George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
October 30, 2002

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

Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 12:05 pm.

I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the October 23, 2002 Executive Committee meeting were approved as amended.

II. Announcement
The AAUP meeting with Rector Meese went very well. Chair Bennett will send a letter to Rector Meese in appreciation of the meeting and inviting him to speak at a future Faculty Senate meeting.

III. Old Business
A. Academic Standards Motion
Drs. Buchanan and Kuebrich will write a motion on an Academic Standards Task Force to be submitted at the next Faculty Senate meeting. They will distribute the motion by e-mail to Executive Committee members for review and discussion at the next Executive Committee meeting.

B. Effective Teaching Committee Charge
Grammatical changes were made to the Charge and the addition. The Charges and the Faculty Senate website will be updated accordingly.

C. Resolution on Shared Governance in Academic Units
Dr. Coffinberger presented the following Resolution for discussion:

Resolution on Shared Governance in Academic Units
WHEREAS shared governance is one of the primary hallmarks of all outstanding universities, and
WHEREAS shared governance requires open and candid exchanges of views between faculty and administrators on all aspects of the academic enterprise, and
WHEREAS when administrators chair the faculties of their own academic units there may be a chilling effect on debate and concern about the agenda-setting process,
BE IT RESOLVED by the Faculty Senate that all academic units be encouraged to elect instructional faculty peers to serve as chairs of their respective faculties and to amend their faculty by-laws as necessary to implement this resolution.

If adopted, the Secretary of the Senate is instructed to forward the resolution to the President, Provost, Rector, and Deans and Directors of the academic units throughout the university.

There was vigorous debate on this Resolution concerning issues such as: Is the Faculty Senate getting involved in unit politics? Will this appear aimed toward specific units in which the Deans serve as Chairs, and in particular SOM since it is currently revising its bylaws? Should the Senate table the Resolution until after the SOM vote on bylaw changes? Would that then be seen as a specific response to the SOM vote and cause even more hard feelings? Should the Resolution be submitted on principle, regardless of the politics involved?

It was noted that the concept of shared governance is Faculty Senate business. It was also pointed out that the verb used is encourage, not a more forceful word, so that units can ignore the Resolution as they so choose. The debate continued concerning taking a stand on principle versus timing and the tension it may cause, and whether the Senate’s moral authority would be more negatively affected by putting out a Resolution that will be ignored or by not taking a stand on an important issue of shared governance.

The Executive Committee voted to endorse the resolution.

IV. Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs
A. Academic Policies

The Committee will hold a meeting this Friday at 2:00 pm in D109A Mason Hall. They will have one or two motions to present at the next Faculty Senate meeting.

B. Facilities & Support Services & Library
The Committee is currently working on issues concerning the library.

C. Faculty Matters
The Committee continues to work on revising the instrument for faculty evaluation of administrators and administrator activity reports.

D. Nominations
No new business.

E. Organization & Operations
The Committee is still trying to resolve the issue of research faculty’s right of due process. The issue will be continued at next week’s Executive Committee meeting.

F. Ad Hoc Budget Committee
Dr. Coffinberger reported that the Vice President and Provost held a briefing on the BOV’s decision concerning a one-time $192 surcharge on Spring 2003 tuition that will generate approximately $3.3 million. They announced that $1.1 million of that will be used to increase course offerings and variety, and decrease class size. This figure was predicated on using adjunct faculty because of their cost and flexibility. It was noted that the BOV and the Administration should be commended for their decision, but they also need to be held accountable in the use of this money.

The BOV again brought up the idea that the budget crisis could be used to review GMU’s programs and determine if any can be cut in their entirety. The Faculty Senate will closely follow any developments on this issue.

The Committee will submit the following Resolution at the next Faculty Senate meeting:

Resolution of Appreciation to GMU’s Board of Visitors and Administration
WHEREAS at its special meeting on October 24, 2002, the Board of Visitors (BOV) imposed a $192 surcharge on students enrolling in the Spring 2003 semester, and
WHEREAS the GMU Administration informed the BOV that $1.1 million of the additional $3.3 million in revenue generated by this surcharge will be used to provide academic departments funds to increase the number and variety of course offerings and to reduce class sizes, and
WHEREAS this commitment by the GMU Administration and the action of the BOV will enhance the educational experience of GMU students,
BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate expresses its appreciation to the GMU Administration and to the BOV for this action and that the Office of the Provost report to the Senate at its January 2003 meeting on how this initiative has been implemented by academic department.

If adopted, the Secretary of the Senate is instructed to send this Resolution to the Rector of the Board of Visitors, the President of GMU, and to the Provost.

The Executive Committee endorsed the resolution. It was agreed that there must continue to be pressure on the Administration and BOV to share information and consult the faculty in the budget process. Drs. Kuebrich and De Nys will write a motion stating that the faculty needs to be consulted on tuition increases and how the money from those increases will be spent.

V. New Business
It was announced that Laurie Fathe will speak to the Faculty Senate at the 13 November 2002 meeting.

VI. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Debi Siler
Clerk, Faculty Senate

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