George Mason University
Minutes of the Faculty Senate
December 6, 2000

Senators Present: K. Aligood, K. Avruch, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, L. Bowen, B. Brown, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, J. Censer, R. Coffinberger, R. Conti, M. DeNys, R. Diecchio, R. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, P. Feerick, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, L.  Griffiths, G. Hanweck, , M. Holt, R. C. Jones, D. Kuebrich, C. Mattusch, R. Nadeau, E. Price, L. Rigsby, L. Rockwood, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, L. Seligmann, A. Sofer, C. Sutton, C. Thomas, P. Wilkie, S. Zoltek, P. Stearns, S. Sanchez

Senators Absent: W. M. Black, R. Carty, S. Cheldelin, S. deMonsabert, T. Domzal, J. Flinn, M. Ford, T. Friesz, K. Gaffney, M. Grady, E. Gunn, K. Haynes, A. Kolker, M. Krauss, L. Lederman, A. Merten, J. Moore, L. Rikard, R. Rubenstein, S. Ruth, P. So, P. Story, D. Struppa, J. Zenelis

Guests Present: Emily Yaghmour, Nancy Dickerson, Chris Thais, Rick Davis

I. Call to Order
Chair, Don Boileau called the meeting to order at 3:05 pm.

II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the November 1, 2000, Faculty Senate Meeting were approved.

III. Announcements
The Student Faculty Senate would like to know what the Senate is planning to do about closing at 12:00 on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving which has become the custom in other schools.

IV. Unfinished Business

V. New Business

A. Committee Reports

1. Executive Committee – Don Gantz

Don Gantz chaired the Executive Committee meeting held Nov. 20, 2000. P. Stearns brought the Committee up to date on the IPA. The IPA will stand in for the usual budget document this year.

Technology Committee – Stan Zoltek
Is waiting for the Provost designee to be appointed. Don Boileau has been given the name of this person and will pass it to the Committee Chair.

Organization and Operations – Estela Blaisten-Barojas
The O&O Committee brought three motions before the Faculty Senate on General Education. It was moved and seconded to adopt Appendix A with amendments. The membership of the Committee comprises of 14 voting members: a) Eight elected by the Faculty Senate ensuring that most academic units involved in General Education are represented, one at least should be a senator; b) Four faculty appointed by the Provost; c) the Associate Provost for General Education; d) One student elected by the Student Senate.
1) The Committee will work in cooperation with the Associate Provost for General Education on all matters concerning General Education.
2) For all foundation, core, and synthesis general education requirements, the committee will approve courses to fulfill these requirements. The Committee will see to the development of procedures for the measurement of “satisfactory skills in oral and written presentations” for the synthesis requirement, and work with the Office of the Provost to develop procedures for the demonstration of these skills.
3) The Committee will approve and monitor, through periodic review, the proficiency examinations related to the general education requirements, the competency tests, and any other alternatives proposed to fulfill the requirements.
4) The Committee will maintain a file of all proficiency examinations and will approve policies related to their administration.
5) The Committee will provide an annual report to the Faculty Senate. The report shall include among other relevant issues:
a) the number of students taking and passing proficiency examinations;
b) changes in the criteria for General Education;
c) the process and timetable of implementation of the General Education requirements.
More frequent reports to the Faculty Senate will take place as adjustments to the General Education program warrant.
6) The Committee will investigate the impact of the General Education requirements on transfer students and freshmen, and also on prospective students to the University.

The motion passed.

Dr. Gortner clarified the meaning of DEVELOP in the charge. Develop is to delegate, supervise, and ratify. It was moved and seconded to adopt Appendix B.

The O&O Committee moves that the existing task force on “Relations with the BOV be dissolved. It was moved and seconded to adopt Appendix C with amendments.

The O&O Committee moves that an ad hoc committee on Communication with the BOV be formed composed of five members, three of whom shall be senators. The duties of the Committee will terminate in the first meeting of the senate in Sept. 2002. The  Nominations Committee will nominate the candidates. The charge of the Committee will be written by the five members and the O&O Committee and presented to the Faculty Senate for consideration and action. The motion passed with a vote of 9 opposed, 25 in favor.

Nominations Committee – Rick Coffinberger
Will have the slate of members willing to serve on the General Education Committee at the next meeting.

B. Other Standing Committees - Ariela Sofer

Report on the November 2000 Meeting of the Board of Visitors
Submitted by Ariela Sofer, Senate Liaison to the BOV
Task Force on Faculty Rewards and Incentives

The BOV voted unanimously to form a study task force on "Faculty Rewards and Incentives" that will focus primarily on the tenure-track system. The task force will be composed of two tenured faculty, two tenure-track faculty, two adjunct faculty, two
contract faculty, two members of the Board of Visitors, and representatives of the Administration. All appointments will be made by Rector Meese in consultation with President Merten.

The motion to create a task force was put forth initially by Visitor Dewberry, as a conclusion to his presentation titled "Faculty Rewards and Incentives" at the meeting of the Faculty and Academic Affairs Committee. Dewberry opened this presentation with musings over the student's college experience, the GMU faculty makeup, and faculty salaries and fringe benefits. He described sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction for tenure, contract, and adjunct faculty, citing as reference the findings of the recent survey on "quality of work life" conducted at the University Then Dewberry turned to specific cases. Two former faculty members in Urban Systems Engineering (now, CEIE) had related their personal experience at GMU and their
recommendations to the Visitor, and had given him permission to present these to the Board. One of the faculty members reported to Dewberry, that he was denied tenure after eight years of service; another faculty member, a contract faculty, gave up after ten years of service. One faculty member described his tenure experience to Dewberry as dismissive, hurtful, and unprofessional - his worst experience in 27 years. He maintained that tenure makes it hard to get rid of faculty deadwood, makes it difficult to discipline faculty who behave unethically, makes it hard for an institution to change programmatic
direction, and thought that a review process for continued employment should be phased in. The other faculty member reported to Dewberry, that he had served as head of a new program and director of the Urban Systems Engineering Institute, and had raised over a million dollars in endowment. Yet he was told that he could only apply for tenure by starting as an assistant professor. He maintained that tenured professors only teach what they want to teach and often shun students. He supported establishing a dual track system that includes a separate tenure track for faculty who want to prioritize teaching, and where both tracks would be eligible for promotion to chairs and deans.

Following this elaboration, Visitor Dewberry presented slides highlighting the case for and against tenure. Post-tenure review, however, was not mentioned. Dewberry then referred to a recent report of the Boston University Tenure Discussion Group. This report studied BU's use of tenure-track and non-tenure-track faculty and made recommendations that would strengthen both systems. Dewberry presented an account of these recommendations. He then gave a summary of observations regarding GMU: adjuncts are underpaid and under-appreciated; contract faculty are considered second-class citizens; the tenure track system needs to be studied for possible improvements. He further asked: Is the workload evenly distributed? Can we improve facilities? Can we subsidize tuition for children of faculty? Are salaries competitive? As conclusion to this, the Visitor presented his motion to form a one-year Task Force on Faculty Rewards and Incentives.

Under Visitor Dewberry's motion, the task force would also have included two faculty members who have been denied tenure. But President Merten suggested that bringing in outsiders on such a task force would be a mistake. Visitor Johnson concurred, stating that it was possible to access such individuals without including them as members of the task force. Dewberry stated that he particularly wanted two faculty members from the School of Engineering to serve on the committee. Discussion followed. Visitor Herrity suggested that the task force interview at depth at least four people who were denied tenure. Another suggestion was made, that the task force include the former faculty as consultants. Visitor Johnson reiterated that such participation would be problematic, and that former faculty could always be available to the committee as it saw fit. This rationale eventually prevailed.

The motion approved by the Faculty and Academic Affairs Committee, defined the Task Force as faculty driven. The clause delegating all appointments to Rector Meese was added to the motion at the suggestion of Visitor Fuelner, when the motion was brought forward for consideration by the full Board.

General Education
Provost Stearns presented to the Faculty and Academic Affairs Committee a revised list of requests Gen Ed exceptions. The new list now involved a fewer number of programs, that each requested a waiver for one class only. The Provost emphasized that each of the exceptions was requested in order to meet accreditation requirements within 120 credits.

Visitor Miller congratulated the Provost for revisiting the request for waivers. He suggested that in future all exceptions should be authorized by the BOV, and that at no time, should more than one course exception be granted to any program. He then moved to approve the exemptions. Visitor Johnson wanted to know why raising the number of credits was such a problem, when other reputable programs have more requirements. A discussion ensued. The Provost explained that IT&E has just undergone a successful accreditation review, and there is no reason to jeopardize our competitiveness. He added that most schools with higher credits have higher specialization, and our Gen Ed program is the most ambitious. President Merten added, that the move to 120 credits was strongly encouraged by SCHEV, as a cost-saving measure, and they still give kudos to those who meet this. Rector Meese pointed out that the University has gone to a great deal of trouble to reduce the number of credits to 120. Visitor Chaskin was concerned, however, that other schools require more credits. Visitor Herrity proposed that the Board review the issue of 120 credits. Visitor Fuelner suggested that the university be given more time to get Gen Ed into motion. With this final word, the Committee approved the requests for exceptions. The resolution was also approved unanimously by the full Board.

In other Gen Ed matters, the Board heard a status report on the Gen Ed Program from Associate Provost Beach. Beach reported that the University is currently focusing on the new freshman courses, since these have to be included in next years catalog. Rector Meese asked her when the Board would see which courses are ready to go. Beech explained that the course
descriptions will be coming in from different parts of the University in December, and will then have to be put together for the catalog. The Board will be able to review the material as soon as it is organized. The Rector announced that the Committee would likely hold a special meeting in late December or early January to review the materials

External Academic Relations Committee – Ariela Sofer
Ariela Sofer reported that in October, 1999, the Faculty Senate of Virginia approved a bill to have a nonvoting faculty member on each Board of Visitors in Virginia. Steve Landes has promised to be a patron of a similar bill. The General Assembly meets on Jan 10. You will need the bill number to show support. This will be supplied by Ariela via email.

VI. Other New Business
It was moved and seconded to thank Pat Wilkie for his efforts on writing a document on Faculty Salaries which will be forwarded to the State Council of Higher Education concerning the cost of living. The motion passed.

To: Vice President Scherrens,
From: Associate Professor Patrick Wilkie
Subject: GMU Peer Institution Salary Study
Date: November 21, 2000

This memo analyzes the effect that regional cost-of-living (COL) differences have on GMU's salary ranking, relative to its peer institutions. As indicated in Table 1, GMU has the highest COL index among the set of 25 peer institutions (i.e., it is the most expensive place to five).

Specifically, GMU's 1995-2000 average COL index is approximately 25% greater than the average metropolitan area in the U.S. This table also shows that the Fairfax-Washington DC area has the highest COL for any metropolitan area in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Table 2 of the analysis ranks the "unadjusted" salaries for the 25 institutions in GMU's peer group. The unadjusted salary data indicate that GMU is the ninth-ranked institution, with an average unadjusted salary of $68,940 (estimated for 2001). This unadjusted salary-level exceeds SCBEV's 60 percentile goal for GMU. Table 3 of the analysis indicates that the purchasing power for GMU faculty is far less than its unadjusted salary. In fact, when institutional salaries are ranked on a COL-adjusted basis, the GMU faculty has the lowest purchasing power in its peer group. Purchasing power is computed by multiplying the unadjusted salary amount by the ratio of 100.0 (the COL for the average metropolitan area in the U. S.) to the Fairfax-Washington DC COL Index value. Thus, for GMU this ratio is 100.0/125.5.

To illustrate the computation of purchasing power, consider that while GMU's unadjusted salary is $68,940 (2001 estimate), its COL-adjusted salary or purchasing power for that year is only $59,934. This purchasing power is found by multiplying the unadjusted salary of $68,940 by the ratio of 100.0 to the COL index of 125.5. Similar calculations are performed for each peer-institution, with the denominator in the ratio reflecting each institution's COL. GMU's $59,934 purchasing power amount is $10,519 purchasing-power dollars below the computed 60 percentile of COL-adjusted salaries.

To achieve SCBEV's 60 percentile goal in terms of Washington DC, GMU's unadjusted salary must increase by $13,201 ($10,519 * (125.5/100.0)) from $68,940 to $82,141. In percentage terms, the $13,201 increase is 19.1% of the estimated 2001 unadjusted salary for GMU.

The regional COL data used in this analysis are coflected by the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers' Association (ACCRA). ACCRA conducts quarterly surveys of its local member organizations located throughout the United States. However, the set of participating local chambers is not completely consistent from one quarter to the next. Thus, through-time averages of COL values are used to obtain reliable estimates for all peer institutions. While detailed information about the sampling procedures employed is discussed in the ACCRA surveys, in general, ACCRA attempts to measure the cost-of-living for mid-level managers.

The ACCRA data used in this analysis are obtained from the Fairfax County library, which maintains a listing of the most recent surveys. Using this source, data for the following quarters were obtained for the 1995 - 2000 period.
1995 Q 1
1996 Q I Q2 Q3 Q4
1997 Q I Q2 Q3 Q4
1998 Q I Q2 Q3
1999 Q I Q3 Q4
2000 Q I Q2
In my judgment, the omission of the five quarterly surveys from the data set does not materially affect the COL results that are presented in Table I and used to create the COL-adjusted salaries in Table 3. However, if it is determined that the missing quarterly data affects the credibility of this report, back-issues of the missing quarterly surveys can be obtained for $50.00 each. As a check on the consistency of the data, the analysis was extended back to 1988 (Years 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, and 1994). The COL data for these years are nearly identical to the data in the 1995-2000 period. Each ACCRA survey contains COL data for 300 to 350 participating metropolitan areas in the United States. These metropolitan areas include most of the cities where GMU's peer institutions are located. In five instances, however, a peer institution's specific location was not included in M of the surveys. In those five circumstances I chose a nearby city to substitute for the omitted location. The specific substitutions are as follows:

Institution Actual Location Substitute Location
University of Connecticut Storrs, CT Hartford, CT
University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI Providence, RI.
Loyola University of Chicago Chicago, IL Schaumburg, IL
Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI Holland, MI
University of Oklahoma - Norman Norman, OK Oklahoma City, OK

With the use of these substitutions, COL data were collected for all of GW's peer institutions. For 17 of the 25 institutions, quarterly data are available for at least half of the 22 quarters included in the study (1995 through 1999, plus the first two
quarters of 2000). For two universities, Loyola of Chicago and The University of Connecticut, only three data points are available. For each institution, annual COL index values are computed by equally weighting the available quarterly data. An overall 1995-2000 COL average value is then computed by equally weighting the six annual COL values. These COL values
are shown in Table 1.

Based on my experience with ACCRA's COL data, multi-year averages are the most reliable method to determine COL values. This averaging process serves two purposes: (1) it smoothes the variation that inevitably occurs in any sampling
process and (2) it allows the study to retain the entire set of peer institutions, since some locations report COL data infrequently.

The 1995-20(* COL average index is used to compute COL-adjusted salary values for each institution. Specifically, each institution's unadjusted salary is multiplied by the ratio of 100 divided by the- 1995-2000 average COL value. Thus, the resulting COL-adjusted salaries indicate the purchasing power that these amounts have in the "average" COL metropolitan areas (COL 100.0). These COL-adjusted salary values are displayed in Table 3, with institutions ranked in terms of their 2001 values.

In summary, the data indicate that when regional cost-of-living differences are taken into account, GMU's compensation levels are far below those of its peer institutions. Even if the differences in COL index values are cut in half, GMUs compensation levels fall substantially below the 6& percentile goal established by SCBEV.

Respectfully Submitted,
Lorraine Brown
Secretary, Faculty Senate

Return to Archives