GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
APRIL 26, 2000
Senators Present: K. Avruch, A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, T. Brawley, B. Brown, L. Brown, S. Cheldelin, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, R. Davis, M. DeNys, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, J. Flinn, K. Gaffney, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, M. Holt, C. Jones, D. Kuebrich, M. LeBaron, B. Manchester, J. Metcalf, L. Rigsby, L. Rikard, L. Rockwood, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, A. Sofer, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, E. Thorp, P. Wilkie, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek
Senators Absent: K. Alligood, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, R. Carty, J. Censer, S. deMonsabert, T. Domzal, T. Friesz, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, E. Gunn, J. Hale, A. Kolker, M. Krauss, L. Lederman, A. Merten, J. Muir, J. Reid, L. Seligmann, P. So, D. Struppa, C. Thomas, H. Tongren, S. Weinberger, H. Williams
Guests Present: K. Ahrens (Student, CAS), J. Arnold (Student Government), J. Bullock (Student Government), S. Jones (Registrar), R. Sachs (Math), E. Verheyen (Robinson Professor)
I. Call to Order
Chair Pro Tem H. Gortner called the meeting to order at 3:02 pm.
II. Approval of Minutes
The Minutes of the April 5, 2000 Faculty Senate Meeting were approved as distributed.
H. Gortner announced that Chair D. Boileau was unavoidably out of town today and would not be Chairing this meeting, but that he would be back for the May 3 Meeting of the Faculty Senate.
H. Gortner announced that the Moments of Silence would be postponed until the May 3, 2000 Faculty Senate Meeting.
H. Gortner reported that the Executive Committee met this morning and decided to put the General Education Report as the first item of business under announcements at the May 3 Faculty Senate Meeting.
H. Gortner announced that A. Sofer would report on the Board of Visitors Committee actions last Wednesday. He indicated that the report being distributed was a Senate Report and not the action as approved by the Board’s Faculty & Academic
Standards Committee. The Board of Visitors approved information will be provided for the May 3 Faculty Senate Meeting.
H. Gortner announced that R. Sachs, Chair of the General Education Committee, has come to the meeting today to answer questions. It was noted that most of the Faculty Senate recommendations were approved, and that negotiations continue regarding implementation strategies.
H. Gortner announced that the Provost has begun implementation of the General Education process as follows: 1) a request for applications for the Vice-Provost for General Education has been posted, with a May 15 closing date; 2) a request for support
to develop proposals for specific classes will be coming soon. These actions ARE consistent with the recommendations of the Faculty Senate.
IV. Unfinished Business
Academic Policies Committee E. Elstun reported that during the April 5, 2000 Faculty Senate Meeting, the Committee addressed all of its action items, and had an informational item left to report. E. Elstun reported that the Committee received a request from R. Ehrlich to reconsider the grades of A+ and C-. Following a review of the subject, the Committee agreed not to bring the item to the Senate.
V. New Business
Senate Committee Reports
Facilities & Support Services Committee
S. Zoltek reported that the Committee had contacted departments via e-mail to identify facility problems. The Committee, at the direction of the Executive Committee, will distribute a memo to Department Chairs during the third week of each semester to identify problems. S. Zoltek stressed that the Committee would not be attempting to rectify individual complaints, but would try to identify general problems and expedite the maintenance and repair process through cooperation with the appropriate University Services. Additionally, S. Zoltek reported that the Committee supports the Organization & Operations Committee’s proposal to merge the Library Committee with the Facilities & Support Services Committee.
Faculty Matters Committee
J. Scimecca reported that the Committee would have a written report at the next meeting, and that there was nothing further to report at this time.
There was nothing to report at this time.
Organization & Operations Committee
E. Blaisten-Barojas presented Motion One: Modification of Section I. B. of the Charter of the Faculty Senate, and identified the Committee’s rationale for the proposed changes – especially in light of the increased role of part-time faculty in faculty
governance. The motion was then opened to the floor for discussion. Several people expressed concern over the insertion of the word “state” with regards to appropriated funds. Further explanation failed to dissuade the concern, and a friendly amendment was made to strike the “state” insertion. The Committee accepted the amendment.
Discussion turned to the paragraph regarding unit representation and re-establishing
a limit on the number of Senate representatives a single academic unit may possess.
Discussion volleyed between the notion of proportionality of representation
and maintenance of a representation that is inclusive of all units. Concern
was also raised about the wording of the paragraph that left some ambiguity
about the manner of calculating representation. C. Jones proposed a friendly
amendment that was accepted by the Committee, the amended section reads:
2. No Collegiate Unit will have more than 25 seats. In the event that one Collegiate Unit exceeds 50% of the total FTE, that Unit will receive 25 seats and the remaining seats will be apportioned proportionately to the remaining Units. The threshold size will be calculated on the total FTE of the remaining Collegiate Units divided by 25.
The main motion was called, and the motion to modify Section I. B. of the Charter passed as amended. The complete text of the section of the Charter, as amended and passed, is included as Attachment A to these Minutes.
Motion Two, the elimination of the University Library Committee and incorporation of its charge into the Facilities & Support Services Committee, was made and was opened to discussion. Following several comments regarding the role of the Library Committee and its potential impact with the proposed Technology Policy Committee, Chair Pro Tem H. Gortner identified that the Library portion of the new Committee (Facilities, Support Services, and Libraries Committee) should be reviewed next year in light of the possible creation of a Technology Committee given the increasing relationship between technology and the libraries. The question was called, motion two passed by a voice vote.
Senate Liaisons to the Board of Visitors
A. Sofer indicated that there was no report beyond that which was distributed regarding the Faculty & Academic Standards Committee meeting that addressed the General Education issue.
Representatives to the Faculty Senate of Virginia
H. Gortner reported that the Faculty Senate of Virginia will meet on April 29, and that there was nothing further to report at this time.
Committee on External Academic Relations
A. Sofer stated that there was nothing to report at this time.
VI. Other New Business
A. Motion to create a Technology Policy Committee
S. Zoltek, on behalf of the co-sponsors of the motion, introduced the following motion: In reestablishing faculty responsibilities regarding the use of computer-based technologies in “courses and programs,” the following motion is proposed:
1) Administrative decision-making at George Mason University about new information technologies with potentially large impacts on the classroom has often failed to involve a substantial proportion of the teaching faculty;
2) Decision-making regarding new educational technologies and educational techniques and practices should properly require participation and approval by teaching faculty in accordance with the Faculty Handbook and "Information Guide;"
3) The most effective implementations of these technologies and techniques are almost invariably those driven by teaching faculty and widely supported by this faculty;
4) Adequate protection of intellectual property rights for on-line courses and in other information technologies that the faculty has continuing opportunity to articulate and protect their rights to such property;
IT IS MOVED THAT:
The Faculty Senate, in accordance with its rules of governance, create a standing committee composed of five elected members with the following charge:
Members will work with representative faculty bodies as well as with administrators, in a spirit of cooperation and good will in an effort to ensure that our students have access to the best and most cost-effective applications of computer-based informational technologies for educational purposes;
Members will proactively consult with the Vice-President for Information Technology and other administrators concerning investments in and development of potential uses of computer-based technologies that impact educational techniques and practices in the University;
Members will access the financial data pertaining to investments in and development of potential uses of computer-based informational technologies, and the manner in which funds will be allocated to individuals and programs; and will evaluate the data and represent faculty positions on it;
Members will work with administrators to articulate and implement a clear and equitable policy that protects intellectual property rights of faculty;
Members will present timely oral and written reports to the Senate on the progress and results of their work, and make appropriate recommendations.
S. Zoltek further explained that the Committee would give faculty the opportunity to advise and be involved in the spending and initiatives with regard to technology issues, including such important issues as distance learning, etc. Discussion was opened to the floor. One concern addressed the composition of the proposed committee, and the thought that the committee’s membership should reflect the diversity of faculty interest. There was concern for access to information without funding. E. Blaisten-Barojas expressed concern that the motion did not come through the Organization & Operations Committee, and that if it had, the charge could have been better prepared to work effectively and efficiently (without possibly duplicating work of other existing committees) and the committee’s structure could be more consistent with other university standing committees.
It was moved and seconded to send the motion to the Organization & Operations Committee for further review and consideration. Discussion of the motion to refer to committee ensued. After hearing comments for and against the motion to refer, E. Elstun suggested that the Senate should act on the creation of the Committee today, but with instructions to include:
1) the principle authors of the motion and the O&O Committee confer and report to the Senate at a future meeting on the issues of concern;
2) the Nominations Committee address the concerns of diversity of representation in their filling the composition of the committee.
A comment addressing the differences pointed out in discussion then identified that the modifications being suggested were more form than substance, and that the motion should be addressed today. The question was called, the motion to refer the main motion to the Organization & Operations Committee failed by voice vote. It was moved that the composition of the proposed committee include five elected members, with at least one Senator, and one ex-officio member. A substitute motion was made and seconded to approve the committee’s creation in principle with the following instructions:
By March 1st of each academic year, the Senate Committee on Organization and
Operations shall establish the representation from each unit on the basis of the figures provided by the administration. Elections shall follow by May 1st.
The Directors of the Independent Institutes shall designate one of their number annually to serve on the Senate.
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