MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

DECEMBER 8, 2006 – 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m, Mason Hall, room D1

 

Present:  Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences and President of the AAUP Chapter of George Mason University; Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management, Chair; Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development; Marilyn Mobley, Associate Provost for Education Programs and Associate Professor of English; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science. 

 

Absent: Kevin Avruch, Associate Director and Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; David Rossell, Associate Provost for Personnel and Budget, ex-officio.

 

Key:  Yellow highlighted text to be removed; Red Text to be added.

 

 2.6.1 Annual Review of Faculty – 2006 Proposed Revision Text (December 1, 2006 FHC Minutes)

 

Faculty are evaluated annually by local unit administrators and/or committees of peers who report to the collegiate deans or the Provost. The criteria for the annual faculty review are the same as those listed in Section 2.4 Criteria for Evaluation of Faculty: Teaching, Scholarship, Professional Service, and University Service except that the evaluation is based upon the contributions of the preceding academic year and, where applicable, the summer. The results of and rationale for the evaluation are given to the faculty member in writing; faculty members must be afforded the opportunity to discuss the results of the evaluation.  Faculty are evaluated on qualitative the quality of overall performance and in the context of their goals and assignments. Local unit administrators may average performances for years in which merit raises have been variable.

Discussion:  2.6.1 Annual Review of Faculty continued:

·        Correction of error in 12/1/06 Minutes replace “qualitative” with “the quality of” as in 1994 Handbook text.

·        Need to include rationale as specific to teaching, service, etc.  May be used to illustrate administrator’s concern about faculty member’s performance.  Need to account for perspective – as a way of asking evaluator to give sense to faculty member of where they are. 

·        Practices vary too much, even if you do include rationale.

·        Expectation of “norm,” to share “range” information - SOM has published median and ranges for teaching, research, etc. – benchmarks

·        Some faculty provide grading ranges after exams, others do not, preferring to focus on individual progress.  Does not matter what others are doing.  To share with individual faculty member privately if requests more information.  Unique situations – do not see how Handbook can reflect this.  

·        Equity and merit two different things.  Various issues involved; merit raises not a Handbook issue. 

·        Add “and rationale for” after “The results of”

·        Combine sentences and invert order of revised third and penultimate sentence.

 

2.6.1 Annual Review of Faculty  with proposed revisions discussed December 8, 2006:

Faculty are evaluated annually by local unit administrators and/or committees of peers who report to the collegiate deans or the Provost. The criteria for the annual faculty review are the same as those listed in Section 2.4 Criteria for Evaluation of Faculty: Teaching, Scholarship, Professional Service, and University Service except that the evaluation is based upon the contributions of the preceding academic year and, where applicable, the summer. Faculty are evaluated on the quality of overall performance and in the context of their goals and assignments. The results of and rationale for the evaluation are given to the faculty member in writing; faculty members must be afforded the opportunity to discuss the results of the evaluation.  Local unit administrators may average performances for years in which merit raises have been variable.

 

 

Dicussion:    2.6.2 Faculty Evaluation of Administrators ( proposed revision text from December 1, 2006 FHC Minutes):  Academic administrators serve at the pleasure of the President. In reviewing their performance, the President should refer to the annual faculty evaluation of administrators, conducted under the joint auspices of the Faculty Senate and the University's Office of Institutional Planning and Research. The purposes of this annual evaluation are (i) to provide information regularly to the President and the Board of Visitors about the strengths and weaknesses of administrators as perceived by the faculty; (ii) to provide, over an extended period of time, a record of faculty opinion of regarding the performance of administrators; and (iii) to provide individual administrators with specific suggestions for improving faculty morale and the operations of the University feedback about their performance.. Faculty are expected to participate in the evaluation of academic administrators.

·        To remove (iii)?   Need to include because otherwise does not say anything about feedback going to deans/provost/(president).  If someone has high ratings, do suggestions for improved performance apply? We do not know whether president or provost uses the information.

·        Replace “specific suggestions for improving faculty morale and the operations of the University” with  “feedback about their performance.” 

 

 2.6.2 Faculty Evaluation of Administrators (revised text 12/8/06):  Academic administrators serve at the pleasure of the President. In reviewing their performance, the President should refer to the annual faculty evaluation of administrators, conducted under the joint auspices of the Faculty Senate and the University's Office of Institutional Planning and Research. The purposes of this annual evaluation are (i) to provide information regularly to the President and the Board of Visitors about the strengths and weaknesses of administrators as perceived by the faculty; (ii) to provide, over an extended period of time, a record of faculty opinion regarding the performance of administrators; and (iii) to provide individual administrators with feedback about their performance.  Faculty are expected to participate in the evaluation of academic administrators.

 

Meeting Schedule:  Our next meeting will take place Friday, January 12th from 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m. in Mason Hall, room D5.  The committee decided to cancel the meeting scheduled Friday, January 19th as several members are unable to attend.  In review of results of the spring term availability poll, it was decided to schedule meetings on Wednesday mornings from 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. except during spring break and when the BOV meets; for any members unable to attend, we will make every effort to include their suggestions and feedback in a timely way.  Sections 2.3. and 2.4 will be discussed at the January 12th meeting.

 

Should we have another forum to report progress?  Consensus that we do not wish to take away time from completing the task; perhaps to send an announcement at the beginning of the spring term, inviting faculty to review minutes on website.  The Provost has been regularly informed of the committee’s progress by Marilyn and David Rossell.  We may also copy the Rector and BOV members on the spring term announcement so that they may also read minutes published on-line.. 

 

2.3 Recruitment and Appointment of Faculty – the following revisions suggested by Martin Ford and Dave Harr - deletions highlighted in yellow; revised/new text appears in Red. 

 

2.3.1 Policies on Recruitment and Appointment of Faculty

The Board of Visitors has full authority over faculty personnel matters, including the responsibility to approve faculty appointments. To carry out this function effectively, the Board selects a President, who appoints other academic officers. Academic administrators share responsibility with the faculty for ensuring that appropriate qualitative standards are fostered; that equity and due process are the rule; that judgments in the selection, retention, and promotion of faculty are in the best long-term interests of the University; and that affirmative action, equal opportunity, and fair employment practices are followed (see Appendix A).

 

Initial review and evaluation of qualifications are carried out by peers in the local academic unit to which the candidate is to be appointed. Faculty recommendations for appointment are forwarded to the dean or director of the academic unit in which the appointment is to be made. If concurring with the faculty recommendations, the dean or director will forward them to the Provost and the President.

 

·        Removal of President at the end; with exception of high magnitude hires, President would not be involved in routine appointments. 

2.3.2 Procedures for Recruitment and Appointment of Tenured and Probationary Tenure-Track Faculty

Requests for new faculty appointments to allocated positions normally originate with the local unit administrator, acting upon the recommendation of the unit's faculty. In particular, the administrator seeks the assistance of the faculty in defining the requirements of the position to be filled and the qualifications to be sought in the appointee. Authorization from the appropriate dean and the Provost is necessary before a search is initiated to fill a vacancy or a new position. In unusual cases a waiver of the search process may be requested by the local unit administrator.

 

The local academic unit establishes, usually by election, a faculty committee possibly a committee of the whole to advise and assist the local unit administrator in carrying out a search. After receiving appropriate training from the Office of Equity and Diversity Services, these committees handle correspondence; review the dossiers of applicants and review applicant credentials and make recommendations concerning them; establish the schedule and make other arrangements for the on-campus interview of finalists; and perform other search-related duties as necessary regarding potential finalists for the position.  . All full-time faculty of the local academic unit will have should be provided with an opportunity to meet with the finalists and offer input to the selection process.. The unit's faculty search committee then evaluates the finalists and formulates a recommendation. The local unit administrator transmits the faculty recommendation, together with her or his own, to the collegiate dean or to the Provost. A copy of the local unit administrator's recommendation is furnished to the unit's faculty. Faculty appointments to any local academic unit require the concurrence of that unit's faculty.

 

Before extending an offer of appointment, the local unit administrator or the chair of the faculty search committee must secure affirmative action clearance and the concurrence of the relevant Dean or Director, and the Provost, and the Office of Equity and Diversity Services. All written offers of appointment at rank above assistant professor must include the statement "conditional upon approval by the President of the University and upon election by the University's Board of Visitors." Offers of employment in any rank must include the statement "Contingent upon availability of funding for the position" and must be made and accepted in writing. must include the elements specified in the appropriate offer letter template located on the Mason Office of the Provost website. 

 

Tenured and probationary tenure-track faculty receive initial letters of appointment specifying terms of employment and seeking the faculty member’s consent to be governed by the administrative policies and regulations of the University (currently in force and as amended in the future) ; Acceptance in writing of these letters constitutes a contract between the University and individual faculty members. Letters of initial appointment to probationary tenure-track faculty also indicate the expiration date of terms of appointment. Tenured and probationary faculty also receive annual letters indicating salary.

 

·        Concern that waiver of the search process seems to happen more often than “unusual cases”. 

·        Insistence that still far more common for a search to be conducted; unusual in a statistical sense. 

·        Substitute “rare” for “unusual” at end of 1st paragraph. 

·        A committee member will share research on policies at other universities regarding waived searches.  Perhaps to insert a new paragraph about this.  Concern that providing language could be very difficult, many variations – some empirical cases would not fit.  Process should be specific, above board, and transparent. 

·        Equity Office reminds Deans and Directors not to waive searches except in very unusual cases.

·        Issue of faculty brought in with tenure; if LAU administrator wants to make a direct hire, must have concurrence of the unit’s faculty.

·        After some discussion, suggestion made that Deans/Directors in their role as hiring officers provide data on direct hires every 6 months  as a way to ensure checks and balances. To see if pattern (without hiring search) is emerging; important role of Equity and Diversity Services, which by law, has a certain independence.

·        As a member of the faculty, why does LAU administrator write a separate letter?  Usually not a separate letter – LAU administrator has a place to sign on the form.  LAU administrator may not be part of search committee. Any individual faculty member may write to the Dean.  Department recommendation made after search committee recommendation made.  In units without departments, LAU administrator is the Dean. 

·        Although many variations exist, administrative assistants often handle details for search committees.  Most correspondence handled by email. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate