OCTOBER 11, 2005

MASON HALL, rm. D7: 1:00-2:30 p.m.


Present:  James Bennett, Rei Berroa, Lorraine Brown, Rick Coffinberger, Esther Elstun, Dave Kuebrich, Jim Sanford, Cliff Sutton, Susan Trencher


New Business:  Selection of Faculty for Membership on BOV Committees:  Chair Dave Kuebrich will meet with President Merten on Thursday, October 13th at 10:30 a.m. to discuss this issue.  The BOV motion assigned to the President the responsibility to develop a selection process.  Dave stressed the importance that the procedure must concur with the Faculty Handbook, notably Section 1.3.2.


Under powers delegated to it by the General Faculty, the Faculty Senate is the principal advisory body to the President.  It has particular responsibility for the formulation of university-wide academic policies and is the principal voice of the faculty in matters affecting the faculty generally.  It advises the President and other members of the central administration concerning matters that affect the welfare of the University as a whole.


The principal function of the Faculty Senate is to represent the faculty on all governance issues not internal to any single school or college.  This includes, but is not limited to, curricular matters, matters concerning terms and conditions of faculty employment, and matters of academic organization.  In these matters, the Provost and the Senate will consult during the process of planning and implementing changes.  To ensure timely consultation about these and other matters, the Provost meets monthly with the Senate’s executive committee.  Meetings with the President and/or other members of the central administration occur as needed. 


The Senate meets at least monthly during the fall and spring semesters.  Meetings of the Senate are open to all members of the university community, who may speak to any item of business on the agenda.  Only members of the Senate, however, may introduce motions and vote. 


Three members of the Senate are appointed by its chair to serve as liaison representatives to the Board of Visitors.  They regularly attend meetings of the Board and its committees and report to the Senate about them.


The Faculty Senate, as the representative body of the faculty, has traditionally selected representatives who first attended Board of Visitors and other meetings; further the Senate authorized the chair to make appointments.  While acknowledging that some changes in the Faculty Handbook may be needed, the Executive Committee, as presiding officers, have the authority to act and then report back to the Senate any actions taken.  Upon completion of a year’s service on the Board committees, it is hoped that our case for a full non-voting faculty representative on the Board of Visitors will be stronger.  The Board’s decision was reached in closed executive session, therefore we do not know the reasons why the request for a non-voting faculty representative to full Board was disapproved or how a compromise may have been reached in allowing faculty representatives on the BOV committees.  Among doctoral-granting institutions in Virginia which have faculty representation on their respective Boards of Visitors, only the University of Mary Washington’s representative is elected by its Faculty Senate; all the rest are appointed by the Board from a list provided by their respective Faculty Senates.  In a recent meeting with the AAUP, Dave Kuebrich and Rick Coffinberger learned that universities with faculty representation on their Boards of Visitors are in the minority.   The result of the BOV vote will be announced at the next Faculty Senate meeting.


Old Business

A.     Senate Delegations to Visit LAUs:  At least one member of the Executive Committee and possibly an additional Senator (from within the LAU if possible) will visit as many LAUs as we can.  What are our goals?  Faculty need to be informed; how to better communicate with faculty?  Among Senate achievements to discuss are: 

·        New Budget and Resources Committee:  Stopped practice of salary bump for administrators returning to instructional faculty; summer pay:  10% for second course and more for summer labs; posting of salary data, including administrative salaries; more faculty input re raises

·        Faculty Lounge

·        Phased Retirement (in planning process)

·        Enlarged Study Leave Program:  did we ask for this or did the Provost act on his own?  Should we ask him to revisit this issue?

·        Faculty Evaluation of Administrators:  response rate, use by the Provost; explain process and encourage participation

·        Revision of Faculty Handbook; ask for suggestions

·        Source of Information:  parking, faculty salaries, travel budgets of departments and administrative offices, GMU salaries re peer institutions when cost-of-living is included

·        Governance:  we are the body which represents the faculty

·        Cultivation of the single voice – we are your Senate


Often those elected to the Faculty Senate do not go back to their units after Senate meetings and communicate to LAU colleagues as they should.  In the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, for example, a report from the Faculty Senate is a regular item on the department’s meeting agenda; although it was also noted that Faculty Senate representatives are not departmental representatives, unlike the CAS Council, which has department representatives.  A suggestion was made that we should attend School meetings; for example, IT&E has one meeting per semester which usually features a guest speaker such as the President or the Provost.   Another suggestion identified interest groups, such as adjunct faculty, which cut across disciplines.  In his experience as chair, Jim Bennett noted that in general folks are happy with the job you’re doing – that you will certainly hear from them when they are not happy.  The use of short biographical sketches for Senate candidates was proposed.  


A critical point to address involves the broader, more serious problem that no recognition is given to service at this institution, sending a strong signal resulting in a lack of incentive to get involved.  In administrative services, there are financial bonuses and fewer courses.  If you serve for four years as administrator, your faculty salary nearly doubles and you are almost automatically granted a study leave.  How to activate service to the recognition it deserves?  To discuss with the Provost first as chief academic officer?  To discuss at a future Faculty Senate meeting:  that credit (acknowledgement) for research and publication accepted into a journal  should also apply to research and publication within the university; citing Jim Bennett’s reports distributed and published on the Faculty Senate website as most informative and widely available to all.  Rei Berroa noted that the average number of readers of articles in scholarly journals equals 2.8 people.


B.      Academic Freedom

A general discussion included the issues of whether a section of the Faculty Handbook should address this question directly (present discussion within Handbook modeled on AAUP); should an appendix also be incorporated?  Dave will ask the Provost for an update on the Johnson Center incident at tomorrow’s meeting.  We will also ask the Provost for an update regarding the FBI’s attempts to access email.  Lorraine and Dave will discuss a possible joint effort between the Faculty Senate and the AAUP to bring further attention to this important issue.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate