MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

THURSDAY, APRIL 10, 2008

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; Provost Peter Stearns.

 

Correction to draft minutes April 3, 2008, discussion of institutes to read  “Only an academic institute would have faculty assigned to it as their local academic unit.” 

 

2.13.4  Removal by the Provost – combination of former sections 2.13.4 Removal by the President and 2.13.5 Recall by the Faculty.

 

The faculty of a department, under extraordinary circumstances, may petition the dean or director President to remove a chair who no longer enjoys the trust and confidence of the faculty. A petition of this type will be conveyed to the dean or director President only if supported by at least three-fourths of the tenure-track probationary and tenured faculty of the department. Upon receipt of such a petition, the dean or director President, after having inquired into the circumstances which have resulted in the petition, will make a recommendation to the Provost whether or not the decide if removal of the chair is in the best interests of the department and/or the University. The Provost will make the final determination.

 

The Provost President, under extraordinary circumstances, and in consultation with the dean or director and the faculty, may remove replace a chair who is failing to perform at an acceptable level. The President will necessarily utilize the judgment of the faculty, but may also seek outside evaluations by scholars of acknowledged competence in the discipline(s) or field(s) represented by the department. Advice from outside experts in college administration may also be sought. The Provost President will give the chair twenty-eight days notice of his/her intent to remove.

 

·        Removed “Recall by the Faculty” from title.

 

Discussion:  2.10.1 Resignation and Retirement

·        General discussion about draft retirement policy document in circulation at Deans/Directors meetings:

“Faculty Retirement Incentive Plan” or FRIP.  Contains matrix tied to number of years at Mason; transitional aspects, i.e. may teach one course (approaching retirement). Alternative Severance Option as a way for people to retire only if they are in VSRS. Reference to old VA retirement system applicable to some; a defined benefit plan.  Nothing like that in FRIP draft.  Motivation to publish FRIP (once approved) to avoid ad hoc deals made in the past.

·        Two years ago, Rick Coffinberger, Dave Kuebrich (then chair of the Faculty Senate) and Jim Sanford spent months in meetings with David Rossell and Maurice Scherrens on retirement plans and policies, to be later told their work would not be considered.

·        Secrecy provisions enforced as individual faculty retire under present system.  Why?  Some received one semester leave, some received one academic year leave.  Concern that some faculty who retired did not know to ask about leave, even though they may have met the standards.  Some units do not prohibit faculty from discussing details of their retirement plans.  University Counsel may advise not good practice to discuss individual terms of retirement.  Strong consensus that transparency very important.

·        Seems likely that BOV approval of FRIP plan required as a contractual document.  To check whether included in agenda for final BOV meeting AY 2007-08 on May 9th. 

·        Phased retirement needs to be addressed; some think will never become contractual.  State of Virginia could also say “no”.  Early retirement packages/incentives will change over time as the economy changes. 

·        To check with the Provost on status of FRIP policy, whether timely to include in Faculty Handbook now.  If not, to define and provide link(s) to Provost website (or Human Resources) for more information.  To make references bigger than FRIP, to cite other resources on the web. 

 

Discussion:  1.3.4.2 Institutes/New Section 1.3.8 Research Institutes

·        Add “Academic” to title.

·        Provost would like to allow other non-academic institutes; he also likes “Research Institutes”.  Could word it in such a way even for service activity, but should have research aspects.

·        Other distinctions between “Research Institute” and “Center” include size and scope of activity.  We could require Research Institutes have as part of mission to have a bigger meaning in sense of broad social purpose, such as the Kellar Institute, as well as proposed cancer institute.  

·        Research Institutes to be special, unique, difficult to qualify for, or else will be (the same as) a center.  . 

·        To model approval process on present policy “Guidelines for Chartering and Reviewing Charters of Research Centers” posted on Provost website.  In present document, approval letter comes from Vice President for Research and Economic Development, not the Provost.  Procedure efficient, works well, sunsets, to add one additional component: to require consultation with and opportunity for faculty assessment, to state opinion (vote?)  before approved by administration. 

·        Assuming Research Institutes, like centers, would be recommended by an academic unit, there would be a reporting relationship either with academic unit or cross-unit creation; that Research Institute originated out of desires of faculty in academic unit(s). 

 

1.3.4.2  Academic Institutes – 2008 Revision

 

An institute is an organizational unit of the University for interdisciplinary activities that transcend the disciplines based housed in any single college or school.  These activities include research and/or service.  Institutes may offer interdisciplinary academic programs s, normally at the graduate level, that do not duplicate those of other units.  Institutes with attached academic programs Organizationally, are analogous to schools or colleges.  Such institutes have An institute has a nucleus of full-time faculty appointed directly and specifically to primary affiliation in it without departments.

 

In addition, institutes it may have (i) faculty who are assigned to work in it (full- or part-time) but who are affiliated primarily with other local academic units; and (ii) part-time faculty whose work in for the University is solely in the institute.  Of sufficient size to ensure a sense of community and responsible faculty governance, the faculty of an institute with academic programs establishes degree requirements; authorizes the conferral of degrees; proposes, reviews, and approves courses and programs; and plays a primary role in faculty personnel actions.

 

Administratively, the director of an institute is regarded as the equivalent of a dean, and is therefore expected to possess appropriate academic credentials or their equivalent.  Institute directors report directly to the Provost.

 

An institute with attached academic programs has an instructional budget that includes FTE-funds for the payments of its faculty’s salaries as well as funds for goods and services in support of its academic and/or research programs.  Normally, however, an institute derives a substantial portion of its non-instructional funds from a source or sources other than the Virginia General Assembly.

 

The faculties of institutes define their own voting membership.  Together with their directors, they determine the processes and procedures of governance they will employ, but all institutes must act within the guideline listed in Section 1.3.3. For non-academic, Research Institutes see Section 1.3.8.

 

1.3.8 Institutional Evolution to be replaced by new section 1.3.8 Research Institutes

·        To work on draft text

·        Suggested sentence to include:  “The process for creating or chartering a Research Institute is similar to that for creating or chartering a center (1.3.7) except that the following additional steps are required.”

1.3.8 Research Institutes Institutional Evolution – 1994 Handbook Text

Advances in knowledge and changes in the social environment in which this public University operates may make possible and desirable certain organizational arrangements not foreseen in this Handbook, just as institutes were not foreseen or mentioned in the 1985 Faculty Handbook. Proposals for such changes should be deliberated in a positive and open manner, consistent with existing principles of university discourse. embodied in Sections 1.3.1 through 1.3.7 above.

 

Moved to 1.3.2 The Faculty Senate

 

1.3.2 The Faculty Senate

Under powers delegated to it by the General Faculty, the Faculty Senate is the principal faculty advisory body to the President. It has particular responsibility for the formulation of university-wide academic policies and is the principal voice of the faculty in matters affecting the faculty generally. It advises the President and other members of the central administration concerning matters that affect the welfare of the University as a whole.

 

The principal function of the Faculty Senate is to represent the faculty on all governance issues not internal to any single school or college. This includes, but is not limited to, curricular matters, matters concerning terms and conditions of faculty employment, and matters of academic organization. In these matters, the Provost and Senate will consult during the process of planning and implementing changes. To ensure timely consultation about these and other matters, the Provost meets regularly monthly with the Senate's executive committee. Meetings with the President and/or other members of the central administration occur as needed.

 

The Senate meets at least monthly during the fall and spring semesters. Meetings of the Senate are open to all members of the university community, who may speak to any item of business on the agenda. Only members of the Senate, however, may introduce motions and vote.

 

Three members of the Senate are appointed by its chair to serve as liaison representatives to the Board of Visitors. They regularly attend meetings of the Board and its committees and report to the Senate about them.

 

Where to insert: Proposals for such changes should be deliberated in a positive and open manner, consistent with existing principles of university discourse.?

 

·        Need for consultative process with Faculty Senate – before outcome has occurred. Recalled recent example of fait accompli Krasnow Institute approval presented at March 2007 Faculty Senate meeting.

·        Graduate Council needs to approve new degree programs.  SCHEV process in place.

·        To add principle of open hearings into this section as well as new 1.3.8 Research Institutes?

 

1.1  The Rector and Board of Visitors

 

Responsibility for the governance of George Mason University is vested by the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the Rector and Board of Visitors. Members of the Board of Visitors are appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth to serve fixed terms of four years. The Rector is a member of the Board, elected by the Board to serve as its chair.

 

Without limiting the generality of its powers, the Board of Visitors exercises its authority principally in policy-making and oversight.  With the exception of meetings convened in executive session, meetings of the Board of Visitors and its committees are open to the public.  The Faculty shall elect a non-voting representative to the following committees of the Board: the Equity and Diversity Committee, Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, Finance and Resource Development Committee, Land Use and Physical Facilities Committee, and University Life Committee.  To accomplish this representation, the Faculty Senate shall administer bi-annually five faculty liaison elections, one for the Equity and Diversity Committee, Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, Finance and Resource Development Committee, Land Use and Physical Facilities Committee, and University Life Committee.  The candidates will be from the faculty at-large and elected by the faculty at-large.  The Faculty Senate will notify the President of the outcome and the President will forward the nominations to the Rector for appointment.  A separate faculty member may be selected to serve as a nonvoting, faculty liaison to the Audit Committee.  The Chair of the Audit Committee will solicit nominees and make the appointment.  No faculty member may serve on more than one committee.  Faculty may serve more than one term.  The Board recognizes as official observers three senators appointed by the chair of the Faculty Senate to be its liaison representatives. These senators receive notices of Board meetings, agendas, and other documents concerning business to be considered by the Board, and report regularly to the Senate about Board meetings.

 

·        To include Chair of the Faculty Senate now serves as faculty representative to the BOV as of March 2008.

·        Draft text explaining election procedure for faculty representatives to BOV committees taken from BOV by-laws and differs from procedures in place for first two elections of BOV faculty representatives.

 

2.8.2 Procedures for Reappointment

 

Decisions for reappointment of tenure-track probationary faculty, while less critical than decisions for promotion and tenure, should be very carefully considered. The decision to recommend reappointment is reached as follows:

  1. Faculty members who hold appointments in academic departments are evaluated by the departmental faculty. The evaluation must include a vote by the tenured members of the department. The chair forwards the recommendation of the department, including a report of the division of the vote by the tenured faculty, to the appropriate dean along with an endorsement or separate recommendation, and sends copies to the candidate and to the members of the department who made the recommendation. After conferring with the chair, the dean notifies the candidate of his/her recommendation to the Provost.

Faculty members who hold appointments in academic units without departments are evaluated by a faculty evaluation committee of the unit to which they are appointed. The evaluation must include a vote by the tenured members of the unit. The chair of the faculty evaluation committee sends the recommendation, including a report of the division of the vote by the tenured faculty, to the dean or institute director, and sends copies to the candidate and to the members of the unit's faculty who made the recommendation. The dean or institute director notifies the candidate of the faculty committee's recommendation and of his/her recommendation to the Provost.

  1. After reviewing the case, the Provost makes a recommendation to the President. If the President decides to recommend non-reappointment, the President will notify the faculty member by letter and will ascertain that the faculty member receives the communication promptly. If the President decides in favor of reappointment, those cases requiring Board action are submitted to the Board of Visitors.

2.8.3 Procedures for Non-Reappointment – 2008 Revision

 

Individuals on tenure-track probationary appointments who are not to be reappointed will be notified in writing by the President according to the following standards:

  1. A tenure-track probationary faculty member in the third year of service will be notified in writing on or before July 1 by the President of a decision not to recommend for reappointment. A faculty member not granted reappointment in the third year of tenure-track probationary service will be entitled to a contract for one additional academic year.
  2. A tenure-track probationary faculty member in the sixth year of service will be notified in writing on or before July 1 by the President of a decision not to recommend for tenure. A faculty member not granted denied tenure in the sixth year of tenure-track probationary service or who declines to be considered for tenure in the sixth year, will be entitled to a contract for one additional academic year.
  1. On or before March 1 of the first academic year of full-time service, if the appointment expires at the end of the year; or, if a one-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least three months in advance of its termination.
  2. On or before December 15 of the second academic year of full-time service, if the appointment expires at the end of that year; or, if an initial two-year appointment terminates during an academic year, at least six months in advance of its termination. At least twelve months before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years of full-time service in the institution.

If a faculty member is not fails to be reappointed, the appeal procedure outlined in Section 2.9 may be used.

 

If the University is responsible for a failure to meet the deadlines indicated in parts (A) and (B) (1), (2), (3), and (4) of this section, the faculty member will be issued a contract for one more year semester. The faculty must address a written request to the Provost for this additional contract within fifteen days of receipt of the notice of non-reappointment or non-reelection. Except under these circumstances, a probationary faculty member may not serve more than seven consecutive years on a probationary contract.

 

·        NEW PARAGRAPH A modeled on old paragraph C to address tenure-track faculty not reappointed in third year.

·        NEW PARAGRAPH B modeled on old paragraph C which addressed tenure-track faculty not granted tenure in sixth year whether they decided to seek or not to seek tenure.

·        Removal of old practice of second year review for tenure-track faculty, if not recommended for renewal, could not go beyond a third year. 

 

Tenure-Clock Extension Policies passed by the Faculty Senate to be included as new sections:

 

2.8.1.2 Tenure Clock Extension for New Parents

approved by the Faculty Senate May 2, 2007

 

A tenure track faculty member who becomes the parent of a child by birth or by adoption will be entitled to a one-year automatic extension of the term in which she or he is currently employed.  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 within one year of the child’s arrival in the family and prior to September 1 of the academic year in which the tenure decision would have been made.

 

A faculty member is limited to one automatic extension of term during the time she or he is serving in tenure track status.  A faculty member who declines to request an extension remains eligible for later extensions up to the two-year maximum.  Multiple births or multiple adoptions at the same time result in the same one-year extension right as single births or adoptions.  At the time of tenure consideration, a faculty member who has received an extension or extensions will be considered using the same tenure criteria as those applied to other faculty in the college, school, or institute.   Extensions due to parenthood are independent of study leaves.

 

2.8.4.2 Tenure Clock Extension for Serious Illness

approved by the Faculty Senate March 5, 2008

 

Extension of the probationary period for tenure track faculty member will be approved for circumstances that have a significant impact on the faculty member’s productivity, such as serious personal illness or a major illness of a member of the faculty member’s immediate family, under the following conditions and definitions. Serious personal illness or illness within the immediate family will be defined according to the Department of Labor’s criteria for family and medical leave, already used by the university.  Certification of illness by a physician is required and will handled by Human Resources. Once certification of the illness has been approved by Human Resources, the faculty member can delay the tenure clock (extension of the probationary period) by 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 request must be made within three months of certification of sick or family leave by Human Resources. Probationary period extensions will be granted in one-year increments, with the maximum probationary period extension being a cumulative total of two years.  An extension beyond one year will require discussion with the appropriate department chair and Dean. At the time of tenure consideration, a faculty member will be considered using the same criteria as those applied to other faculty in the college school or institute.

 

2.8.4.3 Tenure Clock Extension for Military Service

as approved by the Faculty Senate January 23, 2008

 

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 through 15 months will earn a one-year extension, 16 through 27 months will earn a two-year extension. Any extension beyond two years would require further discussion with the appropriate department chair and Dean.  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.

 

·        May be further affected by federal legislation passed late 2007-early 2008.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate