GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
April 14, 1999
Senators Present: K. Alligood, A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, T. Brawley, J. Censer, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, M. Deshmukh, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, J. Flinn, K. Gaffney, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, M. Holt, D. Kuebrich, M. LeBaron, L. Lederman, B. Manchester, J. Metcalf, L. Miller, S. Muir, J. O’Connor, J. Reid, L. Rigsby, D. Rine, R. Ruhling, J. Sanford, A. Sofer, C. Sutton, E. Thorp, H. Tongren, K. Vaughn, S. Weinberger, H. Williams, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek
Senators Absent: L. Brown, R. Carty, K. Clements, S. deMonsabert, T. Domzal, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, J. Hale, C. Lont, K. McCrohan, A. Merten, E. O’Hara, A. Palkovich, D. Potter, L. Rockwood, J. Scimecca, D. Struppa, A. Taylor, P. Wilkie, S. Zaccaro,
Guests Present: M. Berlucchi (Student Senate), D. Bitler (Assoc. Dean, CAS), I. Campbell (ROTC, Student Govt.), J. Coleman (Student Senate), C. Csizmadia (Student Senate), M. Davis (Communications), J. Deyermond (ROTC), G. Dunne (Student Senate), R. Haddock (Student Senate), L. Irvine (Provost’s Office), S. Jones (Registrar), M. McDermott (Phil. & Relig. Studies), M. Murphy (Government), M. Richardson (ROTC), B. Smith (Student Government), J. Wood (Provost’s Office)
I. Call to Order
Chair Esther Elstun called the meeting to order at 3:02 PM.
II. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the March 31, 1999 Faculty Senate Meeting were approved as distributed.
The 1998 Annual Report from the Office of Sponsored Programs was given to the Senate Secretary. This report will be filed in the Faculty Senate Office.
IV. Unfinished Business
1. Academic Policies Committee motion regarding Increase of Military Science credit to be counted toward graduation. Following a brief update on the change from the March motion, the motion passed as distributed.
V. New Business
A. Committee Reports
1. Executive Committee
Chair Elstun reported that the entire Executive Committee meeting was devoted to the Provost Potter’s University-wide Academic Initiative. Discussion focused on how best to ensure an orderly and open process including appropriate faculty involvement for consideration of the proposals. Several steps were agreed to at the meeting:
a) To do whatever possible to offset the confusion/chaos that gripped the academic community. Accordingly a joint letter from the Provost and the Senate Chair went out to faculty on Friday, April 9.
b) D. Potter is preparing a second draft of the initiatives which will include reference to alternative proposals.
c) The Provost and Senate will co-sponsor a town hall forum which is to be a first stage in hearing faculty opinion, each speaker will be allowed a three minute presentation at the town meeting. No decisions will be made at forum; it will not a place for lengthy dialogue, but rather a first chance to hear from as many faculty opinions as possible.
D. Gantz stated that about twenty people have signed up to speak so far. There were some questions and comments from the floor. Concerns were raised regarding the hasty process of decision making particularly at the end of the semester. It was suggested that this timing at the end of the academic year doesn’t encourage trust and introduces fear that important decisions will be made when few faculty are available for input. Senators cited the need for a process to see the requirement for restructuring before getting into the how. The Chair reiterated her expectation that the Senate would be taking a position on the matter.
2. Academic Policies Committee
J. Sanford commented that the Administrative Failure grade will apply
to NA and
J. Flinn introduced the motion from Committee regarding a limitation on number of hours for students who have low GPAs. Following the Committee’s justification for the motion, discussion ensued. The rationale for the motion is to stop students from piling on courses to make up for classes in which they previously received an unsatisfactory grade. The intent is to advise students that a heavier course load is unwise, and to help students who cannot make a good decision on their own.
Several issues were raised from the floor, including:
Q: How do we control the enrollment process and make students reduce their course load?
A: Students get a warning letter stating that they may only enroll in 12 hours, and they would be prevented from adding courses. However it would be difficult to enforce having students drop back to 12 hours. Some Senators voiced concern that students might be able to get away with ignoring the rules.
Q: Why is the Summer session exempt from this motion?
A: The summer load is not representative of the Fall and Spring course loads.
To clarify, for the record, the word “following” in the motion means the next semester for which the student registers. The motion carried on a vote of 26-12.
3. Facilities & Support Services
S. Zoltek reported that a candidate for Police Chief would be interviewed on April 20.
4. Faculty Matters Committee
E. Thorp reported that the Committee has prepared an on-line version for the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators. Early next week, faculty will be mailed instructions on how to use the system. Each faculty member will be assigned a random number to ensure privacy. Department Chairs will be included in the Evaluation, but there is not yet a policy for the use of written comments about the Chair. Some discussion regarding past Evaluations influencing personnel decisions occurred.
5. Nominations Committee
The Nominations Committee appointed Bob Smith (CAS) to serve on the University Alcohol Task Force.
6. Organization & Operations
E. Blaisten-Barojas stated that there is no report, but asks all other Committee Chairs for an annotated list of Committee items for inclusion in the O&O Final Report which will occur at the May Faculty Senate Meeting.
B. Other Reports
1. Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors
A. Sofer reported that there has been no BOV meeting since the last Senate meeting, and therefore nothing new to report.
2. Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia
E. Elstun reported that the next meeting of the Faculty Senate of Virginia will be at James Madison University on Saturday, April 17, 1999. E. Elstun announced that she Chaired the F.S. of Va. Awards Committee, and that John T. Hazel, Jr. would be present to accept his award at the Saturday meeting.
3. Senate Composition Task Force
A. Sofer introduced the motion from the Task Force and made the following statement:
The Senate Composition Task Force was formed by the Faculty Senate in the Fall. Its primary mission as to look at the Senate membership, and in particular to come with recommendations to the Faculty Senate, whether its membership should be expanded to include part-time and restricted-term faculty.
The Task Force itself constitutes a broad representation of GMU Faculty, including: Mary Kruk and Joe Scimecca from CAS, Gus Mellander from GSE, Janette Muir from NCC, Jeanne Sorrell from the School of CNHS, and myself from IT&E. We have agreed upon the resolutions before you unanimously.
At present Faculty eligible to serve on the Senate must be full-time, tenured or tenure-track , with at least one year of full-time service at GMU. Restricted-term and part-time faculty are not eligible to serve, although the FTE's they generate through teaching are used in the allocation of the number of representatives of each collegiate unit in the Faculty Senate.
In 1988 data GMU had 866 full-time Faculty and 583 part-time Faculty. The full-time Faculty generated 856 FTE's while the part-time Faculty generated 187 FTE's. Of the 866 full-time faculty, 599 are tenured or tenure-track; 267 are restricted-term.
Among our part-time faculty are instructors such as Mary Kruk from CAS, who has been teaching courses such as Advanced English Composition for over 10 years. Among our restricted-term faculty are instructors such as Anne Marchant who teaches courses such as Intoductory Computer Science, Computer Science I, and Computer Science Ethics and Society to four to five hundred freshmen every semester. Anne has been recognized by the University as a recipient of this year's teaching excellence Award, an award which Mary has won previously. We trust these faculty to teach our students. How can we deem them ineligible to serve?
I would like to elaborate on what these resolutions do not do. They will not change in any way the allocation of senators to the collegiate units -- because the allocations are already based on the FTE's generated by all faculty. The resolutions do not in any way intervene in any way in the selection process of the collegiate units, or any other aspect of their local governance. While resolutions 3 and 4 address activities within the collegiate units, the Task Force has stopped short of including them as rigid recommendations. We hope, however, that the Senate will come on record favoring the spirit reflected in these motions.
Finally I should address some of the details in this resolution. The Task Force has tried to model the specific requisites for eligibility after the existing requisites in the Senate Charter. The existing Charter requires one year of continuous service at GMU. We have specified equivalent requisites: first at least one academic year of continuous service year. In the case of part-time faculty we added the requirement of two full-time equivalents of teaching experience, which is what would be generated by a full-time faculty in one year. Finally we have specified that faculty studying for a degree at GMU are ineligible to serve because that could constitute a conflict of interest.
E. Elstun reiterated that Senate seat allocations are based on all instructional FTE, which means that historically all faculty have been represented. It is the eligibility to serve in the Senate which is being changed by the motion. It was clarified that unit means an academic unit or group of units to which a Senate seat allocation is made. It was also pointed out that if the motion passes, current restrictions on part-time and restricted faculty serving on Senate Committees would have to be lifted. If the motion passes, then the General Faculty would have to vote on changes to the Senate Charter; changes would have to be proposed for the Faculty Handbook; and, the Board of Visitors would have to act on these changes. A question for the floor was raised regarding the reasonableness of a three year term for part-time faculty. Additionally, a question was raised for clarification of the term “encourages” in paragraph 4 of the motion, A. Sofer responded that the Task Force wanted the Senate support to be on the record.
A motion was made and seconded to postpone further consideration of the Task Force motion until the May 5, 1999 Faculty Senate Meeting. This motion passed.
E. Elstun announced that D. Gantz and E. Elstun will miss the General Faculty Meeting because they will be attending a Conference at Chapel Hill, NC, on “Reclaiming the Faculty Role in University Governance” sponsored by the American Association of Colleges and Universities.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 PM.
Donald T. Gantz
Faculty Senate Secretary