Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

November 18,  2009

Room B113, Robinson Hall

3:00 – 4:15 p.m.



  1. Call to Order


  1. Approval of the Minutes of September 16, 2009 and October 7, 2009


  1.   Announcements


  Dean Jack Censer, College of Humanities and Social Sciences


  Dean Daniel Polsby, School of Law


  1.  New Business – Committee Reports


A.    Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee


Academic Policies

Motion from the Committee on Academic Clemency                                 ATTACHMENT A


Budget and Resources


Faculty Matters

Proposed Changes to Faculty Handbook:  2.1.6 Primary Affiliation      ATTACHMENT B   




Organization and Operations

Motions from the Committee: Grievance Committee Charge Revision and           ATTACHMENT C

  Commitee on External Academic Relations Committee Charge Revision ATTACHMENT D


Resolution from the Committee:  To Ensure Faculty Senate Bylaws and Charter Consistency

                                                                                                               ATTACHMENT E


B.     Other Committees



V.  Other New Business


A.  Presentations

George Ginovsky, Assistant Chief of Police, University Police:   Safety (incl. 911 Phone Service) Issues

Tom Calhoun, Vice President of Facilities:  Masonvale Update


VI.             Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty


VII.     Adjournment






Proposed Resolution on Academic Clemency:


Under section on Academic clemency (pg 41 of 08-09 University catalogue): change “within the first semester of returning to Mason” to “within 12 months starting from the first day of the re-enrollment term at Mason.



Undergraduate students returning to Mason after a separation of at least three years may petition their academic dean to have a number of previously earned grades and credits removed from the calculation of their cumulative GPA.  The present policy allows a student to make this petition within the first semester of their return.  However, given various adjustments and advising, students are not often ready to make this appeal in their first semester.  Extending the term to one year provides more time for a student to make this decision, to determine their appropriate degree path and what they need to do to achieve academic success.  






The Faculty Matters Committee recommends consideration of the following changes (in red) to the 2009 Edition of the GMU Faculty Handbook.


2.1.6 Definition of Primary Affiliation


Although a faculty member's tenure resides in the University as a whole (see HUSection 2.1.1UH), tenure-track and tenured faculty are appointed directly and specifically to one or more local academic units. Term faculty are also appointed directly and specifically to one or more local academic units. The status established by such an appointment to a local academic unit is called "primary affiliation."  Each academic unit must articulate in writing the governance rights of its faculty members. This document should, at minimum, address which faculty members have the right to vote, attend and participate in meetings, serve on and/or chair committees. Primary affiliation in one local academic unit does not preclude the possibility of additional assignments to other local academic units with the approval of the majority of faculty of the unit(s) to which the faculty member is assigned. An appointment to primary affiliation requires the concurrence of the faculty of the local academic unit to which the appointment is to be made and may not be transferred from one local academic unit to another except with the concurrence of the faculty of the unit to which a transfer is proposed. Each academic unit should have written policies in place to respond to requests for to transfer affiliation.


Revision of Grievance Committee Charge

With the approval of the Faculty Handbook (effective January 1, 2009), the responsibilities of the University Grievance Committee were referenced, updated, or expanded. See the following sections of the Faculty Handbook for more information:

 2.9.3 Termination of Appointment for Tenured, Tenure-Track, and Term Faculty Members for Cause (pp. 44-47)

 2.10.1 University Policies (p. 48)

 2.10.3 Faculty Work Assignments (p.49 in case where Grievance is against a dean or director)

 2.11.2 Grievances, Policies Concerning Grievances, Grievance Procedures, (pp. 53-54)


The following revision takes into account the content of the above sections and provides consistency between the Faculty Handbook and the charge of the Grievance Committee.


Grievance Committee
In March 1998, the Faculty Senate approved the creation of the Grievance Committee, replacing the ad hoc University Grievance Committee, effective September 1998. The Charge was amended by a Faculty Senate vote on February 12, 2003 to enable the Committee to hear grievances from research faculty on matters of infringements of academic freedom, unfair or inappropriate conditions of employment, and any other due process issue.  The Charge was further elaborated in the Faculty Handbook adopted in January 2009 concerning termination for cause and grievances against administrators.
Composition: Five members. Non-tenured faculty, chairs, and others serving in administrative capacities are ineligible to serve on this Committee. Members serve staggered two-year terms.
Charge: To investigate grievances of Instructional, Restricted, and Research Faculty:
A. which involve faculty matters from more than one local academic unit. Issues of investigation include alleged infringements of academic freedom, alleged unfair or inappropriate conditions of employment, alleged unfair or inappropriate termination for cause, and any other due process issue with the exclusion of retention, promotion and tenure appeals;
B. which are not addressed by, or do not fall within the purview of the grievance committee of the pertinent local academic unit; and
C. for local academic units that do not have grievance committees established, or when a grievance committee does not conform to the written procedures of the local academic unit. Faculty appeals from local academic unit grievance committees are excluded.

D. which involve administrators at or above the level of Dean or Director.





Renewal of Charge: Committee on External Academic Relations
Composition: Six members who are elected for two-year terms. Three members of the Committee should be senators, two others are elected from the faculty at-large, and one ex-officio member is the Provost's designee.
At the beginning of each academic year the Committee must meet to select the representatives to the Virginia Faculty Senate from among its members, excluding the ex-officio member. At least one of these representatives must be a senator. In case of vacancies, the Nominations Committee nominates the new members, and the Committee internally evaluates and possibly reallocates the assigned responsibilities.


A. Represent GMU faculty at Virginia higher education faculty governance organizations, including the Faculty Senate of Virginia. The seats allocated to GMU at the Faculty Senate of Virginia are to be filled by members of CEAR.
B. Report to the GMU faculty senate on the proceedings of the Virginia Faculty Senate and voice back to this organization, issues of relevance to GMU.
C. Gather information on key matters about higher education in state legislation, state committees, and local venues and report back to the GMU Senate.
D. Provide forums and avenues for the exchange of ideas with representatives of SCHEV, state legislators representing Northern Virginia, and community groups related to higher education in Northern Virginia.




Draft Resolution to Ensure Faculty Senate Bylaws and Charter Consistency


Whereas the responsibilities of the Faculty Senate in Section II.A.1 of the Faculty Senate Charter indicate that the Senate shall have “the fundamental general responsibility to speak and act for the General Faculty on matters affecting the University as a whole;” and


Whereas the Charter indicates in Section II.A.2 that the Faculty Senate, “on behalf of the general faculty, shall have the particular responsibility to formulate proposals on those matters affecting the welfare of the university as a whole,” which will constitute the “primary advice to the administration;” and


Whereas the Charter further specifies that on “matters affecting the entire faculty and transcending collegiate unit boundaries, the Senate shall be the primary faculty representative in consultation with the central administration and the President;” and


Whereas the Bylaws in Article I, Section 1 specify that the “membership of the George Mason Faculty Senate and eligibility to vote therein shall be as prescribed by the Charter,” yet there is no prescription of voting eligibility in any section or clause of the Charter; and


Whereas administrators are welcomed and encouraged to participate in dialog and consultation with and as members of the Faculty Senate, yet should not be representing the faculty voice on matters of importance to the faculty and the University;


Be it resolved:


That Article I, Section I of the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate should be amended to strike “and eligibility to vote therein” and add the following sentence at the end:  “Eligibility to vote on matters before the Faculty Senate shall be limited to duly elected faculty members of the Faculty Senate.”