GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

February 17, 1999

 

Senators Present: K. Alligood, A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, T. Brawley, J. Censer, J. Crockett, S. deMonsabert, M. Deshmukh,  R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, K. Gaffney, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, M. Holt, D. Kuebrich, C. Lont, B. Manchester, K. McCrohan, L. Miller, S. Muir, A. Palkovich, L. Rigsby, D. Rine, L. Rockwood, R. Ruhling, J. Scimecca, A. Sofer, C. Sutton, E. Thorp, H. Tongren, H. Williams, J. Zenelis, S. Zaccaro

 

Senators Absent: L. Brown, R. Carty, K. Clements, R. Coffinberger, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, J. Hale, M. LeBaron, L. Lederman, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, J. O’Connor, E. O’Hara, D. Potter, J. Reid, J. Sanford, D. Struppa, A. Taylor, K. Vaughn, S. Weinberger, P. Wilkie, S. Zoltek

 

Guests Present: S. Jones (Registrar’s Office)

 

I.   Call to Order

 

Chair Esther Elstun called the meeting to order at 3:05 PM.

 

II.   Approval of Minutes

 

 Several corrections were made to the Minutes of the January 27, 1999, Meeting. The Minutes of the January 27, 1999, Faculty Senate Meeting were approved as corrected.

 

III.   Announcements

 

 1.  The forum on General Education recently sponsored by the Provost and the Faculty Senate generated some animated discussion--then and since.  Warm thanks again to all who participated!  Senate secretary Don Gantz and I have been “commissioned” to prepare a summary of the presentations; it will be available on-line, and paper copies will be distributed to the administrators of academic units that are engaged in undergraduate education.  Please notify our staff secretary, Scott Petitto, if you too would like a paper copy, and he will send you one when the summary is ready.

 

2.  This announcement concerns some upcoming dates and events.  Some are immediately ahead; others will seem rather far in the future, but our calendars fill up fast, so I ask at least to “pencil in” these items, with the understanding that more detailed information will be provided in the weeks ahead.

(a)  “The Scholarship of Teaching” is scheduled for Tuesday, 23 February, 2-4:00 p.m. in SUB I, Rooms A-B.  This event is part of the university’s “Celebration of Learning.”  I know that faculty are sometimes made to feel that teaching and scholarship are dichotomous activities, but as the title of this event suggests, they are in fact inseparable.  I hope you will come--unless of course, you are engaged in the scholarship of teaching at that hour!

 (b)  Because of the spring break, the March meeting of the Faculty Senate will be earlier than usual:  Wednesday, 10 March, 3-4:30 in Robinson B-113.

(c)  The planning committee for the Senate’s 25th anniversary celebration is working on a variety of events and activities (see the minutes of the January meeting of the Senate for committee chair Jim Metcalf’s detailed report).  Please reserve the following dates:  Monday, 5 April at 1:30 for an address by a keynote speaker; and Monday, 26 April from 12-1:30 for a luncheon symposium on the Senate’s evolution, its major milestones, and the future of faculty participation in institutional governance.

 

3.  Dr. Merten has notified the President’s Council (on which--as Faculty Senate chair--I am the lone faculty voice) that the search for a new Vice President for University Development and GMU Foundation President is nearing completion.  He has asked members of the council to make themselves available for meetings with the finalists beginning the end of this week.  This is not an administrative position for which, under the terms of the Faculty Handbook, extensive consultation with faculty is required, but if you have ideas, concerns, opinions that I should know about before the meetings with finalists take place, please convey them to me no later than early morning on Friday, 19 February.

 

R. Ehrlich announced that Therese Zawacki accepted the position of WAC Coordinator for the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee.

 

IV.   Unfinished Business

 

 There was no unfinished business.

 

V.   New Business

 

A.   Committee Reports

 

1.   Executive Committee

E. Elstun reported that the Executive Committee met with the Provost on Monday, February 15.  The guidelines for the conferral of honorific titles were approved, and will be distributed to faculty and academic administrators in a memo from Provost Potter and Senate Chair Elstun. E. Elstun also reported that arrangements have been made for Associate Provost David Rossell to report to the Senate at the March 10 meeting on the university’s experience with post-tenure review since its implementation.

 

Additionally, E. Elstun reported that Don Gantz, Don Boileau and David Potter are working on arrangements for the forum on criteria for program discontinuations with university-wide impact.  It will be co-sponsored by the Senate and the Provost, and is scheduled for Tuesday, March 30 at 3:00.

 

Finally, E. Elstun reported that the Committee also agreed to prepare a summary of the recently-sponsored general education forum.  It will be distributed to deans and directors of units that are involved in undergraduate education and also available on-line; we hope it will help to “keep the conversation going” and perhaps serve as the basis for a second general education forum that deals with additional issues.

 

2.  Academic Policies Committee

L. Bowen reported that the Committee has been working on several items including: academic credit for ROTC; the Martin L. King, Jr. holiday issue; and, the Spring calendar issue.  All three of these items will be on the March agenda for Senate consideration.

 

3.  Facilities and Support Services Committee

A. Berry reported that the Committee is continuing its work on the new contract for the Bookstore before the July 1 deadline.  Contact S. Zoltek (szoltek@gmu.edu) or A. Berry (aberr1@gmu.edu) regarding any concerns, questions or comments on the Bookstore.

 

4.  Faculty Matters Committee

E. Thorp reported that the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators is nearly prepared and hopefully will be distributed next month.

 

5.  Nominations Committee

L. Miller presented two nominees to fill the two vacancies on the Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary and Adult Learning Committee (NIAL).  The nominees were:  Robert Hawkes (CAS) for a two year appointment; and, Marie Kodadek (CNHS) for a one year appointment.  There were no nominees from the floor, and the nominees were elected.

 

6.  Organization and Operations Committee

E. Blaisten-Barojas reported that the Committee is continuing with a study of the possible creation of a Committee on Legislative and Community Relations.  The O&O Committee is seeking any opinions, comments, suggestions or questions with regards to the creation of such a Committee and faculty are encouraged to contact K. Alligood with any concerns on this matter.

 Additionally, the Committee is in the process of surveying past members of University Committees to evaluate and better distribute workloads for the various Committees.

 

B.  Other Reports

 

1.  Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors

A. Sofer reported that the Board of Visitors is currently meeting, and that H. Tongren remained while A. Sofer returned to report to the Senate.  A. Sofer’s report is attached to these minutes as Attachment A.

 

2.  Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia

E. Elstun reported that the Senate is meeting this Saturday in Richmond with Legislators, SCHEV representatives and E. Flippin (Chair of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Higher Education).  Additionally, the Senate will act on Nominations for the Award for Distinguished Service in Higher Education.

 

3.   Senate Composition Task Force

A. Sofer reported that the Committee will have an action item for the April Faculty Senate meeting.

 

4.   Faculty Senate Anniversary Committee

M. Deshmukh reported that planning is continuing, and that H. Heclo is creating a website and is seeking relevant information from all faculty.  A panel symposium will be held on April 26, from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Johnson Center Room H.  This luncheon symposium will include a Representative from AAUP, GMU Senators and a Representative from the Faculty Senate of Virginia from Virginia Tech and will address faculty governance.  Additionally, a well known keynote speaker for the Anniversary celebration is still being sought.

 

VI.   Other New Business

 

Senators raised questions concerning the current BOV review of New Century College.  In particular, Senators wondered if this was the regular periodic reviewor a special review.  It was suggested that J. O’Connor be contacted for additional information regarding the NCC review.

Regarding advisory committees being formed to assist BOV Standing Committees, it was suggested that the Executive Committee speak with the Provost regarding the appointment process for membership to Committees that take action over areas which fall under the Senate’s purview or previously required Senate action.  It was stated that the Senate could be helpful and should be involved in these matters.

 

VII.   Adjournment

 

 The meeting was adjourned at 3:55 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Donald T. Gantz

Faculty Senate Secretary

 


Attachment A - Report of the Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors

 

As the Faculty Senate went into meeting, the meeting of the Faculty and Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Visitors was in session, with the Meeting of the Full Board scheduled for soon thereafter.

 

The Committee heard a brief presentation from Professor Linda Schwartzstein, Vice Provost for Strategic Planning, regarding performance measures for the University.  Professor Schwartzstein reported on a meeting she had had with Visitors Murray and Golec on this subject. At issue is what performance measures should GMU be using to assess its performance.  Some possibilities would be the measures used by SCHEV, or US News and World Report; alternatively GMU could develop its own measures.  Committee Chair DiGennaro urged Visitors Murray and Golec to make sure that the Board would get recommendations on this matter before the end of the academic year. 

 

Another topic on the agenda was a status report of the review of New Century College (which is external to NCC but internal to GMU).   There was however some confusion however between the Committee and Dean O'Connor, since the Committee assumed that they would be receiving a report from Dean O'Connor, while Dean O'Connor expected to hear from the Committee regarding their expectations, and had not yet been notified of the Board Liaison to the Review Committee. The Board asked Dean O'Connor to present a report in their March Meeting.

 

During the meeting a question regarding the status of ROTC at GMU was raised.  The Committee asked that the Faculty Senate provide a report on this issue in the Board's March meeting.  

 

Finally, the names of members of the Faculty and Academic Standard Committee who are serving on the five committees addressing the Committee's priorities were announced.  These are:

1. Performance Measures for the University:  Visitors Golec and Murray

2. General Education Requirements and Course Offerings:  Visitors  Kristol and DiGennaro

3. New Century College Review:  Visitor Fuelner

4. Policy Studies:  Visitors Miller and McGeary

5. Prince William Campus:  Visitors Pomata and Olson.

 

Earlier that day, the Student Affairs Committee of the BOV held its meeting. In the previous two weeks, six committee members had met either once or twice with small groups of students to discuss their experiences at GMU.  They reported on their findings to the committee at the meeting. 

 

In general the students were highly satisfied with their teachers, and with the academic programs and their level.  There were, however, some complaints about a few specific classes, where students felt there was insufficient rigor.  Another concern was that there are too many large classes; students would like the opportunity to break down into smaller working groups even in large classes.  Yet another concern was course availability, and conflicts in scheduling of required courses. Another issue was academic advising; many students do not even know who their advisor is.   Other concerns were the hours of availability of computer facilities, maintenance at the dorms, parking and security, and a lack of camps spirit. 

 

Committee members noted that they had only met with a small set of students, and in all cases at night--not necessarily a representative sample. They would like to conduct a  survey among students regarding those areas that were of concern.   They identified the following possible areas of focus for the survey:

1. Large class size

2. Academic Advising

3. Maintenance and housing

4. Parking

5. Need for social locations for students to meet

6. Hours of campus services (computer labs, food service).

7.  Non-uniformity of teaching quality

8.  Commute between campuses

9.  Communication of campus events

10. Dorm security

12. Attitude

13  Availability of classes.

 

President Merten thanked Committee Chair Visitor Lauterberg, and Committee members for their work, and asked that they continue to do such face-to-face discussions in the future.   He discussed the notion of the student as a customer and emphasized that he is a strong proponent of this notion when it comes to services, but that when it comes to academics, the decisions are up to the faculty.

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