MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

Wednesday, April 4, 2007; Mason Hall, D5 – 8:30 – 10:00 a.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; Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; Marilyn Mobley, Associate Provost for Educational Programs and Associate Professor of English; David Rossell, Associate Provost for Personnel and Budget, ex-officio.

 

Absent:  Lorraine Brown, Professor of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science. 

 

Presentation at BOV Committee on Faculty and Academic Standards Meeting – March 21, 2007: 

·        As earlier discussed, presentation was very general, a broad overview. 

·        Visitor Volgenau asked the FHC to   “Please let them know with reasonable advance notice if any big changes (proposed).”

·        To meet with Rector and chairs of key committees. 

·        One question:  Rector Dewberry wanted to make sure provisions about term faculty included – reassured him that we have spent a lot of time on this topic.

 

Forum Schedule:  April 18th in Fairfax, Mason Hall, room D3A&B, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.; April 23 in Arlington, Original Building room 257; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.; and April 25th in Prince William, Bull Run Hall room 247; 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.  We will send out general announcement today and reminder announcements a week in advance and the day before; to include link to minutes posted on Senate website. 

 

Discussion – Content/Procedure for Forums:

·        Short presentation followed by handouts of some exemplary sections, then to open up floor to questions.

·        Suggestion made to send information about all three forums to the BOV; to invite them to attend if interested. 

 

Discussion:  2.3.3 (new) Procedures for Appointment and Reappointment of Term Faculty, paragraph three:  By agreement with the Board of Visitors and the Faculty Senate, a maximum of 35% of all Term Faculty may be on multi-year contracts and a maximum of 25% of all full-time Instructional Faculty may be Term Faculty.

·        No real compelling reason to change 35%.  Identified empirically where there are units greater than 35%; for university overall, 35% OK.  Some individuals ineligible for 35%:  faculty who do not hold doctorates, temporary positions.

·        Examination of growth in hiring over five year period (2001-2006) from data in GMU Factbook:  Growth in part-time faculty around 40%; growth in administrative faculty a little over 35%; growth in instructional/research faculty around 22%, breaking down further at least one-half of this growth in research faculty.  Concerned as university has grown at expense of quality control; to have more and more adjunct/term faculty.  Not  critical of them;  they make important contributions.  Not enough growth in full-time instructional faculty.  If weak growth in instructional faculty continues, to favor tenure and tenure-track (positions). 

·        David Rossell served on the University Budget Committee for many years.  There have been new positions allocated for tenure and tenure-track; varies among units; doesn’t think we’re trying to limit tenure and tenure-track.  There has been a lot of growth in research area as full time research faculty funding tied to grants.

·        To leave paragraph the same is not an argument for more multiyear term faculty.  Adjunct numbers very deceptive.  One adjunct teaching a course a small fraction of full-time faculty member, must look at FTE.  As full time instructional faculty get more involved in research, particularly sponsored research, more likely to be bought out; (greater) need for adjuncts.  Looking at FTE university norm is more like 20-25%; is not that high in some units, and may be higher in others. 

·        Are there more than 25% term faculty – all full time?  About 22% of total.   Multi-year term contracts attractive for various reasons.  Also may give serial adjunct faculty an opportunity to move up to benefit plans.    Weakening term faculty will not help (increase) tenure and tenure-track positions; rather would increase adjunct faculty.  No hard money – could not convert term faculty to tenure-line faculty.  Consensus emerging to retain present wording contingent upon criteria for promotion of term faculty.

·        After some discussion, determined not to specify limits on % between research and instructional term faculty with respect to multi-year contracts, as few research faculty have three year contracts. Also noted that all research faculty are term faculty.

 

Discussion:  2.3.3 (new) Procedures for Appointment and Reappointment of Term Faculty, paragraph four: Criteria for reappointment will emphasize strong performance in teaching or research, as designated in the initial contract letter.  The reappointment process outlined below is not applicable for Instructors without a terminal degree or postdoctoral appointments.

·        To reserve full professor rank for those who manifested truly genuine excellence in their area (research faculty or instructional faculty) – could be relevant for new hires as well. Example:  want to hire a prominent researcher or someone who has already retired from somewhere else and wanted appointment as full-professor; would have to demonstrate genuine excellence in their career. 

·        Associate rank to rely only on high competence in focus area – sense that sustained highly competent work over at least a 6 yr. period before eligible for promotion in rank.

·        Newly hired term faculty given associate rank do not manifest genuine excellence but have high competence in previous work.  To have genuine excellence for full term professor only, high competence for other term faculty ranks.  To have two sets of criteria?  How to apply to research faculty?

·        Simplify:  to leave rules as they were  excluding Full Professor change.

 

Discussion:  2.3.3 (new) Procedures for Appointment and Reappointment of Term Faculty, paragraph two:  Term Faculty appointments will be explicitly designated as such, and offer letters must clearly state the type and length of appointment, as well as the focus of the appointment, either teaching or research.  Some specific administrative or service functions may be attached to the teaching or research focus.  Multi-year appointments will be made at the rank appropriate to the credentials of the individual, often at the rank of Term Assistant Professor with an initial contract period of three years.  Multi-year Term Faculty will hold a terminal degree, as defined by standards in the discipline.  Exceptions to either contract length or terminal degree requirements must be approved by the Provost.

·        Concern expressed about multiyear contracts as a real reward and very attractive status; not to become automatic.  If 35% of 25% - includes only about 10% of total instructional faculty – a little less than 250. 

·        Multiyear contracts usually three-year contracts.  Needed for various reasons – to fill organizational needs in fields in which few have requisite dual degrees.  Must be highly competent.  Multi-year contracts used as a recruiting tool.  Yields greater commitment to GMU, those employed for one-year presumed to be looking at other places.  Deans need discretion.  A lot of jobs, such as research faculty, are temporary jobs; not intended to be permanent.  In areas where job market plentiful, could hold out before offering multi-year status.

 

Discussion:  Three Year vs. Five Year Contracts 

(c) In the Term Faculty member’s sixth year, s/he may be considered for promotion, normally to the rank of Term Associate Professor, and reappointment to a two or three or  five-year contract or for reappointment to a one, two, or three-year contract at his/her current rank.   Candidates for promotion must demonstrate at least high competence in the focus area (teaching or research) by the standards developed locally and approved by the Provost.  (See Attachment # 2 for the recommended casebook materials.)  The recommendation for promotion is due to the Provost by November 1st of the faculty member’s final year of the current, multi-year contract.

 

Term Faculty not recommended for promotion in their sixth year may be recommended for another three-year term at their current rank.  They then may be recommended for promotion in their ninth year, but may not remain on multi-year appointments if not promoted at that time.

 

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 (e) Term Faculty who are promoted will be announced to the Board of Visitors and may will be appointed to either a two or three or five-year contract at their new rank.  The length of reappointment contracts for research faculty may be less than five years, depending on the funding available, without impact on rank.

·        No significant increment between three and five years, use of five-year contracts discouraged.  To retain great teachers does not require five-year contracts.  Consensus three-year multi-year contracts should be the maximum.

·        When guidelines came out, a study was done:  term faculty here for two consecutive three year terms prior to promotion; after promotion, could get a five year contract.

·        There may be some other five-year contracts; deans who were brought in as administrative faculty may have five-year contracts.  Perhaps to reserve only for faculty promoted to full (term) professor rank.  To include languages such as exceptions may be granted.  There are some term faculty on two-year contracts.  Present language has one-year, three-year, and five-year contracts.  To add “two” years where needed in text, removing “five” years.

·        To eliminate second sentence as research faculty are also term faculty.

·        To delete paragraph two in ( c )  as reduces flexibility, probably not happening anymore.  For associate professor, criteria for contract renewal are the same as for promotion if you’re highly competent.  Do not wish to remove highly competent associate professor not promoted to full professor. 

·        2003 Revision on Provost Office website does not reflect all of discussion here; to say as intermediate step to include URL to website.  To use present 2.3.3 Handbook text, not addendum policy on templates.

2.2.5 University Professors

From time to time the University will encounter opportunities to appoint to its faculty men and women of unusually great stature and eminence from the world of national and international achievement. The rank of university professor is reserved for such eminent individuals.

 

Since the value of these individuals to the University's academic community transcends the boundaries of departments, colleges, schools, and institutes, university professors are appointed as at-large members of the General Faculty. At the discretion of local or collegiate unit faculties, however, university professors may be invited to accept primary affiliation in one or more departments, colleges, schools, and/or institutes. University professors invariably hold tenured appointments. They are appointed by the President and the Board of Visitors with the advice and consent of an ad hoc faculty committee of the President's own choosing.

·        A number of applications for University Professor (status) approved at March 21st  BOV meeting.  Nominations were solicited from colleges, schools, and institutes; strong internal recommendations from deans/directors/department chairs to be submitted annually to ad hoc three-person committee.  Then submitted in turn to the Provost, President, and BOV for approval.

·        University Professor Policy was approved without Faculty Senate input.  Concern expressed about best practices, changing of past practices vs. desire of ad hoc committee to move forward prior to approval of revised Handbook; topic went before deans and directors several times.  When was the policy approved?  Noted that the Faculty Handbook is an agreement between the Faculty Senate and the BOV, not the administration.  Not against change but how it should have been done.  The ad hoc committee report will be distributed to the committee. 

·        Designed as an honorific appointment.    Envisioned 5% of Mason total faculty (not more than about 60) reserved for full professors:  1203 full time instructional faculty; of which 302 are full professor, 290 tenured and 12 term. Nothing in Faculty Handbook says there’s a limit. 

·        Lack of past practice noted – some University Professors brought in as part of hiring practice.

·        Unknown whether ad hoc committee collected external letters. 

·        Do University Professors remain ad hoc members of the general faculty? 

 

Our next meeting will take place Wednesday, April 11th from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. in Mason Hall, room D1.    To continue with Sections 2.4, 2.5; to do an overview description for forum and identify revision templates to use.  

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate