Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

October 22, 2008

Room B-113 Robinson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.

I.     Call to Order

            Rector Volgenau

II.     Approval of the Minutes of Sept. 3 and Sept. 24, 2008

III.    Announcements

IV.     New Business - Committee Reports

               A.  Senate Standing Committees

              Executive Committee

              Academic Policies      Motions from the committee           Attachment A  

              Budget & Resources

              Faculty Matters


              Organization & Operations

               B. Other Committees

V.      Other New Business

              Motion to approve the proposed University Policy on Ownership and Maintenance of Research Records   Attachment B

VI.      Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

VII.     Adjournment


Motion 1: Approval of 3-Year Academic Calendar   Fall 2010-Spring 2013


The Academic Policies committee did have significant discussion regarding two specific areas of the calendar: 1) shifting Spring Break to match the Fairfax public school system calendar; and 2) moving the beginning of the Spring semester one week earlier.  We understand that these issues have come up in past academic calendar discussions, and that the decision has been made to adopt the calendar presented to the Committee from the Registrar’s Office.  We believe, however, that more discussion is needed regarding possible changes to this calendar in the future.  Therefore, we recommend that, given growth in graduate student programs and a new influx of faculty and students, a systematic survey be conducted to determine what calendar might work best for the majority of the University community.

Motion 2:  Forbearance in Academic Standing for New Undergraduates

Proposal for a new, brief section in the catalog, on the current page 40, between the sections "GPA Retention Levels" and "Periods of Academic Suspension," as follows:

Exception for freshmen and transfer students

Freshmen and transfer students in their first semester of study at George Mason will receive probation as the strongest academic sanction.  GPA retention levels, as stated above, will apply in all subsequent semesters.  Students in this category should be on notice that they must make up ground in order to avoid suspension in future semesters; in particular they should consult their advisors and consider repeating courses in order to achieve academic good standing.

This change in policy to be effective with the Spring 2009 semester.

Rationale:  According to the Academic Procedures Advisory Committee (APAC) – a group of Assistant and Associate Deans and administrators chaired by Susan Jones while the current academic standing policy precludes freshmen who enter Mason with no credit from being suspended in their first semester.  Students who take more than 17 credits and those who have pre-college credit (from Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or dual enrollment) however, find themselves at risk.  In addition, the more credit a transfer student has, the greater their GPA requirement.  Students do not bring in grades for any of this prior work, therefore their academic persistence in the current policy is based on this single semester of work, but applied at the higher GPA standard.  This provides an inadvertent disadvantage to higher profile students coming in with greater amounts of credit.

A brief report from the Registrar’s Office is attached showing some basic information:  the number of first semester students suspended after Fall 07, and the Spring 08 performance of those given Dean's overrides who continued attending in the Spring.  (Note that the report does not indicate the number of requests for overrides turned down by the Deans.  It also does not indicate the number of students dissuaded from trying to continue in attendance once a suspension was placed on their record.) 

Academic Standing for Spring 2008

For New Students Suspended after Fall 2007

Given Dean’s Overrides for the Spring

                                                                                    Spring End of Term Academic Standing

Student Type



Number of Overrides



















George Mason University                             Three Year Calendar  DRAFT 7.29.08 SHJ


Fall 2010

Fall 2011

Fall 2012

First day of classes

Mon Aug 30

Mon Aug 29

Mon Aug 27

Labor Day (University closed)

Mon Sept 6

Mon Sept 5

Mon Sept 3

Last Day to Add (Census)

Tues Sept 14

Tues Sept 13

Tues Sept 11

Last Day to Drop

Fri Oct 1

Fri Sept 30

Fri Sept 28

Saturday Classes in session

Sat Oct 9

Sat Oct 8

Sat Oct 6

Columbus Day Recess

Mon Oct 11

Mon Oct 10

Mon Oct 8

Mon classes meet instead of Tues classes this day only

Tues Oct 12

Tues Oct 11

Tues Oct 9

Mid-term evaluation period for full-semester 100-200 level classes

Mon Sept 27 –
Fri Oct 22

Mon Sept 26 –
Fri Oct 21

Mon Sept 24 -
Fri Oct 19

Selective Withdrawal Period – undergraduate

Mon Oct 4 – Fri Oct 29

Mon Oct 3 – Fri Oct 28

Mon Oct 1 – Fri Oct 26

Thanksgiving (No classes Wed; Recess Thurs - Sun)

Wed Nov 24 -

Sun Nov 28

Wed Nov 23 -

Sun Nov 27

Wed Nov 21 –

Sun Nov 25

Dissertation/Thesis Deadline

Fri Dec 10

Fri Dec 9

Fri Dec 7

Last Day of Class

Sat Dec 11

Sat Dec 10

Sat Dec 8

Reading Day(s)

Mon Dec 13

Mon Dec 12

Mon Dec 10 – Tues Dec 11, 4:30 pm

Examination Period

Tues Dec 14, 7:30 am – Tues Dec 21, 10:15 pm

Tues Dec 13, 7:30 am – Tues Dec 20, 10:15 pm

Tues Dec 11, 4:30 pm – Wed Dec 19, 10:15 pm

Winter Degree Date

(2nd Sat before classes)

Sat Jan 15, 2011

Sat Jan 14, 2012

Sat, Jan 12, 2013


Spring 2011

Spring 2012

Spring 2013

January 1 Day of Week




MLK Day - (no classes)

Mon Jan 17

Mon Jan 16

Mon Jan 21

First Day of Spring Classes

Mon Jan 24

Mon Jan 23

Tues Jan 22

Last Day to Add (Census)

Tues Feb 8

Tues Feb 7

Tues Feb 5

Last Day to Drop

Fri Feb 25

Fri Feb 24

Fri Feb 22

Saturday Classes in session

 Sat Mar 12

Sat Mar 10

Sat Mar 9

Spring Recess

Mon Mar 14 -Sun Mar 20

Mon Mar 12 - Sun Mar 18

Mon Mar 11 – Sun Mar 17

Mid-term evaluation period for full- semester 100-200 level classes

Mon Feb 21 –
Fri Mar 25

Mon Feb 20 -
Fri Mar 23

Mon Feb 18 -
 Fri Mar 22

Selective Withdrawal Period – undergraduate

Mon Feb 28 – Fri Apr 1

Mon Feb 27 – Fri Mar 30

Mon Feb 25 – Fri Mar 29

Dissertation/Thesis Deadline

Fri May 6

Fri May 4

Fri May 3

Last Day of Class

Sat May 7

 Sat May 5

Mon May 6

Reading Day(s)

Mon & Tues May  9 & 10

Mon & Tues May 7 & 8

Tues May 7

Examination Period

Wed May 11, 7:30 am - Wed May 18, 10:15 pm

Wed May 9, 7:30 am - Wed May 16, 10:15 pm

Wed May 8, 7:30 am – Wed May 15, 10:15 pm


Sat May 21

Sat May 19

Sat May 18

Summer Term Dates

Mon May 23 – Fri Aug 12

Mon May 21 – Fri Aug 10

Mon May 20 – Fri Aug 9

Approved by Faculty Senate: __________                  


May 13, 2008

From:        Barry W. Stevens

                 Director, Research Policy Development

Subject:  University Policy on Ownership and Maintenance of Research Records

            This memorandum transmits for your review a proposed new university policy on the ownership and maintenance of research records.  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:

Dan Polsby, Dean, School of Law,

Peter Barcher, Associate Dean, College of Education and Human             Development,

Chris Hill, Professor, School of Public Policy,

Sheryl Beach, Associate Professor, College of Science,

Matt Kluger, Vice President for Research and Economic Development   

Jennifer Murphy, Director, Office of Technology Transfer, and

            Tom Moncure, University Counsel, who reviewed the policy for legal sufficiency.

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

            A policy on this topic is needed to protect the university’s interest in ensuring that records supporting the findings of its researchers are complete, responsibly maintained, and available for review in appropriate circumstances, to meet the obligations of sponsors, and to protect the intellectual property rights of both the university and inventors.  And no concern is more central to members of the university community who engage in scholarly research than protecting the integrity of the research enterprise.

            The proposed policy supplements the university’s policy on records management in addressing issues relating to the collection and maintenance of research records in particular.  The principal features of the policy are the following: 

            a. The policy confirms that research records are the property of the university.  “Research record” is defined to include only "the record, in any form or medium (including original research notebooks), of data, results, methods, or protocols, that –

            (1) Embody the facts resulting from scholarly inquiry or, in the case of research methods and protocols, describe how those facts were obtained, within the scope of an individual's employment or enrollment at the university; and

            (2) Are commonly accepted in the relevant research community as necessary to validate research findings.”

Records created by students are more strictly limited.  Thus, much of the material produced in the course of scholarly inquiry is outside the scope of the policy and not subject to its terms.

            b. It secures the researcher’s right, in most cases, to retain copies of records he or she creates and to use the records in subsequent research and in publicizing research findings.

            c. It assigns the researcher the responsibility for the collection and maintenance of research records and charges department Chairs (or, in their absence, Deans and Institute Directors) with the responsibility for oversight of the practices of their faculty and students.  Assistance regarding methods for maintaining records in hard copy and electronic form may be obtained from the University Records Manager.

            d. It requires that research records remain under the control of either the researcher (or his or her Chair, Dean, or Director) or the University Records Manager except when the Vice President for Research authorizes an exception for good cause.  When a researcher leaves the university, custody of original records may be transferred if the researcher and his or her Chair, Dean, or Director enter into an agreement that ensures the retention of the records for the period required for other Mason research records and appropriate access to those records.

            e. It requires that, in most cases, records be retained for only the period required by regulations of The Library of Virginia adopted pursuant to the Virginia Public Records Act.

            On behalf of the committee, I request that you approve this policy for transmittal to the Provost and the Senior Vice President for their approval.


The full text of the policy in pdf format: and also linked to the Faculty Senate web page.