MAY 2, 2007


Senators Present:  Ernest Barreto, Sheryl Beach, Kristine Bell, James Bennett, Alok Berry, Deborah Boehm-Davis, Russ Brayley, Lorraine Brown, Phillip Buchanan, Frieda Butler, Sandra Cheldelin, Julie Christensen, Sara Cobb, Rick Coffinberger, Lloyd Cohen, Jose Cortina, Warren Decker, Jane Flinn, Allison Frendak, Karen Hallows, Mark Houck, Dmitrios Ioannou, James Kozlowski, David Kuebrich, Jane McDonald, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Paula Petrik, Peter Pober, Jane Razeghi, Larry Rockwood, James Sanford, Joseph Scimecca, Suzanne Slayden, Ray Sommer, Peter Stearns, Cliff Sutton, June Tangney, Ellen Todd, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Phillip Wiest, James Willett, Mary Williams, Jennie Wu, John Zenelis, Stanley Zoltek.


Senators Absent:  Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Jeffrey Gorrell, Lloyd Griffiths, Kingsley Haynes, Dan Joyce, Matthew Karush, Richard Klimoski, Howard Kurtz, Alan Merten, Robert Nadeau, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Ilya Somin, Shirley Travis.


Visitors Present:  Pat Donini, Deputy Director, Human Resources and Payroll; John Euliano, University Libraries/Librarians’ Council; Laurie Fathe, Associate Provost for Educational Improvement and Innovation; Andrew Flagel, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Development and Dean of Admissions; Robin Herron, Editor, Mason Gazette, Susan Jones, University Registrar; Marilyn Mobley, Associate Provost for Educational Programs; Ilse Riddick, Compensation Manager, Human Resources and Payroll. 


I.                   Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m.


II.                Approval of the Minutes of April 4, 2007:  The minutes were approved as distributed.


III.             Announcements

Senator Jane McDonald, co-chair of the Effective Teaching Committee, announced the winners of the Teaching Excellence Awards for 2007.  According to the Provost in a statement made last year, the Teaching Excellence Awards initiated in 1994 is the highest award the university can give. Term Assistant Professor (New Century College) Suzanne Scott is present today.  Other winners are: Lisa Bauman, Adjunct Professor of History and Art History; Lisa Koch, Term Assistant Professor in the Department of English; Odette Willis, Term Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing; and Paige Wolf, Term Assistant Professor in the School of Management.  On behalf of all our colleagues in the Faculty Senate and in the University, congratulations on a job well done!


IV.  Unfinished Business – None.


V.  New Business – Committee Reports

A. Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee – Suzanne Slayden, Chair.




WHEREAS Sidney Dewberry has been actively involved in the affairs of George Mason University for decades; and


WHEREAS Sidney Dewberry has served as a member of the University's Board of Visitors for eight years and as Rector of the Board of Visitors for the past two years; and


WHEREAS, as Rector, Sidney Dewberry played a major role in enhancing communication between the Board of Visitors and the Faculty by permitting Faculty to serve on the committees of the Board of Visitors; and


WHEREAS Sidney Dewberry has given generously and tirelessly of his time, energy, and effort to enhance the University and has made significant contributions to the University Foundation's Comprehensive Campaign;


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Faculty Senate that the Secretary of the Senate be directed to send this Senate Resolution and a letter on behalf of the Faculty of the University not only expressing sincere appreciation and grateful thanks to Rector Dewberry for all his contributions to George Mason University but also indicating the desire of the Faculty that Sidney Dewberry maintain close ties to George Mason University in the future.


The resolution was approved unanimously by voice vote.




WHEREAS Aldona Gozikowski (aka "Mrs. G") has faithfully and selflessly served George Mason University's Faculty, administrators, and students for decades and has contributed significantly to the institution over the years in many capacities; and


WHEREAS Aldona has been especially helpful to Chairs of the Faculty Senate and, indeed, a friend to all Faculty; and


WHEREAS Aldona has now retired and will be greatly missed by the University community,


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT THE FACULTY SENATE expresses its grateful thanks to Mrs. G for all her efforts over the years to make George Mason University a better place and extends best wishes to her for a well-deserved and pleasant retirement.


The resolution was approved unanimously by voice vote. It was further noted that Aldona’s husband Richard passed away this morning.


Academic Policies Committee – Cliff Sutton, Chair

Summer Session scheduling addressed several problems regarding three credit courses.  Problems that had to be addressed included, but were not limited to, no time between final lecture and final exam,  and fewer than required lab sessions.


Motion:  Send the proposed amendment of the Honor Code, with the endorsement of the Faculty Senate, to the Honor Committee for their consideration.


Multiple Submissions: Multiple submission is defined as academic work originally created by the student that is presented to more than one instructor in fulfillment of course requirements, at this or any other academic institution.  Students are required to notify and seek the permission of any instructors for whom they plan to submit the same or only slightly modified work.  It is the instructor’s prerogative to decide if this is an acceptable academic practice for their course and may require work created uniquely for and presented singularly to them. 


Rationale:  In the interest of promoting academic integrity and an outstanding level of consistent scholarly standards, this motion will be presented to the Honor Code Committee for potential inclusion in the University Honor Code.  Some faculty members have expressed concern that some students assume it is an acceptable academic practice to present the same work to multiple professors.  This addition requires the students’ honorable responsibility to acknowledge this intention and to seek the approval of any professors involved.  It also empowers the discretion of the individual professor to decide if this is acceptable within the context of their course


A Senator inquired what would happen should the Honor Code Committee not accept the recommendation; Professor Sutton responded it would be returned to the Academic Policies Committee.  The motion was passed unanimously by voice vote.


Budget and Resources Committee – Phil Buchanan, Chair

The Committee met earlier today and considered Fenwick Fellow Award applications.  Recommendations were made and recipients for AY 2007-2008 will be announced shortly.


Faculty Matters Committee – Jim Sanford, Chair

The return rate for Faculty Evaluation of Administrators Surveys is about 28-30%, lower than the same time last year.  Professor Sanford encouraged faculty who have not yet completed their surveys to do so.  In response to a question raised about how the information is used, Provost Stearns responded that the results are taken into consideration for annual evaluation of administrators (including salary determination) as one factor among several.  The Provost publicly expressed concern that if the response percentage is too low enough he hesitates to use them in evaluation so encouraged faculty to respond. 


Motion:  Tenure Clock Extension for New Parents


A tenure track faculty member who becomes the parent of a child by birth or by adoption will be entitled to a one-year extension of the term in which she or he is currently employed.  This extension will be granted automatically upon the faculty member’s notifying in writing the chair of the department or the dean/director of the college, school or institute in which the faculty member serves.  The faculty member should make the request within one year of the child’s arrival in the family and prior to September 1 of the academic year in which the tenure decision would have been made.


A faculty member is limited to a maximum of two years of automatic extensions of term during the time she or he is serving in tenure track status.  A faculty member who declines to request an extension remains eligible for later extensions up to the two-year maximum.  Multiple births or multiple adoptions at the same time result in the same one-year extension right as single births or adoptions.  At the time of tenure consideration, a faculty member who has received an extension or extensions will be considered using the same tenure criteria as those applied to other faculty in the college, school, or institute.   Extensions due to parenthood are independent of study leaves.





AAUP recommends that tenure-track faculty who become new parents be allowed up to two one-year extensions of the tenure clock.  The full policy is described in the Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work.  A summary relevant to the tenure clock issue was published in AAUP Today, 2(1), (fall, 2002).  It reads


The new statement recommends that, upon request, faculty members who are primary or coequal caregivers of newborn or newly adopted children be entitled to stop the tenure clock or extend the probationary period, with or without taking a full or partial leave of absence.  The statement recommends that institutions allow the probationary period to be extended for up to one year for each child, and further recommends that faculty be allowed to stop the clock only twice, resulting in no more than two one-year extensions of the probationary period.


A search of university websites and e-mail discussions with university faculty and administrators have shown that extensions of the tenure clock for birth or adoption are common at many universities, either through formal policy or tradition.  The following are examples:



It was noted by the Committee that this proposal is similar to policies at Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland that include up to two automatic one-year extensions and is also consistent with AAUP proposal. 


Provost Stearns expressed concern about the second automatic one-year extension noting that it could work to the detriment of the institution since in a combination of circumstances someone could stay on for 7-8 years.  It should be made clear that there are situations in which taking the 2nd year extension would be appropriate. The revised text appears in bold below.  The proposed amendments were seconded.

Provost Stearns moved to amend the motion by inserting the word “automatic” in the first sentence between the words “one-year” and “extension” and by substituting the words “ one automatic extension” for the words “a maximum of two years of automatic extensions” in the first sentence of the second paragraph so that the motion would read:

A tenure track faculty member who becomes the parent of a child by birth or by adoption will be entitled to a one-year automatic extension of the term in which she or he is currently employed.  This extension will be granted automatically upon the faculty member’s notifying in writing the chair of the department or the dean/director of the college, school or institute in which the faculty member serves.  The faculty member should make the request within one year of the child’s arrival in the family and prior to September 1 of the academic year in which the tenure decision would have been made.

A faculty member is limited to one automatic extension of term during the time she or he is serving in tenure track status.  A faculty member who declines to request an extension remains eligible for later extensions up to the two-year maximum.  Multiple births or multiple adoptions at the same time result in the same one-year extension right as single births or adoptions.  At the time of tenure consideration, a faculty member who has received an extension or extensions will be considered using the same tenure criteria as those applied to other faculty in the college, school, or institute.   Extensions due to parenthood are independent of study leaves.

The proposed amendments were seconded.


Senators expressed concern that both the interests of the institution and the faculty be served in this policy.


The Chair of the Faculty Matters Committee expressed two concerns: (1) The AAUP wording differs from that proposed and (2) there has been some institutional history of differential treatment for faculty as members of different university units.  Further, some policies at other universities encompass other things such as family member illness. 


Other discussion focused on issues including instances in which individuals “suddenly” become parents (e.g. in cases of adoption); grandparents taking care of infant grandchildren, etc.  The Provost stated that faculty need to make a case and make application which would be considered, but leave is not automatically granted.

The motion to amend was approved.

The motion as amended was approved. 

Nominations Committee – Jim Bennett, Chair

The Nominations Committee is conducting the elections for Faculty Representatives to BOV Committees.  Voting closes at 5:00 p.m. today.


B.     Other Committees – No reports.


C. Annual Reports


Faculty Senate Standing Committee Annual Reports 2006-2007


1.   Academic Policies – Cliff Sutton, Chair

Committee Members:  Julie Christensen, Dan Joyce, Peter Pober, and James Willett

The Academic Policies Committee met two times during the academic year 2006-2007 and used e-mail to take care of a lot of business when it was not practical to meet face-to-face. The committee completed the items of business indicated below.

  1. We performed the annual review of catalog copy relevant to academic policies.
  2. We moved that some slight changes concerning requirements for retention for undergraduate students be made in the GMU catalog. (See the minutes of the 11/29/06 meeting for details.) The motion passed.
  3. We moved that undergraduate students should not be allowed to count credits earned on a S/NC basis towards a minor or certificate. (See the minutes of the 1/24/07 meeting for details.) The motion passed.
  4. We investigated the initiative to increase MWF classes. We concluded that there is no good alternative to the proposed plans, and encourage concerned faculty to communicate with their representatives on the Classroom Advisory Committee. (See report on this matter attached to the minutes of the April 4 meeting.)
  5. We considered a proposal to increase the number of courses which can be counted towards both majors by students doing a double major. It was determined that the present policy regarding this matter should not be changed.
  6. We moved that absence from class due to participation in university activities be treated the same as absence due to religious observance. (See the minutes of the 4/04/07 meeting for details.) The motion passed.
  7. We will move at the Senate's May 2 meeting that the Faculty Senate recommend that the Honor Committee modify the Honor Code to make it so that students must notify instructors if they wish to submit work previously submitted for another class, and instructors have the right to require that students submit work created just for their class.
  8. We will give some information at the May 2 meeting about improved Summer Session scheduling.

There are no items which will carry over to the next academic year.

2.  Budget and Resources – Phil Buchanan, Chair

Committee Members:  Rick Coffinberger, Karen Hallows, Joe Scimecca, and Ray Sommer

The Budget and Resources Committee, composed of senators Buchanan, Coffinberger, Hallows, Scimecca and Sommer, met six times in the academic year.  Among the accomplishments of the committee were the following:


3.  Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford, Chair

Committee Members:  Warren Decker, Patricia Moyer-Packenham, Jane Razeghi, Larry Rockwood

The committee met four times and conducted numerous other discussions over e-mail.  The following summarizes committee activities this academic year.


4.  Nominations – Jim Bennett, Chair

Committee Members:  Mark Houck, Linda Monson, Jane Razeghi, Phil Wiest

The Nominations Committee found candidates to fill all vacancies on Senate Standing Committees, University Committees, Task Forces, and Work Groups and to represent the Faculty in other circumstances as needed.


5.  Organization and Operations – Lorraine Brown, Chair

Committee Members:  Ernest Barreto, Alok Berry, Jean Moore, June Tangney

During the fall semester of 2006, the O&O Committee had no chair and the Committee did not meet. During the spring semester of 2007, Lorraine Brown was elected chair of the O&O Committee. The work of the committee focused on Ernest Barreto's report on apportionment of seats in the Faculty Senate.


University Standing Committee Annual Reports 2006-2007


1.  Academic Appeals – Peter Pober, Chair

Committee Members:  Pamela Cangelosi, Julie Christensen, Lloyd Cohen, Michael Hurley, Ellen Todd

Our Committee heard no cases during the past academic year (as of April 13, 2007).  We did meet to elect a chair, but were offered no appeals to discuss.


2.  Admissions – Kelly Dunne, Chair

Committee Members:  Rose Brenkus, Karen Hallows, Dan Joyce, Ramon Planas, Eddie Tallent, Charles Thomas

In the 2007-2008 academic year, the committee met to discuss the new Mason Admissions policy of “score optional consideration.”  Eddie Tallent explained the policy, clearing up some misconceptions held by committee members, and the committee shared their findings with the Faculty Senate chair.  The chair of the committee met with Andrew Flagel, Dean of Admissions, and Eddie Tallent, the Executive Director of Undergraduate Admission, to discuss the relationship between Mason’s Office of Admission and the university’s Admissions Committee. 


3.  Athletic Council – Linda Miller, Chair

Committee Members:  Bob Baker, Sharon deMonsabert, Gerald Hanweck, Phil Wiest


2007 Report to the Faculty Senate by the Faculty Athletic Representative


The Athletic Council met in October, February and April this year to provide information to members about NCAA issues, academic support services and the performance of our student-athletes. Subcommittees met separately to conduct business relative to the committee’s work and discuss the following areas:


I.                               General Oversight Subcommittee

The renovation of the Physical Education Building is scheduled for early summer.  Academic Support Services will move temporarily into the Field House trailer.  Team practice schedules and availability of shower and locker facilities will be disrupted.  The renovation should be completed in 18 months.


The committee reviewed the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) report and Mason is in compliance with the gender/equity ratio. (General Oversight Subcommittee Spring 2007 Report)


Academic Integrity Subcommittee

The Academic Recovery Program for those teams that fell below the NCAA Division I 2004-05 Academic Progress Rate (APR) 925 cut-point has been reviewed by the committee and is in place.  The 2005-06 NCAA Division 1 APR included five teams (Men’s Cross-Country, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track, Women’s Softball and Men’s Volleyball) that fell below the cut-point, but were within the confidence interval.  Therefore no team is subject to penalty.      


The committee continued its review of Academic Support Services with the distribution of a questionnaire regarding the effectiveness of Academic Support Services provided by the Athletic Department and by the University.  Student-athletes are in the process of completing the questionnaire.  The data will be analyzed and a report will be sent to the NCAA in early Fall 2007. (Academic Integrity Subcommittee Spring 2007 Report)


In response to a request from the Colonial Academic Alliance, the committee worked on an attendance policy regarding absences due to participation in university activities such as athletic competitions.  The policy was approved by the committee and forwarded to the Academic Policies Committee of the Faculty Senate for consideration.

                *Special thanks to Cliff Sutton, members of the Academic Policies Committee, and members of the Faculty Senate for the recently approved student attendance policy.    


Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee

The committee focused primarily on procedures for monitoring rules compliance by coaches and procedures for determining student-athlete academic eligibility.  The committee met with Paul Bowden, the Director of Compliance for Intercollegiate Athletics who summarized the services provided to coaches including monthly reviews and updates of the rules.  The committee also met with Nilaya Baccus-Hairston, the Associate Registrar for Certification, who monitors eligibility as well as the academic performance of all scholarship student-athletes for the Academic Progress Report.  Because of the substantial time commitment the committee recommends hiring an assistant to aid in the eligibility certification process. The committee believes rules compliance and student eligibility processes are well-managed and that appropriate control by the university is in effect.  (Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee Report Spring 2007) 


            *At the Athletic Council meeting on April 20, 2007 the Vice-Provost for Academic Affairs announced that the committee’s recommendation has resulted in the hiring of another person in the                 Registrar’s office to assist the Associate Registrar for Certification.


Student Welfare Subcommittee

The Exit Interview Survey is available to all student-athletes on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council website, however last year very few completed surveys were returned.  After meeting with the Student-Athlete Advisory Council, the committee determined that surveys should be made available through the coaches.  The Exit Interview written survey is now being distributed through the coaches with an incentive to win an IPOD for returned completed surveys.  The results will be read by the Faculty Athletic Representative and resulting data given to the Athletic Director. 


In response to a CAA memo, the committee addressed how Mason would like to respond to the growing problem nationally of bad sportsmanship and fan behavior at athletic events.  While Mason has not experienced the troublesome behavior described in the CAA memo, the committee felt that ideas to promote sportsmanship and “positive behavior” at Mason should be developed.  The committee felt that University Life, the Program Board, Student Government as well as Sororities and Fraternities should work together for the greatest impact on the student population. (Student Welfare Subcommittee Spring 2007 Report)


In the 2005-2006 academic year student-athletes were compared with the general student body with the following results:

                                                Student Athletes            Students Generally

            Males                                 2.80                             2.79      

            Females                             3.00                             2.99

            Combined                          2.91                             2.90                


* All GPA statistics computed by the Office of the Registrar


I would like to thank each member of the Athletic Council for their commitment to excellence and a job well done. 


Linda Miller

Faculty Athletic Representative

April 24, 2007


Cc:            President Alan Merten

            Senior Vice-President Maurice Scherrens

            Athletics Director Tom O’Connor

            Senior Associate Athletics Director Sue Collins



4.  Effective Teaching– Jane McDonald and Jose Cortina, Co-chairs.

Committee Members:  Alok Berry, Doris Bitler, Harold Geller, Bob Smith


Members of the Effective Teaching Committee of the Faculty Senate recognize and congratulate the GMU 2007 Teaching Excellence Award winners: Lisa Bauman, Lisa Koch, Suzanne Scott, Odette Willis, and Paige Wolf.


After a rigorous competition, these five individuals were selected by a campus-wide faculty committee of former award winners, under the leadership of Associate Provost Laurie Fathe. A brief bio of each 2007 winner is included below.


General Education Teaching Award Winner:

Lisa Bauman is an Adjunct professor of History and Art History, where she teaches the General Education courses, Art History 101, 150, and Art History 360, Nineteenth Century European Art. She holds a PhD in Art History from Northwestern University, and a BA in Art History from Saint Louis University. She has been teaching at Mason since 2000. Prior to coming to Mason she served as an instructor at the University of Chicago and at Northwestern University. She has been interested in the educational side of Art History since graduate school and draws on her experience leading museum tours to engage the students in her general education classes.


Teaching Excellence Award Winners:

Lisa Koch is a term Assistant Professor in the Department of English, where she teaches courses from the General Education English 101 and 102 classes, to upper division courses in Women and Literature; she also teaches in the University Honors program. She holds a MA and PhD in English from the University of Maryland, and a BA in English from Washington University in St. Louis. She has presented her educational work at conferences and has shared her work extensively at Mason. She is the founding editor of “In Process: A Graduate Student Journal of African American and African Diasporas Literature and Culture” and has been a reader for the Advanced Placement exam in English.


Suzanne Scott is a term Assistant Professor in New Century College where she teaches a wide variety of courses, many of which include art and gender issues. She holds a MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College, a MA in English Literature from James Madison University, and a BA in English from Eastern Mennonite College. She returned to academia after many years of running her own business. At Mason she has helped develop a number of new courses in NCC, such as “Gender Representation in Popular Culture” and “art as Social Action.” She has presented her educational work at many conferences and is the author of a chapter in “Educating for Change: Teaching and Learning about Diversity.”


Odette Willis is a term Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing where she teaches the spectrum of foundational courses in nursing. She returned to academia after 20+ years as a nursing professional, both in the military and in the private sphere. She holds a MBA in Health Services Management from Golden Gate University, a MN in Medical/Surgical Nursing/Education from UCLA, and a BSN from Texas Women’s University. She is currently completing her PhD in Nursing at George Mason. She has presented her educational work at professional conferences and at Mason and brings to her students the on-the-ground experiences of her years in the field.


Paige Wolf is a term Assistant Professor in the School of Management, where she teaches courses on Human Resources, Teams and Leadership, and Organizational Behavior. She holds a MS and PhD in Psychology from the Virginia Tech and a BS in Psychology Education from the University of Delaware. She has been on the faculty at George Mason since 2002 and has served as program manager for the School of Management’s Classroom Plus, MBA program, and MS in Bioscience Management program. She has given numerous presentations on her educational work at professional conferences and at Mason.


The General Education Teaching Excellence Award was inaugurated in 2005, to recognize a faculty member who makes outstanding educational contributions in the university’s General Education program. The award is given to a faculty member who has made a significant difference through her or his teaching in the general education program. The award winner receives a monetary award and travel support to present her or his work in a national or regional setting. The David J. King Teaching award is supported by an endowment and is overseen by the Center for Teaching Excellence.


The University Teaching Excellence Awards were instituted in 1994 to recognize the outstanding educational contributions of faculty at the University. The awards are given annually to faculty members who make a significant difference in the education of the students at George Mason, through classroom teaching, curriculum development and innovation, and mentoring. Award winners receive a monetary award and travel support to present their work in a national or regional setting. The GMU Teaching Excellence Awards are supported by the Office of the Provost.


Committee Recommendation:  Because AY 2006-2007 was the first year that students and faculty used the new, campus-wide course evaluation forms, members of the Senate’s Effective Teaching Committee recommend that the 2006 charge be given to the Senate’s AY 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 Effective Teaching committees. After one to two years of using the new course evaluation forms and holding discussions with faculty from various campus Units, the Senate will be able to better recommend policy, monitor the process, analyze the evaluation form, and provide recommendations for improvement.    



5.  External Academic Relations – Lorraine Brown and Dave Kuebrich, Co-chairs

Committee Members:  Deborah Boehm-Davis, Michelle Marks, Nance Lucas, Toni Travis

The External Relations Committee met once, and it also communicated by email as necessary.  A co-Chair attended three of the four meetings of the Faculty Senate of Virginia that were held in the 2006-07 academic year.  A co-Chair and the Chair of the Senate’s Budget and Resources Committee went to Richmond in January to participate in the annual Higher Education Advocacy Day, sponsored by the FSVA and the Virginia Chapter of the AAUP.  In addition, the External Relations Committee contacted the President’s Office to arrange to meet with the new lobbyists hired to promote GMU’s interests with the State Legislature.  However, the meeting could not be arranged at a time when most members of the Committee could attend.  The one or two members who did attend found the meeting to be disappointing.  The Committee plans to meet with various Northern Virginia state legislators over the summer to discuss the need for a cost-of-living adjustment as well as  greater base-funding  for the University, including enhanced faculty resources.


6.  General Education – Marilyn Mobley, Chair

Committee Members:  Alok Berry, Rose Cherubin, Laurie Fathe, Peggy Feerick, Sheryl Friedley, Marcy Glover (recording secretary), James Harvey, Susan Hirsch, James Kozlowski, Christena Langley, Lolita O’Donnell, Cliff Sutton, James Willett

The General Education Committee oversees the General Education program, as described in the General Education Mission Statement.”  The committee evaluates whether proposed courses meet the General Education guidelines, helps faculty develop courses to meet these guidelines, and examines currently included courses to insure they continue to align with the Mission.


The University General Education Committee met 10 times during AY 2006-2007, under the leadership of chair, Associate Provost for Educational Programs, Marilyn Mobley.  The committee convened for its last official meeting of the Spring 2007 semester on Wednesday, April 25, 2007.  Topical subcommittees met between scheduled meetings to review and discuss course proposals in their topic areas before presentations to full committee meetings. 






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 or leaving the University.  Developing the slate will also involve determining how many new members are needed and in what disciplinary areas.


On behalf of Provost Peter Stearns, the chair wishes to thank the entire committee for their hard work and commitment to the General Education program. The chair extends her gratitude to all those committee members who will be stepping down from service, to those who have already agreed to serve again, and to those whose terms will continue. The chair extends a special thank you to Dr. Laurie Fathe, for her multiple years of dedicated service and commitment to the General Education Committee and to the entire University community.  A special thank you to Marcy Glover who has so diligently served as recording secretary and assistant to the chair in scheduling, preparing binders for faculty members and notifying the registrar of approved courses.  The chair thanks all those faculty members who took the time to design and submit courses for consideration.  And most of all, the chair thanks all those faculty members who teach in our General Education program.  The work they do is critical to our University’s overall mission of preparing our students to be critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and engaged citizens.


Submitted by Marilyn Mobley, Chair and Associate Provost for Educational Programs


7.  Grievance Committee – Sheryl Friedley, Chair

Committee Members:  John Crockett,  Ryszard Michalski, Miriam Raskin, Joe Reid

The University Grievance Committee discussed a proposal to establish a formal position of Faculty Liaison at George Mason University.  We sought input from the University Provost about the possibility to create such a position through his office; however, he indicated he did not plan to pursue such a position at this time.  As such, the committee did not pursue further action on this matter.

The University Grievance Committee did not receive any cases to consider during this academic year so we have no actions to report.

8. Minority and Diversity Issues Committee – David Kravitz, Chair

Committee Members:  Amal Amireh, Wayne Froman,  Jim Metcalf, Jenny Wu

The charge of the MDIC is “to work in concert with the Equity Office, Minority Students Services Office, other pertinent administrators, and campus organizations in developing and implementing means to ensure nondiscrimination, tolerance, and protection of the rights of all persons affiliated with the University; and to facilitate dialogue among those connected with the University and those in the broader community on matters concerning minority populations and diversity issues.”


The MDIC decided to focus on facilitation of dialogue. With that in mind, we met with several key individuals and groups over the course of the semester, as summarized below.


On November 15, 2006, the MDIC meet with Camille Hazeur (Director of the GMU Office of Equity and Diversity Services), and with Josie Evola (Associate Director and Chief Investigator/Trainer) and Rory Muhammad (Assistant Director/Equal Opportunity Specialist). Director Hazeur informed the MDIC about the Office’s staff and responsibilities. We discussed the use of focused recruitment, plans for a GMU-wide Diversity Committee, diversity within the GMU study body, and the meditation space in the Johnson Center.


On December 7, 2006, the MDIC met with Dennis Webster (Associate Dean, University Life and Director, Multicultural Research and Resource Center) and other members of the GMU Office of Diversity Programs and Services (ODPS): Rebecca Walter (Assistant Director, Faculty Partnership & Curriculum Development, Multicultural Research and Resource Center), Arling Cofresi (Assistant Director of ODPS, with a focus on Latino American Students), and Shaoxian Yu (Assistant Director of ODPS, with a focus on Asian Pacific American Students). We discussed the responsibilities and activities of the ODPS and the Multicultural Research and Resource Center,


On March 7, 2007, the MDIC met with Brian E. Walther, Esq., Senior Associate University Counsel of GMU, and Josie Evola, Associate Director of the GMU Office of Equity and Diversity Services. Mr. Walther and Ms. Evola discussed diversity-related legal issues relevant to student admissions, student scholarships, and faculty/staff hiring.


9.  Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning – Eugenia Verdaguer, Chair

Committee Members:  Mary Williams, Jennifer Berger, Jen Eng Lin, Laurie Harmon (resigned)

Building on the Committee’s previous report, which assessed non-traditional, interdisciplinary, and adult learning programs at Mason, the group drafted a second report with concrete recommendations for action. We targeted the Distance Learning and the Bachelor of Individualized Study program (BIS) given that they seem the programs/areas with most pressing needs.  The following reports provide more details for these programs.  


Further, I met with Dr. Stearns in December 2006, who requested more detailed recommendations on Distance Learning.  Mary Williams has been working on this piece since. Next year’s Committee should build on her work and further refine the Distance Learning recommendations to the Faculty Senate and Provost for continuing to support. 



Recommendations for Graduate Level based upon the NCC, CEHD, and GMU Distance

Learning findings in the NIAL committee report dated 5/06


By Mary Williams, CEHD


  1. GMU makes greater use of the existing mechanism for distance-based learning set up through the Provost’s Office at  As noted on this site, “The University makes extensive and innovative use of technology in the development and delivery of credit bearing courses and programs to its students in order to:


·        Significantly enhance learning outcomes

·        Develop students' technology skills

·        Provide courses/programs that contribute substantially to workforce development

·        Provide an alternative to commuting

·        Deliver programming to and from the University's Northern Virginia campuses”


a.  Increased use of distance learning would support the need for CEHD outreach with whole programs potentially conducted online allowing many school districts to rely on GMU for their teaching certification needs.   CEHD post-certification staff development could take place through distance learning, providing working professionals greater opportunity to take courses to meet some of the requirements for the M.Ed. or Ph.D. programs.


b. Increased use of distance learning would allow for different pedagogical methods to be applied in the NCC program, making research on NCC methods and outcomes easier through student artifacts collected online related to student learning styles,  collaboration in learning communities, problem-based inquiry, and assessment (including e-portfolios).


2.   The findings of the report indicating that distance learning (DL), or technology-enhanced education (TEE), has not received adequate funding remains an issue.  It is recommended that internal funding to support course and program development be made available in grants for release time to faculty interested in developing DL or TEE courses/programs at the graduate level.



BIS Program Recommendations

BIS Findings from the NIAL committee report dated 5/06

By M. Eugenia Verdaguer, BIS


  1. As noted in the report, faculty mentor bottlenecks have plagued the program since the late 1980s.  As institutional incentives for faculty participation in BIS have diminished over the past years (i.e. elimination of time release, increasingly modest stipend support) faculty bottlenecks have become more acute. In Fall 2007, only 1/3 of the total BIS student population is currently working under the supervision of a mentor. In upcoming years, as students move through the academic pipeline, BIS will need to recruit about 380 additional mentors to work with junior and senior students.




  1. As currently structured, the viability of the BIS program heavily depends on its ability to continuously recruit faculty mentors from all Mason units. Given the size of the current BIS student population (which is three times larger than most BIS programs across the Commonwealth), the persistent shortage of available faculty mentors, the inadequate funding for mentor stipends, and the ever growing BIS demand, it is recommended the program undergoes substantial re-structuring.


  1. It is recommended that the program offer two differentiated BIS pathways to better respond to the needs of both students who arrive with clear interdisciplinary orientations as well as to those who want to capitalize on more structured programs of study geared towards expeditious completion. The new BIS program should include a standardized pathway with interdisciplinary BIS concentrations drawn from historical student demand, in addition to Mason’s long established individualized pathway. With different pre-requisites and admissions criteria, such pathways would provide a substantially distinct learning experience, including different curricula and levels of faculty support (standardized concentrations will not require faculty mentor support). 


  1. Over time (at least 3 to 5 years), this new structure would channel most BIS students into standardized concentrations, with simplified administrative maintenance functions and no faculty mentor overheads. It is recommended that, redistributing current program funds, faculty mentor savings in standardized concentrations be applied to supplement current stipends for faculty mentors in Mason’s individualized program. With a reduced operational capacity (max. 200 students), higher selectivity of applicants, a more rigorous curricular structure (senior capstone with primary data collection) than the standardized options (no independently supervised senior capstone by mentors but a classroom-based synthesis course), students in the individualized pathway will be best served by better remunerated and more engaged faculty mentors.   


  1. BIS offers a total of 9 sections every semester, in addition to summer term courses. Currently, adjunct faculty or graduate lecturers (primarily doctoral candidates from various units such as Cultural Studies, ICAR and DACCE) teach most BIS exclusive coursework. Invariably, as most complete their doctoral degrees, the program loses experienced instructors. This semester, for example, we are experiencing great difficulty in recruiting adjuncts. Further, in the transition from NCC to CAS (now CHSS), the program also lost valuable access to NCC faculty who, in the past, taught BIS sections as necessity arose. Given this precarious situation, it is recommended that one or two term faculty, even if shared with other units (i.e. Geography has expressed a strong interest) be assigned to the program. Term faculty bridging across interdisciplinary /disciplinary units would add significant visibility, credibility, and stability to BIS.



10.  Salary Equity Study- Kristine Bell, Chair

Committee Members:  Josephine Evola, Elyse Lehman, John Miller, Don Seto

John Miller attended a meeting during the fall with university administrators to discuss obtaining data to update the study.  The committee hasn't received the data yet, and therefore have not updated the study.


11.  Technology Policy – Stanley Zoltek, Chair

Committee Members:  Melissa Martin, Goodlett McDaniel, Ami Motro, Paula Petrik, Iosif Vaisman, Steven Weinberger

The Committee has met 7 times during the 2006-2007 academic year. In addition to the Committee members, Dr. Hughes, Ms. Anne Genovese, Dr. Star Muir, Mr. Robert Nakles, and Mr. Walter Sevon attended the meetings representing the ITU.


Below we summarize the Major topics of business for each meeting.


SEPTEMBER 13, 2006

Bob Nackles reported on the growing laptop loaner project. This semester, 20 laptops have been loaned out to faculty who regularly use smart classrooms.  This is an increase over last year.


The committee applauded the work of increasing the number of available electronic and smart classrooms on campus, and some constructive discussion about the layouts of some of the smart/electronic classrooms on campus ensued:

--We inquired about the possibility of alleviating some of the cabling tangle by connecting the laptop wirelessly in these rooms?

--Some of the rooms may be too cramped when there are full classes in them. In the electronic classrooms with large consoles, the front-row students can be eclipsed by these electronic mountains.

--There are lighting concerns in the rooms.  Many rooms lack the functionality of zone lighting.

--Whiteboards are routinely obscured by the projector screen.


It was suggested that we involve relevant faculty in the (re-)design of these rooms, while minimizing architect confusion.


Ann Genovese brought us all up to date on the latest electronic classroom updates that took place in the summer of 2006. (handout available)


Joy Hughes announced that our new director of DoIT, Sharon Pitt, is working on support for hybrid classes, course management systems, and a smoother method for faculty input.


Stanley Zoltek inquired about some instability in the research computing in Research 1.  It was suggested that there may have been a firewall problem.  It was also noted that the supercomputer room is woefully underpowered.


OCTOBER 18, 2006

The meeting was devoted to meeting the new DoIT Executive Director, Sharon Pitt.


We shared ideas about getting faculty input on classrooms, on learning assessment, and on upgrading the course management system.


NOVEMBER 8, 2006

We received an update on the SPAM problem/solution.  (Statistical summary available online.)


Walt Sevon offered to report on the benefits/problems with outsourcing student email.


A demo of Google Docs & Spreadsheets showed that we are getting closer to being able to provide personalized (custom) desktops across campus and at home.  (Employing technologies such as AJAX-Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)


DECEMBER 13, 2006

Kathy Gillette updated the committee on plans for deploying classroom capture systems that will make it easy to "record" and enhance lectures and put them online.


Dr. Hughes led a discussion on student requests to extend wireless networks to classroom in certain buildings.  Committee members elaborated on the pros and cons of such deployment.


Craig Gibson discussed with the committee how the library is working to promote information literacy as more than using Google.


FEBRUARY 12, 2007

The meeting was devoted to discussing the need for an enterprise learning management system and how best to deploy one at Mason.


Sharon Pitt presented a draft document, "Enterprise LMS initiative."


The initiative will be comprised of an Oversight, Steering and Functional subcommittees.  Functional subcommittees include Assessment, Content and Design, Outreach and Communications, Policy, Technical, and Training and Support.  Members of the FSTPC will serve on the Policy subcommittee and Melissa Martin will represent the FSTPC on the Assessment subcommittee.


Stakeholders for the initiative include faculty, staff and student.


Among the desired outcomes are:

* targeted, easy to use instructional tools

* excellent support

* enable interoperability with systems such as Banner

* enhance student engagement

* enhance reporting capabilities

* enhance data collection for analysis to support accreditation review

* enable self-paced learning with sensitivity to different learning styles



MARCH 29, 2007

Classroom upgrades.

Larry Spaine talked about the kinds of modifications that can be done on existing and newly re-done classrooms.  The committee reviewed some of the issues related to screen location and room lighting. Larry indicated that much of the work will be done in the summer.


Reorganization of classroom technologies.

Kathy Gillette presented the committee with the new organizational structure of classroom technologies. The following changes were highlighted in the reorganization: a) video conferencing has now been moved to educational media services; b) operations support is now DoIT-wide; c) there is a new technology design team; d) two senior management positions have been created to supervise the two campus regions.  Matt Silverman and Saied Miremadi, the two senior managers, discussed aspects of this reorganization with the committee. (handout)


Revised classroom technologies events policy.

Kathy Gillette presented the new 3-tiered fee rate schedule that will apply to all GMU faculty, staff, students, contractors, and outside clients who use equipment and facilities supported and managed by classroom technologies at all campuses. This new policy is meant to provide more uniform service.  (handout)


Dimensions of classroom technology design.

A white paper was presented that detailed the design proposal for electronic classroom standard design.  The design focused on reducing costs and support needs, while maintaining the current instructional environment. Issues of usability, accessibility, and flexibility are major themes in the proposal.  The classroom technology team has asked the committee to provide comments on this white paper.  (handout)


APRIL 26, 2007

This meeting will be held the day after this report is submitted.

Agenda items

Commercial email systems-role they can play at Mason

Emergency notification systems

Classroom renovation priorities



12.  Writing Across the Curriculum – Stanley Zoltek, Chair

Committee Members:  Pamela Cangelosi, Susan Durham ex-officio (Assistant Director, WAC Program), Tamara Maddox, Tom Owens, Ellen Rodgers, Beth Schneider, Terry Zawacki ex-officio (Director, WAC Program)

Consultants to the Committee:  Shelley Reid, Andrew Wingfield

Assistant to the Program:  Sarah Baker

The committee has met six times during the 2006-2007 academic year.  The committee’s charge includes: advising the director of “Writing Across the Curriculum,” regularly review of writing intensive (WI) syllabi and assisting with activities and events
related to Writing Across the Curriculum. 

This years activities include:
1. WAC Committee appointed Susan Durham to the WAC Assistant Director position as

     a part of a new WAC initiative funded by the Office of the Provost and since Sue is

     now ex-officio, Pamela Cangelosi was elected from School of Nursing to replace

     Sue’s committee seat.

2. The goal for the new initiative, which began fall 2006, is to support faculty

    development throughout the disciplines, as the units strive to teach writing to their

     students. In order to accomplish this goal:

§         It was necessary to find out what types of writing currently occurs and ask faculty members, especially those teaching the writing-intensive (WI) courses, what kinds of support can help them accomplish their goals for teaching writing in their discipline.

§         Terry Zawacki proposed conducting department chair or undergraduate coordinator interviews as a way to determine program and faculty development needs.

§         Sue and Terry devised a questionnaire to be used to interview Chairs/Deans or undergraduate coordinators about the WI requirement  - assessing any problems with staffing, keeping course caps within the WI requirement, changes in the WI requirement within each unit, how faculty are chosen and supported in teaching the WI courses, and if faculty are monitored or there are checks and balances in determining if teaching is effective within the WI course.

§         The interviews began with the new College of Science.

§         With the WAC Committee’s approval, Terry and Sue started the first round of interviews in the newly formed College of Science (COS).

§         Early in the fall of 2006, Terry and Sue developed a questionnaire that would assist them in gaining key information about the process of writing within the different COS disciplines.

§         They used the questionnaire in their interviews with the COS undergraduate coordinators from Chemistry/Biochemistry, Environmental Science and Policy, Geology, Geography, Mathematical Sciences, Molecular/Microbiology, Physics and Astronomy. 

§         From their interview notes, they then identified the following common themes, which were reported to the WAC committee in the late fall.

o     Attitudes toward students’ writing in the discipline

o     Types of writing occurring in the disciplines.

o     Issues related to assessment of WI assignments

o     Workload issues in teaching WI courses

o     Training and resources in preparing for and teaching WI courses.

§         The WAC program will use the information gained from interviews to develop departmental writing profiles that will describe the writing requirements and teaching practices in colleges, departments, and majors.

§         The committee has reviewed the writing profile for the College of Science twice and it is being revised based on committee feedback.

§         The profiles eventually will be available online on the WAC website ( and will provide an excellent informational and public relations tool that can be useful to departments during their formal program reviews.

§         WAC Committee also collected WI syllabi from each COS unit to determine the status of the writing-intensive course in the majors and whether mandated requirements were being met.

§         The WAC focus will moved in the spring to the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA). CVPA WI syllabi are in the process of being collected and evaluated by the committee.

§         Interviews on CVPA departments will continue in the fall.

3.      Each semester checked enrollments in WI courses to assess compliance
to the 35-seat requirement.

4.      Revisited the question of what is an appropriate grade percentage that
should be assigned to writing assignments in WI courses.

5.      The WAC committee will fund faculty stipends by the end of this fiscal year for the faculty who are working on writing improvement in the School of Management but they must be paid by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2007. 

6.      The committee reviewed and approved new or modified courses
designated to meet the Senate mandated WI requirement, for physics and applied IT, heard the first reading for changes in the SOM WI course.

7.      We’ll be giving writing excellence awards again this year. Currently the
committee co-sponsors with departments six awards in the majors, plans
are being made to support more awards next academic year.

8.      The writing@center newsletter was offered in both print and online formats
for the second year at  and the spring Newsletter will be out this week.

Senate Ad Hoc Committee Annual Reports 2006-2007


1.  Committee to Revise the Faculty Handbook – Rick Coffinberger, Chair

Committee Members:  Kevin Avruch, Lorraine Brown, Martin Ford, Dave Harr, Marilyn Mobley, David Rossell (ex-officio), Suzanne Slayden

The Committee to Revise the Faculty Handbook is comprised of four members elected by the Faculty Senate; three members appointed by the Provost; and one ex officio member.  The Committee has met frequently during the 2006-7 academic year and also met during the summer of 2006.  Forums were held on the Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William campus’s during April to report on the progress of the Committee and to receive reactions to selected proposed changes to the current Handbook.  In addition, the Board of Visitor’s Committee on Academic and Faculty Matters was briefed on the Committee’s progress.  The Committee plans to meet during the months of June and July and hopes to present a complete first draft of proposed Handbook revisions during the early part of the fall semester of 2007.


2.  Faculty Task Force to Consider Salary Issues – Rick Coffinberger, Chair

Committee Members:  Jose Cortina, Michael Ferri, Dave Kuebrich, Richard Rubenstein, June Tangney

The Task Force presented an interim report at a special Senate meeting in September of 2006.  The Committee has met during the year and communicated regularly by e-mail.  The Committee continues to try to obtain critical data on Administrative Faculty benchmarks from the Provost but has as yet been denied this data.  A meeting to discuss the matter further is scheduled for May 10th at 7am.  The Committee met with two members of the Board of Visitors to share information and concerns about GMU Faculty salaries and to “brain storm” about ways to address concerns especially in terms of the high cost of living in this area.


3.  Task Force on Satellite Operations

Committee Members:  Aimee Flannery, Gerald Hanweck, Robert Johnston


4.  Green Campus Task Force – Tom Calhoun and Carrie Meyer, co-chairs

Committee Members:  Sharon deMonsabert, Laurie Fathe, Henry Hamburger (emeritus), Peter Pober, Martha Slover, Ron Zobel


Report to the Faculty Senate from the Green Campus Task Force  

In December of 2006, the Faculty Senate passed a motion to “appoint a Green Campus Task Force to conduct a review of the environmental policies of the various offices at GMU responsible for buildings and grounds, energy consumption, and use of resources and materials, as well as of the policies of the counterparts to these offices at other schools notable for taking decisive steps toward creating environmentally sustainable campuses.” 

The Green Campus Task Force (GCTF) was charged to address the following questions: 

  A) What measures to promote sustainability are currently being implemented by each unit?

B) What additional measures to promote sustainability are being planned and what is the timeframe for their implementation?

C) What additional measures to promote sustainability are being implemented and/or planned by schools noted for their environmental leadership?

D) What additional measures might be taken at GMU?

E) How might the Senate, the general faculty, and the larger campus community support the efforts of these units?

F) What other steps need to be taken to green the GMU campus?


The GCTF was instructed to “give particular attention to the issue of green buildings because the decisions being made and implemented today will impact the natural environment and the University budget for decades to come.” 


For the sake of expediency, question C was addressed before the spring semester began and submitted as a background paper to the Faculty Senate in March 2007.  It can be found at the following link:


The GCTF, assisted by Mason’s Facilities staff, spent the semester researching the other five questions and drafting a Sustainability Assessment that addresses them.  Final touches are still being placed on that report, but it will be available by the end of May at the following link:


In the meantime, the Executive Summary below reviews the key findings and assessments. 


The GCTF was co-chaired by Tom Calhoun, Vice President for Facilities and Carrie Meyer, Associate Professor of Economics.  Faculty members of the task force included Sharon deMonsabert, Laurie Fathe, Henry Hamburger, Peter Pober, Martha Slover, and Rob Zobel.  Student representatives included Ali Bakhshi, Kalen Bauman, Davis Chau, Elissa Goughnour, Lenna Storm, and Megan White.



Sustainability Assessment

Executive Summary


Sustainability is an inherently vague term, but it is fundamentally about an obligation to the future – an obligation to protect our world so that future generations can continue to thrive on the earth.  Many have looked at sustainability as a struggle to balance three dimensions of equity, economy, and environment.  Moving in a more sustainable direction thus means taking actions that make sense economically, that enhance social justice, and that help preserve our environment. 


This Sustainability Assessment is part of the process of institutionalizing sustainability at George Mason University.  The assessment reviews Mason’s performance as it pertains to sustainability in Land Use, the Built Environment, Energy, Water, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, Purchasing, Dining Services, Housing, and Community.  It provides a baseline upon which to judge future performance as well as a platform for discussion, so that the campus community is in a better position to move forward.


The assessment reveals substantial progress on a number of fronts.  Mason has recently made commitments to higher environmental standards for new buildings.  Two “green” buildings will begin construction in the summer of 2007 – one at Arlington and another at the Fairfax campus.  With the help of a $12.2 million energy-saving performance contract with Siemens Building Technologies Inc, Mason has reduced utility costs by more than $1 million annually since 2004.  Energy-efficient lighting and water-conserving devices and fixtures have been installed at Mason’s campuses; boilers and chillers have been upgraded; the energy management system has been expanded; and new policies for energy and water efficiency are in place.  In August of 2005, Mason established a new Parking and Transportation Department to pro-actively manage parking demand and facilitate alternative transportation options.  A Mason-to-Metro Shuttle now offers free direct bus transportation from the Fairfax campus to the Vienna Metro.  When roads leading into the Fairfax campus are widened in the summer of 2007, dedicated bike lanes will be added.  In the fall of 2006, Residence Life opened a Green Living/Learning floor to help foster environmental consciousness within the dorms. 


Many areas present challenges that will require the campus community to come together to build a culture that demands more sustainable policies and practices.  The Recycling and Waste Management Department struggles with a limited budget to meet minimum state recycling rates.  Recycling bins are misused for trash, and eventually moved to more remote locations where people who want to recycle can’t find them.  Public transportation is more available than ever at Mason, but relatively few people use it; parking lots continue to expand outward and upward.  Landscape policies err of the side of pristine turf, because that’s what the culture demands, while native ecological diversity in rapidly diminishing wooded areas is under threat.  Facilities has taken steps to reduce energy and water usage, but individuals need to do the same and dress for the season so that thermostats can be set for the season.  A Green Living/Learning floor is a good first step, but Residence Life has other educational and community-building tools that could help power a campus sustainability campaign.  


Other challenges require budgetary attention and initiative at the state level.  Purchasing policies at Mason are largely driven by those of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Reducing the consumption of energy and water saves money, but buying cleaner power still demands a premium.  Greener building standards can pay off with energy and water savings in the long run, but budgetary processes need to accept the somewhat higher up-front costs in exchange.  Building a culture that demands sustainable practices won’t happen automatically either.  Resources will be needed for communication campaigns, for curriculum and community building, and to devote staff time to setting goals at every level of operations for more sustainable practices.  In the summer of 2007, Mason intends to fill a new position for a Sustainability Coordinator who will develop a plan to address these challenges. 


5.  Green Education Task Force

Committee Members:  David Brazer, Susie Crate, Greg Guagnano, Jim Willett


The following letter from the Mason Project on Immigration to be considered over the summer:


TO:  The George Mason University Faculty Senate


FROM:  The Mason Project on Immigration


         M. Eugenia Verdaguer, Director, BIS Program and Director of the Mason Project on


Emily Ihara, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work

Debra Lattanzi Shutika, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Jennifer Leeman, Assistant Professor, Department of Modern and Classical Languages

Deidre Moloney, Coordinator for Postgraduate Fellowships and Scholarships Student

 Academic Affairs

Dennis Ritchie, Elisabeth Shirley Enochs Endowed Chair in Child Welfare and Professor

 of Social Work

Carlos Sluzki, Professor, ICAR

Steven Vallas, Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology


April 30, 2007


The frequency and intensity of recent public debate about immigration and diversity at Mason, locally, and at the national level necessitate our addressing several issues that are relevant to the Mason community.  Our goal is to initiate university-wide dialogue regarding issues of immigration, and to propose a new research initiative on the effects of diversity on campus life and in the college classroom. 


Our concerns are based on the fact that, at times, positions regarding diversity and education are often based on false presumptions or misunderstandings.  For instance, recent public debates have centered on the effects of growing immigrant populations on local communities and educational institutions.  Diverse student populations, particularly those with a high percentage of foreign-born students, are believed to lack English language proficiency and adequate cultural knowledge to perform well in a college setting.  This position rests on false presumptions about both foreign-born students and their linguistic and cultural knowledge.  The fact that a student is foreign-born does not necessarily mean that such students lack proficiency in English or are unfamiliar with U.S. culture.  Many immigrant students have spent much of their lives in the U.S. and have been educated in the U.S. system.  Such students are generally proficient in English and largely indistinguishable from their U.S.-born peers.


In addition, many foreign born students are well prepared and highly motivated, and these characteristics may prove more important to academic success than the presumed deficiency in English.  Evidence of this is found, for example, in the report entitled, “Freshmen from Immigrant Backgrounds at George Mason University: A special report of 2003 CIRP Freshman Survey,” which found that Mason’s foreign-born students have better high school grades, are more engaged in academic pursuits (versus socializing and drinking) and have higher educational and professional aspirations than their native-born counterparts.  Given these characteristics of foreign-born freshman, it is not surprising that Mason’s foreign-born graduating seniors have GPAs that are consistently higher than those of their U.S.-born peers.  Together these statistics suggest that foreign-born students raise, rather than lower, the academic caliber of the university.


We would also like to point out that speaking English as a first language does not necessarily imply having mastered what is sometimes referred to as “academic English.”   In fact, many native speakers of English have difficulty understanding and conforming to the conventions of college writing.  This is evidenced in the Writing Center’s annual survey of graduating seniors.  So too the Writing Center’s 2005-06 usage report revealed that 63% of their clients were native speakers of English.


As a public institution, Mason is charged with educating the citizens of Virginia.  Northern Virginia hosts a diverse population, and as a faculty we should expect to meet the needs of all Virginia students regardless of their ethnic or national backgrounds or country of birth.  We conclude by proposing that the Mason Project on Immigration, with the support of the Faculty Senate, initiate collaborative research projects that will involve a cross-section of the university’s departments.  This research will consider the influence of diversity on teaching and learning, and consider how exposure to new perspectives and varied cultural traditions expands students’ understanding of academic material as well as the diverse society in which they live.  This proposed project corresponds with GMU’s mission as a state university to serve the educational needs of residents of Virginia, regardless of their ethnic or national backgrounds, or country of birth.



VI.  Other New Business


Election of Chair of the Faculty Senate, 2007-2008 – David Kuebrich, Chair pro-tem


Suzanne Slayden and Lorraine Brown were nominated.  A Senator from the Law School noted that this was the first meeting he had attended all year and asked other Senators for comments regarding the candidates. Following this statement/request, each of the candidates made a short extemporaneous statement. The candidates then left the room.


A Senator emerita active in the formation of the Senate in the 1970s, noted this is the first time in the history of the Faculty Senate in which there has been more than one nominee for chair.  Other faculty noted that having more than one candidate is a positive situation and one to be desired in future elections. Several senators expressed their views on what they saw as the strengths of the candidates.


Paper ballots were distributed, collected and tabulated by the Sergeant-at-Arms with the assistance of another Senator.  Suzanne Slayden was re-elected chair of the Faculty Senate by a vote of 28 to 17.


Report from the Dean of Admissions – Andrew Flagel


Dean Flagel announced that 13,350 applications received for AY 07-08; an increase of 20% from previous year, largely attributable to the success of the basketball program in the last academic year. 11,000 applications were received for AY 06-07; an increase of 12% from previous year. He presented an applicant – admission cycle comparison 1997-2007: Ten years ago 5,000 applicants; 70% admittance rate, SAT 1040, 3.0 GPA.  In 2007 there were 13,000 applicants, admission rate, 54%, SAT 1130-1150; 3.65 GPA.


Dean Flagel stated that the faculty has an enormous influence on the success of the institution.  The trend in graduate applications is up but varies widely by MA, PhD. 


Questions and Answers (Questions are in bold, Dean Flagel’s answers follow)

How many new freshman are from out-of-state?

Last year 20%; this year looking at 24-25% of class so far.  14% in-state application growth; 54% out-of state application growth, previous year 32% out-of-state application growth. 


US News and World Report rankings:  Would you project what it could do for us if we moved (from third) to second tier?

The survey tool which provides the rankings are designed to benefit traditional institutions which remain at the top forever; based on survey of presidents, provosts, admissions directors. Undoubtedly influential around rankings and while there are many different surveys, US News is the biggest player in the field.


If we were to move from Tier 3 to Tier 2, would that have a significant impact on quality of students applying?

Assumption that good news helps; all of our overlap schools are in 1st and 2nd tiers; so that would be to our advantage. 


(Follow up) In the event we move up from Tier 3, would we have a larger percentage of out-of-state tuition payers? As institution moves forward we do want more out-of-state students? 


(Follow up comment) Bottom-line:  We would see an increase in quality and number of applications, so looking at where we are - to move up, the single most important place to spend money is on faculty salaries.


How do you recruit for diverse population?

The admissions actively includes in terms of SAT/high schools a much more diverse spread – both more urban and more rural compared to other institutions.  Proactive recruitment; the staff works very hard to develop long-term connections.  The largest challenge by far is student financial aid.  There is a gap in our ability to provide access; financial aid support is one of the lowest and a wide variety of students who say no, can’t afford to attend.  Average 45-55% student need, offer ½ to 2/3 in loans.

We are part of a large grouping of universities in Carnegie categories – largest overlap – Virginia Tech, largest out-of-state – Univ. of Virginia, GW, Georgetown, U. of Maryland.


How many applicants (did not include) SATs?  Almost all did, 4% selected score-optional process; estimating 3% of class.  Non-submitters not reported to US News.  Almost all but 5 or 6 of admitted scores only 10 points below average of class. 


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


Respectfully submitted,

Susan Trencher