George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Faculty Senate
October 29, 2003
Senators Present: K. Avruch, J. Bennett, R. Berroa, A. Berry,
D. Boehm-Davis, B. Brown, L. Brown, R. Carver, R. Coffinberger, S. deMonsabert,
M. DeNys, C. Douglas, E. Elstun, M. Ferri, H. Gortner, C. Kaffenberger, J. Kozlowski,
D. Kuebrich, B. Manchester, J. Metcalf, L. Monson, P. Moyer-Packenham, L. Pawloski,
D. Polsby, E. Roman-Mendoza, S. Ruth, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, F. Shahrokhi,
S. Slayden, R. Smith, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, J. Tangney, P. Wiest, S. Zoltek.
Senators Absent: P. Black, P. Buchanan, S. Cobb, M. Deshmukh, J. Gorrell, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, E. Gunn, K. Haynes, M. Houck, K. Johnsen-Neshati, M. Kafatos, R. Klimoski, W. Kurkul, C. Lerner, J. Mahler, K. McCrohan, A. Merten, R. Nadeau, W. Reeder, P. Regan, L. Rockwood, C. Sluzki, D. Struppa, E. Sturtevant, S. Trencher, J. Zenelis.
Liaisons Present: L. Fauteux (Staff Senate).
Guests Present: M.A. Braun, B. Fleming, R. Herron, S. Jones, J. Moore, J. Palmore, B. Rooney, B. Sutton.
I. Call to Order
Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 3:02 pm.
II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of October 1, 2003 were approved with two changes. In the fourth paragraph under “Chair’s Announcements” Executive Council was changed to Executive Committee. In the sixth paragraph under “President Merten’s Address” the phrase by the architects was added to the last sentence.
The Executive Committee will present a draft of its proposed annual letter to the Faculty for discussion at the November 19th meeting. The report is a statement of what was accomplished during the 2002-2003 academic year and sets out the Executive Committee’s vision and goals for the future. The Chair urged all Senators to review it carefully when they receive it, and come prepared for a thorough discussion at the next meeting.
Peter Stearns has been reappointed as provost for another five-year term. The Chair noted that Provost Stearns is a strong asset to the University and an active member of the Senate. The announcement was greeted with applause.
III. Old Business
There was no old business.
VI. Senate Committee Reports and Action Items
A. Executive Committee – Jim Bennett
B. Academic Policies – Esther Elstun
The Provost has asked the Committee to consider developing a policy that would allow for academic recognition to be earned by transfer students who graduate from GMU with fewer than 60 hours of GMU credit. Cliff Sutton will be investigating this issue.
C. Budget & Resources – Rick Coffinberger
The Committee met with Library representatives on October 24th and will follow up with a meeting with John Zenelis on November 12th. It will also meet with Maury Scherrens on November 6th to discuss the academic unit profiles and budgetary process. The Committee has asked David Rossell for information concerning instructional and administrative faculty raises over the last three years, early retirement packages, and adjunct faculty compensation above the matrix. The Committee is also working with the Faculty Matters Committee on the issue of summer school compensation.
Dr. Coffinberger urged Senators to review the academic unit profiles (http://irr.gmu.edu/UnitProfile/UnivFastfacts.cfm) and give the Committee feedback on how the profiles might be improved.
A senator asked whether faculty salary data are still available in Fenwick Library. It was noted that in the past this information has not been available from the Library until months after faculty received their raises. Dr. Coffinberger stated that one of the
Committee’s goals is to gather salary data in a timely manner and post it on the Faculty Senate website.
D. Faculty Matters – Marty De Nys
The Committee submitted the following motion concerning the appointment of “outsiders” as heads of academic units:
This proposal deals with policy regarding the appointment of individuals as administrators of academic units from within the University but from units or academic disciplines that are outside of the units that these individuals will administer. The proposed policy involves three components. It states that an appointment of the kind under discussion must involve proper consultation, must be regarded as a temporary measure, and must be a measure of last resort.
• The relevant Dean or the Provost will consult with the faculty of the unit for which an administrator is needed before a decision is made to appoint an administrator of the unit from the outside rather than from the faculty in question.
• During the appointment process, the faculty of the unit for which an administrator is needed will have the opportunity to meet with the candidate(s) for the position, to ask questions, and to voice their opinions on the candidate(s).
2. Temporary Measure.
• The individual will be appointed as an acting or interim chair or dean.
• The appointment will be reevaluated at the end of the first year, and normally will not exceed two years.
3. Measure of Last Resort.
• An appointment of the kind under discussion in this motion will be made only when the possibility of an internal candidate has been duly considered and eliminated and only when conditions preclude an external search.
Dr. De Nys noted that “outsiders” have been appointed as heads of several academic units, which has caused consternation among the faculty. He clarified that “internal” in #3 means “inside the academic unit.” Two grammatical changes were recommended and accepted.
The motion passed unanimously by a voice vote. This motion will be forwarded by the Secretary of the Senate to the Provost and President of the University for their consideration and approval.
E. Organization & Operations – Phil Buchanan
F. Nominations – Lorraine Brown
V. New Business
A. Annual Senior Survey – Karen Rosenblum
Karen Rosenblum, Vice President of University Life, presented the results of the “University Life” section of the 2001-2002 Graduating Senior Survey. She noted that the various University Life offices provide programs and services to support the students, and that approximately 19,000 students attended University Life programs or used these services during the 2001-2002 academic year. (There is usually about a 40% return rate on the surveys.)
Dr. Rosenblum expressed concern about the percentage of students who indicate that they were either unaware of a particular service or that they needed a particular service but didn’t use it. Of particular concern were the 36% who needed but didn’t use Career Services and the 19% who needed but didn’t use Learning Services. Approximately 60% of the students who go to Learning Services are referred there because they are on academic probation. Studies show that the programs are very effective, so it is important that students needing these services be encouraged to use them.
Another area of concern was the students who stated that they used a service, but it didn’t meet their needs. Dr. Rosenblum noted that the high percentage who reported that personal counseling didn’t meet their needs (15%) was probably due to the fact that counseling is limited to twelve sessions per student and small group sessions can not be tailored to the specific needs of each student
One of the more surprising findings was that 56% of the students said a faculty recommendation was their primary reason for attending a University Life program. Students report that such action by a faculty member makes them feel invited to
participate in the University’s extra-curricular intellectual life. This statistic highlights the importance of faculty being aware of University Life programs and encouraging students to attend.
Senators expressed concern about the survey’s category of “crisis intervention and support for victims of sexual assault.” Nine percent of users reported their needs were not met and 6% of non-users (over 150 students) indicated they needed these services but didn’t use them.
A question was raised concerning the effect of GMU’s large number of commuter students on the usage of services such as Student Health and counseling for sexual assault. Dr. Rosenblum agreed that residential and nonresidential students have very different needs, and it is important to factor that difference into the data. Asked if many of these services were not available off-campus, Dr. Rosenblum responded that both students and their families expect the University to provide the services that it does.
The offices of Institutional Assessment and University Life are currently
in the process of forming focus groups to gather information on how University
Life might increase the publicity, availability, and usefulness of its programs
Dr. Rosenblum encourages the faculty to become more aware of the programs and services provided by University Life and to encourage students to take advantage of them.
B. Proposed Change to the University’s Tobacco Policy – Judy Palmore & Mary Ann Braun
Judy Palmore, Coordinator for Health and Human Services, and Mary Ann Braun, Associate Dean/Director of the Health and Wellness Center, informed the Senate of a proposal, currently under consideration, that would make two changes in the University’s smoke-free environment policy (established in 1993): 1) to make residence halls completely smoke-free by Fall 2006, and 2) to prohibit smoking within 25 feet of all building entrances by Fall 2004.
Two questions were raised concerning the first suggested change: Why will it take three years to implement a smoke-free policy for residence halls if physical changes aren’t required? Will a ban on dormitory smoking affect student recruitment and residency?
A wide range of concerns were raised in regard to the second part of the proposal:
1) That there is no scientific evidence that outdoor smoking harms non-smokers;
2) That smoking faculty will be discouraged from spending time on campus;
3) That the proposed change is a form of “intrusive paternalism” that infringes on the rights of smokers and promotes intolerance.
One senator, allergic to smoke, spoke of being troubled by the density of smoke near entrance areas. Another pointed to a need to identify the areas where outdoor smoking is most concentrated, for example, the space between Robinson A and B, and clarify what, if anything, might be done.
The question was raised that if smoking is banned, shouldn’t equal attention be paid to substances such as colognes and perfumes that can also cause allergic reactions.
A straw vote was taken by show of hands. Eleven senators favored the proposed
policy, 21 opposed it, and 4 abstained.
C. Technology Policy Committee Report – Stanley Zoltek
The University is working toward better IT security, but lacks the funds and personnel to immediately employ new technologies, educate users, and maintain a 100% secure IT environment.
There are concerns that Innovation Hall’s high-tech rooms are being used by classes that don’t need the technology, possibly resulting in faculty who need the equipment not getting a high-tech room. The Registrar entreated faculty members to note specific technology needs with their classroom requests and not to ask for special equipment or rooms when they don’t need them.
The ITU e-mail group is researching possible solutions to the spam getting through the University’s network and will make a recommendation to Dr. Hughes by the end of the calendar year.
VI. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
Senators questioned why it took over a week for the Campus Police to inform the faculty and staff of a student abduction that occurred in a University parking lot, and why the students weren’t also informed.
Senators were urged to support their students in their artistic and academic endeavors and achievements.
The meeting adjourned at 4:10 pm.
Secretary, Faculty Senate
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