March 18, 1998


Senators present:  A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, R. Conti, M. De Nys, M. Deshmukh, E. Elstun, J. Flinn, D. Gantz, J. Hale, D. Kaplan, J. Metcalf, L. Miller, S. Muir, J. O'Connor, A. Palkovich, W. Perry, D. Potter, R. Ruhling, J. Scimecca, A. Sofer, J. Tangney, A. Taylor, E. Thorp, K. Vaughn, S. Zoltek


Senators absent: P. Black, R. Carty, K. Clements, J. Crockett, T. Domzal, S. Eagle, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, A. Merten, E. O'Hara, J. Reid, D. Rine, J. Sanford, D. Struppa, C. Thomas, T. Travis, J. Walsh, S. Weinberger, P. Wilkie


Guests present:  S. Bailey (Campus Ministry), J. Bullock (Student Senate), L. Butler (ARTH), E. Chandhoke (Library), L. Irvine (Provost’s Office), S. Jones (Registrar’s Office), J. Lin (Math), M. Vance (Academic Support & Advising)


I.  Call to Order

Chair Esther Elstun called the meeting to order at 3:07 pm.


II.  Approval of Minutes

The Minutes from both the February 18 Faculty Senate Meeting and the Special Called Meeting of the Faculty Senate (March 4) were approved.


III.  Announcements

E. Elstun announced and welcomed the addition of Jane Flinn (PSYC) to the Faculty Senate.  Ms. Flinn replaces Cynthia Fuchs for the remainder of her term.


E. Elstun also announced that in accordance with the Senate’s instruction from the March 4, 1998 Meeting, copies of the Faculty Senate’s Resolution on Football were delivered to Rector Murray, President Merten and each member of the Board of Visitors.  Additionally, a letter was sent to JoAnn DiGennaro, chair of the BOV’s Student Affairs Committee, requesting a place on their March agenda to orally present the Faculty Senate’s Resolution to the Board of Visitors.  DiGennaro responded that the Senate could not orally present its position.  Furthermore, she explained that the only oral testimony to be given at the meeting was by a panel of experts who would respond to questions from the Committee.  Additionally, DiGennaro urged that the Faculty Senate’s position be submitted for circulation in written form as she is requesting that all comments be in written documentation to expedite the testimony at the meeting.  At Ms. DiGennaro’s suggestion, E. Elstun contacted Vice President Scherrens for additional explanation.  Scherrens explained that due to the emotional nature of the issue, the Committee decided not to have an open microphone.  Since it would not be fair to allow one group (the Faculty Senate, for example) to be represented orally and deny other groups, the Committee came to the decision of no additional oral testimony.  Vice President Scherrens also expressed his hope that a large number of faculty would be present at the March 24 Meeting.


E. Elstun announced that the BOV Student Affairs Committee Meeting (at which football is an agenda item) will be held from 7:00-9:00pm on Tuesday, March 24, in Mason Hall, Room D3 A&B.  All Senators and faculty members who can attend are asked to do so.


IV.  Unfinished Business


B.  Committee Reports


2.  Academic Policies Committee (from Feb. 18)

Motion One, regarding observance of religious holidays, is meant to represent a current practice.  Discussion of the motion continued.  It is not within the Senate’s power to form policy on religious practice because of the conflict between church and state.  In response, it was noted that the motion does not address religious practice, but only a policy to guide faculty in the prudent allowance of absenteeism for religious holidays.  Further discussion stated that the determination of acceptable absences should be left to the individual professor rather than a potentially challenged action by the Senate, and the Committee responded that it was in direct response to student concern that this issue was being addressed.  A vote on the motion was called for and the motion passed as amended.  (See Attachment A for the final version of the passed motion.)


Motion Two from the Committee moved that the line “Completed Honors Program in General Education” be added to the transcripts of students who successfully complete that program.  There was no discussion of the motion and it was moved and passed as presented.


Motion Three regarding transcripts and diplomas of students who earn honors in their major be marked “with Honors” following the degree and major was read and discussion followed.  In addressing a question over eligibility for the “with Honors” notation, the Committee responded that responsibility falls on individual departments, not the Registrar to decide upon eligible students.  After further discussion, the Committee amended the motion deleting the phrase “and diplomas” and a vote was called for on the issue.  The motion passed as amended.  (See Attachment B for the final version of the passed motion.)


6.  Organizations and Operations Committee (from Feb. 18)

The Committee withdrew the original motion and presented a substitute motion to modify the charge of the University standing Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning Committee (NIAL) to:

To advise and collaborate with the Provost on academic matters on all campuses related to continuing education programs that involve multiple academic units, including approval and oversight of certificates, distance learning courses, summer sessions, contract courses, and the Testing Center.

A vote on the motion followed several brief comments and the motion passed.

            The second motion, concerned with modifying the ex-officio membership of the Effective Teaching Committee to be “the Provost’s designee,” drew no comment and the motion passed.


V.  New Business


A.  Committee Reports


1.   Executive Committee

E. Elstun reported that Duke Perry had given the Committee an informational report on the GMU Foundation.  Particularly of interest was that he thought it likely that the Board would like to include faculty representation in the Foundation.  Additionally, E. Elstun reported that there is a special meeting of the Committee with the Provost to review a list of proposed restructuring changes and identify any changes which would require Senate involvement.


2.   Academic Policies Committee

There was no new business to report from the Committee.


3.   Facilities and Support Services Committee

S. Zoltek reported that the Committee helped Ken Bumgarner’s group on housing to review housing contract proposals.


4.   Faculty Matters Committee

D. Boileau reported that evaluation of the Administration will be conducted via the WEB, and a paper version of the evaluation will also be made available.  The form will be revised in April and a report will be made during the Summer.  D. Boileau also reported that as a result of GMU’s lost sexual harassment case, Debra Bergoffen is working on approximately nine changes to the University’s policy on this subject and the Committee will have a motion for consideration at the May meeting.  D. Boileau also reported the Committee is investigating faculty interest in a potential early retirement buy-in cost of living adjustment.


5.   Nominations Committee

The Committee is considering term lengths for members of the Salary Equity Committee.


6.   Organizations and Operations Committee

E. Blaisten-Barojas presented the first of two motions for consideration.  This motion concerned the incorporation of an ad hoc Senate committee (Diversity Issues Committee) into a standing university committee (Minority Affairs Committee) with a change in name, charge and membership.  The motion created a “Minority and Diversity Issues Committee” as a university standing committee with five members.  The change was suggested because the Diversity Issues Committee terminates in May 1998, and the present membership of the Minority Affairs Committee expires in September 1998.  The suggested changes would allow an entirely new elected body to begin in the Fall.  Following some discussion of the proposed changes, an amendment to the charge of the new committee was passed and the new charge reads:


To represent and articulate Minority and Diversity concerns and to work in concert with the Equity Office, Minority Students Services Office, other pertinent administrators and campus organizations in developing and implementing means to ensure nondiscrimination, tolerance, and protection of the rights of all persons affiliated with the University; to facilitate dialogue among those connected with the University and those in the broader community on matters concerning minority populations and diversity issues.


Further discussion of the issue led to the possibilities of having two separate university standing committees or combining the two but keeping the membership at the current level of both committees currently.  Speaking for the O&O Committee, E. Blaisten-Barojas stated that the committee did consider the large decrease in membership before making its recommendation, but decided that a committee of seven is too large and too slow.  With significant overlap of the two existing committees, it makes sense to combine them to form a single committee to handle the workload.  A vote was called for, and the motion passed with one objection.


The second motion of the O&O Committee moved to transform the ad hoc Grievance Committee to a university standing committee with a modified charge.  Establishing a Grievance Committee (university standing committee) would provide an organization to address issues outside the parameters of individual academic units.  Furthermore, the new committee would address the charges that do not fall under any local academic units’ charge.  It was stressed that the new committee would not be an appeals committee above local academic units, strictly a body to review matters not covered at any local academic unit.  A vote was called, and the motion passed without objection.


The O&O Committee presented a report on allocation of seats for the 1998-99 Faculty Senate.  The 1998-99 Senate will operate under a new membership size, representing the first change in elected membership size in almost 25 years.  Units eligible for Faculty Senate Representation should be notified.  Copies of the Apportionment for the 1998-99 Faculty Senate Representation are available in the Faculty Senate Office.


7.   Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors

The Liaisons moved to add the February Report to the minutes of this meeting, the motion passed and the report is included as Attachment C.


8.   Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia

The representative reported that the acting Director of SCHEV and the General Assembly assessed that core requirements and general education need improvement.  Also, that the drug and alcohol problems on Virginia campuses should be addressed in-house.  Additionally, the use of community colleges for work force training needs to be addressed, and more technological and engineering training should be accomplished by universities to improve work force preparation and technological literacy for all gradutates.


9.   Other Committees

a.   Ad Hoc Post Tenure Review Procedures Committee

A. Sofer asked that the discussion of this committee be moved to the April Faculty Senate Meeting.  Senate Chair Elstun identified that it would be carried to unfinished business in the April meeting.


b.   Library Committee

The annual report of this committee identified that the deadline for the receipt of applications for the Fenwick Fellowship was extended to April 10 because of mail problems.  Also, the issues of fundraising, planning and resources were discussed and scheduled for further discussion.  Finally, the search for the Director of Libraries is completed, with the names of the three finalists having been forwarded to Joy Hughes for final consideration.


VI.  Other Business

E. Elstun reminded the Senate that all committees need to report at least once a year, and that the May meeting is the final opportunity.


VII.  Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:25 pm.


Attachment A --  Approved Motion from the AP Committee

The AP Committee moves that the following statement regarding observance of religious holidays be inserted in the University Catalogue:


It is the policy of George Mason University to make every reasonable effort to allow members of the University Community to observe their religious holidays without academic penalty. Absence from classes or examinations for religious reasons does not relieve students from responsibility for any part of the course work required during the period of absence. Students who expect to miss classes, examinations, or other assignments as a consequence of their religious observance shall be provided with a reasonable alternative opportunity to complete such academic responsibilities. It is the obligation of students to provide faculty with reasonable notice of the dates of major religious holidays on which they will be absent.  Faculty should be sensitive to religious observances in their construction of class schedules and syllabi.

Attachment B -- Approved Motion from the AP Committee

The AP Committee moves that the transcripts of students who earn honors in their major be marked with the phrase "with Honors" following the degree and major.

Attachment C -- Report from Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors

 The George Mason University Board of Visitors met on both January 20 and 21, 1998.  The Student Affairs Committee met the evening of the 20th - report was presented at the Faculty Senate Meeting of January 21.  All other committees met during the following day culminating with the full Board meeting at 5:00 pm.  Action items that were presented during their respective committee meetings and approved by the full board included the following:

·        Changing the name of the Department of Geography and Earth Systems Science to Department of Geography and Earth Science

·        Changing the title of the degree B.A. in Speech Communication to B.A. in Communication

·        Proposal to create B.S. in Computer Engineering

·        Conferred Professor Emerita of Physics status on Dr. Eugenie V. Mielczarek

·        Proposed legislative amendments

·        Higher Education Revenue Bonds Resolution (to build the auditorium at PW)

·        Room and Board Rates for 1998-1999 (no changes to room rates, about a 1%­ ($20) to board rates)

·        The sale of 0.64 acres of GMU property to the City of Fairfax


Respectfully submitted R. O. Ruhling, A. Sofer, E. Elstun

Faculty Senate Liaisons to the GMU Board of Visitors

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