George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Faculty Senate
October 1, 2003
Senators Present: K. Avruch, J. Bennett, A. Berry, D. Boehm-Davis, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Carver, S. Cobb, R. Coffinberger, S. deMonsabert, M. DeNys, M. Deshmukh, C. Douglas, E. Elstun, M. Ferri, H. Gortner, M. Houck, K. Johnsen-Neshati, J. Kozlowski, D. Kuebrich, B. Manchester, K. McCrohan, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, P. Moyer-Packenham, D. Polsby, W. Reeder, E. Roman-Mendoza, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, F. Shahrokhi, S. Slayden, R. Smith, P. Stearns, E. Sturtevant, C. Sutton, S. Trencher, P. Wiest, J. Zenelis, S. Zoltek.
Senators Absent: R. Berroa, P. Black, B. Brown, J. Gorrell, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, E. Gunn, K. Haynes, M. Kafatos, C. Kaffenberger, R. Klimoski, W. Kurkul, C. Lerner, J. Mahler, L. Monson, R. Nadeau, L. Pawloski, P. Regan, L. Rockwood, S. Ruth, C. Sluzki, D. Struppa, J. Tangney.
Liaisons Present: L. Fauteux (Staff Senate), A.Gupta (Student Senate).
Guests Present: J. deFreitas, J. Flagel, B. Fleming, D. Haines, M. Heerschap, R. Herron, J. Nord, S. Jones, L. Schwartzstein, B. Selinsky, B. Sutton.
I. Call to Order
Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.
II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of September 3, 2003 were approved as distributed.
A. Chair’s Announcements
A list of the newly-elected Senate and University Standing Committee chairs was presented. The Academic Appeals, Effective Teaching, and Writing Across the Curriculum committees have yet to meet and elect their chairs.
The Chair announced there will be a University Relations Showcase on Wednesday, November 5, 2003 from 12:30 – 4:00 pm in D217 Mason Hall. The event will present displays on community relations, electronic publications, events management, information services, media relations, multimedia, photography, and publications. Refreshments and door prizes will be available, and all are invited.
The President’s Office has requested that the Faculty Senate move its March 17, 2004 meeting because it is the only date that Dewberry Hall is available for the Spring Convocation. The Senate voted to move its meeting to March 24, 2004.
The Chair thanked President Merten and Provost Stearns for allowing one member of the Executive Committee to have a course-release each semester. The Chair also thanked President Merten for his support for a Faculty Representative to serve on BOV Faculty and Academic Standards Committee. Esther Elstun has been appointed as the faculty representative.
B. President Merten’s Address
President Merten reported on his lunch earlier in the day with four PIA students and was pleased to note their level of enthusiasm concerning the University, their classes, and their professors. The President thanked the faculty for helping GMU to improve academically, giving special praise for faculty involvement with students outside the classroom.
President Merten then spoke on four topics: physical facilities, unit profiles, the November General Assembly elections, and the 2010 Plan.
Physical Facilities: Two new complexes have been added to the University this year: Liberty Square, a housing unit composed of suites with four bedrooms, living room, kitchenette, and bath; and Innovation Hall which is open for fall classes. Liberty Square adds space for 500 new students, bringing the total of on-campus students to 4,000. Construction will start this month on a 1,200 car parking deck on Lot B near Enterprise Hall, with a completion date of December 2004. In the spring, construction will start on Research I, Prince William Building 3A, and Arlington II. At some point in the near future the Aquatic and Fitness Center will be expanded. The President also noted that the Freedom Center, George Mason’s aquatic and fitness center at the Prince William Campus, receives approximately 500,000 visits a year.
Unit Profiles: The BOV, Administration, and some faculty have developed initial profiles for each college, school and institute. Now available on the GMU Website, the profiles include such information as the annual number of students enrolled, the annual number of graduates, and the income generated by each unit. It is expected that each unit will maintain its on-line “profile,” adding more individualized details to its site as it sees fit. In addition, there will be information on the Website concerning the University as a whole.
The President noted that this system of unit profiles is unique to GMU and that its purpose is to help the Administration, Board of Visitors, and Faculty in their reviews and analyses. The goal is transparency and accountability at all levels. President Merten also asked for Senate involvement in this process, and he cautioned that it is important the profiles not be used in inappropriate ways.
November Elections: President Merten reminded Senators that
General Assembly elections are approximately a month away with thirty-seven
seats in Northern Virginia up for election. He urged faculty to attend campaign
events and question the candidates about how they plan to support higher education
and GMU in particular.
Plan 2010: President Merten then introduced Plan 2010, the next step in fund-raising after the present capital campaign ends in 2007. He characterized Plan 2010 as a “bottom-up” process in which unit plans will be the basis for the University plan. He urged the Faculty Senate to play a role both in the Senators’ individual units and across the units. The initial version of the Plan is to be completed at the end of the Fall 2004 semester, and it will be implemented in two-year increments (2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010). The following annual timeline was laid out for its development:
October 1 – April 30: Academic Units develop individual plans
December 1 and February 15: University-wide review of Unit plans
May 1 – November 30: University plan developed
In ensuing discussion, it was asked whether classroom space and parking is keeping up with student population-growth. The President explained that the new garage and the construction of Research I and Academic V buildings will help alleviate parking and classroom pressures. In response to a follow-up comment that faculty recommendations regarding facilities for classrooms in Innovation Hall had been ignored by the architects, the President stressed the need for continuing to raise these concerns.
Asked whether departments could be given control of nearby classrooms so that professors wouldn’t have to travel across campus to get to their classes, the President responded that this might be implemented on a limited, trial basis. However, he noted that departments would need to take responsibility to guarantee that any space assigned to them was used efficiently.
A concern was noted about recent tuition increases and their effect on financial aid. President Merten stated that the general policy is that the financial aid pool is increased ten cents to the dollar (10%) when there is a tuition increase and that the University plans to maintain past levels of student aid.
III. Old Business
A. Banner System Report – Linda Schwartzstein
Linda Schwartzstein, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, introduced the Banner Student module, which is the next module to be incorporated in the University’s system. Dr. Schwartzstein is the Project Director, Wendy Payton is the Project Lead, and Marcelle Heerschap is the faculty liaison for the project. The Senate’s representative is Stanley Zoltek.
The Banner Student module is slated for implementation effective with the Fall 2004 semester. The Admissions on-line application in Banner is already available for Fall 2004; Financial Aid will be up on Banner effective January 1, 2004; and pre-registration for Fall 2004 in April will be conducted through Banner. Both students and faculty will benefit from online applications, including advising, registration, and grading for Fall 2004; but those same functions for Spring and Summer 2004 will be done through our current 4GMU telephone system and webGMU.
Dr. Schwartzstein announced that a series of Town Hall meetings will be held on all three campuses in November to provide information and answer questions about the module. Faculty are encouraged to attend the meetings and give input to the Banner committee.
B. The Center for Field Studies – Julia Nord
The Center for Field Studies (CFS), located in New Century College, offers assistance for conducting field-based experiential learning opportunities in a variety of disciplines. The Center can be particularly helpful to faculty in handling financial, liability, logistics, and paperwork issues involved in field-based courses.
C. Faculty Lounge Task Force – Susan Trencher
The Faculty Lounge will be located in the back section of George’s Restaurant in the Johnson Center. The Task Force is now obtaining soundproof partitions and furniture. The hours will probably be 8:30 to 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 to 4:30 p.m., and the opening date will be announced at the November Faculty Senate meeting.
IV. Senate Committee Reports and Action Items
A. Executive Committee – Jim Bennett
B . Academic Policies – Esther Elstun
The Committee met on September 24 and distributed its action items among the members as follows:
Liaison to the Academic Standards Task Force -- Carol Kaffenberger
Review of the Academic Policies section of the Catalog -- Carol Kaffenberger
Graduation with Distinction -- Esther Elstun
Provost’s Academic Integrity Task Force recommendations -- Susan Trencher
University-wide Grade Appeal Process -- Jim Metcalf
The Committee will be sending the issue of academic standing and dismissal policies to the Academic Standards Task Force. The Committee invites interested faculty to attend its meetings on October 8 (1:30 – 3:00 pm), October 22 (3:00 – 4:30 pm), and November 5 (1:00 – 2:30 pm) in D109A Mason Hall.
C. Budget & Resources – Rick Coffinberger
The Committee met in mid-September to review its charge of keeping faculty informed about university budget and resource issues. The Committee plans to meet monthly to organize, gather data, and make contact with appropriate administrators regarding issues of interest to the Committee.
On behalf of the Committee, Rick Coffinberger introduced the following Resolution on Faculty Representation on the Committee:
WHEREAS on April 9, 2003 the Faculty Senate adopted a “Resolution on Library Administration” calling for the University Libraries to be supervised by the Provost, the University’s Chief Academic officer, and
WHEREAS President Merten advised the Senate in a letter dated June 26, 2003 to the Secretary of the Senate that he rejected this advice and was establishing a Committee on Library Operations, and
WHEREAS no provision was made for a faculty representative on this Committee to provide a faculty perspective,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Faculty Senate that the President be requested to appoint to this Committee a member of the faculty elected by Faculty Senate.
A vote was called and the Resolution passed unanimously by a voice vote.
D. Faculty Matters – Marty De Nys
The Committee has several items on its agenda, including two major issues: the appointment of outsiders as heads of units and the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators. Marty De Nys noted that the evaluation process will be done earlier in the spring semester this year and explained that last year’s report has been delayed due to data entry problems but that it will be forthcoming soon.
E. Organization & Operations – Phil Buchanan
F. Nominations – Lorraine Brown
V. New Business
There was no new business.
VI. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
A. Report of the Academic Progress Task Force – Hal Gortner
The Task Force was created to solve the dilemma of a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade” procedure operating parallel to the GPA system, causing serious inconsistencies in calculating satisfactory progress toward graduation and general confusion for students and advisors. The Task Force was charged with developing a single system to determine “satisfactory progress toward graduation.” The Task Force has reviewed the policies of other universities in the metropolitan area and our SCHEV peer group to determine if their systems might work at George Mason. Hal Gortner thanked Task Force members Susan Jones and Don Gantz for their extraordinary work on this complex issue. Future meetings of the Task Force will be held on those Wednesday afternoons when the Senate does not meet.
B. Report from the Staff Senate – Debi Siler
The Staff Senate’s newsletter, “The Mason Senator,” can be accessed at the Staff Senate’s website or hard copies are available at the Staff Senate office.
Representatives from Sodexho gave a presentation to the Staff Senate this summer. They reminded the Senators that there is a $3 buffet in Ciao Hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays for faculty and staff. On the Prince William campus, faculty and staff receive a 20% discount on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Bistro has been completely remodeled and a coffee shop was added to the ground floor of the Johnson Center this summer. Sodexho is currently considering two new ideas: complete take home meals—serving 2, 4, 6, or 8—for faculty and staff offered from 4:00 to 6:00 pm, and off-hours lunch delivery service for faculty and staff.
C. Update on Performing Arts – Dean Reeder
William Reeder, Dean of Visual and Performing Arts, announced that this year’s programs will include the Ahn Trio, a group of three Korean-born sisters in their twenties who are already Julliard professors; Joan Kwuon, a young soloist who is destined to become one of the great virtuoso violinists; the Virginia Opera Company’s performances of Madame Butterfly and The Magic Flute; and GMU student productions.
D. George Mason Catalog
A concern was raised over the possibility that the University Catalog might be issued only every other year instead of every year, thus possibly delaying such matters as the introduction of new programs. Provost Stearns responded that a final decision on the Catalog has not been made. There are plusses and minuses with each option, and his staff is using the development of this year’s Catalog as a basis for determining which is better. However, if the University does change to a biannual catalog, addenda will be issued in the interim years.
The meeting adjourned at 4:12 p.m.
Secretary, Faculty Senate
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