Monday, September 24, 2007; Mason Hall D1 – 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 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; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Science.


Absent:  Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development.


2.8.4 Procedures for Promotion and Tenure

·        Departmentalized or non-departmentalized schools or institutes.

·        Locus of tenure resides in university, not individual school, college, or institute.

·        Second-level review committee must be elected but can include people outside college, school, or institute. 


Revision Text: 2.8.4 Procedures for Promotion and Tenure (partial: through A.3 (old A4):

BOLD = new text;  yellow strikethrough = removed text.

Candidacy for tenure or promotion is normally initiated by the local unit administrator, with the faculty member's concurrence. Self-nomination is also permitted. Dossiers are to be prepared in accordance with the format provided by the collegiate dean or institute director. Except for external references, the candidate is responsible for the content of the dossier. The local unit administrator is responsible for ensuring that items in the candidate's dossier not under the candidate's control are completed in a timely manner.

The prescribed procedure for considering promotion and tenure cases is as follows:

  1. In all cases of promotion and/or tenure, there are two levels of faculty review. At both levels evaluations are carried out by tenured faculty in accordance with Sections 2.4 and 2.5. In addition to considering the dossier prepared by the candidate, faculty committees on promotion and tenure examine all evidence and receive all testimony offered to them by members of the academic community and others with direct knowledge of the candidate's professional qualifications and achievements.

The two-level review process is carried out as follows:

1.      In departmentalized schools, or colleges, or institutes, which are subdivided into departments, the first level of review is departmental and the second is carried out by a peer-elected committee of the school or college. The second level review committee can include elected members from outside the school, college, or institute.

2.      In non-departmentalized local academic units (i.e., schools, colleges, institutes) which are subdivided into programs, provided that no program faculty in the unit is smaller than the smallest department of the University, the first level of review is carried out by the program faculty to which the candidate belongs and the second level of review is carried out by a peer-elected committee of the school, college, or institute. The second level review committee can include elected members from outside the school, college, or institute. In order to qualify to operate under the provisions stated in this paragraph, however, the aforesaid program faculties cannot exist solely to make personnel evaluations.

3.      In local academic units which do not qualify under the provisions stated in paragraphs (1) or (2), the first level of review is carried out by the local academic unit (i.e., the school, college, or institute) and the second level of review is carried out by a committee consisting of two peer-elected representatives from each of the local academic units required to operate in accordance with this paragraph. In the event the number of participating local academic units is insufficient to provide a committee of at least ten members, the committee will be brought to full strength by the addition of faculty members elected by (but not necessarily from) the Faculty Senate.

4.      (new “3”) The School of Law, because it offers degrees which are defined by the Commonwealth of Virginia as "professional degrees," is exempt from the provisions specified in paragraphs (1) and (2), and (3), but it is not exempt from the requirement for two-level review. Schools and Colleges Without Departments

·        Phrase “at collegiate level” seems redundant.  Noted that SOL operates like a department, not a school.

·        Do not need to add institutes as covered elsewhere.


Revision Text: Schools and Colleges Without Departments

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Schools and colleges without departments provide simultaneously for faculty governance at the collegiate level (as described in Section 1.3.3) and at the local level. In carrying out their function as local academic units, such schools and colleges will operate analogously to departments and institutes (as described in Sections and


From  Mason Care:  GMU’s Faculty Practice Plan (revised draft 6/12/07):

“ Faculty Designation:  A new faculty category called “Clinical faculty” shall be available for fulltime faculty who are employed by the University to support a unit practice plan.  This group of faculty members is the clinical component to the University designation of “Research Professor,” in which the individual is supported on income generated by research grants and contracts.  In these cases, the Clinical Faculty member would be expected to support all or a significant portion of his or her income by clinical practice. 


Regardless of the type of appointment, all individuals in a faculty practice plan are bound by the general employment requirements at George Mason University and by the practice conditions set forth in the bylaws of their respective academic units.”


·        Provost asked Dean Shirley Travis (CHHS) to come up with a plan; applies beyond CHHS.  Plan not limited to clinical medical staff.

·        Whether in or out of scope of employment (i.e., consulting) is the big question.

·        Use of “clinical faculty” as local term in SOL and likely in other places in context of term faculty appointment; practitioner-oriented (training).

·        How does it impact agreed-upon ratios for Term Faculty on multi-year contracts and as a total percentage of full-time instructional faculty?  If this becomes a problem, then will need to renegotiate in the future.

·        After some discussion, our only response in Faculty Handbook is to establish clinical faculty as a category; let local units fill it in. 


Revision:  2.1.3 Other Types of Full-Time Fixed Term Appointments- 2007 Revision

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Full-time instructional, research, and clinical faculty on fixed-term, non-tenure track appointments are known as Term Faculty.  Service in such positions cannot be applied to consideration for tenure, although a faculty member holding this kind of appointment can subsequently be considered for a tenure-track or tenured appointment.


Term faculty whose assignments focus primarily on teaching are appointed as instructional faculty.  Term faculty whose assignments focus primarily on research are appointed as research faculty.  Term faculty whose assignments focus primarily on clinical practice are appointed as clinical faculty.  Some specific administrative or service functions may also be attached to the teaching, research, or clinical focus. 


Term faculty may be offered single-year or multi-year contracts, with the maximum contract length being three years for initial appointments and reappointments at the same rank.  Such contracts automatically expire at the end of the contract period, and although they may be renewed, there is no guarantee or right to reappointment from one contract to the next, whether single-year or multi-year.


Term faculty appointments include appropriate academic rank as judged by the appointing local academic unit and subject to the approval of the appropriate Dean and Provost.  Multi-year term faculty must hold a terminal degree.  Term faculty with a terminal degree are eligible for promotion in rank after six years of service.  Multi-year contracts offered after promotion in rank may be for three or five years. 


Teaching-oriented term faculty may hold one of the following titles:  Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor.  Research-oriented term faculty may hold one of the following titles:  Research Instructor, Research Assistant Professor, Research Associate Professor, or Research Professor.  Clinical-oriented term faculty may hold one of the following titles:  Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinical Associate Professor, or Clinical Professor.


Term faculty on single-year appointments whose permanent employment is with another organization should be modified by the title “Visiting.”


By agreement with the Board of Visitors and the Faculty Senate, a maximum of 35% of all Term Faculty may be on multiyear contracts and a maximum of 25% of all full-time Instructional Faculty may be Term Faculty. 


2.1.3 Other Types of Fixed Term Appointments – 1994 Handbook Text


An appointment for full-time employment for a fixed term, in which service is not applied to consideration for tenure. The University can, but is not required to, renew such appointments for additional terms. The total duration of these appointments is normally five years, but may be longer if dictated by circumstances and the needs of the University. In all cases, the formal qualifications of faculty on this type of fixed-term appointment must be commensurate with their rank and title. A faculty member holding this type of appointment can subsequently be considered for a probationary or tenured appointment; however, prior service on a fixed-term appointment is not applied to consideration for tenure unless this is specified in the letter of appointment to probationary status. Faculty on fixed term appointments may hold one of the following titles: Instructor, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or Professor. These titles may be modified by the terms Research or Visiting or Clinical or Field. A visiting appointment denotes someone whose appointment is temporary, usually for one academic year. A clinical appointment denotes someone whose major responsibility is to supervise students in clinical instruction, whether within the University or in another setting. A field appointment denotes someone whose major responsibility is to supervise student field work, which may be geographically removed from the University, and who does not normally undertake class responsibilities.


Discussion:  Inconsistencies between 2.7.2  Length of Probationary Period contrasted with 2.8.3 Procedures  for Non-Reappointment:

·        Historically there have been varying lengths of tenure-track contracts such as 3-3, 3-2-2 etc.  Later contracts 3-3 to allow longer time to consider body of work. 

·        What happens when candidate does not seek tenure in sixth year?  Should they be given automatic one-year extension?  Most people anticipate 7th year as opportunity to find another position. 

·        GMU was a different place when Faculty Handbook written, now striving to be a research university.  In most places, if decline to go up for tenure, what would happen?  Hesitate to take away wiggle room, to change accepted practice.

·        Need to expressly decline to stand for tenure in writing vs. implicit decline.

·        Two interpretations: Terminal one-year contract:  a faculty member not granted tenure in 6th year is clearly no longer tenure-track in 7th year; automatically devolves to term faculty. Expectation of different workload, even reduction in teaching load.  Second interpretation:  “Track” as based on that track, even if no longer on track – place holder, not taken literally. To leave discrepancies at local unit level – may receive course reduction in 7th year to help search for another position; an awful year for anyone going through it.


Revision:  2.8.3 Procedures for Non-Reappointment

BOLD = new text;  yellow strikethrough = removed text.


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. 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.

C.     At least twelve months before the expiration of an appointment after two or more years of full-time service in the institution.

D.     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.

If a faculty member 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), (B), (C), and (D) of this section, the faculty member will be issued a contract for one more 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 tenure-track probationary faculty member may not serve more than seven consecutive years on a tenure-track probationary contract.


Revision:  2.7.2 Length of Probationary Period

BOLD = new text;  yellow strikethrough = removed text.

Candidates in their sixth year of service at George Mason University on probationary appointment must stand for tenure at that time if they wish to retain their position beyond the seventh year after the expiration of the current contract (see Section 2.8.3 for policy on notification to faculty terminated for failure to receive tenure). Earlier consideration is possible. Faculty hired on probationary appointments from other institutions will not normally be expected to serve a six-year probationary period. Credit toward tenure may be given for prior faculty service at other institutions.


2.1.2 Tenure-Track Appointment examined for revision, decided to retain as is; faculty member decides whether to go up for tenure vs. administrative need for something to proceed.


Incorporation of New Policies Passed by the Faculty Senate into the Faculty Handbook:

(links copied from Faculty Senate website Oct. 4, 2007)

Misconduct in Research and Scholarship Policy Approved by the BOV Oct. 3, 2007.

Tenure Clock Extension Policy  May 2, 2007

Policy on Employment of Family Members  April 4, 2007

University Copyright Policy  April 4, 2007

Waived-Search Hire Policy  Feb. 21, 2007


Other addendums to Faculty Handbook as distributed in printed text include:

·        The Tenure Clock Exception to Standard Procedures (effective July 1, 2001)

·        Also to incorporate other reasons for stopping of tenure clock such as Leave of Absence, family necessity beyond birth or adoption of a child, military service etc. Often involve details such as reduced pay; need for accurate administrative records.

·        Policy Statement on Full-Time Instructional Faculty Teaching at Other Institutions (adopted by Faculty Senate at its meeting March 20, 2002)

·        Procedures for Renewal (Reappointment)* for Sections 2.8.2 and 2.8.3 (effective July 1, 2001)

·        Procedures for Appointment and Reappointment of Term Faculty (effective July 1, 2003) already incorporated.


To request support of Faculty Matters Committee; experienced faculty developed several policies listed above – history of development for inclusion in Faculty Handbook.


Need to monitor future inclusion of policies passed by Faculty Senate, particularly once Handbook revision completed and committee disbanded.  Some policies go to BOV promptly; not official policy until approved by BOV.   Need to written step-by-step procedure with timelines; suggested that Organization and Operations Committee (a standing committee of the Senate) be charged with this responsibility.  Importance of communication with administration with respect to policies developed of which the Faculty Senate was not informed and had no opportunity for input.


Discussion:  Changes to Research Misconduct Policy approved by the Faculty Senate at its September 5, 2007 meeting: adding statement “...provided no provisions in this policy contravene the current Faculty Handbook.”  Right now this means 1994 edition of Handbook.  Change made without guile; problem emerged that it sets up a dual process.  Dual process would have made entire process unworkable.  Grievance process (now in FH) has no due process.  Parallelism:  FH grievance process – other policies such as Sexual Harassment also exist.  Certain things are not grievable. 


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate