Minutes of the Faculty Handbook Revision Committee

February 13, 2006

Mason Hall, room D5 – 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.


Present:   Kevin Avruch, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology, ICAR; Lorraine Brown, Professor of English (CAS) and President of the AAUP Chapter of George Mason University; Martin Ford, Senior Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Development; Dave Harr, Senior Associate Dean, School of Management; Marilyn Mobley, Associate Provost for Education Programs; David Rossell, Associate Provost for Personnel and Budget, ex officio; Suzanne Slayden, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry.


Absent:  Rick Coffinberger, Associate Professor of Business and Legal Studies, Chair.


In Rick’s absence, Suzanne Slayden presided over the meeting.


Approval of the Minutes of January 30, 2006:  It was decided to revise the minutes to provide more of a sense of the meeting, not a transcript.  An additional correction was made regarding the need for Faculty Senate liaisons to the Board of Visitors. Meg will revise the minutes and also refer to David Rossell and Dave Harr in the future for consistency.  “Section 1.3.6 Program Facilities” to be changed to “Program Faculties.” The revised minutes will be resubmitted for review by the committee prior to posting them on the Faculty Senate website.


Reaction to the Open Forum on February 6, 2006 (Fairfax campus):  Committee members were pleased by the attendance.  At least four or five themes emerged, including greater recognition of service requirements; salary conversions between administrative faculty and instructional faculty, primary affiliation, acknowledgement of dissemination of information in one's field as criteria for establishing a national reputation; the increase in the number of research faculty and their possible inclusion in the Handbook, as well as inclusion of components now in the Faculty Information Guide into the Handbook.


Open Forums in Arlington and Prince William Campuses: 

Kevin Avruch, Rick Coffinberger and David Rossell will attend the Arlington forum on Monday, March 6th in the Original Building, room 251 from 10:00 – 11:30 am.  Rick Coffinberger, Martin Ford, Dave Harr and David Rossell will attend the Prince William forum on Wednesday, March 8th from 10:00 – 11:30 am in room 134, Bull Run Hall.   Light refreshments will be served. 


Continuing Review:  Chapter III:  Faculty Compensation and Benefits

3.1. Salary Schedule: in need of revision.   The process described in the Handbook in which the BOV established a salary schedule for the faculty based on recommendations from the President and the Provost has changed.  Today, a compensation plan is approved as part of the budget process.


3.2 Salary Increases:  in need of revision. 

Paragraph One:  Salary increases are given annually, but the university does not control the date, to include a phrase such as "when appropriated by the legislature."  Although the fiscal year begins in July, salary increases do not take place until November.  Monies for increases beginning in September have not been available for a very long time; this is beyond the university's control.  It was suggested this section be rewritten as it appears in the Administrative Faculty Handbook. 

A new procedure was just approved at a President's Council meeting a few weeks ago  in which any raises outside the normal November 25th cycle must go through a review committee if greater than $10,000 or greater than a 10% increase.  The department chair, dean, and provost would all have to endorse such out-of-cycle raises.  It was generally agreed that faculty need to be aware of procedures in place, hence it should be included in the Handbook.


Paragraph Two:  With regard to "unsatisfactory" performance, the Post-Tenure review policy also needs to be included.  A cross-reference to Section 2.6.1 Annual Review of Faculty is also needed.


3.3. Summer Salaries:  the agreement reached between the Provost and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate should be added.

3.4. Salary Matrix:  in need of revision.  A discussion regarding instances in which full-time faculty teaching overload does not conform to the matrix followed; such instances are not desirable.  The adjective "part-time" should be removed from the following statement so that it includes both full-time and part-time faculty to read:  "Faculty in highly competitive areas of instruction may be paid above faculty rates."

3.5.  Faculty Benefits:  to retain reference to Faculty Information Guide.

3.6.  Faculty Development:  in need of revision; first two sentences true; whether other referenced information remains in the Faculty Information Guide or becomes appendices to the Faculty Handbook to be determined later.

Chapter Two:  Faculty Personnel Matters:  It was noted that all sections in this chapter will need revision.

2.1. Definition of the Faculty: Types of Appointments

2.1.2 Probationary Appointment:  to add "tenure track appointment".  The question of whether a person denied renewal after an initial three-year appointment or later denied tenure may apply for an adjunct or fixed term appointment was discussed.   In the last sentence, it was noted it is rare to have a Professor who is tenure track.  Students often use the term "professor" as a salutation not indicative of their actual rank.

2.1.3 Other Types of Fixed-Term Appointments:  this section may be renamed "Term Appointments," Language in Term Faculty Guidelines and Procedures will be reviewed for possible inclusion here. Externally Funded Fixed Term Appointment:  inclusion of research faculty guidelines into Faculty Handbook to be addressed. 

2.1.4 Part Time Appointment:  What is the difference between part-time and adjunct faculty?  "Part-time" is used for a term faculty member usually appointed for one year at a time.   Legislation passed by the state of Virginia last year created a hierarchy of benefits.  Adjunct faculty are temporary workers not on contract.  They may not teach more than three courses .  David Rossell, Dave Harr and Martin Ford will work on this section together. It was later noted that in the Faculty Information Guide under "Categories of University Employment," the terms adjunct and part time faculty are equated. 

2.1.5 Primary Affiliation:  David Rossell will provide the Locus of Tenure memorandum worked out between Anita Taylor (then Chair of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate) and Provost David Rossini in 1995.  He will also check with Laura Bushallow, Webmaster, to see if the Faculty Handbook could be posted on the website as an Adobe pdf file.  The Handbook is not contained in the Faculty Senate computer files.  Multiple affiliations, courtesy appointments, joint appointments, appointments to facilitate research were noted.  Those who enter the university as deans (administrative faculty) who later join the instructional faculty have primary affiliation which must first be voted on and approved by the department faculty.  The President also has a primary affiliation approved by the respective faculty.

2.1.6 Faculty with Governance Responsibilities:  faculty with more than one primary affiliation could have voting rights in more than one unit.  Sometimes an individual might be asked to make a choice of primary affiliation.  Practices vary in different units whether those with courtesy appointments are permitted to vote.

2.2  Faculty Ranks

2.2.1. Instructor:  Should title be capitalized to conform to usage such as Assistant Professor or Associate Professor?

2.2.4 Professor:  also called Full Professor.  Is this redundant?

2.2.5 University Professor:  The current policy for University Professors is currently under review.  Unlike Robinson Professors (who are not eligible for election to the Faculty Senate), University Professors cannot float and must be attached somewhere.  Should they wish to go somewhere else (change their departmental affiliation), their position and funding travel with them.  They may also be helping out somewhere for while without changing their affiliation.  President George Johnson wanted Robinson Professors to be a special cadre and not mired in departmental politics.  The university has grown enough in size and history that the addition of a category such as "Distinguished Professor" should be considered; undefined at this time.  If added as an honorific title, it should be included under 2.1. Definition of the Faculty: Types of Appointments as well as included in a new section on honorific titles.

2.2.6 Emeritus Status:  A motion was passed by the Faculty Senate on May 5, 2004 but was never presented to the full Board of Visitors for approval.  A set of procedures to define process for changes to the Faculty Handbook must be explicitly designed for future use.  After some discussion, it was decided to retain the term "Emeritus" in its singular masculine form because neither the feminine nor plural forms are used to designate other faculty ranks.  Departments may vote to recommend emeritus status; once approved it is presented to the Board of Visitors agenda as an action item for approval. 

2.2.7 Affiliate Faculty: not in need of revision.

Sections 2.2.5., 2.2.6., and 2.2.7 should be removed from 2.2. Faculty Ranks and placed under 2.1 Definition of the Faculty: Types of Appointments.

2.2.8 Administrators Holding Faculty Rank:  to use language in Administrative Faculty Handbook

The review will resume with Section 2.3. Recruitment and Appointment of Faculty at our next meeting, Monday, February 27, 2006 from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m., Mason Hall, room D5.

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate