GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
April 15, 1998
Senators present: P. Black, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, R. Carty, M. DeNys, S. Eagle, E. Elstun, J. Flinn, D. Gantz, J. Hale, D. Kaplan, J. Metcalf, L. Miller, J. O'Connor, A. Palkovich, R. Ruhling, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, A. Sofer, D. Struppa, J. Tangney, T. Travis, K. Vaughn, S. Weinberger, P. Wilkie, S. Zoltek
Senators absent: A. Berry, L. Bowen, K. Clements, R. Conti, J. Crockett, M. Deshmukh, T. Domzal, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, A. Merten, S. Muir, E. O'Hara, W. Perry, D. Potter, J. Reid, D. Rine, A. Taylor, C. Thomas, E. Thorp, J. Walsh
I. Call to Order
Senate Chair Esther Elstun called the meeting to order at 3:04 pm.
II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the March 18, 1998 Senate meeting were approved.
The Chair announced that: She received a letter from Marvin Murray the Rector of the Board of Visitors (BOV) sharing the BOV's assessment of President Alan Merten's stewardship of the University. This letter is available for review in the Faculty Senate Office.
She introduced Lynn Hopewell who is the State Council for Higher Education (SCHEV) liaison to GMU. She had invited Ms. Hopewell to attend today's Senate meeting.
The Executive Committee is presenting a motion at today's meeting. The Chair intends to speak in favor of the motion and will turn over the Chair to Steven Eagle at that point.
Today's agenda is quite full; therefore if the agenda has not been completed by 4:25 PM, the meeting will recess at that time until 3PM next Wednesday, April 22.
Ken Bumgarner introduced the new Bookstore manager Les Dean. Mr. Dean has been transferred to GMU from Chicago. He invited people to stop by and communicate with the Bookstore; they would like to know how to better serve the community. He reminded faculty to get Summer adoptions in; about 79% have been submitted so far. Also, during the week of May 11, the Bookstore will be buying back books from students. Students get 50% of the price of books that have been adopted again, otherwise they get less. So, for the students' sake, get Summer and Fall adoptions in quickly.
IV. Unfinished Business
9.a. Ad Hoc Post Tenure Review Procedures Committee
Ariela Sofer explained that the Committee had been formed to ensure that post-tenure review policies were in place. She handed out the Committee's Final Report which she summarized for the Senate. Additional copies of the report are available in the Faculty Senate Office. Don Boileau moved that the Committee's report with its recommendations be accepted by the Senate. The motion was seconded and passed. A motion was made to dismiss the Committee with thanks for their work. The motion was seconded and passed.
V. New Business
A. Annual Reports of Standing and Ad Hoc University Committees
1. Committee on Effective Teaching
Ariela Sofer presented a progress report from the Committee. She reported that the Student Government has wanted faculty members' course evaluation written comments made publicly available. The students met with the BOV who then told the Committee to work things out with the students. The outcome of subsequent meetings with students is that the Student Government will be able to include their own six categorical response questions on course evaluations; these will be in addition to existing evaluation questions. These student generated questions will be under student control and responses to them will be disseminated, probably via the WEB. The standard evaluation questions will be disseminated in the traditional way. Ariela Sofer moved that the Committee's report be approved. The motion was seconded. An extended discussion followed. A student representative described the process by which the students came up with their six questions; the process reduced an initial set of thirty questions to the six being presented. Senators criticized the meaning and content of various student questions. A number of Senators expressed a desire to get feedback from colleagues concerning the questions before voting. Stanley Zoltek made a motion to postpone action on the motion being considered until the May meeting. Discussion continued on the motion to postpone. Ariela Sofer commented that the Committee view was to give the students flexibility in choosing their own questions, and the Committee anticipated that the students might want to do periodic review and revision of their questions. She stressed that even though the Committee has to approve the questions, it is the student voice, and that should be considered by the Senate. Jim Sanford spoke against the postponement noting that the proposed approach does not affect either the written comments or the dissemination of other responses to the other questions. After some additional discussion concerning the consequences of a postponement, the motion to postpone was passed.
2. Academic Appeals Committee
Bob Pasnak distributed the annual report from the Committee and briefly summarized the report for the Senate. A motion was made to accept the report with silent corrections. The motion was seconded and passed. The Committee report was distributed, additional copies are available in the Faculty Senate Office.
3. University Salary Equity Study Committee
Ann Palkovich gave a preliminary verbal report from the Committee. The Committee's Final Report will be presented at the May meeting. She indicated that the Committee will be making six recommendations. Briefly, these recommendations are: 1. Establish a data base for the study of faculty salaries. The Committee is trying to determine how an annual salary report can be done. 2. Request the Provost's Office to provide salary data annually to the Senate with the intent of identifying people for proactive salary monitoring.3. Look at the legal requirements associated with going outside the University for legal opinions associated with a salary equity study. 4. Have information from merit evaluations in local academic units put into a standard mode for inclusion in the data base. 5. Come up with a definition of restricted faculty and look at policies for making restricted appointments. The Committee has identified 163 restricted faculty of various kinds; half of these have been at GMU for over five years. 6. Restore the Office of University Ombudsman to review how salary grievances are being addressed.
B. Senate Committee Reports
1. Executive Committee
Esther Elstun turned over the Chair to Steven Eagle. She presented the motion from the Executive Committee asking the Provost to withhold final action on the discontinuation of certain College of Arts and Sciences program pending further review through a process to be determined by the Provost and the Executive Committee. Esther Elstun spoke in favor of the motion saying the following:
The motion raises both academic issues and issues of governance. I want to focus on the academic issues, but will address the governance issues as I go along. There are some strange contradictions in the things that have happened in recent weeks under the euphemistic label of "restructuring." We have heard repeated assurances of the centrality of the College of Arts & Sciences to the university as a whole, even while the same people who offer those assurances tell me the Senate has no business concerning itself with the motion on the floor. They are wrong about that; Section 1.3.2 of the Faculty Handbook gives the Senate every right to advise the president in matters that affect the welfare of the university as a whole. The contention I anticipate in this regard is that the program eliminations proposed by the interim dean of the CAS do NOT affect the welfare of the university as a whole. Those who make that claim are still thinking only in quantitative terms: they point to the fact that there are not large numbers of students from SITE, the GSE, the School of Management or the College of Nursing who are flocking to the CAS to take courses in German or Russian, Physics or Classical Studies. They are right about the numbers, but what they just don't seem to get is that when we speak of the welfare of the university as a whole we are not referring primarily to numbers at all, but rather to the academic character of the institution, the intellectual climate that prevails here, the presence of a broad range of disciplines that make up the fiber of a university worthy of the name. There are other strange contradictions. We have been told repeatedly that the liberal arts are alive and well at George Mason, even while the same people who tell us that are recommending the discontinuation of programs in languages and literatures that remain an integral part of the liberal arts curriculum at first and second-tier institutions, and even at many that are rated as third-tier. We are reminded that ours is a tax-supported institution and that we must be more responsive to the needs and wishes of the public, but the German major is targeted for discontinuation only days after the Governor of this Commonwealth announced that strengthening Virginia's economic ties with German companies would be a major priority of his administration. We are told that the university needs to focus more energy and resources on honors programs. That is in my view a very commendable goal, but as a member of Phi Beta Kappa I can tell you that it will never establish a chapter here in the absence of programs like those targeted for elimination. I urge you to vote in favor of the motion.
Speakers opposing the motion argued that a proper set of procedures had been followed within the College of Arts and Sciences and the procedures were working. The Dean communicated with faculty through departments. All cuts were presented to the CAS council who gave advice which was taken into consideration by the Dean. In a subsequent CAS faculty meeting, the faculty voted (about 60% to 40%) to support the Dean. The claim was made that the Faculty Handbook does not give the Senate jurisdiction concerning these cuts since the matter is internal to CAS.
Speakers favoring the motion claimed that some things that occur within particular schools can require help from other people in the University, particularly the Senate. The Senate should become more, not less, involved. The reorganizations within the School of Management were mentioned as an example. Further, some speakers argued that the clauses in the Handbook concerning the discontinuance of programs also apply in the current CAS context even though faculty severance is not an issue. Speakers stressed that the motion from the Executive Committee is not the same as the motion that failed in the CAS faculty meeting. The current motion is not meant to undo CAS procedures but rather for the Senate to exercise its legitimate responsibilities.
John O'Connor noted that the Deans and Directors had sent the Senate Executive Committee a letter indicating that the Senate should not be getting into those issues which belong within a local academic unit. Further, the precedent set by the current motion will lead to units coming to the Senate with micro issues that are not appropriate for the Senate; he reiterated that working according to properly established procedures is important.
Charles Rowley (non-senator) spoke in favor of the motion as a person not affected in any way by the motion.' He does not know whether or not potentially the cessation of the targeted programs will affect the welfare of the University as a whole, however it could signal a slow disintegration of important subjects. He noted that GMU is not a technical school but a university, and CAS has a major role. The Dean has put forth restructuring proposals with good intent. The possibility that larger departments feel it is easier to go along since they are not subject to severe cuts implies that the proposals should become an issue of wider governance. The Senate can offer another view of how the University should look which is beyond the view from the unit where the cuts are being made.
The concern was again voiced that a precedent might be being set by the Senate examining a college's procedures. We should be wary about doing this; it might lead to all program changes being reviewed by the Senate.
Dean Struppa shared that this has been a difficult and divisive month. He took exception to suggestions that people in CAS voted to back the reorganization for self interest. The faculty voted their beliefs and it is not proper for the Senate to overrule them.
Don Gantz recalled that, over the past eight years, the Senate has deliberately established itself as a University forum. We have revised the Faculty Handbook to reflect realities and facilitate change. We have held public meetings on the reorganization of the School of Business and on the establishment of particular independent institutes. The Senate has never been obstructionist in these matters, but it has served as an open forum for University wide forums on issues. Further, the Senate has had a close working relationship with three Provosts that has led to constructive agreements on governance issues. The Executive Committee views the current motion as consistent with its ongoing responsibility to be a forum on University issues and the central governance voice of faculty.
Jim Sanford recounted the sequence of activities in CAS leading to the proposed cuts being upheld by the CAS faculty following faculty input and discussion. He spoke against the current motion since the CAS had dealt with the issue.
Don Boileau noted that as a CAS faculty member he was delighted that the Dean had opened up the process. However, he was in favor of the current motion as a University faculty member. The motion addresses the issue at its highest level, namely, what is the University's mission? He voiced concern about a contradiction in the University's actions and their rhetoric concerning the development of an international perspective. The University requires substantive courses in foreign language areas.
A secret ballot was requested. The motion passed by a 14 Yes, 11 No and 1 abstention vote.
2. Faculty Matters Committee
Don Boileau announced that on Wednesday, April 29, the Committee would receive a report on Sexual Harassment from Connie Kirkland of the Equity Office. The meeting will be held in Joe Scimecca's office.
3. Facilities and Support Services
Committee Stan Zoltek reported that the University has no current plans to provide an 800 phone number for faculty to call in from long distance to check phone and computer messages. The option would be too costly.
The meeting was recessed at 4:30 to be continued next Wednesday, April 22 at 3:00PM.
CONTINUATION OF APRIL 15, 1998 FACULTY SENATE
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
April 22, 1998 (Continued from 4/15/98)
Senators present: A. Berry, P. Black, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, M. DeNys, E. Elstun, D. Gantz, J. Metcalf, L. Miller, S. Muir, J. Reid, R. Ruhling, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, A. Sofer, A. Taylor, C. Thomas, S. Zoltek
Senators absent: E. Blaisten-Barojas, R. Carty, K. Clements, R. Conti, J. Crockett, M. Deshmukh, T. Domzal, S. Eagle, J. Flinn, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, J. Hale, D. Kaplan, A. Merten, J. O'Connor, E. O'Hara, A. Palkovich, W. Perry, D. Potter, D. Rine, D. Struppa, J. Tangney, E. Thorp, T. Travis, K. Vaughn, J. Walsh, S. Weinberger, P. Wilkie
I Call to Order
Chair Esther Elstun called the meeting to order at 3:05pm.
Anita Taylor announced that Chairs and/or members of Senate Committees were required to cast lots to determine whose terms end with the conclusion of this academic year, and that results were supposed to be relayed to the Senate Secretary. None of the six committees (Executive, Academic Policies, Faculty Matters, Facilities & Support Services, Nominations, Organization & Operation) had done so to this point. This casting of lots must be done so that the Nominations Committee will have the information when putting together new slates for next year's Faculty Senate.
Esther Elstun announced that the Faculty Exchange Center (FEC) has provided the Senate with additional information for registration for exchange faculty for the 1999-2000 academic year. Registration begins immediately and the deadline is September 22, 1998. Anyone interested in registering may contact the Faculty Senate Office (993-2990 or email@example.com) for further information and registration forms. Additionally, early registration is encouraged as the first ten registrants will be enrolled free of the registration fee.
III Unfinished Business
B. Committee Reports
2. Academic Policies Committee
M. DeNys reported that in response to a charge from last year the Committee had created a minimum criterion for Honors Programs. The motion was presented (see April Agenda) and identified as a minimum criterion which could be exceeded by individual schools or departments. Discussion of the motion followed. Several questions regarding the specific criterion were addressed by members of the AP Committee. Criterion #4 was amended within the Committee and discussion continued. In further discussion, it was moved that the motion be amended to eliminate Criterion #4 (Honors Faculty). The motion to amend failed. Members of the Committee reiterated that the criteria were abstract but substantive, and intended to be minimum standards for Honors Programs. Schools and departments were free to raise the standard of Honors Program requirements at a local level, but the criteria presented would apply as a minimum for all programs. It was moved to amend Criterion #3 to specify a department's right to impose more rigorous standards, the motion to amend failed. Following further discussion, it was moved to vote on the main motion. The AP motion passed as amended, and the motion is included in these minutes as Attachment A.
3. Facilities and Support Services Committee
The Committee reminded the Senate that it reported on April 15.
4. Nominations Committee
J. Metcalf reported that the Committee presented two motions for consideration. The first motion regarding terms for members of the Salary Equity Study Committee was amended to read "The university standing salary equity study committee members should have three year terms." It was then moved and passed as amended. The second motion presented by the Committee was moved and passed without discussion.
5. Faculty Matters Committee
The Committee reported on April 15.
6. Organization and Operations Committee
S. Muir reported that there was nothing to report.
7. Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors
R. Ruhling reported that the Board of Visitors (BOV) met on March 24 and 25, 1998. A brief summary of the action items approved by the BOV included: a termination policy for wage employees; an examination of a financial plan of action for football at GMU; the creation of "George Mason Boulevard" on the north side of the University; an expression of interest in acquiring Green Acres School Property; no increase in tuition and fee rates for Summer 1998 term; B.S. in Health Science with Health System Management and Health Care Coordination as pathways leading to the degree; the adoption of a B.S. in Geography; the Conferral of Emeritus status on Professor C. Alan Boneau; the Conferral of Emeritus status on Professor John P. Soder. Additionally, there was the Rector's Report, during which Rector Murray stated the following:
The Faculty Senate has been remiss in its own responsibilities to represent the faculty of this university by failing to allow non-tenure faculty as members of the Faculty Senate. On a campus which celebrates diversity and which much is made of the rights of all, I find it disgraceful that a large number of our faculty are disenfranchised in this fashion. I now call anew the Faculty Senate of George Mason University to end this elitism and present to this Board at our May meeting a further change to your charter which gives full and representative senate membership to all, I repeat, all faculty, including those occupying part-time and adjunct positions.
Esther Elstun added that the last sentence of the Rector's Statement reads, "In preparing this change, I encourage you to consult with the Chair of the Academic and Faculty Matters Committee and keep them advised of your progress."
R. Ruhling reported that there was no opportunity to respond to the Rector's comments at that time. It was asked if the Senate was responding to or seeking clarification of the Rector's comments. Answering the question, Chair E. Elstun informed the Senate that the Executive Committee met to discuss the comments and appropriate steps for responding. The Committee drafted a letter to the Chair of the Board Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, Edwin Meese. The letter corrected two factual errors in the Rector's Statement, explained why it was impossible to undertake further changes in Senate composition by May and indicated that a comprehensive study of composition of the Senate will occur in the coming academic year.
8. Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia
It was reported that the last meeting of the Faculty Senate of Virginia is at University of Virginia on April 25, 1998. Mike Mullin, Interim Director of SCHEV, is to report.
IV Other New Business
There was no other new business.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:00pm.
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