GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
APPROVED MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
SPECIAL CALLED MEETING
SEPTEMBER 29, 1999
Senators Present: K. Avruch, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, T. Brawley, L. Brown, J. Censer, R. Coffinberger, J. Crockett, R. Davis, S. deMonsabert, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, J. Hale, M. Holt, C. Jones, A. Kolker, D. Kuebrich, B. Manchester, J. Metcalf, J. Reid, L. Rigsby, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, P. So, A. Sofer, C. Sutton, C. Thomas, J. Wood, S. Zoltek
Senators Absent: K. Alligood, A. Berry, L. Bowen, B. Brown, R. Carty, S. Cheldelin, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, T. Friesz, K. Gaffney, G. Galluzzo, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, E. Gunn, M. Krauss, M. LeBaron, L. Lederman, A. Merten, J. O'Connor, L. Rockwood, R. Ruhling, L. Seligmann, D. Struppa, E. Thorp, H. Tongren, S. Weinberger, P. Wilkie, H. Williams, J. Zenelis
Guests Present: R. Guilford (Provost's Office), C. Herberg (Registrar's Office), S. Muir (Communication), E. Sas (Student Government), M. Vance (Academic Support & Advising Services)
I. Call to Order
Chair Don Boileau called the meeting to order at 3:03 PM. He announced that the only business that can be transacted at this special meeting is the specified item on the Agenda.
E. Elstun announced that the September/October 1999 issue of the AAUP Bulletin Academe has a brief article about governance issues at GMU featuring Senate Chair Don Boileau. This article is available at the Faculty Senate office.
II. New Business
Consideration of the Summer School Committee Report
Joe Scimecca, Chair of the Subcommittee on Summer Session Compensation, introduced the motion attached to the Agenda. He indicated the critical timing of the current meeting since Summer School allocations are about to happen and timely input is needed. He stated that his Committee started with the assumption that the Faculty Handbook states that all faculty get ten percent of their academic year salary for teaching a three-credit Summer School course and that this rule has not been implemented since 1984. The Committee Report is in three parts:
Background, Findings and the Motion.
Briefly, the background starts with the changes that began in 1984. Prior to 1984, faculty were paid ten percent per three-credit course up to two courses. Compensation caps were introduced in 1984. J. Scimecca was a department chair in 1984 and had thought that at the time that Summer School was losing money; however, he later learned that Summer School has never lost money. In 1991, the Faculty Handbook was rewritten and included ambiguous language about the administration and faculty working together to set compensation. In 1995 an Ad Hoc Committee was appointed by the Senate to look into Summer School compensation; the Committee Report was accepted by the Senate and forwarded to the Administration but no response was received.
The current Committee found that Summer School has always generated a surplus in the sense of excess tuition revenue after instructors have been paid. Details of the surpluses are in the Report. J. Scimecca voiced appreciation for the accounting assistance he received from Donna Kidd and Renate Guilford. He presented figures on annual surpluses. For 1999, an additional $212,000 of compensation from the $3,864,554 surplus would have paid the full ten percent to all faculty who taught.
After the Motion was introduced for the record, a friendly amendment specified that the ten percent was per three-credit course.
Acting Provost Joe Wood explained how the Administration tries to run the Summer Session. First, he stated that Summer School is a unit issue. He further identified that J. Scimecca's numbers were correct in reporting that the Summer School produces excess revenues. However, that accounting is based entirely on pay for instruction and tuition revenues; other costs like facilities and administration are not separately charged for Summer School. To formally account for all costs would introduce other budget complications. J. Wood thinks that even if these costs were accounted for, there would still be excess revenue. He stressed the obligation to offer the right courses at the right time to the right students to support academic programs. Also, Summer School does not have the obligation to satisfy faculty desires to teach particular courses at that time.
J. Wood stated that it is not true that there was no response by the Administration to the Senate in 1995. The response was to give units more flexibility to better afford faculty the opportunity to earn ten percent. Units have responded differently to this flexibility. Some units have not met enrollment targets and allocated funds not spent were returned to the Administration. In cases where deans and department chairs have increased enrollments over targets, they have been allowed to keep excess revenues. Sixty-seven of 346 full time faculty did not get ten percent for their first course in 1999. J. Wood believes that the University will not be able to offer responsible courses under the Motion. Also, he intends to keep the system decentralized. He asks the Senate to think more broadly and change the motion appropriately.
The open discussion of the Motion was begun.
Joe Wood was asked to what extent the 67 faculty paid less than ten percent was due to capping. Joe responded that there is a complex pattern of units treating the Summer Session differently.
The point was made that if the Faculty Handbook is our governance document, then how can we be at variance with it. E. Elstun gave some extended comments as a drafter of the last two major Handbook revisions. She agreed that this is the issue that troubles her most and that we would be getting ourselves into troubled waters if we let the central Administration be in flagrant violation of the Handbook. The only basis for reduced compensation set forth in the Handbook is funds scarcity. E. Elstun's comments were seconded by other Senators.
There was some discussion concerning the Handbook's clarity in referring to a specified maximum that faculty would be paid during the summer. J. Wood said that specified maximums need to be set probably with faculty consultation and most likely at the school/institute level, taking their missions into consideration.
J. Censer explained how he saw the Summer School allocation process working from his position as a department chair. He found he had the flexibility to ensure that faculty received equitable pay for summer courses. He thought that without caps the highest paid professors would abuse the system by teaching more summer courses and put less summer time to research. He was also concerned that we might suffer a public relations setback from this Motion by putting out the impression of faculty wanting more money. In response, it was pointed out that compliance with the Handbook would require only several hundred thousand dollars of expenditures from a surplus of nearly four million dollars.
J. Wood was asked if it was the Administration's position that they are in compliance with the Faculty Handbook. He said that they are in compliance; and that they provide the necessary resources to support as much as possible. He admitted that the system which has developed was not developed in conjunction with the Senate and to that extent there would be some governance violation.
There was some discussion concerning the highest paid professors benefiting most from a flat ten percent. The suggestion was made that a ten percent cap should be lifted for lower paid professors so that they can make more. There was additional support voiced for this kind of policy. The question was raised, but not answered, whether the 67 professors paid less than ten percent in 1999 were predominantly from the lower paid departments. In CAS, apparently all were paid ten percent for the first course, but the second course was where violations occurred.
The discussion returned to focus on the extent to which the Motion was a call for a return to full compliance with the Faculty Handbook. There was considerable support for maintaining full compliance with the Handbook and for viewing the Motion as supporting this policy.
The question was called and it passed by a vote of 24 in favor and 3 against.
Chair D. Boileau pointed out that today's guests included Renate Guilford who had been very helpful to the Committee in it's background work and Eric Sas who is the President of the Student Government Association.
A motion to adjourn was made, seconded and passed.
Donald T. Gantz, Secretary
GMU Faculty Senate
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