George Mason University
Minutes of the Faculty Senate
January 24, 2001

Senators Present: K. Alligood, K. Avruch, E. Blaiston-Barojas, D. Boileau, B. Brown, L. Brown, J. Censer, S. Cheldelin, R. Coffinberger, R. Conti, M. DeNys, R. Diecchio, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, P. Feerick, J. Flinn, T. Friesz, K. Gaffney, D.
Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, M. Holt, C. Jones, D. Kuebrich, C. Mattusch, E. Price, L. Rikard, L. Rockwood, S. Ruth, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, L. Seligmann, A. Sofer, C. Sutton, C. Thomas, S. Zoltek. S. Sanchez

Senators Absent: W. M. Black, L. Bowen, P. Buchanan, R. Carty, S. deMonsabert, T. Domzal, M. Ford, M. Grady, L. Griffith, G. Hanweck, K. Haynes, A. Kolker, M. Krauss, L. Lederman, A. Merten, J. Moore, R. Nadeau, L. Rigsby,
R. Rubenstein, P. So, P. Story, D. Struppa, P. Wilkie, J. Zenelis, P. Stearns

Guests Present: R. Davis, S. Jones, J. Lafferty (Broadside) , L. Schwartzstein

I. Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 3:10 pm by Chairman Don Boileau.

II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of December 6, 2000, were approved as amended.

III. Announcements
A. Meeting with President Merten Regarding Budget Issues
Don Boileau announced that the President has agreed to speak to the Senate on Friday, January 26th concerning faculty raises and general budget issues. Distributed by email to the Senators was a letter from the President to Co-Chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee concerning this matter.

B. Administrators Evaluation Survey
Don Boileau reported that the survey is being mailed this week and that the Provost has provided monetary support.

IV. Unfinished Business

V. Senate Committee Reports
A . Executive Committee
Don Gantz noted that the Executive Committee met on January 17th and that Esther Elstun, Chair, Academic Policies Committee, reported that the following issues were discussed at the President’s Council meeting on January 17:
1. Tom Hennessey, Chief of Staff, gave a legislative update including information about the cuts which are severe.
2. Linda Schwartzstein reported we are expecting a preliminary visit from the SACS accreditation team on February 5th .
3. Marcelle Heershap, Dean of Admissions, will be leaving the University.
4. Sheryl Beach, Associate Provost for General Education, inquired as to when the Senate expects a report from the General Education Committee. She will be invited to the February meeting of the Senate.
5. The commencement speaker this year will be the President and CEO of CSpan, Brian Lamb.
6. The library renovation project will be getting underway.
7. The Foundation Director noted that there are six positions vacant on the Board of Trustees.

B . Academic Policies Committee
Esther Elstun, Chair, noted there were no action items. However, there are five items in committee:
1. Chris Jones is working with the issue of GMU students taking Air Force ROTC, University of Maryland, courses through the Consortium.
2. Roberta Conti is looking into the issue of teacher/course evaluations by students.
3. Pat Wilkie is working on double concentrations by students.
4. The issue of including a statement on all syllabi as to cell phones, pagers, etc., is being looked at by Chris Jones.
5. Pat Story is exploring the issue of changing the academic calendar to include the closing of the University at noon on the day before Thanksgiving.

C . Facilities and Support Committee
Stan Zoltek, Chair, noted that one item has come to the attention of the Mathematics Department, the problems of the migration to our new email system. He has contacted UCIS, but has had no response from them.

D. Faculty Matters Committee
It was reported that the Administrators Evaluation Survey is currently being mailed to faculty and their responses are expected by February 15, 2001.

E . Organization and Operations Committee
Estela Blaisten-Barojas, Chair, reminded the University Standing Committees to elect chairs. She noted that the Grievance Committee has taken the position of not selecting a chair until a situation arises. She reminded the committees that in the absence of a chair, people don’t know to whom they should bring their concerns.

F . Nominations Committee
Rick Coffinberger, Chair, reported that the committee has developed a slate of nominees for the Liaison Committee to the Board of Visitors, but the members of the slate have not been contacted, so the Nominations Committee is not prepared to bring this slate to the Senate today. Stan Zoltek expressed concern that some Senators have not been able to attend
meetings because they have classes scheduled, although they had previously alerted their departments as to the Senate meeting schedule. Don Boileau asked that Senators with this problem to contact him.

VI. Other Standing Committees
External Academic Relations Committee

Ariela Sofer moved and the motion was seconded that:

The Faculty Senate of George Mason University endorses House Bill 2377 “Faculty representatives on college boards” sponsored by Delegate Landes.”

Discussion ensued noting that the bill was rejected on January 17th , but was being discussed again on January 24th . Senator Sofer urged the Senate to show support for this bill even if rejected a second time as it will come up again next year. Don Boileau stated that that we should notify the Northern Virginia delegation of our support. Professor Ruth added that there is an “800” telephone number to be called which automatically sends an email to the delegation.

The motion passed unanimously.

VII. New Business
Motion to Reconsider - Stanley Zoltek moved that:

WHEREAS considerations for financial aid, the Senate’s motion on 12 hours, and the expected delay implementing a web-based system for submitting course grades, have created new considerations,

BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate reconsider its action on the implementation of the C- and A+ grades so that these issues can be resolved within new action on this motion.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that an ad-hoc committee of seven faculty members be established including senators supporting the original motion and at least one member of the Graduate Council. This committee will be appointed by the Chair of the Senate upon the recommendation of the Nominating Committee. This committee will consult with the Registrar’s Office, the Financial Aid Office and the Graduate Council.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any action on implementing the C- and A+ motion by the Registrar’s Office be suspended until final action is recommended by this committee.

This motion to reconsider was seconded.

Bob Ehrlich opposed this motion. Professor Ehrlich indicated that implications are that the C- and A+ grades do not add to grade inflation, do not have a significant impact on warning, suspension, and graduation based on the GPA, and will not have a negative impact on our reputation. As to the grade report issue, it was suggested we postpone implementation action until we have the web-based system in place.

Bob Ehrlich moved a substitute motion:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate reverse its action on the motion to reconsider and that implementation be done as soon as possible.

Discussion followed as to whether this substitute motion was in order. Dr. Coffinberger asked if anyone present could address the problem of Financial Aid. No response was forthcoming. Dr. Ehrlich pointed out that the effect of the C- grade could only be measured if the intent of the instructor were known. Professor Elstun spoke in favor of the motion to reconsider, pointing out that in view of the confusion, the creation of a committee as noted in the motion to reconsider is eminently reasonable. Don Gantz emphasized that the spirit of the motion is fact-finding, and Linda Schwartzstein noted that any relevant information to be included in the new catalog is due now.

After discussion as to whether reconsideration should go on with the implication that we are going to keep the original motion and that this is a good opportunity to consider the consequences of the overall motion, the motion to reconsider was
defeated by a vote of 13-11.

B . Other New Business
The substitute motion by Professor Ehrlich was withdrawn, and he then moved the following motion:

BE IT RESOLVED that the Senate reaffirm its action on the implementation of the C- and A+ grades, which should be implemented as soon as practical, given the move to a web-based system for submitting course grades.

The motion was seconded and passed.

Linda Schwartzstein noted that this new grading system will not be included in the new catalog.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Lorraine Brown
Secretary, Faculty Senate

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