Mason Hall, room D1; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.


Present: Kevin Avruch, Associate Director and Professor of Conflict Resolution, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management, Chair, Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science.


2.2.7 Emeritus Faculty:  The Provost agreed with the proposed revisions as communicated to Martin Ford.


Faculty Representative to BOV:  At its meeting yesterday, the BOV approved an ex officio non-voting faculty representative as the chair of the Faculty Senate. Congratulations to Suzanne Slayden, Chair of the Faculty Senate, as she assumes this new role at the next BOV meeting in March.  A motion requesting faculty representation to the full board was passed at the last Faculty Senate meeting January 23, 2008.


When we have a major (new) policy for inclusion in the Faculty Handbook, the Faculty Matters Committee (a Senate Standing Committee) has been asked to review it, before presentation to the Faculty Senate for approval.  Two motions approved by the Faculty Senate at the January 23, 2008 meeting were discussed for inclusion in the Handbook:  Awarding of Tenure at the Time of Hiring in Competitive Searches and Tenure Clock Extension for Military Service.


Awarding of Tenure at the Time of Hiring in Competitive Searches


Faculty in the local academic unit (LAU) will review the credentials of any individual who is a candidate for hire.  These include, at a minimum, the opportunity to examine a curriculum vitae, meet with the candidate, attend a job seminar or formal presentation by the candidate, and review letters of reference.  The LAU faculty then vote to accept or reject the candidate and, in a separate vote, determine whether to hire the candidate with tenure.  The hiring process moves forward only when a majority of the LAU faculty who are eligible to vote accept the candidate. 


If the candidate is nominated for tenure upon hiring, s/he must also be reviewed by the college- or school-level promotion and tenure committee.  As stated above, the LAU review requires a majority positive vote by eligible faculty for tenure consideration.  If the LAU faculty vote is positive and the chair recommends tenure of the candidate, the dossier is then sent to the college, school, or institute promotion and tenure committee.  As with all tenure reviews, independent external letters from recognized experts in the candidate’s field must be obtained in a manner consistent with other tenure reviews, and candidates are held to the same standards as other candidates in that LAU.  Since such hires may be made outside the normal annual promotion and tenure cycle, college, school, and institute promotion and tenure committees must develop procedures for promptly reviewing candidates out of cycle.

·        Addresses a loophole in policy approved last year Noncompetitive (Waived Search) Hire Policy which did not apply to those administrative faculty candidates who also seek tenure (?).

·        Historically first level review by LAU occurs, but not second level review.  The second level review could go quickly, but it must happen.

·        Rocky recent issue in one department; noted college was ready, willing, and able to do second-level review.

·        Important to train administrators to look for this.

·        Not just for inclusion in Faculty Handbook but also needs to be included on Provost Office website.

·        Ongoing dilemmas to ascertain these requests come to light; enforcement of Handbook provisions.

·        To include as new Section Awarding of Tenure at the Time of Hiring in Competitive Searches


Tenure Clock Extension for Military Service


A tenure track faculty member who is also a member of the U.S. military and is called to active duty for a minimum of four months will be entitled to an automatic extension of the term in which she or he is currently employed.  The extension will last for the duration of the active duty assignment, rounded to the nearest year.  Therefore, an active duty assignment lasting between 4 and 15 months will earn a one-year extension, 16 through 27 months will earn a two-year extension, etc.  This extension will be granted automatically upon the faculty member’s notifying in writing the chair of the department or the dean/director of the college, school or institute in which the faculty member serves.  The faculty member should make the request prior to entering active duty and prior to September 1 of the academic year in which the tenure decision would have been made.

·        Not ready to include in Handbook, needs legal review by Brian Walther (Senior Associate University Counsel) in view of recent FMLA legislation regarding unpaid leave for military personnel for child care or care of family members and/or military family members caring for military personnel. (?)

·        Federal policy does not distinguish between voluntary or involuntary extensions of military service.

·        Questions of salary adjustments, salary pool not a Handbook issue.

·        VA state employee law also passed. To invite Brian Walther to discuss this issue at a future FHC meeting. Eligibility for Reconsideration – 2008 revision in progress


The reconsideration process for candidates not recommended for tenure in their sixth year of tenure-track probationary appointment at George Mason University is allowed only for consideration of substantial new evidence not available to those who made the original negative recommendation. Candidates who have no substantial new evidence to present , but who disagree with the evaluation of their record made during the tenure and promotion review process, may not seek reconsideration.  However, they may be but are entitled to a re-examination of their case through the appeal procedure (see Section 2.9). Reconsideration, if requested, must precede appeal and must be completed before a candidate can file an appeal.


New evidence for a reconsideration must fall into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Scholarly work accepted for publication, or creative work exhibited, performed, or published, or other evidence of scholarly distinction which appeared after the tenure recommendations were made.
  2. Grants awarded after the tenure recommendations were made.
  3. Reviews of the candidate's scholarly or creative work which were published after the negative recommendation.
  4. Substantial evidence of significantly improved teaching.
  5. Substantial evidence of significantly increased and influential professional service.

·        Provost insistent upon inclusion of the word “rare” for cases of reconsideration; that almost everybody requests reconsideration. 

·        Where are the (categories) slippery now?  Almost everybody has something occurring between January and June.  If someone is eligible for reconsideration, how can you say no?

·        Provost views this as a teaching problem; that (reconsideration) is not the norm; (to use) grievance procedure; administrator’s advice to faculty “What do you have to lose?” not helpful.

·        Real problem as confusion between Eligibility for Reconsideration and 2.9 Appeal Procedure for Negative Decisions in Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Cases.

·        Provost wants to support local Promotion and Tenure Committee recommendation. Deans need to make sure dossiers are complete.  Rare evidence by definition –  not that folks forget to put things in. 

·        Concept that any time you have two levels of review - both affirmative - then recommendation should be rarely overturned.

·        Suggested revisions:  “allows for consideration of new evidence not available” as bar which has to be reached or “in those rare cases where substantial new evidence is available” or “…has been produced”. Procedure for Reconsideration

1.      On or before the first day of classes of the fall semester following the sixth year of a tenure-track appointment, a candidate seeking reconsideration on the basis of new evidence must submit to the local unit administrator a written petition for reconsideration, outlining the new evidence and attaching documentation of it.

2.      Within seven days, the recipient of the petition submits it, the documentation, and the entire original dossier to the lowest level at which a negative recommendation was made. At that level and each subsequent level outlined in Section 2.8.4, the new evidence is evaluated by the designated bodies as they are constituted at the time of the reconsideration, and by the individuals holding the relevant administrative positions at the time of the reconsideration. At each level, a recommendation on the basis of new evidence should be completed within fourteen days and forwarded to the next level. Those participating in the reconsideration at any level, whether or not they participated in the original decision, must judge whether the new evidence sufficiently remedies the weaknesses in the candidate's record cited by those who made the original negative recommendation to warrant its reversal. The President will inform the candidate in writing of the decision. If the President's decision is positive, the tenure recommendation is submitted to the Board of Visitors for final action.

3.      If the reconsideration decision is negative, candidates may file an appeal under the terms of Section 2.10. Appeals by candidates who are unsuccessful in their petition for reconsideration must be filed by November 1 of that year, or within seven days of receipt of the President's decision on the reconsideration, whichever is later.

·        Noted in 1st paragraph that process does not start with the Provost, wants to stop it at a lower level.  Perhaps looked more punitive than we thought it meant. 

·        As rare as the Provost wants to make it, if person turned down, not surprising they would want to make an appeal.  Sympathizes with Provost that it should be rare if turned down at the local level, but not able to legislature human nature. 

·        Sympathy to get a final shot, devastation incredible.  There is no ombudsman, no place for faculty to go – individual faculty provide some help, person is very alone. 

·        In context of people accustomed to being successful, can understand how difficult to accept, even if right decision. 

Old Exclusion of Faculty from the Classroom Policy (below)

2.10.3 Exclusion of Faculty from the Classroom


If at any time a faculty member's continued responsibility for a course or courses is judged by the President or a designated representative to constitute a serious threat of substantial damage to the faculty member or to his or her students, the faculty member will be excluded from the classroom and replaced by a qualified substitute. The mere initiation of dismissal proceedings or of notice of non- reappointment will never constitute by themselves sufficient grounds for such exclusion.

To guard against abuse of this authority, a committee of five faculty members will be elected from and by those of the same academic unit as the suspended person within three days after any such exclusion, and this committee will conduct a brief but careful examination of the particulars and report within three days to the President. Should the committee's findings not support the exclusion, this committee will also report its findings to the Faculty Senate at its next regular meeting, and to the suspended person's collegiate faculty.

Replaced by two new sections as further revised below: 2.11.10 and 2.11.11.

·        Provost expressed concern about difficulty of removing someone from the classroom. 

·        To look for a good prototype, to ask Linda Schwartzstein to examine files of our late colleague David Rossell for more information on this topic.

·        Need to have existing structure in place to act immediately – not to elect a committee – hence use of University grievance committee in lieu of ad hoc committee suggested. 

·        Every college needs to have an existing grievance committee – or is it better to be further removed? 

·        To use grievance committee of school, college, or institute unless faculty member prefers university grievance committee?  Local knowledge generally good vs. protection of faculty member from potential bias in local environment. 

·        As faculty members, we need to be prepared to deal with these issues on short notice.  Perhaps more people around over summer than in the past, also use of teleconferencing, etc. 

·        No requirement as to size of unit grievance committees – may be 3 or 5 people, would a quorum of committee be sufficient?  At least a majority of committee?

·        May not be a long process of investigation. Also faculty member may waive this – decision made at administrative level. 

·        LAU may contain a few or many people, who really needs to know?  Chair of Faculty Senate an important safeguard. 

·        If Provost appoints a designee, likely to be a dean or associate provost.  Should administrator and committee disagree, to report to chief academic officer, not administrator, akin to “shop steward” vs. non-faculty member.  Person who assigns teachers to classrooms needs to know.  Should Provost/designee let dean know?  More concerned about dept. chairs who staff classes – a very delicate procedure. 

·        To present 2.11.10 to Provost for review. 

2.11.10 Temporary or Short-Term Relief of Faculty from Duties and Responsibilities – (Non-Medical)

New Text Revisions in RED, new deletions in yellow:


Preserving the safety and well-being of students and faculty is a paramount concern.  On occasion it might be determined that a faculty member is unable to carry out his or her duties or responsibilities, including classroom instruction.  If at this time a faculty member’s continued responsibilities, including classroom instruction, is judged by the Provost or a designated representative to constitute an immediate danger or serious threat of substantial damage to the faculty member, his or her colleagues, university staff, or students, the faculty member will be immediately relieved of his or her duties, including exclusion from the classroom, until such time as he or she can re-assume them.  “Temporary relief of duties” for documented medical reasons is described in more detail in Section 2.11.11 The Family Medical Leave Act.  “Permanent dismissal for cause” is described in Section Dismissal of Tenure and Tenure-Track Faculty Members for Cause.  Re-assumption of duties may entail a reassignment of primary duties and responsibilities within the local academic unit or university.

Unless waived by the faculty member, the grievance committee of the school, college, or institute will be convened a committee of five faculty members will be elected from and by those of the same academic unit as the suspended person within three days after any such relief of duties or classroom exclusion.  To safeguard use of this emergency authority, this committee will conduct a brief but careful, confidential, and thorough examination of the particulars of the case and report within three days to the Provost or designated representative.  Should the committee’s findings not support the relief of duties or classroom exclusion, this committee will report its findings to the chair of the Faculty Senate and to the faculty of the suspended person’s local academic unit.

.Retitling of 2.11.11 from: 2.11.11 Temporary or Short-Term Relief of Faculty from Duties and Responsibilities(Medical) to 2.11.11 The Family Medical Leave Act 

New Text Revisions in RED, new deletions in yellow:


Temporary or short term Relief from faculty duties or responsibilities for medical reasons are addressed covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Details about this can be found at the website:  http://hr.gmu.edu/gen-info/fmla.shtml


The FMLA describes the federal regulations regarding job-protected leave to eligible employees for certain family and medical reasons.  In consideration of instructional faculty duties and responsibilities, related to workloads and the university’s academic calendar, whenever possible the university will attempt to adapt the FMLA to the academic calendar and the faculty member’s needs.  The federal regulations pertaining to the FMLA can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/ .  Faculty members may also be eligible, depending on their medical condition, for either long-term or short-term disability benefits.  For details see: http://hr.gmu.edu/benefits.

·        Medical issues covered under FMLA. Does not address question of what to do about someone with a medical issue who is a danger to students.


General Discussion: Dismissal of Tenure and Tenure-Track Faculty Members for Cause

·        To include Post Tenure Review Policy; related to new Misconduct in Research and Scholarship Policy

·        Important issue to present to entire Faculty Senate

·        To continue discussion at our next meeting.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate