Monday, September 28, 2009

Mason Hall, room D5, 3:00 4:00 p.m.


Present: Jim Bennett, Doris Bitler, Rick Coffinberger, David Kuebrich, Janette Muir, Star Muir, Peter Pober, Peter Stearns.


I. Approval of Minutes of August 31, 2009: the minutes were approved as distributed.


II. Announcements

        Rector Volgenau will address the Faculty Senate at our next meeting (October 7th).

        FSVA Meeting rescheduled for Saturday, October 17th, 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., Mason D3

        Budget Forum with Provost Stearns and Sr. VP Scherrens Tuesday, September 29th 10:00 am, Johnson Center Cinema

        Faculty Forum on International Projects with Provost Stearns Tuesday, September 29th 11:30 a.m. Johnson Center Cinema


III. Progress reports, business, and agenda items from Senate Standing Committees

A. Academic Policies Janette Muir

        Continuing Issues: (1) Grading Changes: The AP Committee decided not to forward the proposal to the full Senate at this time, and invites Professor Ehrlich to provide further evidence in support of the motion. (2) Military Credits: we await further information from the admnistration.

(3) Academic Clemency (CHSS Student Policies & Appeals Committee): anticipate motion for November meeting; to propose extension of deadline to file appeal from six months to one year after return to campus.

        New Issue: Access (International) Program working on at Provost level. AP Committee supports inclusion of university (language) courses at the undergraduate level, not at the graduate level. The Provost suggested the AP Committee contact Michelle Marks (Associate Provost for Graduate Education). He does not support using ESL courses for credit, but supports use of some other undergraduate courses.

        We also had a long discussion about summer school proposal to change academic calendar to three trimesters, as a way to improve student access and building usage. A representative from the AP Committee needs to attend (planning) committee meetings on this issue. The Provost suggested the committee contact Renate Guilford (Associate Provost for Enrollment Planning and Administration) for more information.


B. Budget and Resources Rick Coffinberger

        Budget and Related Issues Update: Special Meeting (Sept. 16th): Everyone knows as much as I know. We will work with the Faculty Matters Committee on furlough options, including option (suggested by David Kuebrich at the special meeting) to schedule furloughs on a class day during the spring term in order to illustrate/maximize impact of state budget cuts to local community/taxpayers. We just received the breakdown figures requested at the Special Meeting on Friday.

         We have received a schedule for the Budget Planning Team (BPT) meetings from Donna Kidd.

         Furloughs: Peter Pober added that recent update from Human Resources confirmed that furloughs would include all full-time employees, including administrators, and both 9 month and 12 month faculty members. It would not include GTA's, GTE's, or wage employees. There is also a prohibition to giving a furlough day to international employees on certain H-1 visas. Rick also noted that 1 day furlough for 12 month faculty differs from 1 day furlough for 9 month faculty.

        New Issue: The Committee will discuss whether the Faculty Senate should renew its expired subscription to the Chronicle of Higher Education.


C. Faculty Matters Doris Bitler

        Continuing Issues: (1) Free Speech/Related Issues: we have not yet received a response from Morrie Scherrens/Larry Czarda. (2) Faculty Handbook items (a) governance definition (Coffinberger), (b) Section 2.1 primary affiliation (Coffinberger), (c) Section 2.13 faculty participation in assessment (Gentemann) were shifted to the Faculty Matters Committee from the O&O Committee.

        New Issues:

        Suggestions received for changes to Faculty Evaluation of Administrators Survey form.

        Administrative "Bloat" issue lost in conversation at Special Meeting.

        Domestic Partner Benefits: 64% of (academic) institutions with more than 10,000 students give domestic (i.e., unmarried) partner benefits. The State of Virginia has refused to honor court orders to provide such benefits. The Federal government has recently extended benefits to domestic partners.


D. Nominations Jim Bennett

        Committee on External Academic Relations: nominees pending approval of committee charge.

        Howard Kurtz to replace Kristine Bell on Academic Appeals Committee.


E. Organization and Operations Star Muir

        The committee will hold its first meeting next Wednesday.

        Continuing Issues: (1) Grievance Committee Charge Revision: The O&O Committee examined the charge last year. Concern expressed that the expanded responsibilities of the Grievance Committee as enunciated in the 2009 Faculty Handbook need to be specified in the charge. (4) Clarifications to Academic Initiatives Committee Charge: there was not time at the end of last year to examine this.


F. Questions/Discussion with Provost Stearns (not already noted above):

        Does the university provide low-interest loans as a recruiting tool for new faculty? Provost Stearns responded "No. Our gesture was the Masonvale project. We had land, not money. We do provide bridge loans for pay gaps over the summer, (on a) very temporary (basis).

        The Masonvale website does not include information about rents. The Provost suggested we contact Tom Calhoun (VP of Facilities) about this.

        Furlough Update: There will be an article in the Mason Gazette tomorrow (Sept. 29, 2009) http://gazette.gmu.edu/articles/14685 . Governor Kaine has announced that the furlough will be applied to all university personnel, proposing the date of May 29, 2010, which is beyond the end of nine-month faculty contracts. The furlough decision may be reversed by the General Assembly. The furlough would have no effect upon benefits. Nor would it affect adjunct faculty, although it may affect some part-time faculty.

        Recent Dissemination of email on the Faculty Senate Listserv: The Provost found the emails disseminated a few weeks ago very troubling. When information of this sort is disseminated, not to run it past him before dissemination fundamentally uncivil to do effort at "gotcha" not conducive to good relationship. No communication about this reached me until that day; not a responsible method of communication. Jim Bennett stated that chair insisted I send this to him as soon as possible; acknowledged that this was an anecdotal, rather limited (document). A lot of people supported what we were trying to do. In closing, Peter Pober added that the longer we have opportunity to get information in advance before a meeting, the better off we are. It was not my intention to use the all-fac; it was a mistake to do so and apologised for the dissemnation.


IV. Other Committees


A. Collegiality Committee: Goodlet McDaniel, Rick Davis, and Rose Pascarell have agreed to serve as the administration's representatives to the committee. Provost Stearns was also encouraged to occasionally attend the committee's meetings.


B. Academic Initiatives Committee met with Provost Stearns last week. Three areas to be identified where issues may develop this year, two had individual faculty representatives before the establishment of this new committee. Possible post-consultancies will be brought to the AI Committee for input. The future new hire (Associate Provost for Global Initiatives) would have a (role) on this committee. Are the new global initiatives going to absorb funds when the budget is very weak? Is this part of the AI Committee charge? The Provost responded that $150,000 has been committed to International Student (recruitment); anticipate $1,000,000 (tuition) revenue. Some international projects cost money before revenue comes in. Biggest initiatve to increase international student enrollment for financial reasons.


C. Technology Policy Committee to provide update on listserv delays and 911 telephone service problems.


V. Agenda Items for October 7, 2009

        Rector Volgenau

        Resolution of Appreciation for Mrs. Nancy deLaski (L. Monson)

        Kim Eby QEP Update

        Denise Ammaccapone Dining Services

        Benn Crandell Auxiliary Services (Copy Center questions)



VI. New Business and Discussion

        Resolutions Committee: Some larger organizations have resolutions committees, which primarily compose resolutions of thanks at the end of academic year. Some committee members considerered it a tedious job; would a committee need to be created, or just designate one person?

        All-fac distribution and Senators only distribution: general consensus that Senate chair use best judgment on when to distribute all fac/Senators only emails. No formal rules, just general principles, need to keep volume of emails under control .

        Problems with 911 telephone service safety and liability issues; to invite Univ. Police representative to November 18th FS Meeting: The Technology Policy Committee had a full discussion about Walt Sevon's presentation: not just fixing a small subgroup because of how system is structured a whole process didn't work as it was supposed to work vendors called to account.. Even Walt Sevon admitted it was a poor transition plan; had to get new system because old system technology expiring. The new Blackboard technology should not have gone down (last fall). 911 problems are far more serious. Community alert messages about disruption to/ reestablishment of 911 service down are more pro-active than before.

        Who is overseeing/auditting new delivery methodologies for distance learning courses to see if they are meaningful academic experiences? Some distance-learning classes on NOVA website are less rigorous examples. GMU has backed into distance learning; functionally used in some programs. An issue of quality control, it is the obligation on part of each academic unit to ensure there is a level of rigor; do we wish to have more on-line courses? There will be more distance degrees offered in the state of Virginia in the future, possibly as many as 25%. Courses orginally approved by the Curriculum Committee may became on-line courses over time. Is there no reveiw of classes once they go on-line?

        Spring Course 2010 Release assigned to Rick Coffinberger.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate