GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

FEBRUARY 2, 2000

 

Senators Present:  A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, T. Brawley, B. Brown, L. Brown, J. Censer, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, R. Davis, M. DeNys, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, M. Holt, R.C. Jones, A. Kolker, M. LeBaron, B. Manchester, J. Metcalf, J. Muir, J. Reid, L. Rigsby, L. Rikard, L. Rockwood, J. Scimecca, P. So, P. Stearns, D. Struppa, C. Sutton, H. Tongren, P. Wilkie, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek

 

Senators Absent: K. Alligood, K. Avruch, R. Carty, S. Cheldelin, S. deMonsabert, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, T. Friesz, K. Gaffney, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, J. Hale, M. Krauss, D. Kuebrich, L. Lederman, A. Merten, J. Sanford, L. Seligmann, A. Sofer, C. Thomas, E. Thorp, S. Weinberger, H. Williams

 

Guests Present:  L. Brehm (Army ROTC), D. Craig (Equity Office), M. Gabel (Math), L. Irvine (Provost’s Office), H. Sockett (Pub. & Int’l Affairs), M. Vance (Acad. Support & Advising Svcs.), J. Wood (Provost’s Office), D. Wyne (Disability Resource Ctr.)

 

I.   Call to Order

 

            Chair Don Boileau called the meeting to order at 3:03 pm.

 

II.   Approval of Minutes

 

            The Minutes of the December 8, 1999 Faculty Senate Meeting were approved as distributed.

 

            The Motion to Amend Minutes previously approved was moved and seconded.  Discussion followed, and it was moved and seconded to postpone the motion to the February 16, 2000 Faculty Senate meeting for further discussion at which time more accurate wording will be provided.  The motion to postpone passed and the item will be on the Agenda for the February 16, 2000 Senate Meeting.

 

III.   Announcements

 

            D. Boileau introduced the new Provost, Peter Stearns, and welcomed him to the Faculty Senate.

 

            D. Boileau introduced Janette Muir, Acting Dean, New Century College, and welcomed her to the Faculty Senate.

 

            D. Boileau announced that the deadline for agenda items for the February 16 Faculty Senate meeting is Friday, Feb. 4.

 

            D. Boileau reminded Senators that the April 5, 2000, Faculty Senate meeting would be held at the Arlington Campus.  He indicated that a special attendance sheet was being distributed for determining transportation issues for that meeting.  Senators were asked to indicate their interest to ride to Arlington in GMU vans, or drive themselves, so that arrangements could be made to ensure adequate transportation and parking for the Senate.

 

            D. Boileau stated that Professor Terry Varosi (SOM) recently passed away, and introduced Senator P. Wilkie for a brief eulogy prior to the Moment of Silence recognizing the loss of a friend and colleague.  P. Wilkie stated that Terry Varosi is survived by her husband Frank and their 4-year old son.  She was a friend, colleague, and respected member of the School and she will be missed.  A Moment of Silence was held in recognition of Professor Varosi’s death.  A motion was made, seconded and passed which directed the Chair to write Professor Varosi’s family, notifying them of the Senate’s action and unanimous support in recognizing a departed colleague.

 

            D. Boileau stated that Professor Howard Bloch (Economics, CAS) passed away, and introduced Senator J. Reid for a brief eulogy.  J. Reid indicated that Howard Bloch, who died at home on January 25, was a bulwark of the department:  that he worked with the Economics Club, was a principle advisor to undergraduates, and a principle cheerleader for the GMU Basketball teams.  Professor Bloch was an Outstanding Professor Award winner in 1990 and a principle advisor to many faculty members about the area’s best restaurants.  J. Reid indicated that Howard Bloch is survived by his wife, their two daughters and their grandchildren.  The Economics Department will be having a memorial service on campus at a date forthcoming.  A motion was made, seconded and passed which directed the Chair to write Professor Bloch’s family, notifying them of the Senate’s action and unanimous support in recognizing a departed colleague.

 

            D. Boileau stated that Senator R. Ehrlich recently completed a report responding to the U.S. News & World Report Study that identified GMU as a third tier school.  R. Ehrlich’s report is on-line for faculty members to use at their convenience.  The URL is: http://mason.gmu.edu/~rehrlich/gmurep.html

 

            D. Boileau reported that the Board of Visitors is holding a special meeting on Wednesday, February 16, in Arlington, at which the General Education Committee is to report.  In addition to that meeting, the Gen. Ed. Committee is also scheduled to report to the Faculty Senate later that afternoon at the Senate’s regularly scheduled meeting.

 

            Finally, D. Boileau announced that the Summer School Salary issue had almost been resolved, but that a very recent event has necessitated further work by the Senate’s Executive Committee and the Provost.  As soon as an agreement can be finalized, the faculty will be notified.

 

IV.   Unfinished Business

 

There was no unfinished business.

 

V.   New Business

 

A.   Address of the Provost

 

            Provost P. Stearns stated that he is very pleased to be at George Mason University and has been faced with few surprises since starting here.  He further indicated that he is pleased with the number of initiatives already underway at the University, and looks forward to the opportunities that lie ahead.  Additionally, P. Stearns stressed the need to maintain the appropriate collaboration between the Provost and the faculty and the Faculty Senate, and to continue to build upon the relationship of the Provost and the faculty.  P. Stearns identified that General Education is an inherently difficult subject that requires diplomacy, collaboration and some concessions.

 

B.   Report to the Faculty Senate on the NCC/CAS Merger

 

            G. Taylor, New Century College (NCC) Transition Committee Chair, reported that the entire text of the Committee’s final report is available on the CAS homepage at (http://www.cas.gmu.edu/transition/finalreport.html) and a copy will be on file in the Faculty Senate Office.  G. Taylor stated that the main goals of the Committee were:  1) develop a framework for transition; 2) ensure the protection of successes of NCC; and, 3) establishing guidelines for the transition.  The Committee functioned under several guiding principles:  1) to be constructive and forward-looking; 2) to balance autonomy and accountability; 3) to strengthen both NCC and CAS through the merger; and, 4) to identify open doors for cooperative opportunities.  Additionally, the Committee’s final report was structured to engage four main sections:  1) defining programs of study in NCC; 2) staffing and staffing needs; 3) performance incentives and faculty evaluations within CAS; and, 4) governance structures for NCC within CAS.

            The Committee evaluated the framework and guiding principles for NCC program and curriculum development and made recommendations based on that evaluation.  Regarding staffing, the Committee made several recommendations, including:  to increase the number of tenure-track faculty, avoiding joint appointments, continuing the use of shared faculty and faculty exchanges (based on 2 or 3 year involvement) and possible incentives to encourage this practice.  With regards to the principles of governance, the Committee reported that they saw the need for collaborative governance and provided recommendations for both faculty evaluations and the transitional governance structure.

            Responding to a question about the interpretation of the Committee’s endpoint, G. Taylor said that this Committee’s endpoint is three years away, when the Committee is to report on the transition and be dissolved.  The Committee was formed to oversee and provide organization to the transition, not to evaluate the action(s) necessitating the change.  He further indicated that on July 31, 2003, there will be an evaluation of the effectiveness of the transition and the incorporation of NCC into CAS.  D. Boileau informed Senators that Appendices D and E of the report were extremely relevant to faculty governance issues, etc.  D. Boileau provided the Senate Secretary with the Report, and it was moved and seconded to accept the Report of the Committee, and to place it on file in the Faculty Senate’s records.  The motion passed.

It was moved and seconded to have the Faculty Senate express their appreciation to the faculty members for their work on this Committee.  Discussion of the motion of appreciation received comment.  E. Elstun stated that while she did not want to overlook the faculty members who served on the Committee, it was her opinion that expressing appreciation at this time is premature since faculty have not yet had the opportunity to read and review the report.  A motion to postpone consideration of the current motion to the February 16 Faculty Senate meeting was made, seconded, and passed.

 

C.   Report of Effective Teaching Committee

 

            H. Sockett distributed a two page written report which identified the Committee’s charge, its Committee membership, the context of the charge and the areas which the Committee believes it needs to further examine to meet the full scope of its charge.  The report is attached to these Minutes as Attachment A.  H. Sockett stated that previously, the Committee focussed on the student-teacher evaluations, which he indicated was only a portion of the Committee’s charge.  Furthermore, he stressed that several issues needed to be addressed in addition to the student and peer evaluations – whose electronic technology-based format may well be an invasion of privacy – issues such as:  reviewing teaching awards and strategies for better evaluating and rewarding candidates, reviewing the DOIIIT program, examining classroom conditions (as effective teaching begins by providing adequate and decent places to teach), and promoting the Scholarship of Learning.  H. Sockett sought direction and suggestions/comments from the Senate, in order to provide the Committee with some feedback and response to their plan to further the role of the Committee.  One Senator suggested that the Committee contact the Committee on Technology Policy to address the review of technology in teaching.

 

D.      Committee Reports

 

1.   Executive Committee

 

D. Boileau reported that with regards to the Summer School Salary Issue, it was thought that an agreement had been reached, but that it was not quite the case, and that the Executive Committee will be continuing to work toward a solution at the next meeting.  Faculty will be notified as soon as a resolution on the matter has been reached.

 

2.   Academic Policies Committee

 

E. Elstun reported that the Committee had begun a review of the Honors Program on January 31, and that work would continue on February 14 and through the Spring as necessary.  She indicated that the Agenda for the Spring Semester included an examination of the final exam policy and an investigation of the proposal to introduce grades of A+ and C-.  She announced that the Committee would be meeting on Mondays from 11:30-1:15 in Room 3005 King Hall (Biology Department Conference Room).  She further indicated that the meetings are open to anyone interested in attending, and that interested parties should contact her for details about meeting itineraries.

C. Jones distributed a handout (Request for Modification) that is on file in the Faculty Senate Office, and explained the first recommended action item (Attachment A to the Agenda for this meeting).  He explained the proposed modification to procedures to reduce full-time course load standards for disabled students, including the process and the role of the Provost’s Office to provide the Committee with an annual report of the number of cases that would be affected by this policy change.

It was moved to adopt Item 1 of Attachment A as Policy, and a friendly amendment was made to change the third sentence in the third paragraph.  The sentence, which reads:  “This modification will generally be on a semester-by-semester basis and for a reduction of no more than 3 credits.” was amended to read:  “This modification may be on a semester basis or longer as determined, and for a reduction of no more than 3 credits.”  The amended motion passed by a voice vote.

C. Jones introduced the action item concerning Academic Credit for MLSC 300 and MLSC 301 (Item 2 of Attachment A to the Agenda for this meeting).  He explained that the Committee had reviewed the revised syllabi for the upper level ROTC courses, and that to most of the Committee members, 1 credit hour seemed an appropriate amount of credit.  He further stated that the majority of the Committee felt these classes warranted 1 credit hour.  A question was raised about the two big issues which raised problems with this issue last year – specifically, concern over the instructors and determining their status as a qualified instructor; and, the increase in the number of permissible credit hours of ROTC classes toward graduation.  C. Jones addressed the issues, identifying that the Provost’s Office works with Colonel Brehm and the Army to get recommendations for instructors.  Additionally, C. Jones indicated that the increase of these two hours of credit for ROTC courses seemed appropriate especially considering the approval of the 10 hours of the other ROTC courses.  It was moved that Item 2 of Attachment A of the Agenda be adopted as policy.  The vote, by a show of hands, counted as follows: for – 9, opposed – 8, abstaining – 15.  The motion passed.

C. Jones introduced the third item from Committee, Academic Credit for Consortium ROTC Credits (Item 3 of Attachment A to the Agenda for this meeting).  Discussion of this item reiterated the concerns over the previous ROTC item, and also identified that this item went one step further because it sought credit for courses that have no comparable program at GMU.  A Committee member identified that this item deals with a Consortium Institution, and that it would be inconsistent to deny credit for this course-work if it meets the same parameters as George Mason’s ROTC course-work that receives credit.  It was moved that Item 3 of Attachment A of the Agenda be adopted as policy.  The motion passed by a voice vote, with a number of opposed votes and abstentions.

 

3.   Facilities and Support Services Committee

 

S. Zoltek reported that there had been a complaint about the University’s webpage containing inaccurate information.  In a meeting with B. Fuller (Information Services), a proposal was made to incorporate a link notifying Information Services of outdated webpages.  The issue continues to be examined, and additional information will be provided in future Committee reports.

 

4.      Faculty Matters Committee

 

J. Scimecca reported that the Committee is examining the study-leave issue regarding faculty on 5-year contracts.  He stated that the Committee would like to get the sense of the Senate regarding the faculty who are serving on their second or third 5-year contract and are not eligible for study leaves.  The Faculty Handbook allows for appointments up to 5 years, and states that study leave applies to tenure positions.  It was stated that the criterion of having tenure was the reason for denial for an applicant, and several Senators indicated that another means of addressing this issue must be found.  It was suggested that the Committee provide the Senate with a brief but more detailed report with other possible options, since this scenario conflicts with the granting of tenure.  A majority of the comments/discussion identified the need for creative ways to address the issue, and encouraged the Committee to examine the issue further.

 

5.      Nominations Committee

 

R. Ehrlich stated that there was no business to report at this time.

 

6.      Organization & Operations Committee

 

E. Blaisten-Barojas reported that the Committee has logged in 13 items to date, this year.  Additionally, she reported that the Committee expects to finish working with the survey of Senate and University Committees and hopes to report with suggestions about possible Committee reorganization to increase efficiency and productivity.

 

7.      Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors

 

D. Boileau stated that A. Sofer was unable to attend today’s meeting and that no further report would be given at this meeting.

 

8.      Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia

 

D. Boileau stated that there was no report at this time.

 

9.      Committee on External Academic Relations

 

L. Bowen reported that several Committee members recently met with State Legislator James Dillard, who is the Chair of the Education Council.  Additionally, he reported that the Committee would be attending a luncheon with the SCHEV Liaison later in February.

 

VII.   Adjournment

 

            The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 pm.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Donald T. Gantz, Secretary

GMU Faculty Senate

 

Attachment A:  Effective Teaching Committee Report

 

George Mason University Senate

 

Report of the Committee on Effective Teaching

February 2, 2000

 

1                    The Committee has the following charge:

 

To develop and help implement procedures which encourage and reward effective teaching, and to enable faculty to improve their teaching effectiveness independent of any evaluation procedures, and to implement procedures or evaluation of effective teaching.

 

Also to recommend policy to the Senate and to monitor the use of such policy for the evaluation of teachers and courses, including:

 

a)                  Continually reviewing existing policies concerned with the evaluation process and as appropriate formulating modifications and additions to these policies and recommending such changes to the Faculty Senate,

b)                  Reviewing the evaluation form questionnaire at least once every three years and recommending appropriate changes or modifications of the questionnaire and/or procedure to the Faculty Senate,

c)                  Informing the Office of Institutional Analysis of policy governing the preparation, administration and distribution of the results of the GMU Faculty/Course evaluation forms and monitoring the process so as to insure proper application of such policies.

 

2          The Committee is composed of Karen Studd, Bob Pasnak, Mike McDermott, Betsy Gunn and myself, with Ann Palkovich representing the Provost’s Office.  We met briefly yesterday and in December, and have reviewed the context of our charge and what we might do to fulfill it.

 

3          There are two important features in our current context:

 

First, the exponential development of technology and technological resources for teaching, and

 

Second, the initiative being taken by the Carnegie Foundation and AAHE to breathe life into the notion of the Scholarship of Teaching, first developed by Ernest Boyer as one of four parts to scholarship outlined in the reconsideration of the work of the professoriate.

 

4          The Committee has identified the following areas in which it believes it could assist the Senate and the University and fulfill its charge:

 

a)            For the evaluation of teaching, i) examine the policy implications and the management and design of proposed technological innovations in student evaluations of teaching, and ii) examine the Guidelines for Peer Review,

 

b)            Review the University system of Teaching Awards which, we believe, should be revitalized, integrated, and given a far higher level of attention and reward.  The Committee believes that it is not appropriate for the committee to be involved in the process of selection, though it might bring to the Senate comments on the process,

 

c)            Review the DOIIIT operation ($1m) for the improvement of teaching,

 

d)            Review classroom conditions, specifically in the light of proposed state money for electronic conversions, and

 

e)            Examine ways to promote the Scholarship of Teaching, e.g. by a Carnegie-led summer seminar.

 

 

Hugh Sockett

Chair

 

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