GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
AGENDA FOR THE FACULTY SENATE MEETING
FEBRUARY 9, 2011
Robinson Hall B113, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.
I. Call to Order
II. Approval of the Minutes of December 8, 2010
Andrea Bartoli – Dean, School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution
IV. New Business - Committee Reports
A. Senate Standing Committees
Budget & Resources
Resolution on Faculty Practice Plan ATTACHMENT A
Daniel Garrison (VSITE) and Paula Petrik (CHSS) are nominated to serve as Faculty Senate representatives to the Distance Education Council.
Organization & Operations
Recreation Advisory Committee Charge ATTACHMENT B
Motion to Create a Senate Task Force to Examine the Agreements Between
George Mason University and Private Donors ATTACHMENT C
B. Other Committees
V. Other New Business
VI. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
Resolution on Faculty Practice Plan 1-28-11
Whereas the Faculty Senate passed a Faculty Practice plan in March of 2008 outlining the nature of faculty practice and the eligibility of full-time faculty to participate in such a plan; and
Whereas, the original intent for faculty choice about participation was made clear in the explanation of the plan by Professor James Maddux in the following excerpt from the Senate minutes of February 13, 2008: “Attention was paid so that faculty was not forced into some overarching plan against one’s will. There is a choice to join to gain benefits such as malpractice insurance and enhance department programs;”
Therefore be it resolved: That George Mason University’s Faculty Practice Plan shall be amended by including the following language under the section on Individual Participation:
Faculty Practice participation cannot be held as a condition of continued employment and renewal; faculty opting out of Faculty Practice cannot have their negotiated salaries reduced.
Oral Intent for the Plan on the Floor of the Senate on February 13, 2008:
The Dean invited Professor James Maddux to make comments as an advocate for the Family Practice Plan.
Comments, Professor James Maddux: Attention was paid so that faculty was not forced into some overarching plan against one’s will. There is a choice to join to gain benefits such as malpractice insurance and enhance department programs. Faculty currently engaged in practice may continue to do what they’ve been doing.
Recreation Advisory Committee Charge: To act in an
advisory capacity to Intercollegiate Athletics in all matters pertaining to
faculty and staff use of athletic facilities.
Membership: Three faculty members, three staff members, and three members chosen by Human Resources and Payroll.
Motion to Create a Senate Task Force to Examine the Agreements between George Mason University and Private Donors
Motion: The George Mason University Faculty Senate shall create a fact-finding “Task Force re Private Donors” (TFPD). The charge of the Task Force will be to review significant agreements the University that have an overt intellectual dimension. The activities of the Task Force shall include examining the impact of these agreements in regard to A) the teaching and research missions of the University; B) the University’s mission to serve the public good; C) the University’s use of resources; and D) the image of the University--as perceived both by the George Mason community and the larger public.
Composition: The task force will consist of five faculty members elected by the Faculty Senate and one non-voting ex officio member appointed by the Provost.
Schedule: The Task Force will make a preliminary report to the Senate by the end of the Spring semester and a second report early in the Fall semester. In its fall report, the Task Force will recommend either that it be dissolved or that it continue in order to develop and recommend needed changes in University policy.
Rationale: Such a task force is needed for various reasons:
1. Quality of Leadership: George Mason University often expresses a desire to be a model university for the twenty-first century. Such aspirations to innovation and leadership must include high ethical standards.
2. Current Ethical and Political Concerns: There is growing concern both within higher education and among the general public about conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in the scholarship, public presentations, and official testimony of university professors and researchers. This concern is expressed in, among other places, a recent New Yorker article that included discussion of GMU’s Mercatus Center (Aug 30, 2010); the film Inside Job, a recently-released documentary on the current economic crisis; and the Nov-Dec, 2010 issue of Academe: The Magazine of the American Association of University Professors, entitled “The Conflicted University,” which discusses how monied interests use donations, political clout, and legal muscle to influence research, scholarship and teaching.
3. Right to Know: Faculty, students, and other members of the George Mason community have a right to know about agreements that are made between the University and private interest groups.
4. Right to Know: Taxpayers also have a right to know about these agreements.
5. Right to Know: Before the Faculty Senate (12/8/2010), President Merten stated that the University has existing conflict-of-interest policies that require all faculty and researchers to reveal sources of funding that might influence their work. He also stated that the University receives funding from groups across the political spectrum that seek to influence public policy. Since these facts are not widely known, they should be reviewed and given greater visibility.
6. The mission of the public university is to serve the common good as a disinterested center of teaching and research. It is vital to the well-being of public higher education that this understanding of the public university be preserved.