MINUTES OF THE FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

Thursday May 22, 2008

Mason Hall, room D5; 1:00 – 4:30 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; 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:  Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, School of Management. Chair.

 

Preface to the 2009 Edition

The 2009 1994 edition of the GMU Faculty Handbook becomes effective on July 1, 2009 1994. It defines and describes the conditions of faculty employment; the structures and processes through which the faculty participates in institutional decision-making and governance; and the academic policies of the University as established by its Board of Visitors.

 

The Faculty Handbook is a contractual document, binding on the University and on individual faculty members. Insofar as applicable, its provisions are incorporated by reference in all faculty employment contracts. Faculty and academic administrators are expected to read the Faculty Handbook and to be familiar with its contents provisions.

 

Revisions Amendments to the Handbook may be proposed by any parties who have participated in its adoption: the Board of Visitors; the Faculty Senate, acting on behalf of the General Faculty; and the central administration. If a proposal to amend the Handbook originates with the Board or the central administration, the Board of Visitors, through the President, will notify the Faculty Senate of the proposed amendment and will ask the advice of the Senate at least twenty-one days before the Board acts on any such amendment. Senate representatives and other appropriate faculty will be given an opportunity to appear before the Board or the appropriate committee of the Board to explain the faculty position.

Proposals to amend the Handbook originating from any of these entities will be considered by a joint committee of the faculty and the central administration consisting of three faculty appointed by the Faculty Senate, at least one of whom must be a Faculty Senator, and two administrators appointed by the Provost. However, it is not necessary to convene a committee for the following cases:

·        Revisions proposed and approved by the Faculty Senate, and approved by the Provost;

·         Revisions proposed by the central administration, and submitted to and approved by the Faculty Senate.

All revisions amendments, however require the formal approval of the Board of Visitors. Each such amendment shall be incorporated, as of the effective date fixed by the Board, in all existing and future faculty employment contracts, whether with or without term, except that no such amendment shall operate retroactively to change materially the substantive rights of any faculty member. For example, the conditions of employment governed by the Handbook may be changed prospectively and criteria for tenure may be changed for faculty who have not been awarded tenure but may not be changed for faculty already tenured. Where no effective date is fixed for an amendment, it shall become effective at the end of the academic year in which it is enacted.

As of the date of the adoption of this edition of the Handbook, all prior policies of the Board of Visitors with respect to matters covered therein are repealed. The provisions of this Handbook supersede all inconsistent bylaws, policies and procedures (including, if applicable, custom and usage) of any officer, person, body, or unit of the University, including but not limited to the President or other officer of the University and any college, school, institute, department or other faculty organization.

 

The Handbook Committee acknowledges that some sections of the 2009 1994 edition (notably those that deal with faculty personnel matters) use language taken from policy statements of the American Association of University Professors. The use of AAUP language does not, however, represent any University endorsement of AAUP policies other than those explicitly contained in this Handbook.

 

The Faculty Senate and the Provost's Office assume joint responsibility for updating and maintaining the contents of the Faculty Handbook in both the print and web versions.

 

University policies are located on the university’s Web site at http://www.gmu.edu/facstaff/policy/newpolicy/ . The Provost’s Office web address is http://www.gmu.edu/departments/provost/ . Other important information is located on the Web sites of the Human Resources Office (http://hr.gmu.edu/ ) and the Office of Equity and Diversity Services (http://www.gmu.edu/equity/ ).  Please refer to these for issues not addressed in the Faculty Handbook.

 

 

Members of the Handbook Committee, 2009  1994 Edition
Richard L. Coffinberger, Chair                     Henry J. Hamburger, Chair
Kevin A. Avruch                                                 
Jeffrey A. Brandwine                                      
Lorraine A. Brown                                   
Esther N. Elstun
Martin E. Ford                                                   
James J. Fletcher
David J. Harr                                                      
Clara M. Lovett
Marilyn Sanders Mobley                                 
David L. Potter
David W. Rossell                                                
James G. Smith

Suzanne W. Slayden                                 Mark A. Spikell

 

·        “revision” denotes changes to existing text; “amendment” denotes in addition to present text.

·        Reviewed other Faculty Handbooks for examples of review process and references to general policies.

·        Faculty relationship with the BOV is now much closer: Faculty Senate chair serves as a non-voting BOV member as well as faculty representatives elected to BOV Standing Committees; expectation of more direct communication between BOV and faculty; to better track progression of policies approved by the Faculty Senate as may impact the Handbook without reliance upon central administration to present them to BOV.

·        Joint review committee to convene as needed, not necessary in cases in which revisions proposed by the Faculty Senate and approved by the Provost; or in cases in which revisions proposed by the central administration approved by the Faculty Senate; (in both cases subsequently submitted to BOV for its consideration).  Joint review committee smaller than present Handbook committee

·         Although policies not approved by units, retained statement “The provisions of this Handbook supersede all inconsistent bylaws, policies and procedures (including, if applicable, custom and usage) of any officer, person, body, or unit of the University, including but not limited to the President or other officer of the University and any college, school, institute, department or other faculty organization” for legal reasons; important emphasis on “inconsistent by laws etc”.

·         Penultimate paragraph defines joint responsibility between the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Senate for maintenance and updating of Faculty Handbook in both print and website versions.

·         Last paragraph reminds faculty of responsibility to review university policies and procedures.  Consensus that no longer necessary to have new (as yet unwritten) Section 1.4. Amendments and Review of the Faculty Handbook.

 

1.1.  The Rector and Board of Visitors 2009 Revision

 

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 voting membership of the General Faculty (see Section 1.3.1) 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, the Faculty Senate shall conduct bi-annual elections.  The candidates will come from the voting membership of the General Faculty.  The Faculty Senate will notify the Rector of the outcome of the election.  A separate faculty member may be selected to serve as a nonvoting, faculty liaison to the Audit Committee.  The chair of the Faculty Senate sits as a non-voting member of the full Board.  No faculty member may serve concurrently on more than one committee.   No faculty member can serve more than two consecutive 2-year terms, although subsequent reelection is permitted.  

 

·        Faculty Senate will notify the rector of the outcome of BOV Faculty Representative election.

·        Incorporation of text from call for nominations (April 2007):  No faculty member can serve more than two consecutive 2-year terms, although subsequent reelection is permitted.  

·        No faculty member may serve concurrently on more than one committee.

 

Reordering of Sections under Section 1.3 Faculty Organization:

1.3  Faculty Organization

1.3.1        The General Faculty

1.3.2        The Faculty Senate

1.3.3        Colleges and Schools

1.3.4        Academic Institutes  1.3.4.2            Institutes

1.3.5        Academic Departments  1.3.4.3 Academic Departments

1.3.6            Definition of Local Academic Units  1.3.4    Definition of Local Academic Units

1.3.7            Schools, Colleges, and Institutes without Departments  1.3.4.1  Schools and Colleges without Departments

1.3.8.   The Graduate Council  1.3.5.1 The Graduate Council

1.3.9             Multidisciplinary or Interdisciplinary Programs  1.3.6 Program Faculties

1.3.10  Centers  1.3.7    Centers

1.3.11    Research Institutes

 

(Note 1994 Sections 1.3.5            Graduate Faculties, 1.3.8            Institutional Evolution, and 1.3.9 Reserved Terms previously deleted.)  Cross-references to old section numbers replaced; addition of “Institutes” in title of 1.3.7.

2.4 Criteria for Evaluation of Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty

Recommendations on matters of faculty status (e.g., initial appointment, renewal, promotion, the conferral of tenure, and dismissal) are in large measure a faculty responsibility. The faculty's role in these personnel actions is based upon the essentiality of its judgment to sound educational policy, and upon the fact that scholars in a particular field have the chief competence for judging the work of their colleagues.. An additional reason for the faculty's role in these matters is the general competence of experienced faculty personnel committees with a broader charge that encompasses the evaluation of teaching and service. Implicit in such competence is the acknowledgement that responsibility exists for both adverse and favorable judgments

 

Recommendations in these matters originate through faculty action in accordance with established procedures; are reviewed by senior academic administrators; and presented to the Board for final approval. The administration and the Board should overturn faculty personnel recommendations rarely, and only when it is clear that peer faculty have not applied exercised high standards, or when the University's long- term programmatic needs are an overriding consideration. Such judgments would presumably be reached only in rare instances. Only in extraordinary circumstances and for clear and compelling reasons should administrators substitute their own judgment of the value of scholarly accomplishments for judgments made by professionals in the discipline.  In such cases both the candidate and the faculty bodies participating in the decision-making process are entitled to know the reasons administrators give to the President in recommending that faculty judgment be overturned.

 

Candidates for reappointment, promotion and tenure will be evaluated in light of the missions of the University which are teaching, scholarship, both theoretical and applied, and service (as defined in 2.4.4). Although candidates are not expected to have equal levels of commitment or equal responsibilities in each of these areas, high competence is expected. Genuine excellence must be exhibited in the areas of teaching or scholarship and high competence must be exhibited in both. The primary consideration in the evaluation of the candidates' achievements will be the extent to which these continue to improve the academic quality of the University. Peer review plays a central role in the evaluation of individual achievement in each of these areas.

 

Levels of expectation will vary with the type of decision. While tenure-track probationary appointments will, to some extent, recognize perceived potential rather than achievement, appointment without term or promotion in rank will be based on achievement rather than potential. Appointment without term should leave no doubt very few doubts, if any, about the candidate's value to the University over an extended period.

 

As defined stated above, candidates need to exhibit levels of competence and excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service as defined above. If a candidate's strength is sharply concentrated in only one area, then the candidate's achievements in that area should.   In addition, candidates for tenure and promotion to the rank of associate professor must provide evidence that their contributions in their area(s) of genuine excellence have had some significant impact beyond the boundaries of this University. If the primary strength is teaching, there should be evidence that the candidate's contributions have influence beyond the immediate classroom; if in theoretical or applied scholarship, there should be evidence that the candidate's contributions have significant influence on colleagues at other institutions in this country, and where applicable, abroad.

 

Candidates seeking promotion to the rank of full professor must maintain high competence in teaching, theoretical or applied scholarship, and service while also maintaining genuine excellence in teaching and/or research.  In addition, evidence of significant impact beyond the boundaries of the University must be much more substantial than in cases involving tenure or promotion to the rank of associate professor.  Clear and convincing evidence must be provided of an established external reputation in the primary field, based on consequential achievements in teaching, scholarship, or professional activities directly related to teaching and scholarship. 

 

In addition to evidence related to specific academic qualifications and external impact professional competence,, evaluation for promotion or tenure should consider the candidate's concern for professional ethics and responsibilities.  For purposes of promotion and tenure, the total period of service to the University will be evaluated.  

 

·        Criteria for tenure and promotion fairly well understood, but criteria for national recognition not distinguished between associate and full professor ranks. 

·        Suggestion made to integrate Section 2.5 Procedures for Evaluation of Faculty into another section; some committee members feel this needs to remain a separate section but not averse to revision of text, especially for regular evaluation; particularly post-tenure review as an added protection for faculty to have paper trail of regular evaluations.

·        Should Sections 2.4.and 2.5 be merged into one section?  Need for clarity.  Sections:  Procedures for Promotion and Tenure, Post Tenure Review, and Annual Review of Faculty already exist. 

·        To capture life cycle as defined by section headings in Chapter Two: 2.1. Definition of the Faculty:  Types of Appointments; 2.2 Faculty Ranks, 2.3. Recruitment and Appointment of Faculty; 2.4 Criteria for Evaluation of Faculty; 2.5 Procedures for Evaluation of Faculty; 2.6 Annual Evaluations of Faculty and Administrators; (Section 2.7 incorporated elsewhere); 2.8 Procedures for Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure; 2.9 Appeal Procedure for Negative Decisions in Reappointment, Promotion, and Tenure Cases; and 2.10 Policies and Procedures Relating to Severance.

·        2.6.1 Annual Review of Faculty establishes that you have to do annual faculty evaluations.  Example of case where written evaluation by chair not sufficient. Thoughtful and lofty way to make sure evaluations are done.  In context of evaluations relative to salary adjustments, if there is no raise, what’s the point of having an evaluation?  Crucial to retain this section.

·        Would genuine excellence also apply beyond boundaries of university, whether in teaching or research?  Not in (secondary) area. 

·        Candidates seeking promotion to the rank of full professor must maintain high competence in teaching, theoretical or applied scholarship, and service while also maintaining genuine excellence in teaching and/or research.  In addition, evidence of significant impact beyond the boundaries of the University must be much more substantial than in cases involving tenure or promotion to the rank of associate professor.  Clear and convincing evidence must be provided of an established external reputation in the primary field, based on consequential achievements in teaching, scholarship, or professional activities directly related to teaching and scholarship. (red = question)

·        Need to establish external reputation in primary area; only relevant in primary area for purposes of promotion; often corollary between activities exists. 

·        Need to do a lot of research to earn reputation

·         “External impact” replaces “professional competence”. 

·        Remove last sentence, may be prejudicial toward hiring faculty with tenure (elsewhere). 

·        Remove “board” as not applicable. 

 

2.3.3 Procedures for Appointment and Reappointment of Term Faculty –2009 Revision text based on ADDENDUM TO FACULTY HANDBOOK 7/1/03:  PROCEDURES FOR APPOINTMENT AND REAPPOINTMENT OF TERM FACULTY on Provost Office website at: http://www.gmu.edu/departments/provost/documents/termfacguide.doc

 

Full-time instructional, research, or clinical faculty on fixed-term, non tenure track appointments are known as Term Faculty.  At the discretion of the respective Dean or Director, and after appropriate faculty review, such faculty may be offered single-year or multi-year contracts that expire automatically at the end of the contract period.  There is no guarantee or right to reappointment from one contract to the next, whether multi-year or single-year.  If a multi-year appointment is offered to a faculty member whose position relies entirely or partially on non-state appropriated funding, then a multi-year contract may be established with the caveat that this funding must be available throughout the contract period.

 

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, research, or clinical.  Some specific administrative or service functions may be attached to the teaching, research, or clinical 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.

 

. A faculty member holding this type of appointment can subsequently be considered for a tenure-track appointment or a tenured appointment; however, prior service on a fixed-term externally funded appointment is not applied to consideration for tenure unless this is specified in the letter of appointment to tenure-track status.

 

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.

 

Criteria for reappointment will emphasize strong performance in areas 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.

Single-year Contracts

Term Faculty on single-year contracts will be evaluated annually for reappointment and notified in writing by March 1st in the first year of their initial contracts and by December 15th in reappointment contract years.  In the fifth year of five consecutive, single-year contracts, a Term Faculty member must be evaluated using the procedure outlined below for Term Faculty on multi-year contracts in the final year of their initial, three-year contracts, and must be notified in writing of the decision to reappoint or not to reappoint

 

Multi-year Contracts

Term Faculty on multi-year contracts will be evaluated for reappointment during the final year of their initial appointments. 

               

  1. Based on that evaluation and programmatic needs, and after appropriate faculty review, the respective Dean or Director will recommend reappointment or non-reappointment.  This recommendation is due to the Provost by November 1st of the faculty member’s final year of the current, multi-year contract.  The Provost will make the final determination and advise the Term Faculty member, in writing, by the end of that fall semester (no later than December 15th). 
  2. If the decision is made for reappointment, the faculty member may either receive a one, two or second, three-year appointment or a single-year appointment.
  3. In the Term Faculty member’s sixth year or thereafter, 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 to Associate Professor must demonstrate at least high competence in the focus area (teaching, research, or clinical) by the standards developed locally and approved by the Provost.  Candidates for promotion to Full Professor must demonstrate genuine excellence in the focus area (teaching, research, or clinical) by the standards developed locally and approved by the Provost.  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

  1. By the end of fall semester of the final year of the current multi-year contract (no later than December 15th), the Provost will notify the Term Faculty member, in writing, of a decision to recommend promotion or reappointment at the current rank.
  2. 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.
  3. Professor will be evaluated for reappointment to additional two or three or five-year contracts in the final year of each contract, following the same time frame and procedures outlined above.  They may also be considered for promotion to Term Full Professors.
  4. Both the University and the Term Faculty member retain the option to request a change from a multi-year contract to a single-year contract.   This action must be endorsed by the respective Dean/Director and approved by the Provost.
  5. At the initial implementation of this process, faculty members currently on one-year contracts, but being offered multi-year contracts, may request that prior years of service be counted in consideration for reappointment/promotion,2and units must respond with explicit recommendations to the Provost regarding the stage of appointment.  The Provost will make the final determination.

 

·        Insertion of paragraph from deleted Section 2.1.3.1 Externally Funded Fixed Term Appointment

·        “Clinical” faculty added where appropriate.

·        To develop parallel language for term and tenure-line faculty promotions with important distinction that term faculty focus in one area; “high competence” required for promotion to associate (term) professor; “genuine excellence” for promotion to full (term) professor.

·        Not to lower standard for promotion of term faculty, but defined as area of expertise.

3.6.1 Study Leave for Tenure-Track Faculty

All assistant and or associate professors appointed to their first tenure-track positions will be granted a one-semester study leave during the first five years of the tenure-track cycle. This leave is designed to assist a tenure-track faculty member in advancing his or her research, scholarly, or creative activities. The timing of this leave will be subject to approval by both the respective local academic unit head and the appropriate Dean/Director. The Office of the Provost will provide one-course matrix replacement funding per granted leave request. This leave policy is not intended to conflict with an existing local academic unit practice; rather than reducing a local academic unit's flexibility, its intent is to enhance and supplement existing practices. During the semester either prior to or succeeding the faculty member's leave, the local academic unit may need to ask the recipient to teach one additional course in order to accommodate this leave. This policy is retroactively effective to initial hires as of academic year 1999. Full details and application procedures are available from the Provost Office’s web page.

Eligibility

·        Full-time faculty members who are Assistant or Associate Professors with no previous tenure-track history at any institution.  Eligibility encompasses the in their first five years of their tenure-track cycle.

·        Individuals whose rank is prefixed with Affiliate, Adjunct, Clinical, Research, Visiting, or Term are not eligible.

Eligibility requirement  at any institution.” added to draft text.

3.6.2 Professional Development Leaves Programs for Tenured Faculty – (green text copied from Provost Office website)

 

There are two leave programs for tenured faculty.  One is administered by the Provost’s Office.  The other is administered at the local academic unit level.  The purpose is to provide paid temporary leave for the support professional development initiatives designed to of advanceing scholarly research, teaching, and/or creative activity, including the development of innovative teaching approaches and methods.  Leaves are for one semester at full pay and full benefits or an academic year at half pay with full benefits (based on 50% of their base salary).    Full details and application procedures for each of these programs are available on from the Provost Office’s web site page.

Eligibility for the Provost Office Study Leave Program for Tenured Faculty:

An applicant must be a full-time employee of George Mason University who has held a regular faculty rank for at least four years at the time of application and who is appointed without term, i.e., with tenure.

·         Individuals whose rank is prefixed with Affiliate, Adjunct, Clinical, Research, Visiting, or Term are not eligible.

·         A total of seven academic years (which may include time spent on leave of absence) must elapse between successive tenured Study Leave awards or Study Leave for Tenured Faculty.

·         A faculty member who receives a study leave must agree to remain a full-time employee of the University for at least one academic year after the conclusion of the leave.

A faculty member who accepts a study leave must agree to serve as a reviewer of future applications. 

Eligibility for LAU Professional Development Leaves:

An applicant must be a full-time employee of George Mason University who has held a regular faculty rank for at least ten years at the time of application and who is appointed without term, i.e., with tenure.

·         Individuals whose rank is prefixed with Affiliate, Adjunct, Clinical, Research, Visiting, or Term are not eligible.

·         A total of seven academic years (which may include time spent on leave of absence) must elapse between successive professional development leave awards or Study Leave for Tenured Faculty.  

·         A faculty member who receives a professional development study leave must agree to remain a full-time employee of the University for at least one academic year after the conclusion of the leave.

Local academic units are responsible for establishing the procedures, criteria and deadlines for submission and review of leave proposals.  Local academic units are also responsible for obtaining approval of leave proposals by their Dean/Director and the Provost.  The timing of a leave may be delayed if in the judgment of the LAU administrator, the faculty member’s services are needed for a particular semester.

Faculty who receive an LAUPD leave remain eligible for the competitive study leave and Research Funding programs administered by the Provost’s Office. However, unless there is a clear and compelling benefit to the University, seven academic years (which may include time spent on leave of absence) must elapse between successive leave awards of either type.

2.1.3.1 Externally Funded Fixed-Term Appointment – Section deleted

An appointment for full-time employment for a fixed term, supported primarily or exclusively by external funds from grants and/or contracts. The University can, but is not required to, renew such appointments for additional terms. A faculty member holding this type of appointment can subsequently be considered for a probationary appointment or a tenured appointment; however, prior service on a fixed-term externally funded appointment is not applied to consideration for tenure unless this is specified in the letter of appointment to probationary status. Faculty on externally funded fixed-term appointments may hold one of the following titles: Research Instructor, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, or Research Professor

 

Moved to Section 2.3.3 Procedures for Appointment and Reappointment of Term Faculty

 

3. Conversion Factors – from Administrative Faculty Handbook, p. 9.

Instructional faculty who convert from a 9 month contract to a 12 month administrative contract will receive an administrative stipend based on internal equity and external market factors. The stipend will remain in effect for the duration of the appointment. Appropriated salary increases that occur during this appointment will be based on the teaching base salary plus the administrative stipend. When the faculty member returns to a 9 month instructional contract, the new salary will be calculated in the following manner: the administrative stipend and its associated salary increase(s) will be removed. The base salary together with all increases associated to the base salary will establish the new 9 month base. This conversion process became effective simultaneously with the adoption of the October 2004 edition of the handbook. Conditions in contracts for administrative appointments that predate the 2004 edition will be honored.

 

NOTE: Individuals serving for an extended term in an administrative/professional faculty position

who were originally on a nine month faculty appointment may be subject to additional external and internal equity considerations when they convert back to a nine month contract.

 

·        To include in Chapter Three either as a new section or within a present section?

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate