George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
May 27, 2004

Present: J. Bennett, L. Brown, R. Coffinberger, E. Elstun, D. Kuebrich

Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 9:30 am.

I. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the April 28, 2003 Executive Committee meeting were approved as distributed.

II. Announcements
There were no announcements.

III. Old Business
There was no old business.

IV. New Business

A. Issues to Discuss with the President and Provost
1. Academic policies for distance learning:
The faculty needs to be heavily involved in the development of these academic policies so that distance learning at GMU doesn’t become a correspondence school. Questions were raised to whether certificate programs should also be covered by these policies, and if the Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult
Learning (NIAL) Committee should be given this task.

2. Literacy decline in students: Research needs to be done concerning ELI teaching methods, TOEFL score requirments for admissions, the integration of literacy training in classes, and the effect of GMU’s articulation agreement with the Virginia community college system on student literacy. A related issue is the impact of illiteracy on the rise of plagiarism.

3. Academic appeals process: The Academic Appeals Committee did not meet this year, although the Provost Office made unilateral appeal decisions and overturned decisions made by the LAUs. Concern was expressed that the Provost Office is bypassing the University committee and ignoring the procedures for student and faculty appeals.

4. General Education classes: According to a member of the General Education Committee, the required GenEd synthesis courses have been suspended by the Provost Office at the behest of some of the deans. If this is correct, the Faculty Senate should have—at the least—been informed of the decision, but procedurally should have been involved in the decision since the Senate approved the GenEd requirements.

B. GMU Foundation – Judith Jobbitt
The Executive Committee expressed their concern on various issues involving the GMU Foundation:
Why didn’t the Foundation make a public response/rebuttal to the Struppa memo?
Why is the University community hearing contradictory information about a fantastically successful fundraising campaign while being told they will be charged fees since the Foundation cannot meet its budget?
Why is the faculty getting pressured to take on more and more fundraising responsibility?
Why is there a GMU Foundation and Development Office when, at the same time, LAUs are creating their own Director of Development positions? What is the overlap in responsibilities?

Ms. Jobbitt stated that a Task Force on Decentralized/Centralized Development Systems is being created to address some of these issues and will include faculty representation. She was under the impression that President Merten has invited Donald Boudreaux and Roy Rosenzweig to be the faculty representatives on this Task Force. The Executive Committee informed Ms. Jobbitt that it is the Faculty Senate’s responsibility to elect or appoint faculty representatives to Task Forces such as this.

Ms. Jobbitt said that development programs are driven by mandates, budget, and the goals and focus of the administration. GMU uses a hybrid system incorporating both decentralized and centralized fundraising. There are currently sixteen “frontline” fundraisers in both the Development Office and the LAUs. They meet monthly to coordinate their strategies and activities so that there is not overlap or things being overlooked. LAU fundraisers have the depth of knowledge about programs, centers, and alumni, while the Development Office has breadth of knowledge about fundraising. Faculty’s role is to pass on excitement and enthusiasm about their projects and research to the donors.

The question was raised concerning accountability of the fundraising process and especially the “frontline” fundraisers. Are there records of how many potential donors have been seen by these fundraisers and how much money has been raised by each? How is their success measured? Ms. Jobbitt answered that there is no historical record of campaign activities because the Foundation is on a different computer system than the University. She added that is it hard to gauge “success” for the Development Office since the Dean, President, or faculty member involved usually gets the credit for the grant.

This led to further questions from the Executive Committee: Is fundraising at GMU a substantial problem or only a problem in communication? How much did the comprehensive campaign really bring in? Is there a way to do a comparison with peer institutions or other Virginia universities to get a clearer understanding of GMU’s fundraising success?

Concerning the new fee policy, Ms. Jobbitt said that the current policy is only a draft because it needs to be determined whether Ledger 9 funds can be used for fees. She also noted that approximately 50% of incoming grants will get waivers
since most big institutions and foundations do not allow such fees. She clarified that the Foundation did challenge Struppa’s memo through the appropriate channels, but were not public with their objections.

V. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 10:50 am.

Respectfully submitted,
Debi Siler
Clerk, Faculty Senate

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