NOVEMBER 10, 2004



Members Present:  Jim Bennett, Lorraine Brown, Esther Elstun, Michael Ferri, David Kuebrich, James Sanford, Peter Stearns, Cliff Sutton


Members Absent:  Rick Coffinberger


I.                   Call to Order:  Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.


II.                Approval of Minutes:  The minutes of the meeting of October 20, 2004 were approved as distributed.


III.             Announcements and Introductions:  Provost Peter Stearns announced a meeting to be held this Monday, November 15, 2004 at 3:00 pm in Dewberry Hall to discuss the Biodefense Research Facility to be built near the Prince William campus. 


The Chair noted that the Annual Letter to the Faculty will be placed on the agenda for discussion at our next Faculty Senate meeting.


IV.              Reports from the Senate Standing Committee Chairs

A.     Academic Policies – Esther Elstun:  Old/Ongoing Business

1.      Elective withdrawal approved by the Academic Policies Committee last year for undergraduates with a three course limit will  be considered by the graduate council.

2.      Approval process by programs offered by two or more academic units does not present a problem with the exception of the Associate Dean of the School of Management.  Carol Kaffenberger is conducting research to bring this item to closure.

3.      Carol Kaffenberger and Jean Moore continue their review of the academic policy section of the University Catalog

New Business:

1.     The Law School proposal  “Three plus Three” has just been assigned to Academic Policies for review.  This program is designed for bright and extremely ambitious students to complete their undergraduate degrees in three years (in lieu of four years), taking courses at the same time to apply toward a law degree.  Our involvement is necessitated because more than one academic unit is involved.    The Law School has prepared a draft agreement .  We will meet to discuss this tomorrow (November 11, 2004) at noon.

2.      The Senate approved a recommendation from the Academic Policies Committee the year before last limiting the number of credit hours which could be counted toward more than one minor.  The resolution then adopted did not address a similar, related question of the number of credit hours which could be counted toward double-majors.

3.      Linda Schwartzstein requested a review of the thirteen-hour rule limiting the course load of students in academic trouble.  How efficacious is the rule?  Is it really working?

4.      Susan Jones will attend our meeting tomorrow referring a complaint made by an ITE student regarding Monday classes after the Columbus Day holiday as an issue for students who work.  Tuesday/Thursday shifts of classes are known at registration time.  At this point our involvement, if any, is to review the academic calendar question.  The Chair noted that there is no academic calendar pleasing to everyone – questions of federal holidays, religious observances, etc. all have their constituencies. 

5.      In response to a question about the policy of graduate open withdrawal, it was noted that the policy is similar to the undergraduate level but is restricted to two elective withdrawals vs. three at the undergraduate level.


B.     Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger – not present today.


C.     Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford

1.      A meeting will be scheduled to discuss use of the results of the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators survey.

2.      The procedure proposed by the dean of admissions to identify new community college-GMU course equivalencies that would become part of the articulation agreement unless the GMU program involved specifically disputed them was discussed.  The provost indicated he would talk to the dean about modifying this approach.   


D.    Nominations – Lorraine Brown

The Search Committee has nominated Esperanza Roman-Mendoza as a member of the Committee searching for a replacement for Helen Ackerman who is retiring.  Her nomination has been added to the agenda of the next faculty senate meeting.


E.     Organization and Operations – Michael Ferri

More questions have been raised regarding administrative evaluations.  Peter Stearns noted that the reports are taken very seriously by the individuals involved.  There is a need to encourage wider faculty participation.  Often a low response rate indicates a cluster of malcontents; even moderate rates of return produce more positive results.  There are concerns regarding the confidentiality of responses – some will go to great lengths to avoid revealing their identities.  It was agreed that an explicit description of the processing of responses be published – that only one person ever sees the return envelope which is immediately destroyed.  Other faculty do not feel this is a serious effort and do not bother to respond, particularly if they are moderately satisfied.  In the compilation of numerical data there tends to be a higher appreciation level, comments tend to be more negative.


V.                 The meeting adjourned at 10:47 a.m.



Respectfully submitted,


Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate