GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
October 11, 1995
Senators Present: Blaisten-Barojas, Boileau, Clements, Conti, Crockett, Eagle, Elstun, Fuchs, Gantz, Hammond, Jensen, Kaplan, Manchester, Metcalf, Perry, Robbins, Rossini, Ruth, Sanford, Sofer, Spikell, Taylor, Tongren, Torzilli, Wright, and Zoltek.
Senators Absent: Albanese, Black, Buckley, Carty, Chung, De Nys, Fulmer, Hamburger, Hurt, Johnson, Lont, Manne, Mellander, Mose, Potter, Sage, Tabak, Thomas, and Todd.
Attending Guests: Bowen (GSE), Bousel (DSS), Hennigan (Provost Office), Fletcher (Provost Office), Bafundo (Undergraduate Studies), Scimecca (Sociology & Anthropology), Swipe (V. Provost Office), and R. Smith (Psychology).
I. Call to Order
The Chair, Anita Taylor, called the meeting to order at 3:05 P.M.
II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the September 13, 1995, meeting were approved as distributed.
Mr. Eagle called for a quorum. Ms. Taylor ruled that 25 persons being present, quorum exists and the meeting continued.
Ms. Taylor announced that the administrative faculty handbook is now available.
Ms. Taylor circulated a list of dates and sites for meeting candidates running for political office. She encouraged faculty to attend them.
Ms. Taylor also announced that the Committee on Effective Teaching has completed a report which recommends procedures for peer review. This will soon be available to Senators, deans, directors and departments.
Mr. Sanford circulated a Senate roster and requested that Senators correct the information on it.
IV. Unfinished Business
In absence of a quorum at the Special Meeting of the Faculty Senate on October 5, 1995, procedures to elect faculty for appointment to the Presidential Search Committee were approved, but not ratified. Ms. Taylor requested the action be ratified. It was RATIFIED by voice vote without dissent.
V. New Business
A. Senate Committee Reports
1. Executive Committee
Ms. Taylor reported that the Committee has been discussing policies and procedures to implement consequential post-tenure review; policies regarding promotion and tenure when candidates have joint appointments in two local academic units; processes for faculty study leave; and processes for determining who can put University information on the World Wide Web. Ms. Taylor also reported that an accurate list of University salaries (as of December, 1994) is on reserve in the library.
2. Academic Policies Committee
Ms. Elstun briefly discussed the items that the Committee is considering, the Committee member responsible for each, and the date on which each will be discussed. Meetings scheduled thus far include: criteria for dean's list (October 19, Ms. Lont), good standing for athletes (October 26, Ms. Todd), attendance policy (November 16, Mr. De Nys), and retaking courses (November 30, Mr. Crockett).
3. Faculty Matters Committee
Mr. Boileau reported that the Committee had received a draft report of last year's Faculty Evaluation of Administrators. However, its validity was suspect because of a dramatic drop in response rate (from about 50% of eligible faculty in 1994 to about 32% in 1995). The Committee will be responsible for this year's evaluation and will attempt to ensure a higher response rate.
4. Organization and Operations Committee
Mr. Spikell reported that the Committee will be examining Senate organization with particular attention to providing continuing membership on standing committees.
5. Facilities and Support Services Committee
Mr. Zoltek reported that the Committee will be considering several items carried over from last year.
6. Nominations Committee
Mr. Metcalf reported the Committee received more than three dozen nominations for election to be appointed to the Presidential Search Committee. The Screening Committee selected eight nominees to be presented on a written ballot to faculty. The ballot has been distributed.
B. Other Committees
1. Ad Hoc Committee on Summer School Salaries
Mr. Scimecca presented the Committee report. He stated the Committee was guided by principles of equity, process and quality. The present report is not intended to be a final report, as the Committee will continue to meet to discuss quality in summer school instruction.
An extended discussion related to Recommendation #2 in the report followed. Many Senators were critical of the pay-by-enrollment nature of the recommendation. Specific criticisms included: (1) the likelihood that faculty with reputations for assigning lower grades and requiring more work would receive lower salaries, (2) upper level and graduate courses would be less available, (3) faculty who teach courses that, by nature, must be kept small would receive lower salaries, (4) failure of the proposed salary structure to take into account individualized sections, and (5) failure to allow high-enrollment courses to offset low-enrollment courses.
Mr. Manchester advised that CAS chairs had voiced many of the same concerns. Proponents of the proposal pointed out that it would induce better planning and that, with dean's consultation, low-enrollment courses could be included in the summer program. Mr. Scimecca reported that one of the Committee's intentions was to ensure that no faculty member's summer salary was reduced, and the proposal was intended to allow sufficient flexibility to ensure this. Mr. Zoltek voiced an opinion that students' grades in summer school are higher than in regular semesters in part because of smaller sections and the individual attention that students therefore receive. Mr. Sanford suggested that the proposal was a step backward from the goal of integrating summer school into a year-round educational program.
Ms. Taylor ruled that voting on the recommendations would be conducted ad seriatim. Recommendation #1 PASSED by voice vote without dissent. Mr. Boileau MOVED and it was SECONDED to refer Recommendation #2 back to Committee without instruction regarding date to report to the Senate. It was noted that this motion would preclude implementation for Summer Term, 1996. The motion to refer PASSED by voice vote.
2. Ad Hoc Committee on Plus-Minus Grading System
Mr. Gantz reported that his committee received some feedback regarding the proposal presented at the September 13, 1995 Senate meeting. Most of the feedback has been positive, although most feedback regarding inclusion of an A+ grade, worth 4.33 grade points, has been negative. A series of straw votes suggested that Senators were generally favorable toward establishing a plus-minus system, especially for graduate courses, but were opposed to including an A+ grade.
VI. Other New Business
There was no other new business.
The meeting adjourned at 4:15 P.M.
James F. Sanford
Secretary, Faculty Senate
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