MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE
OF THE FACULTY
Monday, November 23, 2009
Mason Hall, room
D5 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Bennett, Doris Bitler, Rick Coffinberger, David Kuebrich, Janette Muir, Peter
Pober, Linda Schwartzstein, Susan Trencher
I. Approval of
Minutes of November 2, 2009: The
minutes were approved as distributed.
- At the
next Faculty Senate meeting, President Merten has agreed to take questions
first in lieu of providing an overview.
As in the past, faculty are encouraged to submit questions for the
President to the Chair in advance.
Office move to Northeast Module II, room 116 completed.
reports, business, and agenda items from Senate Standing Committees
Policies – Janette Muir
School: It was very helpful to meet
with Renate Guilford and Cathy Evans about summer school issues. Trimester
schedule suggestions not feasible, there is not enough time. During summer 2009, full-time faculty
who wished to teach one summer school course were paid 10% of their
regular salary per Faculty Handbook.. The amount of money available has not
changed, but the number of faculty who wish to teach summer courses has
increased. Proposed models for
compensation may include "capping", a finite amount of money is
available. Amounts available for
summer teaching vary among schools, based on FTE.
Discussion: Capping would violate Faculty Handbook. Questions raised about inadequate funding to
pay full-time faculty to teach course. Classes with fifteen students (which would pay
for faculty member's salary) may be cancelled.
No one can specifically tell us where the extra money goes. Notion that GMU profits from Summer School
challenged; money goes into budget to allay costs. All tuition funding goes out; there is a huge
amount of overhead, not just faculty salaries, but also staff, building costs,
etc. We would have fixed costs anyway,
but if not paid from summer school revenue, money would have to come from
somewhere. Don't short people/don't short students – why argue for more money
from state and then "short" faculty/students over summer
teaching/courses? The Executive
Committee will invite Cathy Evans to
talk with us at a future Executive Committee meeting, and will prepare and send
to her a list of questions in advance of her visit.
undergraduate/graduate courses: we are working on a draft, syllabi must be
Bob Ehlrich, Chair of Physics and Astronomy, has asked the committee to consider extending the A,B,C, no-credit policy as
it exists for English 101 to other courses, as many as 40% of students flunk their first physics test.
There are several implications for
adopting this policy change – most importantly it would impact time to
completion for many
their financial aid and eligibility to be part of the Mason athletic
B. Budget and
Resources – Rick Coffinberger
week, the most recent (AY 08-09) version of the Salary Data was
posted. We began a discussion with
Donna Kidd about obtaining updated data (AY 09-10); to receive mid-year
data; should be fairly straightforward.
The format was changed this year to group faculty by
alphabetical order, and will ascertain whether faculty prefer to view data this way.
Options: unfavorable reaction among committee members about one-day
furlough in spring term. An
earlier proposal suggested to not have classes on furlough day was
dropped, as some see faculty as a privileged group. Suggestion made to
provide AAUP handouts about pay/adjunct salaries, etc. The GMU administration needs to better
communicate these issues to the general public. Furlough is state imposed; applies to
all state employees. Question of
proportionate salary between 9 month and 12 month employees noted, unknown
if tiered system as proposed by Faculty Matters Committee would be
legal; folks not likely to
volunteer to give back money.
Faculty Matters – Doris Bitler
Options: We met with Linda Harber
two weeks ago. There is no more news on furloughs, waiting for General
Assembly to meet in 2010.
Partner Benefits: We will draft motion for spring term in support of
Virginia moving in this direction.
Handbook revision issues sent back to our committee. The Provost had issues that he did not
bring up here. Need to determine
mechanism/procedure to address Faculty Handbook revision issues.
Practice Plan: Our committee held a special meeting last week to
discuss the Faculty Practice Plan. The plan was approved by the Faculty
Senate early 2008; faculty participation in the plan was voluntary; and
could not be applied to faculty who did not wish to participate in the
Plan. Now that it has been operational,
a flood of concerns received from faculty in CHHS and SON. For two-year term faculty contracts due
in May, faculty will be required to get outside employment to replace 25%
of their salaries in the second year of the contract. The requirement has been written into
contracts not yet signed. We have
met with Linda Harber and University attorneys separately on this and will
contact Dean Shirley Travis to find out how it is being
operationalized. In response to
question about why term faculty were offered two-year contracts where many
term faculty are offered one- or three-year contracts, it was noted that
the university would not object to two-year term contracts per se.
D. Nominations –
for External Academic Relations Committee are: Deborah Boehm-Davis, Kelly Dunne, Penny
Earley (Provost's appointee), Stephen Farnsworth, Karl Fryxell, and Frank
and Operations – Susan Trencher
To Ensure Faculty Senate By-Laws and Charter Consistency was not addressed
at November 18th meeting due to insufficient time, will have
first review at December 2nd meeting.
some discussion, regarding inconsistent and outdated materials on the GMU
website (such as the old Faculty Information Guide), it was
recently learned that Internal Audit is responsible for posting as
consistent with state guidelines, but not to see whether comparative
documents may be contradictory.
After objections raised to establish a new faculty committee to
document review, consensus reached that units undertake document review
and send to the Faculty Senate inconsistencies discovered outside their
A. Minority and Diversity Issues Committee
Executive Committee decided to delay the inclusion of the Diversity
Statement submitted by the Minority and Diversity Issues Committee on the
Dec. 2nd agenda, and requests they develop a series of
benchmarks/thresholds to better articulate whether we as a community are
sufficiently addressing diversity issues/concerns.
Life just received results from a national diversity survey, which they
are now analyzing, and we will request
a copy of the survey results.
Space and Expression Committee – will meet next Monday.
Standing Committees continue to notify us of election of chairs.
and Diversity Issues – David Anderson
Chair will contact the Salary Equity Committee to ask them to elect a
V. Agenda Items for December 2, 2009
Business: Resolution: To Ensure Faculty Senate By-Laws and
Charter Consistency (O&O)
to the External Academic Relations Committee
Initiatives Committee Report – Fall 2009
VI. New Business
Extended Thanksgiving Break: Should
GMU drop Labor Day and Columbus Day holidays to create an extended (one
week) break at Thanksgiving? At a
meeting of professors from other universities, most persuasive argument
heard was to help students who live great distances from campus to return
home for the holiday. Staff
calendar does not coincide with the academic calendar. If staff required to work on a holiday,
time-and-a-half wages would be very expensive for university. The AP Committee
will look at this issue, and will consult with the Registrar's Office Some students leave (early) anyway.
conferencing future Senate meetings: not feasible for the spring term as
Research I, room 163 is not available.
Given limited availability of room, future meeting times may need
to be changed, as Robinson B113 not an appropriate venue. Recall Dean Polsby's concern about
better access for distributed campuses.
Some Executive Committee members objected to this proposal. In order to protect their identities
from administrators, Senators' names are not included in the minutes
unless they represent a committee, faculty may be wary of speaking
out. While acknowledging concern
of faculty on distributed campuses, very few faculty members
(non-Senators) attend Senate meetings. Media is very complex. The O&O Committee will further
explore this issue
review/brainstorm Provost's list of goals – to send items to committees as
budget review for past five years distributed.
Clerk, Faculty Senate