MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

MONDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2007

approved as amended January 24, 2008

Mason Hall, room D1; 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

 

Present: Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; 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.

 

Absent:  Kevin Avruch, Associate Director and Professor of Conflict Resolution, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management, Chair.

 

Approval of “Misconduct in Research and Scholarship” memorandum signed by the Provost and Suzanne Slayden, Chair of the Faculty Senate, December 3, 2007 –appears below in italics:

 

Faculty Handbook Interpretation

 

On October 3, 2007, the Board of Visitors approved a new university policy entitled “Misconduct in Research and Scholarship,” subject to its being reconciled with the Faculty Handbook.  The following actions have been taken pursuant to that decision:

 

1.      The new policy is revised to clarify that the procedures in Section 2.10.2.4 of the Faculty Handbook, “Dismissal of Tenured and Probationary Faculty Members for Cause,” apply in the case of a proposed dismissal for research misconduct. 

 

2.      This interpretative memorandum is adopted to reflect our common understanding that the resolution of any allegation of “research misconduct,” as defined in the new “Misconduct in Research and Scholarship” policy, is governed by that policy only, and that Section 2.12.2.1 of the Faculty Handbook, “Policies Concerning Grievances,” does not apply to the resolution of research misconduct allegations.

 

·         Reconciles Faculty Handbook with Misconduct in Research and Scholarship Policy.

·         New policy contains due process rights not present in grievance policy as presently written; now posted on GMU website at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/policy/newpolicy/4007res.html

·         Changes to 2.12.2.1 Policies Concerning Grievances suggested by Barry Stevens included as new final paragraph

Revision:  2.12.2.1 Policies Concerning Grievances

The university and each college, school and institute is required to have a standing committee charged to investigate hear grievances in a timely manner concerning (i) alleged violations of academic freedom; (ii) other conditions of employment, such as work assignments, salaries, facilities, and support services (exceptions are those types of cases treated in Sections 2.10.2.2 and 2.10.2.3); and (iii) charges of unprofessional or unethical conduct brought by one faculty member against another. Each college, school and institute will establish, publish, and disseminate their grievance procedures.  In all types of cases, procedures will reflect the fundamental principle of due process that prohibits people from sitting in judgment of their own actions, if those actions are challenged, i.e., grieved or appealed. These committees are particularly charged to be alert to instances of inequitable treatment and retaliation against colleagues who have filed grievances.   In cases alleging discrimination in violation of federal or state law or University regulations, the committee must consult the University Equity Office early in the process. The University Grievance Committee hears all grievances against administrators at or above the level of Deans and Directors. See Section 2.12.2.2 (4-6).

In addition to hearing specific cases, the committees may initiate, as they deem necessary, discussions with appropriate administrators about any matters that fall within the committees' purview. In the course of such discussions, however, they may not commit the faculties of their units to changes in grievance policy unless specifically authorized to do so.

At their discretion, academic departments may also establish grievance committees. Their procedures should be similar to those of the collegiate committees.

 

The section on ‘Policies Concerning Grievances’ does not apply to the resolution of research and scholarship misconduct allegations, which is governed by University Policy 4007 –Misconduct in Research and Scholarship.  See Interpretation of December 3, 2007.

 

Revision 3.1 Salary Schedulerenamed Faculty Salaries

State colleges and universities in the Commonwealth of Virginia do not have a common salary schedule. Through appropriate offices of the Commonwealth, a maximum allowable faculty salary average is developed for each state-supported institution. However, the General Assembly determines appropriations for the state colleges, and the money provided for faculty salaries at a particular institution may result in an average salary substantially lower than the maximum allowable.

The Board of Visitors establishes a salary schedule for the University's faculty on the basis of recommendations from the President and the Provost. The salary schedule provides normal entrance rates for each rank and specifies the increments for rate increases. It also specifies the normal frequency for incremental increases, which is currently each year.

Within the limits of its budget, the University attempts to be as competitive as possible in its recruitment and retention of faculty. The differences that are found among disciplines and departments with regard to salary ranges within a given academic rank reflect supply and demand in the marketplace.

There is a variety of sources that may be used to compare George Mason University faculty compensation (salary plus certain benefits) with other colleges, both private and public. For example, the reader is referred to such data as that published annually by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. A list of Faculty salaries for the current academic year is on file in the library appear on the Faculty Senate website.

·         Salary increases important in retention, not just about recruitment. 

·         LAUs have some delegated authority to assign numbers (rate increases?), then to upper level administration for approval, do not believe BOV does this. 

 

Revision 3.2 Salary Increases

When available to the University, salary increases are given annually. The effective increment date for full-time faculty is normally September 1. The annual salary that becomes effective on that date is confirmed to the faculty member by a letter from the President Provost.

Unless the performance of the faculty member is unsatisfactory for a given year, in the allocation of salary increases the University takes into account such factors as the prevailing rate of inflation and the cost of living in the University's service region. The magnitude of individual salary increments, however, will depend Annual salary increases are based chiefly on performance. All faculty with a satisfactory performance rating will receive at least a minimum salary increment.  Salary increases may also reflect efforts to achieve internal equity.

Faculty members who are dissatisfied with a salary increase normally seek recourse within their local academic unit. If dissatisfaction persists, grievance procedures outlined in Section 2.12.2 may be followed.

·         Salary increases now begin November 25th, not necessary to specify here as contained in Provost letter.

·         Not necessary to add other signatures to letter, such as Senior Vice President.

·         University does not take into account rate of inflation, COLA

·         Minimum floor for salary increase now at $250; minimum floor may be higher in some units. Noted also that funds must be available for raises. 

·         Unless given unsatisfactory rating, minimum raise amount must be given. Minimum salary increases do not include COLA.

·         Equity issues:  what other factors beyond performance to put in Handbook?  Provost may hold back some money to resolve special cases, unusually strong performance.  A minimum salary (floor) for rank (tenured/tenure-track and term) went into effect two years ago.

·         New faculty get a zero increase as they are newly hired, have not yet had an annual performance evaluation. 

·         Example in which state may allocate 3% raises, university may raise tuition to offer 4% raise. 

·         Promotion and tenure salary increments are likely to be low.  University may need to add more money to be equitable in new rank. 

·         Issue of salary inversion/compression:  new hires with pace of increases; need to add money to those already hired earlier – Dean may hold back % to make sure increase equitable. 

·         Internal equity must apply within the rules applied in your department. 

·         Not to address out-of-cycle raises, not to codify.

 

3.3. Summer Salary  - already reviewed, to verify two changes suggested in Fairfax Forum were made. 

 

Revision 3.4 Salary Matrix

Most adjunct part-time faculty, and full-time faculty teaching overload, evening, off-campus credit courses and other so-called contract courses are paid on the salary matrix. Part-time faculty in highly competitive areas of instruction may be paid above matrix rates. These exceptions are considered on an individual basis and in light of the prevailing job market.

·         Now only adjunct faculty and full-time faculty teaching overload are paid on the matrix. 

·         Provost Office must approve offers greater than 10% over matrix

·         SOM, SPP often pay above matrix.

·         Continuing Professional Education courses more like a stipend, not as many contract hours.

 

Revision:  3.5 Faculty Benefits

As employees of the Commonwealth of Virginia, GMU faculty members are provided with health insurance, retirement plans, life insurance, and medical and child care flexible spending accounts. In addition, the University offers certain employee-funded benefits. All such benefits are described in more detail in the Faculty Information Guide. Human Resources and Payroll website (http://hr.gmu.edu/ ).

·         Not a comprehensive list of benefits, does not include short-term and long-term disability insurance, 403b plans, etc.  HR website more comprehensive than Faculty Information Guide.

 

Revision:  3.6 Faculty Development

The quality of the institution depends on the vitality of its faculty. Faculty members have a responsibility to continue to grow as scholars and educators so that they remain contributing members of the intellectual community. The University recognizes its responsibility to foster faculty growth by providing a variety of opportunities for professional development. These may include departmental study leaves, competitive awards in the form of summer stipends and University study leaves, opportunities to consider new approaches to teaching and the assessment of teaching (e.g. portfolio development), and assisting faculty with the application of new technologies to instruction. Details relating to faculty development may be found in the Faculty Information Guide.

·         Many other sources of detail, such as research grants, etc.

·         To obligate university to attend to professional development of faculty.

·         To add two new sections 3.6.1 Study Leave for Tenured Faculty and 2.6.2 Study Leave for Tenure-Track Faculty (texts taken from Provost Office website) and renumber new section 3.6.3 Professional Development Leaves developed earlier in Handbook revision process.  These are major benefits for faculty contractually.  Tenure-track Study Leave an important recruitment tool; eligibility limited to those hired as tenure-track faculty for the first time, not arriving from another university in that status. 

·         Departmental leave different from professional development leave; to include here or by reference? If you have an LAU leave, does not remove eligibility for competitive study leaves.

 

New Section 3.6.1 Study Leave For Tenured Faculty (copied from Provost Office website – to further examine at next meeting)

Purpose
To provide paid temporary leave for the support of advancing scholarly research, teaching, and/or creative activity, including development of innovative teaching approaches and methods.

Availability
Funding is usually available for 20-25 faculty study leaves each year. (30-35 faculty typically apply each year.)

Eligibility

An applicant must be a full-time employee of George Mason University who has held a regular faculty rank for at least four years at the time of application and who is appointed without term, i.e., with tenure.

·         Individuals whose rank is prefixed with Affiliate, Adjunct, Research, Visiting, or Term are not eligible.

·         A total of seven academic years (which may include time spent on leave of absence) must elapse between successive awards or Study Leave for Tenured Faculty.

·         Full-time administrators who otherwise meet these criteria are eligible.

·         A faculty member who receives a study leave must agree to remain a full-time employee of the University for at least one academic year after the conclusion of the leave.

·         A faculty member who accepts a study leave must agree to serve as a reviewer of future applications.

Selection
The Provost awards Study Leave for Tenured Faculty guided by recommendations of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development and former awardees acting as peer reviewers.  Generally, reviewers will not be experts in the applicants' disciplines or fields

 

Study Leave Period
Leave may be taken during the Fall or Spring semester of the academic year following announcement of the award.  Leave may be taken for one semester at full pay or two semesters at half pay.  The leave schedule must be approved by the department chair and dean or institute director.  Faculty contemplating taking two semesters leave at half pay are urged to consult with Human Resources regarding possible fringe benefit implications.

Submissions Accepted:  September 1, 2007 through October 1, 2007.  In fairness to other potential applicants, late applications will not be considered.

Study Leave Report
At the completion of a study leave, faculty must file with the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development a one-page report of accomplishments and plans for continuing activities related to the study leave.  Academic units may establish additional reporting requirements.

New Application Submission Process
The application must be accessed from the Provost’s website, completed, and submitted on line.  The summary of the project should be written in such a way as to make clear to a non-specialist both what is to be done and why it is significant.

The project narrative and curriculum vitae must be inserted (cut and pasted) in the application.

One outside letter of support from an expert in the field must also be submitted on line.  Please invite the expert supporting your proposal to access, complete and submit the “Outside Letter of Support” form on the Provost’s Web site, http://www.gmu.edu/departments/provost/support/studyleave.htm.

Application Approval
The applicant must seek approval from their dean, director, or chair and request that they access, complete and submit the “Dean’s, Director’s, and Chair’s Letter of Support” form
on the Provost’s Web site, http://www.gmu.edu/departments/provost/support/studyleave.htm.

Application Details

(listed as a, b, c, and d)

 

New Section 3.6.2 Study Leave for Tenure-Track Faculty copied from Provost Office website – to further examine at next meeting)

All assistant or associate professors appointed to their first tenure-track positions will be granted a one-semester study leave during the first five years of the tenure-track cycle. This leave is designed to assist a tenure-track faculty member in advancing his or her research, scholarly, or creative activities. The timing of this leave will be subject to approval by both the respective local academic unit head and the appropriate Dean/Director. The Office of the Provost will provide one-course matrix replacement funding per granted leave request. This leave policy is not intended to conflict with an existing local academic unit practice; rather than reducing a local academic unit's flexibility, its intent is to enhance and supplement existing practices. During the semester either prior to or succeeding the faculty member's leave, the local academic unit may need to ask the recipient to teach one additional course in order to accommodate this leave. This policy is retroactively effective to initial hires as of academic year 1999.

Eligibility

·         Full-time faculty members who are Assistant or Associate Professors in their first five years of their tenure-track cycle.

·         Individuals whose rank is prefixed with Affiliate, Adjunct, Research, Visiting, or Term are not eligible.

Application Procedures

·         Complete the application form.

·         The form should be routed through the Department Chair, where applicable, then through the Dean/Director to Kim Ford in the Office of the Provost, Mason Hall D109, MSN 3A2.

Before the semester that the study leave is taken, administrators in the faculty member's department should send a tracking document indicating the leave to Human Resources through the Provost Office.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate