George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
November 13, 2002
Present: J. Bennett, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Coffinberger, M. De Nys, E. Elstun, D. Kuebrich
Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 12:08 pm.
I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the November 6, 2002 Executive Committee meeting were approved as distributed.
The Executive Committee decided to forego a formal agenda for this meeting. The first issue addressed was the importance of a clear and open flow of communication between the Executive Committee and the Administration, Faculty Senate, and the faculty as a whole. The Faculty Senate must clearly articulate its agenda and objectives, so that the University community understands its mission and goals. This includes annual reporting of the work and achievements of the Senate.
The next discussion was regarding the presentations by various administrators to the Senate. It was deemed helpful if the Committee was clearly informed in advance concerning who will be invited to address the Senate, and what issues and questions should be posed to the presenters.
One of the most crucial matters for the Committee is the relationship between the Senate, especially the Executive Committee, and the Administration. It was agreed that the focus must remain on accountability and function, and not slip into emotional discourse or personal attacks. The relationship between faculty and administration must remain professional and task-oriented. With the budget crisis, a newly-energized Faculty Senate, and the power struggle endemic to Provosts and Deans, the Provost is having to juggle a myriad of issues.
In addition, the Faculty Senate has historically been passive and, therefore, ignored. Consequently, the administration is now scrabbling to adjust to a Senate who is acting as a true partner by requesting information, demanding to be heard, and involving itself in the decision-making process at the University. The administration is reacting defensively since the Faculty Senate is holding it accountable for the first time.
It was also noted that the faculty—even the Senators—need to adjust their thinking and begin taking the Senate seriously. This again points out the importance of communication so that all facets of the University community are aware of the activities and responsibilities of the Senate.
The meeting adjourned at 1:16 pm.
Clerk, Faculty Senate
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