Friday, August 24, 2007, Mason Hall, room D5: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m.


Present:  Lorraine Brown, Phil Buchanan, Jim Bennett, Jim Sanford, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns


Approval of Minutes:  The minutes of April 16 and April 23, 2007 were approved as distributed.


Announcements/Old Business

·        New Senator Orientation takes place Wednesday, August 29th from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m. in Robinson Hall, room B113.  Executive Committee members are invited to attend if they can.

·        New Faculty Senate Website page has been redesigned by Media Relations. Suzanne demonstrated the new template on a laptop computer, anticipate it will replace the current website by next week.  Template includes two new links to display recent actions by the Senate and box highlighting upcoming events, such as next meeting agenda and draft minutes.

·        President Merten will address the Faculty Senate on November 28, 2007 and April 2, 2008.  Response pending from Rector Volgenau when he will address the Faculty Senate.


Reports of Senate Standing Committees for Inclusion in September 5, 2007 agenda:

·        Nominations Committee will present slates of nominations for Faculty Senate Standing Committees, University Standing Committees, and Faculty Representatives to various Committees.  In response to a question raised, term faculty are eligible to serve on University Committees; yes, with one years’ service to the University. 

·        Academic Policies Committee: Approval of Dates for Summer Term 2008:  Need for action prior to September 24, 2007 if changes to be made for summer 2008.  General discussion of importance of pedagogy in scheduling, resistance to scheduling during two summer holiday weekends, to try changes for next year to see how it works.  Would changes result in lower enrollment?  Would more faculty cancel classes?


Provost Stearns reports:

·        Two (male) faculty members (so far) have applied for Tenure Clock Extension for New Parents. 

·        All are concerned about the Virginia state budget cuts and how to translate into serviceable policies.  GMU will receive a 5% cut; some universities received 7.5% cuts.  Expects to have more details to report by September 5th Faculty Senate meeting.

·        Question raised about enrollment targets not met/acceptance letters sent out late; Provost Stearns responded the letters were not sent out late, but acknowledged the freshman class was smaller than had wanted.  Too few students were admitted, overconfident of yield rates.  State-wide Virginia Tech effect while folks making decisions; all state universities in Virginia went to wait lists; and press effects upon out-of-state applicants.  It looks like we will hit overall numbers.  Unit disparities – SOM, COS, and CVPA up; CHSS and CHHS down.  Budget impact zero, separate from 5% state budget cut. Will fix for next year.  About 120 fewer students than we wanted, but a big surge in freshman enrollment last week; final count available in mid-September. 


Ad Hoc Committees and Task Forces:

·        Motion to establish ad hoc committee to review new Teacher-Course Evaluation Form after two cycles usage.  Provost suggests committee interface with Kim Eby (Director, Center for Teaching Excellence and Associate Provost for Educational Improvements and Innovation) and Kris Smith (Associate Provost, Institutional Research and Reporting).

·        Need to approve extension for Task Force on Salary Issues, to ask chair of Task Force to prepare language.  Noted last year that Salary Equity Study Committee did not give report last year; committee reconstituted this year.  Provost questioned not clear who is doing what with two salary committees. (Note:  Budget and Resources Committee also publishes salary data and reports). 


Second-level Tenure Review and Faculty Action Approvals:  August 17, 2007 BOV meeting

·        Agenda for BOV meeting August 17 published in docushare on August 14.  There were no committee meetings (scheduled) for the August 17 meeting.  One item on the agenda “Faculty Actions” not posted on docushare although probably in Board book distributed, later placed in docushare by Mary Roper at request of Suzanne Slayden.  Four faculty members nominated for election to Associate Professor without Term (one a Robinson professor) pending BOV approval.  One faculty member’s form signed in February; other faculty members’ forms signed this summer.  The new Faculty Senate-sponsored policy on direct hires was approved in April.  Did any of these faculty undergo a second-level tenure review?

·        The Provost responded they were not direct hires; search procedures occurred for all four candidates; there should be a second-level tenure review for every election. 

·        Need for more formality and explanation on approval forms; to go to system that shows more procedure.  For three of four noted above, no reference checks were indicated.  Provost responded he did not think any of these cases irregular; all cases were sent to him, had a book on each case including references. 

·        Impact of absence/demise of David Rossell noted. 


Second-level Tenure Review: Faculty Handbook Committee

·        Krasnow Institute working on its by-laws.  ICAR has dropped second-level review.  The Faculty Handbook Committee to revise language to make sure institutes conform to university procedures. 

·        Need for intermediate motion requiring second-level review questioned by some members of the Executive Committee as already required in the Faculty Handbook. 

·        If there is a breach of rules in Faculty Handbook, who sanctions? 


Research Misconduct Policy Submitted for Approval at September 5, 2007 Faculty Senate Meeting:

·        Cover letter from Barry Stevens, Director, Research Policy Development distributed; for inclusion on agenda with links to revised policy.  Two important aspects:  policy itself and procedures for handling allegations. 

·        No longer limited to just scientific misconduct; research grants are all over the place.  Must be in conformance with federal law.  One code affecting all employees except students (who are covered by the Honor Code).  For those with a mixture of federal and non-federal grants, two standards unwieldy. 

·        Concerns expressed about adjudication addressed in cover letter: “#6 The policy clearly assigns responsibility for the various steps in a research misconduct proceeding to the respondents’ Dean or Director, the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the Provost, or the President. In doing so, it strikes a balance between unit and central administration and ensures that proceedings are free from both real and apparent lack of fairness. (and) #7 The policy includes all the protections for participants in research misconduct proceedings (respondents, complainants, witnesses, and committee members) that are required by Federal law and adds a number of others, including provisions intended to protect respondents against unfounded allegations.”


Motion to establish a Task Force to Improve Research Productivity:  Draft resolution in circulation; to be sponsored by individual Senators, not Executive Committee.  Task Force will need to conduct a survey to determine concerns of faculty.  Some schools lack mechanisms to deal with (some) situations as they occur. 

Other Concerns:

·        Lack of adequate office space: is there anything we can do?  May affect term faculty more.  Lack of privacy in Thompson Hall; repairs not finished over the summer.

·        Search for Vice President for Development still in progress.  To the extent that University raises money, it may mean a big increase in gifts to the university if hire a good director.  Reorganization of office may delay capital campaign.

·        Concern expressed about state budget cuts. 


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate