Minutes of the Executive Committee

of the Faculty Senate
Monday, February 22, 2010, Mason Hall, room D5, 3:30-5:00 p.m.

 

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

 

Visitors Present: Linda Harber, Associate Vice President for Human Resources; Thomas Moncure, University Counsel; Dean Shirley Travis, College of Health and Human Services.

 

I. Approval of Minutes of February 1, 2010: The minutes were approved as distributed.

 

II. Announcements

 

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

A. Academic Policies Janette Muir

Cross-listing undergraduate/graduate courses: a draft motion was distributed for input. The Graduate Council is reviewing it, and we have also worked with Claudia Rector in the Provost's Office regarding SACS. The motion will be included on the March 3rd agenda.

Proposal to Shorten Add Policy: We have meet as a committee and discussed this several times. We will present a motion recommending a shorter ADD period. Students will never get up to speed under the present ADD policy, by starting a class two weeks late. The add period would be shortened to eight days, to allow for holiday. This does not impact census data. Student Financial Aid cannot be disbursed until after ADD period has closed; under the new proposal, students can receive aid more quickly. This also brings us into parity with other Virginia institutions. The proposal came to us from the Registrar on behalf of the APAC Committeee (those who deal with thesse issues all the time, such as assistant deans).

Discussion: Assuming the senate passes this, make sure you communicate it to student government.

On Line Course Evaluations: SOM was informed they will be using them. The Provost noted that the results do not differ, but (on-line) participation is lower, consistent with reseasrch. You get richer comments and slightly better numerical scores. We will contact Kris Smith and the Teaching Effectiveness Committee for more information.

 

B. Budget and Resources Rick Coffinberger

Furlough Options: Some would like to take pay reductions over more than one paycheck.

The next BPT Meeting takes place March 2nd, which I will attend. I have met with Donna Kidd and Morrie Scherrens for updates.

 

C. Faculty Matters Doris Bitler

Furlough Options : Jim Sanford drafted example of tiered furlough options,. We know nothing more.The Provost added that this is not under our control. Should GMU should go on the record to say we would have differentiation at $60K level? AAUP should address this question..

Domestic Partner Benefits: no further news.

Teaching Contributions of Administrative Faculty pending response from Provost's Office

Cost of recreation for faculty: Jim Sanford is working on this.

Faculty Evaluation of Administrators: We will meet with Institutional Assessment on March 3rd, there are no major changes.

Summer School: Joe Scimecca will make a presentation at the next FS Meeting. Concerns include how labs are counted. Discussion: It was noted in the past that different colleges had different practices. If you overdo your budget, you have to go to your unit. The central question is money when there are disagreements, is the amount of money adequate to meet people's needs?

New proposal received from Victoria Rader to have an informal network to look at campus climate. The FM Committee thinks it is a fine idea if we do not have to do it. Should faculty be interested, all sorts of issues could come under umbrella. There needs to be some involvement to assure some degree of representation, but added that he was not requesting this, just responding. After some discussion, it was decided to ask Sandy Scherrens to talk to Victoria Rader about this.

 

D. Nominations Jim Bennett

David Kuebrich Student Spaces and Security Advisory Committee

 

E. Organization and Operations Susan Trencher

Review of Charter and By-Laws: as voted at the last Senate meeting, O&O will take charge of this. University Code of Ethics Proposal from Tom Hennessey to be studied.

 

IV. Other Committees

 

A. University Standing Committees continue to notify us of election of chairs.

 

V. Agenda Items for March 3, 2010

 

VI. New Business and Discussion

 

A. Faculty Practice Plan

Senate Chair Peter Pober welcomed Dean Travis and Tom Moncure to discuss the Faculty Practice Plan in the College of Health and Human Services. Dean Travis distributed a information sheet "Faculty Practice: Innovation, Evidence-Based, Discovery, Engagement" which provided detailed responses to the questions: "What is faculty practice?"; Goals for CHHS Faculty Practice", "How are CHHS faculty current serving our community through faculty practice?", and "How do we develop faculty practice opportunities?" A summary of the discussion follows:

 

Question: Somewhere along the way, the Faculty Practice Plan was seen as a tryout, participation as voluntary. Is that the case?

 

Dean Travis: CHHS is the pilot unit for the Faculty Practice Plan. The implementation of the Faculty Practice Plan for CHHS is included in our strategic plan, a four year process. When I interviewed (for the deanship) six years ago, faculty told me they had to practice to maintain certification. It is not a mystery, we have been working on this for four years. We may be hiring more clinical faculty a strategic trend in the college.

 

Some term faculty offered this opportunity have opted not to be part of the plan.. Some have been offered one-year term contracts. Term faculty who wish to engage in practice are offered two year appointments, in which they must engage in practice during the second year. Over the past 18 months, we have been working to make practice opportunities available.

 

We have always had research faculty, hired with 100% research funding. When they hit a dry spell, we provided bridge funding, some faculty did not find other funding. Ultimately (our goal) is to have a clinical track and a research track.

 

Question: What are the teaching requirements for term faculty?

Dean Travis: This is a complicated area for nursing faculty as it varies by area. Formulas written in policy, equivalent but different credit hours, similar to requirements for social work faculty.

 

Question: Would there be adjustments made to other responsibilities?

Dean Travis: We assign workload agreements each year in the spring. Faculty review and negotiate with their unit admnistrator for the upcoming academic year. Workload adjustments have not been a problem. For example, adjustment to workload made where someone contributed 25% - grant or clinical (funding).

 

Question: Some faculty on term appointments have made long term contributions to the college. Can they receive a waiver on transition policy for term faculty? Under same conditions as for tenured faculty?

Dean Travis: Because of how the program evolved over time, with a large undergraduate program, there are a large number of faculty members who have not practiced for a long time, receiving teaching appointments year after year. We have tried to be respectful of faculty. Some have masters degrees, some received waivers of emeritus requirements. We have to keep moving forward, necessary in a research university.

 

Question: Will the Faculty Practice Plan be adopted in some version in another part of GMU?

Dean Travis: The Task Force was comprised of faculty from CHHS, CHSS, CEHD, as well as Director Jim Olds of the Krasnow Institute. There are a lot of people at GMU who will need to practice. If they are practicing under our umbrella, they will come back and participate in our education and research missions. If we do this as a university, there has to be university oversight. CHHS was chosen as the pilot. The Faculty Practice Plan allows us to bring in practicioners. If we move forward with medical education at GMU, the most obvious example is clinicians with combination of practice and research. In CHSS, we are not in a fee for service structure, we are working in community service. She added that at some universities, it is hard to have more than one group going forward. Somebody had to go first, and we were that group, to share our sorrows and successes.

 

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee decided to address this because the Faculty Practice Plan was not limited to CHHS, but potentially included other units.

 

Question: One of the (responsiblities of the Executive Committee) is to squelch rumors, get to the heart of things. What measures have you put in place? What did you do to help folks pay attention? Some tenured faculty have expressed their concerns to us.

Dean Travis: Tenured faculty were not invited to the meeting called for term faculty. Pat Donini (Deputy Director/Human Resources) and another representative from Human Resources were present to clarify questions. People have misheard (questions) have been repeatedly clarified. Three faculty members felt this was not handled well. I accept this criticism, but they are the first group up for renewal. We are beyond that now, appreciate them sitting down with HR. Once the strategic plan was created (with input from the whole college) we have been looking at the strategic plan for two years at least.

 

Question: Is there a sense the college has embraced this, does everyone else understand?

Dean Travis: Term faculty members are there to support academic mission and strategic model. It is a struggle for some long-term faculty. We are now conducting two (nationwide) searches. As we continue to make transformation and as we see clinical faculty successful, faculty members most upset in the fall are now rolling up their sleeves. A brochure is now under development; each academic unit will be highlighted. Two new departments are coming in 2011.

 

Comment: Everyone had good intentions, but there was this disconnect, need to put more in writing about choices people have. That would make a big difference. Why not put more formally to alleviate misunderstandings?

Dean Travis: Contracts will be as explicit as I can make them.

Question: There is not a guarantee of renewal?

Dean Travis: I will not do that (say a.b) because I do not do this with other term appointments, you can run a college with an inventory of choices. Right now we are using term contracts at level of specificity variations 25-40%. Across campus, trend to give term faculty one year appointments.

Linda Harber: Term appointments vary by school, discipline. Change is hard for some in practice areas. When people get upset, they hear differentially, people called us with stuff we knew had not been said.

 

Comment/Question: Understands how repetitive, and people still don't understand. This question is not so much clinical practice but the salary one got paid for clinical practice differences. Some of money must be earned off campus, and brought back to unit?

Dean Travis: It is not, as you can see in the information sheet. We have contracts with INOVA and UMD; the contracts go through the Office of the Sponsored Programs. It is exactly the same model we use for research faculty. We have worked this out for five people university sanctioned contracts. No one needs to go out and get a second job, does not want faculty doing this, wants to get high end clinicians.

 

Chair Pober: When we discussed this, Linda Harber confirmed that Human Resources was in the process. A lot of misinformation out there, (faculty) not doing their own due diligence. To disseminate information more profoundly for example, to use a series of bullet points, not to tie up your phone, and for the future, beyond the pilot program.

 

Comment: This issue is not limited to CHHS. We've had term faculty around for a long time what is their future like in terms of retirement income? I sometimes think term faculty should not be renewed beyond five years. Perhaps they could get better paying jobs elsewhere? Should they be counselled with view to retirement? Others do not agree with this observation. Another member of the Executive Committee expressed concern about building a high-end academic unit on the backs of term faculty who have been here for 15-20 years, and was concerned about the impact upon term faculty university-wide.

Dean Travis: We have clinical faculty at various ranks. I would not search for folks and expect them to leave in two years. In CHHS we have to have expert clinicians. One faculty member practices 40% of the time, she loves to teach and loves to practice. Fast forward five years what a deal!

 

B. Compenation Package Linda Harber and Provost Stearns

As discussed at last week's Senate meeting, the situation is still changing, there are two bills; proposed changes to retirement plans would affect new faculty to be hired. The House threw down the five day furlough plan, the Senate threw down the three day furlough plan. At this point we do not know what will happen and we have developed a plan for a one day furlough. In this tentative plan, staff and administrative faculty are asked to take May 28th off unless they are essential personnel, who will stay. Faculty will see pay reduced in pay period ending May 10th, faculty can take furlough day on a non-teaching day. For those faculty who teach five days, can take off one day, off the other day. For nine month faculty would this be a 6 hour/day equivalent, for twelve month faculty it would be an 8 hour/day equivalent. The salary percentage for 6 hours equals .04% of salary. It is the same percentage for all, based on hours construct. The furlough does not apply to adjunct faculty or graduate assistants. We do not know if it applies to federally funded research faculty. You cannot exchange an extra holiday or flex day for a furlough day, furlough means taking a day without pay.

 

C. Annual Faculty Senate Evaluation of the President/Provost for AY 2009-10 distributed for review. It was decided to delete question #5, and distribute survey. Meg will compile feedback received.

 

D. Faculty Presidential Review Committee: Peter Pober met with the FPRC today. He will also teleconference with Rector Volgenau and Visitor Chuck Mills. The FPRC wants to revise the language in Section 1.2.5 of the Faculty Handbook to include faculty participation in extension/reappointment of the President and Provost. Recall that the University Counsel did not share the view of the Handbook Committee and Rector Volgenau to include this.

 

The Faculty Handbook is only as valuable as the good faith behind it the BOV can interpret it as they wish, no one can overrule them. Suzanne Slayden and Rick Coffinberger, members of the Handbook revision committee, will meet with Tom Moncure to clarify the Handbook in the future. After some discussion, it was suggested that an annual review of the Handbook take place, with proposed revisions presented to the BOV for approval at its May meeting.

 

At our next meeting, Chair Pober will report on his presentation of the FPRC report to the BOV and the question whether to broadly distribute the report will also be discussed at our next meeting. While he supports the regularization of the evaluation process, the Provost cautioned that in general, the principle of making evaluation reports public may distort them, constrain results.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate