George Mason University

Approved Minutes of the Faculty Senate

October 4, 2000


Senators Present:  K. Alligood, K. Avruch, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, B. Brown, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Coffinberger, R. Conti, S. deMonsabert, E. Elstun, K. Gaffney, R. Ehrlich, P. Feerick, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, E. Gunn, M. Holt, D. Kuebrich, C. Mattusch, J. Moore, R. Nadeau, E. Price, L. Rigsby, L. Rickard, S. Ruth, J. Scimecca, L. Seligmann, P. So, A. Sofer, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, C. Thomas, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek


Senators Absent:  W. M. Black, L. Bowen, R. Carty, J. Censer, S. Cheldelin, M. DeNys, R. Dieccio, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, M. Ford, T. Friesz,

M. Grady, L. Griffiths, G. Hanweck, K. Haynes, R. C. Jones, A. Kolker, M. Krauss, L. Lederman, R. Rubenstein, L. Rockwood, A. Merten, J. Sanford, P. Story, D. Struppa, P. Wilkie


Guests Present:  Hiroko Iguch, Susan Jones, Jennifer Sherwin, Rick Davis, Carrie Secondo


I.       Call to Order
Chair, Don Boileau called the meeting to order at 3:08 pm.

II.      Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the September 13, 2000 Faculty Senate Meeting were approved.

III.    Announcements
Joe Kanyan conducted a eulogy for Joe Shirk, former Chair, Music Dept.  A moment of silence was observed by the Faculty Senate in his memory.  D. Boileau will write a letter of condolence from the Faculty Senate to the family of Joe Shirk.

D. Boileau informed the Senate of the status of the Institutional Performance Agreement.  This is a six-year funding agreement with SCHEV, which covers l8 measures from procurement to handling of students.  It is due at SCHEV tomorrow (Oct. 5, 2000).  GMU will know its status in Dec., as to whether or not it has been accepted.  M. Scherrens is the point person at GMU working on this project.   

IV.  Unfinished Business
It was moved and seconded that the Faculty Senate dismiss and express its appreciation via a letter from the Faculty Senate Chair to the members of the University Ad HocCommittee on General Education.  The motion passed.   

It was moved and seconded to adopt the Faculty Senate meeting schedule, which was distributed at the meeting. The April 11 meeting will be held at the Prince William Campus in the Verizon Conference Room.  The motion passed. 

V.               New Business
D. Boileau reported the Faculty Senate has endorsed the Proposal of the College of Visual and Performing Arts with one modification. References to Schools in the document should be changed to Departments. A letter expressing approval of the new College has been sent from the Chair and Secretary of the Faculty Senate to P. Stearns, Provost.

Committee Reports

Academic Policies Committee
The Committee invited the Provost to inform the Academic Policies Committee of any issues or problems of university-wide academic policy that he would like them to address this year. 

Last spring, in renewing the Honors Program in General Education, the Senate suggested that the program’s executive committee participate with the director in the selection of faculty who teach in the program.  Prof. Mack Holt, Director of the Program, has confirmed that the program’s bylaws have been amended to reflect that suggestion.  Senate action last spring also included two recommendations to the provost concerning the program’s funding. A meeting with the Provosts representative will occur next week.

A request from the Director of Air Force ROTC at the U of MD concerning credit for the 400 level courses in that program has been logged in by the O & O Committee and referred to us.  Committee member, Chris Jones will supervise that item of business.

The Committee was invited to review the proposed Calendar for Summer Session 2001. It was reported that Pat Story, Academic Policies Committee reviewed the Summer Session calendar and it was in order.

Faculty Matters Committee
The Faculty Matters Committee reported working on an Administrative Survey.  Results are expected to be out by March or April. 

Organization and Operations Committee

Technology Committee
A.  The Technology Committee reported of its 7 members, at least 2 must be senators, and one an exofficio faculty member designated by the Provost.  The composition should reflect that most academic units are represented.

Charge:  The committee will actively advise the Vice President of Information Technology and other administrators in investments and in implementation of computer-based technologies that impact the educational techniques in the University.  The committee will advise on the development of new computer-based educational techniques and research capacities within the University.

The committee will work cooperatively with the central administration to formulate the technology budget of the University.  These actions will ensure that the recommendations issued by the committee reflect the views of the faculty concerning allocations to programs and/or individuals. 

The committee will work with the administration to review and maintain a clear and equitable policy pertaining to intellectual property rights of the faculty.

B.  E. Blaisten Barojas recommended the Faculty Senate By-laws not be modified until the usual 5 years revision takes place.

C.  E. Blaisten-Barojas encouraged all Committees to meet and elected a Chair.

D.  A letter was sent to P. Stearns, Provost from the O & O  Committee on appointments of exofficio members.

Nominations Committee
A motion was made to nominate 2 members for the Technology Committee, Steve Ruth, Public Policy and Richard Carver, IT&E. Motion Passed.

Chairman’s prefatory remarks concerning BOV meeting held September 20:
A.     Accreditation
B.     Intellectual Property
C.     Rewards for Teaching

Standing Committees
Ariela Sofer presented a written report as the Senate Liaison to the Board of Visitors.  The BOV held its first meeting of the year on September 21.  The Board includes four new appointees:  Visitors Edwin Meese and Edwin Fuelner, who have been reappointed to a second term, and Visitors, Mel Chaskin and Dorothy (DC) Gray who replaces Visitors DiGennaro and Olson.  The Board re-elected Visitor Meese as Rector, Visitor McGeary as Vice Rector, Visitor Cooper as secretary, and elected Visitors Fuelner and Dewberry as the two additional members of the Executive Committee.  Among the new committee appointments, Visitors Miller and Herrity were elected Chair and Vice Chair of the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, Visitors LaRose and Fink were elected Chair and Vice Chair of the Student Affairs Committee.

General Education
The Board voted to defer the vote on the request for exceptions from the new general education requirements following a similar vote by the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee.  Six units have requested exceptions for specific undergraduate programs, with IT&E, HFRR, Dance, and CNHS requesting a 3-credit reduction, Biology requesting a 6-credit reduction, and Music requesting a l0-credit reduction.

In the discussion at the Faculty and Academic Standards Committee, Provost Stearns emphasized that the units throughout the University have done a responsible job in trying to accommodate the requirements of the new Gen Ed program, even though this means going from a 27 credit program to a 40-credit program.  The few exceptions requested are, for the most part, a result of the requirements of accreditation, which can no longer be met without increasing the number of credits for graduation.

Visitor Miller, the new Committee Chair, expressed his objection.  He was disturbed that the curriculum approved by the Board in their last meeting was already being challenged.  He dismissed the argument of accreditation requirements, accusing accreditation boards of having too much power in running university affairs.  He suggested that if necessary, the number of credit hours for graduation should be increased.  He invited the representatives of the units present at the meeting to justify their requests.

IT&E, Dean Griffiths explained that when GMU reduced the number of credits for graduation from 132 to 120, IT&E had to cut 12 credits of technical courses.  The expanded Gen Ed programs now require that Engineering programs further reduce their technical content by 3 credits, to a level that is insufficient to cover the technical requirements from graduating engineers.  Increasing the number of credit hours for graduation is not a prerogative for IT&E, however, since it faces stiff competition from other area schools.

The Acting Chair of Music, Joe Kanyan gave a brief explanation of his department’s request.  Provost Stearns and Associate Provost for General Education Sheryl Beach covered the requests of the remaining units. Rick Davis, Institute of the Arts spoke on behalf of the Dance Department’s request.

Visitor Miller stuck to his position.  It would be a bad precedence for the Board to undermine its decision by granting variances.  He proposed a “compromise.”  At the November meeting, the units involved would give a presentation on the steps they would need to take if the waivers are not granted, and the BOV vote would be deferred until then.

Visitors Gray and Chaskin also spoke against  waivers and in favor of a broad general education program.  Visitor Dewberry disagreed.  As a leader in the engineering industry, he was particularly concerned with the impositions the new program places on IT&E.  He reminded the Committee that the Board had agreed to consider IT&E’s request at its May meeting.

Provost Stearns pointed out that deferring the decision until November would leave the units in limbo, since we are already receiving applications for next year.  Increasing the number of credits could risk the units’ recruitment efforts, and could have financial implications for the state.

Visitor Dewberry put forth a motion whereby each of the units would receive a waiver for three credits.  There was no second to the motion.  A follow-up motion by Dewberry to grant a three-credit waiver to IT&E fell to the same fate.  The Committee voted in favor of Visitor Miller’s proposal 3 to 1.

The discussion at the full Board meeting was equally lengthy.  Visitor Miller put for to the Board the recommendations of the Committee, but also invited Visitor Dewberry to put forth the motions he had proposed at the committee meeting.  These drew a second from Visitor McGeary.  Rector Meese pointed out that the Board had indeed decided to consider exceptions to the Gen Ed program, so it was indeed appropriate to do so.  Dean Griffiths was called to the podium, and he explained IT&E’s problems, adding that because of issues of balance, one of the IT&E programs would actually have to add 6 credits to its curriculum.  Visitor Cooper emphasized that IT&E had already clearly made its case in the spring and he was satisfied to grant it.  Visitor Fuelner was also sympathetic to IT&E request for the same reason.  But Visitor Miller urged the Board to kiss off accreditation.  Provost Stearn’s reiterated the difficulties with postponing the decision, and Visitor Pomata proposed a provision that would grant the  waivers this year, and review the issues next year.  Visitor Fink urged the Board to vote no, arguing that it was a bad precedent to override the decision of a committee.  He suggested instead holding a special meeting of the Board to accelerate the decisions.  Mr. Fink’s argument seemed to be persuasive.  Visitor Johnson concurred with the argument, as did Visitor Cooper.  Pointing to the minutes of the May meeting, Rector Meese commented that the Board had specifically agreed to consider IT&E’s core at the September meeting.  A voice vote was conducted whether to grant IT&E a single waiver.  Visitors Dewberry, LaRose, and Pomata voted in favor.  Visitors Chaskey, Cooper, Fink, Fuelner, Johnson, Lauterberg, McGeary, and Miller were opposed.  The Rector did not have to cast a tie-breaking vote; the motion was defeated.  The Faculty and Academic Standards Committee will hear presentations from the units on how they will cope if the waivers are not granted.

Faculty Incentives
Visitor Dewberry has asked to look at the issue of faculty incentives and rewards.  The issue will be discussed in the November meeting.

College of Visual and Performing Arts

The Board approved the creation of a College of Visual and Performing Arts.  The development of the college reflects the rapid growth of enrollment in the arts and the need to consolidate the arts programs within a single unit.  Visitor Cooper was the sole dissenting voice in the vote.

Intellectual Property Foundation

The Board approved a University proposal to establish a nonprofit intellectual property foundation to be known as Patriot Intellectual Properties, Inc. (PIP).  The foundation will own and commercialize university-based creations and inventions, and distribute the net income evenly between the inventors and the University.  The University’s rationale for establishing the foundation is to gain the flexibility to own, market and commercialize innovations, to allow for the use of legal representation and business consultants; and to protect University assets.  Other major public research universities in Virginia have established similar foundations and the GMU models draws heavily on the precedents established, especially those of UVA, and Virginia Tech.

PIP will be governed by a Board of Directors.  The Board will be composed of nine members:  three ex-officio directors from the University, and three elected directors from the general public.  The three University officials will include the Vice Provost for Research, the Controller, and the Chair of the  Faculty Intellectual Property Committee.  (This committee is not elected by the Faculty Senate at present.)


In discussing the foundation, members of the Faculty and Academic Affairs Committee expressed the hope that it will engage faculty in publicizing GMU, and will make them more aware of opportunities to help the University.  Committee Chair Miller asked the Provost to create a Task Force involving the Faculty Senate to encourage faculty to participate in the effort.  There was also some discussion on the ownership of inventions developed at the University or outside the University, and on who lays the burden of proof.  Regarding books, Vice Provost for Research, Chris Hill noted that traditionally faculty members have owned the copyrights, and the university has no plans to change that.  Exceptions could include digital material developed at GMU studios.  Software, falls into a gray area since it may be patented, copyrighted, or both.


Institutional Performance Agreement
Secretary of Education, Wilbert Bryant informed GMU in late July that it was one of five Virginia universities selected to submit an institutional performance agreement (IPA).  An IPA, if approved, will provide GMU with a six-year funding commitment, with some financial autonomy, provided that the University meets certain agreed upon obligations.  Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens reported on the University’s proposed (IPA) to the Full Board.  The agreement proposal defines a set of institutional initiatives as target goals to be met, and defines a set of performance measures to assess compliance with the goals.  The proposal also includes a suggested budget for the years 2002 through 2007.

The nine institution initiatives identified by the University are:

1.     Equip all students to succeed in the information age

2.     Build strong graduate programs

3.     Strengthen science education and research

4.     Educate technologically literate students.

5.     Expand policy research and education

6.     Meet the educational needs of the growing region

7.     Integrate students’ academic/experiential life

8.     Leverage all resources effectively

9.     Enhance excellence through private giving


There are 18 proposed performance measures:  6 with academic focus, 6 with a student focus, and 6 with a financial/operational focus.  There was some discussion among the Board on the performance measures.  Visitors commented that proposed measures such as “Teaching per FTE faculty” should be optimized rather than maximized.  The Board values the quality of the experience brought to GMU by its adjunct faculty, and would not necessarily want to limit the size of the adjunct faculty body.  Some Board members also requested that the University place a clearer focus on quality, rather than student numbers.


In the discussion that followed, Stanley Zoltek expressed concern that the Faculty Senate has not been asked for input into the formation of the Intellectual Property Foundation. The point was made that it should be a priority of the Charge of the Technology Committee to look into the Intellectual Property Foundation.


State Senate of VA
E. Elstun reported on a proposal to amend the Code of Virginia to have one or more peer-elected faculty serve on Boards of Visitors.  The proposal has been given to Morgan Griffith, Majority Leader in the House of Delegates, for placement of the General Assembly’s agenda

Respectfully submitted,


Lorraine Brown


Faculty Senate 

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