George Mason University
Minutes of the Faculty Senate
May 5, 2004
Senators Present: J. Bennett, R. Berroa, A. Berry, D. Boehm-Davis,
P. Buchanan, R. Carver, E. Elstun, M. Ferri, H. Gortner, M. Houck, K. Johnsen-Neshati,
C. Kaffenberger, D. Kuebrich, P. Moyer-Packenham, R. Nadeau, D. Polsby, W. Reeder,
L. Rockwood, E. Roman-Mendoza, S. Ruth, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, F. Shahrokhi,
S. Slayden, R. Smith, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, J. Tangney, S. Trencher, S. Zoltek.
Senators Absent: K. Avruch, P. Black, B. Brown, L. Brown, S. Cobb, R. Coffinberger, M. DeNys, M. Deshmukh, C. Douglas, J. Gorrell, M. Grady, L. Griffiths, K. Haynes, M. Kafatos, R. Klimoski, J. Kozlowski, C. Lerner, J. Mahler, B. Manchester, K. McCrohan, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, L. Monson, A. Motro, L. Pawloski, P. Regan, F. Shahrokhi, C. Sluzki, D. Struppa, E. Sturtevant, P. Wiest, B. Willis, J. Zenelis.
Liaisons Present: L. Fauteux (Staff Senate).
Guests Present: P. Allen, N. Baccus, M. Burriesci, S. Collins, L. Fathe, D. Faxon, B. Fleming, S. Greenfeld, R. Herron, M. McKenzie, W. Rankin, C. Thaiss.
I. Call to Order
Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.
II. Approval of Minutes
The minutes of April 7, 2004 were approved as distributed.
A. Retirement of Bruce Manchester
The Chair announced the Dr. Bruce Manchester will be retiring this year. The Senate wishes him continued success in his battle against cancer. Laurie Fathe noted that Dr. Manchester received the David J. King Teaching Award this year, which is given annually to a faculty member who is both an outstanding teacher and who has made significant contributions to the overall educational excellence of the University.
B. Faculty Evaluation of Administrators
The Faculty Senate office has received 380 completed evaluations from the Faculty. We need four more to reach the goal of a 40% return.
C. Faculty representative to the GMU Foundation’s BOT
The GMU Foundation Board of Trustee’s Nominating Committee is currently reviewing the three nominees the Faculty Senate submitted for consideration. The full board will hold a final vote at its June 4, 2004 meeting to choose one of the nominees to serve as the 2004-2005 faculty representative to the Board of Trustees.
D. AAUP/Faculty Senate Reception for Rector Meese (May 4)
The AAUP and the Faculty Senate hosted a reception for Rector Meese yesterday in the Mason Hall Atrium. The Chair thanked the Provost for his assistance in making the reception a success.
E. BOV Resolution commending the Faculty Senate
The Chair was pleased to present the following BOV Resolution commending the GMU Faculty Senate:
The George Mason University Board of Visitors
RESOLUTION OF CONGRATULATIONS AND COMMENDATION
WHEREAS, the Faculty Senate of George Mason University is celebrating its 30th Anniversary; and
WHEREAS, the Faculty Senate of George Mason University has represented the faculty of the University in an exceptional manner during the entire tenure of its existence; and
WHEREAS, the Faculty Senate of George Mason University continues to contribute significantly to the prudent management and vigorous development of the University; and
WHEREAS, members of the Faculty Senate of George Mason University have demonstrated the highest standards of academic leadership; and
WHEREAS, the Faculty of the University, represented by the Senate of George Mason University, remain the critical component of success of the University and without whom the primary function of the University could not be accomplished;
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Board of Visitors of George Mason University in open session on this date congratulate and commend the Faculty Senate of George Mason University on its 30th Anniversary and wish it continued success and good fortune.
BE IT THEREFORE FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be entered into the minutes of the George Mason Board of Visitors this day, May 5, 2004.
Edwin Meese, III
George Mason University Board of Visitors
F. Governor’s bill concerning faculty representation on BOVs
The Chair announced that Governor Warner signed a bill encouraging the boards of state colleges and universities to appoint “one or more nonvoting, advisory faculty representatives to their respective boards.” Dr. Bennett emphasized that it is a Senate priority to get such a faculty representative on George Mason’s Board.
IV. Old Business
A. Update on Excellence in Teaching – Laurie Fathe
Laurie Fathe, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, offered the following basic principles for improving teaching: 1) High quality teaching must truly be valued at the institution; 2) There must be a support system and needed resources for improvement; 3) Faculty should get feedback for purposes of improvement – separate from evaluation for tenure and promotion; and 4) The system must reward good teaching and work to improve sub-standard teaching. Dr. Fathe noted that the following aspects of excellence in teaching already exist at George Mason:
1) The Administration demonstrates that it values high-quality teaching by:
a. Regularly talking to the University community about this
b. Requiring evidence of good teaching for tenure and promotion
c. Giving recognition at the time of tenure and promotion to faculty members who demonstrate genuine excellence in both teaching and research
2) There are local and central support systems to help faculty improve their teaching:
a. Many departments have mentoring, training for TAs and adjuncts, peer input on teaching, or meetings and discussions about teaching
b. The University supports the Center for Teaching Excellence
3) In many units, faculty members get structured feedback from peers.
4) Many faculty members are gathering student feedback for purposes of improving the learning experience.
5) Genuine excellence in teaching is rewarded at the university level:
a. The Provost supports 5 Teaching Excellence awards every year
b. Salary bump for demonstrating genuine excellence in both Teaching and Research at time of promotion
Dr. Fathe also noted that the following steps might be taken to help improve teaching at GMU:
• Require all new hires who haven’t had either a course on teaching or at least two years full-time teaching experience to attend a set of workshops on the basics of teaching. This series would start in mid-August with a 2-day intensive session, and it would be followed up with 2-hour sessions each month during the fall and spring term.
• Include an outside member on all hiring committees whose task would be to evaluate the teaching ability and promise of the applicants.
• Screen university course evaluation forms, looking for faculty members who show more than 15% of their ratings in the 1 or 2 category. Require these faculty to attend sessions on improving their instruction.
• Require the establishment of clear teaching assessment procedures for all term and part-time faculty members, consistent across units, that would provide credible data for evaluating their teaching.
• Have all departments revisit their regular faculty evaluation procedures to be certain they include early feedback on structured classroom observation by at least two faculty members during each of the first three years in a contract, the inclusion of context information with the data, and clear criteria by which the faculty are evaluated on their teaching.
• Provide funding for release time for a regular faculty member to coach, advise and evaluate adjuncts in any LAU where more than 20% of teaching in the department is done by adjuncts.
• Encourage all departments to hold an orientation session before classes for new faculty members to introduce them to departmental policies and practices concerning courses, classroom instruction, syllabi, grading, office hours, and other teaching issues. Have follow-up sessions at least twice during the term to help new faculty members address ongoing concerns.
• Help departments better understand the criteria for Genuine Excellence in Teaching, so that they can both gather the needed evidence and produce stronger documentation in promotion and tenure cases.
• Provide funding for undergraduates to help improve learning in large courses (to provide follow-up on classroom material, support for students who need more help, and feedback to the faculty member on what is and isn’t being understood) through a centrally organized program that gives these TAs training and mentoring as well as on-going assessment of the program’s impact.
V. Senate Committee Reports and Action Items
A. Executive Committee – Jim Bennett
The Executive Committee submitted the following motion:
MOTION: The Executive Committee moves to dismiss the Ad Hoc Budget Committee and Committee on Communication with the BOV with grateful thanks.
The Chair explained that the Ad Hoc Budget Committee was no longer necessary since the creation of the Senate Standing Committee on Resources & Budget. He also noted that the faculty was awarded a seat on the BOV Faculty & Academic
Standards Committee, so the University Committee on Communication with the BOV was redundant. The motion passed unanimously.
B. Academic Policies – Esther Elstun
1. Drop Policies Motion – Cliff Sutton
The Faculty Senate received a request from the Student Government to change GMU’s drop policy to be more in line with other state schools (George Mason is the only school that does not allow withdrawal after the official drop period for
academic reasons). Therefore, the Academic Policies Committee submitted the following motion:
MOTION: Beginning with the Fall 2005 semester, the academic calendar for each semester will indicate an open withdrawal period during which an undergraduate student may withdraw from courses, for any reason and without requiring the approval of the student’s academic dean. Undergraduate students will be limited to a maximum of three such elective withdrawals during their entire undergraduate careers at George Mason University.
For 14-week courses, the open withdrawal period will begin the day following the last day to drop the course, and will end one week after the last day of the midterm progress reporting period. For courses meeting for fewer than 14 weeks, the period will begin the day following the last day to drop the course and the period ending date will be set in proportion to the length of the course.
Procedures for requesting an elective withdrawal through the Registrar’s Office will be included in the Fall 2005 (and subsequent) Schedule of Classes. Such withdrawn courses will remain on a student’s transcript with the unofficial grade of WE (withdrawal, elective) and an official grade of W, which will be part of the student’s official transcript.
A strong comment against this motion was offered, arguing that the policy will be abused by the students. A voice vote was called, and was too close for determination. A count of hands vote was called, and the motion passed with sixteen yeas and eleven nays.
C. Budget & Resources – Rick Coffinberger
D. Faculty Matters – Marty De Nys
1. Emeritus Faculty Motion – Jim Sanford
Dr. Sanford introduced the motion due to Marty DeNys’ illness. He explained that the original Emeritus Faculty Motion had been sent back to Committee for clarification. The new motion also makes the Emeritus designation more inclusive:
MOTION: After reviewing the proposal for change in the status and benefits of those given the “Emeritus” title upon retirement, we make the following recommendations:
Current policy states that Emeritus status is an earned designation, not a right, and departments must nominate people for the title. It is our belief that the University would better be served by creating a statutory time of service as the category for receipt of the title. Therefore:
• The Task Force recommends that the title “Emeritus” be given to all faculty who retire from George Mason University with ten or more years of service. In this context, one is retired if one is drawing money from a retirement fund. Other faculty are eligible to be nominated for emeritus/a status on the basis of meritorious scholarship, teaching or service. All references to these faculty members shall note their emeritus status and it shall appear on all University documents. (Currently the identification card given to retired faculty members notes “Affiliate” for retired faculty. This designation would continue to be used for non-Emeritus faculty members.)
The Task Force further recommends that the following elements be added to the “benefits received by retired faculty” as noted in the current Faculty Information Guide. It is our belief that these benefits should be available to all retired faculty members.
• Department heads and deans are urged to take advantage of the expertise and experience of retired faculty by seeking counsel informally or inviting their participation in academic/professional activities. Retired faculty members are encouraged by the University to continue their professional contributions to the University. During the time they are performing University-approved volunteer activities, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Risk Management Plan will cover retired faculty members. In such cases the chair of the retired faculty member’s department must appropriately document those activities.
• Retired faculty have the same benefits related to taking of a free course each semester, parking stickers (with “senior” rates), reduced rate for bookstore purchases, reduced rates for meals in University dining facilities, and purchase discounts at the Patriot Computer Store, as those given to active faculty. If other similar benefits are created for active faculty they shall also apply to retired faculty.
• Retired faculty members will have full use of the University’s exercise facilities, including the Aquatic Center, at a reduced rate. (We would suggest a 50% reduction of normal rates paid by active faculty.) These changes would lead to the following statement in the Faculty Information Guide’s list of lifetime privileges for all “tenured University faculty who retire while employed by the University.” Precise wording may have to be worked out to assure that clarity and legality are achieved.
Tenured faculty who retire while employed by the University will receive the following privileges:
1. Use of a University identification card. Titles on the card will read “Affiliate Faculty” or “Emeritus Faculty” as appropriate.
2. Use of the library with the same privileges as active faculty;
3. Parking stickers (with senior rates);
4. The ability to take a free course each semester (when seats are open in the class);
5. Reduced rate for appropriate bookstore purchases;
6. Reduced rates for meals in University dining facilities (when offered to active faculty);
7. Purchase discounts at the University Computer Store and the Center for the Arts (when offered to active faculty);
8. Attendance at lectures, concerts, athletic events, banquets, receptions, etc. as authorized for active faculty;
9. Use of the University’s exercise facilities, including the Aquatic center, at a reduced rate;*
10. Use of University mail and letterhead as authorized for active faculty; and retention of GMU email address.
11. Participation in academic processions, including commencement, with the same privileges as active faculty.
Department Heads and Deans are urged to take advantage of the expertise and experience of retired faculty by seeking counsel informally or inviting their participation in academic/professional activities. Retired faculty members are encouraged by the University to continue their professional contributions to the University. In order to facilitate this continued academic/professional involvement the retired faculty members are encouraged to:
1. Participate in departmental faculty meeting (non-voting);
2. Use office and laboratory space, or library study space, and secretarial service on a temporary basis as justified by professional activities;** and
3. Obtain University sponsorship of applications or proposals for grants, contracts or similar scholarly activities. The priorities attached to space, noted in the preceding item, will apply when such sponsorship requires the use of limited facilities.
* We would suggest a 50% reduction of normal rates paid by active faculty.
** Priority will be given to active faculty and to staff and student needs whenever resources are limited.
A few comments were made concerning the importance of awarding of Emeritus status by peer election instead of by the approval of the Chairs and Deans. It was clarified that this proposal does not change the approval process currently stated
in the Faculty Handbook. Concern was expressed that the Emeritus status would lose meaning if it is made more inclusive, and the entire concept is supposed to be based on merit.
Hal Gortner, the author of the motion, explained that the Committee had received a lot of e-mail on this issue, and some faculty were afraid of hard feelings between retired professors because of the current exclusiveness of the Emeritus designation. The Committee came up with this motion as a compromise between an elected honor based on merit, and a more inclusive one with more meaningful benefits. The motion passed by a divided vote.
2. Report on Summer School Lab Compensation – Larry Rockwood
Some faculty met with the Deans of CAS and Nursing on April 13th to discuss implementing the Faculty Senate resolution concerning summer school lab compensation. Some of the contracts written for this year’s summer school term are holding to the Senate’s standards, so progress is being made. However, Dr. Rockwood expressed concern that some of the CAS faculty are still being paid only 2.5% for conducting labs.
3. Follow-up Report on Scientific Misconduct – Jim Sanford
Dr. Sanford submitted the following report on scientific misconduct to be taken into consideration during the next Faculty Handbook revision:
The Faculty Matters Committee agreed on the following points:
(a) That a modified version of the Policy on Scientific Misconduct posted on the OSP Website should be adopted as the official policy of George Mason University. Modifications should include
(i) Changing all references to “research fraud” or “fraud” to “scientific misconduct” or “misconduct,” as appropriate, and
making other changes in the document consistent with these changes in reference.
(ii) Broadening the definition of scientific misconduct by adding “4. Failure to follow ethical principles and/or codes of conduct approved by appropriate professional societies” to the definition of scientific misconduct.
(iii) Under “Investigation,” adding “including at least two tenured university faculty members” after “…convene an Investigative Committee of at least three members….” For grammatical accuracy, this change will also require changing “…and designate
the chair.” to “The Provost designates the chair.”
(b) That Section 2.12.2 of the Faculty Handbook be reviewed with the aim of removing “(iii) charges of unprofessional or unethical conduct brought by one faculty member against another.” This part of the charge of grievance committees
does not seem to be qualitatively parallel to the first two parts (“alleged violations of academic freedom” and “other conditions of employment…”) and with the statement, “These committees are particularly charged to be alert to instances of inequitable treatment.” Professional misconduct seems to be a more serious, potentially career-threatening, charge as compared with the more interpersonal disagreements implied by the other grievance categories. The Faculty Matters Committee also discussed broadening the scientific misconduct document to include all forms of unethical behavior by faculty. The inclusion of a fourth part of the definition (see a, ii above) goes a long way toward achieving this. If this occurs, Faculty Handbook section 2.12.2 (iii) can be removed and an ethical behavior section added.
E. Nominations – Lorraine Brown
F. Organization & Operations – Phillip Buchanan
VI. Senate and University Standing Committee Annual Reports
A. Senate Standing Committee Reports
1. Academic Policies Report
Submitted by: Esther Elstun, Chair
Committee Members: Esther Elstun, Carol Kaffenberger, Jim Metcalf, Cliff Sutton, Susan Trencher
The Senate’s Academic Policies Committee met regularly during the academic year 2003-2004 and completed the following items of business:
1. Catalog copy for university grade appeal policy
2. Recommendations from Task Force on Academic Standards
3. Recommendations from Task Force on Mid-Term Grading
4. Recommendations from Task Force on Academic Good Standing
5. Graduation with distinction/honors/recognition
6. Annual review, “Academic Policies” section of the University Catalog
7. Academic integrity issues
8. University drop and withdrawal policies [motion to be presented at the Senate meeting of May 5, 2004]
The Committee currently has one additional item of business that it expects to complete in fall 2004: the approval process for undergraduate programs offered jointly by two or more academic units of the University.
2. Budget & Resources Report
Submitted by: Rick Coffinberger, Chair
Committee Members: Kevin Avruch, Rick Coffinberger, Charlene Douglas, Esperanza Roman-Mendoza, Joe Scimecca
The Budget and Resources Committee is completing its first year of activity having been created by the Senate in the spring of 2003. The Committee met monthly during the academic year. This meeting schedule was supplemented by frequent special meetings as needed to address pressing issues or to meet with stakeholders otherwise unavailable to meet with us.
The Committee’s major accomplishments this year include the collection and dissemination of faculty salary data to our faculty colleagues; initiation of monthly meetings with the University Budget and Planning Committee; and the creation of a new procedure for selecting recipients for the Fenwick Library Scholars.
3. Faculty Matters Report
Submitted by: Marty De Nys, Chair
Committee Members: Marty De Nys, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Lisa Pawloski, Larry Rockwood, Jim Sanford
In 2003-2004 the Faculty Matters Committee:
• Proposed policy regarding the appointment of persons from within the University but outside of local academic units to head those units;
• Received, revised and proposed policy regarding retired and emeritus/a faculty;
• Investigated current University practice regarding compensation for teaching laboratory sections in summer school;
• Investigated and reported to the Senate regarding current policies in the University for dealing with scientific and professional misconduct;
• Investigated current policy in the University regarding compensation for instructional faculty who move to administrative faculty status and then return to instructional faculty status;
• Began an investigation regarding the current use of the title “administrative faculty” in the University;
• Facilitated the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators.
4. Nominations Report
Submitted by: Lorraine Brown, Chair
Committee Members: Lorraine Brown, Mark Houck, David Kuebrich, Stephen Ruth, Phil Wiest
The major tasks of the Nominations Committee were completed by August 2003. Replacements on committees and nominees for new committees continued throughout 2003-2004.
University General Education Standing Committee: John Stanbury (SOM)
University Effective Teaching Committee: Julie Mahler (CAS-PIA)
Senate Position: Ami Motro for Sharon deMonsabert (IT&E)
Nominees for George Mason University Foundation Board:
Donald Boudreaux, Philip Buchanan, Daniel Polsby
Nominee for University Compensation Committee: Lorraine Brown
5. Organization & Operations
Submitted by: Phil Buchanan, Chair
Committee Members: Brack Brown, Phil Buchanan, Hal Gortner, Julie Mahler, Linda Monson
The Committee received ten items from the University community that were referred to Senate committees as follows: five to Academic Policies, three to Faculty Matters, one to Organization and Operations, and one to Budget Resources. Specific projects of the Committee for the current year have included:
• The Committee reviewed the manner in which Senate seats are allocated among the various academic units within the University and determined that no changes to the Senate Charter were necessary.
• The Committee considered the possibility of recommending a change in the Senate committee structure with the intent of reallocating responsibilities. After discussion with the leadership of the affected committees, it was determined no changes were appropriate at the present time.
• The Committee allocated the Senate seats for the 2004-2005 academic year in accordance with the Senate Charter and reported the results at the April 7, 2004 Senate meeting.
B. University Standing Committee Reports
1. Academic Appeals Committee Report
Submitted by: Don Boileau, Chair
Committee Members: Don Boileau, Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, Marilyn McKenzie, Doug Mose, Colleen Shogan, Ming Wan
The Academic Appeals Committee had no business during the 2003-2004 academic year.
2. Admission Committee Report
Submitted by: Iosif Vaisman, Chair
Committee Members: Deborah Boehm-Davis, Pamela Cangelosi, Don Faxon, Georgine Redmond, Eddie Tallent, Iosif Vaisman
The Admissions Committee met twice during the 2003-2004 academic year, on September 25, 2003 and on March 20, 2004. Deborah Boehm-Davis, Pamela Cangelosi, Don Faxon, Georgine Redmond (9/25), Eddie Tallent, and Iosif Vaisman were present. At the first meeting Iosif Vaisman was nominated for the Chair position and elected by the open vote of the Committee members. At the meetings the Committee discussed the statistics on applications and admissions presented by Eddie Tallent. The number of applicants and enrolled students has been steadily rising since 1996, with simultaneous improvement in the average high school GPA scores and SAT scores. For the academic year 2003-2004 there were 9763 applications, 6460 were approved, and 2251 enrolled. Mean GPA/SAT scores for all applicants are 3.19/1078, for the enrolled students – 3.32/1110. 365 enrolled students are out-of-state, which is 20% more than last year. Increased enrollment of out-of-state students is one of the goals of the Admissions Office. 136 students were admitted to the Honors Program, their mean SAT is 1340, 43 of them have 4.0 GPA. With 27,500 students (both undergraduate and graduate), GMU is the largest university in Virginia. For the academic year 2004-2005 the number of applicants increased by 278 with a large increase in out-of-state applicants (75 more than in 2003-2004). The retention rate from the first to second year is 82%.
The Committee discussed a number of issues related to the admission process. These included: a) the use of GPA and SAT scores and their combination as a predictor for students’ future performance; b) the relatively high percentage of approved applications, which decreases the selectivity numbers.; c) the use of exit surveys to get a better understanding of the reasons the admitted applicants did not enroll; d) the admission of outstanding students into the University scholars and honors programs; e) the scholarships and other recruiting instruments for outstanding students; f) the admission of applicants from underrepresented populations; g) the use of Banner System in the admission process. The Committee recognized the excellent performance demonstrated by the Admissions Office and its efforts to improve the admission process and student recruitment.
3. Athletic Council Report
Submitted by: Gerald Cook, Chair
Committee Members: Gerald Cook, Gerry Hanweck, Saleet Jafri, Steve Klein, 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, Student Welfare Subcommittee. These committees are to examine the evidence and prepare reports every other year on their particular area of responsibility. One of these subcommittees, the Student Welfare Subcommittee, completed a report during Spring 2004. A report from the General Oversight Subcommittee is also due this spring. 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 for Spring 2003 was at an overall GPA of 2.7942. Of the eighteen sports reported, five were above 3.0. The Women’s Soccer team led in GPA with 3.12, and the Men’s Basketball Team was
the lowest at 2.19. Other teams above 3.0 included Women’s Basketball, Women’s Crew, Men’s Soccer and Women’s Soccer. On an individual basis, 85% of the student athletes had GPA’s above 2.0, 68% were above 2.5, and 44% were
The Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams had excellent seasons and
both participated in the National Invitational Tournament. The Men’s Team
won two games before being eliminated.
The Department of Athletics 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 has been approved by the University Legal Office and is now in effect. Testing has been performed twice this Spring Semester with a third testing period scheduled for later in the semester. All members of the Colonial Athletic Association now have drug-testing procedures in place.
Exit interviews of those Student Athletes completing their eligibility are
being scheduled. During these interviews the goal is to determine what type
of experience the student athletes had and to determine if there are any areas
in which the programs and policies need to be improved. In the 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. In the interviews of Spring 2003,
all eleven student athletes interviewed said that they would make the same choice.
4. Committee on Communication with the BOV Report
Submitted by: Ariela Sofer, Chair
Committee Members: Marion Deshmukh, Mary Meixell, Robert Nadeau, Ariela Sofer, Betty Sturtevant
The major activity of the Committee during the 2003-2004 academic year was to organize a farewell reception for Rector Meese. The reception was held on May 4, 2004, and was cosponsored by the Faculty Senate and the GMU Chapter of
AAUP, with support from the Office of the Provost. The event was attended by many members of the Faculty Senate and the GMU Chapter of AAUP, as well as the President, the Provost, and other members of the Administration. Rector Meese was accompanied at the event by his wife, Ursula. Several other BOV members were present, including Visitors Dewberry, Fink and Nguyen. Senate Chair Jim Bennett and AAUP Chair Stanley Zoltek gave grateful acknowledgements to Mr. Meese and bid him farewell.
5. Effective Teaching Committee Report
Submitted by: Egon Verheyen, Chair
Committee Members: Richard Entrikin; Karen Hallows; Jeng Lin; Julie Mahler; Egon Verheyen, Jennie Wu
Charge to the Committee:
On October 2, 2002, the Senate charged the Committee with the following tasks:
1. Review current SRI form (in consultation with Provost’s Office)
b. Perceived deficiencies
c. Localized questions
d. Mechanism for regular review
2. Obtain comparison-group data on the SRI reports from the Office of Institutional Research and Reporting
3. Review current University policy concerning student comments (in consultation with Provost’s Office)
Activities of the Committee:
From the beginning of the fall term 2003 to the end of January 2004, the Effective Teaching Committee met weekly (with few exceptions) with the directors of
• the Center for Teaching Excellence (Laurie Fathe),
• the Office of Institutional Assessment (Karen Gentemann),
• the Office of Institutional Research (Meihua Zhai) as well as Joel E. Foreman and Goodlett McDaniel.
The purpose of these meetings was to finalize the design of the student evaluation form that is being used at the end of the current term as pilot program administered on a voluntary basis in about 261 classes with a total of ca. 6000 students.
During the spring term, the Effective Teaching Committee met a few more times, discussing ways of evaluating the new student form. At this moment, however, the Committee does not want to make any recommendations on this matter. It is our opinion, that any such recommendations should be made once the pilot program has been evaluated.
The Chair of the Effective Teaching Committee was asked to appear at the April 26, 2004 CAS Faculty Meeting to discuss issues related to the pilot program. The meeting addressed major issues and faculty concerns and was conducted in a
productive and mutually respectful manner. Due to the magnitude of the original charge to the committee, we have spent
almost all of our time and energy on the issue of student evaluation. Meihua Zhai has requested that some members of the Effective Teaching Committee assist her in the further development and evaluation of the pilot program. As chair of the
Effective Teaching Committee, I request that the Senate appoint an ad hoc Senate committee that will work with the Meihua Zhai, and the directors of Teaching Excellence and Institutional Assessment, and other faculty members on the evaluation of the student evaluation form. The Effective Teaching Committee could then concentrate on other issues the Committee did not address.
All members of the Effective Teaching Committee have served their two years appointment. We suggest, that the new committee will have members with different tenures in order to provide some continuity. A final note: Unfortunately, the first Senate representative to the Committee never took part in any deliberations and a successor was appointed only at the end of the current term. We hope that in the future a Senate representative will be able to participate fully in the work of the Committee.
In response to the Committee’s request for an ad hoc committee, the following motion was submitted:
Rationale: The University Standing Committee on Effective Teaching has worked diligently over the last two years to create a pilot Teacher/Course evaluation form to replace the SRI form currently being used. The new evaluation form was administered for the first time at the end of the Spring 2004 semester on a voluntary basis in about 261 classes to approximately 6000 students. The Committee has requested that the Senate appoint an ad hoc committee to work with Institutional Research and Reporting, the Center for Teaching Excellence, and the Office Institutional Assessment in the further development and evaluation of the pilot program.
MOTION: An Ad Hoc Committee shall be created, composed of four members—three faculty members selected by the Senate and one Provost appointee—to review, evaluate, and finalize the pilot Teacher/Course evaluation form. An interim report should be presented to the Faculty Senate in January 2005, and a final report should be presented no later than May
The motion passed unanimously. The Parliamentarian verified that, in extenuating circumstances, an election could be held without a slate going out with the agenda for advanced review. The Chair determined that the work of this Committee needs to begin as soon as possible, so the following slate was submitted: Richard Entrikin, Karen Hallows, and Egon Verheyen. An unanimous ballot was cast approving the slate. The Provost appointed Laurie Fathe as his designee on this committee. The motion may be amended in September if it is determined that more committee members are needed.
6. External Relations Committee Report
Submitted by: Chris Thaiss, Chair
Committee members: Martin Ford, Robert Nadeau, Steve Ruth, Bob Smith, Debbie Sprague, Chris Thaiss
The External Relations Committee this year focused on lobbying the General Assembly to increase funding for higher education, George Mason specifically. We coordinated our efforts with Tom Hennessey, chief of staff to President Merten, and we thank him and his assistant, Amy Green, for their cooperation. In November, the chair of the Committee spoke on behalf of the faculty at a budget hearing in Fairfax (Frost Middle School) at which members of the Assembly were present. (GMU students also spoke at this hearing.) This event gave us the opportunity both to press the need for improved funding and to thank those members, some of whom were present, for their consistent support of the University.
In early January, the chair also spoke to these issues at the six-hour budget hearing held at NVCC Woodbridge. About 15 members of the Assembly were present on the budget panel or in the audience. Three members of the committee (Bob Smith, Steve Ruth, and Chris Thaiss) represented the faculty at the Faculty Senate of Virginia “Lobby Day” in Richmond at the start of the General Assembly session. With the assistance of Tom Hennessey and Amy Green we arranged and conducted individual meetings with approximately 20 members of the House and Senate, almost all of them members of the Education or Appropriations committees. Most of the members we met were part of the NVA delegation, but other meetings were with influential members from other parts of the state.
Follow-up letters were sent to the members we visited. As the Assembly session continued into April, a second series of letters was sent to key members of the committees. We had intended to schedule luncheons with members of the NVA delegation in late April, as we did last year, but the protracted session spoiled that plan.
FSVA Constitution and General Assembly BOV Bill
A. Amendments to FSVA Constitution and Bylaws were made. According to the FSVA rules, the revisions to the Bylaws must be approved by all participating Faculty Senates:
“The Faculty Senate of Virginia submits the following FSVA Bylaws revisions for approval:
BYLAWS OF THE FACULTY SENATE OF VIRGINIA
Each institution shall be represented by the Faculty Senate or Council President, Chair, similar elected faculty leader, or designee along with additional representatives as designated below:
Under 250 faculty - no additional representative
251-500 faculty - 1 additional representative
501-1000 faculty - 2 additional representatives
Over 1000 faculty - 3 additional representatives.
In order to achieve rotation of terms of senators, the Senate shall determine initial terms of office for representatives from the various colleges and universities.
The composition of five of the standing committees of the Senate shall be as follows:
Credentials and Elections Committee: The Committee on Credentials and Elections shall consist of at least one senator from each of the four membership units, if possible. The senators shall be appointed by the President at a spring meeting, take office on June 1, and serve until their Senate terms expire. The Committee shall elect its secretary.
Committee on Faculty Benefits: The Committee on Faculty Benefits shall consist of at least one senator from each of the four membership units. The senators shall be appointed by the President at a spring meeting, take office on June 1, and serve until their terms expire. The Committee shall elect its secretary.
Committee on Legislative Matters: The committee shall consist of at least one
senator from each of the four membership units, if possible. The Senators shall
be appointed by the President at the spring meeting, take office on June 1,
and serve until their Senate terms expire. The Committee shall elect its secretary.
Committee on Research and Resources: The Committee on Research and Resources shall consist of at least one senator from each of the four membership units, if possible. The senators shall be appointed by the President at a spring meeting, take office on June 1, and serve until their Senate terms expire. The Committee shall elect its secretary.
Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure: The Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure shall consist of at least one senator from each of the four membership units, if possible. The senators shall be appointed by the President at a spring meeting, take office on June 1, and serve until their Senate terms expire. The Committee shall elect its secretary.
4. AGENDA AND MINUTES
The agenda for regular and special meetings shall be distributed to senators at least two weeks before meetings. Minutes of Senate meetings, as well as of its Executive Committee, shall be distributed to senators within three weeks after meetings.”
The motion to approve the revised Faculty Senate of Virginia Bylaws passed unanimously.
B. The bill to allow faculty representatives to serve as non-voting members of each institution’s Board of Visitors has been promoted by the Faculty Senate of Virginia. Last year, the bill died in committee. This year, however, a bill was passed by the House and Senate and signed in mid-April by Governor Warner. The bill stipulates as follows:
The State Board for Community Colleges, local community college boards, and the boards of visitors of any four-year state institution of higher education may appoint one or more nonvoting, advisory faculty representatives to their respective boards. In the case of local community college boards and boards of visitors, the representatives appointed by the boards shall be chosen from individuals elected by the faculty or the institution's faculty senate or other equivalent group of the relevant institution. In the case of the State Board for Community Colleges, representatives appointed by the Board shall be chosen
from individuals elected by the Chancellor's Faculty Advisory Committee. Such representatives shall be appointed to serve terms of not less than one 12-month period, which shall be coterminous with the institution's fiscal year, or for such terms as may be mutually agreed to by the State Board for Community Colleges and the Chancellor's Faculty Advisory Committee, or by the local community college board or the board of visitors, as the case may be, and the institution's faculty senate or other equivalent group.
Nothing in this section shall prohibit the State Board for Community Colleges, local community college boards, or any boards of visitors from excluding such representative from discussions of faculty grievances, faculty or staff disciplinary matters, or salaries, or other matters, at the discretion of the relevant board. Please note that the bill does not compel a Board to allow such a member or members, but authorizes the Board to allow a member, if it so wishes. The Board may also exclude the faculty representative(s) from discussion of any matter, at its discretion.
7. General Education Committee Report
Submitted by: Marilyn McKenzie, Chair and Associate Provost for Educational Programs
Committee members: Ryan Barrett (Student representative), Alok Berry, Peter Black, Robert Ehrlich, Laurie Fathe, Peggy Feerick, Marcy Glover (recording secretary), Jim Heath (resigned for medical reasons), Christena Langley, Peter Mandaville, Michelle Marks, Marilyn McKenzie (Chair), Linda Seligmann, John Stanbury (replaced Jim Heath), Cliff Sutton, Anita Taylor, and Terry Zawacki
The University General Education Committee met 10 times during the AY 2003-2004, under the leadership of a newly appointed chair, Associate Provost for Educational Programs, Marilyn McKenzie. The committee will convene for the last time of the Spring 2004 semester on Friday, April 30, 2004. Topical subcommittees met between scheduled meetings to review and discuss course proposals in their topic areas before presentations to full committee meetings.
• The committee approved 27 courses and denied 6; courses which were not approved were returned to the departments with feedback, suggestions for revisions, and invitations to resubmit;
• Convened a special subcommittee composed of Michelle Marks, Peter Black, and Bob Ehrlich to review the synthesis category to clarify goals and criteria;
• Invited Karen Gentemann (Director of Institutional Assessment) to meet with the committee to discuss the design of protocols for focus groups;
• Discussed need to reconvene subcommittee to develop IT test;
• Secured support from the Provost office to offer UNIV 342 (The George Mason Debates in Current Affairs) to be taught by Professor Dave Kuebrich;
• Discussed encouraging faculty to integrate civic engagement into synthesis and other general education courses.
• Continue to review, discuss and approve courses in all four topic areas;
• Continue to solicit, review and approve synthesis courses;
• Continue the assessment of general education courses with focus groups and other assessment tools;
• Assess whether there are courses that should rotate out of general education;
• Review criteria for interim and permanent synthesis courses;
• Develop focus groups for faculty teaching general education courses;
• Convene workshops in conjunction with the Center for Teaching Excellence for faculty to discuss best practices for synthesis and other general education courses;
• Purchase or develop an IT test.
There are no action items to bring forth to the Faculty Senate at this time, but a slate will have to be developed in consultation with the Provost and the Faculty Senate to replace committee members who are rotating off the committee, who will be on faculty leave, or who will be retiring. The chair wishes to thank the entire committee for its hard work, and the chair has
invited Provost Stearns to attend the last meeting to thank the committee members personally for their service. A special thank you to recording secretary and assistant to the chair for her hard work in scheduling, preparing binders for faculty members and notifying the registrar of approved courses.
8. Grievance Committee Report
Submitted by: Linda Samuels, Chair
Committee members: Charlene Douglas; Jane Flinn; Bob Pasnak; Linda Samuels
Other than electing a chair, the University Grievance Committee had no business during the 2003-2004 academic year.
9. Minority and Diversity Issues Committee Report
Submitted by: Molly Davis, Chair
Committee Members: Heibatollah Baghi, Rei Berroa, Molly Davis, Ellen Fagenson-Eland, J.E. Lin
The Committee has been meeting with representatives from relevant offices throughout the University. It is using an information-gathering process to support the development of a document that identifies a set of criteria to define excellence in diversity at GMU. The Committee believes that this document will be useful in years to come and serve as a measure for assessing how well diverse groups are served at GMU. Two additional speakers will be attending the Committee’s April 26, 2004 meeting.. After that time, the Committee will begin the process of writing this document. The members believe that the work they have done this year is extremely valuable and they hope to translate what they have learned into a document that will inform future work of the Committee.
10. Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning Committee
Committee Members: Frieda Butler, Michele Davidson, Tracie Good, Doug Mose, Farnoosh Shahrokhi
No report submitted.
11. Salary Equity Study Committee Report
Submitted by: Elyse Lehman, Chair
Committee Members: John Crockett, Molly Davis, Jim Kozlowski, Elyse Lehman, John Miller
Because all of the information needed to conduct the equity evaluations will not become available from the Provost’s Office until at least July 2004, Committee members voted to wait until the entire data set is available before attempting to run the regression analyses. The problem stems from the fact that information about faculty degree and rank dates has not been sufficiently maintained for approximately 5 years. In order to insure that the data entered into Banner is 100% correct, staff in Dave Rossell’s office are currently going through each individual faculty file and verifying all information. Committee members and the Provost’s Office are in agreement that the results of our analyses would be meaningless without accurate data.
An expansion of the charge to the Committee was approved at the April 7, 2004 Faculty Senate meeting. The Committee will now begin investigating the potential for conducting salary-equity evaluations for individual faculty.
12. Technology Policy Committee Report
Submitted by: Stanley Zoltek, Chair
Committee Members: J.P. Auffret, Richard Carver, Nada Dabbagh, Maria Dworzecka, Andrew Finn, Steve Klein, Stanley Zoltek
The Committee met seven times during the 2003-2004 academic year. We met for the first time for the fall semester on September 9. At the meeting we elected a chair, Stanley Zoltek. For the remainder of the meeting new members and
returning members discussed past Committee activities and possible activities for the current academic year.
At the October 14 meeting the need for printing in classrooms in Innovation Hall was discussed. Anne Agee explained that space considerations made it impossible to have printers in the classrooms but that printers might be located outside the classrooms in the hallway. Next Joy Staulcup explained the process by which classrooms were scheduled. The committee requested that the scheduling office develop the capability to schedule rooms on a “course sharing” basis. That is, for example, courses that have significant distance-learning components should be able to “share” a classroom over a semester. Dr, Hughes presented an overview of the security review conducted by the State of our computer/data infrastructure and management. The URL IT security webpage is http://itu.gmu.edu/security/.
At the November 18 meeting Dr. Hughes asked the Committee to assist the ITU in preparing its contribution to the 2010 plan. For the remainder of the meeting we discussed ways by which we could contribute to the plan. Discussions included conducting an online survey, a paper survey, focus groups, or a combination of all of these. Pursuit of and completion of these contributions occupied the Committee for most of the remainder of the academic year.
At the December 9 meeting we reviewed a survey constructed by Professor Dabbagh. Committee members felt it would be difficult to get enough responses to the survey in time to incorporate the results into the 2010 plan. Instead we agreed to hold three focus groups, two with faculty and one with students. Professor Finn conducted the faculty focus groups and Professor Zoltek conducted the student focus group. The focus groups were enthusiastic and heavily attended and provided a great deal of information. Much of the February 24 meeting was devoted to reviewing what was learned. Additionally, Walt Sevon and Ron Secrest updated the Committee on efforts to control the SPAM problem. Walt Sevon confirmed that the ITU was confident it would provide a solution to the SPAM problem by August 1, 2004.
The final two meetings of the year (March 23 and April 20) were devoted to
transforming the information gathered from the three focus groups into recommendations
that could be included in the 2010 plan. The Committee wishes to express its
appreciation to all the staff, faculty, and students who worked with the Committee
during the academic year. We especially appreciate the contributions of Dr.
Anne Agee and Dr. Joy Hughes who attended all the meetings, engaged in many
email discussions, and arranged for ITU staff to be present at meetings as requested.
13. Writing Across the Curriculum Committee Report
Submitted by: Stanley Zoltek, Chair
Committee Members: Susan Durham, Tamara Maddox, Tom Owens, Priscilla Regan, Beth Schneider
Ex-Officio member: Terry Zawacki
Consultants to the Committee: D. Kelso, T. Michals, K. Simons, L. Smith, C. Thaiss, A. Williams
This academic year the Committee has met six times. Committee activities included:
• Revising the proposal form for new WI-courses.
• Revising the syllabi review form.
• Initiating the current 3-year cycle of reviewing syllabi to insure that departments/programs are meeting the writing-intensive (WI) requirement in the major as mandated by the Senate. This ongoing process will be completed by Fall 2004. As a result of the process, thus far, several discrepancies in WI designations were noted and correct Catalog copy was submitted in time to meet publication deadlines.
• Sending a letter to Departments/Programs inviting them to create Writing Excellence Awards or if they had one, to let us know. The Committee to date has received several responses. When funding levels permit, the WAC program will add $50 to Department/Program writing excellence awards that are valued at less than $150. Award winners will also receive a letter of recognition and their names will appear on the WAC website.
• Reviewing the concept of using collaborative writing to meet the WIrequirement. It was agreed that some collaborative work can be used but that individual work is also necessary. A more detailed statement appears on the GMU WAC website, http://wac.gmu.edu.
• Recognizing the School of Nursing for its extraordinary work with writers. (At Fall 2003’s “Celebration of Writing.”)
• Working closely with T. Maddox, our Committee member from the Computer Science Department, to develop a new plan for CS to meet the WI requirement.
VII. New Business
A. Election of the Faculty Senate Chair for AY2004-2005
The floor was turned over to Parliamentarian Suzanne Slayden in absence of the Chair Pro Temp for the election of the Faculty Senate Chair for AY2004-2005. Jim Bennett was nominated and seconded. Nominations were closed, and a motion to elect Jim Bennett was called for and seconded. Jim Bennett was unanimously elected 2004-2005 Faculty Senate Chair. The Senate applauded Dr. Bennett for his past work as Chair and his election for next year.
VI. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
A. Local State Employee Raises
The Chair presented the following chart comparing George Mason University faculty raises and other local federal and state employees:
Raises for local Federal and County workers
What $1,000 is worth
in 2004 with raises
* General federal raise plus Washington DC locality raise.
** 1% COLA raise plus 1% one-time lump sum.
*** Fairfax uses a merit raise system. Employees receive a 1/2 to 6% raise based on the points accrued on their annual performance review. 2.5% was used as an approximate average of the annual raises given.
**** Loudoun County gave additional raises to some positions in 2000-2004 to become more competitive with Fairfax County.
The Chair noted that this inequality is due to budgeting problems at the state level. The state legislature continues to shortchange higher education in determining its budget, therefore allowing faculty salaries to lag behind those of other federal and state employees. The state government needs to realize that it is going to be harder and harder for Virginia colleges and universities to recruit and retain quality faculty when faculty salaries are so far below market levels. Another negative effect is that Virginia schools’ ratings are beginning to drop against their peer institutions.
The question was raised as to why the Faculty Senate of Virginia is not taking up this issue more strongly. Chris Thaiss, Chair of the Committee on External Relations, noted that when he and other faculty members went down to Richmond on “Lobby Day,” they discussed this issue with all of the legislators with whom they met. He said that George Mason faculty and students had a visible presence on Lobby Day, and he lauded Tom Hennessey’s work with the state government on behalf of the University. He suggested that the University community needs to increase its visibility at the local hearings held by the Northern Virginia legislators.
B. Civic Government Summer Classes
Marilyn McKenzie announced that there will be a Democracy Project Meeting with the New York Times on Wednesday, May 12, 3:00 – 4:00 pm, in the Johnson Center, Room C. This is a wonderful opportunity for faculty to learn more about the Democracy Project at GMU and GMU’s summer courses on civic engagement.
The meeting adjourned at 3:52 p.m.
Secretary, Faculty Senate
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