Monday, February 21, 2011

Mason Hall, room D5; 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.


Present:  Jim Bennett, Doris Bitler, Star Muir, Peter Pober, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Susan Trencher.


I.  Approval of Minutes of January 31, 2011  - The minutes were approved as distributed.


II.  Announcements:  Rector Volgenau will attend the next Senate meeting (March 2nd).  Dean Lloyd Griffiths (VSE) and Dean Ed Rhodes (SPP) will offer brief remarks.  Anne Schiller and Thomas Speller (Chair, Academic Initiatives Cmte) will attend the April 18th Executive Committee Meeting.


Provost Stearns noted that we await news from Richmond about the budget, expect to hear later this week.  We are also investigating the possibility of a branch in Martinsville, VA; a group will visit March 8-9th.  If this exploratory visit yields results, he suggested a Faculty Senate liaison from the Academic Policies Committee be appointed  as a point-of-contact. 


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


A.  Academic Policies – Janette Muir emailed the following report and motion as she was absent due to illness.

Motion:  Catalog Requirements for Degrees for inclusion on the March 2nd meeting agenda.

1)      Jose Cortina will serve as the AP rep to the Graduate Council;

2)      The committee is looking further into the semester change, but there is pretty compelling evidence from both the registrar's office and the sciences about keeping as is;

3)      We are involved in a meeting soon regarding the Governor's School in Manassas;

4)   We've been asked to look at the Honor Code to determine if faculty have any voice at all in changing the bylaws.

It was briefly noted that AP/IB credits as well as the number of dual enrollment credits remain on-going issues; also noted that the registrar follows the rules adopted by the Faculty Senate for the academic calendar; it is not the Registrar's calendar; it is based on agreements within the Senate. 


B.  Budget and Resources – June Tangney

There is an on-going review of the extramural funding study.  We have requested updated information from the Registrar's Office about faculty work in independent study/directed readings/dissertations. 

There are continuing concerns about summer salaires; (some) departments do not have sufficient money to pay for all faculty who wish to teach a summer course. 


Discussion:  Concerns expressed include disincentives for summer courses such as scheduling  courses during the day  with fewer students enrolled than evening courses.  Courses must be scheduled across a number of time slots; they cannot all occur at the same time.  Departments cannot share the wealth as we used to – to encourage independent study as a way to earn tuition money.  One department does not stay within its budget, although it always makes money.  The (summer school) budget devolved unto the colleges, unlike prior centralized system.  Practices may be different in each unit.  The committee will identify faculty concerns, different circumstances over the years and then  see what is going on cross-unit.


C.  Faculty Matters  – Doris Bitler

The Faculty Matters Committee will work together with Budget and Resources on summer salary concerns.  We are waiting for restricted access to the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators' surveys to be implemented.  We continue to review the Consensual Relationships policy – the second version is not much different from the first.  It is hard to find  any information on-line regarding the review of other schools' practices concerning Faculty Retirement Transition Leave agreements not to sue.  The committee will ask Linda Harber about this, and also check present peer instititions. 


D.  Nominations – Jim Bennett

The call for nominations for Faculty Representatives to the BOV Elections will be distributed next week.  The election will occur after spring break.


E.  Organization and Operations – Star Muir

Allocation of Senate Seats 2011-12:  we have requested the official FTE data from Kris Smith and expect to include it on March 2nd agenda.  The approval of the change from ICAR to the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution does not change anything.


Academic Initiatives Committee Charge – Motion to Amend the Charge distributed.  What does provide support for new "initiatives" mean?  Chair concerned about hostility of a committee member to bringing in others outside the committee; not harmful to include this in charge.    Aren't all committee meetings open?  Isn't this a policy?  Professor Muir responded the history of the AI Committee partially to make sure that academic side was made aware of potential academic initiatives.  The new Vice President for Global Affairs will be included on the committee. 


Review of Charter/By-Laws – Series of issues, most of them dissolved when came into view.  Two issues remain:  "Restricted Term Faculty" – there is now an equivalent term, and  Faculty Senate Election Results May 1st deadline which hasn't happened in practice.  Do two issues with the charter require calling a general meeting of the faculty?  There is no alternate way to change wording of charter without following amendment process theirein.  If resolutions used to clarify wording, concern that they would (be lost) if not embedded in charter. 


IV.  Other Committees/Faculty Representatives


Writing Across the Curriculum Committee Request for additional members from larger unit - Nominations will  contact them.


The University Space and Expression Committee has received a response from the University Counsel's Office which has been forwarded to the Provost and others for comment.  Peter Pober will send this also to Professor Vicki Rader and Jim Kozlowski (who have particular expertise in this area).


Faculty Handbook Revision Committee – Special FS Meeting to consider proposed Handbook revisions – March 23, 2011.  The committee has received some changes from the central admnistration, which will also be distributed to the Provost and the University Counsel.


V.  Agenda Items for March 2, 2011

·         Rector Volgenau

·         Brief remarks – Dean Lloyd Griffiths

·         Brief remarks – Dean Ed Rhodes

·         Special Called Meeting of the Faculty Senate to consider revisions to the Faculty Handbook – March 23, 2011.

·         Motion:  Catalog Requirements for Degrees – AP Committee

·         Motion to amend the Academic Initiatives Committee Charge – O&O

·         Allocation of Senate Seats 2011-12


VI.  New Business and Discussion


Should the charge of the Effective Teaching Committee be amended to include a representative (whether the chair or another member) be elected to serve on the Distance Education Council?  Doesn't solve systemic issues, O&O to look at this.


Should Fall Convocation be Sponsored by the Faculty Senate  we will review background information compiled from  Minutes of the General Faculty (Attachment C).


Handbook Interpretation Question:  Last para. 2.1.3 Other Types of Full-Time Fixed Term Appointments:   A maximum of 35% of all Instructional Term Faculty may be on multiyear contracts and a maximum of 25% of all full-time Instructional Faculty may be Term Faculty.  Faculty member questioned whether caps are publicly tracked, or whether they apply to subsidiary academic units as some colleges or schools have significantly greater than 25% term faculty.  Nor are repercussions of exceeding these caps mentioned for the LAU or univ. as a whole.  (For background information – see  Attachment B).  We will contact Kris Smith for data.


VA Retirement Plan Legislative Updates (if any) -will distribute updates as received from Linda Harber.


Cheap Seats request to Dean Reeder pending response.


Responses from the Registrar (Attachment A) :  For O&O and Faculty Matters to work on removing stipulation that faculty must apply for admission to register for a course; barriers (may) discourage enrollment.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Senate clerk



Three Questions and Answers from Susan Jones, University Registrar, with many thanks for her prompt and comprehensive responses.

Q1:   A (tenured) faculty member wished to audit a course.  In attempting to register, s/he was told that s/he must apply for admission and be admitted first?  

A1: One of the things we have to pay attention to is an individual's status as an employee (including faculty members) and their status as a student.  When a faculty member seeks to audit a class, he or she is embarking on status as a student and therefore does need to be admitted to that status.  Ordinarily non-degree status would be sought, and with a faculty member I would guess that it would be non-degree graduate status.  Having said that, if the individual were seeking to enroll in undergraduate classes only, then non-degree undergraduate status would be appropriate.  Note that registering in audit status carries regular tuition fees, which are lower at the undergraduate level.

Note that if the faculty member is also a Senior Citizen, that is 60 years of age or older, courses may be audited for free.  The individual would have to be admitted to non-degree status (I would suggest non-degree graduate status to allow access to both graduate and undergraduate sections), and they must complete the Senior Citizens Tuition Waiver form.  That form is processed in our office, just once.  For future semesters, the Sr Citizen would go ahead and register based on their non-degree status, then notify our office (by phone or e- mail) that the waiver applies, so that we can be sure they are not charged tuition.

Finally, see discussion of the Employee Waiver in the answer to #2 below.  As current policy stands regarding Employee Waivers, individuals may use them while also opting to audit.

To summarize:  yes, it is necessary to attain student status; auditing requires registration and regular tuition charges; there are a couple of ways to have the tuition waived.


Q2.  Another (tenured) faculty member works here in Fairfax and resides in Maryland.  If s/he wishes to register for a course, will s/he be charged in-state or out-of-state tuition?

A2.  In general, the answer is that this individual would pay out-of-state rates to Mason.  There is reciprocity among local states and DC, so that this person would pay taxes to Maryland on income earned here in Virginia.  Having said that, this individual should certainly take advantage of the Employee Waiver, which covers tuition up to a maximum number of credits, without regard to whether the individual qualifies for in-state tuition privileges.  See policy on Employee Waivers for additional limitations.

Q3: Are foreign graduate students who earn at least $1000 here charged out-of-state or in-state tuition?

A3:  According to the Code of Virginia, students in F-1 or J-1status are not entitled to Virginia domicile.  There are some visa statuses which allow an international student to show that they qualify for in-state tuition privileges, the same as a person originally from Pennsylvania.  The earning of $1,000 does not come into play unless the person is in a qualifying visa status and is trying to overcome the presumption of dependence on another person -- then income comes into play and we are looking for significantly more than 1K.


The Provost's Office has an initiative beginning Fall 2011 which will allow out-of-state doctoral and MFA students *on assistantships* to be charged at the in-state rate.  However, note that their domicile will remain out-of-state, with a waiver applied to reduce their tuition charges.  Implementation for this initiative is still being worked out.




ORIGINS OF 2009 FACULTY HANDBOOK SECTION 2.1.3 Other Types of Full-Time Fixed Term Appointments – final paragraph (or paragraph 7)


A maximum of 35% of all Instructional Term Faculty may be on multiyear contracts and a maximum of 25% of all full-time Instructional Faculty may be Term Faculty.

Compiled Feb. 2011 M. Caniano


Faculty Handbook 2009 edition http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/handbook/GMU_FACULTY_HANDBOOK_1-1-2009.pdf

Chapter Two:  Faculty Personnel Matters

2.1 Faculty Appointments

2.1.1 Tenured Appointment

2.1.2 Tenure-Track Appointment

2.1.3 Other Types of Full Time Fixed Term Appointments



The 2003 Addendum to the Faculty Handbook  (approved jointly by the Provost and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate).[1]

Text Box: 21Effective 7/1/03

Distributed 9/23/03

 This document evolved from discussions including the BOV Academic Standards Committee and the entire Board, Provost Stearns, and the Faculty Senate to define guidelines for the appointment of term faculty, to include:


 By agreement with the Board of Visitors and the Faculty Senate, a maximum of 35% of all Term Faculty may be on multi-year contracts and a maximum of 25% of all full-time Instructional Faculty may be Term Faculty.


In July 2006, the Faculty Handbook Revision Committee reviewed the 2003 Addendum and decided to retain the above paragraph and place it in Section 2.1.3 http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/MINUTES-FHC/FHC_MINUTES_7-18-06.htm 


Two additional revisions to paragraph made by the Faculty Handbook Committee in August 2008 as appears below:  http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/MINUTES-FHC/FHC_MINUTES_8-6-08.htm

Section 2.1.3 Other Types of Full-Time Fixed-Term Appointments


Proposed revision (University Counsel):  removal of “ By agreement with the Board of Visitors and the Faculty Senate,” in (seventh) final paragraph accepted.

 Proposed revision (Provost):  insertion of “instructional” in final paragraph, to comply with SACS accreditation; 35% university-wide, may vary across units. 

 Seventh paragraph revised:  A maximum of 35% of all Instructional Term Faculty may be on multiyear contracts and a maximum of 25% of all full-time Instructional Faculty may be Term Faculty. 




From the Minutes of the Faculty and Academic Standards committee – November 21, 2002


·         New Business


A.  Procedures for Term Faculty Review (ACTION ITEM)


Provost Stearns presented a modified outline of the procedures called for by the Task Force on Faculty Rewards and Incentives, similar to the one presented at the September 19, 2002 committee meeting, to establish a category of multi-year term faculty.  The modifications were a result of recommendations from the Legal Affairs Office and the Attorney General.  The goals remain the same as those suggested by the Task Force: To provide opportunity for clearer, more durable contractual arrangements and appropriate academic titles for a portion of term or contract faculty.  This would apply to faculty who concentrate primarily on either teaching or on research.  The university has term faculty in both categories, but not all term faculty will be shifted to this multi-year contract track.  Although determinations will be primarily budgetary, it will provide an opportunity to recognize and reward some term faculty more clearly than in the past.


Provost Stearns explained that the second thrust of the procedural suggestions is to provide a clear pattern of evaluation with clear procedures, at various stages of examination, and clear documentation.  This applies to both instructional and research term faculty.  Legally, this can be regarded as an interpretation of the Faculty Handbook; it does not have to be treated as a handbook revision.  A provision for termination for cause of term faculty, which will be presented to the committee in January, will need to be added to the Faculty Handbook.  If adopted by the committee it would then be presented to the Faculty Senate as part of the presentation of the larger report of the Task Force on Faculty Rewards and Incentives.


In response to questions raised by Visitor Dewberry, Provost Stearns stated that after two three-year appointments term faculty would be eligible for a five-year appointment.  Term faculty would hold the appropriate terminal degree; however, there is a provision for exceptions with approval of the Provost.  For most term faculty there will be a very clear primary focus – research or teaching – for this kind of appointment.  There is no requirement that a term faculty member focusing on teaching must also do research.  There may be some service requirements but not necessarily the full complement.  This is one of the differentiations of this track from the standard track.


Visitors Shapiro and Pomata expressed their concerns regarding impact on the university in the event of financial exigency or cuts in funding by the legislature.  Visitor Shapiro stated that he was in favor of an out clause tied to the university’s finances, to avoid financial commitments that the university may not be able to keep.


Visitor Dewberry expressed his concern that the out clause suggested by Visitor Shapiro would nullify the intent of the Task Force to provide selected term faculty with the stability a three or five-year contract would offer.  Provost Stearns concurred, adding that, in its current form, the provision would not allow for an out clause.  It would be in the Board’s power to indicate it does not want that degree of certainty and would want to add an out clause.


Responding to questions raised by Chairman Johnson and Visitor Shapiro concerning the possibility of eliminating entire programs as well as faculty for budgetary reasons, Provost Stearns stated the current provision of the Faculty Handbook would allow the elimination of a program, but stipulations concerning tenured faculty have a sequential approach; term faculty are a part of that sequence.  After eliminating a program, negotiations would take place with the Faculty Senate as to the sequence of faculty who are dismissed on the grounds of financial exigency.  The first group dismissed would be adjuncts; the second group dismissed would be term faculty on one-year appointments; the third group dismissed would be term faculty on multi-year appointments; the fourth group dismissed would be probational faculty on tenure track; and the fifth group dismissed would be tenured faculty.   This is in the Faculty Handbook already and fits with within the sequential pattern.


Provost reiterated that the provision for multi-year contract will not be offered to all term faculty. Units are now being asked, given the current budget situation and the prospects that you face for the next couple of years, what if any positions do you wish to shift to this new procedure.  Some units will decide not to shift any

positions because they wish to preserve budget flexibility, while other units, that have people who have been here for a long time, will be comfortable shifting these positions to the new system, even in times of financial stringency.


President Merten stated that this provision is a mechanism by which the university can create some stability and recognition for a small group of faculty.  This is in response to a request from the Task Force and one more opportunity to maintain the best faculty.


Vice Chairman Fink and Visitors Pomata, Shapiro and Herrity expressed concerns about an open-ended provision for multi-year term faculty contracts and possible liabilities placed on the university during times of financial exigency.  Chairman Johnson commented that Visitor Shapiro’s suggestion of a reasonable cap would allow the Board to support the provisions outlined by Provost Stearns while providing flexibility during financial decision-making.


It was MOVED by Rector Meese and Visitor Dewberry and SECONDED by

Visitor Shapiro that the Procedures for Term Faculty Review, with the addition of a cap on the percentage (to be determined) of multi-year term contracts, be approved.




 from the Minutes of the Faculty and Academic Standards committee – November 22, 2001


  D.  Dewberry Amendment to Faculty Handbook


Provost Stearns explained that the Faculty Handbook already indicates that   there are two combinations possible for successful tenure.  One combination would involve genuine excellence in research and high competence in teaching; the other combination is genuine excellence in teaching , high competence in research.  This is a really important existing flexibility in considering tenure issues.  The convention in many universities is to give lip service to teaching while maintaining a systematic research focus as the only effective basis for tenure.  That is not what this university’s Faculty Handbook says, and increasingly that is not what is done here.  The most important steps the university can take are to highlight, continue to emphasize and continue to evaluate models by which faculty can achieve tenure on the basis of teaching excellence.  It’s important not to create an unnecessary dichotomy between research and teaching.  The Faculty Handbook does say you can come up excellent in one, competent in the other, etc.  But the university also needs to acknowledge that it’s important to promote genuine excellence in teaching even for faculty who are also genuinely excellent in research.  Provost Stearns said he would be very comfortable with an obligation to report regularly to the Board about what the university is doing to implement the genuine excellence in teaching provision, how the university seeks to encourage more faculty to meet its criteria, either singly or in combination with genuine excellence in research, and to give the board an annual report associated with the main tenure report in May as to how many faculty have come up under that provision.


Visitor Dewberry, responding to remarks made by deans and faculty at the September 19, 2002 committee meeting, and those just expressed by Provost Stearns, read from the following prepared statement:






Great universities cannot achieve true greatness on only one leg.  Nobel Laureates alone will not attract the best and brightest students.  Successful research is a powerful magnet to attract superstars, who will go onto achieve fame for themselves and this university.  They, in turn, will attract the best and brightest graduate students.  This, however, overlooks the undergraduates, as researchers will always emphasize research, as they should.  Many try to avoid teaching at the undergraduate level, especially at the 100 and 200-level courses.  They send graduate students to teach or buy out of their teaching responsibilities. 


Tenure is a powerful personnel management tool.  We need to embrace it, in all its glory, and use it to our full advantage, as a reward for faculty achieving excellence.


I do not understand why my proposal to raise the level of teaching to that of research has attracted such intense criticism.  I don’t understand why the opposition.


My objective is simple and straightforward.  It is not an attack on the tenure system, and it is not an attack on research, as some have claimed.  Whatever it takes to attract the best and brightest faculty to pass on knowledge to the next generation and to discover and invent new knowledge should be adopted.  The tenure system is a huge reward and is much sought after by faculty.  It requires much scholarship to search for the truth and to discover and develop new ways, methods, ideas, inventions, processes, etc., and to crystallize those ideas, etc. into clear and concise language that is transferable to others, and in particular to students.  Whether one achieves tenure with an emphasis on teaching or research, the scholarship must always be there to enable the person to have and keep a sharp mind.   


The Faculty Handbook already permits one to attain tenure with excellence in either research or teaching and high competence in the other.  One could arguably make the case that the University already has a two track system, and (I’m told) some have attained tenure with excellence in teaching and high competence in research, but, I am not asking for a two-track system.


My purpose is not to water down the present emphasis on research, but rather to lift up the current lack of emphasis on teaching and make it as much a sought-after emphasis as research.  After all, it’s been said that teaching is one of mankind’s highest callings.  So my objective is simple and straightforward:  Let’s reward faculty for excellence in teaching, as well as for excellence in research.  Let us cast a wide net and make room for both.  What is wrong with having a university that is known not only for its excellence in research, but also for its excellence in teaching?  Why not strive to be in the upper tier of U.S. universities for both teaching and research? 


In short, the amendment, which has already been approved by the BOV, is an attempt to get the message across to faculty and deans, who have to implement and enforce the will of the University that the University wishes to attract and reward faculty members who are genuinely excellent in

teaching and who will maintain that excellence by continuous research in their chosen field.  This research must be at the “high competence” level and not at the “adequate” level.  There is little difference between excellence and high competence.  Publication would still be required for excellence in teaching, maybe not just in the first line journals. 




·         The University has set, as its 2007 goal, to increase the number of tenured faculty to 40% of the total – from 36% that existed in 2001.  Further, in this published 2007 goal the University set to increase the total student enrollment from the 2001 count of 23,408 to 30,000 in 2007.  Using simple arithmetic, these numbers mean that the following numbers would apply:

   2001                    2007


               Number of Students                                          23,408                   30,000

               Total Faculty                                                         1,678                     2,150

               Tenure/Tenure-Track                                              613 (36%)       860 (40%)


This means a total number of new tenure/tenure-track faculty of (860-613=) 247.  These totals do not include research scientists.


·         The percentage of fulltime faculty teaching at the undergraduate level is far less at GMU than at the other doctoral institutions in Virginia.  Please refer to the attached table for a comparison of fulltime faculty at Virginia’s doctoral universities.  One can see GMU depends heavily on part-time and adjuncts to teach undergraduates, especially at the 100 and 200 level. [2]


·         GMU, at the 100 and 200-class level, uses an average of 50% part-timers to teach these classes.  By comparison, William and Mary uses only 17%, and Virginia Tech uses only 25% part-timers.  I believe none would argue with the fact that both of these universities have outstanding reputations in both research and teaching.


·         GMU can attain its goal of becoming a “great” university in both “research” and “teaching.”  Research need not suffer because a parallel goal is to become a great teaching university.


·         Undergraduates, especially in the freshman and sophomore years, need guidance.  They need face time with experienced and interested faculty. These young people need to be mentored and coached.  Tenured faculty, who place teaching as a calling higher than research, are best equipped to do this.


·         Achieving tenure should be equally rigorous for either excellence in research or excellence in teaching.  There must be no second class citizens.  There must be no distinction drawn between the two categories.  Candidates achieving tenure for excellence in teaching must also achieve high competence in research.  They must also publish.


·         Those achieving tenure for excellence in teaching will be expected to carry a heavier workload in teaching than those achieving tenure for excellence in research.  This should free up the time for more research for those tenured as excellent in research. 


·         Those achieving tenure for excellence in teaching will be expected to concentrate most of their teaching at the undergraduate level.  They will be eligible for promotion to full professor.


·         Incentives may have to be offered to candidates to choose excellence in teaching as a path to achieving tenure.  This could be in the form of additional time off; the opportunity to announce, after one or two years in the tenure track, their desire to achieve tenure through excellence in teaching and high competence in research; a small increase in pay; or, other incentives the University may make available.


·         The goal of the University should be to strive to achieve excellence as an outstanding research university, and to also achieve excellence as an outstanding teaching university.




·         The Board of Visitors, at its August 2002 planning session, adopted the following change to the Faculty Handbook:


“that the candidate for tenure may choose within two years of entering tenure track the chosen area of concentration – teaching or research – provided that the candidate is willing to take a higher load in the area selected.”


·         At the Faculty & Academic Standards Committee session of the September 19, 2002 meeting of the Board of Visitors, strong objections were voiced by four individuals to this resolution.  These included Dean Lloyd Griffiths, Professor Lorraine Brown, Dr. Jack Censer and Dean Mark Grady.


·         These individuals were challenged by Chairman Visitor Johnson to come back to the committee with recommendations as to how to achieve the Board’s objective of more tenured faculty, who have achieved tenure for excellence in teaching and high competence in research.


·         The failure of a satisfactory resolution being offered to achieve the Board’s objective, and if the Faculty & Academic Standards Committee is unwilling to continue to support the faculty handbook change passed at the August planning session, then the following alternative is offered.





Be it resolved by the Board of Visitors that the Provost will report back to the Faculty & Academic Standards Committee by its 2003 January meeting with a detailed process whereby it could be expected that approximately one-third to one-half of new tenure candidates will proceed toward achieving tenure with excellence in teaching and high competence in research.  Further, the newly tenured faculty, who achieve tenure for teaching excellence, should be fairly evenly distributed throughout the different undergraduate schools.  (End of prepared statement)


Visitor Dewberry stated that some of the schools within the university, Nursing in particular, do not have as much research; they’re looking for tenured faculty. Visitor Dewberry expressed his desire to see increased numbers of tenured faculty

through out all the undergraduate schools with a goal to attracting good students at the undergraduate level


Provost Stearns responded that the concern about the thrust that’s been taken both in the previous proposal and the alternative proposed presented by Visitor Dewberry, is two fold:  First, whether rightly or wrongly, there are symbolic issues involved here, and many on the faculty believe that a move that is this formal, that could involve percentages would be viewed as harmful to the university’s reputation at a time when frankly the university is on the move.  So one concern which was obviously expressed by a number of the commentators in September meeting was that a formal effort that would seem to reduce emphasis on research is simply not consistent with the kind of reputational goals that the university has been striving for.  The second concern is how best to get at the goals the university’s seeking.  We all want to promote excellence in teaching.  But there are two problems with the approach being suggested.  Problem one is trying to modify elements of faculty culture that have conventionally down played teaching in favor of research.  The administration has been working in that direction and will continue to work in that direction.  The concern is that the measures being proposed, the original one or the new one, although perfectly well-intentioned , will have a counter-productive effect in putting peoples’ backs up in making the emphasis on teaching more difficult.  It’s not the intent, but it could be an unintended consequence.  Second, there are situations where the university will want to grant tenure, does grant tenure to someone who is genuinely excellent in teaching and highly competent in research.  To believe that the university should have a fixed percentage of faculty who are genuinely excellent in teaching and only highly competent in research is the wrong way to go.  The university continues to strive for a larger number of faculty who are genuinely excellent in both.  And for the university to have a percentage in one rather than the other, heads in the wrong direction.  It would be possible to come up with a modest reward system that would signal faculty who have at the time of tenure sincerely demonstrated genuine excellence in both categories.  The university gives a pay- bump for tenure; the bump could be increased where there was carefully demonstrated genuine excellence in both categories.  There are other ways to get at this that would avoid the resistance that this approach has caused and will cause; resistance may jeopardize other aspects of the Task Force recommendations.


Rector Meese recommended that the committee separate the two issues at hand:  One is the issue as to how the university can encourage teaching.  The other issue is the percentage of undergraduate or lower division courses that are taught by full-time faculty.  


It was MOVED by Rector Meese and SECONDED by Visitor Shapiro that the Provost prepare specific recommendations that the Board would support to advance promotion of teaching excellence.




It was MOVED by Rector Meese and SECONDED by Visitor Shapiro that the Provost and the university prepare an analysis of the lower division courses (100 and 200 level courses), by department as to the percentages of those that are taught by full-time versus non-full-time faculty, and by tenured and term faculty, be approved.




From the Minutes of the BOV – November 21, 2002

Under VII:  Committee Reports (p.5)


Committee Chairman Johnson reported the following:


1.         The Committee recommends approval of the following action items:

A.        Procedures for Term Faculty Review (see Exhibit A) – this is subject to exploring maintenance of fiscal flexibility for times of budget constraints by creating an appropriate cap level.  The Committee will review a proposal prepared by the Provost on an appropriate cap level at the next Board meeting, January 2003.


It was MOVED by Chairman Johnson and SECONDED by Visitor Shapiro to approve the Committee report.

            MOTION CARRIED With One ABSTENTION by Visitor Herrity (p.6)


From the Minutes of the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee  - January 30, 2003, III.  Old Business/B. Percentage of Multi-Year Term Faculty (p.5)


B.  Percentage of Multi-Year Term Faculty


Chairman Johnson stated that at the November meeting the committee approved the Procedures for Term Faculty Review, contingent on the addition of a cap on the percentage of multi-year term contracts.  The Provost was asked to provide the committee with a recommended cap.


Provost Stearns outlined the two goals the committee is trying to reconcile: The first goal was put forth by last year’s Task Force on Rewards and Incentives to create a new category of multi-year term faculty that would allow the university to improve recruitment and retention of talented faculty, some entirely in the teaching area, some entirely in the research area, in ways that are compatible with what other universities have done.  The other goal is fiscal responsibility in a time of budget constraint.  Based on a canvas of the university’s academic units, Provost Stearns recommended a cap of 35% of term faculty having the possibility of being multi-year.  This would be compatible with the goals of the Task Force proposal, and fiscally responsible in light of the kinds of resources the university has in the instruction area, and also in terms of multi-year research grants that can support multi-year personnel in the research faculty category.


Vice Chairman Fink questioned whether there would be any flexibility regarding the 35% should the budget situation worsen.  Provost Stearns responded that the percentage would be subject to Board revision depending on fiscal changes up or down.


It was MOVED by Vice Chairman Fink and SECONDED by Visitor Dewberry that the resolution on Percentage on Multi-Year Term Faculty, with an initial cap of 35% be approved.



From the Minutes of the BOV  - January 30, 2003



2.  The Committee recommended approval of university faculty not comprising more than 35 percent of multi-year term faculty, which is subject to Board revision.



It was MOVED by Chairman Johnson and SECONDED by Visitor Fink to approve the ACTION ITEMS recommended by the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee.




FS Minutes Feb. 12, 2003

B. Special Meeting of the Faculty Senate : February 26, 2003
The Chair announced that he has received a memo from the President’s Office with recent changes proposed by the BOV (1/30/03) to the Faculty Handbook regarding the importance of teaching as a criterion for tenure. The Provost added that the new language is a serious effort at a compromise intended to please all parties. The new wording highlights the University’s traditional emphasis upon teaching excellence without substantially modifying existing Handbook criteria for tenure. The Faculty Senate has 21 days to review the proposed changes. Accordingly, the Faculty Matters Committee will expeditiously review the changes and write a report with recommendation(s) for the Senate. There will be a special meeting of the Senate on February 26, 2003 to discuss and vote on these recommendations.



The Minutes of the Special Meeting of the Faculty Senate on February 26, 2003 do not specifically address the issue about percentages of term faculty, but include important motions about BOV proposal:

III. Report of the Faculty Matters Committee on proposed BOV changes to the Faculty Handbook
The Chair introduced Martin De Nys, the Chair of the Faculty Matters Committee, to present the Committee’s report on the BOV’s proposal. Dr. De Nys noted that the Faculty Matters Committee had reviewed the BOV changes very carefully and proposes two motions in response to those changes.

The Faculty Matters Committee MOVES that:
In Section 2.1.3 as modified, the statement, "however, prior service on a fixed term appointment does not have to be applied to a consideration for tenure," should be replaced with the language of the current Handbook, "however, prior service on a fixed term appointment is not applied to consideration for tenure unless this is specified in the letter of appointment to probationary status."

The Provost indicated that he believed this to be a sensible motion. The question was raised about whether the modified language might give local academic units more control over fixed-term faculty. It was answered in the affirmative, but it was also pointed out that the motion
protects fixed-term faculty. By retaining the original language, the faculty member must be informed in his/her letter of appointment whether his/her prior service on a fixed-term appointment will apply toward tenure. It was believed that the BOV’s proposed language is somewhat vague, and it might allow for instances in which the probationary faculty would not have a clear understanding, ab initio, of whether or not his/her year(s) of fixed-term service applied toward the tenure process. Dr. De Nys also clarified that this sentence applies only to fixed-term faculty receiving a letter of appointment to probationary status, not those members already on probationary status.

The motion passed unanimously.

The Faculty Matters Committee further MOVED that:
The first two paragraphs in Section 2.4 of the current Handbook be retained in the modification of that Section.

The Chair noted that the Executive Committee had been told orally that the paragraphs were not part of the document received from the President’s Office because there were no modifications to them, but it is believed to be in the Senate’s best interest to err on the side of caution by stating explicitly that these two paragraphs are to be retained.

The motion passed unanimously.

In further discussion, the Law School representatives noted that the BOV changes seemed to create a shift in emphasis to excellence in teaching over excellence in research. If this shift was intentional, their faculty had serious misgivings, believing the changes to be inconsistent with their views on the proper criteria for tenure. The Provost responded that the language did not fundamentally change the Handbook since it had always emphasized the university’s desire for excellence in teaching. He further noted that no unit could deny faculty promotion and tenure if the instructor deserved it on the basis of excellence in teaching. Clarification was requested regarding the issue of peer review of teaching to determine excellence: would this be internal or external review? The Provost responded that it would require both.

Two further concerns were raised. One was the BOV’s use of the phrase “to the same degree” in its addition to Section 2.4, Paragraph Three: “This institution values excellence in teaching. Those who achieve genuine excellence in teaching shall be rewarded in tenure decisions to the same degree as those who achieve genuine excellence in research.” It was suggested that a clearer wording might be: “shall be given equal consideration in tenure decisions as those who . . . .”

The other concern was the BOV change from “very few doubts, if any” to “no doubt” in paragraph five of Section 2.4. In ensuing discussion, it was judged that the changes were more rhetorical than substantive, and that they should be accepted so as to not further extend the complicated process of negotiations with the BOV.


Addendum to the Faculty Handbook  (approved jointly by the Provost and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate).[3]


Procedures for Appointment and Reappointment of Term Faculty


Full-time faculty, whether instructional or research, on fixed-term, non tenure track appointments will be known as Term Faculty.  At the discretion of the respective Dean or Director, and after appropriate faculty review, such faculty may be offered single-year or multi-year contracts that expire automatically at the end of the contract period.  There is no guarantee or right to reappointment from one contract to the next, whether multi-year or single-year.  If a multi-year appointment is offered to a faculty member whose position relies entirely or partially on non-state appropriated funding, then a multi-year contract may be established with the caveat that this funding must be available throughout the contract period.


            Term Faculty appointments will be explicitly designated as such, and offer letters must clearly state the type and length of appointment, as well as the focus of the appointment, either teaching or research.  Some specific administrative or service functions may be attached to the teaching or research focus.  Multi-year appointments will be made at the rank appropriate to the credentials of the individual, often at the rank of Term Assistant Professor with an initial contract period of three years.  Multi-year Term Faculty will hold a terminal degree, as defined by standards in the discipline.  Exceptions to either contract length or terminal degree requirements must be approved by the Provost.


            By agreement with the Board of Visitors and the Faculty Senate, a maximum of 35% of all Term Faculty may be on multi-year contracts and a maximum of 25% of all full-time Instructional Faculty may be Term Faculty.


            Criteria for reappointment will emphasize strong performance in teaching or research, as designated in the initial contract letter.  The reappointment process outlined below is not applicable for Instructors without a terminal degree or postdoctoral appointments.


Single-year Contracts


            Term Faculty on single-year contracts will be evaluated annually for reappointment and notified in writing by March 1st in the first year of their initial contracts and by December 15th in reappointment contract years.  In the fifth year of five consecutive, single-year contracts, a Term Faculty member must be evaluated using the procedure outlined below for Term Faculty on multi-year contracts in the final year of their initial, three-year contracts,  and must be notified in writing of the decision to reappoint or not to reappoint.


Multi-year Contracts


            Term Faculty on multi-year contracts will be evaluated for reappointment during the final year of their initial appointments.  (See Attachment # 1 for the required materials.) 


a.       Based on that evaluation and programmatic needs, and after appropriate faculty review, the respective Dean or Director will recommend reappointment or non-reappointment.  This recommendation is due to the Provost by November 1st of the faculty member’s final year of the current, multi-year contract.  The Provost will make the final determination and advise the Term Faculty member, in writing, by the end of that fall semester (no later than December 15th). 


b.      If the decision is made for reappointment, the faculty member may either receive a second, three-year appointment or a single-year appointment.


c.       In the Term Faculty member’s sixth year, s/he may be considered for promotion, normally to the rank of Term Associate Professor, and reappointment to a three or      five-year contract or for reappointment to a one or three-year contract at his/her current rank.   Candidates for promotion must demonstrate at least high competence in the focus area (teaching or research) by the standards developed locally and approved by the Provost.  (See Attachment # 2 for the recommended casebook materials.)  The recommendation for promotion is due to the Provost by November 1st of the faculty member’s final year of the current, multi-year contract.


Term Faculty not recommended for promotion in their sixth year may be recommended for another three-year term at their current rank.  They then may be recommended for promotion in their ninth year, but may not remain on multi-year appointments if not promoted at that time.


d.      By the end of fall semester of the final year of the current multi-year contract (no later than December 15th), the Provost will notify the Term Faculty member, in writing, of a decision to recommend promotion or reappointment at the current rank.


e.       Term Faculty who are promoted will be announced to the Board of Visitors and will be appointed to either a three or five-year contract at their new rank.  The length of reappointment contracts for research faculty may be less than five years, depending on the funding available, without impact on rank.


f.       Thereafter, Term Faculty holding the rank of Term Associate Professor will be evaluated for reappointment to additional three or five-year contracts in the final year of each contract, following the same time frame and procedures outlined above.  They may also be considered for promotion to Term Full Professors.


g.      Both the University and the Term Faculty member retain the option to request a change from a multi-year contract to a single-year contract.   This action must be endorsed by the respective Dean/Director and approved by the Provost.


h.      At the initial implementation of this process, faculty members currently on one-year contracts, but being offered multi-year contracts, may request  that prior years of service be counted in consideration for reappointment/promotion,[4]and units must respond with explicit recommendations to the Provost regarding the stage of appointment.  The Provost will make the final determination.


ATTACHMENT #1  Term Faculty on Multi-year Contracts

Reappointment Recommendation Template

(Memo From Dean/Director to Provost)

(One to two pages in length)


1.      Include a one-paragraph commentary on the focus area, either teaching or research.   (If the position includes specific administrative or service functions, comments on these areas should be included in this paragraph.)   Also mention relevant university service and, where applicable, any achievement in the other, non-focus area (either teaching or research).  


2.      Identify any areas of concern that need to be addressed before future reappointment consideration.


3.      Recommend the specific dates and term for the reappointment recommendation.


4.      Include approval signature line and date.




Recommended Promotion Casebook Template

 for Term Faculty on Multi-year Contracts


In the case of Term Faculty, evaluations are to focus on either Teaching OR Research.


1.      Letter of recommendation from the Dean or Director.


2.      Letters of recommendation from earlier committees evaluating the case, and from department chairs (where relevant).


3.      Candidate’s employment chronology, particularly at GMU to include:  date of hire, date of initial appointment to a term faculty position, and ensuing renewals.


4.      Candidate’s vita, including clear evidence about research and/or scholarship of teaching, if relevant, - publications, grant and contract awards, conferences and invited talks, etc.


5.      Candidate’s statement about teaching or research, including future plans (not to exceed 8 pages).  If the candidate has contributed to the university’s national reputation, such contributions should be documented.


6.      The evaluation of performance in teaching must include evidence of highly competent classroom teaching and teaching experience in a variety of classes, while maintaining a consistent and appropriate teaching load.  In the case of instructional faculty who have significant administrative responsibilities, evaluations of administrative service should supplement the evaluation of teaching.  Evidentiary material for teaching evaluations should include:

a.       Student course evaluations

b.      When applicable, theses and dissertations supervised

c.       Other evidence of teaching effectiveness such as:

(1)     Class visits by peers

(2)     Random sample letters

(3)     Student comments based on the whole population, not selected samples

(4)     Alumni letters

(5)     Student focus groups

(6)     Syllabi or other course materials created by candidate

(7)    Outside letters concerning teaching effectiveness, and/or scholarship of teaching.

(8)    Examples of innovation in teaching, including the use of technology.


7.      The evaluation of performance in research, where this is relevant, should include reviews of grants or published work, and/or invitations to conferences.  It should also normally include peer evaluation from outside the university, in the form of evaluative letters.


8.      Other supporting evaluative materials (testimony about service or outreach, etc.), not to exceed 8 pages.




General Faculty Meetings Review from FS Office Records

with emphasis on participation other than the GMU President

May 1977-March 2004


There were two meetings per academic year:  one in the fall, one in the spring. Called to order by the President of GMU** he then gave either an address on the State of the University or more informal/general remarks.  Questions and answers were entertained.  Sometimes new faculty members were introduced by the department chairs/deans and sometimes new administrative faculty were also introduced.  Sometimes announcements were made if submitted in advance.   A reception for new faculty members was held following the meeting in the late 70’s – mid 80s.  The meeting minutes were written by the Secretary of the Faculty Senate or the Secretary of the General Faculty.  For a year or two they were written by the Senate clerk until Chair Jim Bennett negotiated a release of this responsibility in 2005.  During the 1980s – 1990s the minutes occasionally reference the text of the President’s remarks in the Mason Gazette.


Below is a compilation of items of business which were not presented by the President or in the early 2000s increasing presentations by the Provost and other faculty or administrators on an ad hoc basis. 


**Don Boileau, Chair of the FS, called the March 2001 and March 2002 meetings of the General Faculty to order.  Cannot ascertain from some minutes who called the meetings to order, or no mention that this took place.


May 2, 1977  Special Meeting  called at the request of the Faculty Senate to elect members to represent the faculty on the Search Committee for GMU President.  The results of the election were conveyed to Rector John Hazel on May 10, 1977.

April 22, 1981 – An amendment to the Faculty Senate charter was proposed and amended and a mail ballot was sent out to vote on the proposed amendment.  A report  of the GMU Ad Hoc Committee on University Governance was presented to the General Faculty for its endorsement.  The motion passed.

March 31, 1982 – At the end of the meeting, the Chair of the Faculty Senate submitted a motion on Senate reorganization, as distributed, to a mail ballot.  A free bottle of champagne would be awarded by lot to a lucky voter.  The motion passed.

September 15, 1982   Report on vote of amendment to the FS Charter.  481 eligible to vote:  253 yes, 3 no – amendment passed. 

September 19, 1984 – Professor Emsley, Chair of the FS announced that the FS was holding hearings on the new Faculty Handbook.  He invited members of the faculty to attend these sessions and /or to send their views to Professor Mandes, secy of the Handbook Committee.  Followed by the President’s message..

April 26, 1988 – Professor John M. Smith, Chair of the Faculty Senate, presented a series of proposed amendments to the Charter of the Faculty Senate.  The faculty voted, without dissent, to submit these to a mail ballot.  (The ballots were distributed by the President’s Office). 

September 29, 1988 – President Johnson announced that the vote on the proposed amendments to the Charter of the Faculty Senate was 114 to 67 in favor of amending.  However since 300 votes were needed fkor adoption, the amendments failed. 

April 12, 1989 – Under old business, President Johnson recognized the Chair of the Faculty Senate, Mr. Edgemon, who presented a proposed new charter for the Faculty Senate.  There was some discussion, including editorial changes...The charter was approved  by voice vote, without dissent. 

(The proposed charer was distributed by the President’s Office on April 3, 1989 as an action item for the April 12, 1989 meeting). 

March 16, 1992:  After the meeting, Professor Hamburger chaired an open discussion of items being studied by the Handbook Revision Committee.

April 19, 1993:  Presentation of Distinguished Faculty Awards to seven individuals and one group award.  In each case Acting Provost Rossini read a citation and the President presented  a certificate. 

March 30, 1994:  It was moved that the Faculty Senate Charter be amended to allow for Senate representation consistent with the new Faculty Handbook.  The specific amendments were attached to the agenda .  The motion was approved by voice vote.

September 29, 1994:  The President then recognized Associate Provost Boehm-Davis and Professor Connelly who moved changes in the Graduate Council Bylaws to make them consistent with the Faculty Handbook.  The motion was seconded and passed without dissension. 


(No minutes Spring 1995, Fall 1995, Spring 1996)


April 23, 1997:  Professor Joseph Wood, Chair of the Faculty Task Force on the Future of the University,  reported that the committee has met with many groups...wish to meet with more groups, especially welcome invitations to meet with faculty...

January 28, 1998: New Business:  Amendments to the Faculty Senate charter presented by FS Chair Esther Elstun and Committee Chair Don Gantz......motion carried on a voice vote with one no vote.


(No Minutes Fall 1998)


April 15, 1999:  Two motions of changes to Faculty Bylaws (including ref. to Graduate Council) were presented by J. Wood and both motions passed unanimously.

(No minutes Fall 1999)

April 4, 2000:  D. Boileau, Chair of the FS, introducted the Amendment to the Charter of the FS...motion to accept the amendment...was approved by the General Faculty.

(No minutes for Sept. 5, 2000 meeting, referenced as approved as distributed by email.)

March 21, 2001;  Don Boileau, FS Chair, called the meeting to order.  Provost Stearns presented “State of the University -  Present and Future” for President Merten.


March 6, 2002:  Meeting called to order by Don Boileau, FS Chair.  Provost Stearns gave a presentation between the beginning and end of President’s.


From Notes “Guidelines for Preparation of General Faculty Meetings”- August 2002

In 2001 the Fall General Faculty Meeting was renamed to Convocation followed by the appropriate year, the spring session remains titled “General Faculty Meeting”.  Decision was made in Fall 2000 to no longer individually introduce new faculty members.  They will be recoginized as a group and requested to stand at the fall general faculty meeting only.


18 September 2002:  President Merten introduced a video narrated by Pat Summerall that was created for George Mason’s Capital Campaign.  After the video, he introdcuced different groups who have had an important and positive impact on the univ.  the BOV, the Trustees, the FS, the Staff Senate, and the Student Senate...There was  a presentation by Provost Stearns about outstanding faculty ; presentation by Morrie Scherrens.

26 March 2003 included a presentation by Provost Stearns cont. from the fall convocation..

September 25, 2003:  included a presentation by Professor Roy Rosenzweig, History Professor and Director of the Center for History and New Media.  Slide show by Linda Schwartzstein abut our outstanding faculty members.

March 17, 2004:  included Faculty Profiles by Provost Stearns.   Also presentation by Karen Rosenblum  for University Life.


Compiled M. Caniano

Feb. 18, 2011










[1]    Since Term Appointments  also apply to Research Faculty, the George Mason University Research Personnel Policies and Procedures will also be updated to include these procedures.

[2]    While there is no breakdown under fulltime as to tenured and term, one can safely assume that at the older and more established universities, the tenured professors outnumber term professors.

[3]    Since Term Appointments  also apply to Research Faculty, the George Mason University Research Personnel Policies and Procedures will also be updated to include these procedures.

[4]             Term faculty cannot move to a tenure track position without prior approval of the Provost and after appropriate faculty review.  Normally this must involve a search process.  Conversely, tenure track faculty cannot move to a term position without prior approval of the Provost and appropriate faculty review.  This procedure will be exceptional.