FEBRUARY 22, 2006

Robinson Hall, room B113; 3:00 p.m.


Senators Present:  Ernest Barreto, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Russ Brayley, Phillip Buchanan, Richard Carver, Julie Christensen, Rick Coffinberger, Lloyd Cohen, Charlene Douglas, Karen Hallows, Susan Hirsch, Mark Houck, Dan Joyce, David Kuebrich, Julie Mahler, Jane McDonald, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Ami Motro, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Paula Petrik, Peter Pober, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, Cliff Sutton,  June Tangney, Tojo Thatchenkery, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Phil Wiest, Mary Williams, Stanley Zoltek.


Senators Absent:  Rei Berroa, Sara Cobb, Jose Cortina, Warren Decker, Bob Ehrlich, Jeffrey Gorrell, Lloyd Griffiths, Kingsley Haynes, Bruce Johnsen, Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, Menas Kafatos, Matthew Karush, Richard Klimoski, Jim Kozlowski, Alan Merten, Robert Nadeau, Lisa Pawloski, Daniel Polsby, Jane Razeghi, William Reeder, Kenneth Reinert, Larry Rockwood, James Sanford, Joseph Scimecca, Christine Smith, Daniele Struppa, Ellen Todd, Shirley Travis, James Willett, John Zenelis.


Guests Present:  Lorraine Brown (Professor of English and President, GMU Chapter, AUUP) Pat Donini (Employee Relations Director and Deputy Director, Human Resources/Payroll), Donna George (Staff Senate Liaison), Dolores Gomez-Roman (Ombudsman, Student Academic Affairs), Linda Harber (Assistant Vice President for Human Resources/Payroll), Robin Herron (Editor, Mason Gazette), Dave Hoffman (Student Government Liaison), Susan Jones (University Registrar), Mark Kidd (Associate Dean for University Life and Director, Student Activities), Bridget Miller (Librarians’ Council), Marilyn Mobley (Associate Provost for Education Programs), George Oberle (Librarians’ Council), Della Patrick (Staff Senate Liaison), Ryan Pettit (Student Senate), Bill Sutton (Associate Chair, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering), Jacob Weiman (Student Senate).


I.                   Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:02 p.m.


II.                Approval of Minutes:  The minutes of February 1, 2006 were approved as distributed.


III.             Announcements:  Cost of Living Adjustment for Faculty and Staff:  David Kuebrich

With regret the Senate Chair announced that the COLA did not even make it out of committee in Richmond.  He thanked all the Senators and other faculty who wrote letters in support of the legislation (over 900 letters were sent) and noted efforts by the Staff Senate and Librarians’ Council who also conducted letter writing campaigns and the administration’s production of a brochure to justify the COLA.


The AAUP and the Faculty Senate of Virginia report that legislators will ask SCHEV to review peer institutions for each school.  This has become especially important given the salary situation for faculty which is considered to be even worse than expected. Although we are at the 60th percentile in our peer group our purchasing power is clearly dead last.  In the Chair’s view the COLA, including a lobbying effort by the administration, faculty, and Board of Visitors, should begin at once and continue as our first priority for next year.


IV.              Old Business:  None.


V.                 Reports of the Senate Standing Committee Chairs


A.   Academic Policies – Cliff Sutton

1.  Academic Calendar (discussed at the end of the meeting, but included here as position on agenda)

As discussed last month, the committee compiled all the input received over the past year and a half and formed three proposals ( ).  Cliff displayed the following chart which illustrates that in Proposal 3 that the winter break would not be dramatically shortened:


day of week
for Jan 1

date for

1st day of classes
under current policy

1st day of classes
under proposed policy



Mon 1/24

Thu 1/20



Mon 1/23

Thu 1/19



Mon 1/22

Thu 1/18



Tue 1/22

Tue 1/22



Tue 1/21

Tue 1/21



Tue 1/20

Tue 1/20



Tue 1/19

Tue 1/19

Professor Sutton reported that most faculty members are against shortening the winter break, time they reported using for research and writing.  A suggestion that spring break be coordinated with that of the public school system raised concerns about (1) the difficulty with coordinating with multiple school systems as well as the impact on overseas studies program and winter break course offerings. Questions were raised regarding the effect of Wednesday or Thursday start days on M-W, T-R course schedules, as well as on Monday lab courses as well as student attendance.  Discussion included ways to incorporate family friendly policies.

A series of “straw polls” were conducted regarding various alternatives.

A. To begin the spring semester as early as January 11th:  For: 8, Opposed 21.

B.  To coordinate spring break with the spring public school schedule affecting the majority of students and faculty:  For: 7, Opposed: 15.

C.  A week off at Thanksgiving (e.g. Virginia Tech and University of Virginia) by removing Columbus Day and Labor Day holidays:  For: 2   Opposed: unknown number, remainder of those voting.

 D.  To keep the schedule the same as present:  For: 7, Opposed: 13 votes (possible changes unspecified).

 Ryan Pettit and Jacob Weiman from the Student Senate reported that they have been working closely with Cliff Sutton and Peter Pober on this issue.  Suggested changes that all met with strong student support included: (1) beginning spring term before Martin Luther King Day, (2) beginning the fall term earlier, (3) moving the Labor Day holiday to Columbus Day in order to have a four-day weekend. Student concern focused on obtaining the largest number of reading days possible each semester.

Donna George and Della Patrick from the Staff Senate reported that there was strong opposition among staff to giving up the Labor Day holiday.  Beginning classes earlier in August or earlier in January is not an issue.  Registrar Susan Jones added that any changes could not occur prior to the Fall 2007 academic calendar at the earliest. A suggestion that classes be held on Labor Day without staff present was not supported.

Chair of Academic Policies Cliff Sutton requested that everyone continue to send the committee more information and input.


2.   Motion to revise “Periods of Academic Suspension” GMU Catalog, p. 38.



On page 38 of the 2005 catalog, under "Periods of Academic Suspension," replace "Students" with "Students in degree status" at the beginning of the first sentence. Also include the following additional paragraph under the same header:

Non-degree undergraduate students placed on suspension have no specified rights of return to the university. Non-degree students who have been suspended and who wish to resume their studies after a period of absence must qualify for readmission through the Office of Admissions.



The Academic Procedures Advisory Committee (APAC), a group of Assistant/Associate Deans and administrators chaired by Susan Jones (Registrar), recommended that the Faculty Senate clarify the sanctions for suspended non-degree undergraduate students. Currently, the GMU catalog contains no specific information regarding such students.

Specifically, the APAC recommended that suspended non-degree undergraduate students not be granted the specified rights of return for suspended degree-seeking undergraduates. (Degree-seeking undergraduates have the right to resume their studies after serving specified periods of suspension, with the length of the suspension dependent on whether it is a first or a second suspension.) Non-degree students, who do not face the same admissions standards as degree-seeking students, should be reevaluated before being able to register for additional classes, and should not automatically be allowed second and third chances based on their original acceptance as a non-degree student.


The motion passed unanimously by voice vote.


B.     Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger

1.  Salary Data Update:  Four tables of new salary information for 9 month instructional faculty, 12 month instructional faculty, research faculty, and administrative faculty are scheduled to be posted on Friday.  Each table contains salary data collected from 2000-2006 as well as two new columns defining the amount of raise received in  2006 and percentage of salary increase.    Stipends were added to the data as received from Human Resources.  To the best of our knowledge, stipends from the Foundation to faculty have been added.


2.  Retirement Policy Update:  A penultimate final draft on retirement policy has been prepared and is being reviewed by the Provost and others before circulation to the faculty.  It is anticipated that it will be presented to the Board of Visitors for approval by the end of the semester.  The proposed policy does not cover full-time instructors.


C.     Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford:  No action items this month.


D.    Nominations – James Bennett:

1.  Grievance Committee:  John Crockett (to replace Linda Samuels)

2.  Grievance Committee:  Cynthia Lont (to replace Sheryl Friedley)

Two names were placed in nomination to replace two members of the Grievance Committee currently on leave.  No further nominations were made from the floor. Both nominations were approved unanimously by voice vote.


E.      Organization and Operations – Rei Berroa:  Suzanne Slayden reporting for the committee introduced Ernie Barreto, who presented the allocation of Senate seats for the 2005-2006 academic year:


  1. The Senate Charter states in section I.B. that “By March 1st of each academic year, the Senate Committee on Organization and Operations shall establish the representation from each unit….”


  1. The results are as follows:
    1. Most notable change: CAS + SCS = COS + CLAHS – Social work, which will go to the College of Nursing & Health Science.

Result: 23 CAS & 2 SCS senators become 18 CLAHS and 7 COS senators. No change to Nursing.


    1. Also: ICAR and Krasnow individually do not meet the threshold requirement as defined in Section I.B.1. of the Charter. Thus, they are pooled into a single collegiate unit for the purposes of allocating Senate seats.

Result: ICAR and Krasnow together get one senator to represent them.


    1. No changes to the other units.


  1. Allocations are based on instructional FTE numbers provided to the Committee by Jang Wan Ko (Ph.D.) of Institutional Research and Reporting. Data used in the calculation are the official census data as of Fall 2005, the most recent official instructional FTE data available.


The Senate Charter reads: “The number of senators representing each collegiate unit… shall be determined… based on the [FTE size] on February 1st of each year….”


Dr. Ko advised against using data as of February 1st because they are unofficial, incomplete and incorrect. Currently, official census data are released in November and March (“around the 15th”). The Committee thus interpreted the Charter to mean “the official data available as of February 1”.


An appropriate amendment to the Charter to clarify this issue will be introduced at a later date.


  1. The Senate Charter also states in Section I.B. that “The directors of the independent institutes shall designate one of their number annually to serve on the Senate.” This is consistent with the description of the ex-officio members listed in Section I.A. Thus, the directors of ICAR and Krasnow will together determine who will act as the ex-officio member representative.

Apportionment of Elected Senators for 2006/2007






College of Liberal Arts & Human Sciences




College of Science




College of Visual and Performing Arts




College of Education & Human Development




School of Information Technology & Engineering




School of Law




School of Management




College of Nursing and Health Science




School of Public Policy




Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution AND Krasnow Inst.





Total: 50



From the Senate Charter

I. Membership of the Faculty Senate

A. Members

President of the University
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
The Deans of the Colleges and Independent Schools
One Independent Institute Director designated by the
Directors of the Independent Institutes
Director of the University Libraries
Fifty Faculty Members Elected from the Collegiate Units

B. Apportionment of Elected Senators

The number of Senators representing each collegiate unit (College, Independent Unit or Unit Pool) shall be determined according to the principle of proportionality, based on the full-time equivalent size of the Instructional Faculty of each Collegiate Unit or Institute Pool on February 1st of each year, with the following restrictions:

l. The threshold size for any collegiate unit to receive its own individual allocation of Senate seats is set at the total University Instructional FTE divided by 50. In the instance that this ratio is not an integer it will be rounded up to obtain the threshold size. Instructional faculty refers to full time and part time faculty with support from appropriated funds. All independent Collegiate Units, Institutes, or Academic Units which do not individually equal or exceed the threshold size will be pooled into a single collegiate unit for the purposes of allocating Senate seats.

2. No collegiate unit will have more than 25 Senate seats. In the event that one collegiate unit exceeds 50% of the total FTE, then the threshold size will be calculated on the total FTE of the reminding collegiate units divided by 25.

By March 1st of each academic year, the Senate Committee on Organization and Operations shall establish the representation from each unit on the basis of the figures provided by the Administration. Elections shall follow by May 1st.

The Directors of the Independent Institutes shall designate one of their number annually to serve on the Senate.

VI.  New Business


A.  Motion to create an Ad Hoc Committee to review the Faculty Evaluation Form:  Motion withdrawn by Susan Trencher will be resubmitted at our next meeting.


B.  Update from Technology Policy Committee – Stanley Zoltek

In April the Faculty Senate Technology Policy Committee and ITU will conduct faculty focus groups to get feedback for use in preparing long-range budget requests and improving teaching support. Storage capacity of GMU email accounts was recently increased.


C.  Faculty Housing – Mark Houck

Professor Houck serves as the faculty representative to the Faculty/Staff Housing Work Group established in January 2006 as well as the faculty representative on the Land Use and Facilities Committee of the Board of Visitors.  Brief history of Faculty/Staff Housing plans at GMU: Provost Peter Stearns raised the idea of providing faculty and staff housing (as other universities do in high priced areas) over two years ago because of difficulties in attracting faculty to the university.  A feasibility study was completed by consultants in July 2005; the work group includes Studley, a commercial real estate firm; Brailsford and Dunleavy, facility planning and program management and University representatives Maurice Scherrens, (Senior Vice President), Linda Harber (Assistant VP for Human Resources/Payroll), John Spaldo (Assistant VP for University Services), David Rossell (Associate Provost for Personnel and Budget), Tom Calhoun (Acting VP for Facilities), Janet Walker (Administrative Assistant and Staff Representative), and Professor Mark Houck as Faculty Representative.


The Virginia Public Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act (PPEA) allows public-private partnerships.  Some private financing for this project is anticipated. The advantages to state agencies include assets acquired with limited upfront capital, shortened project delivery cycle, and qualifications based partnership selection.  There are three PPEA opportunities under consideration: 1) Faculty/Staff Housing; 2) Hotel/Conference Center; 3) Retirement Community.  At this time few details are available about the latter two proposals. In the case of Faculty/Staff Housing  Torti Gallas (Architect) and Clark Realty (Construction) will also serve on the partnership team. Contract actions will begin with an interim agreement (March 2006) later followed by a comprehensive agreement (September 2006); delivery of the first units anticipated in Fall 2007 at the earliest.


According to the goals as set out by the university, the objectives in providing faculty and staff housing are (1) to improve recruitment and retention by providing below market for-sale and rental housing, and (2) to increase revenue for the university.  A survey distributed last year was used to assert that demand exists.  Currently a total of 400 units are proposed, the first of which (100 units) will be built in Fairfax, and include a mix of single family homes, townhouses, bungalows, and apartments. 


Questions for the future include:  Where to build? What type and what quantity of units?  What are the conditions/contracts for rental and sale? Who is permitted to rent or buy?  At what price?  How are start-up issues to be resolved? How would future options be preserved? (e.g. how is turnover ensured?)

Discussion was terminated due to time constraints but the Chair, noting the interest of members of the Faculty Senate, proposed further discussion and opportunity for questions at a future meeting (date undetermined).


VII:  Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 4:22 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Susan Trencher


Faculty Senate