GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

April 28, 2010

Room B113, Robinson Hall

3:00 - 4:15 p m

 

Senators Present: David Anderson, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Doris Bitler, Phil Buchanan, Vikas Chandhoke, Rick Coffinberger, Lloyd Cohen, Jose Cortina, Betsy DeMulder, Rutledge Dennis, Kelly Dunne, Karl Fryxell, Dimitrios Ioannou, David Kuebrich, Howard Kurtz, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Janette Muir, Frank Philpot, Peter Pober, Pierre Rodgers, Jim Sanford, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Scott, Suzanne Slayden, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Nigel Waters, Phil Wiest, John Zenelis, Stanley Zoltek.

 

Senators Absent:  Heibatollah Baghi, Rei Berroa, Jack Censer, Sharon deMonsabert, Yvonne Demory, Penelope Earley, Martin Ford, Jack Goldstone, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Frances Harbour, Kingsley Haynes, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Bruce Johnsen, Terrence Lyons, Alan Merten, James Olds, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Earle Reybold, Larry Rockwood, Tojo Thatchenkery, Shirley Travis, Harry Wechsler, Michael Wolf-Branigin.

 

Visitors Present:  Rick Davis, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education; Pat Donini, Employee Relations Director/Deputy Director, Human Resources/Payroll; Nathan Dorfman, Student Senator and Student Government Liaison; Kim Eby, Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; Esther Elstun, Professor Emerita, Modern and Classical Languages; Dolores Gomez-Roman, University Ombudsman; Heather Groves Hannan, Vice President/President-Elect, Librarians' Council;  Robin Herron, Associate Director, Media and Public Relations;  Corey Jackson, Director of Equity and Diversity Services; Susan Jones, University Registrar; Michelle Marks, Associate Provost for Graduate Education; Goodlet McDaniel, Associate Provost for Distance Education; Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, Division of Instructional Technology;  Walter Sevon, Executive Director, Technology Systems Division, ITU; Kris Smith, Associate Provost, IR&R; Bethany Usher, Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; David Wilsford, Chair, Faculty Presidential Review Committee. 

 

I.  Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:01 p.m.

II.  Approval of the Minutes of April 7, 2010:  The Minutes were amended to include the attendance of Kris Smith, Associate Provost, Institutional Research and Reporting, and the sentence following Kris’ statement: “The paper forms now go back to department chairs first.” was made by a Faculty Senator. The amended text reads: “Kris Smith:  ‘The paper forms now go back to department chairs first.’ Senator: ‘But they are not to be opened by them.’” The Minutes were approved as amended.

 

III.  Announcements

 

Senate Chair Peter Pober welcomed Dean Vikas Chandhoke of the College of Science.  Dean Chandhoke presented an overview of COS academics, research, and facilities. 

 

Academically, important new graduate programs have been approved, as well as new joint degree programs in Chemistry, Biology and Physics.  Other new programs include a masters in Bio-Security, a bachelors in Environmental Studies and Sustainability, a bio-medical curriculum developed in collaboration with Georgetown University, and MA programs in Forensic Science and Geo-spatial Intelligence. Five years ago, research expenditures were between $19-20 million. Last year they were $37 million. The goal is to increase research funding by 10-15% annually and to obtain more interdisciplinary grants.

 

Facilities:  Currently, work is planned or actually underway to renovate Science and Tech II and create a large teaching-based annex as well as to create high-end labs. Our first building will open next month on the Prince William campus. Prince William facilities will include a large Biomedical Research Lab (45,000 square feet) allowing for very sophisticated research, and improved facilities for chemical and biological research. The Conservation Studies Program at Front Royal, jointly conducted with CHSS and the Smithsonian, also continues to expand.

 

Senator:  How many departments are in your School?

Dean Chandhoke:  There are nine departments, each with its own graduate program.  The School is still in the midst of reorganization. This creates some overlaps and some productive synergies.  We have 100 research faculty and 179 or so instructional faculty, and we continue to increase our research and instructional faculty. 

Question:  What is the teaching load for tenure-track probationary faculty?

Dean Chandhoke:  2:2 – but with research buyouts, quite a few faculty teach less, depending on research.  We have about 1900 undergraduate students and 1000 graduate students.  We expect the (student) population will increase particularly with new MA programs. 

 

IV.              Unfinished Business and General Orders

 

Teaching Effectiveness Committee - Report: On-Line Course Evaluations – Kris Smith         
The report “Student Rating of Instruction Survey: A Comparison of Paper and Web-Based Administration Methods is posted on the Faculty Senate website at: http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/FacSenate_4_7_10_v2.2.pdf                         

 

Dr. Smith responded to the following questions/comments received in advance of today's meeting:

 

Re: Low student response rates:  This problem can perhaps be remedied by creating incentives. 

 

Re: Are alternative methods of assessment available through the use of technology or other means:  The Committee is concerned to develop a process that will validate the students' participation, and make the process user-friendly.

 

Re: Probationary Faculty:  Can the teaching of probationary faculty be fairly assessed (especially in small classes) by the low response rates of the on-line process?  Kris plans to consult with department chairs and report back to the Senate in the fall. 

 

Re: Formula Used to Calculate some of the Results:  We are using simple means and standard deviations. Results are compiled in the same way for every course in every department.  Negative responses are not weighed more heavily.

 

Re: Cost Analysis:  Savings realized in cost of producing paper forms/staff time to process forms; this year, if all the classes had used electronic forms, there would have been a cost savings of $71,000.  As we increase the number of populations surveyed, cost will decrease.

 

Additional questions from the floor: 

Senator: How many notifications are sent to the students?

Dr. Smith:  Normally students receive three:  first, the day the survey opens; second, three days before the close of the semester; and third, the day before the semester.  (Some classes end earlier, this is taken into consideration.)

 

Senator:  The electronic assessment has some obvious advantages, but what are the chances that students will participate more than they have so far?

KS:  We do not yet know the results for this semester; we want to get the numbers up.  We are also looking at other institutions to see what incentives they use, such as release of the student’s grade immediately after s/he submits the form.

 

Senator: A recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education reports a significantly lower response rate for on-line course evaluations and also problems from using incentives.

KS:  It’s a catch-22, and there are no easy answers.   Faculty members who remind students to submit the forms may get better response rates.  We communicate with students by email, but sometimes our emails bounce back.  

 

Senator:  What are the response rates at other schools?  Shouldn’t we have looked at other institutions before we did this, to do a comparative study before implementation?

KS:  Some of this initial work was done. There are institutions which have reported a decline in using the electronic version; some have started out low and have moved higher. We continue to study the experience of other schools.

 

Senator:  Why not have fewer questions? If most weight is currently given to the two summary questions, then perhaps only these should be asked. Such a short form might result in a higher return rate.

KS:  I was not part of Teaching Committee during development of the survey, but I did work with the revision committee.  Faculty responses suggest they feel the value all the questions.

Senator:  The summary questions are often used for evaluative purposes, but the others can assist faculty in their teaching development. 

 

Chair:  The Executive Committee has posed the question that it might be appropriate to drop outlying low or high scores. 

Dr. Smith:  This should be part of the discussion.

 

Senator:  CEHD has conducted a survey of its faculty members, and several concerns have surfaced. The GSE offers many small graduate courses, and if, for example, in a course to 13 students, there are only 5 evaluations, then the evaluation will not be representative of the entire class. Also some courses are unique in structure and may not end at the end of the semester.  Faculty also believe there needs to be some adjustments made in assessing scores given by undergraduates as opposed to graduate students.

Dr. Smith:  With the use of electronic assessments, it will be easier to have different forms, to use for labs, seminars, experiential courses, etc. We have plans to do this if we go completely on-line. At present, it is University policy to not administer course evaluations to classes that enroll only 1 or 2 students.

 

Senator:  What about team-taught courses?

Dr. Smith:  We work with individual faculty on this: some chose to use two surveys (one per faculty member); others chose one per course.

 

Chair:  I suggest we ask Kris to analyze what happens in Spring, 2010, and the Senate will invite you to return in the Fall.   

 

Consenting Sexual Relationships Between Employees and Students – Corey Jackson, Director, Equity and Diversity Services

Corey Jackson reported that he met today with the Faculty Matters Committee, who provided great feedback to a proposed policy on consenting sexual relationships.  He would like to return in the fall with changes and thanked the Committee for its input.  The updated version will be distributed to faculty senators as soon as it is available.

 

Election of Faculty Senate Chair, 2010-2011

Peter Pober was nominated.  The nomination was seconded, and no other nominations were made.  A unanimous ballot was cast.

 

V.                 New Business – Committee Reports

A.  Senate Standing Committees

 

Executive Committee – Peter Pober, Chair

Chair Pober expressed his deep gratitude to all the Faculty Senate Standing Committee chairs for their work this year.

 

Academic Policies – Janette Muir, Chair

Our business is done for this year.  She acknowledged the wonderful colleagues who worked on the Committee.

 

Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger, Chair

 

RESOLUTION ON FACULTY FURLOUGHS

 

WHEREAS the state of Virginia, like other states, is experiencing a budget crisis as revenues decrease; and

WHEREAS the state decided to institute furloughs for state employees as a means of reducing salary costs and lowering the operating deficit, but has allowed universities to “buy out” of the furlough mandate by returning funds to the state; and

WHEREAS Mason’s Central Administration has undertaken budgetary actions that negate the need for Mason Faculty to be furloughed;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Faculty Senate on behalf of the General Faculty expresses its appreciation to the Central Administration for resolving the furlough issue.

The resolution was approved.

Senator:  While we all appreciate that the Central Administration has saved the faculty as a whole a significant amount of money, it should also be recognized that other alternative might have been proposed. For instance, given that the university has been forced to release a number of term faculty, it might have been preferable to impose a furlough on senior faculty to save these positions.

Faculty Matters – Doris Bitler, Chair

 

Summary of Status of Fees for Faculty and Staff Use of Athletic Facilities – Jim Sanford

This is a report of the Faculty Matters Committee’s examination of the increase in fees charged to faculty and staff for membership in athletic facilities.

History.  When the Field House opened in the mid-1980s, no fee was charged to faculty and staff, and that facility remains a free site today.  There are no present plans to change policies related to Field House access.  When the Aquatic Center opened in 1998, a fee of $175 was charged for an annual pass.  This amount was established as a result of estimating income needed after factoring in student fees, rental fees paid by swim teams, fees paid by individuals from the general public, etc.  The annual fee remained the same until 2009-2010.  Then last fall, the RAC and Skyline opened, and the annual fee to use all of them increased by $75, to $250 (or, alternatively, $25 per month).  A reduced annual fee for groups was also implemented.  “Groups” means faculty and staff who sign up at the same time.  It is not necessary that they work in the same unit. Another $75 increase, to $325, was planned for 2010-2011.

Process.  Along with Kevin Stoy of the Staff Senate, a member of the Faculty Matters Committee met several times with various staff members of Intercollegiate Athletics and Human Resources to discuss various options regarding athletic facility fees.  He also, with the assistance of others, compiled a list of fees charged for use of athletic facilities by employees of other Virginia, local, and CAA colleges and universities; fees charged to employees of Fairfax County for use of County rec centers; and fees charged to employees of local for-profit gyms for use of their respective facilities.

Conclusions and Actions.

Questions and Discussion:

 

Senator:  What is the status of the Field House? 

Professor Sanford: It remains free for faculty use, but the hours for faculty are restricted because athletic teams use it for their practices, some intercollegiate competitions, and other events.

 

Linda Harber:  At the Aquatic Center, for groups of five or more, the rates are reduced to $199.

Professor Sanford:  Fees were established when the Aquatic Center opened to make it self-sustaining.  These are established by the Athletic Department and approved by the Central Administration.  Faculty have no direct input regarding fees. 

 

Senator:  How much money does the Aquatic Center collect from faculty and staff membership?

Professor Sanford:  I do not have exact information. My best guess would be about $80, 000 annually.  Some members pay monthly, others annually.  The numbers are not particularly high for annual membership. 

 

Senator:  Does the University collect enough money to support these facilities?

Professor Sanford:  Members are contributing approximately “five figures” annually. The Aquatic Center was profitable for a while; but recently its use by high schools and other outside groups has lessened.  Individual members are providing a higher proportion of the general revenue than in the past.

 

Senator:  Faculty and staff can have payroll deductions, just as we do for parking.

 

Senator:  If the total number of faculty members increased, would the faculty fee be reduced?  Or would this just result in more revenue for the Athletic Department?

Professor Sanford:  This is not clear. Nor does it seem that the Center does a lot of marketing to increase membership.

 

Domestic Partner Benefits – Doris Bitler

There is no movement right now on health care for domestic partners; the topic will remain on the agenda for next year.  Any major policy decisions regarding this should be made during the academic year when faculty are present, and there should be consultation with the Faculty Matters Committee. 

 

Nominations – Jim Bennett, Chair

Steve Farnsworth (COMM) was nominated to serve as Faculty Senate Representative to the Fenwick Fellows Review Committee.  No further nominations were made and he was elected unanimously.

 

Organization and Operations – Susan Trencher, Chair

We have received three new issues for referral:  to the Tech Policy Committee--difficulties involving Graduate School admissions; to Faculty Matters--                            ; and to the General Education Committee--a proposal to add a new General Education requirement in conservation, environmental,  and sustainability issues.

Motion:   Committee to Review the Faculty Handbook

 

The Organization and Operations Committee moves that the Faculty Senate establish a Faculty Handbook Revision Committee consisting of three tenured members of the instructional faculty, at least one of whom must be a Senator, to consider changes to the Faculty Handbook and make recommendations to the Faculty Senate.

 

Proposed changes may be brought to the Committee by any member of the faculty, administration, or Visitor.  The Committee is charged to confer with appropriate members of the administration during consideration of any change.

 

In order to maintain continuity, members of this Committee shall have staggered terms of one, two, and three years.

 

Discussion:

Senator: Can the Faculty Handbook be modified several times during the year, with the establishment of this Committee?

Professor Trencher:  We discussed this with the Executive Committee and within O&O.  The actual revision of the Handbook is currently envisioned as being done once a year. After an initial couple of years, it is likely that fewer changes will be necessary.

 

Chair Pober: This will be an ad hoc committee, not a university standing committee.

 

Senator:  The process of change will require consultation with the administration and then any proposed revisions must go to the BOV. So it is not likely that there will be many changes and that these will be spread throughout the year. 

Senator:  Proposed revisions will also be brought to the Faculty Senate.

 

Senator:  What is the process now for proposing changes to the Faculty Handbook?

Professor Trencher:  There is none.

 

The motion was approved.

B.  Other Committees:  Annual Reports

University Standing Committees, and Senate Ad Hoc Committees.

ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE FACULTY SENATE STANDING COMMITTEES AY 2009-2010

A motion was made and seconded to accept all the following reports from the Senate Standing Committees.  The motion was approved.

 

1.  ACADEMIC POLICIES – Janette Muir (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members:  Sheryl Beach (COS), Jose Cortina (CHSS), Fran Harbour (CHSS), Harry Wechsler (VSITE)

 

A.     Motions presented and approved by Faculty Senate:

1.      Resolution on Academic Clemency:

 

Under section on Academic clemency (pg 41 of 08-09 University catalogue): change “within the first semester of returning to Mason” to “within 12 months starting from the first day of the re-enrollment term at Mason.

 

Rationale:

Undergraduate students returning to Mason after a separation of at least three years may petition their academic dean to have a number of previously earned grades and credits removed from the calculation of their cumulative GPA.  The present policy allows a student to make this petition within the first semester of their return.  However, given various adjustments and advising, students are not often ready to make this appeal in their first semester.  Extending the term to one year provides more time for a student to make this decision, to determine their appropriate degree path and what they need to do to achieve academic success.  

 

2.      Cross-Level Listing of Graduate/Undergraduate Courses University Policy

(This policy was developed in conjunction with: Academic Policies Committee/Task Force on UG/G Cross-listings, and Graduate Council)

 

Rationale:

In preparation for SACS review it has become apparent that a substantial number of undergraduate and graduate cross-listings exist.  It also appears that there is no set University policy about how faculty should articulate the differences when these courses are cross-listed.  This policy provides explicit guidelines for faculty and administrators in determining whether or not these listings should occur.  It also re-names them “Cross-Level Listings” so that they can be distinguished from cross-listings within a level, e.g. HIST 393/FAVS 399 US Documentaries of China.

In general, undergraduate and graduate cross-level listings should be avoided as much as possible; prerequisites should be made explicit to the extent possible using existing courses. When graduate/undergraduate classes are cross-level listed they should reflect the following guidelines:

·Specific, unique expectations are provided for each course. 

 

·Prerequisites are the same or comparable for both courses, or more significant for the graduate section.

 

·Courses should be close in number designations.

 

·Course titles must be related, but do not have to be identical.

 

·Courses not eligible for cross-level listing must be taught separately.

 

3.      Resolution to Shorten Academic Add Period

Catalog copy change:

Change catalog copy from: “The last day for adding a 14-week course is two calendar weeks after and including the first day of classes” to “The last day for adding a 14-week course is eight calendar days after and including the first day of classes.”

 

Rationale:

Members of APAC have conveyed strong concern that what amounts to a 2 1/2 week add period is disruptive, allowing students to miss too much class, or alternatively causing them to find out that faculty will not let them start during the Add Period.  Some administrators see this as too lengthy and a hindrance to the academic process.  Faculty members voice similar concerns.  At the end of the current 2+ weeks, students who add some classes have little chance to excel give the number of days they’ve already missed.  While there are consequences associated with shortening the Add Period, the change is consistent with other Universities in Virginia.  Shortening the add period, while possibly affecting payment and liability deadlines, will also help students by enabling those on Financial Aid to receive their funding more quickly.  Ultimately, the committee believes that students will have better chances to academically excel if they are able to more quickly settle into their semester coursework.

 

B.        Other issues under discussion during the year

 

1)   Clarification of policies related to summer school.  Conversations took place regarding different summer school models and how to ensure that the university takes the best advantage of its capacity during the summer.  Meetings took place with Provost representatives and it was agreed that AP would continue to be consulted about potential policies impacting students attending summer school.

 

2)   International Student recruitment.  AP members attended meetings about a new initiative to systematically attract International students.  Representatives attending University-level meetings about this program and the specific policies that might be impacted by this influx of students.

 

3)   Proposal for flexible grading option. Lots of discussion took place about the possibility of an ABC – no credit option for all units within the university.  After discussion with the Financial Aid office, athletics and the registrar, the committee determined that this would not be a good policy for all students at the university.

 

4)   AP/IB/CLEP options – this is a topic where we’ve begun discussing, but will take up next year due to its complexity.

 

 

2.  BUDGET AND RESOURCES – Rick Coffinberger (SOM), Chair

Committee Members:  Alok Berry (VSITE), Yvonne Demory (SOM), June Tangney (CHSS), Tojo Thatchenkery (SPP)

The Budget and Resources Committee met monthly during the 2009/10 academic year.  At the committee’s first meeting Rick Coffinberger was elected Committee Chair.  The committee completed the following projects during the year:

 

·During the fall, worked with the central administration to secure data regarding the current salaries of instructional, research and administrative faculty at GMU; this data was posted on the Senate website in February.

 

·On a monthly basis, a committee representative attended meetings of the University Budget Planning Committee. A Committee representative also met with the Provost Stearns, Senior Vice-President Scherrens and the Associate Vice President for Budget & Planning Donna Kidd for budget updates.

 

·Kept the Senate’s Executive Committee and the full Senate informed of the on-going issues concerning the university’s budget allocation from the Commonwealth.

 

·Initiated a study on extramural funding.

 

 

3.  FACULTY MATTERS – Doris Bitler (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members:  Larry Rockwood (COS), Jim Sanford (CHSS), Joe Scimecca (CHSS), Michael Wolf-Branigin (CHHS)

The Faculty Matters Committee met 12 times (9 regularly scheduled meetings and 3 special meetings to discuss specific issues) during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Issues considered:

1) Bookstore - Concerns were raised about the university bookstore.  An informal survey of faculty revealed that new practices have helped to mitigate problems of textbook availability and no current problems were noted.

2) Campus Climate network - Victoria Rader (CHSS) asked Faculty Matters to endorse an informal network of faculty interested in issues of campus climate.  We did so, believing this group will serve as a clearinghouse for a number of issues related to the Mason community.

3) Contracts - Two faculty members requested a review of a situation involving retroactive changes to their teaching contracts.  They were referred to the Grievance Committee for their personal situation, and Faculty Matters is currently researching university policies regarding contracts and university errors.   

4) Domestic partner benefits - Linda Harber was consulted on this matter, and we learned that many universities are currently extending benefits to the domestic partners of faculty and staff.  Although domestic partner benefits are not high on the list of priorities for Richmond, we will continue to monitor the situation.

5) Emeritus status - Faculty Matters was pleased to recommend emerita status for a term faculty member in CHHS on the recommendation of their Promotion & Tenure committee.

6) Faculty Evaluation of Administrators (changes) - One suggestion for a change to the FEA was considered.  The consensus was not to change the FEA at this time.

7) Faculty Evaluation of Administrators (administration) - The FEA is currently being administered.  The decision was made to only have the FEA available online this year.  The response rate is currently 34% of all eligible faculty, in comparison to a final response rate of 35% last year.  This year's survey will close on May 7.

8) Faculty Handbook - Changes to the faculty handbook were recommended, but the authority of Faculty Matters to do this was challenged by the Provost.  The matter was referred back to O&O, which will constitute an ongoing committee to consider Handbook changes.

9) Faculty Practice - The current implementation of faculty practice in CHHS has been discussed with Dean Shirley Travis and Linda Harber.  While some issues have been resolved, some faculty remain concerned.  Those who wish to discuss this further will be referred to Provost Stearns.

10) Free Speech - Dave Kuebrich was designated as the Faculty Matters representative to the university-wide committee addressing issues of free speech.

11) Furloughs - After ongoing discussions with Linda Harber and Provost Stearns, this matter was ultimately resolved at the administrative level, with the university providing the funds to "buy out" the state-mandated furlough.

12) Health benefits - In response to faculty concerns about changes in coverage and access to qualified providers, Faculty Matters requested that Human Resources provide detailed information about changes to the Anthem BC/BS plans.  The requested information is to include changes in coverage and co-pays for common procedures and prescriptions over the past 5 years, as well as information about the number of providers in the plan and their experience, also to cover the past 5 years.  We are currently waiting for this information.

13) Recreation - In response to faculty concerns about the cost of on-campus recreation facilities, a representative of Faculty Matters (in collaboration with a representative of the Staff Senate) has been involved in meetings to address this issue.  A full report will be provided at the April 28, 2010 Senate meeting.

14) Summer School - The 2009 salary data were reviewed and it was learned that all faculty eligible to receive 10% of their annual salaries to teach a summer course received that amount.

15) Summer School - In light of ongoing concerns about the way summer school is funded, the criteria for canceling summer classes, and the disbursement of profits, this issue will remain on the Faculty Matters agenda for the 2010-2011 academic year.     

16) Teaching - On February 1, 2010, a request was made to Linda Schwartzstein for information about the teaching contributions of administrative faculty.  She has asked Kris Smith to provide that information, which is still pending.

 

 

4.  NOMINATIONS – Jim Bennett (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members:  Rutledge Dennis (CHSS), Dmitrios Ioannou (VSITE), Linda Monson (CVPA), Pierre Rodgers (CEHD)

The Faculty Senate Nominations Committee has conscientiously filled every vacancy on every Senate Standing Committee, every University Committee, and every ad hoc committee and task force where Faculty representation was required.

 

 

5.  ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS – Susan Trencher (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members:  Jack Goldstone (SPP), Mark Houck (VSITE), Jean Moore (CHHS), Star Muir (CHSS)

Final Report: 0rganization and Operations AY 2009/2010

Charge of the Committee:  This Committee shall be responsible for expediting Senate business and furthering the service of the Senate to the University.  Its functions shall include but not be limited to: A. Recommending the establishment, terms, and charges of new committees or other modifications of committee structure; B. Making recommendations concerning any operating rules of the Senate that may be necessary; C. Annually reviewing the bylaws so that it can recommend appropriate changes as needed; receiving proposed amendments to tbe bylaws and, after consideration, making recommendations to the Faculty Senate concerning such proposed amendments.  D. Establishing in accordance with the provisions of the Charter the number of Senators to which each participating unit of the University is entitled.  All business to come before the Senate should be first submitted to this committee which shall refer items requiring study and action to the appropriate standing committee or appropriate collegial faculty.

Matters/inquiries to 0&0 resulting in motions brought to the Senate floor by the committee and passed by the Faculty Senate:
Revision of the charge to the Academic Initiatives Committee (AIC)
Expansion of responsibilities of the University Grievance Committee to ensure consistency with the Faculty Handbook
Reconstitution of  the  External Academic Relations committee.
Motion to amend the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate to limit voting rights to elected members (2/3 of voting membership required for passage)

Matters/inquiries presented to 0&0; discussed and referred :
To Faculty Matters:  Inquiry re Faculty Practice and compensation plan in the College of Health and Human Development
To Faculty Matters:  Inquiry re Summer School Compensation
To Faculty Matters: Inquiry re mid semester revocation of adjunct faculty contracts.
To Faculty Matters:  Request from the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHSS) to provide Professor Emerita status for a retiring non-tenured faculty member.
To Faculty Matters:  Request from term faculty member to look into the lack of procedures for addressing effective incorporation of term faculty into tenure-track positions as advocated by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
To Faculty Matters: Draft statement on Consensual Sexual Relations, presented by Corey Jackson.
To Academic Policies:  Inquiry from IRR regarding policies regarding the distribution of student comments from evaluation forms to persons other than the faculty member who is being evaluated.
To Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate: Draft University Code of Ethics (forwarded by Tom Hennessey: Office of the President).

Other Activities/Actions
Per 0&0 committee charge in accordance with the Faculty Senate Charter: Annual allocation of seats in Faculty Senate; notification letters sent to Deans and Directors ,including a request for timely elections  and names of newly elected Senators .
Declined to comment on changes to university Smoking Policy: Committee concluded it was outside the purview of the Faculty Senate

Unfinished Business
Expression of gratitude and formal dismissal of Faculty Handbook Revision Committee (2006-2008)
Motion to establish a new University Standing Committee: Faculty Handbook Revision Committee, to revise and review requests for revision to the Faculty Handbook

 

 

 
ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE UNIVERSITY STANDING COMMITTEES AY 2009-2010

A motion was made and seconded to accept all the following reports from the University Standing Committees.  The motion was approved.  In the Admissions Committee Report, the comparison chart of graduate admissions between Fall 2010 and Fall 2009 was updated to include percentage change.

1.  ACADEMIC APPEALS – Betsy DeMulder (CEHD), Chair

Committee Members:  Martin DeNys (CHSS), Michael Hurley (CHSS), Howard Kurtz (CVPA), Miriam Raskin (CHHS), Carmen Rioux-Bailey (CEHD

Our Committee had no cases during the 2009-2010 academic year (as of April 16, 2010).The only item of business conducted was to elect a chair.

 

 

2.  ACADEMIC INITIATIVES – Jim Bennett (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members: Elizabeth Chong (CHHS), Bob Ehrlich (COS), Robert Johnston (SOM), Terry Zawacki (CHSS)

 

Currently two major academic initiatives are actively underway outside the state of Virginia: the Moscow State University Program which is now underway and a nascent -- and more ambitious -- program in Korea (IFEZA) that, if fully developed, will involve Mason faculty teaching at a GMU campus there. The Committee appreciates the prompt and forthcoming cooperation of the Provost, Dr. Anne Schiller (Associate Provost, International Projects), and Sergei Andronikov (Director of Russian Programs, Office of the Provost): In addition to providing the Committee updates, Dr. Schiller met with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee to provide information about progress in Korea which is summarized in her report to the Academic Initiatives Committee that appears below.

 

Korea Initiative Update

 

A Mason delegation traveled to Korea in February, 2010 to join representatives of other Global University Alliance Institutions for meetings with IFEZ administrators, representatives of the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, and the Mayor of Incheon.  Among the issues discussed were schedules for facilities construction, various forms of support for Alliance Institutions, and general campus management.  A follow‑up letter sent on behalf of Alliance Institutions requested additional information relevant to the evaluation process.  Alliance Institutions are aware that personnel changes in IFEZ offices have delayed a full response and expect to learn more shortly.

 

While in Korea members of the Mason delegation carried out a focus group discussion and distributed questionnaires to students at a local high school.  Data collected were helpful to understanding some priorities of Korean students.  In early April, a RFP was circulated that will lead to selection of a professional research firm to conduct a market study on Mason’s behalf.  That study will focus on the relative popularity among Korean and Chinese high school students of the various academic programs that may be proposed by Mason.  Six proposals were received and are currently under evaluation.  The results of the market study will be useful in future curricula planning efforts.

 

Significant progress has been made toward forming collaborations with universities in Korea that will serve as resources for Mason faculty and students.  These institutions include Korea University, Kyonggi University, and Seoul National University.

 

Next steps will include informal faculty discussion groups that will help identify the opportunities and challenges that faculty envision with regard to their own participation in international teaching opportunities.  The first discussion group will be comprised of members of the Faculty Matters Subcommittee headed by Dr. Doris Bitler.

 

Dr. Andronikov sent the following progress report on the Moscow State program to the Committee:

 

 Report on: Dual Degree Program between Moscow State University and

 George Mason University in B.S. Economics and B.S. Management

 

Mason has partnered with Moscow State University, School of Economics to offer a new dual‑degree undergraduate program. The program started in September 2009.

 

The first cohort, five Russian students, has arrived at Mason on February 4, 2010. They were accompanied by the MSU professor to teach the first course, Dr. Nina Miklashevskaya. Dr. Miklashevskaya is teaching the course MSU 106: “Macroeconomics I”. The group is studying as one cohort because the course is required for both degrees. The classes run every day: Monday through Friday for 3 hours. After 45 contact hours of course work and successfully passing the final exam, the MSU‑Mason students are starting the second course MSU 109: “Mathematical Analysis” on March 1. The second MSU faculty to teach, MSU professor of Mathematics Vitaliy Malugin, has arrived at Mason.

 

Moscow State faculty members teaching at Mason reside in the newly constructed faculty and staff housing development, Masonvale. MSU‑Mason students are located in Mason dorms on the Fairfax campus.

 

Obviously, this first phase of the program needs to be expanded, though all basic Russian costs are covered by the student premium tuition. We will be working actively on additional recruitment for the coming year.

 

The Academic Initiatives Committee was concerned about cost issues, especially with regard to the Moscow State initiative. As noted in the Committee’s Fall 2009 semester report to the Senate (see Faculty Senate Minutes, December 2, 2009), the “Mason-MSU Dual Degree Business Plan” states on page 15: “Program Size: On average 10 Economics students and 10 Management students are needed to make the Program feasible and cost effective.” The first cohort, as noted above, is far below the average number needed. Cost information was requested of the Provost who promptly responded as follows: “The Korea initiative costs this fiscal year (and next) [sic] entirely covered by the $1 million feasibility study grant from IFEZA. Moscow State ‑ $50,000 staff costs (half a position); $6000 rental costs; $2000 travel costs this fiscal year. $50,000 tuition received applicable to this fiscal year.”

 

The Committee will continue to monitor these programs and others that may arise in the future.

 

 

3.  ADMISSIONS

Committee Members: Marion Deshmukh (CHSS), Robert Ehrlich (COS), Nicole Sealey (VSITE), Suzanne Slayden (COS), Jason Warren (CHSS), Eddie Tallent, (Assistant Dean and Executive Director of Admissions)

 

A. At a meeting in April, the committee discussed with Director Tallent the new option that allows students to submit a video essay, in addition to the required 250-word written essay, as part of the admissions application. In this first year, approximately 25-33% of applicants have submitted a video essay. See http://news.gmu.edu/articles/1902. (The news article incorrectly states that students can submit a video in lieu of the written essay.) Because there are no longer interviews as part of the admissions process, many students feel this is a way to put their “faces forward” and personalize their application. It is used in borderline cases and can sometimes help a student be admitted, but is on the whole not a reason a student is accepted or denied.

 

B. Director Tallent released statistics to the committee pertaining to undergraduate applications and admissions to George Mason University. As of April 21, 2010:

 

1) A total of slightly less than 18,000 freshman applications were submitted this year, up from 13,900 last year (marking the largest freshman applicant pool ever for Mason).

 

2) 8,800 were admitted; up from 8,700 at end of cycle last year.

 

3) The class target is 2575; there is a healthy waitlist to make sure that number is attained.

 

4) Honors caliber admits are up by 245 students compared to last year; 198 had submitted deposits last year as of this date compared to 277 this year on same date.

 

5) We have received a 15% increase in transfer applications. Since these students do not have to respond until July 1, it is too early to predict enrollment outcomes for transfers.

 

The confirmation deadline for non-transfer students is May 1, 2010.

 

C. Presented in the following table are Fall 2010 graduate application numbers by unit and by university-wide totals as of April 12, 2010.Faculty should be aware this data is not official university data (which is compiled and held by IRR http://irr.gmu.edu).

 

A few notable data points include: 15% application increase university-wide and a 32% confirmation decrease (not shown) one year-to-date. There are multiple factors which may account for the decreases which include, but are not limited to: economic challenges and admissions business process changes.

 

The committee has intentionally not included admissions and enrollment numbers by unit, since the university has a decentralized graduate admissions structures. Therefore, faculty are encouraged to contact their respective graduate admissions offices for unit-level admission & enrollment data.

 

GRADUATE ADMISSIONS:  FALL 2010 vs. FALL 2009

(Chart Updated to include percentages changed as requested by a Faculty Senator). 

(COMPARING APRIL 12 DATA FOR EACH YEAR)

College Code

College

State

Apps Fall 2010

Apps Fall 2009

Delta

AR

Coll Visual & Performing Arts

OUT

108

74

46%

AR

Coll Visual & Performing Arts

VA

117

84

39%

AR Subtotal

 

 

225

158

42%

SC

College of Science

OUT

349

272

28%

SC

College of Science

VA

233

189

23%

SC Subtotal

 

 

582

461

26%

E1

Education & Human Development

OUT

183

201

-9%

E1

Education & Human Development

VA

854

772

11%

E1 Subtotal

 

 

1037

973

7%

HH

Health and Human Services

OUT

221

154

44%

HH

Health and Human Services

VA

489

509

-4%

HH Subtotal

 

 

710

663

7%

LA

Humanities & Social Sciences

OUT

1756

1279

37%

LA

Humanities & Social Sciences

VA

1003

960

4%

LA Subtotal

 

 

2759

2239

23%

CA

Inst Conflict Analysis & Resol

OUT

234

212

10%

CA

Inst Conflict Analysis & Resol

VA

133

175

-24%

CA Subtotal

 

 

367

387

-5%

KR

Krasnow Inst. for Advncd Study

OUT

12

0

 

KR

Krasnow Inst. for Advncd Study

VA

7

1

600%

KR Subtotal

 

 

19

1

1800%

BU

School of Management

OUT

104

61

70%

BU

School of Management

VA

206

176

17%

BU Subtotal

 

 

310

237

31%

PP

School of Public Policy

OUT

321

223

44%

PP

School of Public Policy

VA

181

198

-9%

PP Subtotal

 

 

502

421

19%

VS

Volgenau School of IT & Engr

OUT

1164

1098

6%

VS

Volgenau School of IT & Engr

VA

290

291

0%

VS Subtotal

 

 

1454

1389

5%

GRAND TOTAL

 

 

7965

6929

15%

 

 

4.  ATHLETIC COUNCIL – Linda Miller, Chair and Faculty Athletic Representative

Committee Members:  Robert Baker (CEHD), Sheryl Beach (COS), Steve Klein (CHSS), Phil Wiest (CHSS)

2010 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 academic performance of our student-athletes.  The work of the council this year was focused primarily on the NCAA Certification process and the self study draft.  In October, Martin Ford, NCAA Steering Committee Chair gave a presentation and overview of the re-certification process to the council (minutes, October 21, 2009).  In February, the council accepted the revision of two changes to the Mission Statement for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and conducted the first reading of the draft changes to the by-laws (minutes, February 24, 2010).  The council revised their by-laws to more accurately reflect the voting membership current titles, sub-committee structure and practice (approved April 21, 2010). The Sub-committees met separately to conduct business relative to the council’s work and assist with the NCAA self study report. 

Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance Sub-committee (Chair, Jevita Rogers)

The committee responded to questions within the NCAA certification self-study that asks for broad-based participation in the review of the 2008 CAA Compliance report. The NCAA Steering Committee recommended this sub-committee be tasked with reviewing the report as part of the broad based participation.  Although there were no required actions, the sub-committee agreed with some recommendations for improvement in the compliance review and several of those have been implemented.  (Governance and Commitment to Rules Compliance Subcommittee 2010 Report)

Academic Integrity Sub-committee (Chair, Bob Baker)

 The committee engaged in final review of the report evaluating Academic Support Services for student-athletes initiated spring 2009.  Council feedback and suggestions were solicited and the final report was approved by the full council at the April 2010 meeting.  The report was also given to Mason’s Certification Academic Integrity sub-committee to assist in answering questions for the academic services area in the NCAA self study draft.     

Although the official 2008-09 NCAA Division I Academic Progress Rate (APR) has not yet been released, George Mason had no teams below the cut point of 925 and no penalties.  (Academic Integrity 2010 Report). 

Gender, Diversity and Student Well-Being Sub-committee (Chair, Sandy Scherrens)

The committee focused its efforts on increasing the number of Exit Surveys completed by student-athletes.  The Faculty Athletic Representative (FAR) met in November with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and gave a summary of the findings from the 2008 surveys, and in April to obtain their assistance with the distribution and completion of the 2010 Exit Surveys. In person interviews with graduating students from each team are being conducted by the Faculty Athletic Representative and are ongoing until the end of term.  (Gender, Diversity and Student Well-Being Subcommittee 2010 Report)

2008-09 Student-Athlete Statistics
In the 2008-2009 academic year student-athletes were compared with the general student body with the following results:
                                    Student Athletes         Students Generally
                                        2.95                                     2.97
                                                                                               
* All GPA statistics computed by the Office of the Registrar

In conclusion, this has been a very active year for the Athletic Council and I would like to thank each member for their commitment to excellence and invaluable guidance and support.

Linda Miller
Faculty Athletic Representative
April 22, 2010

Cc:       President Alan Merten
            Senior Vice-President Maurice Scherrens
            Assistant Vice President/Director, Athletics Tom O’Connor
            Senior Associate Athletics Director Sue Collins
            Martin Ford, Chair NCAA Steering Committee

 

5.  EFFECTIVE TEACHING – Rodger Smith (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members:  Suzanne Scott (CHSS), Suzanne Smith (CHSS), Cliff Sutton (VSITE), Mary Williams (CEHD)

Report on activity of the Effective Teaching Faculty Senate Sub-committee:

 

·The committee focused its advising on how all units have teaching evaluated in some other way than student evaluations.

· The committee heard a report from Associate Provost for Institutional Research & Reporting Kris Smith on her research on the pilot program for on-line course evaluations.

Our committee learned from Kris that the on-line evaluation process is used with distance education courses and was being piloted again this year in face-to-face courses.  Kris’ office was continuing the pilot this year in order to gather data to conduct meaningful statistical tests to share with our committee and the faculty at large.

o  Among the findings, Kris mentioned of all student evaluation ratings questions only one question showed a statistically significant difference between on-line and paper ratings.

·The committee encouraged Kris to present her findings to the full Faculty Senate.

 

 

6.  EXTERNAL ACADEMIC RELATIONS– Debbie Boehm-Davis (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members:  Kelly Dunne (CHSS), Penny Earley (CEHD), Stephen Farnsworth (CHSS), Karl Fryxell (COS), Frank Philpot (SOM)


Summary of Activities (2009-2010 Academic Year)

State Government Relations. The Committee on External Academic Relations (CEAR) was not re-chartered until late in the fall semester. However, we were able to meet once in the fall and on two additional meetings during the spring semester. Two additional meetings are scheduled before the end of the academic year (but beyond the due date for this report). On each occasion, the committee met with the State Government Relations Director (Betty Jolly). Ms. Jolly provided the committee with an update on legislative activities in Richmond; she also sought out information to support questions being asked by individuals in Richmond about the university. In addition, the committee sought out information on actions we might take as a committee after Ken Cucinelli made his remarks regarding discrimination at the university. Subsequent to that discussion, the committee made recommendations to the Faculty Senate regarding a resolution, and actions that individual faculty members could take to support a stand against discrimination at the university.

Faculty Senate of Virginia.  One member of this committee serves as the official Mason representative to the Faculty Senate of Virginia. Ms. Earley, who is that representative, has kept informed of the activities sponsored by this organization, both through attendance at their meetings and information sent out by the organization. There is no information of note to report from that organization in this academic year.

Other Activities. The committee will be reviewing its new charter and composition; we plan to make recommendations for changes to improve the functioning of the committee.

 

7. GENERAL EDUCATION – Rick Davis, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education), Chair

Committee Members:  Don Boileau (CHSS), Rick Diecchio (COS),  Kim Eby (Associate Provost/Center for Teaching Excellence), Douglas Eyman (CHSS), Frank Allen Philpot (SOM), Kamaljeet Sanghera (VSITE), R. Claire Snyder-Hall (CHSS), Hugh Sockett (CHSS), Karen Studd (CVPA), Cliff Sutton (VSITE), Carol Urban (CHHS), and Peter Winant (CVPA).  Student representative: Paula Salamoun.  Staff support: Marcy Glover.

 

The University General Education Committee once again has worked tirelessly (the chair would add “above and beyond the call of duty”) this academic year on the following items, all of which are continued from last year and will continue next year:

l meeting the challenges of SACS reaffirmation of accreditation as applicable to general education

l considering new course proposals for inclusion in the general education inventory

l strategic thinking about the future of general education, both at Mason and in a national context of comparable universities.

 

What follows will expand a bit on each of the bullets above, but first there are a couple of compulsory reporting points included in our committee’s charge from the Senate.

1. Proficiency/placement exams: Statistics are characteristically incomplete or unavailable as of this date; as we did last year, we will submit an addendum early in the fall semester with these data. 

2. Changes in the criteria for general education: There were no substantive changes in overall criteria. 

The committee worked extensively on developing and approving new Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for the Global Understanding, Social and Behavioral Sciences,  Synthesis and IT categories.  This marks completion of an important phase of a task begun almost two years ago, namely, to create clear and assessable SLOs for general education program in order to be responsive to SACS standards and, even more importantly, to provide clearer guidance to faculty developing and reviewing courses for inclusion in the gen ed inventory.  As of this writing, revised SLOs are in place for Arts, Literature, World History/Western Civilization, Social/Behavioral Sciences, Global Understanding, Synthesis, and Information Technology.  The remaining categories (Written Communication, Oral Communication, Quantitative Reasoning, and Scientific Reasoning) are well established under a SCHEV-mandated assessment regime and are fairly stable in their course inventories.  The committee will consider whether new SLOs are desirable in these areas during the next academic year.

SACS

To meet the more rigorous SACS standards for general education review that we must for this cycle, the committee continues to work intensively with the Office of Institutional Assessment (OIA) to provide direct assessment of student learning in those areas of Mason’s general education program that are not already assessed under the SCHEV competencies. A course portfolio approach was adopted and has been through its first cycle, looking at student learning and alignment with general education outcomes in Arts, Western Civilization/World History, and Literature.  Portfolios were reviewed in May and feedback was communicated to the units in a variety of sessions in the summer and fall. 

 Overall, the portfolios showed evidence of strong teaching and learning across the three areas, along with many examples of innovative assignments and course designs. One general finding emerged around the broad theme of intentionality.  Some courses whose general education substance and relevance were intuitively obvious to both teaching faculty and reviewers nonetheless did not overtly demonstrate their alignment with the gen ed mission to the expected level, either to the review teams or to students.  In most cases, the only recommended action was to highlight more prominently the ways in which the course connects to the larger aims of a liberal education, whether in syllabus language or lecture/discussion time, or both.   

As we noted last year in this space, this work has been labor-and-thought-intensive for the general education committee (as well as for the chairs and faculty in the affected units and the Provost’s Office), and we owe them a special word of thanks. The results are already proving to be very useful to us as we go about the essential work of ensuring a sound liberal education for our undergraduates.

Complete Inventory Review

In order to get a more comprehensive picture of the current state of the gen ed inventory and to ensure that we can tell a complete and accurate story to SACS, the gen ed committee has decided to engage in a systematic review of each approved course (in the case of multiple section courses, a representative sample thereof; in the case of parallel distance education sections, both DE and ground-based will be reviewed).  The courses will be compared against both the new SLOs (where available) and the original criteria under which many were approved, in some cases ten years ago.  Each course will be looked at by two committee members and any possible issues will be brought to the full committee for discussion and possible referral to the offering unit.  We expect to complete this work during the fall semester 2010.

Course Proposals

The committee considered 26 and approved 22 new courses for the general education inventory, with the others being sent back for revision or clarification. This compares to last year’s total of 8 considered, 5 approved.  The committee acknowledges that several submittals in the IT area were held up for a lengthy period as the process of developing and approving new SLOs took longer than anticipated; we believe, however, that the decision to wait for the new SLOs before considering these courses was appropriate and that in every area for which new or revised SLOs are available, the course approval process is becoming more straightforward, consistent, and rigorous.

Strategic Thinking about General Education

As noted last year, the committee continued its lively discussion of the aims and purposes of general and liberal education, and the committee’s role in advancing Mason’s program.  Particular progress was made in aligning the Synthesis requirement with larger critical thinking goals and in developing IT learning outcomes that recognize the changing nature of IT and its role in all areas of academic, professional, and personal life.  The committee discussed the IT Ethics requirement extensively and decided to make no formal recommendations at the present time; the proper locus and goals for an Ethics requirement remain an important topic for future consideration.  

Role of the Committee vis-à-vis faculty and unit prerogatives

Any time an academically polyglot committee standing outside of a department, college, or school reviews the work of a faculty member or a discipline-based curriculum committee, the possibility of blurring roles and lines of demarcation exists, and misunderstandings may ensue.  Such is sometimes the case when the gen ed committee refers a course back to the submitting unit with recommended changes prior to approval for inclusion in the gen ed program. 

The committee wishes the general faculty to know that it is always respectful of the disciplinary expertise and pedagogical autonomy of the faculty member submitting the course, as well as the integrity of the various levels of unit review that precede submission to the gen ed program.  When courses are returned for further review, this is always a subject of open discussion, and it is never the committee’s intention to become involved with disciplinary matters that properly belong to the department, college, or school.  Rather, the committee takes its charge as one of evaluating alignment of a given course with the general education mission of the university, a mission that necessarily transcends unit lines.  Courses that are returned for revision are typically exemplary in their discipline but, in the committee’s judgment, are incompletely aligned with some aspect of general education, and so with all appropriate caution and deference, the committee feels obligated to suggest and/or request adjustments prior to approval.  To do less would be to deprive the University of broad-based, faculty-driven stewardship of the general education program.  The committee appreciates the creativity and energy of the faculty in developing new courses for general education and simply wishes to make its principles known to lessen the possibility of discomfort and misunderstanding in those cases where a course is not approved or returned for revision. 

8.  GRIEVANCE – Walter Morris (COS), Chair

Committee Members:  Lloyd Cohen (SOL), Robert Johnston (SOM), James Maddux (CHSS), Elavie Ndura (CEHD)

The grievance committee was not presented with any cases this year. 

 

 

9.  MINORITY AND DIVERSITY ISSUES – David Anderson (CEHD), Chair

Committee Members:  Flavia Colonna (COS), Jeng-Eng Lin (COS), Michael Naor (SOM), Halaevalu Vakalahi (CHHS).

 

George Mason University Minority and Diversity Issues Committee
2009-2010
Report to Faculty Senate

The members of the Minority and Diversity Issues Committee (MDIC) were David S. Anderson (chair), Flavia Colonna, Jeng-Eng Lin, Michael Naor, and Halaevalu Vakalahi.

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 was very productive during the academic year, and each of the committee members was actively involved. Further, actively involved with the MDIC was Mr. Corey Jackson, Mason’s Chief Diversity and Equity Officer.  Overall, three major accomplishments were achieved. The first revolved around the Diversity Statement, the second focused on the inclusion of questions on the Quality of Work Life Survey, and the third addressed an identification of ways of monitoring diversity and inclusion.  

The Diversity Statement prepared by the 2008-2009 MDIC was reviewed by the 2009-2010 MDIC, and was endorsed unanimously by this group.  This was forwarded to the Faculty Senate for their review; it was presented and endorsed unanimously on February 17, 2010. The Diversity Statement has since been presented to the Staff Senate for their consideration, as well as to the Student Senate. The Diversity Statement is scheduled for presentation to Mason’s Diversity Research Group on April 23, 2010.    It is the aim of the MDIC that these various groups on campus endorse the statement, so that a collective ‘voice’ can be forwarded to the University leadership for their support.  The MDIC hopes that the Diversity Statement will receive widespread support, and may even be adopted by the university’s administration and/or Board of Visitors.  

The second major accomplishment was a review of the results of 14 items included on Mason’s Quality of Work Life Survey, distributed in Spring, 2009.   The 2008-2009 MDIC achieved the inclusion of eight new items for the 2009 survey.  Analysis of these 14 items clustered around three areas: Inclusion, Policies and Procedures, and Fairness.  The MDIC reviewed preliminary survey results, and suggested several questions and issues for consideration.  These included:  (1) Clarify the composition of minority and non-minority groups; (2) Review how the survey response rates vary by role, and over time; (3) Crosstab the three cluster areas by gender and minority/non-minority status; (4) Clarify the Perceived Organizational Support and Affective Organizational Commitment scales; and (5) Review findings for those colleges or units that are doing particularly well, so that the MDIC could help identify best practices.  

The final major accomplishment of MDIC was the initiation of discussions about how colleges and organizational units could monitor progress with minority and diversity issues.   Specifically, the Diversity Statement emphasized that individual units take responsibility for addressing diversity and inclusion issues among their unit’s faculty and staff.   The Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate suggested that the Diversity Statement include, as part of the rationale, ways of monitoring progress.  The MDIC initiated discussion about how academic and other units on campus could benefit from shared resources and strategies for assessing and monitoring progress.   This would include, but extend beyond, summaries of what the college or unit did to address diversity issues (e.g., procedures, training, exhibits); the MDIC’s aim was to help colleges and units assess and monitor diversity and inclusion. The MDIC’s final meeting hosts Ying Zhou, Mason’s Director of Institutional Assessment, for a discussion of identifying ways of monitoring.   The overall aim of the MDIC is to prepare resources that would be helpful for individual units as they monitor and assess progress.  

 

DIVERSITY STATEMENT
Prepared by Minority and Diversity Issues Committee
University Standing Committee - George Mason University
 Approved Unanimously by Faculty Senate    February 17, 2010 

George Mason University promotes a living and learning environment for outstanding growth and productivity among its students, faculty and staff. Through its curriculum, programs, policies, procedures, services and resources, Mason strives to maintain a quality environment for work, study and personal growth.

 An emphasis upon diversity and inclusion throughout the campus community is essential to achieve these goals. Diversity is broadly defined to include such characteristics as, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Diversity also entails different viewpoints, philosophies, and perspectives. Attention to these aspects of diversity will help promote a culture of inclusion and belonging, and an environment where diverse opinions, backgrounds and practices have the opportunity to be voiced, heard and respected.

 The reflection of Mason’s commitment to diversity and inclusion goes beyond policies and procedures to focus on behavior at the individual, group and organizational level. The implementation of this commitment to diversity and inclusion is found in all settings, including individual work units and groups, student organizations and groups, and classroom settings; it is also found with the delivery of services and activities, including, but not limited to, curriculum, teaching, events, advising, research, service, and community outreach.

 Acknowledging that the attainment of diversity and inclusion are dynamic and continuous processes, and that the larger societal setting has an evolving socio-cultural understanding of diversity and inclusion, Mason seeks to continuously improve its environment. To this end, the University promotes continuous monitoring and self-assessment regarding diversity. The aim is to incorporate diversity and inclusion within the philosophies and actions of the individual, group and organization, and to make improvements as needed.

Rationale:
The MDIC proposes that the Faculty Senate endorse this Diversity Statement because it believes that while the university does have strength with diversity issues, and that many efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are found, the university still has no overarching statement on diversity. We find that Mason’s mission statement speaks to diversity, but does not define it. This proposed Diversity Statement helps to further define diversity, and the important role that individual units throughout the campus community can play in promoting diversity and inclusion. We believe that, while many localized efforts are occurring, it would be helpful to have a broadly-based foundation for general guidance and support. Further, we believe that this statement can fit nicely into the university’s 2014 Strategic Plan, as well as with the upcoming SACS review. Finally, we see this as an opportunity for the faculty, through the Faculty Senate, to help shape university policy.  In short, we see the adoption of a Diversity Statement as a contribution to the overall quality of life on campus.
Inherent in the Diversity Statement is the need to monitor efforts and issues regarding diversity. The statement cites the need for individual units to review their own efforts and needs, and to develop locally-appropriate strategies. Currently, the only formalized benchmarking of progress is found with the Quality of Work Life survey, conducted every three years. The MDIC of 2008-2009 was successful in having additional questions incorporated in this survey; currently, 14 questions combine for three factors to help document a range of issues. This data can be used to identify exemplary areas as well as areas of concern, both university-wide as well as by individual work unit. This could be one source of information to help monitor progress over time. In addition, the MDIC believes that the adoption of this Diversity Statement could be most helpful in creating, identifying, and supporting other initiatives that would be helpful in providing benchmark data to further document progress.

 

10.  NON-TRADITIONAL, INTERDISCIPLINARY, AND ADULT LEARNING:  Earle Reybold (CEHD), Chair

Committee Members:  Rachel Bergman (School of Music), Reeshad Dalal (PSY), Prosenjit Mazumdar (SOM), Amelia Rutledge (ENG)

The Committee members met at the beginning of the academic year to elect a chair (Dr. Reybold) and discuss duties, particularly in terms of the committee charge and scope of duties. All members were a) new to the committee due to membership rotation, or b) inability to participate the previous academic year. Dr. Reybold contacted Meg Caniano, Clerk of the Faculty Senate, to clarify the history of committee activity and membership. Previous annual reports of the NIAL Committee were distributed to all current members for their consideration.

 

No additional business was brought to the committee during AY 09-10.

 

11.  SALARY EQUITY STUDY – Margret Hjalmarson (CEHD), Senate Representative

Committee Members:  John Crockett (SOM), Susan Denham (CHSS), Karen Hallows (SOM)

The committee concluded that at this time analysis of salary equity was not warranted given that no raises other than standard tenure raises were allocated in 2009-2010.  An informal analysis of data available regarding faculty salaries available on the Faculty Senate website confirmed that raises allocated in 2009-2010 were either for promotion to tenure or limited to isolated cases. Hence, no systematic analysis was called for at this time.

 

12.  TECHNOLOGY POLICY – Stanley Zoltek (COS), Chair

Committee Members:  Phil Buchanan (SOM), Melissa Martin (SOM), Goodlet McDaniel (CHHS), Star Muir (CHSS), Kamaljeet Sanghera (VSITE), Lynne Schrum (CEHD)

The Faculty Senate Technology Policy Committee (FSTPC) will have met five times in the 2009-2010 academic year. The final meeting is scheduled for April 28th , 2010.
 
Sept 14th 2009 

·      Discussed impact of budget cuts on TSD and some of the impact on services provided to the university.

·      Discussed the future of the Mason Media Lab, precipitated by the departure of the lab’s manager.

·      Discussed the role of distance learning as a strategic priority for the university.

·      Voted forward a recommendation that ITU hire both a wireless engineer and a Blackboard support position. This vote came at the request of ITU for guidance concerning budgetary priorities.

October 28th 2009

·      Committee received a briefing from ITU concerning the contract to outsource student and alumni e-mail that was awarded to Microsoft.

The solution is called Outlook Live to be branded by Mason as Mason Live and gives tremendous storage space and many additional features to the students. The solution was selected after a team with representatives from the administration and student government first developed an RFP, reviewed the bids and selected Microsoft. Received report on new building schedule for 2010.

December 2nd 2009

·      Walt Sevon gave a report on the latest phishing incident, its costs, and received feedback from the committee on proposed measures to avoid such incidents in the future.

·      Discussed with Sharon Pitt an incident concerning a recent Blackboard outage.

March 24th 2010

·      Walt Sevon reported on GMU email addresses being harvested for spam. 

One possible solution would be to require authentication to see actual email addresses from the faculty/staff/student directory. Unauthenticated users would be given a form to deliver an email message to a member of the GMU community, but would never be able to see the destination email address. ITU has subsequently implemented authentication in GMU PeopleFinder.

 

13.  WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM – Stanley Zoltek (COS), Chair

Committee Members:  Benedict Carton (Fall 2009)/Joan Bristol (Spring 2010) (CHSS), Susan Durham (CHHS), Tamara Maddox (VSITE), Anne Magro (SOM), Tom Owens (CVPA), Ellen Rodgers (CEHD), Daniel Rothbart (ICAR).

Terry Zawacki ex-officio (Director, WAC Program); Sarah Baker ex-officio (Assistant Director, WAC Program)

Consultants to the Committee:  Melissa Allen, Irene Bruno, Anna Habib, Dan Joyce, Shelley Reid, Sia Rose-Robinson, Nicola Scott, Scott Watkins

 

The committee met six times during the 2009-2010 academic year.  The committee’s charge includes: advising the director of “Writing Across the Curriculum,” approval of new writing-intensive (WI) courses, regular review of WI course syllabi, and assisting with activities and events related to Writing Across the Curriculum.

 

2009-2010 activities include:

Committee Actions:

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

§ Began WI syllabi collection in COS and VSITE to verify compliance with WI requirements.

§ Reviewed and approved new or modified courses designated to meet the Senate-mandated WI requirement: NSCI 461 (Neuroscience), CDS 302 (Computational and Data Sciences), GAME 332 (Gaming), ECON 435 and 470, GOVT 490 and 491, LAS 499 (Latin American Studies).  The committee did not approve Conservation 490 as that is a cross-disciplinary course that does not reside in any one major.

§ Approved proposal to change the WI course requirements for PIA from all courses above the 300 level to GOVT 490/491.

§ Reviewed and revised the questions about graduating seniors’ writing experiences on the annual graduating senior survey.

§ Had list of WI courses added to Provost Gen Ed requirements website.  Reviewed and modified catalog language.

§ Had the WI course requirement added to the new programs checklist.

§ Continued efforts to encourage departments to institute writing awards (it sponsored 34 awards in 17 departments in AY2009).  So far in April five new departments have added writing awards, with several more possible additions to come by the end of May.

§ Approved the redesign and renaming of the Writing@Center newsletter to reflect the separation of WAC and the writing center under different directors. New newsletter name is  Teaching with Writing Across the Curriculum (the George Mason University WAC Program Newsletter).

§ Produced the fall 2009 Teaching with Writing Across the Curriculum newsletter in both print and online formats at http://wac.gmu.edu/program/newsletter/. Spring 2010 newsletter will be out the week of April 26, 2010.

 

Other program activities in consultation with the WAC committee:

§ WAC director and assistant director developed and led the spring 2010 TAC-WAC faculty learning community cohort focused on PIA faculty.

§ Developed WIN(ning) initiative for writing-infused programs in collaboration with Social Work and SOM.  CAR, English, ADJ, and History plan to be included in WIN.

§ Arranged and co-sponsored fall semester visit by noted second-language scholar Paul Matsuda, who met with faculty across disciplines in his day-long visit.

§ WAC director participated in discussions with the library and designers about a space for WAC program operations in a Research Commons suite in the Fenwick library renovation.

§ Worked with Volgenau associate dean and chairs Bernard White, Pearl Wang, and Bill Sutton to place a WAC volunteer writing tutor in VSITE.

§ Conducted and reported on peer tutor/writing fellow alumni survey. Results reported on website, http://wac.gmu.edu/program/initiatives/writing_fellows/alumni.php.

§ Began discussion of revising the WI requirement in light of writing in disciplines increasingly taking place in electronic environments and in multi-modal forms.

§ In progress: Profiles of writing in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and the College of Education and Human Development should be ready by end of spring semester. 

§ Placed and supervised four writing fellows in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum.

§ For the eighth year in a row, the Mason WAC program has made the U.S. News & World Report list of top exemplary writing in the disciplines programs. (Of note: WAC director Terry Myers Zawacki will deliver the keynote address at the biennial WAC conference in Bloomington, Indiana in late May.)

 

 

AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS AY 2009-2010

A motion was made and seconded to accept all the following reports from the Ad Hoc Committees.  The motion was approved.

 

1.  COLLEGIALITY:  Don Boileau, Chair

Committee Members:  Jim Bennett (CHSS), Rick Davis (Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education), David Kuebrich (CHSS), Goodlet McDaniel (CHHS), Rose Pascarell (VP for University Life), Peter Pober (CHSS)

 

The Committee met in the fall of 2009 and produced a list of possible actions.  This brainstorming session created a series of actions that will be presented to the Senate shortly.  Goodlet McDaniel developed an extensive reading list to help members learn from the experience of other institutions.

 

2.  FACULTY PRESIDENTIAL REVIEW:  David Wilsford (CHSS), Chair

Committee Members:  James Carrolll (CVPA), Robert Dudley (CHSS), Mark Goodale (ICAR), June Tangney (CHSS)

 

The Faculty Presidential Review Committee (FPRC) was constituted in January 2010 for the purpose of assessing faculty views of President Merten’s request for a two-year contract extension.  The committee was chaired by David Wilsford (CHSS) and its other members were James Carroll (CVPA), Robert Dudley (CHSS), Mark Goodale (ICAR) and June Tangney (CHSS).

 

The committee was charged by the Senate with soliciting and assessing input from the general faculty and presenting its report to Dr. Peter Pober, Chair of the Faculty Senate.  In order to carry out its charge – within very narrow time constraints (3 weeks) – the Committee:  (a) designed and administered an email survey of all general faculty through a confidentiality-protected, specially created e-mail in-box and listserv, (b) met with President Merten, and c) conducted a series of individual meetings with most deans and directors.  Data and comments were retrieved and collated (names removed) from the email surveys, as well as from (d) the “Faculty Evaluation of Administrators” reports from 2002-2009.  In addition, the fundraising record was provided to the general faculty, as well as the annual reports of the president to the Faculty Senate, and (e) these records were also reviewed by the Committee.

 

The Committee proceeded by consensus vote and its findings and its final report were adopted and approved unanimously, and submitted on deadline, February 20 2010.   The report is currently in the hands of the Faculty Senate president and the Rector of the Board of Visitors. 

 

 

Appendix: X. B.

FUNDRAISING SUMMARY

PRESIDENT MERTEN’S TENURE 1996 - 2007

Source: Minutes of Faculty Senate meeting of February 6, 2008 (available at: http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/MINUTES_FS_2007-08/FS_MINUTES_2-6-08.htm

Note:  Data are presented through 2007.  Owing to cataclysmic economic events that have adversely affected university endowments (closely tied to the stock market) and people’s willingness to make charitable contributions, data from the past two years are non-representative and difficult to interpret.  Thus, we present data for the first 11 years of President Merten’s tenure:  mid 1996-2007.

 George Mason University Foundation Contributions by year, as of July 1:

 1996          $6,318,083      President Merten Arrives 1 July

1997          14,825,546     

1998          19,641,297     

1999            9,988,086    

2000            8,324,684    

2001          23,595,065     

2002          13,498,374      April 8, 2002: $110 Million Campaign Announced

2003          14,352,359     

2004          13,348,978     

2005          16,553,465      September 26: $142 Million Successful Campaign Concluded

2006          26,979,537     

2007          22,467,591      

 The sum of GMU Foundation contributions raised between 2002 ($110 Million Campaign Announced) and 2005 equals $57.752 million.  The sum of foundation contributions raised between 1996 (President Merten’s arrival) and 2001 (before the announcement of the $110 Million Campaign) equals $82.693 million.  Thus, the $142 million campaign requires us to include all funds raised since 1996 in the total.

George Mason University Foundation Endowment by year, as of July 1:

 1996              $17,890,000      President Merten Arrives July 1

1997                22,480,000

1998                27,090,000

1999                32,170,000

2000                33,400,000

2001                32,630,000

2002                30,410,000      April 8, 2002: $110 Million Campaign Announced

2003                32,570,000

2004                37,980,000

2005                40,820,000      September 26: $142 Million Successful Campaign Concluded

2006                46,520,000

2007                54,720,000

 Source: Dave Roe, President, GMU Foundation.

Total increase in University Endowment 1996-2007 = $36,830,000 or, on average $3,348,000 per year

Endowments of Florida and California Universities that are “young” like Mason (as of July 1, 2007)

In his address to the Senate (Nov. 28, 2007) President Merten compared GMU fundraising to other “like institutions” commenting that GMU is doing well in comparison to other young universities (universities similar in age to GMU).  Evidence to the contrary is presented below:

  Florida Universities

 

 

Institution

 

Opened for Classes

 

 

Current Enrollment

 

Endowment

($ Millions)

 

U South Fla

 

1960

 

45,244

 

388.516

 

U Central Fla

 

1968

 

48,497

 

116.291

 

Fla Atlantic U

 

1964

 

26,000

 

190.212

 

U North Fla

 

1972

 

16,000

 

 88.785

 

U West Fla

 

1967

 

9,888

 

 64.239

 

Fla Internat’l U

 

1972

 

38,290

 

 91.876

 

Fla Institute of Tech

 

1958

 

5,118

 

 42.916

 

 

 

 

California Universities

 

 

Institution

 

Opened for Classes

 

Current Enrollment

 

Endowment

($ Millions)

 

 

UC - Irvine

 

1965

 

27,000

 

234.024

 

 

UC - Riverside

 

1954

 

16,622

 

80.405

 

 

Cal State - Northridge

 

1956

 

34,000

 

60.227

 

 

Cal State - Fullerton

 

1959

 

35,900

 

96.228

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

GMU

 

1957

 

29,900

 

54.72

 

 

 

 

 Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, February 1, 2008.

 There was only one university (Florida Institute of Technology) on this list of “young universities” with a smaller endowment than that of GMU.  The University of South Florida (endowment $388.516 million) is three years younger than GMU; the University of Central Florida (endowment $116.291 million) is eleven years younger than GMU.   California and Florida experienced a lot of growth in the late 1950’s – early 1960’s.  They provide a lot of evidence to demonstrate that young schools can have a decent endowment.  The median income of families in Fairfax County is over $100,000.  Loudoun County has the second-highest median income in the US.  

Endowments in GMU’s New SCHEV-Approved “Peer Group” July 1, 2007:  

(thousands of dollars)

 GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY               $57,720

 Georgia State Univ.                                        $97,684

Univ. of Nevada - Reno                                  240,328

Univ. of Memphis                                      206,976

Wayne State Univ.                                          236,659

Univ. of New Mexico                                     320,200

Univ. of Connecticut                                      337,945

Arizona State Univ.                                        478,385

Univ. of Houston                                            522,395

SUNY & Univ. of Buffalo                             566,362

Univ. of Louisville                                          796,812

Univ. of Maryland                                          810,374

Univ. of Arkansas                                           876,839

Univ. of Missouri                                         1,097,846

Univ. of Oklahoma                                      1,114,426

Univ. of Cincinnati                                      1,185,400          

Univ. of Kansas                                           1,238,695

Univ. of Nebraska                                        1,277,169

Indiana Univ.                                               1,556,853

 Source: Chronicle of Higher Education, February 1, 2008.

Faculty Involvement in Fundraising at GMU

Marc Broderick (Vice President for University Development and Alumni Affairs) gave the Board of Visitors a detailed report about fund-raising performance at the BOV’s meeting on January 30, 2008.  Seven broad categories of giving were shown: Annual Fund, Community/Public Services, Facilities (e.g., Arts Center in Manassas/Point of View), Students, and “Other,” along with two categories that are directly related to faculty: Faculty and Research. In 2007, the Faculty and Research categories account for more than half of the total (51%) in gifts and pledges to GMU.  Of the $22.5 million in gifts and pledges in 2007 -- Faculty and Research accounts for $11.478 million, more than half the total (51.1%). Faculty members brought more than half the money to the Foundation.

VI.              Other New Business

Successor to Presidential Evaluation Committee: 

Senator Tangney: Will the Presidential Evaluation Review Committee be reconstituted at this time?  Although this segment of its work is completed, the Committee needs to be involved in future appointments and contract extensions. For the President’s current re-appointment, the Committee was created late in the evaluation process. Rather soon there will be a new decision about the presidency. The Senate needs to anticipate this.

Chair Pober:  I brought the Committee’s report to the BOV and answered their questions.  The final vote will take place next week.  The BOV was concerned that the Senate was tardily asked to create a faculty committee.  The Executive Committee has decided not to sustain the committee in its present status  We agree we need to have a new committee and not to burden the current members beyond their initial commitment.

Senator:  This is not a Faculty Senate Committee but a Committee mandated by the Faculty Handbook.  The Senate Nominations Committee’s goal was to nominate faculty members to serve; we will be very diligent in fulfilling this requirement.

Presidential/Provost Review:  In response to a question raised, the Chair apologized that the report is not yet completed.  After some discussion it was decided the Executive Committee would prepare the report for discussion and approval in the Fall.

VII.           Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

The annual AAUP end-of-year meeting will take place after this meeting in the SUBI pub.  Rick Coffinberger will be honored for his outstanding service to the Senate and the larger University. 

The memorial service for Lorraine Brown will take place on May 5th in the Theater Space of the Performing Arts building at 3:30 p.m.

Members of the Faculty Senate are delighted to know that Senator Jack Goldstone is one of ten faculty selected by Phi Beta Kappa for its visiting scholars program. 

Nathan Dorfman, Student Senate Liaison, noted that this Student Senate has been very busy this semester.  We have discussed the possible creation of a Faculty Senate liaison to attend Student Senate meetings.  We wish to collaborate on budget issues in Richmond and on amending the campus smoking policy. We thank Faculty Senator David Anderson for attending a meeting at which diversity issues were discussed; we plan to develop a resolution to support diversity.  We will visit Bethesda Naval Medical Center to present a check of $1400 to support Fisher House.  We thank all of you, and Chair Peter Pober, for your support.  Our ongoing dialogue is very beneficial. Chair Pober responded that Nathan has been an effective liaison

Chair Pober was congratulated by the entire Senate for his superb service as Chair during AY 2009-10.

VIII.  Adjournment:  The meeting adjourned at 4:11 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

David Kuebrich

Secretary, Faculty Senate