  


Eligibility for Participation:

Participants must:

  1. be at least 60 years of age;


  1. be a tenured full-time faculty member and have worked (prior to the transitional leave) at George Mason University for either

(Full-time service may include periods of leave with full or partial pay, but not periods of leave without pay);


  1. agree to retire at the conclusion of this transition leave period from active membership in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) or Optional Retirement Plan (ORP). Mason will cease to make payments to VRS or ORP.


  1. voluntarily participate in the program


  1. have both the approval of the Dean or Director of their academic unit and the Provost. Transition leave is funded by the faculty member’s academic unit.  Timing of transition leave must be approved by the Dean or Director of the academic unit in consultation with the Provost in order to prevent overtaxing teaching capacity in any given year. The Dean or Director may limit the number of faculty who can participate in any particular year.


Tier 1: 15 Years of Service:


               Transition Option


One year, at full pay ˝ load

Half-time work can be achieved either by working full-time during one semester and not working the other semester, or by working half –time both semesters in any given academic year

Compensation will correspond to the option chosen and there is no impact on benefits



Tier 2: 25 Years of service:


               Transition Option


Two – years, at full pay, ˝ load

Half-time work can be achieved in both years either by working full-time during one semester and not working the other semester, or by working half –time both semesters in any given academic year. 


Compensation will correspond to the option chosen and there is no impact on benefits


One year at full pay, one course


Compensation will correspond to the option chosen and there is no impact on benefits




Eligibility Period:

Each November, eligible faculty may apply to participate in the Faculty Retirement Transition Leave Program by completing an election form and submitting the form to his/her Dean or Director. The Dean or Director will make a recommendation to the Provost based on student/faculty scheduling needs and finances available to the unit. The Provost will then forward the form (whether approved or not approved) to Human Resources. A Dean or Director making the recommendation not to approve the election will communicate the decision and the reason for the decision to the faculty member as well as to the Provost. An election form must be received by November 1 in any given year for participation in the Faculty Retirement Transition Leave Program. 


Motion from the Faculty Matters Committee


A Proposal for the Senate to Make an Annual Evaluation of the President and Provost


Introduction:  The Faculty Senate currently conducts an annual evaluation in which the Faculty assesses the performance of the President, the Provost, and the Deans and Directors. While this assessment should be continued, it would also be useful to have the Senate conduct its own evaluation. Therefore the Faculty Matters Committee proposes the following motion:


Resolution:  The elected members of the Faculty Senate will conduct an annual evaluation of how effectively the President and Provost have interacted with the Faculty Senate during the preceding academic year.  The results of this assessment will be summarized in narrative form and sent to the General Faculty and to the Board of Visitors.  The Senate Chair and the elected Faculty Representatives to the BOV will discuss the report with the Board of Visitors.


Explanation: The Executive Committee will solicit input from the chairs of the Senate Standing Committees, as well as from ad hoc and University Committees that report to the Senate), and then compose a draft version of an annual assessment report of the President and the Provost.  This draft report will be presented for discussion, amendment, and approval by the elected members of the Senate at its April meeting.  The approved report will then be sent to the General Faculty and Board of Visitors as a separate mailing.


The assessment will include but not be limited to the following issues:


1) Has the Senate and its committees been provided access to the President, the Provost and their staffs in a timely manner?


2) Have the President, Provost and their staffs provided the Senate requested information in a timely manner?


3) In the case of joint Senate-Administration committees or task forces, have the President, Provost and/or their staffs participated in a collegial and effective manner?


4) Have the President, Provost and their staffs complied with the Faculty Handbook?


5) In policies involving the future of the University that have the potential to have significant impact upon the nature of the University or upon the Faculty and their work, has the Senate been included in the planning process in a significant way from the beginning?


Rationale:  Because the General Faculty “delegates to the Faculty Senate the responsibility for participation in governance at the university level” (Handbook, 1.3.1), 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 unique need for effective relations with the chief administrative officers and a unique perspective upon how well these officers are collaborating with the Senate. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the Senate make a separate annual evaluation of how effectively the President, the Provost, and their staffs, have interacted with the Senate and that it share this information with the General Faculty, and with the members of the Board of Visitors.  The overall goal of this procedure is to ensure that both the General Faculty and the Board gain an understanding of the Faculty Senate’s perception of cooperation between the George Mason Central Administration and the Senate.