George Mason University
Approved Minutes of the Faculty Senate
March 24, 2004

Senators Present: K. Avruch, J. Bennett, A. Berry, D. Boehm-Davis, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Carver, R. Coffinberger, M. DeNys, M. Deshmukh, C. Douglas, E. Elstun, H. Gortner, M. Houck, K. Johnsen-Neshati, C. Kaffenberger, D. Kuebrich, J. Mahler, B. Manchester, L. Monson, A. Motro, R. Nadeau, D. Polsby, P. Regan, L. Rockwood, E. Roman-Mendoza, S. Ruth, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, S. Slayden, P. Stearns, E. Sturtevant, C. Sutton, S. Trencher, P. Wiest, S. Zoltek.

Senators Absent: R. Berroa, P. Black, B. Brown, S. Cobb, M. Ferri, J. Gorrell, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, K. Haynes, M. Kafatos, R. Klimoski, J. Kozlowski, C. Lerner, K. McCrohan, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, P. Moyer-Packenham, L. Pawloski, W. Reeder, F. Shahrokhi, C. Sluzki, R. Smith, D. Struppa, J. Tangney, B. Willis, J. Zenelis.

Liaisons Present: L. Fauteux (Staff Senate).

Guests Present: A. Flagel, B. Fleming, D. Haines, R. Herron, S. Jones, B. Rooney.

I. Call to Order
Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of February 11, 2004 were approved as distributed.

III. Announcements
It was announced that the memorial service for Aliza Kolker has been rescheduled. It will be held on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 at 4:00 pm on the third floor balcony of the Performing Arts Building.

IV. Old Business
There was no old business.

V. Senate Committee Reports and Action Items
A. Executive Committee – Jim Bennett

No report.

B. Academic Policies – Esther Elstun
1. “Academic Policies” Catalog report – Carol Kaffenberger

There were eight major changes made to the Academic Policies section of the catalog this year due to the conversion to a single grading system (approved by the Faculty Senate, January 2004). Three minor changes were also made: a dropped sentence was returned to the Honor Code section concerning proctoring, the requirements for Minors were updated, and a section was added concerning grade appeals when the instructor in question is no longer at the University.

2. Academic Integrity Issues report – Susan Trencher
The Academic Policies Committee received the following recommendations for review from the Provost’s Academic Integrity Task Force through the O&O Committee:

Work with Deans to communicate the academic values of the institution to all members of the community; require the deans and all other members of the administration to actively support the Honor Code; and encourage faculty to formally report Honor Code violations.

Referral to Academic Policy to consider more formally the provison requiring (encouraging) faculty to report Honor Code violations.


On all examinations and major assignments, students should be required to sign a pledge that they have abided by the provisions of the Honor Code in undertaking their work.

When circumstances, dictate, faculty should actively proctor their examinations.

In very large classes when faculty members do not know their students, it is appropriate to check IDs for examinations.

The Committee felt that the recommendations to the Provost were sufficiently addressed in the Catalog language. The Committee also felt that no immediate action needed to be taken on the faculty recommendations, but that they should be
considered when the Faculty Handbook is next revised.

C. Budget & Resources – Rick Coffinberger
1. Resolution on Incorporating Fundraising Data in the Unit Profiles

Kevin Avruch introduced the following Resolution on behalf of the Committee:

Resolution on Incorporating Fundraising Data in the Unit Profiles
WHEREAS financial resources are critical to the mission of George Mason University; and
WHEREAS state funding in recent years has not only been inadequate but also uncertain, thereby increasing the University’s reliance on private funding to achieve its mission; and
WHEREAS President Merten has indicated that the responsibility for raising funds has now been devolved to the deans and directors of academic programs and, in response, colleges and other academic units have established or are establishing separate fundraising offices;
THEREFORE, Be It Resolved that the Faculty Senate advises President Merten of its desire to have information on private fundraising become an integral part of the Unit Profile of each academic unit. This information should include, inter alia, the unit’s fundraising goals, the sources of the funds raised, the amounts raised and the dates of such gifts, and the purpose(s) for which each donation will be allocated. In addition, information on the costs associated with fundraising should also become part of the Unit Profiles including, but not limited to, the salaries and benefits of the fundraising staff as well as the expenses incurred by them in raising funds for the university.

The question was raised as to the purpose of this resolution. It was explained that the President is now giving Academic Units more responsibility for fundraising; so more of their individual budgets must now go toward development activities. It was also noted that it is part of the push for greater accountability. The Provost stated that he had no problem with LAU profiles including information on development, but he believed the criteria stated in the resolution were too detailed and might cause some legal and privacy issues.

The Resolution passed with a divided vote, including abstentions. The Secretary was instructed to send the Resolution to the President.

2. Other Budget & Resources Issues
The Committee is working with Associate Provost David Rossell to develop different retirement options.

The Committee’s participation in the University Budget Committee meetings has been very helpful. The members have developed a new respect for those trying to create a budget for the University while the state government is stalemated on the budget.

Rick Coffinberger has been in discussion with the ITU Department concerning posting faculty salary data on the web with restricted access. He has received an e-mail from Dr. Joy Hughes, Vice President of Technology, stating that creating a
restricted access page on the Senate Website would be labor intensive and cannot be undertaken at this time because her staff is still busy with the implementation of Banner.

The Chair announced that he has invited Dr. Hughes to address the Senate at the April meeting on this and other issues. He noted that the Senate was deeply concerned about the faculty’s privacy, which is why they insisted on restricted access to electronically available salary information. If the ITU Department is not able to help, the Chair mentioned several other ways to distribute the information to interested faculty in a restricted manner.

D. Faculty Matters – Marty De Nys
1. Task Force on Emeritus Status report

Marty De Nys stated that, after small revisions were made, the Committee accepted the following report and recommendations from the Task Force on Emeritus Status:

Report of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Emeritus Professors
The ad hoc Task Force on Emeritus Professors was established by the Faculty Senate to “develop an official policy regarding these professors’ rights and privileges (for example, e-mail access, library and parking privileges, use of exercise facilities) and to discuss other matters of shared interest. Chaired by Hale Tongren, the Task Force will be an informal group composed of retired faculty that reports to the Faculty Matters Committee.” Other Committee members are Lorraine Brown (English), Hal Gortner (Public and International Affairs), and Karen Vaughn (Economics).

Background: At the present time, there are 137 instructional and administrative faculty on the retired list, and 82 who are listed as emeriti in the 2002-2003 GMU Factbook. GMU’s current policy for awarding Emeritus status is as follows: “Upon retirement from George Mason University, tenured associate professors and professors with ten or more years of service may be recommended for the rank of Emeritus. Recommendations for this honor are normally instituted by the individual’s peer faculty and forwarded to the Board of Visitors like other faculty personnel matters, i.e., with accompanying recommendations from the local unit administrator, the Dean, the Provost and the President” (The Faculty Handbook, Section 2.2.6). Thus, Emeritus is an earned designation, not a right. The Faculty Information Guide lists the following eight lifetime privileges for all “tenured University faculty who retire while employed by the University.” This definition includes emeritus faculty by virtue of their retirement status. However, there appear to be few, if any, real privileges related to the Emeritus designation itself.

1. Use of a University identification card
2. Use of the library with the same privileges as active faculty
3. Use of University parking lots
4. Participation in faculty meetings (non-voting) and in academic processions including commencement, with the same privileges as active faculty
5. Attendance at lectures concerts, athletic events, banquets, receptions, etc. as authorized for active faculty
6. Office and laboratory space, or library study space, and secretarial service on a temporary basis as justified by professional activities. Priority will be given to active faculty and to staff and student needs whenever resources are limited.
7. University sponsorship of applications or proposals for grants, contracts or similar scholarly activities. The priorities noted in the preceding paragraph will apply if such sponsorship requires the use of limited facilities.
8. Use of University mail and letterhead as authorized for faculty.

Recommendations: Considering the foregoing, it is difficult to evaluate the true meaning of the Emeritus designation. While it sounds impressive, and it involves bestowal by the University academic and administrative officials, non-emeriti retired faculty have the same benefits as emeriti. Therefore the Task Force submits the following recommendations:

1. There should be a University “Emeritus” identification card. Currently the card notes “Affiliate” for retired faculty. (This “affiliate” designation could continue to be used for non-Emeritus retired faculty.)
2. Use of University parking lots (above): Add “with no parking fee” and “use of garages on the same terms as active faculty.”
3. Attendance at lectures, concerts, basketball and other athletic events with appropriate discounts available to active faculty.
4. Restricted access to copy machines.
5. Use of exercise facilities and the swimming pool.
6. The University encourages emeritus faculty members to continue their contributions to the University. While offices, labs and services are always in short supply, emeritus faculty may request working space and services so they may continue professional activities as GMU faculty members.
7. Emeritus faculty may submit grant proposals to support their scholarly activities through GMU channels and may serve as principal investigators on such grants.
8. Emeritus faculty may also apply to appropriate University offices for funds to support continuing research and for travel to professional meetings.
9. Emeritus faculty who are not on appointment may volunteer to perform tasks or undertake responsibilities for the University consistent with their expertise and experience. University-approved volunteer activities are covered under the University’s risk-management program.
10. Department heads are urged to take advantage of the expertise and experience of emeritus faculty by seeking counsel informally or inviting their participation in committees or projects. Emeritus faculty members serving as official members of
a departmental, college or university committee retain voting rights on that committee. Emeritus faculty who are chairing or serving on a graduate advisory committee at the time of retirement may continue with full status until students have completed their work. An emeritus faculty member may serve as a member of a graduate advisory committee after retirement. Eligibility to chair a newly formed committee is governed by College or School policies.
11. Departments may contract with emeritus faculty members for teaching, advising, research, or such other special responsibilities.

A query was raised concerning how many emeriti professors still live in the area, but no one knew. A discussion ensued concerning the meaning of “emeritus faculty” and why it was necessary to have a distinction between “emeritus” and “retired.” It was explained that it is an honorific title that suggests merit and significant service to the University during his/her tenure. Since it is a bestowed title, retiring professors must be recommended by peers and meet certain criteria to be considered for emeritus status. The Task Force was created because the title has thus far been an “empty” designation at the University.

It was noted that it is very hard to ascertain what additional benefits the emeritus faculty will receive because the recommendations do not correspond well with the benefits listed for all retired faculty. It was agreed that the benefits needed to be clear before the Senate could vote on the recommendations.

A motion was made and seconded to send the report back to the Task Force to reorganize the recommendations. An amendment to the motion was made and seconded that the recommendations go back to the Faculty Matters Committee, not the Task Force, and that the Committee then form a subgroup to reorganize the recommendations and resubmit them at the May Faculty Senate meeting. The amendment passed with two abstentions. The amended motion passed with two abstentions.

2. Faculty Evaluation of Administrators
The Faculty Evaluation of Administrators surveys were sent out to all full-time instructional faculty today. The Senators were urged to fill out and return theirs, and encourage other faculty members to do the same. The return rate increased significantly last year (to nearly 50%), and the Committee hopes for an even higher return rate this year.

It was noted that the surveys were scheduled to go out in mid-February, but the process was hindered by a lack of cooperation from the central administration. The Faculty Matters Chair expressed deep disappointment with the administration’s unwillingness to be of assistance, although he conveyed his gratitude to the Provost for his help. He stated that the survey’s cover letter gives an URL for the administrators’ activities report, but because the site is controlled by the President’s Office, he cannot guarantee that the reports will be available.

E. Nominations – Lorraine Brown
1. Slate for Task Force on University Privacy Policy

The Committee submitted the following slate of nominees for the Task Force on University Privacy Policy: Rick Coffinberger, David Kuebrich, Robert Nadeau, and Priscilla Regan. An unanimous ballot was cast approving the slate. For this Task Force, the Provost appointee is David Rossell and the Vice President of Technology appointee is Cathy Hubbs.

2. Slate for Faculty representative to the GMU Foundation Board
The Committee submitted the following slate of nominees for the Faculty Senate’s representative to the GMU Foundation Board: Donald Boudreaux, Phil Buchanan, and Daniel Polsby. It was noted that the Senate submits three names to the GMU Foundation Board, and it selects one person to serve. It was explained that this process was a concession made during the negotiations to get the Board to agree to a faculty representative. It was suggested that this issue be revisited with the Board. The slate was approved by a majority vote.

F. Organization & Operations – Phillip Buchanan
The Committee presented the 2004-2005 allocation of Senate seats determined by the Charter regulations. It was noted that the College of Arts & Sciences and the School of Management each lost a seat, and the Graduate School of Education and the School of Computational Sciences each gained a seat.

2004-5 Allocation
2003-4 Allocation

* For 2003-04 ICAR and SCS shared two seats with one filled from each unit.

V. New Business
A. Admissions Report – Andrew Flagel

Dean Flagel focused on the three groups that are admitted to GMU: freshmen, transfers, and graduate students. The level of diversity and quality has increased in all three groups, and Princeton University has named GMU the second most diverse university in the nation.

The Dean noted that there has been a huge increase in interest in George Mason due to our academic reputation, especially in the biosciences and IT fields. The College of Performing and Visual Arts continues to attract the greatest interest from out-of-state students. There has always been a strong interest in the University’s offerings in public policy because of our proximity to Washington DC, and interest in the Economics Department is growing now that it has its second Nobel Prize winner. There has also been an increase in the number of applicants that claim George Mason is their first choice of colleges.

In order to attract more quality freshmen applicants, the Admissions Office is creating alumni, student, and parent networks; and it is also developing models on how to target students who would be successful at GMU. James Madison and Virginia Tech continue to be the University’s major in-state competition, and the University of Maryland and George Washington the major out-of-state competition. There has been minimal growth in freshmen and transfer numbers; most of the University’s growth stems from higher retention and increased student FTEs.

This academic year the University accepted its largest and highest academic class, with an average GPA of 3.3 and average SAT score around 1100. The number of Honor Students has stayed the same, but over the last two years their average GPA has risen from 3.65 to 3.8, and their average SAT score has risen from 1260 to 1280.

According to the Dean, one of the best tools for bringing in talented transfer students is GMU’s contract with local community colleges, especially NVCC. The GMU/NVCC agreement has been held up as a model by organizations such as SCHEV and the Governor’s Office. Other community colleges from around the country have contacted George Mason because of their interest in negotiating similar agreements. There has been an increase in transfer applicants, as the weak economy increases the number of people returning to college. Over the last two years, the average GPA of entering transfer students has risen from 2.75 to 3.1.

The Admissions Office is getting more involved in processing graduate applications, and the Grad Council has asked the Admissions Office to evaluate international student applications in-house. The Dean admitted that the graduate admissions process has been struggling due to decentralization, loss of staff, lack of coordination between the Admissions Office and the Academic Units, and the delays due to incomplete student files.

The biggest recent challenge has been with international students since a large number of George Mason’s students come from the Middle East. Following the September 11th attacks and the Patriot Act, there has been a massive decrease of international applications, especially from these countries. The Dean noted this is a great loss, not only in terms of tuition revenue, but also in the knowledge, previous level of academic training, and diversity of our students.

The Dean was asked about undergraduate retention and average length to graduate. He noted that freshman and sophomore retention is currently above 80%, and has been increasing approximately one percent per year. The four-year graduation rate, now around 50%, also continues to grow. In response to other questions, Dean Flagel said the academic profile of the bottom percentile of students has also improved. Since the University is becoming more competitive, it is no longer accepting as many students with low GPAs. This is especially evident at the transfer level, where the majority of the transfer students used to be in the 2.0-2.5 GPA range and now most of them have over a 2.7 GPA. In response to a question asking if the increase in Freshman SAT scores may be due to the creation of an Honors Program that attracts more qualified students, the Dean responded that he did not know the SAT average apart from the Honors students, but he offered to find out.

Other questions focused on foreign students who cannot read or write English at the level necessary to successfully complete college work. The Dean noted that the minimum TOEFL score accepted by GMU is 230. He backs a more extensive essay portion of the application in order to identify earlier in the process, and more accurately, those students with English-language deficiencies. He pointed out that the school is very proactive once it has identified students who need extra help with English. He also noted that the University has a “Bridge Program,” which admits students conditional on language improvement.

VI. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
Stanley Zoltek announced there will be an open meeting to discuss spam and e-mail problems on Friday at 10:00 am.

VIII. Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
David Kuebrich
Secretary, Faculty Senate

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