George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Faculty Senate
April 9, 2003


Senators Present: J. Bennett, A. Berry, P. Black, E. Blaisten-Barojas, D. Boileau, B. Brown, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, Y. D. Chung, R. Coffinberger, S. deMonsabert, M. De Nys, B. Ehrlich, E. Elstun, H. Gortner, L. Griffiths, J. High, H.W. Jeong, D. Kuebrich, W. Kurkul, C. Mattusch, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, L. Monson, J. Moore, R. Nadeau, D. Polsby, P. Regan, L. Rockwood, S. Ruth, J. Sanford, S. Slayden, A. Sofer, D. Sprague, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, S. Trencher, S. Zoltek

Senators Absent: D. Boehm-Davis, S. Cobb, M. Deshmukh, R. Diecchio, M. Ferri, J. Gorrell, M. Grady, K. Haynes, M. Kafatos, C. Kaffenberger, R. Klimoski, J. Kozlowski, C. Lerner, P.J. Maddox, B. Manchester, L. Pawloski, W. Reeder, E. Roman-Mendoza, J. Scimecca, F. Shahrokhi, R. Smith, D. Struppa, E. Sturtevant, I. Vaisman, J. Zenelis

Guests Present: S. Beach, A. Carter, J. Garritano, S. Greenfeld, D. Haines, R. Herron, S. Jones, P. Monce, S. Muir, J. Palmore, J. Richman, K. Simons, E. Verheyen

I. Call to Order
Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 3:06 p.m. The Minutes of the March 5, 2003 meeting were approved as distributed.

II. Announcements
The Chair announced that Senator Bruce Manchester has undergone cancer surgery and is currently in treatment. He directed the Secretary to compose a letter to Dr. Manchester on behalf of the Faculty Senate sending wishes for a complete and speedy recovery.

The new CAS Senators were introduced: Bob Ehrlich (2003) and Esperanza Roman-Mendoza (2005). Senator Roman-Mendoza will not attend meetings this semester due to a teaching conflict. The new Student Senate Representative to the Faculty Senate, Andy Carter, was also introduced.

The Chair announced that he had sent letters on behalf of the Faculty Senate to state legislators who had strongly supported higher education this year. The Senate has received a positive reply from State Senator Russell Potts, the Chair of the Education and Health Committee.

Remarks to the Senate by President Alan Merten
President Merten thanked the Faculty Senate for acknowledging the members of the General Assembly who have worked on George Mason’s behalf in the state legislature. He noted that Charles Colgan, one of the State Senators recognized by the Faculty Senate, has been an especially strong supporter of George Mason and higher education in Virginia.

The President remarked that a key focus of the Administration this year is financial accountability and transparency at all levels. The budget for the 2003 fiscal year is $400 million, with a fourth of the revenue coming from each of the following: state funds; tuition; dorm payments, revenue from the Patriot Center and miscellaneous fees; and private and public contributions and grants. In years when GMU receives additional funding, the Administration informs the BOV of the general ways in which it will use the additional money. When, as has been true of recent years, GMU receives reduced funding, the Administration informs the BOV of the ways in which it plans to cut spending.

The Administration is currently developing, for the first time, brief financial and program profiles for each college and institute to allow more transparency and give a clearer picture of each local academic unit (LAU). The financial profiles will include statements of revenue and expenditures, the amount of discretionary and allocated funds, and the sources and amounts of funds for specific programs. The program profiles will include degrees that are offered, the number of students enrolled, the number of graduates, and the faculty members. These profiles will be used to give the BOV a more detailed understanding of each LAU, and they will help the Administration to more closely monitor the various units and better allocate University resources. The President suggested that in the future it might be good to have similar profiles for each department and program.

President Merten next addressed the issue of how the recent state budget cuts may affect student enrollment. George Mason currently has 26,800 students (headcount) and projects an enrollment of 27,500 in Fall, 2003. The University’s original “2007 Plan” projected 30,000 students by 2007 and 35,000 by 2012. With the state budget cuts, however, the Administration is now presenting Richmond with two possibilities: almost no growth for the next ten years (perhaps 29,000 students by 2012) or the earlier projected 35,000. President Merten presented both futures as “bright.” Which one GMU chooses will depend on funding from Richmond. If all of the state institutions of higher education are forced to limit their enrollment because of state budget cuts, the Commonwealth will be faced with an increasing number of in-state students with no place to get an education.

Dr. Merten was asked whether there is a strategic risk for the University in adjusting the enrollment projection from 35,000 to 29,000. He agreed that there is, but the public colleges and universities are trying to get the state to realize the nature of the long-term risks. Dr. Merten noted that the adjusted projection will also change our relationship with community colleges and improve the academic quality of the students who attend George Mason.

Another question concerned the possible 2.5% salary increase promised by the Legislature, contingent on a growth in state revenues. It was pointed out that since the faculty has not had a raise in three years, 2.5% won’t cover cost-of-living increases. The President noted that the Administration is aware of this. He stated, however, that if the University receives the 2.5%, the monies will probably be distributed not as across-the-board raises but as merit increases. This would be, he felt, the best way to serve and strengthen the entire University. The President noted that the Faculty Senate should have a voice in the discussion of how salary monies are distributed.

Asked how the faculty can get more involved in the budget process, the President answered that the Faculty Senate Resources and Budget Committee should be active in the process, and the Committee can also assist in the budget information flow between the Administration and the academic units.

III. Old Business
There was no old business.

IV. Committee Reports and Action Items
A. Executive Committee – Jim Bennett

No report.

B. Organization & Operations – Phil Buchanan
The Organization & Operations Committee reported (out of order) to present the corrected allocation of Senate seats by academic unit for AY2003-2004. Dr. Buchanan noted that, upon further investigation, University Life was not eligible for representation in the Senate. Also, per the Charter, the allocation was to be presented to the Senate, not submitted as a motion for a vote. The amended allocation is as follows:

Unit
2002-03
2003-04
Change
College of Arts and Sciences
24
25
+1
College of Visual and Performing Arts
3
3
0
Conflict Analysis and Resolution/
School of Computational Science
3
2
-1
Graduate School of Education
5
5
0
Information Technology and Engineering
5
5
0
Nursing and Health Science
3
3
0
School of Law
2
2
0
School of Management
3
4
+1
School of Public Policy
2
1
-1
Total
50
50

Dr. Buchanan also noted that the language regarding the allocation of seats in the current Senate Charter is no longer fully adequate and that O & O will propose revised language in the fall semester.

C. Academic Policies – Esther Elstun
The Task Force on Academic Standards has reported to the Committee, as stated in their charge, and it is on-track.

D. Facilities & Support Services & Library – Lorraine Brown
Dr. Brown presented the following “Resolution on Library Administration” on behalf of the Committee:
WHEREAS the Provost is the chief academic officer of the university, and
WHEREAS the mission of the library is to support teaching, learning, and research in the university, and
WHEREAS the state of Virginia is currently undergoing a paradigm shift in funding for public education, reason dictates that in budgeting matters and in future strategic planning for our Digital and other Library programs, the Director of Libraries should report to the university’s Provost who coordinates activities of all academic units, and
WHEREAS, in GMU’s SHEV-Approved Peer Group, with two exceptions, the Library Directors do report to the provost of the university,
BE IT RESOLVED by the Faculty Senate that the President be advised of the Senate’s recommendation that the Director of Libraries report to the Provost of George Mason University.

Dr. Brown discussed the fact that the libraries in all but two of George Mason’s SCHEV-designated peer institutions (University of Connecticut and SUNY Buffalo) report to the Provost. Many peer institutions have from four to twelve
separate libraries and a Dean of Libraries.

Dr. Brown noted several problems with our library: insufficient communication with the faculty and administration, an inadequate collection and resources for a school of this size, and a lack of awareness of the special collections housed at
Fenwick.

Dr. Brown reported that the FSSL Committee believed that because the library was central to the university’s academic life, it should report directly to the University’s chief academic administrator. This would emphasize the library’s mission and allow the librarians to communicate their needs directly to the Provost.

It was emphasized that the Resolution is not anti-technology, but an attempt to address concerns about the academic quality of the library and to put the library in a more central position to all aspects of learning, teaching, and research.

When questioned by a Senator, Provost Stearns responded that he was not involved in the creation of the Resolution and had no opinion on the issue. A few Senators questioned whether the issue should be discussed with their units before a vote. A vote was called and the Resolution passed by a voice vote.

E. Faculty Matters – Marty De Nys
At its meeting of 3 March 2003, the Faculty Matters Committee considered recommendations from the Honor Committee Task Force and the Academic Integrity Task Force that had been forwarded to Faculty Matters by the Organization and Operations Committee. Its disposition of those recommendations was as follows:

Honor Committee Task Force
The Faculty Matters Committee was asked to consider working with the Honor Committee to appoint a Faculty Senate liaison to the Honor Committee. In its judgment, this would not be advisable since the Faculty Senate is not an academic unit.

Academic Integrity Task Force
1. Recommendation that faculty should show their support for academic integrity by explaining its importance to their students and by including statements on their syllabi about student obligations to abide by the provisions of the Honor Code.
2. Recommendation that faculty should undertake reasonable precautions to avoid situations that encourage violations of academic integrity. For example, examinations and assignments should be varied from semester to semester; in crowded classes students should be assigned seats randomly for in-class exams; and multiple versions of exams should be used.
3. In an effort to reduce the need to resort to cheating or plagiarism, faculty should inform students of the assistance, both academic and non-academic, that is available to them on campus.

The Committee applauds the recommendations, but believes that they are best communicated to faculty members by academic units rather than by the Faculty Senate.

Dr. De Nys also encouraged Senators to return the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators that they should have received by campus mail this week.

F. Nominations – Rick Coffinberger
The Committee submitted the remaining slate of nominees for the Task Force on Reporting Satisfactory Academic Standards to bring the membership up to the requisite five: Sharon deMonsabert (IT&E) and Kristen Johnson-Nashati (CVPA). Three members—Jane Flinn, Hal Gortner, and Bob Ehrlich—were elected at the March meeting, and the Registrar and a Provost Appointee (Doris Bitler) are also on the Task Force.

A motion was made and seconded to accept the submitted slate of nominates. It passed unanimously.

Nominations were called from the floor for a replacement for Mary Silva on the Academic Appeals Committee. Alok Berry was nominated and was approved unanimously.

G. Ad Hoc Budget Committee – Rick Coffinberger
Dr. Coffinberger had no report but stated that he was pleased with President Merten’s remarks concerning financial accountability and transparency.

H. University Standing Committee Reports

1. Academic Appeals

Submitted by: Don Boileau, Chair
Committee members: Don Boileau, Julie Christensen, Connie Hylton, J.E. Lin
The Academic Appeals Committee will hear their first appeal for this academic year on April 3, 2003, concerning “graduating with distinction.” Two George Mason University students are appealing the rule that a student must have completed 60 hours at George Mason University in order to graduate with distinction.

2. Admission Committee Meeting Report
Submitted by:
Anna Baraniecki, Chair
Committee members: Anna Baraniecki, Mary Ann Dzama, Georgine Redmond, Eddie Tallent, Iosif Vaisman
1. Committee members voted unanimously to elect Anna Baraniecki as a chair of Admissions committee
2. Eddie Talent reported on the status of number of applicants and admitted students: There are 2,232 entering freshmen from the pool of 8,840 applicants. Over 2,000 students were denied admission. Entering freshmen have highest profile in University history. Average GPA is 3.2 and average SAT score is 1100. The goal for the next year is to increase the ratio of out-of-state to in-state students to approximately 15% / 85%; however, not to increase the number of admitted students. Projected average GPA and SAT scores will be higher.
3. No motions or resolutions were made at this meeting.
4. Committee members decided to meet again during the spring semester, unless there is a need for the committee to meet again before the end of the fall semester.

3. Athletic Council
Submitted by:
Gerald Cook, Chair
Committee members: Gerald Cook, John Crockett, Karen Oates, Cliff Sutton, Phil Wiest
The Athletic Council has met two times this year and plans to meet a third time. The sub-committees, which define the on-going functions of the Council, are: Academic Integrity Subcommittee; Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee; General Oversight Subcommittee; and Student Welfare Subcommittee. These committees are to examine the evidence and prepare reports every other year on their particular areas of responsibility. The Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee completed a report during Spring 2003, and a report from the Student Welfare Subcommittee is expected in early April. Within the Department of Athletics, there were a few inadvertent self-reported violations of rules, but all of these were declared secondary in nature by the NCAA and passed without penalty to the institution.

Academic performance by our student athletes this past fall was at an overall GPA of 2.742. Of the eighteen sports reported, two were above 3.0 and another three were above 2.95. The Women’s Swim/Dive team led in GPA with 3.12, and the Men’s Wrestling Team was the lowest at 2.10. On an individual basis, 85% of the student athletes had GPA’s above 2.0, 67% were above 2.5, and 41% were above 3.0.

The Women’s Swim/Dive team won the CAA championship.

The Department of Athletics has hired a consulting firm, The National Center for Drug-Free Sports, to work with it to develop a policy toward drug testing for student athletes. The plan is in its final stages of preparation and review, and is expected to be ready for implementation by Fall 2003. Whether this can, in fact, be accomplished depends on required funding being available.

Exit Interviews of those Student Athletes completing their eligibility are being scheduled. The goal of these interviews is to determine what type experience the student athletes had, and to determine if there are any areas in which the programs and policies need to be improved. In interviews conducted in previous years, comments were by and large positive, with many expressing appreciation for the assistance provided by the Office of Academic Resources. More than four out of five usually state that they would make the same choice to come to GMU if they had it to do over.

4. Effective Teaching
Submitted by:
Egon Verheyen, Chair
Committee Members: Egon Verheyen (verheyen@gmu.edu); Richard Entrikin (rentriki@gmu.edu); Karen Hallows (khallows@gmu.edu); Jeng Lin (jelin@gmu.edu); Susan Trencher (strenche@gmu.edu); Jennie Wu (jwu@gmu.edu)

On October 2, 2002, the Senate charged the Committee with the following tasks:
1. Review current SRI form (in consultation with Provost’s Office)
a. Ambiguities
b. Perceived deficiencies
c. Localized questions
d. Mechanism for regular review
2. Obtain comparison group data on the SRI reports from Office of Institutional Research and Reporting
3. Review current university policy concerning student comments (in consultation with Provost’s Office)

The Effective Teaching Committee met six times during Fall term 2002 and three times during Spring term 2003. In addition, the Chair, Egon Verheyen, conferred with Provost Peter Stearns and James Fletcher, the former Associate Provost who
was involved in the original design of the SRI forms. Egon Verheyen and Richard Entrikin also attended an IRC presentation by Jerry Drake and Melinda K. Vander Ploeg Fallon that reported research conducted to specify student interpretation of items on the SRI in its current form. Results of these meetings were reported to the committee at large. In addition, the entire committee met with Laurie Fathe, Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; Karen Gentemann, Director, Office of Institutional Assessment; Meihua Zhai, Director of Institutional Research, and Provost Stearns.

Findings:
Identified deficiencies of SRI and procedures currently in use at GMU include the following:
1. No statistical or other validation of the forms currently in use has ever been conducted.
2. A recent (small scale) study by IRC staff (conducted in connection with the Western Civilization course by Melinda Fallon and Jerry Drake) demonstrated that item (question) ambiguity on the SRI regularly results in multiple interpretations of any single item. The inconsistency of interpretations regarding question meaning and/or intent of questions renders responses to them useless, given that there are no means to understand what they represent. There are obvious implications for the validity and use of questionnaire results across and within survey populations (defined as students in any given class/course, and in
all classes/courses)—see attachments.
3. The current SRI does not make any distinction between large and small classes, lecture classes, seminars, or other variants. Consequently, numerical values reached for evaluation purposes “mix apples and oranges,” preventing adequate
interpretation of their meaning.
4. There is no provision for faculty to include questions that enable “self study” either through specific questions of interest to faculty, or the ability for faculty to receive a timely response enabling them to make relevant adjustments during the semester. Occasional compliments or complaints on the back of the form are unsystematic and haphazard. As a result comments, when provided, are unlikely to lead to changes or improvements in the course.

Conclusions:
The Effective Teaching Committee concludes that the SRI, in its present form, is significantly flawed and as a result it cannot be usefully employed as a measure of teaching effectiveness. Insofar as there will be no immediate change in this instrument pending experimentation with alternate forms (see below), the Committee further finds that SRI evaluations should only be used in conjunction with other processes/programs for evaluation. This conclusion has special significance with regard to untenured faculty, including term and adjunct positions. The Academic Policy Committee has already urged “a coherent institutional framework” and this committee fully supports this request.

Recommendations:
The Effective Teaching Committee strongly recommends that the current SRI be phased out. The Committee has looked at a number of course evaluations from other institutions, some of which have a set of forms that allow discrimination by course type. Forms developed by the University of Washington represent a meaningful model on which to base a new SRI form and should be employed during the experimental phase. These forms are available at http://www.washington.edu/oea/iasforms.htm.
The Committee (in agreement with other interested parties with whom consultation has already been undertaken, including the Provost’s Office, Office of Institutional Assessment, Office of Institutional Research, comprising full and necessary institutional support at GMU) recommends that a pilot program be undertaken in Fall term 2003 (not later than Spring term 2004) to test the viability of alternate evaluation forms. During this time, the current SRI will continue to be used.

The Committee recommends that individual faculty members be encouraged (on a voluntary basis) to distribute questionnaires with course specific questions. The opportunity to include several standard questions and space for unstructured remarks forms the basis for an exchange between teacher and student that more adequately addresses the experience of the student and the goals of the professor. These forms are to be collected separately (not included with the “universal” form) and kept secure until after grades have been reported. The information on these “private” forms is considered confidential and made available to others only with the respective faculty member’s consent.

Attachments:
What Students Considered When Responding to the Questions on GMU's Instructor Evaluation Survey (Melinda Vander Ploeg Fallon and Jerry Drake)
• Overall, I rate my instructor's preparation for the class [based on] ...
- instructor's enthusiasm
- instructor's ability to answer student questions (knowledge of subject)
- participation of fellow students
- structure for the class period
- pace of the course

• Overall, I rate the organization of the course material [based on]...
- overall course layout
- subjects/topics covered in the course
- employment of different teaching styles
- participation of classmates
- the instructor's facility with leading questions to start class
- layout of the day's topics and whether all get covered
- the instructor's need to flip through notes

• Overall, I rate the motivation to learn provided by my instructor [based on]...
- class involvement / participation of fellow students
- the instructor's ability to get me to want to know the material
- the coverage of something I can relate to or imagine

• Overall, I rate the intellectual challenge provided by my instructor [based on]...
- my difficulty with individual assignments
- the instructor's ability to get me to think about things I had not considered before or paid attention to before

• Overall, I rate my instructor's degree of fairness with me [based on]...
- the instructor's fidelity to deadlines
- the expression of clear expectations for individual assignments/exams

• Overall, I rate the teaching of this course [based on]...
- involvement of my classmates
- grading
- student communication with the instructor
- the instructor's accommodation of different learning styles
- the instructor's readiness to help students
- enthusiastic presentation of the material
- "What I would tell my friends"

Questions raised by these responses:
Do the constructs overlap in the minds of the students? (organization/preparation)
Are the questions precise enough to provide effective information to the instructor? (organization/preparation/overall)
Do students understand the language of the questions? (intellectual challenge)
Do the students let one or two un-addressed issues affect their responses to multiple questions? (individual student engagement and class involvement)

Do GMU Evaluation Questions Measure the Characteristics of Effective Teaching? (Melinda Vander Ploeg Fallon and Jerry Drake)

Questions on GMU Instructor Evaluation Surveys Common Characteristics of Effective Teaching (Based on Determining Faculty Effectiveness, by J.Centra)
• Overall, I rate my instructor's preparation for the class as ... • Communication skills - clearly interprets abstract ideas and theories
• Knowledge of subject
• Overall, I rate the organization of the course as ... • Good organization of subject matter and course material
• Overall, I rate the motivation to learn provided by my instructor as... • Enthusiasm about subject
• Interesting lecturer- good speaking ability
• Overall, I rate the intellectual challenge provided by my instructor as... • Encouragement of students to think for themselves
• Overall, I rate my instructor's degree of fairness with me as... • Fairness in examinations and grading
• Overall, I rate the teaching of this course as… • Favorable attitudes toward students - available to meet with students
• Timely feedback
• Willingness to experiment - flexibility

5. External Relations
Submitted by:
Chris Thaiss, Chair
Committee members: Chris Thaiss, Sheryl Beach, Esther Elstun, Ariela Sofer, Debbie Sprague
The External Relations Committee elected in November a new member, Chris Thaiss of English, who agreed to serve as Chair.
In January, committee member Esther Elstun, with Senate member David Kuebrich, represented GMU at the annual “Lobby Day” before the opening of the General Assembly session. Elstun and Kuebrich met with 23 Northern Virginia delegates and senators or their legislative aides. Issues they discussed included the bill to allow faculty representation on Boards of Visitors and the effects of budget cuts on higher education, especially at Mason.

In March, following the General Assembly session, the committee sent invitations to two luncheons to members of the Northern Virginia delegation. These luncheons will be held at the Il Lupo Restaurant in Fairfax on April 30 and May 2. Like the similar luncheons held in May 2002, these will be opportunities for committee members and delegates to exchange views on higher education issues affecting Mason.

The committee asks the Senate to renew its charter, which is currently up for review.

6. General Education
Submitted by:
S. Beach, Chair
Committee members: Laura Adamkewicz, Alok Berry, Laurie Fathe, Peggy Feerick, Mack Holt, Dave Kuebrich, Peter Mandaville, Michelle Marks, Lisa Pawloski, Pris Regan, Bob Ruhling, Linda Seligmann, Cliff Sutton, Anita Taylor
(Faculty), and Matt Schwitzer (Student Rep), and we thank Marcy Glover, Recording Secretary and Assistant to the Associate Provosts, for keeping us organized and moving ahead.

The University General Education Committee met nine times so far during AY2003-03, and will meet at least three more times in Spring 2003, as of the date of this report. In addition, the topical subcommittees meet on days between full committee meetings to review and discuss proposals in their topic areas, to present at full committee meetings.

Our goals for the 2002-03 year include: continuing to solicit, review and approve synthesis course proposals for the Fall 2003 launch; to work on methods of assessing the General Education Program; and to work on an IT test to offer for GMU students. The focus for AY 2003-04 will be assessing the program. We report that the Provost’s Office and the Faculty Senate have identified temporary replacements for committee members who are on faculty study leave, or are retiring in Spring 2003. We thank Professors Holt, Mandaville, and Adamkewicz for all their work on the committee. On a related note, the Committee Chair’s term as Associate Provost for General Education is ending in June 2003, and the Provost’s Office is currently searching to fill a new combined position, the Associate Provost for Educational Programs, who will become the new chair of the General Education Committee in July.

7. Grievance
Submitted by:
Linda Samuels, Acting Chair
Committee members: Linda Kalof, Chair; Jane Flinn; Joe Reid; Linda Samuels
There were no grievances filed with the Grievance Committee this academic year, and there was no unfinished business from last year. The Committee chair, Linda Kalof, is on leave this semester.

V. New Business
A. Motion to create Midterm Grading Task Force

Bob Ehrlich, Stanley Zoltek, Susan Trencher, and Carol Mattusch submitted the following motion:

A Task Force shall be created, composed of seven members to investigate the effects of assigning midterm grades in freshmen and sophomore courses (both at GMU and nationally), and make a recommendation on whether this policy should be continued, based on a full assessment of its benefits and drawbacks. The task force shall include one administrator to be appointed by the Provost, and six faculty members from across the university and selected by the Senate. Their report should be presented to the Faculty Senate no later than February 1, 2004.

Rationale: Increasing numbers of universities have adopted a policy of assigning midterm grades although, in contrast to GMU, most schools use midterm grades only for freshman courses. “Although there are many institutions that utilize midterm grades, there is precious little published research available on the effects of midterm grading.”
(http://bama.ua.edu/~oir/assessment/Retention/Midterm_Grades_Report.pdf)
There are a variety of possible benefits to midterm grading, although the few studies that exist on the issue cite no evidence for such benefits. For example, according to the above reference, most student grades change very little from midterm to final grade (by no more than 1/3 of a letter grade), with roughly half going up and half going down—which might indicate that the positive "stimulus" and negative "demoralization" effect roughly cancel out. While it is true that retention among freshmen has increased nationally in recent years, the above reference also indicates there is no evidence that freshman midterm grading is in
any way responsible.

In addition to midterm grading benefits being unproven and insufficiently examined, there are also a number of very plausible drawbacks, such as:
(1) Encouraging a sense of "entitlement" to a final grade at least as good as the midterm grade, and fostering student grade challenges and resentment;
(2) Causing instructors to be somewhat harsh in assigning midterm grades to avoid unrealistic expectations on the part of students;
(3) Causing demoralization among students who receive poor midterm grades; and
(4) Requiring a large time expenditure on the part of instructors of large classes.

It was remarked that, per the Student Senate, there is a high degree of enthusiasm and support for midterm grades among students. Dr. Erhlich assured the Senate that the Task Force would definitely consult with students and rely upon their input as it examined the issue.

The motion passed unanimously.

B. Provost Review Committee
Committee member Don Gantz explained that the Provost is currently under review per the University’s policy, and the review committee has begun collecting information from the University community. The Committee has a target date of May 15, 2003 for their report and recommendation concerning the reappointment of the Provost. Dr. Gantz noted that the Faculty Evaluation of the Administrators will be an important part of the process. All comments are welcome, and can be given to any member of the Review Committee. In addition, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate is encouraged to submit a written report. A summary of the information will be released to the public after the Committee has finished its report.

C. Motion on the External Academic Relations Committee
On behalf of the External Academic Relations Committee, Ariela Sofer submitted the following motion:

The Faculty Senate establish the External Academic Relations Committee as a standing university committee. The Committee shall be composed of six members elected for two-year terms. Three members of the Committee shall be senators, two others shall be elected from the faculty at-large, and one ex-officio member shall be the Provost's designee. At least two of the committee members (excluding the ex-officio member) will also serve as representatives to the Virginia Faculty Senate. At least one of these representatives must be a senator.

Justification: The term of the current External Academic Relations Committee expired December 31, 2002. In its three and a half years of operation the committee helped promote good will to GMU and its faculty by hosting luncheon meetings with several members of the General Assembly, including Delegates Callahan, Parish, Peterson, Plum, and Dillard. The Committee was also instrumental in the efforts to pass a bill requiring faculty representation on governing boards of higher education institutions. In addition, the work of the committee helped lead to a 2002 bill sponsored by Delegate Callahan titled “HB 28: Higher education; expectation of privacy in electronic communications.” Establishment of a standing committee of the Faculty Senate to carry on this work will help foster continuing dialogue with the legislature with the ultimate goal of promoting
appreciation to George Mason University and its faculty.

Formal charge:
A. Represent GMU faculty at Virginia higher education faculty governance organizations, including the Faculty Senate of Virginia. At least two of the seats allocated to GMU at the Faculty Senate of Virginia are to be filled by members of EARC.
B. Report monthly to the GMU faculty senate on the proceedings of the Virginia Faculty Senate and voice back to this organization issues of relevance to GMU.
C. Gather information on key matters about higher education in state legislation, state committees, and local venues, and report back to the GMU Senate.
D. Provide forums and avenues for the exchange of ideas with representatives of SCHEV, state legislators representing Northern Virginia, and community groups related to higher education in Northern Virginia.

VI. Adjournment
A motion to adjourn was requested due to time constraints, and it was so moved and seconded. The meeting adjourned at 4:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
David Kuebrich
Secretary, Faculty Senate

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