George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
September 18, 2002

Present: J. Bennett, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Coffinberger, M. DeNys, E. Elstun, D. Kuebrich

Guests Present: Peter Stearns, Julie Christensen

Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 12:08 pm.

I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the September 9, 2002 Executive Committee meetings were approved as amended.

II. Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs/
III. Discussion of Agenda Items for September 25, 2002 Faculty Senate Meeting
A. Executive Committee

The Executive Committee will submit the Resolution of Appreciation to Visitor Sidney Dewberry to the Faculty Senate for approval. The Resolution, along with a Thank-you letter, will be sent to Visitor Dewberry. Copies will go to Rector Ed Meese, Chief of Staff Tom Henessey, and Chair of the GMU Foundation Lovey Hammel.

B. Academic Policies
The Report and Recommendations of the Teacher/Course Evaluation Task Force will be postponed to the October 9th meeting. The Academic Policies Committee needs to meet to discuss the revised recommendations and create motions associated with them before they are brought before the full Senate. The International Dual Degrees Motion will be submitted to the Senate for approval as planned.

C. Facilities and Support Services and Library
No action items for September 25th meeting.

D. Faculty Matters
No action items for September 25th meeting.

E. Organization & Operations
The O&O Committee distributed their present 2002-2003 log. They will submit a motion to the Senate concerning the creation of an ad hoc Committee on Faculty Senate Bylaws as dictated by the Faculty Senate Bylaws.

F. Nominations
Stan Zoltek has been named as the Faculty Senate member of the Banner Steering Committee. The Noinations Committee is working on nominees for the ad hoc Committee on Faculty Senate Bylaws if the O&O motion is passed.

G. Ad Hoc Budget Committee
Bob Johnston (SOM) and Evans Mandes (CPVA) have taken Michael Ferri and Pat Wilkie’s places on the Committee. A Resolution will be submitted at the October 9th Faculty Senate meeting recommending a change in tuition calculation.
Because of the price break for taking 13-17 hours a semester, many students are taking more hours than they can handle to get the best price. Pending questions about a possible change are: Should the standard rate be set at 12 or 15 hours? When could the change be implemented? How would it affect financial aid? Should GMU follow UVA’s solution of charging for the 17th hour?

IV. Provost Stearn’s Comments
Dr. Stearn’s only comment was to research all the possible ramifications of changing the tuition policy to make sure it’s feasible and actually beneficial to the University and the students before implementing a change.

V. Honor Code Issues

The Fletcher Report of May 2001 created a committee who is about to release its report on academic integrity at GMU. It will be posted on the Provost’s website. The committee has been concentrating on the faculty’s role in creating an atmosphere of academic integrity on campus, making honor issues clearer to students, and enforcing the Honor Code process more consistently. The Center for Teaching Excellence will also work with faculty on how to avoid loopholes that allow Honor Code violations and the best ways to enforce the system.

It was noted that many faculty members don’t use the Honor Code system because they feel it is too lenient and imposes as much of a burden on the enforcer as the perpetrator. Many faculty members feel they’re better off handling violations themselves because of the lack of communication and follow-up by the Honor Committee. In addition, the punishments that make Honor Code violations unacceptable to the academic society have been discontinued.

The Executive Committee asked if there are any data on the Honor Code system, such as how many cases are reported, how many of those cases go to hearings, how many students are convicted of the violations they are charged with, what kind of punishments are then meted out, etc. The Associate Provost answered that the numbers will be in the new committee report.

It was agreed that the Honor Code needs to be reinvigorated and made much more public so that it will be taken seriously by the faculty and students. It was suggested that the topic needs to be addressed at mandatory faculty staff meetings by the Administration or their designees to stress its importance. The professors need to have it on their syllabi and talk about it in class in order to pass the seriousness on to the students. Most importantly, the Honor Code needs to have “teeth,” with such provisions as public displays of Honor Code violations, expulsion (such as UVA’s policy), and noting Honor Code violations on the student’s transcript.

VI. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 1:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Debi Siler
Clerk, Faculty Senate

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