GMU Faculty Senate Executive Committee - January 12, 2009



Monday, January 12, 2009, Mason Hall, room D5, 1:30-2:30 p.m.


Present:  James Bennett, Rick Davis, Rick Coffinberger, Suzanne Slayden, Susan Trencher.


I.  Approval of the Minutes of December 10, 2008:  The minutes were approved as amended.


II.  Progress Reports, Business, and Agenda Items from the Senate Standing Committees


A.  Academic Policies

Catalog copy was reviewed and returned.  It is anticipated the catalog will go on-line sometime this year, which will save money in the long term.


B.  Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger

A motion requesting endorsement (not approval) of the Phased Retirement program will be included.  No news received yet on when we can expect to receive updated salary data.  Mid-cycle salary increases have been put on hold until mid-January.  It is possible base adjustments could be made should additional responsibilities be stipulated. 


Rick Coffinberger also cited some interesting statistics found in the Human Resources and Payroll Annual Report – July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008: at .


“C.  Salary Review Committee Activity (p.6):  The Salary Review Committee reviews pay increases greater than 10% or $10,000 for non-wage staff and greater than 25% for wage staff.  In FY'08, 112 salary increase proposals were reviewed; 99% were approved.”

·        As far as we know, there is no instructional faculty representative on this committee.

·        Rick Davis noted that having proposed some of these raises, some salaries raised 10% at level of $30,000 = $3,000 increase.

·        Concern also expressed that in the absence of such information, people assume the worst. Need for transparency, this only catches the big ones.

·        Information about aggregate decisions is FOIAable, not about individual decisions.

·        Early in the spring semester is the time when people negotiate to new positions; above data not available until it's too late.


    “E.  Performance Management (p. 7):

Last fall, the Compensation & Classification team processed 1,730 performance evaluations for administrative/professional faculty and classified employees. 98% of classified employees were rated as solid achievers or higher by their supervisors. Over 97% of administrative/professional faculty were rated as demonstrating the ability to fully meet the standards of the university or higher.


In 2007, 100% of classified performance evaluations were received in Human Resources & Payroll. In contrast, only 80% of the administrative/professional faculty evaluations were received....  Ensuring that all administrative/professional faculty are evaluated is important to the upcoming Southern Association of Colleges & Schools (SACS) accreditation.

Discussion:  Combining the “generally superior” and “fully meets standards” categories equals 97.5%.  Nearly 75% are “generally superior”. 

C.  Faculty Matters

Resolution for the Senate to Make an Annual Evaluation of  the President and Provost

D.  Nominations – Jim Bennett

One nomination:  Joe Scimecca to fill a vacancy on the Faculty Matters Committee.

E.  Organization and Operations – Susan Trencher

·        Charge of External Academic Relations Committee needs to be cleaned up.

·        Working on two motions to cover oversight of international and local campuses.  (see also III.  Announcements/New Business).

·        Concern about changes made by General Education Committee which did not go through the Faculty Senate.  No report has been given since departure of former chair/associate Provost Marilyn Mobley (Spring 2007).  In the past, Marilyn solicited the opinion of the Academic Policies Committee.  Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, appointed by the Provost, is Chair of the General Education Committee. The General Education Committee considers issues with real implications for colleges, especially when university course requirements change, which can have great impact upon individual units, schools, and colleges.  As the present chair of the General Education Committee, Rick Davis noted that the committee has not made any such (broad/sweeping) changes since he has become chair (Fall 2007). 

·        An interim report received from the Task Force on Satellite Campuses (June 2007), was recently received and will be distributed to the Executive Committee.  Many questions raised in the report were not answered, or answered erroneously, especially with respect to the funding of the Ras al Khaimah (RAK) campus.  



III.  Announcements/New Business

A.  Request to form a standing global committee of the Faculty Senate, analogous to the Technology Policy Committee, to help channel faculty concerns and assessments and ideas. Tentative charge: As Mason becomes steadily more involved in global initiatives while maintaining a strong commitment to global education on campus, a faculty committee to work with the various international offices is a vital means of providing faculty input and oversight. A committee would also avoid the need for special appointments to participate in each new initiative, providing more consistent and informed contributions. The committee would ultimately work with the VP for International Affairs (an office not yet established but in planning) and with the Provost and other relevant officials.

Discussion:  Need for two committees because it entails a lot of work, and different issues, e.g. academic programs held in Chantilly outside GMU campus, very different from monitoring the increasing number  academic exchange programs with universities abroad.    Should the committees be Senate Standing Committees (members must all be Senators) or University Standing Committees (at least one member must be a Senator)?  Concerned expressed about loss of Senate oversight at the University-standing committee level. 


B.  Faculty presence at Budge Planning Committee Meetings

Discussion:  For several years, the Budget Planning Committee has extended an invitation to a member of the Budget and Resources Committee to attend a meeting once month.  Increased   faculty participation important given (budget) decisions which will have to be made in the next couple of months.  The Chair of the Faculty Senate asked that  a faculty representative from the Budget and Resources Committee be invited to each meeting.  Faculty representatives were invited to attend three meetings in December, 2008, but were asked to attend only monthly thereafter. Strong feeling that faculty should be there weekly as observers, if not participants, importance of receiving first hand information, with understanding that some information would remain confidential.  If we do undertake this, need to be certain a faculty representative attends EVERY meeting. An important meeting of the Budget Planning committee will take place tomorrow.  Seriousness of budget situation has great impact on academic planning. 


C.  Should the Faculty Information Guide appear as a companion document to the Faculty Handbook?  The “FIG” also needs to be cleaned up, since the approval of the Faculty Handbook. The question will be referred to Faculty Matters for discussion. 


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate