GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

OCTOBER 14, 1998

 

Senators Present: A. Berry, T. Brawley, L. Brown, J. Censer, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, S. deMonsabert, M. Deshmukh,  R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, K. Gaffney, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, J. Hale, M. Holt, D. Kuebrich, M. LeBaron, L. Lederman, C. Lont, B. Manchester, K. McCrohan, J. Metcalf, L. Miller, S. Muir, D. Potter, L. Rigsby, D. Rine, L. Rockwood, J. Sanford, A. Sofer, C. Sutton, A. Taylor, E. Thorp, H. Tongren, K. Vaughn, S. Weinberger, H. Williams, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek

 

Senators Absent: K. Alligood, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, R. Carty, K. Clements, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, A. Merten, J. O’Connor, E. O’Hara, A. Palkovich, J. Reid, R. Ruhling, J. Scimecca, D. Struppa, P. Wilkie, S. Zaccaro

 

Guests Present:  K. Graffius (Student Senate), R. Nelson (Student Senate), C. Schweitzer (Student Government)

 

I.   Call to Order

Chair Esther Elstun called the meeting to order at 3:04 PM.

 

II.   Approval of Minutes

The Minutes of the September 16, 1998 Faculty Senate Meeting were approved as distributed.

 

III.   Announcements

E. Elstun announced that while the announcements were distributed to Senators via e-mail, she would like to briefly read those announcements as follows:

 

 1.  As reported last month, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the GMU Faculty Senate in the Spring semester of this year.  The Executive Committee authorized me to appoint a planning committee in consultation with the Senate’s Nominations Committee.  I thank the committee for its excellent nominations, and am pleased to announce the appointment of the following faculty, who have agreed to serve as the Senate Anniversary Planning Committee:  James Metcalf, Chair; John Crockett; Marion Deshmukh; James Fletcher; Hugh Heclo; Anita Taylor (Fall semester only); and Hale Tongren.  Warm thanks to these colleagues for their willingness to plan our celebration of this important anniversary in the life of the university.

 

2.  On Wednesday, October 28 at 10:00 a.m., Governor Gilmore’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education will meet at GMU in the multi-purpose room of the Johnson Center.  The meeting is open to the public, and I urge you to attend as much of it as your other duties permit.  In the months ahead it will be important to provide the Commission with a faculty perspective on current issues in higher education; the Commission chair, Edward Flippen, has indicated to me that he welcomes faculty views and ideas.

 

IV.   Unfinished Business

There was no unfinished business.

 

V.   New Business

 

 A.   Committee Reports

 

1.   Executive Committee

E. Elstun reported that regarding Attachment A to the Agenda for this meeting, a definitive interpretation of Faculty Handbook Section 1.3.2 was being presented to the Senate for informational purposes and that comments on the agreement could be made at this time.  A brief summary of the comments and responses are identified as follows:

  Q:  What are the appropriate criteria to be involved in determining which actions have a university-wide impact, and therefore require this interpretation?

  A:  The last sentence of the interpretation addresses that issue, in that the Faculty Senate is an appropriate host for a forum to determine such impact.

  Q:  Will there be a specific set of criteria for use by local units?

  A:  The outline and structure of the forum has not yet been determined in great detail and will ultimately address these concerns.

There was no additional comment on the interpretation and the Executive Committee had nothing further to report.

 

2.  Academic Policies Committee

 

M. Deshmukh reported that there have been six items referred to the Committee so far including:  student dismissal and notification; R.O.T.C. classes for credit; observance of Martin Luther King Day as a holiday; and, other three other items of business.

 

3.  Facilities and Support Services Committee

S. Zoltek reported that the Committee will be providing support to Ken Bumgarner in a bookstore consultation.  The Committee also contacted Stanley Taylor regarding the Committee’s parking issues and the skateboarding/rollerblading between buildings problem.  S. Zoltek also asked if there were any problems or concerns regarding last year’s University “lockdown” during the Winter recess to contact him by e-mail soon to make him aware of the problems so they can be addressed for this year.  (E-mail address: szoltek@gmu.edu).

 

4.  Faculty Matters Committee

E. Thorp reported that the Committee was addressing the recommendations of the Ad-hoc Committee regarding part-time faculty working conditions.  The first two actions regarding the placing of part-time faculty names in the telephone directory and electronic listings are in progress.  Additionally, the recommendations concerning facilities and resources for part-time faculty are being investigated further for necessary space and funding. 

 

E. Thorp reported that the next major item of business for the Committee is the annual Evaluation of Administrators.

 

5.  Nominations Committee

L. Miller reported that a letter was being distributed to those Senators present which was sent to Mr. Meese outlining the response to the Board of Visitors request regarding Faculty Senate composition.  In response to the request from the BOV, and as outlined in the letter to Mr. Meese, the Senate is creating a task force to examine the current form of Senate composition and representation.  (See Attachment B of the Agenda for this meeting.)  A slate of nominees for the task force was presented as follows: Ariela Sofer (ITE); Janette Muir (CAS & NCC); Gus Mellander (GSE); Joe Scimecca (CAS & Fac. Matters); Mary Kruck (Adjunct - CAS, Eng.)

Additionally, two other faculty members were being sought to serve on the Task Force, including representation from a restricted position and other departments/schools not already represented.

 

It was reported that the task force is not a decision-making body outside of Senate action; but rather, the task force is to conduct a study and report back to the Senate with it’s findings and recommendations.  Additionally, it was noted that changing Senate composition would not be as simple as just modifying the Faculty Senate Charter, but would require a Faculty Handbook revision.

 

With no additional nominees from the floor, it was moved that the slate of nominees be elected as presented and the motion passed.  An additional motion from the Committee asked that the last two nominees be appointed by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate in order to get the task force operational and to conclude the creation of the task force.  The motion passed and the Committee thanked the Senate.

 

6.  Organization and Operations Committee

S. Muir reported that Academic Policies Committee had received the items as reported in that Committee’s report, and that two other items were addressed by O&O.  A letter to consider grand-fathering the plus/minus grading scale was determined to be an unrealistic possibility and need not be examined further.  The issue of the university’s commitment to writing across the curriculum was referred to the Senate Executive Committee for further consideration.

 

B.  Other Reports

 

1.  Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors

A. Sofer reported that the BOV will meet on Thursday, October 29 instead of Wednesday, October 21 at 3:00 PM instead of the normal 4:00 or 5:00 PM.

 

2.  Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia

E. Elstun reported that at the October 3 Virginia Conference of AAUP with the Chair of Governor Gilmore’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education, Mr. Flippen, there was a good exchange regarding faculty concerns for the Commission’s issues.  Mr. Flippen, in a letter to E. Elstun, enjoyed the exchange with faculty members and hopes to continue to get faculty input.

 

VI.   Other New Business

The Nominations Committee asked to present another item of business which was overlooked in their initial report.  The Committee presented Karen Studd (IOA) as the final nominee to the University Standing Grievance Committee.  There were no additional nominees from the floor and the motion to elect the slate as presented passed.

 

VII.   Adjournment

 

            The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 PM.

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