MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2008

Mason Hall, room D1; 1:00 – 3:00 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.

 

Members of the Handbook Committee expressed their appreciation to Martin Ford for the draft revisions he proposed for Sections 1.3.4.2 Academic Institutes, 1.3.7 Centers, and the new 1.3.8 Research Institutes.  He will send the revisions to the Provost for comment.  For future reference, it was also decided to include hyperlinks to the Provost Office website when appropriate, rather than individual documents to minimize errors in event of future URL changes made by the Provost’s Office.

 

1.3.4.2  Academic Institutes – 2008 Revision

 

An academic institute (or “institute for short) is an organizational unit of the University that fosters for interdisciplinary activities that transcend the disciplines based housed in any single college or school.  In addition to research and/or service activities, These activities include institutes may offer interdisciplinary academic programs normally at the graduate level that do not duplicate those of other units. Organizationally ,Academic institutes are also analogous to schools or colleges without departments in that they have a nucleus of full-time faculty appointed directly and specifically to primary affiliation in them.

 

In addition, academic institutes may have (i) faculty who are assigned to work in them (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 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 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 programs and other activities. 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 academic 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 a description of non-academic “Research Institutes,” see Section 1.3.8.

 

1.3.7 Centers – 2008 Revision

A center is a unit of the University intended to advance the University's mission of research and/or public service. Normally housed within a department, college/school or academic institute, a center does not develop or administer academic degree programs, nor does it possess instructional faculty appointed to primary affiliation with it. From time to time, centers with large grants or contracts may require the presence of research and/or professional faculty whose affiliation with the center is coterminous with the life of the grant or contract. Faculty appointed to a center under externally funded grants or contracts may not receive tenure-track or tenured appointments through the center. A center is chartered for a specific period of time by the Provost and the President and the President on the recommendation of appropriate faculty and dean(s) or institute director(s). Renewal of a charter, when called for, is subject to favorable review of a center's performance and accomplishments. For information regarding Center rechartering, see www.gmu.edu/departments/provost/documents/recharter.doc .

 

A center is administered by a director who is appointed for a fixed term by the local unit administrator of the unit within which the center is housed. Whenever possible, centers are expected to derive most of their operating budgets from a source or sources other than state appropriations.

 

1.3.8 Research Institutes – New - 2008

When the size and scope of a center’s funding, personnel, and potential societal contributions grow to a level that is well beyond the parameters of a typical center, or when a new unit with this profile is initiated, that unit may be classified as a research Institute.

 

Research institutes have the same defining features as centers with the following exceptions:  (i) the overall volume and/or complexity of activity is substantially larger, as evidenced, for example, by the number of faculty affiliated with the unit, the range of projects undertaken, or the amount of funding invested in the unit; and (ii) the mission must include a broad social purpose focused directly on the betterment of the human condition.

 

The term “research institute” is reserved for special cases where there are clear and compelling reasons to provide a distinctive label for that unit. To insure that this guideline is respected, the process for chartering a research institute must include opportunities for center directors, academic unit heads, and the Faculty Senate to review and comment on chartering proposals before a classification decision is made.

 

2.2.1 Instructor – 2008 Revision

An instructor holds the Masters degree or equivalent academic and/or professional qualifications and gives expectation of excellence in promise of excellent teaching. Instructors do not receive tenure-track probationary appointments; therefore, time spent in this rank is not counted as part of the tenure-track probationary period for tenure.

 

2.2.2 Assistant Professor – 2008 revision in progress

An assistant professor normally holds the terminal degree in the discipline or field and gives promise of excellence in teaching promise of excellent and/or scholarship.

 

2.2.3 Associate Professor – 2008 revision in progress

An associate professor must have met the University's established criteria for advancement in rank as specified in  (PENDING RESOLUTION OF REFERENCE QUESTION)  for the measurement of excellence in teaching; have made significant contributions to scholarship in ways appropriate to the discipline or field; and have participated actively in the life of the University; or in the case of New appointees must have demonstrated equivalent qualifications which give reasonable assurance that the aforementioned criteria requirements will be prospectively met realized.

 

2.2.4 Professor – 2008 revision in progress

A professor must have met the university’s established criteria for advancement to the highest rank of the professoriate as specified in Sections (SEE 2.2.3 ABOVE)  continue to be an excellent teacher; have achieved a nationally recognized position within the field of specialization or the profession at large, as documented by the quality of publications or by other indices appropriate to the discipline; and continue to participate significantly in the life of the University; or in the case of New appointees must have demonstrated equivalent qualifications which give reasonable assurance that the aforementioned criteria requirements will be prospectively met realized.

 

DISCUSSION:  Sections 2.2.1 – 2.2.3

·        Should requirement for “service” or “university citizenship” be included in assistant professor and associate professor descriptions?  Citizenship in a broader context; implied participation in university life beyond required duties; not just collegiality.

·        Associate Professor text as written implies faculty member is tenured.  Some schools hire associate professors on three-year contracts, not given tenure, often with long experience in government or business.  Should they not work out as instructional faculty, may be changed to research faculty. Should you hire someone at Associate Professor rank, would not have been here to meet criteria established for promotion. 

·        There are also Research Associate Professors who do not teach; so need to refer to specific criteria for promotion for tenured/tenure-track and term faculty defined in other sections of Handbook.

 

DISCUSSION:  Section 2.2.4 Professor

·        A general discussion about the differences in eligibility for promotion to Full Professor rank between tenured and term faculty ensued; with particular reference to “national reputation” more difficult to prove for those who focus on excellence in teaching vs. excellence in research.  Lack of clarity in present language keeping a whole raft of associate professors from applying for full professor status, results in low morale. 

·        Differences in interpretation among colleges; to review Sections 2.4 and 2.5. 

·        Two areas to resolve:  Is there any pathway to full professor without national recognition?  No.  Since 1994 Handbook edition, genuine excellence in teaching pathway requires evidence outside the classroom, but not necessarily outside the university.   Need for more flexibility for tenure-line faculty to apply for full professorship.  Need for language comparable to “national recognition” for exceptional teaching.

·        Example of incredible service to the community in which a special case was also made in the past.  Some committee members do not feel service is a strong enough thing to obtain full professor status; more likely to apply to administrative faculty. 

·        Historical shift began when term faculty allowed to become full professors.

·        Over a long period of time, research virtually redundant with national recognition. 

·        Importance of excellence in teaching for student populations.

·        In some business schools, faculty self-declare their relative emphases in teaching, research, and service. 

·        In the humanities, it was once argued that research interwoven into teaching; does not work that way anymore.  Current manifestation of genuine excellence in teaching is NOT about infusing research into classroom, but taking what you do in the classroom outside the classroom in a serious way.

2.2.9 Administrators Holding Faculty Rank – 2008 Revision to Text in Administrative Faculty Handbook:

C. Faculty Rank

Each person appointed to an administrative/professional faculty position is assigned an academic rank. Initial appointment will normally be at the rank of Instructor. Individuals holding a terminal degree may be appointed at the rank of Assistant Professor. An academic unit and the Provost must confer academic rank beyond Assistant Professor. As exceptions, certain senior administrative positions will be assigned the rank of Associate Professor in keeping with the executive status of their position. Assignment of rank must be in accordance with The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Consolidated Salary Authorization for Faculty Positions in Institutions of Higher Education, 20012002.  (The assignment of rank to administrative/professional faculty does not confer, nor does time assigned to administrative/professional duties contribute to, tenure.)

 

Instructional or research faculty who are appointed to administrative faculty positions, if tenured, retain their tenured positions while so serving. or,

 

If on a tenure track appointment, they may continue in that status while so serving. In that the latter case, the tenure clock may be stopped during the term of the administrative appointment, but must be formally requested in accordance with the guidelines outlined in The Tenure Clock Exceptions to Standard Procedures, available on the Provost Office website. .http://www.gmu.edu/departments/provost/documents/TenClock.doc   .

 

If on a term appointment, the faculty member has no automatic right to return to their previous instructional or research position.   

·        Tenure clock exception policies do not specifically address situation of tenure-track faculty serving as administrative faculty. 

·        Implication that a tenure-track faculty member in an administrative position may not extend the tenure clock beyond two years. 

·        Terminal degree may be at the Master’s level – such as Masters of Fine Arts. 

·        Post-doctoral research faculty would have faculty rank. 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate