JANUARY 28, 2013  

Mason Hall, room D1; 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. 


Senators present:  Star Muir, Peter Pober, Jim Sanford, Suzanne Scott, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Susan Trencher.  Visitor:  Cathy Evans (Director, Special Projects & Summer Term, Provost's Office).


I.  Approval of Minutes –November 19, 2012:  The minutes were approved as distributed.


II.  Announcements

·         Chair Tangney thanked Cathy Evans for attending this meeting to answer questions about summer school scheduling (see Academic Policies)

·         President Cabrera will present an update on the GMU Mission Statement at the Feb. 6th FS meeting.  He asks for faculty input; mission statement as an evolving document. 

·         David Roe will give a brief overview of the Foundation at the March 6th FS Meeting, rescheduled from the February 6th FS Meeting.

·         FS/AAUP Reception for BOV – January 30, 4-6 p.m.,  Mason Hall Atrium


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

A.    Academic Policies – Suzanne Scott, Chair

We will have two action items for the February 6th meeting, distributing copies of “Catalog Copy Addition: Final Exams” and Catalog adjustments:  Study Elsewhere Policy” for review.


Summer Schedule: Cathy Evans distributed two handouts, including summary of summer term dates for 2013; 2013 Summer Term Parts of Term; Tentative Summer 2014, 2015, and 2016 Dates; and Tentative Parts of Term for Summer 2014, 2015, 2016.   Innovation Hall will be taken off-line next summer.  She promised to send dates over to the Executive Committee in early fall and encouraged faculty to ask questions.  Four areas of concern emerged in the subsequent discussion, summarized below:


1.  Students must register for summer school in advance to avoid financial penalty.  The summer term begins on Monday, two days after the spring term ends on Saturday.  Students may not receive their final spring term grades until the last Thursday or Friday of the spring term.  Over the weekend there is a big shift.  In some instances, our department has lost 25% of students enrolled in a single class. The class may be cancelled.  Sometimes a department may decide to continue the class if sufficient number of students enrolled to cover cost of faculty salary. Cathy responded that she is not sure drops occur because of grading times.  Tuition payments are due on the first day of class.  Many students drop because of lack of money; cannot tell you why.

Some areas hit harder than others; usually not more than 3%; would need to drill down for more data.  Tuition will not increase this summer, although it will increase in the fall.  We have over 5,000 hits on the summer school website looking for information.

Follow Up:  Not a question whether information is there, but whether students looked at it. 


2.   The Summer A and C Term drop deadline dates occur at the equivalent of 3-4 weeks into a 14 week semester.  To add class so late is a real disservice to students.  Some students who add classes expect faculty to “save” them by bringing them up to speed.  We are under no responsibility to allow students to catch up, and oppose readministering quizzes, giving notes, when they are absent. (as amended and approved by the Executive Committee – Feb. 25, 2013)


Response:   Looking at add dates for fall and spring terms in terms of percentage of number of days/semester, we applied this to terms A,B,C, as well as I and X.  We are trying to be as equitable as possible, and felt it was unfair for night students to move date forward some or backwards for those attending classes one night/week classes vs. those attending classes four nights/week.  We do not encourage students to add late. 


Several members of the Executive Committee questioned the proportionate rationale as some classes meet more frequently than others and also irregularly in terms of times/sessions, recommending this needs to be re-evaluated. 


3.  Cathy reported the Summer Term is not in compliance with federal guidelines, we need to add a week to make sessions A and C six weeks, not (present) five weeks, beginning in 2014.  So the term dates on the charts earlier distributed are really tentative.  The Summer Term Advisory Group will work on this issue. 


In view of upcoming change from 5-6 weeks, suggestion made to have a one week and one day add period for A and C terms, resulting in different drop dates for evening and daytime classes.  Cathy will check with the Registrar’s Office on this.   


The Academic Policies Committee will begin working on a proposal and lay out the rationale. 

Should the AP Committee look at it with presumption it goes to a six-week semester?


4.  The Faculty Senate approves the academic calendar for the academic year but not the summer school calendar.   Cathy responded that so many things can happen in the summer term, need for flexibility; approval of tentative dates, with caveat “things happen”.


Budget and Resources – Susan Trencher, Chair

We have no action items for the February 6th agenda.  Our next committee meeting will take place on February 6th.  Matt Zingraff (Interim Vice President, Research and Economic Development) will talk with us about Extramural Grants.  There are different procedures in different schools/colleges.  For example if you receive a grant in CHSS, you have to give money back to the college.  This dissuades researchers from taking grants. 


Independent Study Survey:  There are really a lot of independent studies being done by faculty which “do not count”, e.g. professional satisfaction.  CHSS has told faculty not to do them.  Some colleges do count them, uneven practices throughout the university. 


There is no more news on summer school funding.  We will continue to keep our ears open.

The Provost Office sent out a notice in September asking faculty to inform chairs of courses they wish to teach this summer.  Chairs send information on to deans.  If not sufficient funding available, to go directly to the summer school office to request funding.  Some departments received the same amount of summer funding as the previous year.  Some courses arranged around themes (e.g. economic development) include additional funding to defray costs.  We will ask department chairs if they could fulfill requests from faculty wishing to teach this summer.


B.     Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford

We have no action items.  We are working on changes to the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators Survey and will meet to discuss Criminal Background Checks.


C.    Nominations

Ghassan Husseinali (CHSS) is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Academic Initiatives Committee.


D.    Organization and Operations – Star Muir

·         Videoconferencing FS Meetings at the Mason Inn - still waiting to receive estimate.

·         Review of University Committee Reports – in progress

·          Election for new Senator from CEHD will take place February 8th

·         Wetlands issue from Songdo Campus referred to Academic Initiatives Committee.

·         In response to question from the Minority and Diversity Issues Committee about establishing a website, we do not have a way to design or create them unless use student assistance to design.  Possible to add links to the Faculty Senate website.  Minority/Diversity Issues would like to collect information, and will think about it.


IV.  Other Committees/Faculty Representatives

University Standing Committee Chairs Elected:  David Kuebrich and John Riskind as co-chairs of the External Academic Relations Committee

University Standing Committee Chairs Election Results Pending: Salary Equity Study


V.  Agenda Items for February 6, 2013 Faculty Senate Meeting

·         Approval of Faculty Senate Minutes October 24 and November 28th.

·         Update on the GMU Mission Statement – President Cabrera

·         Ghassan Husseinali nominated to fill a vacancy on Academic Initiatives Committee – Nominations Committee

·         Proposed Faculty Handbook Revisions – Faculty Handbook Revision Committee


VI.             New Business, Updates, and Discussion

Re-allocation of Spring 2013 course release? Precedent exists for committee member to receive course release based on past work on the Executive Committee.  As course release not used this semester, to allow two course releases for next fall? 


Proposal to change maximum percentage of term faculty among full-time faculty from 25% to 30% due to budget constraints – Provost Stearns

Provost Stearns checks annually to see if we are in compliance with the Faculty Handbook  (Section 2.1.3 Other Types of Full-Time Fixed Term Appointments  – p. 17)

“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.”


We are currently over 25%.  This was not a central decision but an accumulation of units’ decisions.  He cited two reasons:  formal teaching loads were reduced in a number of units, and budgets severely constrained.  The result equals an increase in the number of term faculty.  Only two units are at or below 25% term faculty.  Not to say rush to 30%, but cannot pledge to get to 25%.  One alternative to hire more adjunct faculty; however wants to balance adjunct and term faculty. 


Concerns expressed by the Executive Committee included:

·         It may be necessary, but it is bad policy, flies in the face of AAUP. 

·         Does not agree with implicit assumption that term faculty don’t do as well, and does not object to term faculty rising to 30% of full-time faculty.

·         Term faculty do not have time to do research.

·         Better for term faculty to have opportunities to teach at 100, 200, and 300 course levels than adjunct faculty who may teach one course and not return the following semester.

·         SACS paying attention to OSCAR program supporting undergraduates and research; need for more tenure-line faculty teaching undergraduate students.

·         Some adjunct faculty teach at multiple universities.  Bad for students, some units have trouble hiring adjunct faculty because we pay less than other schools in area.  Others see adjunct faculty as an important part of institution.

·         Cultural issue in Mission Statement discussion – notion of faculty vested in the university – three year term faculty are vested, adjunct faculty are not vested, teach and gone.  Term faculty contracts are renewable. 

·         A complex issue.  We are out of compliance with the Faculty Handbook, whether it means anything.  Is it worth it to face down reality of economic situation?  Real world vs. aspirational world.  He wants the Faculty Handbook to mean something, not to have meaning further dwindle away…Does the Faculty Handbook evolve over time?  Clearly it does. 


The Committee agreed to continue the discussion at our next meeting.


Request for a Faculty Senate Representative to serve on a committee to come up with a cost model for distance programs for out-of-state students?

Provost Stearns noted that we are working on developing a different price point for out-of-state students taking all on-line courses, and happy to include a Faculty Senate representative.  Constrained by accreditation, has to be a mix, not mostly adjunct faculty.  Some questioned why we are doing this, others see as a friendly offer.  To look for faculty involved in production side of distance courses, contact Goodlet McDaniel (Associate Provost for Distance Education).   Please send suggestions to June Tangney.


Amendment to Charter/By-Laws regarding voting from remote locations

A test using Skype for an individual Senator last year did not work well – lots of background noise, hard to hear speakers.  Some faculty do not want to use Skype or appear on the internet in perpetuity.  At present we are highly constrained by the type (size) of room and absence of videoconferencing facilities available in Fairfax. 


The Faculty Senate Charter was written with small number of faculty.  We need larger number just to vote – 300+,  There have always been reasons people cannot attend a vote.  If you’re not there at a meeting to hear discussion among peers, can still offer opinions, vote.  (In other organizations) regulations for proxy – decision how to vote in advance of meeting/discussion.  Suggestion made to have sergeants-at-arms present at each campus to collect votes.


Undergraduate On-line Degrees -- Does the Faculty Senate need to be involved in entire undergraduate degrees offered on line?  Technically this is a single unit issue, not really a Senate issue.  Important to ensure quality offerings, great time and effort put into this.  Can look at (guidelines/policies) from Distance Education Office. 


How to respond to violations to the handbook – deferred to next Executive Committee meeting.


Periodic reports from BOV Faculty Representatives

BOV reps take their jobs very seriously.  To invite them to give succinct periodic reports over a series of meetings.   Also to invite Mark Houck, ex-officio member of Budget and Resources who attends Budget and Planning Team meetings to occasionally offer general remarks.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Faculty Senate clerk