Monday, March 19, 2012 

Mason Hall D1, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.


Senators Present:  Star Muir, Peter Pober, Earle Reybold, Jim Sanford, Suzanne Scott, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, June Tangney.


I.  Approval of Minutes of  February 20, 2012:  The minutes were approved as distributed. 


II.  Announcements

President Merten will make his final address to the Faculty Senate at the March 28th meeting.

No deans are scheduled this month; Jack Censer will be the last one April 25th.  Sharon Pitt will also briefly discuss technology upgrade in university technology classrooms and computer labs to Windows 7.


Chair Pober clarified a question about the proposed revisions to the Faculty Handbook approved by the Faculty Senate at the February 15th special meeting.  The revisions are included as part of the executive session of the APDUC committee meeting (Monday, March 21st).  Chair Pober and Senator Slayden, Chair of the Faculty Handbook Revision Committee, will be invited to attend the session.  It is anticipated that a vote on the proposed revisions will take place at the May BOV meeting. 


Special Meeting April 11, 2012 at Founders Hall room 126, Arlington Campus with Senator Barbara Favola and Delegate David Bulova.  Senator Chap Petersen unable to attend as he will be traveling.  We received an email from a Senator concerned about transportation issues, also suggesting some may wish to carpool.  We will also send emails to the School of Public Policy, the Law School, and School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution to encourage their faculty to attend the Special Meeting.  We will also ascertain whether it is possible to teleconference the meeting from Arlington, and whether we may set up a polycom phone link.  Chair Pober also encourages as many Senators from Fairfax to attend as possible.  The room accommodates up to 70 people. 


Chief of Police Michael Lynch and Morrie Scherrens invited to March 28th Faculty Senate Meeting to provide update to the Action Plan for Police and Community Relations:  response pending M. Lynch, M. Scherrens will arrange for representative to attend as he is teaching a class at that time. As of this time, we have not received responses from Chief Lynch nor representatives on behalf of Morrie Scherrens.


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

A.  Academic Policies –  Suzanne Scott

Changes to Add/Drop Period:  The AP Committee met over spring break.  We decided not to do anything further about the add/drop period.  We met with students and read student testimonials.  Some situations could be handled individually.  Faculty overwhelmingly like the shorter add period.  With respect to other Virginia institutions, some are a lot shorter; only two have a longer drop period than we do.  We have written to individual faculty members who said they wanted it lengthened, and will respond to the students as a follow-up. 


Draft Proposal – Permission to Study Elsewhere  was distributed for further comment and will be included on the March 28th Senate meeting agenda.  A new paragraph was added to address specific arguments received from students.   It is costing the university a lot, we need to have a uniform policy fair to everyone.

Question:  Can an academic dean give permission for a student to take a course (in another discipline)?  Senator Scott responded that the Registrar’s Office knows who the academic dean is; also includes caveat “if course not available at Mason”.  Included is a table which illustrates by School for Summer 2011 the Total Credits Taken Elsewhere in Each College, the Credits Elsewhere in the Disciplines of Each College, and the Enrollment/FTE money going elsewhere.  The College of Science has the highest number/cost of $203,667.  


B.  Budget and Resources – June Tangney

Independent Study Survey:  in a second pass, we received a few more responses.  We will summarize and do a qualitative analysis.  The Committee is thinking about what it will do next.


C.  Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford

Family Leave:  Senator Sanford distributed a draft Parental Leave Motion and Rationale.  It permits faculty who will become new parents and have been here at least a year to take a semester off, or one-half of two semesters off, depending on date of birth.  The committee has worked with Rizma Ahmed (Director, Benefits and Absence Management, Human Resources).


The Provost needs more time to study this.  He has no idea how much money this will cost, and in some units, how it might affect accreditation standing.  Human Resources indicated they don’t know how many faculty (would be eligible).  He is not hostile, but does not know whether it is feasible, or whether there is money available to support it.  As written, this would apply to all contract faculty.  How does this work for those with one-year contracts?  Provost Stearns asks for modification to be clear this applies to tenured, tenure-track and multi-year term faculty. 


Suggestions from the committee included:

·         To look at data for the past two years to find out how many faculty had new children to identify maximum potential?  Impact could be minimal.  How to address birth/adoption by same-sex couples, or the adoption of an older child? 

·         Some faculty may be on tenure-clock stoppage – could the $2000 raise upon gaining tenure be applied to adjunct faculty salary?

·         Is this a Faculty Handbook issue?  Senator Slayden (Chair of the Faculty Handbook Committee) noted that while tenure is a Handbook issue, HR policies fall under the Faculty Information Guide.

·         Question raised about informal practices, could this be an equity issue re parenthood?  Faculty may work out solutions with Human Resources to include medical leave for situations such as bed rest.  Problem identified where if you ask for it, you get it; if you don’t ask for it, you don’t get it.  Some non-tenured faculty did not feel they could ask for it.  Issue comparable to Phased Retirement – if more people ask, could there be a rush on it? 


Senator Sanford will take this back to the Faculty Matters Committee for further input.*

Computer Privacy:  We will meet this Wednesday with Ron Secrest of TSD and Professor Zachary Schrag.   * Updated April 16, 2012 to note that the Family Leave proposal will not be returned to the Faculty Matters Committee until further information becomes available.


Faculty Evaluation of Administrators Survey will be distributed this week.


D.  Nominations – Suzanne Slayden

Technology Policy Committee nominee – will ask Stanley Zoltek.


E.  Organization and Operations – Star Muir

Faculty Senators Spring 2012:  New CHSS Senators: Susan Tomasovic elected to replace Janette Muir for remainder of her term (Spring 2012-AY 12-13).  Bob Smith elected to replace John Farina for the remainder of his term (Spring 2012-AY13-14) not spring 2012  per CHSS Parliamentarian ruling.


VideoConferencing Faculty Senate Meetings, Preliminary Report

O&O Committee, 3/8/12


A member of the Faculty Senate from the Arlington campus has requested that we consider videoconferencing the Faculty Senate proceedings to avoid disruption of the work day from traveling back and forth to the Fairfax campus.  Based on information from Jeff Pugh, Lead Technician for Fairfax Classroom Support, and a conversation with Cherie Galantis, the Manager of Collaborative Video Technologies in DoIT, these are the options available.


*Rooms available at Arlington and Prince William campuses.  Both Arlington and Prince William have videoconferenced conference rooms, and the possibility of using videoconferenced classrooms subject to course usage.  Both campuses also have “telepresence” rooms which would suffice as well.


*Currently rooms are not readily available on the Fairfax campus based on size and schedule.  With 50 Senators and a visitor’s gallery, any room used would have to hold 60 at a minimum.  There are only two rooms available with that size.  Research 163, controlled by Events Management, is no longer supported as a videoconference room as the equipment is aging and there is no sustaining budget for replacements.  Innovation 132, scheduled by the Registrar’s Office, holds 73 people, but is booked solid from 9 am to 10 pm through the week for classes.


*Mobile options are severely limited. Events Production has a portable videoconferencing cart, but there is a minimum $300 charge per use, and it takes two hours to set up the equipment and bridge the needed connections.  Since Robinson B113, the current meeting space of the Faculty Senate, is also a classroom, gaining 2 hours of access is not feasible on a continuing basis.




While there may be additional facilities coming online in the future, the current videoconferencing facilities and options are prohibitive of broadcasting Faculty Senate proceedings across the distributed University.  Resources at the Arlington and Prince William campuses are sufficient to participate in this venture, but the limited facilities at the Fairfax campus make this a non-viable option in our current configuration.


Discussion:  Senator Muir added that at least for this semester, there is no way to do this.  As noted above, the support for Research 163 was withdrawn two weeks ago, it failed during a Provost meeting, and there is no budget for technology.  He spoke with Senator Nan at the March 7th meeting , who was disappointed.  She asked whether it would be possible to do this using Skype.  Committee members shared recollections of Skype disasters but also suggested the use of audio conferencing by phone as we have done in the past when a Senator was recuperating from surgery and unable to attend.  Questions were raised about how voting would occur, and how to protect confidentiality of vote?  By use of email?


IV.  Other Committees/Faculty Representatives


V.  Agenda Items for March 28th, 2012


VI.             New Business, Updates, and Discussion

Resolution of Appreciation to Rector Volgenau: We will continue working on this, for April 25th agenda.

Invitation to Tom Moncure:  Contractual and Non-Contractual Parts of Faculty Handbook and Outcome of recommendations by University Space and Expression Committee on free speech policy – unavailable March 28th, will attend April 25th meeting.


Need for changes in Promotion and Tenure Appeals Process – Provost Stearns

Two appeal cases regarding promotion and tenure (P&T) decisions from last year were handled by the BOV.  Provost Stearns noted that he was not involved in the process.  The process made clear that the BOV’s APDUC Committee incapable of handling process in a timely way.  There is a desperate need for changes in P&T Appeals process – to change policy from BOV serving as court of appeal.   Provost Stearns feels it is general interest of faculty to come up with a different system.  He will talk with the APDUC committee this week; he has clarified that no change in policy can apply to cases underway now.


The only change in P&T we’re discussing is in line with many other Virginia institutions:

·         P&T Cases favorably enacted to continue as we now do:  from Provost, to President, to notify the BOV.

·         If P&T Case decision unfavorable, to Provost.  (1) Faculty member can ask last (highest) negative unit to reconsider.  (2) To establish a new a priori Standing Appeal Board to either (a) vote to reverse, (b) divide, or (c) vote negatively.  New Appeal Board to be composed of three faculty members appointed by the Provost (w. one alternate) and three faculty members elected by the Faculty Senate (w. one alternate).  Use of alternate to avoid using someone in same unit.  The Board would give a recommendation to the President. 

·         If process stops with Provost, President has the right to change the Provost’s decision.  If Provost says yes, President can say no, or vice versa.


Provost Stearns distributed a draft for EXC to begin talking about, meant to frame and stimulate discussion, not the final word.  He also asks the Faculty Handbook Revision Committee to pick this up also and to expedite process for fall term.

Faculty Senate Evaluation of the President and Provost:  electronic copies of the survey results will be distributed to Executive Committee members for review, and the Secretary will complete the report.

Meet and Greet with President Cabrera – March 7th:  several committee members shared their impressions in a general discussion.

Provost Search Process:  No official announcements have been made.  Faculty need to have a strong voice on the committee.  The BOV made the decision on the Presidential Search; the President makes the decision on the Provost search. 


The Virginia AAUP State Meeting will take place here at Mason on April 21st. 


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Faculty Senate clerk