Statement of Principles
Faculty Senate Executive Committee
AY 2002-2003

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee's Statement of Principles was unanimously adopted on 9 September 2002. These Principles will guide Senate actions in the coming academic year. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee is committed to the following precepts:

1. Shared governance is a crucial element of any credible academic institution. Effective faculty participation in the life of GMU requires that the faculty be fully informed; therefore, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate will take measures to ensure that faculty have access to information that affects their well-being and their ability to perform their professional roles as teachers and researchers.

2. Accountability is a crucial operating principle of all organizations, public and private, for-profit and nonprofit, educational and otherwise. At GMU, emphasis has been given almost exclusively to the accountability of the faculty to the central administration; little attention has been given to administrative accountability to the faculty. This must change.

3. Academic matters are primarily the responsibility of the faculty. It is therefore the role of the faculty to provide principled leadership in GMU’s decision-making processes regarding curriculum and pedagogy, research activities, and faculty personnel actions.

4. Budget decisions drive institutional priorities. The faculty must therefore play a major role in decisions regarding the allocation of resources from both the state budget and from private funds raised by the GMU Foundation.

5. “Corporate models” of education in which students are viewed as “customers” are not appropriate. Education is a unique activity in a democratic society that differs markedly from both business and government. Universities are absolutely essential in contemporary society as centers of free inquiry, free expression, open discovery, and dissent. Any attempt to force education into a corporatist mold devalues faculty, lowers academic standards, and harms both students and the institution itself.

6. Academic standards and academic integrity are essential to the institution and to students. The faculty must take the lead to maintain and strengthen academic standards.

7. Budget crises call for a new management paradigm to replace the “more enrollment, larger classes” model that has characterized thinking at GMU for at least a quarter century. New approaches must be taken so that fiscal problems are not solved primarily by increasing faculty work loads and reducing the quality of the students’ educational experience.

8. Research is a major hallmark of all great universities. If GMU is to gain prominence, much greater support must be forthcoming for faculty research. Although we recognize the faculty’s role in seeking research sponsors and grants, the central administration must increase the research support provided to GMU faculty to a level that equals or exceeds that available to faculty at our SCHEV-approved peer institutions.

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