George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Faculty Senate
April 10, 2002

Senators Present: K. Avruch, J. Bennett, A. Berry, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, B. Brown, S. Cobb, R. Conti, M. DeNys, E. Elstun, P. Feerick, M. Ferri, D. Gantz, H. Gortner, D. Kuebrich, B. Manchester, H. Morgan, R. Nadeau, L. Pawloski, J. Kozlowski, J. Sanford, L. Seligmann, S. Slayden, P. So, A. Sofer, P. Stearns, P. Story, C. Sutton, P. Wilkie, S. Zoltek.

Senators Absent: W. M. Black, L. Bowen, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Carty, S. Cheldelin, T. Chorvat, Y.D. Chung, R. Coffinberger, S. deMonsabert, M. Deshmukh, J. Gorrell, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, K. Haynes, J. High, R. C. Jones, H. W. Jeong, R. Klimoski, A. Kolker, M. Krauss, C. Mattusch, A. Merten, J. Moore, W. Reeder, L. Rockwood, S. Ruth, J. Scimecca, B. Smith, D. Struppa, B. Sturtevant, C. Thomas, S. Trencher, J. Zenelis.

Guests Present: C. Bauer, C. Herberg, J. Jobbitt, S. Jones, A. Marchant, B. White.

I. Call to Order
Chair, Don Boileau called the meeting to order at 3:02 pm.

II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of March 20, 2002 were approved. The minutes of March 27, 2002 were approved. The minutes of April 3 were approved with the following correction: Second page, third paragraph should read as follows: " A motion was made to approve the revised document with the above amendments. The motion was approved and passed with one correction."

III. Announcements
Don Boileau delivered the response from the Faculty Senate to the Faculty Rewards and Incentives Proposal of the Board of Visitors to Tom Hennessey, Chief of Staff to the President. Tom Hennessey received comments from 23 other faculty members.

Jim Bennett and Esther Elstun will attend the Faculty Senate of Virginia meeting in Richmond on Saturday, April 13, 2002.

Judith Jobbitt, President, GMU Foundation/Vice President, University Development and Alumni Affairs gave an overview of the George Mason Foundation, Office of University Development and the Office of Alumni Affairs. The quiet phase of the Capital Campaign closed on March 31, 2002. The goal is $110 M with $78 M raised to date. George Mason University Foundation currently has assets over $100 M. The unrestricted book value of real property is $7 M. Restricted real property is just over $9 M. The Foundation hopes to add $2 M per year in new gifts.

David Roe, Chief Financial Officer of GMU Foundation gave an update on construction on campus. Five hundred and fifty parking spaces are currently needed at the Arlington Campus. The new building now underway will house mostly research faculty with some leased space available to retailers. Liberty Square housing on the main campus is planned for upperclassmen with a scheduled completion date of Fall 2004. This consists of two buildings comprised of two buildings with 500-bed apartments in each building.

IV. Unfinished Business
Susan Jones, Registrar, reported on the status of Online Grading. The new system is user friendly with 4 schools currently using the system. It will be effective for all schools except for the Law School by Fall 2002. Star Muir is currently working on a training video for faculty using the new system.

Senate Standing Committees
Executive Committee – Don Boileau

Don Boileau reported that three people will be nominated from the Faculty Senate to serve on the Foundation Board.

Academic Policies Committee – Esther Elstun
Pat Wilkie presented a recommendation from the Committee as follows:


Degree program, major/field: A program of study that normally requires at least 30 credits of course work in the specified field. The primary program name (degree and major/field) appears on the diploma.
Concentration: a second-order component of a degree program or a component of a track. A concentration consists of at least 12 hours that are not applied to any other concentration. Concentrations are approved by a school, college, or institute at the
undergraduate level, or by the university’s Graduate Council at the graduate level. 
Minor: A complement to a bachelor’s degree program/major normally requiring at least 15 credits in a field other than the student’s major.

The empirical data provided by the Registrar and the Committee’s discussions with faculty and administrators indicate that both the total number of hours required for a minor and the allowable number of overlapping courses should be explicitly stated.
Thus, to increase confidence in minors and reduce misunderstandings within the University, the Committee recommends that the existing definition of the minor be replaced with the following:
Minor: a complement to a bachelor’s degree program/major requiring at least 15 credits, of which at least 12 credits must be from fields different than the student’s major/field. In the case of an inter-disciplinary major, at least 12 credits for the minor must be in courses not counted toward that major.

The Committee believes that a minor should consist of coursework that includes at least half the credits required of a major. While this total is the smallest number of required credits for a minor at any of the universities studied, the Committee regards this number as sufficient, given the extensive general education requirements at this university.

The Committee also believes that at least 12 credits should be unique, in the sense that they should be taken in subjects that are different from the student’s major. The Committee views this requirement as necessary, not only to be consistent with the requirements of other universities, but also to be consistent with the requirements for a concentration. Specifically, since a student is required to take 12 credits to obtain a recognized level of mastery within a major, the Committee believes s/he should be required to take at least the same number of credits to obtain a recognized level of mastery in a non-major subject.

Linda Seligman made a motion to postpone the motion on minors until the next Faculty Senate meeting on May 1, 2002. The motion was seconded and passed.

Facilities and Support Services Committee – Stanley Zoltek
No report.

Faculty Matters Committee – Joe Scimecca
The Administrative Survey will be sent out in the next week.

Organization and Operations – Estela Blaisten-Barojas
The Committee will review the By-laws of the Faculty Senate in September.

Nominations Committee – Rick Coffinberger
A motion was made to replace Michael Krauss on the Academic Appeals Committee with Connie Hylton, School of Management. The motion was seconded and passed.

University Standing Committees
Technology Policy Committee – Stanley Zoltek

The Committee will be meeting with Joy Hughes at the end of the week.

Writing Across the Curriculum Committee
The Writing Across the Curriculum Committee presented the following motion:

WHEREAS the State Council on Higher Education in Virginia has mandated that universities must define, assess, and report on students’ writing competency to “various publics with a stake in the quality of Virginia higher education”;
WHEREAS the Board of Visitors has mandated that the new general education synthesis course must include a component requiring students to demonstrate satisfactory written presentation skills before a faculty panel;
WHEREAS workplaces are highly information and communication-dependent requiring that our graduates, to be competitive, must demonstrate in their writing that they possess a range of critical literacies;
WHEREAS George Mason University has one of the most highly diverse student populations in the country who present their teachers with a variety of concomitant writing deficiencies;

We move that, in this time of mandated budget cuts, the Faculty Senate reaffirm the commitment of our faculty to writing across the curriculum by strongly recommending that current guidelines on class size in writing-intensive courses be maintained at 35 (or fewer) students. Be it further moved that the Chair of the Faculty Senate be directed to communicate in writing this resolve to Deans, Directors, and Chairs.

The motion passed with one amendment. The last sentence should read:
BE IT FURTHER MOVED that the Chair of the Faculty Senate be directed to communicate in writing this resolve to the Provost, Deans, Directors, and Chairs.

External Academic Relations Committee – Ariela Sofer
Ariela Sofer gave an update on House Bill 538, which was not passed by the Virginia Legislature this year. She recommended that faculty emphasize to the Board of Visitors the importance of this bill and ask for their influence in passing the bill next year.
A suggestion was made that the External Academic Relations Committee meet with the Committee on Communications with the Board of Visitors.

VI. New Business
The next meeting of the Faculty Senate is May 1, 2002, with a meeting on May 8, if needed. Committee reports will be given at the May 1 meeting. A new Chair of the Senate will be elected at the May 1 meeting. Senators were reminded their term extends through September.

The Board of Visitors’ next meeting is May 15, 2002.

VII. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4:10 pm.

Respectfully submitted,
Lorraine Brown
Secretary, Faculty Senate

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