Monday, November 2, 2009

Mason Hall, room D1, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.


Present:  Jim Bennett, Doris Bitler, David Kuebrich, Peter Pober, Peter Stearns, Susan Trencher, Harry Wechsler.


I.  Approval of Minutes of September 28, 2009:  The Minutes were approved as distributed.


II.  Announcements


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


A.  Academic Policies – Harry Wechsler

Resolution on Academic Clemency  will be included on next Senate meeting agenda.


Cross-listing undergraduate and graduate courses:  AP Committee member Sheryl Beach has volunteered to serve on subcomittee.  There has been much discussion about the range of cross-listing courses from 200 to 700, (number) seen as far-fetched.  The Provost noted we are required to come up with new policies for SACS and hopes we can work together to create one set of policies. 


Military Credits:  We expect to receive proposal from Andrew Flagel (Dean of Admissions) and Rick Davis (Associate  Provost for Undergraduate Education) for inclusion on future agenda.


Access (International Student) Initiative:  Janette Muir attends meetings and keeps us apprised of developments.  Provost Stearns added that the Access curriculum is pretty well-developed.


Proposed Revisions to Summer School Policy:  A trimester schedule is not a serious option for logistical reasons, including food service employees who are not 12-month hires.  Provost Stearns clarified that we are trying to recast summer school policy, “trimester” a misnomer.  The addition of more summer school courses would enable students to take courses year-round, vs. nine-month enrollment target.  Another advantage offers flexibility to faculty who may wish to teach during summer/fall and not teach during spring term.  Disadvantages as noted by some engineering faculty are: faculty not motivated to offer more summer courses because it reduces fall enrollment.  Many courses are losing money by fixed amount, not FTE.  Some engineering faculty receive summer grant money greater than ten percent of annual salary they would earn to teach a summer course, and do not wish to give up possibility of increasing their income during the summer. 


Professor Bob Ehrlich met with the AP Committee to discuss his proposal to extend A,B,C, or no credit to other courses (beyond English 101).  The AP Committee continues to oppose this proposal.  Members of the Executive Committee noted that this could open doors in undergraduate courses in which students may ask for exceptions/excuses from mid-term exams.  Faculty may give early exams; those students who do poorly may opt to drop courses.  No motion is forwarded to consider the proposal. 



B.  Budget and Resources

Peter Pober, on behalf of Rick Coffinberger who was unexpectedly unable to attend our meeting today, reported that the B&R Committee met last Wednesday afternoon and approved a format for posting the most recent salary data. We are working with Meg to get it posted asap.  Once data is posted on the Senate web page, the committee wants an all-fac announcement sent out to that effect.  Also, Rick will meet with Donna Kidd this Wednesday afternoon to discuss securing new salary data as of 12-1. Lastly, the Committee has identified several budget issues for further study this academic year.  .

As an aside, the Chronicle today has an article about private university president's salaries. Assume they will soon be reporting the results of their annual survey of public university presidential salaries.


BOV members receive a subscription to The Chronicle of Higher Education.  As the Chair of the Faculty Senate is also a (non-voting) member of the BOV., Peter Pober will ask Tom Hennessey about receiving subscription for Senate use. 


A committee member noted that faculty have received a letter from Linda Harber announcing no raises this November.  Are bonuses (range of $1.5-$2 million) given at GMU?  What is the truth of the matter?


C.    Faculty Matters – Doris Bitler


The Faculty Matters Committee recommends consideration of the following changes (in red) to the 2009 Edition of the GMU Faculty Handbook.


2.1.6 Definition of Primary Affiliation


Although a faculty member's tenure resides in the University as a whole (see HUSection 2.1.1UH), tenure-track and tenured faculty are appointed directly and specifically to one or more local academic units. Term faculty are also appointed directly and specifically to one or more local academic units. The status established by such an appointment to a local academic unit is called "primary affiliation."  Each academic unit must articulate in writing the governance rights of its faculty members. This document should, at minimum, address which faculty members have the right to vote, attend and participate in meetings, serve on and/or chair committees. Primary affiliation in one local academic unit does not preclude the possibility of additional assignments to other local academic units with the approval of the majority of faculty of the unit(s) to which the faculty member is assigned. An appointment to primary affiliation requires the concurrence of the faculty of the local academic unit to which the appointment is to be made and may not be transferred from one local academic unit to another except with the concurrence of the faculty of the unit to which a transfer is proposed. Each academic unit should have written policies in place to respond to requests for to transfer affiliation.


Other Proposed Revisions to the Faculty Handbook:  Brian Walther (Senior Associate University Counsel) has a few Faculty Handbook issues to consider.  Unknown which committee should consider them,  the suggestion was made that members of the original committee (not yet formally disbanded) meet for an hour/once a year to consider them (as a bundle of issues).  Also pending consideration are proposed revisions to Section 2.13 regarding faculty participation in assessment submitted by Karen Gentemann (Associate Provost for Institutional Effectivness/Institutional Assessment).  It was noted that the members of the O&O Committee overwhelmingly oppose revision.  Doris Bitler will contact Karen Gentemann to ask for proposed wording.


Free Speech Policy:  Peter Pober and Dave Kuebrich attended a meeting today with Tom Hennessey (Chief of Staff), Sandy Scherrens (VP- University Life) and University Counsel representative(s).  We will invite Ken Hubble (Director, Internal Audit and Management Systems), Barb Lubar (Executive Director of Events Management), and Greg Toney (Executive Director, Auxiliary Enterprises) to our next meeting.  Concern not with educational enclave, but with the Johnson Center and ancillary services.  There is a need to streamline policies to promote free speech policy.  A committee member inquired whether free speech areas could be promoted closer to Southside, there are a lot of complaints about loud volume near Robinson, disruptive to classrooms.  Peter Pober responded that they are addressing “Amplification Procedures” to add volume level. 


Summer Salary Data:  Joe Scimecca is reviewing information received regarding summer 2009 faculty salary data. 


The Faculty Matters Committee has decided to “triage” the many issues it needs to consider, so the Cost of Recreation for Faculty, Bookstore Concerns, and Revisions to the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators Survey will be considered at a later time.  It was noted at this meeting that costs to use the Aquatic Center have increased 40% since October 6th, providing a disincentive to keep in shape.  There are no charges to use the Field House.  The Faculty Matters Committee promised to review how other universities handle these questions. A general discussion about bookstore issues (high costs - affordability for students,  Amazon.com, etc).  took place.  Some universities buy used books back from students at 50% list price; GMU buys used books back at 25% list price.  Provost Stearns noted that the bookstore’s “book” sales are down a lot this year – a $700,000 decrease, despite an increase of 1,500 more students. 


Additional Updates:

·         We will meet on November 18th with Linda Harber (Vice President for Human Resources/Payroll) to discuss furlough options and domestic partner benefits. 

·         We will meet with two faculty members from CHHS on November 11th to discuss their concerns about faculty practice (plan) issues. 

·         Provost Stearns suggested the committee send requests to him for administrative budget information. 

·         Ad hoc Committee for Document Review request has been referred to the O&O Committee

·         CHE request for input about additional professional liability insurance for faculty


D.  Nominations – no report


E.  Organization and Operations – Susan Trencher

We will have three motions for the next Senate Agenda:


IV.  Other Committees


University Standing Committees continue to notify us of election of chairs: Admissions – Suzanne Slayden; Effective Teaching – Rodger Smith; NIAL – Earle Reybold; Technology Policy – Stanley Zoltek;  Writing Across the Curriculum – Stanley Zoltek  Pending:  Minority and Diversity Issues*; Salary Equity

*have contacted us, pending result.


A discussion about the election of Faculty Senate Standing Committee chairs for the upcoming academic year at the end of the present academic year took place.  It would be very helpful to have next year’s Executive Committee functioning over the summer.  Some colleges/schools/institutes do not hold elections until after the final Senate meeting of the academic year; some provide this information very late (into the summer).  A proposal will be sent to the O&O Committee for its consideration.


 V.  Agenda Items for November 18, 2009


 VI.  New Business and Discussion

Faculty Senate Chair’s Responsibilities and Relationship to Senate Standing Committees and Their Chairs:  How does the Executive Committee sees the chair’s role both here and externally?  For example, is it reasonable for me to ask for a one-month deadline to receive committee chair election results?  The election can be decided by email, not necessary to have a meeting.  Members of the Executive Committee commented that service is not rewarded; hard to get people to do the work (e.g. inactive committees).  Nobody wants to be (committee) chair. We have not had a timeline before.  For here, how do you see the role of the Senate chair, in terms of a facilitator, not to come across as a condescending taskmaster?   A former Senate chair advised that you do what is necessary.


Extension of Faculty Senate Meeting Time:  After some discussion, it was determined that the Executive Committee may call additional meetings if needed.  To change the time (schedule) may conflict with  Senators’ schedules who teach classes at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.   Robinson B113 is usually scheduled for classes before/after our meeting time slot.


Concerns expressed by faculty about cost to recruit and hire two new deans (approx. $500K):  Provost Stearns reported that in one unit, “acting dean” setup is not viable for the long term.  Another dean has resigned (effective) at the end of the year.  The Provost has faced this issue before – old dean goes back to the faculty and must hire new dean.  When old dean retires, money “loaned” to pay his salary goes back to the central administration.  There will be leadership transitions over the next four years; to stagger appointments over several years.


Executive Committee’s response/questions for Provost ‘s lists of goals and issues for AY 09-10:  The Executive Committee appreaced very much that the Provost provided the list as a basis for dialogue.  We will include it on our next Executive Committee Meeting agenda (November 23).  Concern was expressed that committees need to pick up on various items; is it the role of the Executive Committee to be involved?  We will review/brainstorm and send items on the Provost’s list to the approporiate committees. 


Senate Office Move/Budget:  The Senate office will move to Northeast Module, room 116 sometime this month.  We have been asked to watch spending so as not to go over budget, as was allowed in the past.  This will amount to a $3,000 cut.  Moving expenses will be charged to the Facilities budget, as we are moving to accommodate another office.   We will review budgets for the past five years.  GMU is the only Faculty Senate among state universities in Virginia with release time, a secretary, and a budget. 


General Discussion/Financial Issues:    What is the impact of reduced state spending on building maintenace upon academic programs?  Inclusion of COLA in next budget may be rhetorical now; it may be addressed in the future as financial situation improves.  GMU has not published very well the fact that tuition increases result from less state funding.  Tuition is almost twice as high as a few years ago.  Public support for higher education is going down further, the situation will grow worse next year.  The Law School has moved forward in demographic shift; ratio betweeen in-state and out-of-state students at 50:50.  If state funding continues to decrease, ratio between in-state and out-of-state students could be raised more (to include more out-of-state students).  At what point does state support (peak), or do we pay more attention to K-12 spending?   Virginia ranks 40th of 50 states in support.  We are losing graduate students; long term impact of PLUS loans on students’ futures; lack of alumni support at a young institution; the population graduating is not satisfied.  We will send to Chris LaPaille/Bulova/Petersen/B. Jolly. the Cooper Center Study (Oct. 14th email) showing major impact of higher education spending on VA economy.


VII.  Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 4:25 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate