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; Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management, Chair; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science.


Absent:  Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development.


Minutes of March 6, 2008:  Please review for any changes or corrections – if small, let Meg know, if more substantial, for further discussion by the committee.


Emeritus Status

·        Special exception to current policy requested for well-known term professor who received the first (GMU) patent. The Provost wishes to present this (and several other exception requests) before the Faculty Senate. If exceptions approved by Faculty Senate, to be presented to BOV for approval at May meeting.

·        Suggestion made to present revised 2.27 Emeritus for approval by Faculty Senate now. If approved by Senate, fewer exception requests needed.  Two candidates for exception requests are Associate Term Professors would meet new criteria. 

·        One case of an assistant professor without tenure; has taught here for 24 years. Pragmatically, how many more assistant professors remain here with more than 10 years’ service?  Very different era in earlier times.  Cohort came in under different rules; founding fathers who did real institution-building.  Given how institution has changed, unlikely we will deal with a lot of assistant professor requests.

·        Future increases in numbers of term faculty who retire with more than 10 years’ service.  Emeritus status ought to reflect long and loyal service to institution.  In changing wording to remove “tenured”, we recognize the rationale.

·        If this is an honor, there has to be some criteria.  Process must be initiated at local level; may be stopped at local level.

·        Example of exception granted for Nobel Laureate Vernon Smith –aged 80, but here less than 10 years.

·        Concerns about loopholes, consensus not to try to define exceptions in Handbook text.

·        “Retirement” vs. “Resignation”:  Separate case of individual eligible to retire from GMU with more than 16 years continuous service.  Retirement must be in there. 

·        Even after stepping down from deanship to return to teaching, emeritus title granted at highest rank - Dean Emeritus /a. 


Discussion: Contingency Planning in the Face of Financial Exigency  

·        Would higher-paid tenured faculty be more likely to be laid off?

·        Academic vs. core courses; concerned about broad array of possible exceptions.  Could argue for programmatic reasons to retain x instead of y.

·        We don’t know what nature of financial exigency may be.

·        Substitution of “demonstrated” for “deemed”; “dismissal” for “reduction”. Contingency Planning in the Face of Financial Exigency – 2008 revision in progress


Financial exigency is understood to mean an urgent need to reorder the nature and magnitude of the institution's financial obligations in such a way as to restore or preserve the institution's financial ability. The existence of a state of financial exigency must be proven by clear and convincing shown to be demonstrably bona fide by a preponderance of the evidence. This can be demonstrated by various means; for example, by showing declining enrollments coupled with operating deficits of a magnitude or duration as to leave little doubt about the financial weakness of the institution. The crisis should be of sufficient gravity that it cannot be met by less drastic means than salary reductions or faculty dismissals. The burden of proof that a state of financial exigency exists rests with the Board of Visitors.


The University strives to maintain a reasonable balance between positions devoted to its primary missions (instruction, research, and public service) and those devoted to its support programs (e.g., the library, student services, general administration). If threatened by the possibility of financial exigency, the institution will undertake retrenchment in such a way that this balance is preserved, and the faculty will participate with others in the decision-making process. This initial process of retrenchment will not include the dismissal or reduction of salaries of faculty on tenure-track probationary or continuing (i.e.,or tenured) appointments.  Should these retrenchment efforts be insufficient to meet the crisis and should it become necessary for the Board of Visitors to declare a state of financial exigency, the Faculty Senate will participate in the determinations that lead to the Board's declaration. Following a declaration of financial exigency by the Board, the University may reduce its expenditures on the salaries of faculty and administrators by load reduction and/or salary adjustment. These measures should be pursued, extensively if necessary, in preference to dismissals of tenured faculty, and should be carried out in such a way that (i) they are shared by faculty members and administrators approximately in proportion to their numbers, and (ii) they take an increasing proportion of each additional dollar earned


Dismissals of tenured faculty , if necessary, should be a last resort kept to a minimum. Should reductions in the size of the faculty become necessary, the affected units will normally make reductions on the following priority basis:

  1. Dismissal of part-time faculty;
  2. Dismissal of faculty on fixed-term , non-probationary appointments;
  3. Dismissal of tenure-track probationary faculty;
  4. Dismissal of tenured faculty.

Unless financial, academic, or equity and diversity considerations of an academic nature or affirmative action are demonstrated deemed to be overriding, then tenure, rank, and order of seniority in rank will be respected, in that order, in the dismissal of faculty on tenured and tenure-track probationary appointments.  Administrators responsible for developing specific budget reduction plans involving the dismissal of tenure-track and tenured faculty, must consult with tenured and tenure-track faculty in developing these plans.  Principles and criteria for identifying specific individuals to be dismissed should be formulated by tenured and tenure-line faculty. 


Any faculty member to be dismissed due to financial exigency may request a hearing before the college, school, or institute grievance an ad hoc faculty committee elected by the Senate. If such a hearing is sought, the burden of proof rests with the dismissed faculty member.  The findings of the committee will be presented to the Board of Visitors for final action after review by the President.


In all cases of dismissal because of financial exigency, the position of the dismissed faculty member will not be filled by a replacement within a period of three years, unless the released faculty member has been offered reinstatement. Faculty members are responsible for keeping a current address on file with the University. Any offer of reinstatement will be sent by registered mail, and the faculty member must respond to it within one month of its receipt. Should termination of full-time untenured faculty members become necessary during the term of their appointment, the University will give them as much notice as possible and no less than thirty days. Tenured faculty members will be guaranteed employment for one additional academic year.



Discussion: Discontinuation of Degree Programs

·        Potential situation in which professor moves from science to teach math.  OK to retain “appropriate”. Discontinuation of Degree Programs

Discontinuation of degree programs requires action by the Board of Visitors and the State Council of Higher Education. The recommendation to discontinue a degree program will be based solely upon educational considerations as determined jointly by the faculty and the administration. Such educational considerations must reflect long-range judgments that the educational mission of the institution as a whole will be enhanced by the discontinuation. Affected faculty holding multi-year term appointments will be given at least one academic year's notice of the decision to discontinue a program. Tenured faculty will be given opportunities to join the faculties of other programs, and, if appropriate, will be assisted by the institution through retraining and professional development opportunities. Procedures and safeguards will generally parallel those provided for dismissal in face of financial exigency (see Section


Discussion:  2.6.2 Post-Tenure Review

·        Committee members praised draft prepared by Martin Ford.  He has created a much more substantive policy to replace present policy.  Rearrangement of some sections appears in green below

·        Post-Tenure Review an infrequent process; usually involves 3-4 people, coordinated by Faculty Senate Chair.

·        Post Tenure Review a different process compared to 2.9 Appeal Procedure for Negative Decisions in Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Cases.  Faculty member is already tenured and has received a couple of warnings. 

·        To include language from 2.9 to define basis for appeal in Process #5 (a.b.c.d). 


 2.6.2 Post-Tenure Review



1.  George Mason University will use the annual review of all faculty [HB 2.6.1] as its primary procedure for implementing Post Tenure Review within the personnel policies of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The policies and procedures set forth in this document will apply to all tenured instructional faculty, regardless of the nature of the appointment.


a)       Annual reviews will serve as the vehicle for recognizing the positive contributions of faculty in fulfilling their professional obligations.  [HB 2.6]

b)       In the rare instances that performance is recognized by the annual review as “unsatisfactory,” the procedures below will be followed for each case.

c)       In accordance with the principles of peer judgment, each local academic unit (LAU) will establish its criteria for “satisfactory” performance.


2.  Faculty holding endowed chairs, university professorships or Robinson professorships who are not evaluated annually by a specific LAU, will be evaluated by the Office of the Provost.  For faculty holding such honorific appointments the standard of excellence includes contributions to institutional development, which will be addressed for all such appointees as part of their service.  Annual evaluation reports for faculty in these categories will be submitted to the provost.  While faculty in these categories are not exempt from other sanctions, sanctions may include the loss of the honorific appointment.


3. Individuals who receive an unsatisfactory rating by their LAU (as reported in the annual review to the collegiate deans, vice-president or the provost by the LAU administrator) must develop a plan of action with the LAU administrator to remedy any stated deficiency.  The plan will include a timetable.


4.  Tenured faculty members who receive an annual evaluation rating of “unsatisfactory” in two consecutive years or twice in four years will meet with the appropriate dean, institute director, or vice-president with the provost, as part of a mandatory review of their relationship with the university..  Tenured faculty members who receive three “unsatisfactory” ratings in a five-year period will undergo a peer evaluation process to determine if continued employment with the university is appropriate.

4.   Failure to achieve the outcomes identified in the aforementioned plan of action may lead to disciplinary actions being taken against the faculty member, including the possible initiating of dismissal proceedings.


5.  The provost will review the recommendation from the peer evaluation process and take appropriate action.




1.  Tenured faculty who fail to receive an unsatisfactory rating during any annual review will establish, in consultation with the appropriate LAU administrator, a written plan of action.


2.   These consultations will include at a minimum:

a)       a discussion of the basis for the evaluation(s) that culminated in an unsatisfactory rating, with particular attention to stated deficiencies or areas of weakness;

b)       an opportunity for the faculty member to respond to negative judgments;

c)       an exploration of the concerns of the university for remediation; and

d)       the development of a plan of action in response to the judgment of “unsatisfactory” performance.

One copy of the plan will be retained by the faculty member; one copy will be placed in the faculty member’s personnel file in the office of the LAU administrator; and if the faculty member has received a second “unsatisfactory” rating in any four year period, one copy will be filed with the Office of the Provost.  Faculty members pursuing a plan of action for correcting unsatisfactory performance will be encouraged to avail themselves of university resources designed to assist all faculty in professional development.

3.   Failure to rectify the deficiencies identified in the plan of action will result in the university’s imposition of appropriate sanctions as determined by the provost after consultation with administrators in the faculty member’s line of authority, or, in extreme cases, the initiation of dismissal proceedings as provided by the Handbook


3.   The LAU administrator and the Office of the Provost will address relevant issues in subsequent annual evaluations during the rolling five year period. Tenured faculty members who receive three “unsatisfactory” ratings in a five-year period will be required to submit a summary of activities and accomplishments in teaching, research, and service, as appropriate, during the five-year period, along with copies of annual evaluation results for that five-year period to the school/college/institute Promotion and Tenure Committee, serving as an Evaluation Committee.  The Evaluation Committee will not use the standards associated with the awarding of tenure and promotion to conduct this evaluation.  There is no limit on the amount or type of documentation the faculty member may submit.  Submitted materials will be reviewed by the Evaluation Committee to determine if the faculty member under review has discharged the duties associated with his or her position conscientiously and with basic professional competence.  Faculty to submit these materials within a reasonable period of time (one calendar month) will result in immediate dismissal.


4.  Outcomes from the evaluation procedure may include:  (a) postponement of sanctions, with another peer review to be conducted within one calendar year; (b) a determination that no sanctions are necessary, with appropriate professional development recommendations; or (c) a change in the faculty member’s assignment that is better aligned with his or her strengths.  Outcome (c) may be recommended in conjunction with outcome (a) or (b).  Dismissal can only be considered by the provost if a majority of those making a recommendation to the provost vote to recommend dismissal.  If dismissal is recommended and the provost endorses this recommendation, the faculty member undergoing review must be given at least six months notice before termination can take effect. 


5.  The faculty member may submit an appeal to the President based on one or more of the following claims: 

  1. violation of federal and state legislation or university policy in regards to discrimination;
  2. denial of academic freedom;
  3. denial of procedural due process
  4. inadequate or faulty consideration of evidence presented in light of the procedures outlined in the post tenure review policy.

In case of appeal, the President makes the final decision. 

Discussion:  2.13 Department Chairs

·        In SOM technically do not have departments, but do have administrative structure of “area chairs”.  They have at least some responsibilities department chairs have as well as some they do not have.    To expand to include “area chairs”?   Area chairs do not write separate letters to Promotion and Tenure Committees as department chairs do.

·        Reorganization of former School of Business Administration; it had five departments.  Department structure abolished, movement toward area coordinators a compromise.

·        Evolution in last 5-6 years –  then-group of area coordinators considered whether to go to department structure.  In examining this section of Faculty Handbook, noted the President becomes involved, that dept chairs have12 month appointments.  Some resistance to bureaucratic stuff, supervision of secretaries, etc.  Present “area chairs” not around all summer, but need to be available for part of summer.  With more than academic year responsibility, but not tied to 12 month contract. 

·        Many differences between business schools, have interesting combinations of disciplines; many moved away from purely discipline-based departments for all kinds of reasons. 

·        When we go back to the Faculty Handbook areas are not local academic units inside SOM, rather SOM  is the academic unit.  Evolution toward more decentralized model than existed in late 1990’s.

·        Annual reviews continue to be problematic, other than for equity/special salary adjustments at school level.  Faculty Development Evaluation Committee ends up redoing things because areas judge in different ways, but not a Handbook issue. 


Discussion: Duties and Responsibilities and Renewal Procedures


In summary, the duties and responsibilities of department chairs are to:

  1. represent the unit to the university community and serve as a channel of communication on program, personnel, and budget matters;
  2. consult regarding fair employment practices with the Office of Equity and Diversity Services; University Equity Office (see Appendix A);
  3. encourage and foster excellence in teaching, scholarship, professional and university service and provide leadership in the pursuit of the University's commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity;
  4. coordinate, in consultation with the unit's faculty, the unit's academic programs, and plan and administer the unit's budget;
  5. make faculty work assignments;
  6. evaluate faculty for purposes of reappointment, promotion, tenure; and make annual reviews for the purpose of recommending salary increases;
  7. supervise staff and part-time faculty and provide an environment that, within the limitations of available resources, is supportive of faculty professional activities and goals.

Discussion: Renewal Procedures

The dean of the appropriate school/college or the Provost writes to the incumbent chair before the last day of classes of the spring term of the academic year preceding the chair's final year of appointment. In this letter, the dean or the Provost states that the chair will be considered a candidate for reappointment unless the chair withdraws from consideration in writing before September 1.


If the incumbent chair wishes to be a candidate for reappointment, the dean constitutes by September 15th a committee to elicit and formulate the views of the faculty of the department. The committee is constituted according to the specifications governing the composition of the search committee described in


The committee consults with the department faculty and other persons it deems appropriate concerning the past performance of the chair and the desirability of the chair's renewal. The committee ascertains the will of the department faculty and makes recommendations in writing to the dean no later than October 15th. The report includes the division of departmental and committee balloting by numbers only.


The dean and the Provost will formulate their respective reports by procedures similar to those followed in the search process described in The dean's report will be submitted by November 1st. The Provost's report will be submitted by November 15th.


The President decides whether or not to reappoint the incumbent chair by December 1st. The President promptly communicates this decision and supporting reasons in writing to the Provost, the dean, the committee, the departmental faculty, and the chair.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate