Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

September 24, 2008

Room B-113 Robinson Hall

3:00-4:15 p.m.


I.          Call to Order


II.        Approval of the Minutes of September 3, 2008


III.       Announcements


IV.       New Business - Committee Reports


               A.  Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee


Academic Policies                                                                                       


Budget & Resources


Faculty Matters


Nominations                                                                                                 Attachment A


Organization & Operations



               B. Other Committees


   Faculty Handbook Revision Committee                                                  



V.        Other New Business


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

                     Research Records                                                                                      Attachment B


B.  Introducing the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) – Rick Davis and Lynne Schrum

                                                                                                                       Attachment C


C.  Peter Stearns and Morrie Scherrens – Budget procedures and issues


VI.       Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty


VII.     Adjournment



Nominations to fill vacancies on committees



Faculty Matters Committee

Doris Bitler (CHSS)

Suzanne Scott (CHSS)



Athletic Council

Sheryl Beach (COS)






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 form: and also linked to the Faculty Senate web page.




"Introducing the QEP: What it is, why it matters, and how you can get involved."



As part of George Mason's SACS re-accreditation process we must create and implement a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). In this process we will need to demonstrate widespread campus involvement in and support for our QEP, as well as devote resources to ensure our plan's success. Thus, the QEP affords us the opportunity to identify a specific topic related to improving student learning for which there will be sustained institutional attention and support. We look forward to sharing more about the QEP process with you.


For more information, please go to our website at