Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mason Hall, room D5,  3:00-4:30p.m.


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


I.  Approval of Minutes of April 19, 2010 – The minutes were approved as distributed.


II.  Announcements

Chair Peter Pober welcomed the new academic year with excitement.  So far about half the new Senators have indicated they will attend New Senator Orientation next Wednesday, September 1st at 3:00 p.m., Robinson B113.  Provost Stearns agreed to provide  remarks/list of goals at the first Senate meeting (September 8th), much appreciated by the faculty.  


Sharon Pitt will also discuss Blackboard issues and provide updates.  A third collapse of the system occured at the end of the spring term. A committee member attended the training for the 9.1 Blackboard upgrade this summer; it will be a much better system.  Some faculty are concerned that  the high volume of ITU alerts may create an impression that nothing works.  Some alerts address the littlest things.  The whole computer system was down for hours one day during the  summer; no alerts were sent.  Faculty were unable to utilize the internet while teaching classes.  There is a need for balance.  Faculty are encouraged to ask questions at the meeting.  


Several faculty have expressed concerns about cheating.  Donna Fox will answer questions about enforcement of  Honor Code. While the final decision rests with faculty, there are ways to track whether a student may repeatedly attempt to cheat.


The Senate Officers for AY 10-11 will be:  Parliamentarian – Star Muir; Sergeants-at-Arms – Linda Monson and Sheryl Beach; and Chair Pro Tempore – Suzanne Slayden.


Provost Stearns informed the committee that there are two renaming projects in the works this fall.  The first  proposes to change the name of the Volgenau School of Engineering and Technology to the Volgenau School of Engineering, to reflect the growth of civil engineering and biomedical engineering.   Dean Griffiths reports there is wide consensus among the faculty and alumni for this change.  The Executive Committee agreed that the Faculty Senate need not become involved as it is an issue within the School.


Secondly,  ICAR will present a proposal in October  to change from an Institute into a School, an issue which the Faculty Senate should address.  The Deans and Director are on board with this, as are President Merten and Provost Stearns.  The Executive Committee agreed to consider the proposal at the October (6th) Faculty Senate meeting.   ICAR hopes to present the proposal to the BOV at its December meeting.


Over the summer, an odd anomaly in the rules surfaced  at the Governor's School at the Prince William Campus.  Currently GMU accepts only 18 dual enrollment credits, while students enrolled in the Governor's School may earn up to 30 credits.  The Provost asked the Academic Policies Committee to look at this for greater consistency.


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

A.  Academic Policies – Janette Muir

We will address several topics:  AP/IB Credits, proposal to shorten the Summer Add Period/Summer School Changes' Impact on Students, and the new issue noted above. 


We will solicit input from faculty and students on shortening the length of the exam schedule.  Concern was expressed about removing reading days as a cushion should inclement weather involve cancellations during the term. 


B.   Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger

June Tangney is working with Morrie Scherrens on the Extramural Funding Study.  Everyone is aware of the 3% bonus.  In a BOV meeting the other day, Peter Pober expressed concern about junior faculty who earn lower salaries will also be taxed at 38% .  Acknowleding  there was no way around this, he made clear to the BOV that while the bonus is a lovely gesture, there are still other concerns.


C.  Faculty Matters – Doris Bitler

Motion to Amend the Faculty Practice Plan was submitted by Senator Jean Moore at the end of the spring term.  After some discussion, we will verify whether she wishes the Faculty Matters Committee to work on this, or whether she wishes to present it at the next meeting.  In oppposition to the motion, the Provost disputed that the Faculty Practice Plan was NOT  mandatory; comparing the work of clinical faculty who receive part of their compensation from work to that of faculty who receive buyouts for research. Some EXC members wondered whether other universities had similar plans. 


The lists of Administrative Faculty Who Teach from the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 terms will be distributed with the meeting agenda.  We expect to finish the Faculty Evaluation of Admnistrators report soon. 


Pending:  Changes made to Health Care Benefits over the past 4-5 years – information requested from Human Resources; Proposed Policy on Consensual Relationships between Faculty and Students – awaiting revisions from Corey Jackson/Brian Walther.


D.  Nominations – Jim Bennett

We are tweaking/fine-tuning the nominations slates for the Faculty Senate and University Standing Committees in the event of last minute changes before the agenda is posted.  I am nominated to replace the late Lorraine Brown on the Faculty Handbook revision committee.  The committee will not work on nominees to the proposed Recreation Advisory Committee until its charge is approved.


E.  Organization and Operations – no report.


IV.  Other Committees

A.  Updates  – Effective Teaching Committee – awaits the On-Line Course Evaluation Results Spring 2010.  We also request the evaluation results of Summer 2010 courses once available.


B.  Updates from Provost Stearns about Academic Initiatves:  There is nothing new on Korea.  The marketing study will be completed at the end of September.  There is also another limited initiative in Sardinia.  The MSU/GMU initiative will have 7 students.  We anticipate a larger recruitment group in the spring (when they start).  Plans are under consideration to develop an Executive MBA degree with Cairo University.  The joint certificate program (in Advanced Biomedical Sciences) with Georgetown University has been highly sucessful. We anticipated 20 students enrolled and have 50.  There is a proposal for a joint MA program now before SCHEV pending its approval.   The certificate is a pre-med operation, for those who need make-up science coursework or for those not admitted to medical school who wish to enhance their credentials.    We are also looking at proposals for a joint medical program with Georgetown.  Please alert Anne Schiller of the new membership/chair of the Academic Initiatives Committee 10-11. 


C.  Updates – Techology Policy Committee:  As noted above, Sharon Pitt will discuss and answer questions about Blackboard.  There is a bifurcation of responsibilities between ITU and others whose respobnsibilties are segmented, (e.g, when computers fail). 


V.  Old Business

Annual Faculty Senate Evaluation of the President and Provost will be included on meeting agenda and posted on FS website.


University Code of Ethics Proposal from Tom Hennessey was referred to O&O for disposition. 


FS/AAUP Co-Sponsorship of Reception for BOV – Fall 2010 :  To ask June Tangney for updates.  The Provost's Office contribution of $200.00 to the Senate budget to support this  was gratefully acknowledged.


 VI.  Agenda Items for September 8, 2010

·         Provost Stearns' remarks/goals AY 10-11

·         Nominations Slates for FS Standing Committees and University Standing Committees

·         Nominees for ad hoc Faculty Revision Committee

·         Election of Officers of Senate Standing Committees

·         Sharon Pitt – Blackboard Update

·         Donna Fox – Updates on Cheating/Honor Committee


VII.  New Business and Discussion


BOV Requests for Faculty Input – Peter Pober

At its recent August 2010 conference, Peter Pober presented faculty concerns about two distinct issues to the BOV.  There have been no salary increases for three years.  Larger class sizes (FTE increase from 15.5. to 15.8) place additional stress on faculty.  The number of students for AY 10-11 has increased to 33,600; including an increase of 1.5% in retention rate..  One main reason for the increase in retention is the faculty.  Visitor Kathleen deLaski asked for a list of the most pressing issues which the BOV Academic Policies Committee can address (other than compensation).  Visitor Chuck Mills  requested a list of solutions for faculty compensation (other than tuition).


Discussion:  Should we contruct a new committee to survey the faculty and issue a report?  We receieved a lot of kudos for the Presidential Evaluation Committee's report.  Should this proceed first through O&O?  How should the Executive Committee be represented in this discussion?  A suggestion was made to write a brief paragraph and email it to all faculty; responses to be collected by the Faculty Senate.  Asking the faculty at-large may show that (some) do not understand what the BOV handles.  Another suggestion was to take greater advantage of the facutly representatives to the BOV, as they understand the BOV’s purview.  The faculty reps will discuss this before the next (FS) meeting.  Concerns were expressed about opening a Pandora's box, especially with respect to the class size issue, especially for writing classes.  Would it be helpful to survey faculty to ascertain the most important issues and then have the faculty reps present them to the BOV, at least those results under their purview?  A survey would have to be structured in such a way that (results) go into different baskets.  The overall request for information would have to come out of the Faculty Matters Committee.  


Visitor Mills  is very sympathetic to faculty cocnerns, but very vocal about raising tuition, especially its impact on minority students.  GMU is approaching the top end of out-of-state tuition.  A committee member noted that it is the job of the (GMU) Foundation to raise private money, not the faculty's job.  Are there models of other institutions in our peer group who have succeeded in this?   The question is not just about salaries, but also how we account for our time, what we are asked to do.  The Rector may also ask Faculty Senators for feedback when he visits the Senate (October 6th).   Peter Pober will bring this to the Senate at our next meeting. 


Addition of Gender Identity to GMU non-discrimination policy:  there is a clear distinction between sexcual orientation and gender identity policies – to request more information from Corey Jackson.


The Executive Committee Course release was assigned to Janette Muir.  Her unit should contact Renate Guilford to coordinate this.


Motion to Amend By-Laws /Senate calendar AY 10-11:   A meeting was scheduled for January 17, 2011 after MLK Day but before the spring term begins.  Proposed change to by-laws to change from "monthly" to "at least four meetings" per term.  EXC will propose change to by-laws on agenda. 


Final Exam Schedule:  When exams held on Monday or Tuesday of second week, students do not want to stay around if they must travel far. Faculty cannot make exceptions in large classes.  How critical are reading days?  Suggestion made to send out a survey, and also to consult with student government on this.  A committee remember recalled a motions from student government almost a decade ago to add reading days.  Should inclement weather or other disasters occur, exams would have to be rescheduled to Saturday without reading days, there would be no flexibillity.  Some faculty support starting spring term earlier in January, as other places do.  However, some students participate in winter sessions. 


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Senate clerk