Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

November 19, 2008

Room B-113 Robinson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.


I.          Call to Order


            President Merten


II.        Approval of the Minutes of Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, 2008


III.       Announcements


IV.       New Business - Committee Reports


               A.  Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee


Academic Policies                                                                                       


Budget & Resources

      Motion from the committee                                                                     Attachment A


Faculty Matters



      Suzanne Smith (CHSS) is nominated to serve on a planning committee for “INTO”, a U.K.

       company which recruits international students for several U.S. universities

      Dan Joyce (CVPA) is nominated to serve as faculty representative to a planning committee

 for a joint program between GMU and Moscow State University


Organization & Operations


               B. Other Committees



V.        Other New Business


A.  Motion to approve the proposed University Policy on Ownership and Maintenance of

                       Research Records                                                                                     Attachment B


B.  Motion on orienting new members of the Board of Visitors                         Attachment C


VI.       Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty


            Donna Fox, Associate Dean of the Office for Academic Integrity


VII.     Adjournment



Motion from the Budget and Resources Committee




WHEREAS current economic conditions have severely affected Virginia’s tax revenues and, as a consequence, reductions in the state’s support of the University have occurred and neither faculty nor staff will receive salary increases raises during AY 2008-2009; and


WHEREAS tuition and fees were increased by approximately ten percent for AY 2009-2010, increasing the financial burden on all GMU students and their families; and


WHEREAS the Rector of the University informed the Senate at its October 22 meeting that the Board of Visitors had awarded President Merten a performance bonus of $108,000 [reduced from $120,000 because he did not adequately meet his goals]; and


WHEREAS this bonus was in addition to a $21,000 (5.2 percent) base salary increase already mandated by the President’s employment contract; and


WHEREAS the faculty and staff were only to receive a two percent raise before the raise was deferred due to economic exigencies; and


WHEREAS Governor Kaine has announced that he will take a pay cut of five percent to demonstrate his concern and support for state employees -- and other state leaders are reducing their salaries as well, e.g., the state’s attorney general and nine of his deputies have already taken a two percent cut in salary;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE FACULTY SENATE that the President be requested to show his solidarity with and concern for the University’s faculty, staff, and students by contributing his recent performance bonus and base salary increase to student financial aid and by ensuring that in the future his raise and raises of all members of the Central Administration not exceed the overall percentage awarded to Faculty and staff as a way of sharing economic sacrifice in these troubled economic times.


If adopted, this Resolution shall be sent to the President and to all members of the Board of Visitors.




Co-sponsored by the ad hoc Task Force on Compensation Issues, and Senators James Bennett (CHSS), Rick Coffinberger (SOM), Dave Kuebrich (CHSS), Janette Muir (CHSS), and Susan Trencher (CHSS).





Motion to amend the motion in Attachment A1 (a substitute motion)



Given the current economic downturn, reduction in state tax revenues, and painful cuts to the GMU budget, the Faculty Senate should endorse the following resolution:


Resolution:  In a spirit of collegiality and also candor, the Faculty Senate asks President Merten to consider donating a significant portion, or even all, of his performance bonus for AY2007-08 to fund the hiring of additional adjunct professors and to increase need-based student financial aid.




1. For his performance in AY 2007-08, President Merten has been awarded a bonus of $108,000, in addition to a $21,000 (5.2%) raise.  Such a large increase in pay seems inappropriate and unfair.


2. Faculty and Staff are only scheduled to receive a 2% raise (now deferred until Summer, 2009), and it is quite possible they will not receive any salary increase.


3. Current plans call for a 10% increase in tuition and fees for AY2009-10, so there is a vital need to increase need-based student financial aid.


4. Current plans call for an increase in class sizes and a reduction in the number of new tenure-line faculty hires, so hiring more adjuncts would help limit the need for larger classes.


5. Awarding such a large bonus to the President is, in general, a highly questionable practice: the increasing gap between the salary of the President (and other upper-level administrators) and the salaries of the Faculty erodes collegiality and creates an Administration that is out of touch with the economic hardships of the Faculty and Staff.  In addition, there is reason to worry that such high administrative pay may endanger the standing of the University with the state legislature and the general public. This is a special concern in a time of cutbacks in government services, widespread economic hardship among tax-payers, and increasing tuition costs for GMU students and their families.


If passed, this motion will be sent as a separate mailing to the President, the General Faculty, and the Board of Visitors.




Sponsored by Senators James Bennett (CHSS) and David Kuebrich (CHSS)





During discussion at a previous Faculty Senate meeting, questions about the provisions in the Research Records policy were asked by Senators, and subsequently, by other faculty. These questions were sent to the Research Records Policy committee for answers. In response, the committee made a few revisions to the policy.


The proposed revised policy has been sent to the Deans and Directors for review and comment by Nov. 14, 2008. The revised policy and the faculty-generated questions and the committee's answers are linked to the Faculty Senate website (



The full text of the policy in pdf format:

The questions from faculty, and the responses:






WHEREAS each year new members are appointed by the Governor to the University’s Board of Visitors; and


WHEREAS communication between the BOV and the Faculty is a critical element of the principal of shared governance; and


WHEREAS some of these new BOV members may not be familiar with faculty issues and concerns and would benefit from a Faculty perspective;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Senate urges the Faculty Representatives to the Board of Visitors to arrange to meet with the BOV’s new members to open an ongoing dialogue with them and to orient them regarding Faculty concerns.



Sponsored and endorsed by faculty representatives to the BOV:


Jim Bennett (Senator, CHSS), Rick Coffinberger (Senator, SOM), Mark Houck (Senator, VIT&E), Janette Muir (Senator, CHSS), Suzanne Slayden (Senator, COS), Toni-Michelle Travis (CHSS).