GMU Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - August 22, 2008



Friday, August 22, 2008, Mason Hall, room D1; 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.


Present:  Jim Bennett, Phil Buchanan, Janette Muir, Larry Rockwood, Peter Stearns, Suzanne Slayden, Susan Trencher.


I.   Approval of the Minutes of April 18, 2008:  The minutes were approved as distributed.


II.  Announcements

New Senator Orientation will take place next Wednesday, August 27th at 3:00 pm in Robinson B113.

The chair encouraged all members of the Executive Committee to attend if possible.  Chair of the Nominations Committee,  Jim Bennett reported there were still vacancies for many committees and urged the Chair to encourage new Senators  to volunteer for committees.


Provost Peter Stearns presented several issues for consideration:


The provost has written to the BOV about the progress of the Faculty Handbook revisions. The BOV plans to take up the revisions after they are approved by the Faculty Senate in October. The Provost is very pleased that the process is moving along well.


The Provost hoped to bring an advance draft of the retirement policy; a meeting is scheduled for  next Tuesday (August 25) with (Senior Vice President) Morrie Scherrens.  The Provost is hopeful to have (the advance draft) soon, and regrets it will not be ready in time for the first Senate meeting this year.


The BOV is proposing a considerable restructuring of its committees. They will be reporting out of their Executive Committee meeting on the results of the committee restructuring. The Executive Committee of the BOV has been authorized to make this decision. 


The Provost commented on the extraordinarily bitter negotiations with SCHEV over the COLA issue.  GMU requested an independent agency do a study; we did get an agreement that GMU will sponsor a study that SCHEV and some other state agencies will participate it; not without some risk.  Hopefully will receive answer in (study) results later in the fall. 


An EXC member was delighted with the appointment of Vince Callahan to the Board of Visitors; as he has been involved in the Richmond scene forever.  Visitor Callahan has  served as the Republican representative for the 34th District of Virginia from 1968 – 2008. During his tenure in the legislature he served in a number of key positions, including chairman of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, co-chairman of the Bio-partisan Northern Virginia Delegation to the General Assembly, chairman of the Joint House-Senate Republican Caucus, and House Minority Leader. During his last term in the legislature, Callahan served as chair of the House Appropriations Committee.” (From BOV website biography).


III.  Reports of Senate Standing Committee Chairs for inclusion in September 3 agenda

l        Academic Policies – no items

l        Budget and Resources – no items

l        Faculty Matters – no items

l        Nominations –  Slates of Nominations for Faculty Senate Standing Committees, University Standing Committees, and Faculty Representatives will be presented; status of Senate vacancies to be discussed.

l        Organization and Operations – no items


Proposed agenda for September 3, 2008 meeting also include:

l        Report from the Faculty Handbook Committee concerning open faculty forums and schedule for approval.

l        Elections to committees.

l        Approval of proposed university policy on Ownership and Maintenance of Research Records.

l        Guests speakers:  Christine LaPaille, VP for University Relations, and a representative on behalf of Kim Eby to speak about QEP for SACS accreditation; Andrew Flagel, Director of Admissions, and Keith Bushey, Asst VP for Special Projects , to speak about safety and security and building lock-downs.


IV.  New Business


For Academic Policies Committee: 

l        Registrar's proposed 3-year academic calendar requires Senate approval.

l        Request discussed at end of spring 2008 whether schools can limit the number of times courses can be retaken; to clarify for everyone what the rules are,

l        Proposed change to Synthesis requirement for General Education – how it is handled?  AP Committee feels General Education Committee has more resources – should issues arise where more synthesis courses are needed, to be handled at department level.  The Provost disagrees, should be a combined decision between the General Education Committee and individual units. 

l        Janette Muir attended a discussion on the Honor Code – transcript labeling an issues for students; lots of problems with process, ideas and recommendations suggested; send to Donna Fox (Associate Dean for University Life). Although students are responsible for the honor code, there have been procedural changes over the summer, e.g. “reasonable amount of time” vs. “ten days” (assume the latter use of specific number denotes change), among other items. Reference made to “two-strikes-and-you're-out” policy in one department in the School of Management with regard to repeated cheating problems.   Another committee member expressed dismay at the use of community service as punishment. 


Organizations and Operations Committee

l        New charge for University Grievance Committee needed because of changes proposed in Faculty Handbook; one representative from each school/college/institute to hear grievances against deans, provost, president, etc.  - purview of O&O committee. 

l        Amendments to charge of General Education committee have been proposed by committee.

l        Amendment to charge of O&O Committee to include responsibility for appointing one of their members to be a representative to any joint Faculty/Administration Committee to consider future changes to the Faculty Handbook.  Proposed revision process involves a committee of three faculty members and two administrators to discuss revisions – should administration and faculty not agree on changes.  All revisions are sent to BOV for final approval.


Task Force to Evaluate the Teacher-Course Evaluation Form – report at April 30, 2008 Faculty Senate meeting. In a general discussion about this issue, it was noted the most recent changes made the forms too long.  The committee will also be considering the university proposal to conduct the evaluations on-line.   


Mark Broderick (Vice President for Development) has asked how he can keep the faculty continually informed about the status of development progress.  Should the reports be linked to the Faculty Senate website?  What type of data should they include? Need to distinguish money raised by faculty (grants) and money raised by administration. Some members of the committee strongly feel grant monies raised by faculty should not be included in development office's totals. 


Faculty Senate Representative to the State of Virginia:  as none of the nominees to the External Academic Relations Committee are interested, the chair has been asked to recruit a representative to this committee. 


Faculty Credentials at the UAE campus:  a department chair (in Fairfax) received a request to review the Curriculum Vitae of a faculty applicant.  The CV was literally in a format totally unfamiliar, e.g. it contained no information about courses taught. Perhaps a more standardized resume is needed; lacked sufficient information to make an evaluation. Question to be forwarded to Kim Eby, who will soon visit the RAK campus. It was noted that the Satellite Operations Committee has not given a report in two years and perhaps the continuation of that committee should be discussed.


Proposed agenda items for September 24, 2008 meeting include Provost Stearns and VP Morrie Scherrens on the budget; and Donna Fox will speak about the Honor Code.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate