GMU Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - November 19, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007; 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., Mason Hall, room D1


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


I.  Approval of Minutes of October 26, 2007:  The minutes were approved as distributed.


II.  Announcements


Due to a scheduling conflict, the Provost is unable to attend today’s meeting.


Follow-up on classroom discussion:  The Provost has appointed Rick Davis (Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education) to form a new group (task force) to examine classroom issues both in terms of technology as well as other non-technological issues in classrooms.  The group will include faculty representatives as well as representatives from the Faculty Senate. 


Should these concerns fall under the Effective Teaching Committee already in place?  Do we need a new committee?  Committee charge as written is unsuitable (to address recent problems); O&O may wish to examine changes to the Effective Teaching Committee’s charge.  Under present charge, committee members do not have a clear sense of their role; may lack high-end technology users; need for balance of both high-end and low-end technology users.  Most important that faculty have significant input on classroom issues.   Faculty participation on standing committees runs hot and cold, depending on who is in charge.  Suggestion made to include standing member from Effective Teaching Committee.


III.  Reports of Senate Standing Committee Chairs for inclusion in November 28th agenda


A.  Academic Policies – Janette Muir

The only pressing issue was received from the Registrar’s Office regarding incomplete grades; time-sensitive approval by the Faculty Senate at its January 23, 2008 meeting for inclusion in the university catalog for the next academic year.  Three issues have been identified by the Academic Procedures Advisory Committee (APAC – a group of assistant/associate deans and administrators chaired by Susan Jones, Registrar).  


Discussion:  Some 9 month faculty are not here over the summer; unable to provide signatures.  Catalog does not state signature requirements. Another issue involves faculty who give incomplete grades to students who have not earned a C or better grade in a course; violation of policy. Policy is that students must be passing the course – not a C or better.  Issue of whether the Banner systems could be adapted to include a drop down menu explaining the reason for the incomplete grade was discussed by the AP Committee and that’s not a feasible solution; the Registrar’s Office was perhaps recently inundated due to the incomplete deadline for updating grades, which may indicate why issue only recently discussed in APAC meeting; present deadline in 7th week of fall term (late October) for submission of spring term incomplete grades.  Suggestions made to move up deadline to first week of class in fall term.  In some large classes (300 students) there could be as many as 25 incomplete grades – perhaps third week of class more realistic. Also problem of giving incomplete grades to students who miss the final exam – (should be) given SA; which is later changed to an F by the Registrar’s Office, not by faculty.  Janette will take these concerns back to the AP Committee for further discussion.  It was also noted catalog editing changes could also be made past January 23, 2008 meeting date. 


B.     Budget and Resources – see IV.  Other Business for the next Faculty Senate meeting agenda


C.  Faculty Matters – Larry Rockwood distributed two motions for consideration:


1.  Motions on Tenure Clock Extensions for Military Service and Serious Illness

2.  Awarding of Tenure at the time of Hiring in Competitive Searches


Comments on “Vending Sales and Solicitation Procedures for Johnson Center, Student Union I and II: 

The following problems were identified:


1.  Throughout the document various activities are permitted if they to not interfere with “the core functions of the University.”  However this phrase is never defined and, without a specific agreed upon definition, almost any activity could be forbidden at any time.


2.  On page 5 (10a) the phrase “in and around the Johnson Center or Student Union I and II” is used.  There needs to be a more specific definition of “around the Johnson Center…..”  What exactly does this mean?  Is there some general understanding that has not been specified in writing?  This phrase is again used on page 14 (3).


3.  On page 14 (3) and page 16 (3), there are sentences that award the Director of Johnson Center and Student Union Operations the right to designate locations as appropriate for certain activities.  The Faculty Matters Committee recommends such decisions be subject to appeals to a committee consisting of faculty, students and appropriate staff.


4.  The committee would like to see a completely separate set of policies related to leafleting.  Furthermore, we would like to see a separate set of policies for commercial versus non-commercial leafleting. 


Cannot find report on Public Space and Assembly cited last year. No demonstration policy exists.  See  FS Minutes October 18, 2006 for Tom Hennessey’s presentation and recommendations made; to send list to him for further work. 


D.  Nominations – no report.


E.  Organization and Operations – Lorraine Brown

The committee is working with the Academic Policies Committee on assigning of issues; also issue for assignment to Budget and Resources.


IV. Other Business for the next Faculty Senate meeting agenda


12 month salary, continuation:  A draft letter was distributed for comment concerning the apparent shortfall of salary paid to faculty who are on 9-month contracts but paid over 12 months.  It will be included as part of Senate meeting notification sent tomorrow (November 20, 2007).

Discussion:  At a meeting held earlier this morning, agreement reached with Linda Harber (Associate Vice President for Human Resources/Payroll) and Morrie Scherrens (Senior Vice President) that there is a problem.   Phil has put in an incredible amount of time and devotion to this problem; simple, yet complicated.  When he informed Human Resources, Linda Harber responded that Banner and other Virginia schools also (use the same pay system).  Affects about 700 people; for those who are no longer here, we are assured that numbers worked out upon departure.

Every new faculty member hired since 2004 is required to be paid over 12 months.  This may also include raises received by 12 month faculty during salary freezes in the 1990s.  One faculty member paid on a 12 month pay schedule insisted on reverting to 9 month pay schedule.  Very serious concern expressed that Human Resources did not take faculty complaints seriously over many years.

Parking:  Some faculty may not be aware that parking fees may have been automatically renewed; may have arranged payment twice.   

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate