MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
OF THE FACULTY SENATE
February 23, 2009
Mason Hall, room D5 1:30 p.m.
Present: Jim Bennett, Rick Coffinberger, Dave Kuebrich, Janette Muir, Larry Rockwood, Suzanne Slayden (by teleconference phone), Peter Stearns, Susan Trencher.
I. Approval of the Minutes of February 2, 2009: The minutes were approved as distributed.
Resolution: Statement of Academic Termination for Undergraduates at GMU (to be inserted on page 40 of the University Catalog… also clarifications p. 33, 34) distributed for inclusion on March 4th agenda. In response to a question raised, Professor Muir confirmed that repeat issues occur mostly in the sciences, math, and accounting. The motion was also vetted by Susan Jones (University Registrar).
The AP Committee held a very collegial meeting with Rick Davis (Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education/Chair of the General Education Committee). The charges of the Gen Ed. and AP Committees were reviewed. All agreed that issues which require catalog changes should be brought to the AP Committee; not to make catalog changes without (first) going through relevant structure. The Gen. Ed. Committee is working on a lot of SACS issues, such as credit for exams policies. Professor Muir will also follow up with Associate Provost Davis regarding suggestion(s) about changes to synthesis courses raised last summer by a faculty member.
Discussion: Professor Muir confirmed that new catalog copy is submitted to the AP Committee for review prior to publication. Some departments complain deadlines very narrow for submitting changes in catalog copy, and also cited examples of typographical errors and missing information such as faculty names, ranks, etc. Departments should inform dean’s office about errors.
We have no action items. Last week I attended a Budget Planning Team meeting. Roughly every two weeks (the B&R Committee rep.) will meet with Provost Stearns, Morrie Scherrens (Sr. Vice President), and Donna Kidd (Associate Vice President for Budget and Planning). The Provost noted that the Virginia Senate has introduced a bill to rescind some budget cuts. A new link to the Budget Office website: Mason Ideas: Submit Ideas for Addressing Financial and Educational Challenges (faculty, staff and students are encouraged to submit their ideas) will soon be active (modeled on a similar link of the University of Illinois). We also met a few weeks ago with Roger Stough (Vice President for Research and Economic Development) in which he answered questions about how (precisely) grant funding divided up.
Proposed Free Speech / Demonstration Policy Update: The Committee met with Professor Jim Kozlowski (SHRT) and Professor Victoria Rader who serves on the Campus Climate Committee; a long-range broad discussion took place. At our next meeting, we hope to find out who in the Johnson Center is in charge of the “free speech zone” and who decides which groups permitted use of a table. In the absence of a policy, Victoria Rader to find out who makes decision, some personnel turnover occurred. Anticipate meeting of interested parties prior to the arrival of the circus; hopefully to keep the peace.
Strong sentiment expressed that any proposed free speech policy should first be approved by the Faculty Senate. The Provost suggested the Senate consult with Tom Hennessey (Chief of Staff).
Review of Faculty Information Guide: There are many, many broken links and outdated information. These problems have been reported to the webmaster in the Provost’s Office. Two members of the Faculty Matters Committee are reviewing the Guide for content.
D. Nominations Committee – no report.
E. Organization and Operations – Susan Trencher, Chair
Motion for inclusion in March 4 agenda to create a new (University Standing) Committee to address GMU campuses located outside the state of Virginia as well as collaborations with other campuses.
We continue working on revisions to Grievance Committee charges to conform to changes made to newly revised Faculty Handbook. Some changes also needed to AP Committee charge to avoid overlap with proposed new committee; we have not yet revised charge of External Academic Relations Committee.
Ernie Barreto is working on allocation of Faculty Senate seats for 2009-10; dates specified in charter regarding allocation should not be used because the FTE count is not accurate on that date. Instead, the last official data is used. . Earlier election of Faculty Senators would facilitate election of next year’s Executive Committee membership before the end of the current academic year. Changes to the charter require approval vote of entire faculty.
III. Agenda for March 4th: Rector Volgenau and Mark Broderick (Vice President for University Development and Alumni Affairs) to attend. In response to a question raised, the Provost is happy to answer questions, but did not think it appropriate to introduce him on the agenda more than once a semester. He also provided a brief update about the RAK campus.
IV. New Business
Faculty Senate Evaluation of President and Provost: Further revisions to the draft instrument were discussed. The survey will be distributed to chairs of Senate and University Standing Committees and Task Forces active during the past year. An anonymity provision will be incorporated if so requested, although value of anonymous information questioned.
President’s Resolution Response: “As I have stated on several occasions, I only discuss my compensation with Sally and Dr. Volgenau. Therefore, I will not address the matter of my compensation with the Faculty Senate in writing or in person.”
President Merten distributed a letter to the Mason community (February 18, 2009 – See Appendix A). Professor Slayden confirmed that the draft text of February 18th letter referenced above was circulated to the BOV prior to publication of “Taking Raises and Taking Heat” Inside Higher Education, Feb. 17, 2009. Suggestion made to send another letter to President Merten expressing faculty concerns about salary issues. President Merten is scheduled to attend the April 1st Faculty Senate meeting. VA State Representative David Bulova introduced a bill for more public oversight of salaries, which did not pass.
Bookstore Response: Professor (and Faculty Senator) Betsy DeMulder serves as the new faculty liaison to the bookstore. She will report at March 4th Faculty Senate meeting. Consensus that problems encompass a whole range of issues, and are escalating; (action/solution) long overdue. GMU receives money from a profit-sharing plan with the bookstore.
Clerk, Faculty Senate