GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
APRIL 5, 2000
Senators Present: K. Avruch, A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, T. Brawley, B. Brown, J. Censer, S. Cheldelin, S. deMonsabert, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, J. Hale, M. Holt, C. Jones, A. Kolker, M. Krauss, D. Kuebrich, L. Lederman, B. Manchester, J. Reid, L. Rigsby, L. Rockwood, J. Scimecca, L. Seligmann, A. Sofer, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, P. Wilkie, S. Zoltek
Senators Absent: K. Alligood, L. Brown, R. Carty, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, R. Davis, M. DeNys, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, T. Friesz, K. Gaffney, G. Galluzzo, E. Gunn, M. LeBaron, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, J. Muir, L. Rikard, J. Sanford, P. So, D. Struppa, C. Thomas, E. Thorp, H. Tongren, S. Weinberger, H. Williams, J. Zenelis
I. Call to Order
Chair D. Boileau called the meeting to order at 3:05 pm.
Mark Grady, Dean of the School of Law, welcomed the Faculty Senate to the first meeting of the Faculty Senate on the Arlington Campus. He stated that the journey demonstrated some of the difficulties of a distributed university, but that he was pleased to have the Senate meet at the Arlington Campus and looked forward to having future Senate meetings in Arlington.
II. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the March 8, 2000 Faculty Senate Meeting were approved as distributed.
D. Boileau announced that there was a very full Agenda for today’s meeting, and should a continuation be required, it would occur in the Senate’s normal meeting location.
D. Boileau announced that a
tour of the Arlington Facilities was available after the Senate meeting today
for anyone interested. Additionally, F.
Wintrich, Assistant Dean of the School of Law, stated that a tour could be
arranged for interested Senators or faculty at some future time by contacting
IV. Unfinished Business
2. Academic Policies Committee
H. Gortner introduced the recommendation from the Committee regarding the Incomplete Procedure and Form (previously distributed as Attachment B of the March 8, 2000 Agenda). He explained that the form was recommended as a university-wide form. He further explained that the Committee felt it wise to advise departments to keep a paper file similar to the form provided in the recommendations, but was not requiring all departments to do so. Discussion ensued, and it was asked if this procedure and form would apply to graduate as well as undergraduate students. H. Gortner responded that the form need not distinguish between graduates and undergraduates, and the use of the form and to whom it applied were up to the individual departments. He stressed that the form was intended to be a prototype form that could be modified and amended to fit the needs of each department. The question was called and the motion passed on a voice vote. A copy of the Form and Recommendations are available in the Faculty Senate Office.
A. University Committee Reports
1. Minority and Diversity Issues Committee
Senate Chair D. Boileau indicated that the Committee requested to report to the Senate at the May meeting because the Committee will have additional information following a meeting with several university officials later this week.
2. Ad Hoc General Education Committee
R. Sachs reported that the Board of Visitors Faculty and Academic Standards Committee addressed the Senate approved university-wide General Education proposal. The BOV Committee also received a proposal by Visitor Herrity. It was announced that there would be an open meeting to discuss the two proposals on Wednesday, April 12, from 5-7 PM in the Johnson Center. Speakers at the meeting would need to sign up in advance and will receive three minutes for remarks. Additionally, the BOV Committee would meet on April 19 from 4-6 PM and general education should be on the agenda at that meeting. Discussion about the open meeting on general education followed. R. Sachs was asked what his Committee’s role would be at the open meeting. R. Sachs responded that the Committee would provide information on the Senate’s proposal including a handout with facts about the proposal, but that the format of the meeting did not specify time for presentations/statements from the committee. Discussion about the meeting continued, and it was stressed that the best approach for remarks at the meeting would be emphasizing the Senate’s proposal rather than criticizing Visitor Herrity’s proposal. It was suggested that the Faculty Senate should make a statement at the open meeting. It was moved and seconded that the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee work with the Senate Chair to produce a statement for the open forum and notify the members of the Senate by e-mail. The motion passed by voice vote.
3. Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning Committee
D. Kuebrich reported that the Committee met with the Organization and Operations Committee and developed a broader scope of areas for examination which need faculty oversight that included: testing/credit by examination; contract credit courses; certificate programs; and, distance learning. The Committee determined that the certificate program review would require outside help and a great deal more time than available to do the job well. The other areas were addressed in the Committee’s written report (Attachment A to these minutes). D. Kuebrich provided a summary of Section I. Credit Awarded By Examination. He summarized Section II. Contract Credit Courses, and commented on the Office of Continuing Professional Education’s growth. He stated that the table in this section showed only one-third of the growth, because two-thirds of the growth is from non-credit courses. Additionally, he indicated that J. Niblock volunteered to update the Faculty Senate in the Fall if desired. Finally, he summarized Section III. Distance Learning, and provided several comments. He commented that Vice President of Information Technology, J. Hughes, and J. Niblock discussed the need for GMU to expand the role of distance learning. It was discussed that increased emphasis on distance learning courses should be examined, and that distance learning should be better monitored by the university. It was suggested that the Senate receive a report on distance learning at a future meeting. Several questions followed D. Kuebrich’s report, and he indicated that any further concerns/questions could be addressed by contacting him or other members of the Committee.
B. Senate Committee Reports
1. Executive Committee
D. Boileau reported that aside from the Open Form on General Education, April 12, and the BOV Faculty and Academic Standards Committee meeting on April 19, the Executive Committee had nothing new to report at this time.
2. Academic Policies Committee
E. Elstun reported that the Committee had several action items for this meeting (Attached to these Minutes as Attachment B and as approved after discussion at the current meeting) and wanted to notify the Secretary of a typographical error in the first item. Since there is only one Honors Program in General Education, the “s” making “Program” plural should be eliminated. The Secretary noted the correction.
Item One: Honors Program in General Education:
E. Elstun moved to the “Conclusions and recommendations” section of the item. D. Boileau indicated that for matters of discussion, the recommendations would be addressed individually, but would be voted on as a whole. There was no discussion of recommendations 1-5. Addressing recommendation number six, a friendly amendment was made by L. Lederman and discussion of the amendment ensued. The amendment was withdrawn, and another friendly amendment was made. The amendment changed recommendation six from:
6. that the Senate recommend to the Provost increased scholarship funding for this program, to provide at least 75% support to students in it (instead of the current 60%);
6. that the Senate recommend to the Provost increased scholarship funding for this program, with the intent of improving the quality of the students in it;
The amendment was accepted. There was brief discussion of the remaining recommendations and the question was called. The Committee’s recommendations on the Honors Program in General Education passed by voice vote.
Item Two: Three-year Calendar
C. Jones presented the Committee’s recommendation to adopt the proposed three-year university calendar for the 2001-2004 academic years. J. Censer moved to add a reading day on Wednesday and begin and end exams a day later. The motion was seconded and a brief discussion followed. E. Elstun stated that the Registrar was consulted on this matter and that the calendar should be accepted as proposed. The motion to amend failed by voice vote. The recommendation to accept the three-year calendar as presented by the Committee passed by voice vote.
Item Three: Final Exam Policy
E. Elstun introduced the motion to reaffirm the final examination policy and provided some background for the motion. It was indicated that the policy applied to undergraduates. Concern was expressed about take-home exams, but E. Elstun indicated that take-home exams were already addressed in the catalog. Following additional brief discussion, the motion to reaffirm passed by voice vote.
Noting the time, Senate Secretary D. Gantz indicated that the Seat Allocation for the 2000-2001 Faculty Senate had to be addressed at this Senate meeting. Chair Boileau, hearing no objections, moved the Seat Allocation action item up in the Agenda.
6. Organization and Operations Committee
The corrected seat allocation numbers were
distributed from the O&O Committee.
It was moved and seconded to
accept the report of seat allocations.
The motion passed. A copy of the seat allocation report is
available in the Faculty Senate Office.
It was moved to recess at this time and continue this meeting on Wednesday, April 26, 2000, at 3:00 PM in Robinson Hall, Room B113 on the Fairfax Campus.
Donald T. Gantz, Secretary
GMU Faculty Senate
ATTACHMENT A: Report of the
Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning Committee
NIAL Committee: Initial Report April 5, 2000
I. CREDIT AWARDED BY EXAMINATION (Office of Admissions and Testing Office)
GMU students who receive credit by exam take tests created by national testing associations or GMU departments. In all cases, the criteria for awarding credit are determined by the appropriate GMU department.
Over the last three years, GMU has awarded the following amounts of credit by examination:
96-97 97-98 98-99
Total Students/Credit 7/30 6/26 6/18
Advanced Placement (AP)
Total Students/Credit 837/2734 821/2697 1011/3223*
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Total Students/Credit 49/159 51/158 81/247**
Total Students/Credit 0/0 4/15 0/0
Total Students/Credit 1786/5035 1526/4288 1210/3397***
Sat II Exams
Total Students/Credit 0/0 3/9 5/15
College Level Exam (CLEP)
Total Students/Credit 57/204 101/314 165/483
Total Students/Credit 4/18 1/6 1/6
A few entering students receive about one year's credit by exam. In Fall, 1999 one student was awarded 40+ credits.
*One explanation for the increase in AP credit in 1998-99 is that Fairfax County mandated that all students in AP courses must take the AP exam (with the county paying the exam fee).
**The number of U.S. high schools offering the IB degree is growing rapidly both locally and nationally, so in future years GMU will be awarding more IB credit.
***Nursing awards the most credit by departmental exam: 2254 credits in 1988-99. Next are Modern & Classical Languages, English, Psychology, and Computer Science respectively. The largest decrease in credit by examination has occurred in Nursing.
II. CONTRACT CREDIT COURSES
GMU offers contract credit courses through three offices: the Office of Continuing Professional Education (OCPE) which brokers requests for instruction from local government bodies and the business community; the School of Education's Office of Adult Learning and Professional Development (OALPD) which primarily provides graduate credit contract courses and degree programs to the local school systems; and the College of Nursing and Health Science's Office of Professional Development (OPD) which primarily serves local health care organizations.
1) Office of Continuing Professional Education
In addition to its office in Krug Hall, OCPE has branch offices at the Prince William Campus and at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon. A fourth office is planned for the Arlington Campus. To date, OCPE has not marketed its services for the simple reason that even without advertising, it is taxed to meet existing requests. As the following table shows, the OCPE has dramatically increased its contract courses during the last three years. Continued rapid growth is expected.
FY courses students gross revenue
97-98 12 205 $102,609
98-99 47 881 $828,542
99-00 97 1,342 $1,128,268
Presently, most of the courses arranged by OCPE are offered by professors at government and business workplaces. In the future OCPE anticipates teaching increasingly by internet and video conferencing.
The "Academic Council," comprised of one faculty representative from each school and institute, provides a needed connection between the faculty and CPE office and also serves as an advisory board. The Council meets monthly, including during the summer.
Non-Credit Courses: Although this report only deals with credit courses, it is perhaps worth noting (as an indicator of demand) that approximately 65% of OCPE's offerings are for non-credit courses and programs.
2) Office of Adult Learning and Professional Development
In recent years, OALPD has annually offered 150-200 contract courses, including courses in three graduate degree programs. Typically these courses meet at off-campus sites.
academic year courses
Summer 98 53
Fall 98 82
Spring 99 47
Summer 99 40
Fall 99 71
Spring 00 52
3) Office of Professional Development (Nursing)
In recent years, OPD has annually offered about 30 courses with 150-75 students per semester. The principal student groups have been registered nurses at the INOVA Health Care System, Mary Washington Hospital (Fredericksburg) and Winchester Medical System. Most of these students will eventually complete a degree program in the GMU College of Nursing.
academic year courses
Fall 98 14
Spring 99 15
Summer 99 8
Fall 99 10
Spring 00 12
III. DISTANCE LEARNING
At present, the delivery of higher education through distance learning (DL) does not seem to be a priority at GMU. Neither the administration nor most academic units have made this a major emphasis. There has been no central GMU office responsible for determining how DL should relate to the university's mission, for developing and implementing DL policies, for providing needed faculty and student support services for DL courses, or for keeping track of DL course offerings. However, DL may soon become a growing priority. One reason for this may be perceived competition. For instance, Julie Christensen states that both ICAR and Nursing report that parts of their programs are being challenged by on-line courses from other schools.
There is no standard definition of a DL course. SACS defines a distance course as one in which 50% of more of instruction occurs when student and teacher are not in the same place; a DL program is one in which 50% or more of the credits are offered in DL courses. Using this definition, the Provost's Office has identified the following distance learning programs:
MAIS in Recreation Resources Management
MS in Systems Engineering
MPA Concentration in Nonprofit Management
Certificate in Nonprofit Management
Certificate in Computational Techniques and Applications
Certificate in Network Science
Certificate in Gerontology
Certificate in Quality of Care and Health Outcomes
The NIAL Committee has received a print-out that lists 56 courses for Spring 1999 that were either DL or that included a significant amount of DL instruction. Of these, the identified mode of delivery is internet (20), TV (12), www (12), email (3), videotape (1) and computer-assisted instruction (8). GMU personnel who attend to this issue believe the number of DL courses is increasing.
Currently, a GMU task force headed by Linda Schwartzstein, Vice Provost for Strategic Planning, is formulating a general framework which will assist schools and institutes to develop policies for their DL instruction as well as become SACS compliant. This will require GMU to develop a working definition of DL courses and programs consistent with the SACS definition and to maintain a record of its DL course offerings. In addition, SACS criteria require, among other things, that a school must:
--"formulate clear and explicit goals for its distance learning programs and demonstrate they are consistent with the institution's stated purpose";
--"provide students with structured access to and interaction with full-time faculty";
--"provide a variety of facilities and instructional support services . . . which are organized and administered so as to provide easy access for faculty and student users. . . . These requirements apply [emphasis in original] to all programs wherever located or however delivered."
--provide "appropriate student development services" for both on-campus and distance learning programs.
ATTACHMENT B: Academic Policies Committee Action Items (as Approved by the Senate at the current meeting)
TO: The Faculty Senate
FROM: Senate Academic Policies Committee
DATE: March 2000
SUBJECT: Review of the Honors Program in General Education
Background Information. On 12 February 1997 the Faculty Senate adopted a set of motions from its Academic Policies Committee, endorsing the establishment of university-wide honors programs and provisionally approving the conversion of PAGE to a university-wide honors program. Those actions included the stipulation that after two years of operation (Fall 1997 through Fall 1999), the Honors Program in General Education would be reviewed by the Senate’s Academic Policies Committee. A subsequent Senate action (22 April 1998) established minimum, university-wide criteria for honors programs in general education and in major programs.
Review of the Honors Programs in General Education. Using the criteria established by the Senate, the Academic Policies Committee began its review of the program by reading materials provided by the program director, Professor Mack Holt (e.g., annual status reports, a two-page flyer publicizing the program), and by visiting the program’s web site to look at course syllabi and bylaws. Teacher/course evaluations by students were also reviewed online. On 31 January the committee met with Professor Holt and Professor Jonathan Gifford, who currently serves on the faculty committee that shares governance and decision-making responsibility for the program. On 14 February the committee met with four honors students—two in the first year of the program, one in her last semester of it, and one who has completed it. (The Senate office will provide on request the committee minutes of these meetings, with detailed summaries of the discussion.)
Important points that emerged in the committee’s discussion with Professors Holt and Gifford:
1) Admission standards have become more rigorous;
2) The curriculum has been strengthened in several ways, e.g., the original introductory course (Honors 110) has become an introduction to research; the original computer course has been dropped, and computer skills are taught across the curriculum; BSc students take a regular science course and Math 113/114; for BA students the program includes an honors version of Math 106/108 and satisfaction of the foreign language requirement;
3) A major problem is that the GMU program offers scholarship funds to only 60% of the students (compared to the 100% support that honors students at UVA receive);
4) Faculty turnover is very high; summer stipends in support of the demanding task of preparing the program’s interdisciplinary courses would encourage more faculty participation;
5) Participation by faculty varies greatly among academic units; generally, faculty from units with extensive graduate offerings are not as active as those from units whose primary emphasis is on undergraduate education;
6) The program does an excellent job preparing students for their majors.
The students who met with the committee were, on the whole, positive about the program, though not without criticism of some aspects of it. Positive points raised in the discussion were:
1) The program is not just an array of courses; it fosters a strong sense of community among students who are eager to learn;
2) Faculty involved in the program are excellent, both as teachers and advisors, and they represent a variety of perspectives;
3) Smaller classes are more interactive, and permit each student to receive more individual attention from the instructor;
4) The honors lounge is a valuable place for program participants to communicate and help each other; honors housing also helps in this regard, but is not adequate to accommodate all students in the program.
Criticisms expressed by the students included the following:
1) Syllabi sometimes lack clarity with respect to the subject matter to be covered; course objectives are sometimes too vague;
2) The present format of science courses (a lot of information, presented in a large lecture section by different professors) is not good [the lab sessions, however, were highly praised];
3) Too many students in the program plan to transfer elsewhere after they’ve completed their first two years here.
Conclusions and recommendations. On the basis of its review, the Academic Policies Committee believes this program should be continued, with the modifications set out in some of the recommendations below. The Committee moves:
1. that the Honors Program in General Education be continued, subject to the same periodic review as other academic programs;
2. that the criterion adopted by the Senate in 1997 which calls for “flexibility of admission to allow qualified part-time and transfer students to participate” be dropped, because it is not viable;
3. that the size of existing small classes be maintained, and every reasonable effort be made to reduce the size of the large science lecture;
4. that, in an effort to improve retention, the program director initiate the practice of scheduling an advising session for exiting students, at which academic units provide information about opportunities for continued honors work in upper-division courses/major programs;
5. that the program’s governance structure be amended to provide that the selection of faculty occur through a process that always involves not only the program director, but the supervisory faculty committee as well;
6. that the Senate recommend to the Provost increased scholarship funding for this program, with the intent of improving the quality of the students in it;
7. that the Senate recommend to the Provost the award of summer stipends to faculty engaged in the development of interdisciplinary courses for the program; faculty earning stipends would, in turn, be obligated to teach over two presentation cycles the course(s) they assisted in developing, subject to the approval of the program director;
8. that the program director and others responsible for its funding make every reasonable effort to compensate academic units equitably for faculty “on loan” to the Honors Program in General Education, so as to cover not only classroom teaching, but also such faculty functions as advising, committee assignments, administrative duties, etc.; and finally,
9. that, if the foregoing motions are adopted, the persons to whom they are directed report to the Faculty Senate on their disposition or implementation no later than September 2000.
Item Two: Three Year Calendar (available in hard copy only – see last page)
The Academic Policies Committee recommends the adoption of the proposed three-year university calendar for 2001-2004 by the Faculty Senate.
TO: Members of the Faculty Senate
FROM: Senate Academic Policies Committee
SUBJECT: Final Exam Policy - Item for Senate's April 5 Agenda
DATE: 23 March 2000
An item of business referred to the Academic Policies Committee last fall was a request to review university policy governing final exams for undergraduates (for the full text, see the 1999-2000 University Catalog, p. 30), in particular the following provisions: except in predominantly laboratory courses, finals are to be given at the times and places announced in the Schedule of Classes, unless changes in time and place have been approved by the appropriate department chair and dean. If the final is to be a take-home exam, students are to be so informed at the beginning of the semester; such exams should be distributed at the beginning of the last week of classes, and students cannot be required to submit them before the exam date listed in the Schedule of Classes.
One of the questions the committee was to try to answer was, how frequent and widespread are deviations from those provisions? On 15 February the committee communicated with the local unit administrators of all academic units in the university concerning that question. The responses received led the committee to conclude that there is no widespread abuse of the current policy governing final exams at the undergraduate level.
Members of the committee believe that the current policy is sound, but that it should be more widely publicized than it presently is. Accordingly, the committee MOVES that
The Senate reaffirms the final examination policy for undergraduates, as stated on p. 30 of the 1999-2000 University Catalog; and instructs the Secretary of the Senate to communicate this action to all collegiate deans and institute directors for announcement to their teaching faculties, with the further request that information about the policy be provided at all orientation sessions for new faculty.