GMU Faculty Senate Minutes - October 7, 2009



OCTOBER 7, 2009

Robinson Hall B113; 3:00 – 4:15 p.m.


Senators Present:  David Anderson, Heibatollah Baghi, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Doris Bitler, Phil Buchanan, Rick Coffinberger, Lloyd Cohen, Jose Cortina, Yvonne Demory, Betsy DeMulder, Rutledge Dennis, Penelope Earley, Karl Fryxell, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Dmitrios Ioannou, David Kuebrich, Howard Kurtz, Terrence Lyons, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Star Muir, Peter Pober, Earle Reybold, Larry Rockwood, Pierre Rodgers, Jim Sanford, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Harry Wechsler, Phil Wiest, Peter Winant,  Michael Wolf-Branigin, Stanley Zoltek.


Senators Absent:  Rei Berroa, Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Sharon deMonsabert, Kelly Dunne, Martin Ford, Jack Goldstone, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Frances Harbour, Kingsley Haynes, Bruce Johnsen, Alan Merten, Janette Muir, James Olds, Frank Philpot, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Suzanne Scott, Tojo Thatchenkery, Shirley Travis, Nigel Waters, John Zenelis.


Visitors Present:  Rizma Ahmed, Assistant Director, Benefits & Absence Management, Human Resources/Payroll; Denise Ammaccapane, Resident District Manager, Mason Dining Services; Rachel Bergman, Associate Professor, Music; Lorraine Brown, Professor emerita, English; Benn Crandall, Director, Auxiliary Enterprises; Pat Donini, Employee Relations Director/Deputy Director HR, Human Resources/Payroll; Kim Eby, Associate Provost for Educational Programs/Director of Center for Teaching Excellence; Esther Elstun, Professor emerita, Modern and Classical Languages;  Karen Gentemann, Associate Provost, Institutional Effectiveness, Institutional Assessment; Linda Harber, Associate Vice President, Human Resources/Payroll; Robin Herron, Associate Director, Media & Public Relations; Rick Holt, Vice-Chair, Staff Senate;  Susan Jones, University Registrar; Dorothy Lockaby, Vice Chair, Librarians' Council;  Linda Schwartzstein, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs/VP, Enrollment Services; Dr. Ernst Volgenau, Rector; Janet Walker, Work Life & Communications Coordinator, Human Resources/Payroll. 


I. Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.


II. Approval of the Minutes of September 9, 2009:  The minutes were approved as corrected to include the attendance of Betsy DeMulder.


III.  Announcements


Chair Peter Pober welcomed Rector Ernst Volgenau, adding that the Rector encourages faculty input on a wide range of policy issues and makes a point of listening to faculty voices. 


Rector Volgenau:  The BOV is pleased with the representation provided by the Senate Chair and the other faculty representatives to the BOV. GMU faculty have greater representation on the BOV than any other school in Virginia. 


The members of the BOV are very concerned about the budget, particularly with the shortfall from the State, and they see a compelling need to help raise additional income.  Two BOV Committees are devoting a fair amount of time to this issue: Strategic Committee "C" which seeks to find appropriate new profit-making alternatives; also a relatively new committee that will attempt to develop new donors.


Question:  What is the current status of the "great university" initiative? 

Rector Volgenau:  The initiative still exists, we have about twelve action items for the "world class university,” four or five of which are concerned with fundraising.  The BOV wants to improve faculty compensation and address the high cost of living.  These initiatives are spelled out in the Executive Summary included in the Five-Year Plan (2010).

Question: With reference to compensation, we know there is no money for faculty raises this year, what about President Merten's bonus?

Rector Volgenau:  We have a fairly well-thought out performance plan for assessing President Merten which consists of three major categories of criteria. Using these, his work is reviewed by each member of the Board. For the previous year, the President did not get 100% on his rating, but he did score high enough to receive 100% of the bonus allowed for by his employment agreement.  President Merten will donate this entire amount to the University.  He has foregone his pay increases for the past two years without any influence from the Board.


Professor Pober:  Rector Volgenau and Visitor Vince Callahan are taking action to have a COLA amendment added to the GMU budget.  There is no chance that it will be funded this year, but it is important to get this item inserted into the budget for future funding. President Merten also strongly supports this effort.


IV.  New Business – Committee Reports

A.  Senate Standing Committees


Executive Committee – Peter Pober, Chair

At the request of the Executive Committee, the Chair extended to Provost Stearns an opportunity to address the Senate now  and to do so at each future meeting. The Provost responded that he had nothing to say at this time.


Chair:  The Executive Committee has extended the length of its meetings from one to one-and-one-half hours.  The all-fac email list will be used for special announcements at the discretion of the Chair.  Issues regarding the Furlough have been referred to the Faculty Matters and Budget and Resources committees. The extension of residence eligibility for MasonVale to doctoral students is under consideration.  Please know the Executive Committee is working hard and intends to represent you to the best of its ability.


Academic Policies – Jose Cortina

No report today.  We will present a resolution on academic clemency at our next meeting (November 18).


Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger, Chair

We met today and will reschedule our planned meetings to occur in advance of the Executive Committee meetings.  We discussed furlough issues and will consult with the Faculty Matters Committee on this issue.  Professor Pober has also encouraged Linda Harber to attend these meetings.  In response to a question raised, Professor Coffinberger confirmed that B&R still has a representative who attends the Budget Planning Team (BPT) meetings once a month.  A Senator suggested that the BPT Minutes be posted.  Delays in the posting of the (2009) salary data will be resolved soon.


Faculty Matters – Doris Bitler, Chair

We met today and will prioritize the many things we are dealing with.  We request your feedback on furlough issues and welcome feedback from Linda Harber and Provost Stearns. 


Professor Jim Sanford added that the Faculty Matters Committee is discussing the idea of    a proposal for a graduated furlough. For example:  for those earning $200,000/year or more, a three-day furlough; for those earning $125,000-$199,999, a two-day furlough; for those earning $50,000-$124,999, a one-day furlough, and for those earning less than $50,000/year, no furlough. The Committee is also considering the possibility that furloughs be proportionate to the length of contracts: ¾ day for 9-month contracts, 1 day for 12-month contracts.


 Linda Harber:  I have asked Richmond about the possibility of a graduated furlough and about dividing the pay reduction between two pay periods. To date, there has been no clear answer.  I would like for Faculty Matters to send me its proposal.


Regarding the creation of a campus free-speech policy:  Provost Stearns has called for the creation of a University Space and Free Speech Committee.  Professor Pober will chair the Committee, and David Kuebrich will be a member. 


Nominations  - Jim Bennett, Chair
The Committee nominated Professor Howard Kurtz to serve on the Academic Appeals Committee, and he was elected by voice vote.


Organization and Operations – Susan Trencher, Chair

The Committee met on September 30th and addressed the following items:


1) Considered a proposal for Handbook Revisions to be handled by 0&0. Unanimous agreement among those present that this work is not covered by the 0&0 Committee charge but by the charge of Faculty Matters as the latter is (quote) "responsible for studying and participating as appropriate in the formulation and interpretation of University-wide standards and policies on faculty matters . . ." 


0&0 will not act on a related request to formally disband the Faculty Handbook Committee pending further examination of this assignment.


2) Referred to Faculty Matters a request for a report of summer pay for faculty members, given the concern that some faculty who taught in Summer 2009 may not have received 10% compensation.


3) Revised the charge of the Academic Initiatives Committee, a new committee created by action of the Faculty Senate in Spring 2009.  Star Muir will present this new charge today for vote by the Faculty Senate.


4) Discussed the possibility of eliminating the Senate Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary and Adult Learning Committee which did not meet last year. No action taken pending further investigation.


5) Is continuing to work on changes to the charge of the University Grievance Committee to make it consistent with the Faculty Handbook (for next Senate meeting)


6) Will propose renewing the charge of the External Affairs Committee (for next Senate meeting)


Recent receipt of two new items of business:

A) Request to look into the idea of changing the membership and/or the title of the Faculty Senate


B) Request for 0&0 to look into, for referral:

Newly instituted practices within the college of Health and Human Services regarding compensation, hiring, promotion, tenure and retention practices and the implications of these for educational programs.



Academic Initiatives Committee Charge Revision – Star Muir (#3 above)

Upon the recommendation of the Task Force on Satellite Campuses, a new University Committee to oversee external arrangements was created last spring with liaison and oversight of curriculum matters outside the primary campuses here.  Provost Stearns suggested several changes which were discussed by the O&O Committee.

 New text underlined; old text removed.


Motion for a Faculty Senate Standing Committee to Review Curriculum and Faculty Matters in Current and Future Satellite Campuses, Academic Programs and Activities of George Mason University


Whereas George Mason University is continuing to support and expand learning centers and academic programs and activities beyond the Commonwealth of Virginia campuses in Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington; and


Whereas the Faculty Handbook of the University specifies that control over curriculum matters resides with the faculty of the University; and


Whereas the expansion of the Distributed University's academic programs and activities (also termed Satellite Campuses) has been largely controlled by the Office of the Provost and the President; and


Whereas information requested of the administration by the Task Force on Satellite Campuses has not been forthcoming; and


Whereas the Southern Association of Colleges and Universities (SACS) requires a thorough evaluation of all branch campuses within the first six months of operation, yet there exists no internal process for ongoing faculty review of the curriculum, faculty hiring, progress or effectiveness of these satellite campuses;


Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate should establish a Standing Committee to review aspects of the development and ongoing operations of any learning centers or academic programs involving multiple academic units or emanating from the central administration of George Mason University, beyond the primary campuses of Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington.




A.  To fulfill faculty responsibilities for curriculum oversight within the University:

1) Gather accurate information from the Provost’s Office to review

            a) Initial, current and projected course and program enrollment;

b)Any Memorandum of Understanding or similar governing document or contract specifying arrangements between George Mason University and the host government, state, or responsible organization;

c) Reports presented to any created governance structure such as a Board of Governors between George Mason University and any host government, state, or responsible organization;

d) Vetting and approval processes for faculty hiring and course offerings through Schools, Colleges and Departments and other local academic units, including negotiated "rights of refusal" and other practices directly affecting the curriculum offered on campuses beyond Fairfax, Arlington, and Prince William;

e) Information about resources, pay scales and other financial information relevant to faculty support, faculty and staff hiring, and curriculum development.

2) Provide a regular report to the Faculty Senate every semester; should the above access not be granted, such resistance will be documented and included in the Committee's regular report.


B.  Function as a liaison from initial planning through implementation and continuing operations on related issues with global education academic programs and activities major global education projects (involving multiple academic units or emanating from the central administration) and participate in discussions of major additional projects.


C.  Engage in the creation of any new satellite campuses, academic programs and activities, and any processes for developing additional Memorandums of Understanding or similar governing documents or contracts, including access to information specified above in A-1.


C.D. Create sub-committees as necessary within the Committee to ensure adequate attention is paid to the variety of satellite campus locations and opportunities.


D.E.  Committee representation of faculty from no less than five different academic units to serve staggered two-year terms.


Professor Muir provided the following explanation of individual changes:


Question:  What is "major"?  How do you draw the line between major and non-major?

Response:  “Major” means the program is being organized by multiple units or is coming from the central administration.  


Question: What does "emanated" mean?  Does it imply that we are dependent upon the administration for this?  Does it exclude study of continuing operations?

Response:  There is always the concern that the administration must keep the Committee fully informed about new programs that are being created by it or by multiple units.


Question: Can you provide an example of a new academic initiative that would not fall under the charge of this Committee?

PP:   The CVPA’s new program with Sierra Leone is by and large under a single unit. The Provost said if it falls under other units, yes, but if it says within CVPA alone, the Academic Initiatives Committee would not review this undertaking.  The motion was amended to add the phrase “involving multiple academic units or emanating from the central administration.”


The motion as amended was approved by voice vote.


 B.  Other Committees


Technology Policy Committee Update – Stanley Zoltek, Chair

The TP Committee contacted ITU about the slowness of listserv email delivery (delivery usually takes 3-4 hours).  ITU recommends sending listserv messages out after 5:00 p.m.


V.  Other New Business


A.  Resolution of Appreciation and Deepest Sympathy to the de Laski Family




Sponsored by Senators Linda Monson, Howard Kurtz, and Peter Winant


WHEREAS, Nancy and Don de Laski are recipients of the 2009 George Mason Medal;  and


WHEREAS, Don and Nancy de Laski have been true friends and supporters of the performing arts at George Mason University for many years, including establishment of the Potomac Arts Academy, providing funds for music scholarships, and providing numerous new teaching and practice studios; and


WHEREAS, Groundbreaking ceremonies occurred on July 1, 2009 for the Donald and Nancy de Laski Performing Arts Building benefiting our Schools of Music and Dance; and


WHEREAS, The couple established the de Laski Family Foundation in 1998 and have devoted much time and energy to charitable activities, the most significant of which has been George Mason University; and


WHEREAS, A major 10 year commitment from the de Laski Family Foundation funded the creation of the Center for Consciousness and Transformation at Mason in 2009; and


WHEREAS, The couple set up an internship program involving Mason and Mount Vernon; and


WHEREAS, Don currently serves on the George Mason University Foundation Board of Trustees; and


WHEREAS, Nancy served on the Visual and Performing Arts Board of George Mason University; and


WHEREAS, Nancy and Don de Laski have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of George Mason University students and faculty; now therefore be it


RESOLVED, That this Faculty Senate of George Mason University hereby expresses its appreciation to the deLaski family for their support of Goerge Mason University and deepest sympathies on the recent passing of Nancy de Laski; and be it further


RESOLVED, That the Secretary of the Faculty Senate hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the de Laski family.


The motion was approved by voice vote.


B.  Presentations


Update on the Quality Enhancement Program (QEP):  Kim Eby, Associate Provost for Faculty Development

Professor Eby thanked the Senate for including the QEP Program on its agenda. She then introduced Professor Rachel Bergman of the School of Music, a colleague serving on the QEP Planning Committee.  The QEP, a requirement for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), must be a five-year plan to significantly enhance an aspect of student learning.  Over the past year, the QEP Committee received various topic proposals from the Mason community.  From these, the Committee has chosen "Fostering a Culture of Student Scholarship and Creative Activity.”  The Committee now seeks additional faculty input on two significant concerns.  First, how can the QEP Plan help to increase faculty/student interaction outside the classroom—an area in which GMU performs less well than its peers; and second, how can the plan enhance the level of academic challenges presented to our students. This issue is particularly important as, increasingly, the students admitted to GMU are more capable and need to be asked to do more demanding intellectual work.  The QEP Committee hopes to receive new disciplinary and interdisciplinary projects from the faculty, including new curricular initiatives.  The Committee also solicits faculty/staff/student input into the development of the first-draft "White Paper" of the Plan.  Institutional support for the development of the QEP will be provided for the next five years or so. The SACS on-site visit will take place in Spring, 2011.


Professor Bergman encouraged faculty to visit the website and blog at the QEP Cafe. Also please review the first draft "white paper.”  The Committee is still at the information-gathering stage and wishes to have as much faculty input as possible.  Faculty are asked to discuss the plan at the department level and take some time in class to address questions on blog (anonymously).  If you have other ideas about how to spread the word, please contact Kim or Rachel.




Comment: There is considerable interest among science faculty to work “directly” (as opposed to classroom teaching) with graduate and undergraduate students. This approach needs more support from the deans and chairs.  Some faculty have been explicitly discouraged from doing this. In their annual evaluations they are being told not to spend so much time to work side-by-side with students. 


Professor Eby noted the Plan was presented to the President's Council in August and also to the Deans and Directors. There is support at every level.  Perhaps the Plan can include faculty awards for non-classroom teaching at the unit level?  One of the questions on the blog asks for lessons learned in similar experiences that might be added into the Plan. 


Comment: One-on-one work with students is often done in the context of research grants, but this is officially discouraged because there is a lot of classroom teaching paid for by external funding. 


Professor Eby agreed that involvement in external research projects can be an important part of a student’s education. She perceives that the administration sees this as valuable.  The QEP Committee wishes to receive further faculty input on this and other issues from the Effective Teaching and Academic Initiatives Committees.  There will be an information session for the faculty sometime in November. 


Question:  How much money goes into this project?  How will it be disbursed to units to do this project? Units will need to commit a considerable amount of time.


KE:  The Budget group has worked hard to carve out for the QEP $500,000 to fund the implementation of the Plan.


Food Service/Dining Issues:  Denise Ammaccapone, Resident District Manager, Mason Dining Services.  Ms. Ammaccappone thanked the Senate for its invitation to speak. She oversees dining on all three campuses expect for catering services and the Patriot Center.  Dining services fed 3.7 million people last year, employing 450 staff, many of whom are laid off over the summer and at Christmas break.  Dining Services works very closely with University Services. She meets three times a week with Mark Kraner (Asst. VP for University Services), and she is very active on campus: “ I believe in management by walking around; while I do not live here, sometimes it feels like it.”  She provided a supply of brochures, her business card, and cell phone number (703-969-3150), encouraging faculty to contact her so that she can “fix it” or explain why she can’t.  


Question:  We were encouraged to eat with students, now we aren’t. Faculty used to get a discount when eating in CIAO Hall, now we only get a discount in BISTRO, not in Southside. Why?

Response:  We operate 27 locations and must be fiscally responsible.  In the past at CIAO, faculty received a significant discount because we didn't have a lot of activity there, and so we needed to generate more revenue.  When Southside came on board, we had to accommodate the influx of more resident students.  Currently, we are feeding over 3,000 students in Southside everyday, with an increase of 400 more meal plans this semester. One reason the cost of meals has risen at the Bistro is that the food-preparation equipment is about 25 years old and is inefficient to use. So the price has been raised to $7/per day, except on Friday, when it is $5.25 on Friday. 


Question:  JB:  Where are the green olives?

Response:  I will find out.  Bistro usually has a vegetarian dish, but there is not a large demand, so sometimes a pasta dish is used.  Similarly, we eliminated juice because we had more demand for iced tea. 


Copy Center Issues:  Benn Crandall, Director of Auxiliary Services

Benn Crandall oversees multiple business activities at Mason, including the Copy Center. 

Question:  If you do your own copying at your department, does it cost more than it would if you used a copy center?

BC:  We have 268 administrative copiers distributed on campus for the convenience of faculty and staff. They (cost) about $250,000/year to maintain.   We try to make copies for less (at the copy centers) by using major machines that cost less to operate. 

Question:  There are things which the copy centers will not or cannot copy. It is my understanding that cost/copy at a copy center is only 10% less than if I went to Kinkos.  I think I could rent a copier and get copies cheaper than using the University’s copiers.

BC:  We don't make a profit.  As mentioned earlier, the University subsidizes the cost of local copying machines at an amount of $250,000/year. Also, I don’t believe one could rent an individual copy machine for less than the bulk rental rate per copier ($38/month) that the University pays. 

Comment:  My department pays as much as $13,000/year for copying. 

BC:  Print Services has upgraded its equipment, which is now twice as efficient and twice as green. There is a proposal for a future promotion that will guarantee a price that is10% less than what you can find elsewhere.  Also, for the user’s convenience, Print Services will put a storefront on-line. Users can call it up, design or specify their order. and then send it to any copy delivery facility.

Comment:  Problems we have when we just want to make a few copies.  Most faculty use services in the Johnson Center, and we would really appreciate that you open a new copy center in the new buildings. 

BC:  We will consider this.  Please send me any additional comments.


VI.  Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

There will be a free piano recital on Sunday, October 11th at 3:00 p.m. in the Harris Theater.


VII.     Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 4:17 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

David Kuebrich


Faculty Senate