GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

FEBRUARY 16, 2000

 

Senators Present:  K. Avruch, A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, L. Bowen, T. Brawley, B. Brown, L. Brown, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, R. Davis, S. deMonsabert, M. DeNys, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, T. Friesz, K. Gaffney, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, M. Holt, R.C. Jones, A. Kolker, D. Kuebrich, B. Manchester, J. Muir, L. Rigsby, L. Rikard, L. Rockwood, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, L. Seligmann, P. So, A. Sofer, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, E. Thorp, S. Weinberger, H. Williams, S. Zoltek

 

Senators Absent: K. Alligood, D. Boileau, R. Carty, J. Censer, S. Cheldelin, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, J. Hale, M. Krauss, M. LeBaron, L. Lederman, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, J. Reid, D. Struppa, C. Thomas, H. Tongren, P. Wilkie, J. Zenelis

 

Guests Present:  T. Gessner (Psych), L. Irvine (Provost’s Office), S. Jones (Registrar’s Office), R. Sachs (Math/Gen Ed), J. Wood (Provost’s Office)

 

I.   Call to Order

Chair Pro Tempore Harold Gortner called the meeting to order at 3:03 pm.

 

II.   Approval of Minutes

The Minutes of the February 2, 2000 Faculty Senate Meeting (rescheduled from January 26, 2000) were approved as distributed.

 

III.   Announcements

H. Gortner announced that D. Boileau was ill, and would be unable to attend today’s meeting. As the Chair Pro Tempore, H. Gortner would be chairing today’s meeting in Don’s absence.

 

H. Gortner announced that the Faculty Senate and the Ad Hoc General Education Committee are sponsoring a General Education Forum.The Forum will be held: NEXT Wednesday, February 23, 2000, from 3:00-4:30 pm, in Student Union Building II, Rooms 5, 6, & 7.

 

H. Gortner announced that regarding the Summer School Salary Issue a basic agreement has been reached about faculty compensation at 10% per course. Additional information will soon be made available.

 

IV.   Unfinished Business

A.   Motion to Amend Minutes Previously Approved

In addition to the motion provided as Attachment A of the Agenda for this meeting, copies of the motion with the proposed changes were distributed.  The motion to amend had been made and seconded at the previous meeting of the Faculty Senate, and there was no discussion of the motion.  It was moved and seconded to accept the amendment to the Minutes as distributed, the motion passed by voice vote, and the Minutes of the September 29, 1999 Faculty Senate Meeting were amended to read:  “Interim Provost Wood believed that in CAS, apparently all were paid ten percent for the first course, but the second course was where violations occurred.  [Later evidence revealed this not to have been the case].”

 

B.   Motion to Thank NCC Transition Committee

The motion to thank the NCC Transition Committee was made and seconded.  A friendly amendment was made to change the first “their” to “its” and there was no further discussion.  The motion passed and reads as follows:  “The Faculty Senate expresses its thanks to the members of the NCC Transition Committee (George Taylor, Devon Hodges, Rosemary Jann, Stephen Zaccaro, Kimberly Eby, Elizabeth Gunn, Scott Martin) for their time and efforts on this Committee.”

 

V.   New Business

 

A.   University Committee Reports

 

1.   General Education Committee

R. Sachs reported that the Committee continues to thrash through details for the General Education program.  The Committee will be meeting with the Provost tomorrow morning with the goal of working out the “framework” for the program that will lay the groundwork for the specific courses to be included.  R. Sachs stated that the Committee reported to the BOV about the Mission Statement, and that the Committee hopes to have faculty agreement before the next BOV meeting in March, when the Board is expected to act on General Education.  R. Sachs reiterated the importance of faculty input, and reminded everyone of the Forum on February 23.  He further indicated that the Committee hopes to get the framework out to faculty prior to the Forum, receive feedback at the Forum, and come to the Senate with an action item at the March 8 Faculty Senate Meeting.  R. Sachs stressed that the framework will identify the criteria for the general education program, but not the specific courses to meet those criteria.  Finally, he said that the plan would be to have faculty development occur over the Summer, and he identified that the Provost has pledged funds to work on that assuming that a basic agreement had been reached.

R. Sachs responded to a question about the BOV’s response by acknowledging that the BOV views the program at Brooklyn College as a model of general education for GMU.  R. Coffinberger commented that compromise and flexibility were critical in the Committee’s dealings with the Provost and administration, and will also be key in addressing faculty views, but that regardless of the Committee’s efforts everyone cannot be satisfied.  R. Sachs responded to another question indicating that questions, comments and concerns could be sent to him via e-mail at rsachs@gmu.edu.  He further indicated that the Gen. Ed. Program should be the basis for students to be prepared for upper level course success.

Referring to the Mission Statement, R. Sachs identified that the “integrative experience” is a wrinkle of the plan which needs faculty input, but it is only one of three pieces of the framework as it is currently being constructed.  Responding to a question about the “personal and professional breadth” in the mission statement, R. Sachs stated that this referred to the distribution of requirements … that students should be aware of areas outside their specific areas of study, which can help and better them not only as students, but as citizens, parents, etc.  Another question asked about the number of hours which a general education program would take away from requirements for certain degree programs, such as the engineering programs, which have very strict course requirements.  R. Sachs replied that the Committee is very aware of the limitations and has been trying to work within those constraints, and that BOV member Dewberry also expressed concern for IT&E requirements.

 

2.   Library Committee

T. Gessner reported that the Committee met in December.  They were informed of the state of the Library and the Committee will be meeting Friday, February 18, to select the Fenwick Fellow(s) which is a major focus of the Committee.

 

3.   Writing Across the Curriculum Committee

S. Zoltek reported that the Committee (S. Zoltek, R. Davis, S. deMonsabert, R. Ruhling, J. Schmidt, M. Silva, A. Williams, T. Zawacki), assisted by K. Simons and R. Fischer, provide the following report:

 

During the 99-00 academic year the University WAC Committee members are:

1) Reviewing WI syllabi to determine if courses and faculty are complying with WI guidelines.  We have already checked web descriptions of course maximum enrollment for WI courses and have found some exceed the 35-student cap set by the Senate.

2) Participating in an ongoing discussion of assessment of effectiveness of WI requirement.  We will be working on questions pertaining to faculty judgments about the adequacy of our students’ writing as well as their perceptions, concerns, and needs related to improving students’ writing.  We also want to find out to what extent faculty are aware of and implement practices suggested by the WI guidelines.

 

The Committee wants the University community to be aware that:

1) The Provost’s Office sponsored a WAC reception to recognize the many faculty who are committed to improving student’s writing.

2) The Director of WAC, with funding allocated by the Provost’s Office, is working with selected departments and schools to develop guides to writing in the majors.  Currently, PIAF, SOM, Nursing, and NCC are working on these guides.  Some of the work on the writing guides is being done by graduate and undergraduate students, supported by a Celebration of Learning grant.

3) The WAC page is being updated and enhanced.  We encourage faculty to consult the page frequently for information, updates, workshops, and useful links. 

 

B.   Committee Reports

 

1.   Executive Committee

There was no report beyond the announcements made earlier.

 

2.   Academic Policies Committee

E. Elstun reported that J. Sanford had completed the review of the academic policy portion of the catalog.  In addition, the Committee will be meeting next on February 28, at which time the Committee will address the University policy regarding final exams and the A+/C- grading option.  E. Elstun also announced that J. Flinn has resigned from the Academic Policies Committee.

 

3.   Facilities and Support Services Committee

A. Berry introduced the motion: The Facilities and Support Services Committee proposes:

 

WHEREAS, many faculty members are unhappy with the current system in which they have to pay a fee for using the facilities at Aquatic and Fitness Center.

 

WHEREAS, there is an inconsistency when the university sends letters to faculty recommending exercise for good health and on the other hand asks them to pay a fee for using the facilities at the Aquatic Center.

 

WHEREAS, the university does not charge a fee for using the facilities at the Recreational Sports Complex (Field House); it will be consistent for the university to not charge a fee for using the facilities at the Aquatic Center.

 

WHEREAS, most universities do not charge faculty a fee for using such facilities; it will be appropriate if George Mason University also does not charge a fee for using these facilities.

 

WHEREAS, faculty using university facilities facilitates interaction with students and other faculty and promotes a feeling of collegiality and belonging to the university community rather than just viewing it as a place of work.

 

THEREFORE, the Faculty Senate recommends a policy of not charging faculty a fee for using the facilities at the Fitness and Aquatic center.

 

A question was raised as to why staff was not included in this motion, and A. Berry informed the Senate that the motion had been shared with the Staff Senate, and they would be pursuing a similar motion from within their own representative organization.  Then the question was raised as to whether this motion applies to all faculty, and the answer was an emphatic yes.  Responding to the question of to whom would this motion be recommended, A. Berry answered Associate Vice President K. Bumgarner.  Further discussion continued, and the notion of charging at the Freedom Center (at Prince William) was raised.  It was pointed out that the Freedom Center, unlike the Aquatic Center, was a joint venture with the City of Manassas, and therefore was a more appropriate venue to charge usage fees.  It was moved and seconded to amend the motion by eliminating the second “whereas” from the main motion.  Following a brief discussion of the motion to amend, the question was called, and the motion to amend did not pass.  Returning to the main motion, a friendly amendment was made which changed “most” to “many” in the fourth “whereas” and the question was called.  The motion passed by voice vote.

 

A. Berry reported that the Bookstore Advisory Committee has made a request that faculty submit book orders as soon as possible so that the Bookstore can buy back books to sell to students for the next term.  All faculty are urged to submit their book orders as early as possible.

 

4.      Faculty Matters Committee

J. Scimecca reported that given the low rate of response, the Evaluation of Administrators was unproductive and should be discarded.  The Committee would like to conduct another survey this Spring with the help of the Provost, but the on-line portion of the past survey simply did not work.  J. Scimeeca also reported that regarding the issue of sabbaticals for faculty on 5-year appointments, the Committee met with J. Wood and D. Rossell, and it was determined that the Committee need take no further action, but D. Rossell will provide the Committee with additional information regarding the issue.  Additionally, J. Scimecca stated that the Committee needed to meet with S. Weinberger to follow up on the work of the Compensation & Working Conditions of Part-time Faculty Committee.  J. Scimecca was asked whether the Committee was aware that the CAS Dean was rigidly enforcing the salary matrix for adjuncts and was rolling back salaries of some long-term adjunct faculty.  J. Scimecca responded that the Committee was not aware of this.

 

5.      Nominations Committee

R. Ehrlich reported that the Committee had been asked by the Provost to provide an appointee to each of the Review Committees for the Deans of the new Schools, and the Committee appointed Stephen Ruth, SOM, for the School of Computational Science review; and, Kathleen Gaffney, CNHS, for the School of Public Policy review.

 

6.      Organization & Operations Committee

E. Blaisten-Barojas reported that the Committee continues working with the survey of Senate and University Committees and that the Senate seat allocation work is in progress and that the Committee hopes to have the data for the March Faculty Senate Meeting

 

7.      Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitor

A. Sofer reported that the BOV met with students last week regarding student advising.  In addition, the following written report was submitted:

 

In its January meeting the Board of Visitor unanimously approved the establishment of a School of Public Policy and A School of Computational Science.  In the preceding meeting of the Board’s Faculty and Academic Standards Committee Board members suggested, and with the concurrence of Director Haynes approved, that culture and values should be added as a focus of the School of Public Policy.  The other areas of focus are national governance, regional development, international commerce, and science and technology.

 

The Faculty and Academic Standards Committee also heard presentations on General Education by Jerry Martin, President of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, and Jeffrey Wallin, President of the American Academy for Liberal Education.  Both speakers advocated a 50+ hour core that includes upper division courses.  They spoke in favor of a common curriculum in the core, with few choices.  Both held the view that faculty often resist changes to Gen Ed, and lauded the Gen Ed policies proposed by the New York State Board of Regents.  Board members agreed that the question of a core is highly important.  Visitor Jack Herrity will be the lead Board member on issues of core.

 

8.      Representatives of the Faculty Senate of Virginia

A. Sofer reported that the Faculty Senate of Virginia will be meeting on Saturday, February19.  A. Cary plans to attend.

 

9.      Committee on External Academic Relations

A. Sofer reported that the Committee would be meeting with Mr. Goodwin, the SCHEV Liaison.

 

VI.   Other New Business

There was no other new business.

 

VII.   Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:02 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Donald T. Gantz, Secretary

GMU Faculty Senate

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