George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
November 6, 2002

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

Guest: P. Stearns

Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 12:10 pm.

I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the October 30, 2002 Executive Committee meeting were approved as distributed.

II. Announcement
Rector Meese will address the Faculty Senate at the December 4, 2002 meeting.

III. Old Business
A. Resolution Establishing a Task Force on Academic Standards

There were minor changes and one major change (lowering the number of members from six to four) to the Resolution. The Executive Committee will introduce it November 13th. If approved, Don Gantz has already agreed to serve on the Task Force and the Provost has agreed to appoint a representative.

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

The Committee will not take any action on Minors unless the Senate or Provost initiates it. The Provost’s Office will develop a proposal on this issue to submit to the Academic Policies Committee. It was also determined that more information needs to be gathered on the Council on Minors: Who is this group? What is their charge and authority? Are they a CAS council or university-wide?

The Committee will introduce two motions November 13th: one increasing the minimum hours for Extended Studies, and one submitting the 2004-2007 Academic Calendar for approval. The only possible controversy could be dropping one Reading Day due to the semester ending so close to Christmas.

B. Facilities & Support Services & Library
No new business.

C. Faculty Matters
No new business.

D. Nominations
The Committee will begin working on a slate of nominees for the Academic Standards Task Force.

E. Organization & Operations
The Committee is working on the recommendations submitted by the Task Forces on Academic Integrity. Most of the recommendations will be sent to the Academic Policies Committee.

D. Ad Hoc Budget Committee
The Committee will meet today at 1:30 pm. If it endorses the Resolution of Appreciation of GMU’s BOV and Administration, the Committee will submit it to the Faculty Senate on November 13th for approval.

Dr. Coffinberger has been invited to a budget briefing update on November 11th with Vice President Scherrens and Provost Stearns. It is anticipated that this meeting will yield the details of the budget reductions implemented or about to be implemented by the Deans of the individual colleges and schools (and institutes) within GMU.

The Committee has also requested information concerning the “alternative severance” proposal that was endorsed by the BOV. Faculty members in the VA Retirement Plan (VSRS) who have been employed for a certain amount of time are eligible to receive 5-6 years of extra benefits for early retirement. The proposal will be part of the units’ business plans, so that each unit determines how many/which faculty will be offered the alternative severance package.

Dr. Coffinberger commended the President, Vice President, and Provost for openly discussing the budget issues with the faculty, but noted that the deans and directors do not seem to have adopted the same attitude. The Committee agreed that there must be increased faculty involvement at the unit level. There were questions about the procedures (if there are any) for faculty to get information and be given adequate time to get input processed.

V. New Business
The Provost had three suggestions for the Committee to improve the relationship between the Faculty Senate and the Administration: 1) that there be regular meetings between the Administration and the Executive Committee, 2) that requests for information be more informal and flexible, and 3) that there be a change in emotional tone to ease tensions.

VI. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 1:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Debi Siler
Clerk, Faculty Senate

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