Friday, March 21, 2008; 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Mason Hall, room D5

Present:  James Bennett, Lorraine Brown, Phil Buchanan, Larry Rockwood, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, Susan Trencher.

 I.  Approval of Minutes of February 26, 2008:  The minutes were approved as distributed.

II.  Announcements

University Librarian John Zenelis will attend the next Faculty Senate meeting to explain changes in the Fenwick Fellows application procedure for AY 2008-09.  In the past, two faculty members each received a $2000 award.  For next year, one faculty member will be awarded $5,000.  The Faculty Senate is requested to send a representative to the selection committee. 


III.  Reports of Senate Standing Committee Chairs for inclusion in April 2nd agenda


A.  Academic Policies – no report.


B.  Budget and Resources – Phil Buchanan

The report on direct expenditures may be ready for the next agenda; also to make an announcement on the posting of salary data to the Faculty Senate website.


Provost Stearns noted that a new committee has been established to look at tuition policy.  Karen Hallows has been nominated to serve as faculty representative to the committee.


C.  Faculty Matters – Larry Rockwood – no report.


D.  Nominations – Jim Bennett

In addition to the nomination of Karen Hallows noted above, the Committee is working on finding three nominees to serve on the GMU Foundation Board of Trustees.  The Board selects one of the three candidates to serve although they are not restricted to choose from among the three nominees submitted.


E.     Organization and Operations – Lorraine Brown

Allocation letters to the deans were distributed.  The allocation report for AY 2008-09 will be attached to the agenda, along with an amendment to the By-Laws, Article IV.1.c to add “elected” in order to define a quorum as 50 % of the elected membership (50 Senators), not 50 % of entire membership (63, including 13 ex-officio members). Twice this year we did not have a quorum; ex-officio members often do not attend meetings.  Amendments to the By-Laws must be considered at two Senate meetings; a vote may not be taken until the second meeting (April 30).  The proposed amendment is not seen as controversial.


IV.  Business for next Faculty Senate meeting agenda

·        President Merten will address the Senate at our April 2nd meeting.

·        Revised Motions from the Task Force on Compensation Issues will be included in the agenda.

·        The Task Force on Research Productivity will present the first of a two-part report.


V.  New Business/Discussion

Faculty Lounge/New Dining Facilities:  Susan Trencher and Evans Mandes have met regularly with Gregg Toney (Executive Director, Dining & Technology Services).  Among the issues under discussion are the closing of Ciao Hall, the opening of a new dining facility, and green olives missing from the salad bar.

Exceptions to Emeritus Status:  As the revised Faculty Handbook is not yet ready for approval, there are several requests for exceptions from local academic units to award emeritus status to non-tenured associate professors who have served for many years at Mason and would become eligible under the proposed Handbook revision which removes the requirement for tenure.  In addition there are two exception requests to award emeritus status (one posthumously) to assistant professors who have served for many years.  Both were instrumental in the development of their respective schools/departments.  The Faculty Handbook Revision Committee supports these two requests to honor their longstanding service to the university. 


The numbers of term faculty with more than ten years of service at Mason will increase over time.  It is unknown whether the recently deceased faculty member would have requested this status, given his ineligibility under the present rules. Should emeritus status be conferred as a distinction to recognize teaching, scholarship, and service out of the ordinary, or should it be conferred on those who request it with sufficient years’ service for a job well done?  Some faculty requests for emeritus status have not received approval at the local level.  Normally the Faculty Senate would not be involved in the process:  request initiated at local level, then to Dean, Provost, President, and finally the BOV.


After some discussion, it was decided to include a motion to recommend exceptions to present emeritus status; the individuals’ recommendations to be distributed at the meeting. Until the Faculty Handbook revisions are approved by the BOV, the Faculty Senate will submit a motion for exceptions (if there are any) to emeritus status once a semester, which would require approval at local level etc. under present procedures.


Administration Response to Salary/Compensation Data:  A response to the Task Force on Compensation Issues’ presentations this fall on salary and compensation issues was given to Phil Buchanan, chair of the Budget & Resources Committee.   Phil is not a member of the Task Force.  Phil forwarded it to Rick Coffinberger, Task Force Chair for review and response.  It was noted that the Task Force used data from the Chronicle of Higher Education and some data was not provided by the administration for comparison. 


At a joint meeting of the BOV Faculty and Academic Standards and Budget Committees, Faculty Representative Jim Bennett noted that faculty salaries and student aid will be moved in front of other things such as spires of excellence.   


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate