APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
November 12, 1997
Senators Present: Berry, Black, Blaisten-Barojas, Boileau, Conti, De Nys, Elstun, Eagle, Gantz, Metcalf, Miller, Muir, O’Connor, Palkovich, Perry, Ruhling, Sanford, Scimecca, Sofer, Tangney, Taylor, Thomas, Thorp, Vaughn, Walsh, Weinberger, Wilkie, Zoltek
Senators Absent: Bowen, Carty, Clements, Crockett, Deshmukh, Domzal, Fuchs, Galluzzo, Grady, Griffiths, Hale, Kaplan, Merten, O’Hara, Potter, Reid, Rine, Struppa, Travis
Guests Present: M. Cruise (Student Senate), L. Irvine (Office of the Provost), S. Jones (Registrar), E. Rubin and M. Qasim (Student Senate).
I. Call to Order
Chair Esther Elstun called the meeting to order at 3:03 pm.
II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the October 15, 1997 meeting were approved as distributed.
Elstun reported: Board of Visitor member DiGennaro asked for a BOV presentation concerning the publication of written materials from the student evaluation of courses. The Senate Chair and the Executive Committee decided that the Committee on Effective Teaching should make the presentation. Last year’s chair for that Committee, Star Muir, will not be available to make the presentation, but we acknowledge his hard work in preparing the presentation. Committee members John Miller and Ariela Sofer will do the presentation after an introduction by the Senate Chair.
The Senate Chair received a letter yesterday from the Student Senate; the letter concerned a Student Senate February 13, 1997 resolution on the student evaluation of faculty and courses. The intent of the resolution was to create a forum in which students, faculty and members of the administration can discuss the current evaluations and make recommendations concerning changes that should take place. The Student Senate letter and the Resolution are included as Attachment A to these Minutes.
A reminder that a special meeting of the Faculty Senate is scheduled for 3PM December 3rd to discuss the report of the President’s Faculty Task Force on the Future of the University.
Keith Segerson, Executive Director of University Computing and Information Systems (UCIS), will make a presentation to the Senate at the December 10 th meeting. Please tell him in advance of any issues or concerns that you would like him to include in the presentation.
IV. Unfinished Business
A. Report of the Ad Hoc Committee for Review of the Senate Charter
with a motion included as Attachment A to the October 15th agenda. Discussion of the Motion continued from the October 15th meeting. There was discussion concerning the possibility that setting a fixed ratio for Senate representation could over time inflate the size of the elected Senate to where it becomes counter productive. Issues that arose concerning an appropriate size for the elected Senate were participation, meeting attendance and diversity of opinions. The notion was also raised that as the Senate grew in size it would be advantageous to allocate positions to a broader spectrum of subgroups; one issue here was whether more politically active departments in a school might grab a disproportionate number of allocated seats. The Committee’s claim that the need to fill various committee positions called for a larger (than 36) elected Senate was questioned and debated.
There was discussion concerning the balance of ex-officio members versus elected members. In this regard, too, the question was asked whether we should have a University Senate or a Faculty Senate. The consensus seemed to be that the Senate should continue as a Faculty Senate but that ex-officio membership by administrators facilitated communication between faculty and the administration.
John O’Connor proposed an amendment to the Committee motion which would replace the restriction that only tenured and probationary faculty can serve on the Senate with the restriction that full-time instructional faculty can serve. He argued that too small a proportion of the entire faculty was currently eligible to serve. The Senate Chair ruled the amendment out of order as stated; the Chair referenced Section 2.1.6 of the Faculty Handbook. It was noted that local units can include any faculty they wish in their local governance; the English Department, for instance, has opened Departmental governance to adjunct faculty. It was further commented that fifty percent of the CAS chairs indicated that part-time faculty play some role in local governance.
The Motion as amended at the October 15 th meeting passed by a voice vote. The Senate Chair indicated that she would ask the President to call the required meeting of the General Faculty to vote on the change to the Charter. The amended motion is included as Attachment B to these minutes.
B. The Faculty Matters Committee
Chair, Don Boileau, introduced a Committee motion which had been included as an addendum to the agenda for the October 15th Senate meeting. The motion would create an ad hoc committee to investigate the compensation and working conditions of part-time faculty. Mr. Boileau spoke in support of the Committee motion.
The question was raised whether three part-time faculty on the ad hoc committee would suffice. Mr. Boileau indicated that this number was adequate since the required data had already been collected. Mr. Boileau was asked if the ad hoc committee would also be looking at restricted appointments. Mr. Boileau stated that the Faculty Matters Committee itself is looking at both restricted and part-time faculty; however, the ad hoc committee is focused on part-time faculty. An extended discussion ensued here concerning restricted appointments.
When asked about the distinction between working conditions and participation in governance, Steven Weinberger, the specified ad hoc committee chair, replied that the committee’s work could extend to governance issues. The motion passed on a voice vote. The motion is included as Attachment C to these minutes.
V. New Business
A. Committee Reports
1. The Nominations Committee
Committee Chair Anita Taylor presented a slate of nine names for a second level tenure review committee as required by the Faculty handbook (Section 2.8.4, a, iii). The nine nominees were:
Ben Broome, Dept. of Communication
Paula Gilbert, Modern & Classical Languages
Lorraine Brown, English Dept.
Ed Wegman, Applied & Engineering Statistics
Louise White, Public & International Affairs
Peter Black, Sociology & Anthropology
Larry Bowen, The Institute of Public Policy
Don Boileau, Dept. of Communications
Karen Vaughn, Economics Department
The tenth nomination, Jim Metcalf, College of Nursing & Health Science, came from the floor.
John O’Connor, concerned that the slate had not been circulated in advance, asked if the election could wait until the December 10th meeting of the Senate since this is a high profile action that needs to proceed in an unimpeachable process. The chair concurred that the Senate should address John’s concern. A further question arose concerning department chairs serving on the committee; this was not seen as a problem. The Chair asked anyone who did not wish to proceed to speak up. There was no objection to proceeding. The Chair asked Senators to take all issues into consideration when voting. A motion to close nominations was made, seconded and passed. The motion to elect the slate passed on a voice vote.
2. Academic Policies Committee
Committee Chair DeNys presented the motion from his Committee which had been distributed with the agenda. The motion recommends reestablishing the standing admissions committee which had ceased to function in the University about four years ago. DeNys spoke in support of the motion. This is a reestablishment of an old committee and it has the support of the Dean of Admissions. The new committee would be chaired by Eddie Tallent the Director of Admissions.
Several Senators spoke in support of the motion emphasizing the need for hard data on admissions and the importance of disseminating information to the faculty. The motion passed on a voice vote. The motion is included as Attachment D to these minutes.
3. Faculty Matters Committee
Committee Chair Don Boileau reported that the Committee is starting to consider the evaluation of administrators. A discussion of using computer based voting was mentioned. The Committee will be considering both the form and nature of questions for the evaluation.
4. Executive Committee
Esther Elstun reported that Chris Hill, Vice Provost for Research, will report briefly on Intellectual Property Issues at the December 10th meeting of the Senate. She also reported that Susan Jones, Director of Registration and Records, discussed problems and issues related to class scheduling with the Executive Committee. The Academic Policy Committee has been asked to study these problems and issues; they will work with Ms. Jones.
5. Facilities and Support Services Committee
Committee Chair Stanley Zoltek reported that his Committee had met with the Bookstore operators, and that they had received promising information that the Bookstore was getting its act together. The President of the Corporation, the Regional Manager and the Bookstore Manager gave him copies of a report to be distributed to Senators. It was noted that the Bookstore contract with the University was coming up in about a year.
Stanley was appointed as the Senate representative to the Arlington County Planning Task Force formed by Stanley Taylor, Associate Vice President for Operational Services.
Don Boileau noted that the Faculty Matters Committee was considering using the WEB for this Spring’s Faculty Evaluation of Administrators; and he asked whether there were people available to explain how that could be done and to support the effort. A key issue for such an approach would be faculty use of their SSNs in the computer to verify their vote. If this were possible, it could save a lot of manual effort.
6. Organization and Operations Committee
Toni Travis reported that the following items had been referred to the standing committees:
Faculty Matters Committee: Interpret Section 2.2.4 of the Faculty Handbook requiring that a Full Professor must have achieved a nationally recognized position.
Academic Policies Committee: Address course duplication across the University; this item was requested by the Committee on Academic Assessments. Evaluate the scheduling proposals prepared by the deans and institute directors.
Facilities and Support Services Committee: Investigate the problems experienced by the Bookstore. Investigate problems relating to the network and LAN upgrades.
7. Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors
Ariela Sofer announced that they would be attending next week’s BOV meeting.
VI. Other New Business
Bob Ruhling asked for a status report on football. Linda Miller reported on the Task Force’s activities. The Task Force has been dealing with how to collect data on the interest by students, faculty and the community in football. The proposed timeline of reporting at the January BOV meeting seems too quick to do a good job. Some confusion had arisen from referring to their feasibility study as a plan of action.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 pm.
A: Text of the letter from the Student Senate
Dear Members of the Faculty Senate,
On February 13, 1997 the Student Senate unanimously approved Resolution 9, which deals with faculty and course evaluations. It is our belief that the current evaluations are inadequate and do not meet the expectations of the students and many faculty members.
The students want evaluations that will better inform them about the courses and about the teaching styles of the professors. Specific pieces of information that should be covered include the format of courses, the amount and type of work expected, and concerns and problems students have had with a course and/or professor. The intent of Resolution 9 was to create a forum in which students, faculty members, as well as members of the administration can discuss the current evaluations and make recommendations concerning the changes that should take place.
It is our hope that the requests made in Resolution 9 will be taken into consideration and that students will be given the opportunity to be involved. If you have any questions, please contact Andrea Bednar at firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer Wilkenson at email@example.com.
The Student Government of George Mason University
February 13, 1997
Patrons: Senator Andrea Bednar, Representative Michael Cruise
Whereas the course/faculty evaluations are a way in which the University can receive feedback from the students about the quality of the material and the presentation thereof; and
Whereas the evaluations consist of two separate portions, a scantron and an open-ended section that discusses the quality and the presentation of the course material by the professor; and
Whereas the scantron portion of the evaluation is made public to the Mason community in the George Mason University’s affiliated libraries and the open-ended comments are only accessible to the professor who has presented the course material; and
Whereas the questions on the scantron portion of the evaluation are general questions and the open-ended portion allows the student to express specific information about the course and the professor; and
Whereas the statistical results regarding the scantron portion of the evaluation is compiled and published showing only the numeric average of the responses given for the general questions on the scale of one to five; and
Whereas this average does not supply adequate information to the student body; thus not permitting the students of George Mason to make an informed decision when selecting the course and/or the professor based on these evaluations; and
Therefore be it resolved that we, the Student Government of George Mason University, do hereby request that the current policy concerning the release of the course evaluations be amended, to allow the comments given in the open-ended questions to be made public to the community of George Mason University; and
Requesting that steps also be made to allow the answers for these question to be used in the performance evaluation of the course and the professor, whether they be tenured or non-tenured; and
Furthermore it is requested that an ad hoc committee consisting of five faculty members be appointed by the faculty senate, three student advisors appointed by the student government, and an administration member, be formed for the purpose of creating more suitable questions for the evaluation that would provide the feedback desired by both the students and the faculty; and
Be it further
resolved that the ad hoc committee set the rules under which the written
comments would be published, including a summary of comments that are similar
in nature; and
Be it further resolved that a copy of this resolution be forwarded to President Alan G. Merten, Provost David Potter, all members of the Faculty Senate, Marjorie H. Haley, Interim Dean Hans Bergmann, Associate Dean Doris Bitler, Assistant Dean J. P. Lewis, Interim Dean Jack High, Assistant Dean Gerry Hanweck, Dean Gustavo A. Mellander, Dean W. Murray
Black, Dean Henry G. Manne, Dean Rita M. Carty, Dean John O’Connor, Sarah Lawless, Evans Mandes, Michael Randy Gabel, Veronica Feeg, Jerry Drake, Karen M. Gentemann, and Nancy L. Ahson.
On February 13, 1997 this resolution was unanimously passed by everyone present.
B: Proposed Amendments to the Charter of the Faculty Senate
I. Membership of the Faculty Senate
President of the University
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
The Deans of the Colleges and Independent Schools
One Independent Institute Director designated by the Directors of the Independent Institutes
Director of the University Libraries
Fifty Faculty Members Elected from the Collegiate Units
B. Apportionment of Elected Senators
The number of Senators representing each collegiate unit (College, Independent Unit or Unit Pool) shall be determined according to the principle of proportionality, based on the full-time equivalent size of the Instructional Faculty of each Collegiate Unit or Institute Pool on February 1st of each year, with the following restriction: The threshold size for any collegiate unit to receive its own individual allocation of Senate seats is set annually at the total University Instructional FTE divided by 50; in the instance that this ratio is not an integer it will be rounded up to obtain the threshold size. Instructional faculty refers to faculty with at least .5 FTE support from appropriated funds. All independent Collegiate Units, Institutes or Academic Units which do not individually equal or exceed the threshold size will be pooled into a single collegiate unit for purposes of allocating Senate seats. By March 1st of each academic year, the Senate Committee on Organization and Operations shall establish the representation from each unit on the basis of the figures provided by the Administration. Elections shall follow by May 1st .
The Directors of the Independent Institutes shall designate one of their number annually to serve on the Senate.
C. Qualifications of Elected Senators
Elected Senators shall be members of the constituent Faculties they represent on full-time tenured or probationary appointment in the rank of assistant professor or above, with at least one year’s full-time service at George Mason University. These qualifications may be waived for emerging collegiate units so that the full time Faculty Senate membership quota may be met, except that all Senators must be on full-time appointments.
D. Election of Senators
Each collegiate unit shall decide upon the method of electing its representatives, with the stipulation that they be elected for staggered terms, the maximum to be three years.
C: Motion from the Faculty Matters Committee
That the Faculty Senate create an ad-hoc committee to investigate the compensation and working conditions of part-time faculty at George Mason University.
1. that this be a 7 person committee with Steven Weinberger [CAS] of the Faculty Matters Committee chairing the committee;
2. that the Nominations committee solicit and recommend 2 full-time faculty and 3 part-time faculty for the committee; and that the Provost appoint one administrator for the committee; and
3. that the committee report to the Senate by April of 1998 with their recommendations.
D: Motion from the Academic Policies Committee
The AP Committee of the Faculty Senate moves that a University Standing Admissions Committee, consisting of five members, including at least one Senator, and the Director of Admissions ex officio (non-voting), be reestablished and have as its charge:
1. Following the admissions process in order that the faculty might better understand it.
2. Making recommendations regarding admissions standards to the Director of Admissions.
3. Reporting admissions recommendations and statistics to the Faculty Senate on an annual basis.
Return to Archives