Agenda for the Faculty Senate Meeting

December 2, 2009

Room B113, Robinson Hall

3:00 - 4:15 p m.


I.                   Call to Order


II.                Approval of the Minutes of September 16, 2009


III.             Announcements


President Merten


IV.             Unfinished Business

Resolution from the Organization and Operations Committee:  To Ensure Faculty Senate

 Bylaws and Charter Consistency                                                       Attachment A


V.                New Business – Committee Reports

A.      Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee


Academic Policies


Budget and Resources


Faculty Matters



Deborah Boehm-Davis, Kelly Dunne, Penny Earley (Provost's Appointee), Stephen Farnsworth, Karl Fryxell, and Frank Philpot are nominated to serve on the External Academic Relations Committee.


Organization and Operations


B.      Other Committees

Academic Initiatives Committee

Report from the committee – Fall 2009                                                          Attachment B


VI.             Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty


VII.          Adjournment






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.






November 23, 2009



To:   The Faculty Senate


From: The Academic Initiatives Committee

            Jim Bennett (CHSS), Chair

            Elizabeth Chong (CHHS)

            Bob Ehrlich (COS)

            Bob Johnston (SOM)

            Terry Zawacki (CHSS)


Subj: Committee Report for Fall 2009



1.0 Introduction


The Charge of the Academic Initiatives Committee requires a report to the Senate each semester. In conducting its business, the Committee has met four times thus far this semester: September 18, September 25 (with Provost Stearns), and November 13 (with Sergei Andronikov, Director of Russian Programs in the Provost s Office, and Anne Schiller, Associate Provost, International Projects). A fourth meeting has been scheduled (with the Provost) on December 1.


At the semester s first meeting of the Senate on September 9, the Provost provided a list of goals and issues for AY2009-2010, including academic initiatives in Russia, Korea, and Viet Nam, which are under the purview of the Academic Initiatives Committee. Thus, our work has focused on these three programs. In addition, Committee member Terry Zawacki is actively involved in the planning of  Access  and  Bridge  programs that deal with English proficiency for, respectively, undergraduate and graduate, foreign students. A memo on these programs from Terry to the Academic Initiatives Committee is included as part of our report. A brief summary by country is provided below.


2.0 Viet Nam: Provost Stearns and Roger Stough, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, are visiting Viet Nam for initial discussions during Thanksgiving week. No plans have yet been developed.


2.1 Korea: Just as Mason seeks to build strong international partnerships, governments and top universities in the Asia-Pacific region also seek to extend their international educational reach. South Korea is among the nations most actively pursuing strategic partnerships with overseas institutions. Mason s major Korea-related initiative at this time is the IFEZ Initiative, a potential Mason branch campus in the Incheon Free Economic Zone, located an hour by train from Seoul and promoted locally as only 3.5 hours to 1/3 of the world s population. The Korean government has created the zone in an attempt to transform the area into a Northeast Asian logistics, financial, business, and research and development hub that links Pacific Rim economies with the Eurasian continent. Within IFEZ, Mason s interest is the city of Songdo, which is being developed as an international city and high value-added knowledge-based and information business and industrial complex.


Mason is one of about nine US and British institutions invited by the IFEZ Committee to consider planning a branch campus in Songdo. The provosts of five US schools have signed a cooperative agreement to explore such topics as shared facilities and services and credit transfer. These other universities would share a building with Mason on the Global University Campus.  Planning and evaluation of the potential branch campus opportunity is anticipated to begin in December, 2009. A market survey will be conducted and carefully considered financial plan will follow. Focus groups to solicit faculty input concerning factors that could influence their interest in and ability to teach at Songdo will be held and planning work groups convened. The evaluation process is expected to extend over a period of eighteen months, and the Korean government will provide a grant of one million dollars to support the planning process. No formal commitments beyond the planning process have been made at this point.


2.2 Russia: 2.2.1 Two programs are being developed with institutions in Russia. A rather modest graduate program that brings students from Russian National University s Higher School of Economics to do research as part of their master s degree. Starting in Fall 2010 Russian students will study here, primarily in the fields of Economics, Sociology, and Political Science.


2.2.2 The second Russian program involving Moscow State University is much further developed and will begin in January 2010. Sergei Andronikov, Director of Russian Programs in the Provost s Office, has developed a detailed prospectus for this dual-degree program which involves Russian professors coming to Mason to teach Russian undergraduate students and the students then migrating directly into Mason s School of Management and Department of Economics. A brief overview of the program is given in the one-page summary entitled, “Dual Degree Program between Moscow State University and George Mason University in B.S. Economics and B.S. Management” which is included with this report. Much more information is found in the document “Mason - MSU Academic Dual Degree Program: Business Plan” dated June 1, 2009 which is also included as part of this report.  This document contains a marketing plan, operational plan, specifies the program s management and organization, and contains a financial plan (now a bit dated given that the tuition has been increased from $25,000 per year to $27,000 per year). Appendices to the Business Plan (also included in our report) contain the Memorandum of Understanding between Mason and Moscow State as well as information on the academic requirements for the dual degree.


3.0 In summary, all these foreign initiatives seek to increase foreign student enrollment at Mason, not only to enhance diversity in the Mason community and open new opportunities for research and academic collaboration, but also to generate increased out-of-state tuition revenue. As recognized clearly in the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis on page 10 of the Business Plan for the Mason-Moscow State program, there are significant difficulties to be overcome. Given the goal of increasing out-of-state tuition revenue and the current increasingly difficult economic situation for both the state and the University, these programs require adequate enrollment to be economically viable. The financial plan for the Mason-Moscow State initiative show the projections for costs and revenues once the program is underway, i.e., the  startup costs  are not included. Startup costs are substantial; for example, for the Higher School of Economics program various administrators and faculty from Economics, Sociology, and Political Science traveled to Russia. Although information on these costs were requested from the Provost s Office, none has been provided. On the revenue side, enrollment is a critical parameter. For the first semester, an enrollment of 10 students from Moscow state was predicted, but only six students are currently registered. With the economic uncertainties both in Russia and the US and given the University s budget constraints, the Academic Initiatives Committee recommends that enrollment be regularly monitored in all these programs.


4.0 Finally, the Committee thanks Anne Schiller and Sergei Andronikov for their cooperation.