GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
March 10, 1999
Senators Present: A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, T. Brawley, J. Censer, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, S. deMonsabert, M. Deshmukh, R. Ehrlich, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, J. Hale, M. Holt, D. Kuebrich, M. LeBaron, J. Metcalf, L. Miller, S. Muir, J. O’Connor, D. Rine, R. Ruhling, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, A. Sofer, C. Sutton, H. Tongren, S. Weinberger
Senators Absent: K. Alligood, L. Brown, R. Carty, K. Clements, T. Domzal, E. Elstun, J. Flinn, K. Gaffney, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, L. Lederman, C. Lont, B. Manchester, K. McCrohan, A. Merten, E. O’Hara, A. Palkovich, D. Potter, J. Reid, L. Rigsby, L. Rockwood, D. Struppa, A. Taylor, E. Thorp, K. Vaughn, P. Wilkie, H. Williams, S. Zaccaro, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek
Guests Present: L. Brehm (AROTC), G. Dunne (Student Senate), K. Graffius (Student Senate), S. Jones (Registrar’s Office), D. Rossell (Provost’s Office)
I. Call to Order
Chair Pro Tem Star Muir called the meeting to order at 3:06PM.
II. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the February 17, 1999 Faculty Senate Meeting were approved as distributed.
S. Muir announced that if the Senate did not complete the agenda for this meeting prior to 4:30 PM, that the meeting would be continued on Wednesday, March 31 at 3:00 PM in Robinson B113.
T. Brawley announced that the Music Department is holding a Memorial Recital for Sam di Bonaventura, who died in July 1998, on Sunday, April 11, 1999, at 4:00 PM in the Bellarmine Chapel just off campus on Roberts Rd. The Recital features several GMU faculty members. All faculty are invited and there is no admission charge. For additional information, please contact the Music Department.
IV. Unfinished Business
There was no unfinished business.
V. New Business
A. Report from David Rossell, Associate Provost, on Post-Tenure Review
D. Rossell reported that Post-Tenure Review is State mandated, and that the Faculty Senate was very involved in the creation of the GMU Post-Tenure Review Policy. The current policy was approved in the Spring of 1996 and became effective in the 1996-1997 academic year. Each university in Virginia was to determine their own policy. Based on the annual review for salary increase which becomes effective on November 25, a $500 or less increase prompts inclusion in GMU’s procedure according to policy.
D. Rossell reported that the 1998 Review process included 866 total faculty members, with 477 of those being full-time tenured faculty. Following the 1997 Review, four (4) individuals were identified as failing to meet the required level of satisfactory review (4 out of 477). As of the December 1, 1998 Review, 10 faculty members failed to reach a satisfactory review, with five (5) of those falling under the Post-Tenure Review Policy - four of the five existed the previous year as well. Thus, this year is the first occurrence of unsatisfactory review for two consecutive years - this requires a Statement of Actions and Dean or Director involvement. Next year, there is the potential for three consecutive years of unsatisfactory review which would require Provost involvement. D. Rossell stated that the Post-Tenure Review Policy can be a helpful tool, and that the results thus far (less than one percent inclusion) is a good sign for the University.
D. Rossell then answered questions. When asked what type of actions occur after each level of unsatisfactory review, D. Rossell replied that after one year, the faculty member receives notification of the unsatisfactory review; after two years, action is required by the Dean/Director; and, after three consecutive years (or 3 out of five years) the Provost is required to take action. D. Rossell responded to another question by stating that the five current cases fall under four of the twelve colleges/units.
B. Committee Reports
1. Executive Committee
D. Gantz reported that the Committee had met with the Provost and discussed the BOV Academic Standards Committee priorities. The BOV seems comfortable with the addressing of the General Education issue at the CAS level. Faculty Senate and Provost cooperation and understanding on this issue is good, and a second co-sponsored General Education Forum will take place in the Fall focusing on “content” of General Education.
Other priority issues, specifically the reviews of the New Century College (NCC) and Policy Studies, are harder to interpret with regards to the BOV. The Senate participated in the first step in the review process - the Faculty Committee on Academic Assessments (FCAA) - which made recommendations to the Provost. The BOV did not just accept the FCAA reports but wants another group to examine these issues. The Provost is committed to bringing recommendations for organizational change through proper channels - including joint Provost/Faculty Senate involvement in instances of University-wide scope. Additionally, the Executive Committee believes that there is a real commitment by the Provost to honor the processes that are prescribed when recommendations for organizational change trigger Faculty Senate involvement. The Committee reaffirmed that the main issue is maintaining control of the curriculum and preserving the principle of faculty governance.
D. Gantz then reported the details of the NCC and Policy Studies reviews as follows:
The Policy Studies Task Force is the first step in the consultation process. There will need to be a town meeting on the work of the Task Force - perhaps in late March.The NCC review timeline is being driven by the BOV. The BOV tasked the Provost to have a group outside NCC weigh in on the NCC self-study. A possible next step is to seek input from a knowledgeable external group to get a higher level of objectivity. The key BOV person on the NCC review is Visitor Fuelner.
D. Gantz reported that he and E. Elstun will be attending a Conference on the Faculty Role in Governance hosted by the AACU in North Carolina, in April.
D. Gantz reported that the Forum on Criteria for when the Discontinuation of Programs has University-wide Impact will take place on March 30, at 3:00PM in Mason Hall. D. Gantz will moderate the Forum and panelists will have “front-line experience” in program planning and in faculty governance.
Chair Pro Tem S. Muir asked if there was any objection to adjusting the agenda to hear from the Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia. Given no objections, that report was heard next, and the remainder of the agenda would follow as distributed.
C. Other Committee Reports
2. Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia
R. Bolstein reported that the Faculty Senate of Virginia met on February 20, 1999. The report from that meeting is as follows:
Ed Flippin, Chair of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission, spoke on what the Commission is doing and where it is headed. Ed is an attorney and also serves on the BOV of VCU. He cited some key figures from the Education and General Budget (E&G budget).
E&G has more than tripled since 1983 (to $2.9 billion in 1999) but the instruction component remained the same at 45%. He feels more should be allocated to instruction. GMU leads all schools in VA with 58%, up from 45% in 1994. Non-instructional expenditures include administrative salaries, computers, etc., as well as construction. Faculty salaries are at 60th percentile of peer groups for all State schools, according to SCHEV. This fact was disputed by some senators. He is a strong advocate of distance learning and is pushing for $1.5 million for a pilot in distance learning to pay for video equipment and extra pay for faculty who participate. He wants star faculty to be available to all students in the State. He thinks the job of a BOV is to set priorities for the University. Contrary to statements in the media, Flippin says the Governor has no intention of substituting foundation money for state funds.
The commission is beginning to focus on General Education. Even though universities and colleges may have slightly different objectives, Flippin thinks there should be more commonality in General Ed. Requirements across schools. He seems to have an alarmist tone about this and wants it moved to the “front burner.”
Karl Shilling, Deputy Director of SCHEV spoke next. He has been in this position for five months. SCHEV is working on a two-year plan with a vision statement. There will be 3-4 hearings of the draft. Faculty input is wanted, not just President and Provost. He says no one at SCHEV believes the President speaks for the entire faculty. He thinks the Provost is closer to faculty viewpoint. He views faculty as officers of their schools, not employees, and would like to see increased role in faculty governance. Prestige is currently measured by whom you admit. It should be measured by whom you graduate. He questions the value of distance learning and thinks it has a role but will not replace the classroom give and take.
On the General Ed. issue, the SCHEV draft report is a descriptive study on “What constitutes an educated person.” There is a proposal to give institutions authority to start/stop programs up to Masters level. Let schools start programs with very small numbers if they want to: SCHEV wants to get out of micro-management. Legislators and Provosts are nervous about this proposal. The Legislature mandated a State plan to be adopted this Spring that will include block grants that schools can use as they see fit. Some senators felt SCHEV needs to get established as a creditable spokesman for higher ed.; its not there yet.
Don Gehring, Vice President and legislative representative at VCU, spoke next. The Blue Ribbon report bashes us. It says we should look at costs. The $75 million from the state budget to makeup for the 20% tuition reduction is the first place the State will look to make future cuts, in Don’s opinion. He believes Ed Flippin is dedicated, honest and really does want to hear from faculty. He certainly makes himself available to come to schools and meet with faculty.
Afternoon meeting of Faculty Senate of Virginia: We reiterated our goal of consistent, steady funding of higher education. We unanimously approved an annual “Faculty Senate of Virginia Award for Distinguished Service to Higher Education” in the form of a plaque, and that the 1999 award be given to John T. Hazel, Jr. Instead of a statewide forum in the Fall of 1999, FSV should consider regional meetings focusing on regional candidates for the House and Senate. This will be discussed further in the April meeting.
We had a brief discussion of the new VSDP (disability plan). There are too many questions unanswered about faculty. It was noted that once a faculty member starts on long-term disability, the university can hire someone else in his/her place, and that tenure has been given up. There is no requirement to hire you back, and certainly none to hire back with tenure.
2. Academic Policies Committee
L. Bowen reported that the Committee has been working on several items all of which should be concluded by the end of this semester. He identified that there are two motions from the Committee to be addressed at this meeting, and that he would introduce the first motion regarding “Increasing Military Science Credits to be Counted Toward Graduation” and M. Deshmukh would introduce the second motion regarding “Changing the Academic Calendar and Acknowledging MLK Day.”
L. Bowen introduced the motion as it was distributed as Attachment A to the Agenda for this meeting. Further, he read the rationale included with the motion in Attachment A. He added that an inquiry was made into the current enrollment in the 400 level courses in question, and that there have been no students (outside of the ROTC program) who have signed up for these courses since the 1994 Senate action. L. Bowen stated that the BOV is very interested in this issue and will hear from E. Elstun at the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee meeting on March 24. He further noted that this Committee motion had opposition from one Committee member.
M. Deshmukh, a Committee member, spoke against the motion and stated that the grounds for the objection lie on ROTC being an add on program for students, and therefore, an increase in credit hours counting toward graduation is not even necessary. J. Sanford, another Committee member, stated that the driving force behind this motion was an extensive examination of the syllabus. Following comments from Committee members, the floor was opened for discussion. One Senator stated that since ROTC is an add-on program, the only students who should get credit for the courses are non-ROTC cadets, since cadets get rewarded by a commission. Another Senator added that the credit should come in the commission, rather than from the crowding out other academic course work.
It was suggested that leaving the increase up to individual colleges/schools (an element of the motion) could affect the ROTC involvement in those colleges/schools. Cadets would be less likely to choose majors in school/colleges where their ROTC course work would not receive credit, and flock to those who provided credit. Therefore, the option by schools/colleges to increase credit hours accepted could limit what ROTC cadets might study. L. Bowen responded to this point, stating that by diversifying (letting the schools/colleges have the option) each school/college could take the initiative to accept or not accept ROTC credits.
The next point raised was that the motion which passed three years ago provided that six hours could be approved for credit, but that the current motion allows from 0-10 hours to be approved by individual colleges/schools. It was further pointed out that the credits would have to fall under the general electives credits in programs which permitted them. It was further stated that only CAS at this point has room for 6-10 hours of general electives. One Senator speaking in favor of the motion cited that the motion expands the option for elective credit by four hours and gives control to the academic unit.
It was moved and seconded to refer this item to Committee until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Faculty Senate (not a continuation of this meeting), and a vote ensued. Following a call of a division of the house, the motion was referred back to the Committee by a 17-11 vote.
M. Deshmukh introduced the second motion from the Committee regarding “Changing the Academic Calendar and Acknowledging MLK Day” and reiterated the rationale behind the motion. M. Deshmukh noted that GMU is the only area school which does not recognize MLK Day as a holiday. It seems logical to bring the schedule into line with the other schools in the Consortium.
Following a brief discussion about the Committee’s motion, it was moved and seconded to recess until the Continuation of this meeting on March 31 at 3:00PM. The motion passed, and the meeting was recessed at 4:30PM.
Donald T. Gantz,
Secretary of the Faculty Senate