GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

 MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

OCTOBER 6, 2010

Robinson Hall B113,  3:00  - 4:15 p.m.

 

Senators Present:  Clayton Austin, Heibatollah Baghi, Ernest Barreto, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Doris Bitler, John Cantiello, Rick Coffinberger, Jose Cortina, Nicole Darnall, Yvonne Demory, Betsy DeMulder, Robert Dudley, Susan Hirsch, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Dimitrios Ioannou, David Kuebrich, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Janette Muir, Star Muir, Paula Petrik, Frank Philpot, Peter Pober, Earle Reybold, Jim Sanford, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Scott, Suzanne Slayden, Ray Sommer, Thomas Speller, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Shirley Travis, Susan Trencher, Nigel Waters, Harry Wechsler, Phil Wiest, Stanley Zoltek.

 

Senators Absent:  Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Lloyd Cohen, Maggie Daniels, Kelly Dunne, Daniel Garrison, Mark Ginsberg, Jack Goldstone, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Frances Harbour, Dan Joyce, Alan Merten, Adam Mossoff, James Olds, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Edward Rhodes, Pierre Rodgers, Eva Thorp, Iosif Vaisman, John Zenelis.

 

Visitors Present:   Kevin Avruch, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology, ICAR; Andrea Bartoli, Director of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution; Deborah Boehm-Davis, Chair, Department of  Psychology, CHSS; 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, Head, Mercer Library (PWC) and Chair, Librarians' Council; Linda Harber, Associate Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll;  Robin Herron, Associate Director, Office of Media and Public Relations; Rick Holt, Workplace Learning, Human Resources and Payroll, and Vice Chair, Staff Senate; Corey Jackson, Director, Equity and Diversity Services; Susan Jones, University Registrar; Josef Leidenfrost, Austrian Student Ombudsman, Ministry of Education; Colleen Morretta, Administrative Director, Mercatus Center (Arlington Campus);  Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, Division of Instructional Technology, ITU; Kris Smith, Associate Provost, Institutional Research and Reporting; Paul Smith, Professor, Cultural Studies Program; Bethany Usher, Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; Brian Walther, Senior Associate University Counsel.

 

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

 

II.        Approval of the Minutes of September 8, 2010 – The minutes were approved as distributed.

 

III.       Announcements

Chair Peter Pober announced that Rector Volgenau’s visit to the Faculty Senate has been rescheduled to our next meeting,  November 10, 2010.  The Chair introduced Dean Shirley Travis of the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS), invited to speak on the state of CHHS.

 

Dean Travis began by stating that CHHS is now 4 years old. In her view recent changes associated with system-wide health care reform would have a major impact on the future directions of programs in health and human services. Faculty members in CHHS have been reading the 900+ page document and see many opportunities and challenges ahead. The rapid pace of health care reform requires colleges, such as CHHS, to be nimble and innovative in order to keep up with changes in workforce demands, research priorities, and opportunities for community engagement and community partnerships.

 

Current enrollment in CHHS is just under 1300 FTEs. CHHS programs have nearly doubled FTEs from 730 in 2006. She anticipates a comfortable size for the college to be around 1600 FTEs by 2015.  This number will depend on a number of variables including the speed with which  new programs are implemented, the availability of academic space, and continued demand for programs.  CHHS faculty members are waiting for approval from SCHEV of the next two CHHS departments: Department of Nutrition and Food Studies and Department of Rehabilitation Science. This year CHHS implemented three new graduate programs: a new doctor of nursing practice in the school of nursing, a MS degree in Health and Medical Policy with the School of Public Policy, and a MS degree in Senior Housing/Assisted Living. Next year the newly approved PhD in Rehabilitation Science, with collaboration from the Bioengineering program in the Volgenau School of Engineering will be implemented  and a new MS degree proposal in Health Informatics, with support from the Volgenau School of Engineering will be finalized. The School of Nursing received a $1.6 mil grant from HSRA to expand services at the Jeannie Schmidt Clinic, a nurse led clinic in Herndon. This grant will provide 5 nursing faculty members with grant funded faculty practice opportunities for the duration of the 5 year grant.

 

Dean Travis indicated that the biggest challenges are similar to the rest of the university (1) recruitment of faculty members and (2) space. She noted that she was perplexed by difficulties in recruitment because it is her view that GMU is offering competitive salaries based on data from the professional organizations of the programs in the college. This year CHHS will recruit for 11 positions – some new, some replacements, and some carried over from last year. This is a large number of positions for a relatively new college. She thanked those faculty members who have or will be asked to serve on search committees and help with recruitment and interview activities.

 

Dean Travis indicated that progress on Academic VII was moving forward slowly. Twenty-one members of the CHHS Advisory Board are helping on the development front to get the building built.

 

Questions from Senators:

Question 1: Re difficulties in recruitment: Were faculty offers made, and were salaries competitive?

Dean Travis: The offers were made. There is a perception and reality that it costs more to live in northern Virginia. Therefore, candidates expect high offers that are generally 20% higher than we offer.  We do everything we can to recruit high quality candidates – it is the salary that keeps them from accepting, not the rest of the package that typically includes graduate student support, relocation packages, etc.

 

Question 2: What is the distribution of graduate and undergraduate students in the college?

Dean Travis: At present 70% undergraduate and 30% graduate; moving toward 65% undergraduate and 35% graduate (correction submitted by Dr. Travis – current enrollment includes 63% undergraduate and 37% graduate with strategic directions to move the college toward 60% undergraduate and 40% graduate students). Most of the new programs in the college are at the graduate level.

 

In the absence of further questions, Chair of the Senate Pober thanked Dean Travis for her presentation. Chair Pober then asked Provost Stearns whether he had any comments to make at this time.  The Provost had no comments.

 

IV.  Unfinished Business and Special Orders

Motion to amend the By Laws of the Faculty Senate (2nd view)    

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee MOVES that Article IV, Section 6 of the Faculty Senate Bylaws be changed to read: "Meetings of the Senate shall be convened on at least four Wednesday afternoons during each semester of the academic year."

Rationale:

Currently, Article IV, Section 6 reads as follows: "Meetings of the Senate shall be convened on at least one Wednesday afternoon of each month of the academic year, beginning in September." When the Spring semester begins late in January (as it does this year), it's difficult to schedule a meeting during that month. The proposed change provides at least the same number of meetings, but offers flexibility in scheduling.

The motion was approved unanimously.

V.  New Business - Committee Reports

A.  Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee – Peter Pober, Chair

Chair Pober thanked the Chairs and committees of the Senate for the work they are doing.

 

Academic Policies – Janette Muir, Chair reported that the committee is very busy, but have nothing to bring to the floor right now.

Budget & Resources – June Tangney, Chair   

The committee is working on a request from the BOV to generate (ideas) for raising faculty compensation other than raising tuition.  There is not a long list and the committee requests faculty to submit their ideas.

Discussion:  Re some previous ideas, Chair Pober stated that tuition reimbursement for faculty members’ children  is against the law in Virginia. Some schools circumvented this by creating foundations. Professor Tangney added that other institutions have attempted this but in order to get this benefit, funds must be raised to pay for faculty member’s  children’s tuition. Senator question:  Is it legal to take money from the (GMU) Foundation?  The Provost responded that he did not know, and Chair Pober suggested that the committee contact Mark Broderick (Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs) to ask about this question.

Efforts to schedule a meeting with the BOV and AAUP representatives are underway.

 

Faculty Matters – Doris Bitler, Chair

The committee is working on a number of issues but has no report at this time.

Nominations – Jim Bennett, Chair

Eva Thorp is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Academic Appeals Committee.

Yvonne Demory is nominated to serve as Faculty Senate liaison to the Staff Senate

Professor Bennett asked for unanimous consent to add the nomination of Suzanne Scott to serve as Faculty Senate liaison to the Student Government, which was approved.  All the nominations were seconded and the nominees elected.  Professor Bennett thanked the nominees for their service.  Professor Bennett announced that the Provost is forming a Task Force on over-regulation and bureaucratic practices that would include three faculty representatives.  He asked Senators to send him an email if they would like to serve.  Provost Stearns elaborated that the Task Force  will address  concerns expressed by faculty and department chairs about the cumulative impact of too many regulations upon faculty.  If findings indicate that these difficulties exist, the question will be how to retrench or prevent this problem in future.  Currently there no clearinghouse for regulatory imposition.

Organization & Operations – Star Muir, Chair

Issue #1: Senators were sent an email today about a proposed code of ethics which Tom Hennessey (University Chief of Staff) is working on.  Please respond by the deadline (October 20th). 

Question:  What motivated the effort to create/get approval for a code of ethics?  Professor Muir responded that he has not yet looked at peer group universities, (expects) many have code of ethics.  The BOV has asked Tom Hennessey why the present code is limited to financial ethics,  and not directed at other areas as well. 

Issue #2: Should the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution become a School, the allocation of Faculty Senate seats will be affected.

Issue #3: The committee is charged with (reviewing) the Faculty Senate charter/by-laws/committee charges and plan to send a survey with questions/prioritizing changes.  For example, we have discussed why the membership of the Minority and Diversity Issues committee is limited to tenured and tenure track faculty. 

 

B. Other Committees 

Report from the Faculty Representatives to the Board of Visitors – Janette Muir

Professor Muir presented the following report, adding that BOV is limited to what they can really do.  Senators are asked to submit any additional concerns.  Chair Pober noted that the objective is to present the report to the BOV at its December 1st meeting, and asks Senators to give feedback before that date.

BOV Representatives Report, September 2010

Representatives present: Rick Coffinberger, Mark Houck, Janette Muir, Toni Travis

Purpose: To respond to Visitor DeLaski’s request for concerns faculty may have that the BOV could actually address. 

Several concerns are identified below, along with specific questions the BOV might care to pursue regarding each concern.

 

1)      Global Initiatives –

a.     General Concerns:  Often initiatives are unclear in terms of rationale and overall benefit to University.  As new global initiatives are developed, there is less focus on state and local needs.

b.      Question to ask:  Can the BOV ask for a cost accounting/balance sheet for various initiatives that Provost and others are encouraging – that includes both start up and maintenance costs?

2)      Growth issues –

a.     General Concerns: As Mason continues to grow, what is the impact for faculty, students and staff? 

i.  Evidence suggests that increased growth does not mean increased state resources.

ii.         Increased growth does not increase the quality of our students (other state schools limit growth and attract a higher caliber of students).

iii.       There is a finite amount of resources across the university, many of which seem to be devoted to new projects.

iv.      Increased growth impacts class sizes and student resources.  This is especially significant in writing intensive classes.

v.        Growth is particularly reflected in administrative positions across the university, thus increasing bureaucratic functions and procedures.

b.      Questions to ask:

i.  Can the University provide better rationale for enrollment targets and stronger admission standards to better control enrollment increases?

ii.         Should the University take a careful look at undersubscribed majors and minors with the goal to better address the needs of 21st Century students?

3)      Space Issues --

a.     General Concerns: With increased growth, there is more pressure on classrooms – our space doesn’t match enrollment sizes.  While new buildings have come on line, adequate and functional classroom space is still a problem.  Classroom space is also impacted in terms of technology needs.

b.      Questions to ask:

i.  What is the best way to improve the availability and quality of space?  The BOV might consider a holistic assessment of instructional spaces (including classrooms and hallways) by an external consulting group.

ii.         How can more resources be allocated to technology needs?

iii.       Can there be better classroom monitoring so that faculty are assigned classrooms appropriate to their learning goals and objectives?

4)      Compensation

a.     Concerns: Faculty members are grateful that the BOV is attempting to work on compensation issues, particularly dealing with COLA.  There are some areas, beyond specific salary increases, that continue to perplex faculty.

i.  Summer school – If enrollments are increasing, how can faculty be better compensated for summer work (particularly for large classes)? Inconsistencies exist among units regarding summer school compensation – while this is common – the inequities lead to increased frustration for faculty. 

ii.         There tends to exist at Mason a “culture of under-appreciation.” Administrators should make greater efforts to recognize the good work of faculty.

iii.       There is also concern about the limited compensation package for graduate students.  Faculty cannot adequately compete for top tier grads, thus there is not as much research support for faculty; more pressure on fewer faculty for grants.

iv.      Faculty members are also concerned that administrators (particularly Deans) will get poor performance ratings, but then continue to get salary increases and better jobs.  One college had a 90% negative response rate for its Dean, but that administrator received a substantial raise.  In this current economic climate, it is demoralizing for faculty to see the increase in administrators (and salaries), while faculty have larger class sizes and frozen salaries for multiple years.

b.      Questions to ask:  Can the University explore other options for compensation, such as course release time on occasion; better compensation for faculty who teach larger class sizes; more reasonable salary allocations for summer school (faculty should get 10% per class for multiple classes), etc.

VI.        Other New Business 

A.  RESOLUTION ON THE INSTITUTE FOR CONFLICT ANALYSIS AND RESOLUTION BECOMING A SCHOOL WITHIN GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

 

WHEREAS the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) was the first academic program in the United States and the first in the field to offer a graduate level degree (MS 1981), and

WHEREAS ICAR now awards a full complement of degrees, including Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and five professional development Graduate Certificates, and

WHEREAS ICAR has increased in size with respect to faculty, students, staff, and alumni, and

WHEREAS ICAR houses two research and practice Centers and is developing a retreat and conference center at Point of View (Mason Neck), and

WHEREAS ICAR’s leadership of the expanding field of conflict analysis and resolution would be enhanced by gaining recognition as a school, and

WHEREAS ICAR’s current organization and operation mirror those of a school,

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution will henceforth be identified as a School within George Mason University.

 

From the Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution (ICAR) to The School for the Analysis of Conflict and Resolution:  A Proposal for a School  is posted at on the Senate website at http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/MINUTES_FS_2010-11/From_Institute_to_School_21_09_2010.pdf  .

 

Chair Peter Pober met with representatives from ICAR.  The Chair noted the amount of work and research that provided the foundation of this request. Professor Andrea Bartoli, Director of ICAR, expressed his appreciation for the history that brought ICAR to this point.  ICAR’s report stated that the Institute is already performing as a School and focused on the negative aspects of being an institute and the positive aspects at present and in the future that were to be gained by ICAR’s change of category.

 

Question:  What are the current numbers of students and programs?

Director Bartoli:  We have 500 students, mixed full time and part-time, and 40 faculty – some full time, some part-time. The MS is the oldest program, and ICAR began the first PhD program in Conflict Resolution.  There is significant growth in certificate program(s) .  GMU is the only place to offer all four levels of program in the U.S.

 

Professor Kevin Avruch, representing ICAR, concurred that this is essentially a nomenclature change.  We have functioned like a school except that it is smaller, we have our own admissions, ICAR began an undergraduate program five years ago, and now have over 200 majors. Professor Avruch also noted that ICAR lost one very large potential donor who could not be convinced an institute was a permanent entity at GMU, thus becoming a school was part of a development strategy for the unit.

 

Question :  In the future, what is your optimal size of faculty, students, and programs?

Director Bartoli:  We are consolidating now.  ICAR currently has new ventures in Malta and China and is exploring new areas where ICAR can grow along with integrating other units.

 

Question :  Are you going to have several undergraduate degree programs?  Most schools would have more than one.

Director Bartoli: Not in the planning right now.

Follow up:  What about the future?

The intention is to build strength in different topical tracks.  Degree in a wide field still growing, such as Human Rights, we offer both MA and MS.  The School of Public Policy does not offer any undergraduate degrees, nor does the School of Law.

 

A motion was made and seconded, and the resolution was approved unanimously.

                                                                                                                         

B. Consensual Relationships between Faculty and Students – Corey Jackson, Director, Office of Equity and Diversity Services,  and Brian Walther, Office of the University Counsel

A new draft policy was displayed for Senators to review.  Changes made include language consistent between faculty and students, and that relationships between employees and students be reported both to Human Resources and our offices, and added that Human Resources, Office of Diversity Services, and the Office of the University Counsel frequently work together.  The Faculty Matters Committee will review the draft policy and make recommendations at a future meeting.

 

Discussion

Question: What are the effective steps to be taken?  What does this mean if I wish to date a student not in my classroom?

Corey Jackson:  The policy does not apply to that.

Follow Ups:  So I do not have to report it unless in a supervisory, coaching, counseling relationship?

Question:  What about a situation in which student (A) feels another student (B) in the class is involved with the professor? 

Corey Jackson:  We’re trying to protect against this situation.

Comment:  Brian Walther (University attorney):  You’re asking a very practical question.  It may not be feasible to say how it will work in every situation.  (The hope is) that once (policy) goes into effect that there are not a lot of things in the woodwork. 

Question :  How does this compare with situation between two employees, one a supervisor?  The old policy said this was never allowed. 

Brian Walther:  Referenced Section 2.3.1.1 Favoritism in Personnel Decisions in the Faculty Handbook .

Follow up: If all we have is disclosure, favoritism may still be there, not good for the institution.

Brian Walther:  A very big question, this is a lot less controversial.

Corey Jackson:  Referenced discussion about Code of Ethics earlier in the meeting:  William and Mary has the most restrictive policy on relationships.   UVA and Virginia Tech have policies.  Some smaller VA institutions do not have policies.  The William and Mary policy has been in place 5-6 years.  Yale came out with a  policy last year.

Question:    How does the policy fit in with ethics policy?  Is it independent of it?  Incorporated in it? 

Corey Jackson:  The policy is independent of it, but under (an) ethical umbrella. 

Brian Walther:  What is new is the requirement to notify, not now in place.

Question:   How many cases of sexual harassment (occur) per year?

Corey Jackson:  It fluctuates.  Each academic year we receive 20-25 complaints.  How many result in cases are less.  Ohio State had 7 cases in 5 years, GMU has had 3 cases in about 2 years. 

Question:  At risk of being unpleasantly blunt, (does this) relate to certain populations on campus but not others?  Are administrators concerned about this?

Corey Jackson and Brian Walther:  The policy applies to all employees.

Follow up:  Reference to past issue in which the person you would have gone to (dean) was the person in the relationship. At the end of the day it all came down to faculty who were told in Sexual Harassment training that they were required  to report this activity to the President so that the President (and BOV) would be protected against suit.  Faculty could be included in the suit if they knew about the relationship and didn’t report it. This incident prompted the beginning of sexual harassment training. The Senate sought to make sure that everyone has to play by the same rules. 

Corey Jackson:  This includes employees to students, not employees to employees. 

Comment: The policy needs a line to warn against retaliation. 

Brian Walther:  There is a line at the end. 

Chair Comment: (We need) to make sure that Faculty Matters knows it needs lines such as “not wise”, “not recommended”.

Question::  In addition to what is not permitted, not wise, does it spell out the consequences – the due process?

Corey Jackson:  To be handled by supervisors unit by unit.  Could range from reprimand to (more serious consequences).

Comment:  As a former chair, this leaves me very confused.  I thought I was supposed to refer directly to the Equity Office, but now the chair has discretion?  I do not think this is good in our college.

Corey Jackson:  There is a difference between sexual harassment and disclosure of a relationship. 

Follow up:  Haven’t you put the chair in a very awkward position?

Brain Walther:  We would ask the chair to ask the person if they are in an abusive relationship.

Summary:  Peter Pober, Senate Chair

-1-  Faculty Matters will address this policy.  Please send emails to Doris Bitler with any concerns, observations you may have.

-2-  If there are questions not fully flushed out, contact Brian Walther and Corey Jackson for specifics.

-3-  As an ongoing discussion, encourages Faculty Senate not to discuss outside on specificity before Faculty Matters has a chance to review it. 

 

C. On-Line Course Evaluations Spring 2010 – Kris Smith, Associate Provost, Institutional Research and Reporting

Dr. Smith reported that 1177 course sections participated in on-line course evaluations in Spring 2010; an increase from 855 course sections’ participation in Fall 2009.  The School of Management participated for the Spring term only, while the College of Science  participated for both fall and spring terms.  The response rate for on-line forms increased slightly:  Paper survey responses 79% spring term, on-line 47% participation spring term.  The response rate varies across course levels – higher level, higher response rate- 36% response for 100-level courses, 74-80 % for graduate-level courses..  Slightly higher , but not significantly higher, GPAs for respondents.  University  will continue to use both methods throughout the year.   Teacher Ranking:  did a matched pair comparison between Spr-Spr and Fall-Fall and found no significant difference between evaluation of instruction or evaluation of courses.  There was a difference between on-line evaluation and paper evaluations. There are some differences by level of student. Most frequently sophmore/junior used paper, more frequently, seniors and graduate students web-based.  Some issues came up during the spring about confidentiality of responses by email,. Can faculty members see results?  We do protect their (student)  identities – only two staff members (see them), we use LDAP to secure passwords.  Students used the My Mason portal, but still had to log into course evaluation (tab) last year.    This year only need to log into MyMason and see/click “Course” tab.  Another issue we ran into – we struggle with getting faculty and students to read emails about course evaluations.  We always send out emails to faculty to verify the correct administrative dates in mid-semester.  Often faculty don’t check them until end of semester. 

Question:  How do you identify faculty to participant?

Kris Smith:  Either by single faculty, programs for an entire school.  We do not choose them, they contact us. 

D. QEP Update – Kim Eby and Bethany Usher

Please see “Students as Scholars: QEP Update – Fall 2010” posted on the Faculty Senate website (http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/10-QEP_Presentation_Fall_Outreach_10-5.pptx ) and the final draft report “Fostering a Culture of Student Scholarship:  Students as Scholars”  on the QEP website (http://qep.gmu.edu/download_files/10-QEP%20FINAL%20DRAFT%2010-5.pdf ). 

VII. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

Linda Harber, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Payroll, announced that  it had just been learned that the 3% bonus will be taxed at your regular rate, not at 38% rate as previously reported.  Employees may also  put the 3% bonus into a 403b or 457 account as a one time payment, then reverts back to your previous setting.  Forms are available on the HR website;  the deadline to file the form is November 1st.  Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are posted on the Human Resources Website

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

 

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Trencher

Secretary, Faculty Senate