George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Executive Committee Meeting
June 2, 2004
Present: J. Bennett, L. Brown, R. Coffinberger, E. Elstun, D. Kuebrich. J. Sanford
Chair Jim Bennett opened the meeting at 9:08 am.
I. Approval of Minutes
No minutes were ready for approval.
The Provost recently received an anonymous letter stating that the writer and “other GMU professors” had spent time playing golf and going on trips when they were supposed to be teaching class. The writer also noted that he was sending the letter to the BOV, so the Provost felt he had to take action. He sent a memo to the Deans stating “Any cases where faculty curtail their teaching services without explicit authorization will result in dismissal; administrators have an absolute responsibility to investigate and report any possible problems in this regard. These stipulations are unfortunate but result from at least one case of a real problem with regard to unauthorized vacations, which we must spend every effort to preventing in the future.”
The President suggested at the President’s Council meeting that the Faculty Senate invite the different units to address the Senate in order to present the activities and achievements of their unit.
III. Old Business
A. Issues to Discuss with the President and Provost (Continued)
5. Academic appeals (continued from May 27th meeting): It was agreed that the Provost Office’s unilateral appeals decisions and overruling LAU appeals decisions must be addressed. It was noted that the University Academic Appeals Committee’s charge limits its authority to hear and rule in most cases, so the charge needs to be reviewed and possibly revised by the Organization & Operations Committee this year.
6. Student Advising: Discussion was held concerning graduation requirements, and how much of the responsibility for knowing them is the student’s and how much is the faculty advisors’. Is it less of a student responsibility now that they have to purchase the catalogs? In addition, what is the relationship between faculty advisors and the Academic Advising Center? It was noted that it is difficult for everyone to understand the graduation requirements since they are changed so often.
7. Faculty Handbook revision: The Faculty Senate, not the Administration or BOV, needs to take the initiative on this. There were actually two BOV members on the committee conducting the revision before the last one, and that should not happen again. The proper procedure is for the faculty and administration to make any revisions necessary and submit the new Handbook to the BOV. The last Revision Committee was composed of three administrators, three Senators elected by the Senate, and a chair who could be from either but acceptable to both groups. Dr. Bennett explained that he has not taken action on this issue because he is waiting for a response from Tom Hennessey to his request that committee members will be allowed a course release while serving. The Executive Committee agreed that the Senate needs to have a structure and who they want for faculty representation in mind before the August BOV planning meeting.
8. Salaries: Two issues surfaced concerning salaries: the lack of pay raises for GMU faculty compared to other public employees in the region, and new hires making more money than tenured professors who have been here for decades. The Budget & Resources Committee members will continue to work with Provost Stearns and Vice President Scherrens on
this issue. Rick Coffinberger will also try to obtain the minutes from the University Budget Committee meetings. It was agreed that the regional pay raise comparison charts will be sent to the general faculty for their review.
9. Control over faculty hiring: Several units (e.g., Psychology Department, Geography Department, School of Management) have reported pressure from deans to hire faculty in certain specialty areas and not advertise positions in others. It was noted that the Faculty Handbook and AAUP policies both state that the faculty have primary responsibility on personnel actions, including hiring.
10. Administrative faculty returning to instructional faculty ranks: Some faculty members who take on administrative positions get large pay raises, which they then retain when they return to instructional faculty ranks. This puts them financially way ahead of their peers, especially considering the cumulative benefits of an increase in pay and pension.
11. Faculty representation on the BOV: This will be a priority issue with the Faculty Senate this year. The Chair will raise the issue with the new Rector once he or she is appointed. It is important that the faculty get to elect their representative, instead of the Senate giving a list of names to the BOV and they get to choose.
12. BOV influence on Promotion and Tenure: The BOV has slowly added requirements to the P&T process, including entrepreneurial activities and sexual harassment training. They are now considering making a criminal background check mandatory to the awarding P&T.
IV. New Business
There was no new business.
The meeting adjourned at 10:25 am.
Clerk, Faculty Senate
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