George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
October 23, 2002
Present: J. Bennett, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Coffinberger, M. De Nys, E. Elstun, D. Kuebrich
Guest: G. Mulherin
Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 12:00 noon.
I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the October 16, 2002 Executive Committee meeting were approved as distributed.
The Committee agreed to share the data it received from Institutional Research and Reporting with the Faculty Senate at today’s meeting.
III. Old Business
There was no old business.
IV. Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs
A. Academic Policies
Motion: Policy Statement Concerning Class Attendance
The amendment that was submitted was deemed too different from the original motion to be considered a friendly amendment. It was determined that either the amendment would have to be changed in order to be considered a friendly amendment, or it would have to be submitted as a separate motion. The submitter and Chair of the Academic Policies Committee agreed to changes that allowed it to remain a friendly amendment.
B. Facilities & Support Services & Library
The Committee will be submitting a report on parking at GMU to the faculty in the near future.
C. Faculty Matters
The Committee will submit a motion on cross-listed (contract) courses for a vote to the Faculty Senate today.
The Committee finally has a nominee, Chris Thaiss, to fill the vacant seat on the University External Academic Relations Committee. The nominee will be submitted to the Faculty Senate this afternoon for a vote.
E. Organization & Operations
No new business.
D. Ad Hoc Budget Committee
The Committee reported that the President and Provost held four briefings on the budget reductions: two at the Fairfax campus, one at Arlington Campus, and one at Prince William Campus. Dr. Coffinberger reported on the briefing that was held Friday afternoon at the Fairfax Campus. The pending budget cuts for AY2003-04 are presently expected to be in the $5-6 million range with the final amount to be determined by the General Assembly in its Spring 2003 session. (See October 23, 2002 Faculty Senate Minutes for details of the briefing.)
It was noted that the faculty got a foot in the door in respect to the budget cut process, allowing them to achieve their goals. However, with a 12.5% cut slated for next year, the Senate needs to continue pushing for faculty input to a much greater degree and much sooner than this year.
V. New Business
A. Taking Stock of Faculty Senate Projects
The Chair announced that research has been completed on Parking and Sabbaticals, and data have been collected on Salaries and Academic Integrity and is currently being analyzed. Mike Ferri will continue to monitor the GMU Foundation. The Faculty Senate will be compiling a report for the end of each semester detailing the Senate’s work for distribution to the faculty. Not only will it show the faculty that they have an active Senate, but also that it holds itself accountable to its constituents.
B. Deans as Chairs of College Faculties
The SOM, IT&E, and GSE units have the same person serving as both Dean and Chair of the Faculty. This situation doesn’t allow for a separation of power, violates the idea of shared governance, and changes the tone in faculty meetings. Although
there was agreement that it’s a problem, it was determined that it needs to be addressed in the units’ by-laws, not by the Faculty Senate.
C. Role of Faculty in the Honor System – Dr. Girard Mulherin
On the topic of Academic Standards, the major issue was grade inflation. Research needs to be done to determine whether there is an overall problem or just isolated incidences. In particular, grade distribution across sections of the same class and
grades given by adjuncts/graduate students versus tenured professors need to be examined. Since the course evaluations seem to play a role in grade inflation, it was suggested that grade distribution be looked at as part of the review process. David Kuebrich and Phil Buchanan will develop a proposal for a Task Force on Academic Standards.
Dean Mulherin then spoke to the Committee concerning the honor system. He remarked that academic integrity ties in with student attitude, which is currently, “I don’t care what I learn, just what grade I get.” In addition, almost 80% of high school
students admit to cheating, and those students then become part of the college population. Many students have not been taught the values of academic integrity and show little shame in being caught.
The entire university needs to take responsibility for academic integrity, not just the Honor Committee. There have already been two Task Forces and forty recommendations on this issue. Instead of repeating the process, Dean Mulherin advised the Faculty Senate to create a committee that could implement the recommendations and hold the entire system accountable.
He admitted that the Honor Committee needs to become more efficient and timely and improve their communications —especially with faculty who file complaints. He will work on getting information to the faculty on hearings and judicial processes, and work with them on sanction possibilities for specific violations.
The Committee gave Dean Mulherin a mandate to follow-up on recommendations and invited him back to the Faculty Senate’s April 9, 2003 meeting to give a progress report. Dean Mulherin will distribute the honor system information he shared with the Committee with the entire faculty. The Committee also gave the Senate O&O Committee the task of reviewing the forty recommendations already proposed, and either sending action items to various committees or following-up with recommendations that went to the Provost, Vice President, Deans, etc.
The meeting adjourned at 1:40 pm.
Clerk, Faculty Senate
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