GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
APRIL 5, 2006
Senators Present: Ernest Barreto, Rei Berroa, Alok Berry, Russ Brayley, Phillip Buchanan, Richard Carver, Julie Christensen, Sara Cobb, Rick Coffinberger, Jose Cortina, Warren Decker, Charlene Douglas, Bob Ehrlich, Karen Hallows, Mark Houck, Dan Joyce, Jim Kozlowski, David Kuebrich, Julie Mahler, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Ami Motro, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Paula Petrik, Larry Rockwood, James Sanford, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, Cliff Sutton, Tojo Thatchenkery, Susan Trencher, Phil Wiest, James Willett, Mary Williams, John Zenelis, Stanley Zoltek.
Senators Absent: Jim Bennett, Lloyd Cohen, Jeffrey Gorrell, Lloyd Griffiths, Kingsley Haynes, Susan Hirsch, Bruce Johnsen, Kristin Johnsen-Neshati, Menas Kafatos, Matthew Karush, Richard Klimoski, Jane McDonald, Alan Merten, Robert Nadeau, Lisa Pawloski, Peter Pober, Daniel Polsby, Jane Razeghi, William Reeder, Joseph Scimecca, Daniele Struppa, June Tangney, Ellen Todd, Shirley Travis, Iosif Vaisman.
Guests Present: Tanith Fowler Corsi (Associate Director, Center for Global Education), Sidney Dewberry (Rector and Chairman, Dewberry), Nancy Dickerson (Director, Academic Advising Center), Patricia Donini (Employee Relations Director and Deputy Director, Human Resources), Donna George (Staff Senate Liaison), Tom Hennessey (Chief of Staff, Office of the President), Robin Herron (Editor, Mason Gazette), Dave Hoffman (Student Government Liaison), Susan Jones (University Registrar), Mark Kidd (Associate Dean for University Life, MAIS-HE), Bridget Miller (Librarians’ Council), Marilyn Mobley (Associate Provost for Education Programs), George Oberle (Librarians' Council) .
I. Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.
II. Approval of Minutes: The minutes were approved as distributed with one correction: Alok Berry was present at the March 8, 2006 meeting.
A. Rector Dewberry: Address to the Senate
Chair Dave Kuebrich introduced Rector Dewberry, chair of the Board of Visitors and university benefactor. Rector Dewberry’s involvement with GMU began in 1980, and was first appointed to the board by Governor Gilmore, and reappointed by Governor Warner for a second term. Board members may serve no more than two four-year terms and Rector Dewberry’s term expires in June, 2007. Rector Dewberry recounted events during his involvement with the GMU including his involvement in the addition of civil engineering (presently Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering (CEIE)) to the School of Information Technology and Engineering in 1987.
In 1998 Rector Dewberry was asked to serve as the volunteer chair of the Capital Campaign in 1998. As of last year, $142,000,000 was raised, surpassing the initial goal of $100,000, which was later raised to $110,000. During his tenure Rector Dewberry supported the appointment of faculty representatives to the Faculty and Academic Standard Committee of the Board of Visitors, as well as a separate tenure-track for teaching ( a proposal by the Board of Visitors which did not get final university approval).
Present plans are for the BOV to select several areas of excellence to support with additional funding. Rector Dewberry noted that this was done several years ago with the School of Law, which has now attained Tier 1 in the U.S. News and World Report’s annual survey.
During Rector Dewberry’s tenure enrollment has grown from 24,000 to 33,000 students; the number of degree granting programs increased from 113 to 148 and the total budget increased from $280,000,000 to $529,000,000. Five buildings are currently under construction. Several prominent scholars have been added to the faculty. Additionally, while the BOV denied a request by the Faculty Senate for a non-voting representative, the BOV took the step of inviting faculty elected representatives to serve on each of their standing committees. At present the five representatives to the BOV standing committees are Don Boileau, Rick Coffinberger, Mark Houck, Evans Mandes, and Toni-Michelle Travis.
Finally Rector Dewberry referred to some negative events over the past seven years, including the Censure of the BOV by the Faculty Senate for its intervention in the General Education curriculum. More recently the success of the GMU basketball team has provided positive national and international coverage. In Rector Dewberry’s view there is high morale and an extraordinary amount of goodwill and happiness despite the present salary situation. In his conclusion Rector Dewberry thanked the audience for supporting him during his term as Rector, and stated that he has been proud to serve the university.
B. Update re Nominations to BOV Audit Committee: No further information available at this time.
C. Faculty Handbook Revision Committee Update – Rick Coffinberger
Chair Coffinberger noted that the committee has been trying to meet bi-weekly and in April they have scheduled three meetings to keep up with this “monumental task.” The Chair expressed his disappointment that the President and Provost have remained unwilling to provide any release time or summer stipend for members of the Committee although this task has already required a great deal of time, and will require meetings in the summer during which time faculty does not get paid.
D. Human Resources Update – Jim Sanford: Open enrollment period for flexible reimbursement accounts begins April 14th. These accounts must be renewed in order to continue coverage.
E. Task Force to Consider Salary Issues/Retirement Policy Update – Rick Coffinberger:
The Task Force on Salary Issues has met twice to date and is still in the data gathering stage. All faculty is encouraged to attend the special meeting of the Faculty Senate on April 19, 2006 at which time an initial report will be presented. The Chair expressed concern that the work of the Task Force has been impeded by the refusal of the Provost to provide access to an identified database regarding administrative salaries at U.S. colleges and universities to which the university has access.
Retirement Policy Update: The Chair expressed his personal disappointment in the results of a recent meeting attended by Faculty Senate representatives Dave Kuebrich , Jim Sanford, Rick Coffinberger and administrative representatives Provost Stearns, Linda Harber (Assistant Vice President for Human Resources/Payroll), and Maurice Scherrens (Senior Vice President). Several months of meetings between senate representatives and administration appointed representatives, Linda Harbor, and David Rossell (Associate Provost) resulted in agreement on recommendations forwarded to the Provost and Vice President Scherrens. At the meeting the recommendations which had been some months in the making were unilaterally set aside and a significantly different and less generous policy was substituted.
One ex-officio member of the Senate expressed concern about the Chair’s lack of presentation of the Provost’s point of view on the issues presented in the Chair’s report.
A. Academic Policies – Cliff Sutton: Two motions were submitted regarding the academic calendar (Attachment A – Agenda). Due to recent concerns raised by science faculty in reference to lab sessions (changes to the calendar would in five partial week scheduling for the labs, an untenable situation); as well as scheduling of Global Education programs led Chair Sutton to withdraw the motion. A final report will be made at the May meeting, but changes to the calendar (which currently exists in official form through Spring 2007) are now unlikely.
B. Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger: The following resolution was presented:
RESOLUTION ENDORSING THE PRESIDENT’S LIBRARY TASK FORCE REPORT & RECOMMENDATIONS
WHEREAS the University Libraries must engage in and build upon initiatives that contribute to the attainment of George Mason University’s vision through 2010 and beyond,
WHEREAS the University Libraries need increased funding for improved facilities, expanded collections, and additional staff,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate endorses the President’s Library Task Force Report and its recommendations to increase support for the research and teaching mission of the University.
Summary of President’s Library Task Force Recommendations are available for review below:
The resolution passed unanimously by voice vote.
1. The Chair reported that the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators Survey will be sent out by the end of the week. Senators are asked to strongly urge instructional faculty to participate. The letter accompanying the survey will include a website where administrators’ 2005 activity reports are posted. Completed form can be returned (a) in an envelope included in the evaluation packet or (b) by giving the form to a member of the Faculty Matters Committee, or (c) hand delivered to the staff secretary of the Faculty Senate. Faculty must sign across the back of the envelope or show identification to Faculty Matters Committee Members of the Faculty Senate staff secretary if asked. These options have been provided to encourage faculty to participate with anonymity which has been a source of concern to the faculty in the past. On this point it was reported that The School of Information Technology and Engineering conducted its own administrative evaluation survey last year; with a return rate close to 90%. The survey was entirely anonymous; using non-duplicable paper.
Last year’s FEA response rate was 41%; we hope for a higher rate this year as both the Law School and the College of Nursing and Health Science had new deans which were not included in last year’s evaluation which may have been a disincentive. It was also clarified that only School/College are requested, not specific department.
2.In a follow up to his report at last month’s meeting Chairman Sanford reported on Criminal Background Checks discussed at the last meeting. The Chair was asked to look into exempting convictions based on social protests from the reporting requirement. The head of Human Resources Linda Harber responded that while it is hard to exempt specific types of convictions the issue will be placed on a list of items to be discussed after a two-three month trial period with the reporting policy. At this time there are no exemptions.
D.Nominations – Jim Bennett: No report this month.
E. Organization and Operations – Rei Berroa: Letters to the deans regarding their allocation of Senators for 2006-2007 were mailed March 24. They deadline for notification of the names of new Senators is May 1st.
A. Parking Update – Josh Cantor, Director of Parking and Transportation
Josh came to GMU last spring with the creation of a separate parking and transportation office which was previously under John Spaldo. To establish consistency in policy and procedures, a true payroll deduction permit will be implemented in Fall, 2006; a monthly permit in which you pay the same amount each month will be pro-rated as necessary, non-expiring and will replace annual permits. Permits will need to be reissued every 2-3 years as an anti-fraud measure. Details, such as differences between 9 month and 12 month payments to be standardized by the payroll department, remain to be worked out.
Mr. Cantor announced that Lot B will be closed later this fall (September/October) for the construction of Academic VI; which will result in major changes to parking habits. The area fenced off in Lot G is used for construction workers’ parking. Faculty noted that many hours are wasted looking for parking. While there is under-utilized parking areas, spaces are further removed from the main campus areas with the exception of parking decks which require a greater expenditure on the part of faculty.
All faculty are encouraged to attend our next meeting (April 19th), we will have a full and frank dialogue about salaries at this university, a topic important for faculty morale, image, and definition of a public university.
VIII. Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 4:13 p.m.