OCTOBER 27, 2004



Senators Present:  K. Avruch, J. Bennett, R.. Berroa, A. Berry, P. Black, D. Boehm-Davis, R. Brayley, B. Brown, L. Brown, P. Buchanan, R. Carver, R. Coffinberger, E. Elstun, M. Ferri, J. Gorrell, L. Griffiths, K. Johnsen-Neshati, D. Joyce, M. Kafatos, J. Kozlowski, D. Kuebrich, J. Mahler, J. McDonald, L. Monson, J. Moore, A. Motro, P. Moyer-Packenham, R. Nadeau, P. Pober, D. Polsby, J. Razeghi, W. Reeder, P. Regan, J. Sanford, J. Scimecca, S. Slayden, C. Smith, P. Stearns, C. Sutton, J. Tangney, T. Thatchenkery, I. Vaisman, P. Wiest, Z. Zoltek.


Senators Absent:  M. Boardman, S. Cobb, W. Decker, M. De Nys, C. Douglas, B. Ehrlich, K. Haynes, M. Houck, B. Johnsen, C. Kaffenberger, R. Klimoski, A. Merten, J. Metcalf, L. Rockwood, E. Roman-Mendoza, D. Struppa, S. Travis, S. Trencher, J. Zenelis.


Liaison Present:  Chan Stalvey, Staff Senate


Guests Present:  D. Gantz, D. Gomez-Moran, R. Herron, M. Terry, E. Verheyen


I.          Call to Order

Chair Jim Bennett called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.


II.        Approval of Minutes

The minutes of October 6, 2004 were approved as distributed.


III.       Announcements and Introductions

The Chair welcomed Chan Stalvey as liaison from the Staff Senate and introduced Meg Caniano as Clerk of the Faculty Senate.


The Chair announced that everyone should have received an announcement of a special Faculty Senate Meeting on November 10th regarding the proposed restructuring of the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Computational Sciences.  He cited the following statement from the Faculty Handbook, Section 1.3.8 Institutional Evolution:


“Advances in knowledge and changes in the social environment in which the public University operates may make possible and desirable certain organizational arrangements not foreseen in this Handbook, just as institutes were not foreseen or mentioned in the 1985 Faculty Handbook.  Proposals for such changes should be deliberated in a positive and open manner, consistent with the existing principles of University discourse embodied in Sections 1.3.1 through 1.3.7 above.”



IV.       Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs


A.      Academic Policies – Esther Elstun

The Office of the Provost has requested a review of the current rule that limits students on academic probation to a maximum of the thirteen course hours per semester. The next committee meeting will be held Thursday, November 11th at 3:00 p.m. in room A397, Robinson Hall.


                  B.  Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger

Rick Coffinberger and Jim Sanford met with Provost Stearns last Friday.  Topics  addressed included equity and out-of-cycle pay raises.  They also met with Dave Rossell, Associate Provost for Personnel and Budget, regarding the feasibility of faculty receiving retirement contributions for Summer School teaching.  The next Committee meeting will be held November 3rd at 1:30 p.m. in the Finley Building Conference Room. 


C.       Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford

The use of the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators will be considered at the Committee’s next meeting Monday November 15th at 12:00 noon in the Faculty Lounge.


                  D.   Nominations – Lorraine Brown

There were no items to report this month.


                  E.  Organization and Operations – Mike Ferri

The Committee voted not to bring to the Senate the Library staff’s request for representation in the Senate, but librarians are encourage to attend Senate meetings.


V.        New Business


A.      Teacher/Course Evaluation Task Force – Egon Verheyen

At the May Senate meeting the Committee reported that it had designed a new course evaluation form that was being tested in the Spring 2004 semester.  Over two hundred classes participated in this pilot run, and the Committee is now assessing the form’s reliability with an eye to eliminating redundancy in student feedback.


In the Fall 2004 semester, the Committee is looking for faculty volunteers to use both evaluation forms. The revised form will be used on a trial basis again in Spring 2005, and then it will be given over to Institutional Research and Development for possible wide-spread implementation in the 2005-06 academic year.


Professor Verheyen expressed the Committee’s concern that when the current course-evaluation form is used to assess a faculty member’s teaching, too much emphasis is given to the question that asks for the student’s overall rating of the course—a question that measures student satisfaction not teaching quality.  The Provost took exception with this view, asserting that other questions and other indicators of teaching quality are also considered. The Chair inquired whether students expressed a preference for the current or pilot form and suggested the need to gather faculty feedback as well.


B.      College of the Arts and Sciences Restructuring Committee:  Egon Verheyen and Don Gantz

Professor Gantz summarized the charge given to the committees by the Provost:

The committees are not to consider a wider restructuring of the University. Their process should not be hurried. The committees will report their decisions in late spring, 2005. The issue of whether or not to restructure is an open question; it is not a “done deal.”  The committees are not to immerse themselves in practical details but to consider the fundamental question of whether it is advisable to restructure.  If the University decides to restructure, it will not occur prior to Summer 2006.


Regarding the work of the Sciences Committee, Professor Gantz reported that  Maria Dworzecka, Chair of Physics and Astronomy, will serve as chair.  There are three working subcommittees:

1)Subcommittee on Collaboration—will work with the Humanities and Social Sciences Committee on common issues.  A special concern will be the relations between the natural sciences and the social sciences. This subcommittee will also consider how restructuring might impact other schools in the University.

2)Subcommittee on Other Campus Models—will consider the structures of other universities.

3)Subcommittee on External Concerns—will consider the possibility of the  development of rival research centers in Northern Virginia independent of GMU.


Professor Verheyen of the Shared Values Committee reported on several concerns that had arisen in the Committee’s initial deliberations:

--a sense that the “train is leaving” and the Committee can “jump on or be left behind.”

--a fear that that the division of CAS will result in two unequal parts:  the flourishing sciences and the neglected humanities.  The Committee wants to be certain that any restructuring will result in each part remaining equally strong or becoming stronger.

--a concern that the rationale for restructuring—a better integration of the sciences—is not compelling.  A more important question is whether the restructuring will enable the faculty to provide students with a better education.


In response to these presentations, senators raised various concerns:

1) Is there a serious movement to create a rival research center in Northern Virginia?  The Provost responded that last year there was discussion outside of GMU of the possibility either of enhancing GMU’s research programs and their outreach to local industry or of creating a non-GMU public research institution that would collaborate with local industry.  Lloyd Griffiths, Dean of  Information Technology and Engineering, stated that local industry is very supportive of GMU, and he does not believe there is currently any serious likelihood of an outside center being developed.

2) At the last BOV meeting, one Board member seemed to speak in favor of restructuring.  How could a BOV member already have an opinion on this issue?  The Provost responded that he believed the member was not endorsing restructuring but only expressing appreciation for the fact that the faculty was willing to consider the issue.

3) Menas Kafatos, Dean of the School of Computational Sciences, explained that he could not attend the Nov. 10th meeting, so he wished briefly to address the issue of restructuring now.  He urged senators to look to the greater good of the University.  The University is in a very competitive environment and its departments of science, now bifurcated, fail to present a unified front in their external relations. The proposed restructuring will assist the sciences and will not adversely affect the social sciences and humanities. 


 C.   Report on the GMU Foundation – Don Boudreau

                  The Chair announced that this scheduled report is postponed until the Senate’s

                  November 17th meeting as Professor Boudreau was unable to attend today due

                  to illness.


VI.  Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty


A concern was voiced concerning the Resolution regarding Summer School passed at the last (Oct. 6) Senate meeting.   It was asserted that if senior faculty are given full pay for teaching two courses, then LAUs are less able to offer students a variety of new courses and there are fewer teaching opportunities for younger faculty.  In response, it was stated that the Senate has been tracking Summer School revenues for nearly ten years, and that Summer School is highly profitable.  The number of senior faculty teaching two courses does not significantly affect Summer School revenues. The Senate and Provost have agreed to further discuss the issue of summer pay.


The new parking garage is now accepting applications.  There are 1200 spaces, the cost is $375, and applications are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis.


One of the world’s great pianists, Ivo Pogorelich, will perform at the Center for the Arts on Sunday, October 31st at 4:00 p.m.  “Cheap Seats” will likely be available for this performance.


The Chair announced that faculty will soon receive a letter inviting them to join a “Faculty Arts Board” that will promote faculty involvement in the Center for the Arts.


VII.  The meeting adjourned at 3:50 PM.


Respectfully submitted,



David Kuebrich