George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
February 4, 2004

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

Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 9:00 am.

I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the January 5, 2004 Executive Committee meeting were approved as distributed.

II. Announcements
Regarding the motion on midterm grades that will be considered at next week’s meeting, the Provost announced that he plans to urge the Senate to adopt a slightly different position than that recommended by the Task Force on Midterm Grading. Whereas the Task Force and the Academic Policies Committee will recommend a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option, the Provost prefers that students receive specific letter grades.

The Student Senate passed a motion requesting that the drop period be extended from five to nine weeks. They will present the motion to the BOV on February 18th. The Provost asked that the Faculty Senate also consider reviewing this issue. The Academic Policies Committee will research implications for financial aid, especially Pell Grants.

Jack Smith, the bookstore manager, has finished a study that concluded that the cost of books at GMU is high compared to peer institutions. Questions were raised as to how the numbers were calculated and if the data could be analyzed by unit. Mr. Smith will be asked to address the Senate on this topic.

The Provost was asked whether the Senate motion concerning summer school lab compensation will go into effect this summer. He will follow-up with Linda Schwartzstein, who is working on this issue. It was pointed out that Dr. Schwartzstein agreed that members of the Faculty Matters Committee would be invited to the discussion meeting.

The next issue raised was the policy on inter-unit degrees. The Provost remarked that there are very few of these degrees (Global Affairs and ICAR/CAS), and the Deans & Directors act as the Grad Council in creating and maintaining them. It was pointed out that D&D is not comparable to the faculty-based Grad Council.

It was noted that the University of Maryland offers MBA degrees to Virginia and DC students at in-state tuition cost at two satellite campuses. This makes it very difficult for GMU’s School of Management to be competitive. The Provost stated that it needed to be determined whether state law prohibits the practice in Virginia. If not, he recommended that a business plan be submitted to the University Budget Planning Committee for consideration.

III. Old Business
There was no old business.

IV. Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs
A. Executive Committee

The Chair announced he has invited Mr. Meese to speak at one of the spring Senate meeting before he steps down as Rector.

A discussion ensued concerning the Faculty Salary Data reports that have been compiled by the Budget & Resources Committee. The Executive and Budget & Resources Committees have voted unanimously to endorse the idea of posting the
reports on the Faculty Senate website, but it was agreed that the entire Senate should vote to endorse it also. A motion to be presented at next week’s meeting.

B. Academic Policy
The Task Force on Midterm Grading will present its report and recommendations at next week’s Senate meeting, and the Academic Policy Committee will submit subsequent motions.

The Committee will meet this afternoon to discuss Academic Integrity recommendations.

C. Budget & Resources
Two Committee members met with the University Budget Planning Committee for the first time yesterday and will continue to meet with the Committee on a monthly basis. It is a good opportunity for the faculty representatives to raise issues concerning faculty salaries and budget priorities.

The Committee met with members of the University Salary Equity Study Committee to discuss identifying “outliers” to be presented as candidates for equity raises. The Salary Equity Study charge would have to be amended in order to do this, since it specifically states that data is to be analyzed at the group—not individual—level. The Committee will be requested to decide whether they would like to have the charge amended and, if so, to notify the O&O Committee.

The Committee is also continuing to work on a standardized policy for early retirement packages. It is difficult to get information on the process since it is run by the individual deans, the “alternative severance options” allow great leeway, and mandatory confidentiality agreements are signed.

D. Faculty Matters
The Task Force on Emeritus Policy has submitted its recommendations to the Committee. The Committee disagrees with one of the proposals calling for more stringent criteria for applicants with ten to nineteen years of service than for applicants with twenty or more years of service to the institution. The recommendations have been sent back to the Task Force for further review; therefore, its report will be postponed until the March 24th Senate meeting.

The Committee is working closely with the President and the Provost to guarantee that the Administrative Faculty’s activity reports are on the website in time for the Faculty Evaluations of Administrators survey’s distribution by the end of February.

E. Organization & Operations
The Faculty Matters Committee will receive a referral concerning the salary adjustments for instructional faculty moving in and out of administrative faculty positions. The Academic Policies Committee will receive a referral on extending the drop period and possibly a referral on inter-unit degrees.

The Committee will be focusing on the allocation of Senate seats for the 2004-2005 academic year.

F. Nominations
Julie Mahler will be nominated to fill a vacancy on the University Effective Teaching Committee.

V. New Business
There was no new business.

VI. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 10:25 am.

Respectfully submitted,
Debi Siler
Clerk, Faculty Senate

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