GMU Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes - September 15, 2008



Monday, September 15, 2008

Mason Hall, room D1


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


I.   Approval of the Minutes of August 22, 2008:  Please send any corrections or changes to Meg.


II. Announcements


Chair Suzanne Slayden distributed an email  from Marc Broderick, Vice President for University Development and Alumni Affairs, (September 12, 2008) in response to questions about how faculty research funds are counted in Development.  He enclosed an overview of the newly adopted  University Policy 4008 Private Sector and Foundation Funding to George Mason University and the George Mason University Foundation, Inc.


From email   “...the newly adopted Policy great detail outlines what is counted as a gift, what is counted as a grant, and what is counted as both. 


In short, if a research grant is given by a non-government funder without any quid-pro-quo it can be counted as a grant and a gift.  This is very important to both Mason and the funding source because often these foundations/corporations/funding sources see their contribution as much as a gift as sponsored research.  Therefore, if we do not recognize their support as a gift and grant, we are not complying with their initial intent. 


Last year the total amount raised in gift and pledges was $31,415,916.  Of that total, approximately $3 million was faculty driven and counted by both OSP and Development.” 


Discussion:  A little less than 10% of Sponsored Research funds are counted in Development.  Faculty may also want to know how much funding is placed in the endowment. Institutional decision to target specific amount for endowment limited by donations to “ready” fund; cannot do in isolation.  Donors often specify how money to be spent; it is more difficult to motivate donors to contribute to the endowment. The net assets in the endowment went down during the last Capital Campaign.  Of the $82 million Sponsored Program funding received, only $2.6 million were non-quid-pro-quo grants.  Need to build up endowment particularly in times when state funds sparse; could use income to raise faculty salaries.   Use of land owned by university also cited as potential revenue source.  To ask Mark Houck, Faculty Representative to the Land Use and Facilities Committee of the BOV, to ascertain whether GMU is trying to purchase additional land for faculty/staff housing  adjacent to campus now owned by the City of Fairfax.


III. Reports of Senate Standing Committee Chairs for inclusion in September 24 agenda

Academic Policies – Janette Muir, Chair.  The Committee met today; working on several issues:


(1) Approval of the next three year academic calendar (AY 2010-2013). A draft copy of the proposed calendar was distributed and suggestions made several years ago regarding proposed changes to the present three year calendar recalled. (Ultimately no changes were made to the present calendar.)  


(2) Repeat Course Policy – AP Committee consensus to let each school determine policy.  The Registrar states they cannot automate the process, that it would require three times/staff to monitor.  Under the current policy, students can take a course as many times as they want.  The School of Nursing has placed restrictions for twenty years; the School of Management wants to place restrictions on the number of times a student may repeat a course if the Registrar's Office has ability to monitor this.  Sometimes students retake courses to receive a higher grade (e.g. B instead of C-plus). Most schools GMU competes with do not permit unlimited repeats of courses; some limited not more than twice.  Unknown whether the Provost favors unlimited repeats; suggestion also made to charge students repeating courses higher tuition for repeated course. Concern expressed that faculty, not the administration (Registrar's Office) establishes academic policies.  Computer programs do not dictate policy. The School of Management has an automatic audit for all prerequisites, handled through Banner.  AP committee members may wish to contact Pam Allen, Assistant Dean for Academic and Career Services at the School of Management, for more information.


(3) The Registrar also expressed concern that some faculty are not submitting grades within 48 hour time-frame after the last final – this is not to include in catalog – but late grades can impact GPA, graduation status.  Some large classes may have finals on last day; many papers to grade.  Also should grades not be reported in timely manner, affects students who file appeals in a timely manner at the end of the fall term, because university closes down until January 2nd.  One suggestion made to include requirement in faculty contracts, especially to remind adjunct faculty about the deadlines.  To request data from Registrar's Office on extent of problem, whether primarily full-time or part-time faculty. 


Budget and Resources – no report.


Update:  Chair Suzanne Slayden has received additional data on indirect costs.  An earlier copy of a spreadsheet was provided for the Special Faculty Senate meeting called by the Salary Task Force (February 2008). The information was turned over to the Budget and Resources Committee with a request to examine the information and report back to the Executive Committee.


Faculty Matters – no report.


Nominations – Jim Bennett, Chair  Doris Bitler and Suzanne Scott are nominated to the Faculty Matters Committee; Julie Christensen to be replaced by Sheryl Beach on the Athletic Council.


Organization and Operations – Susan Trencher, Chair  The Committee has scheduled its first meeting for September 24 and will look into issues suggested (see EXC Minutes 8-22-08, IV.  New Business).


IV.  Agenda items for September 24, 2008 meeting also include:



·        Motion to approve the proposed University Policy on Ownership and Maintenance of Research Records:   Carryover from previous meeting when it was not approved because of unanswered questions by senators. Formal questions have not yet been submitted to the Senate representative, Sheryl Beach.

·        Introducing the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) –Kim Eby (Old Business)

·        Presentation about Budget Procedures and Issues:  Provost Peter Stearns and Senior Vice President Morrie Scherrens; may also talk about budget reductions.   

V.  New Business:  There was no new business.

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate