GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
DECEMBER 8, 2010
Robinson Hall B113, 3:00 - 4:15 p.m.
Senators Present: Heibatollah Baghi, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, John Cantiello, Rick Coffinberger, Jose Cortina, Maggie Daniels, Betsy DeMulder, Robert Dudley, Kelly Dunne, Mark Ginsberg, Frances Harbour, Susan Hirsch, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Dan Joyce, David Kuebrich, Alan Merten, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Janette Muir, Star Muir, Paula Petrik, Frank Philpot, Earle Reybold, Pierre Rodgers, Jim Sanford, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Scott, Suzanne Slayden, Ray Sommer, Thomas Speller, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Shirley Travis, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Harry Wechsler, Phil Wiest, Stanley Zoltek.
Senators Absent: Clayton Austin, Ernest Barreto, Doris Bitler, Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Lloyd Cohen, Nicole Darnall, Yvonne Demory, Daniel Garrison, Jack Goldstone, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Dimitrios Ioannou, Adam Mossoff, James Olds, Peter Pober, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Edward Rhodes, Eva Thorp, Nigel Waters, John Zenelis.
Visitors Present: Lisa Campo, Assistant Professor, CHHS; Joey Carls, Chair, Staff Senate/Krasnow Institute; Rick Davis, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education; Kathy Dickman, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing; Pat Donini, Deputy Director/Employee Relations Director, Human Resources; Esther Elstun, Professor Emerita, Modern and Classical Languages; Andrew Flagel, Dean of Admissions; Harold Geller, Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy; Dolores Gomez-Roman, University Ombudsman; Linda Harber, Associate Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll; Robin Herron, Associate Director, Office of Media and Public Relations; Corey Jackson, Assistant to the President, Office of Equity and Diversity Services; Cathleen Lewandowski, Chair, Social Work, CHHS; Michelle Lim, Human Resources Faculty Liaison; Renee Milligan, Professor, School of Nursing; Lora Peppard, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing; Robin Remsburg, Director, School of Nursing; Larry Rockwood, Professor, Environmental Science and Policy; Bethany Usher, Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence/QEP; Rector Ernst Volgenau.
I. Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 3:02 p.m.
II. Approval of the Minutes of November 10, 2010: The minutes were approved as distributed.
In the absence of Chair Peter Pober, Chair pro Tem Suzanne Slayden welcomed President Merten and Rector Volgenau to the Senate.
Summary of Rector Volgenau’s Remarks
Assuming that the Chair of the Senate (Peter Pober) and the Faculty Representatives to the BOV Committees have kept the the Senate informed of BOV activities, the Rector noted some differences in the ways in which the BOV operated when he was first appointed (understanding the mission of the university and financial oversight) and present activities in addition to fiduciary responsibilities which he saw as productive for the institution, specifically, (1) Fundraising for GMU, including efforts to take advantage of partnerships with business that are productive for both parties; and (2) Faculty compensation and student financial aid, as the two greatest needs for additional funding; (3) Efforts to include research that brings funding. Reference to continual process of change of BOV membership based Commonwealth practice; the Rector’s own term as a member of the BOV is up in 2012, following the maximum of 8 years allowed for an individual’s term of service on the Board.
Summary: Follow up questions and remarks from Senate Floor
(In the following summary, all questions are asked by Senators unless otherwise noted. All responses are Rector Volgenau’s)
A question was raised re a recent article in the New Yorker magazine focused on activities in political and other spheres of the Koch brothers, in which the Mercatus Center at GMU funded by the brothers was highlighted. This in turn was seen to raise further questions regarding the role of partisan political funding and a publicly funded university: i.e. is this kind of partisan political funding unusual and should scholars so funded be required to reveal funding sources. The Rector felt that he was only in a position to address concerns regarding the University’s position relevant to opportunities for funding. In his view, with some exceptions (available funding offers from organizations that , i.e. supported extreme violence) acceptance of funding was appropriate, whether or not he agreed with the particular views of the funding organization. It was to be hoped that given the number of organizations with differing views that might offer funding, a balance could be struck by and within the institution. Regarding particular researcher responsibilities, the Rector saw this as a matter to be dealt with by academic contemporaries and the university administration. This view represents his overall experience and views relevant to the appropriate activities of Boards as organizations that having once hired a President and other chief executives, their role was to evaluate their performance, not to get involved in the day to day management of either the people in these positions or the organization in which they work. The Rector saw this as consistent with appropriate lines of demarcation of Board activities in various venues.
The question of whether there should be a distinction between private and public universities regarding funding sources and disclosure of them: the Rector’s view was that whether or not there should be distinctions re the two kinds of institutions on this matter was not something he had enough information to comment on but voiced the view that standards should be set and met, and that all decisions are open for vigorous debate and open questioning. Also important was the fiduciary responsibility of the BOV given that the amount of public funding now available for Virginia universities is at about 30%, leaving 70% to be found from other sources, and the Board has an obligation to keep this in mind.
The Rector acknowledged the appreciation expressed for the Board’s participation in a reception jointly sponsored by the Senate and AAUP (support for the event was also provided by the Provost’s office) and expressed his thanks for the opportunity to meet at the reception. The Rector also referred to ideas regarding funding requested of and provided by the faculty to the BOV. These ideas were seen as a first iteration that would have some influence over questions/issues that the BOV might pursue as they moved toward setting priorities.
Summary of Remarks: President Merten
Re previous questions/comments regarding funding sources, it was noted that money comes into the university from across the political spectrum which the President asserted does not influence faculty research. The President agreed with a raised concern about taxpayer response to potentially problematic kinds of private funding provided to public universities and the potential impact of such funding on issues as presented e.g. to congressional committees. The President suggested that the Provost should raise this with Deans.
The President commented on the success of Faculty Senate initiatives to facilitate better communication with the BOV, supported and agreed to by the Board (i.e. the Chair of the Senate as a non-voting representative; faculty elected by their peers to serve on BOV committees), allowing for better information and cooperation. President Merten also referred to changes on the BOV and different implications when there is a change of party in the state house. GMU along with other state universities has prepared budget reduction scenarios of 2%, 4% and 6%. Proposals for expansion had also been sent forward. In year 2000, in constant dollars, GMU received (in state funding) $5,400 per in-state student; currently at $3,600. The university has developed various fiscal scenarios from the state of Virginia, with variable tuition increases. The report issued by the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education does not discuss tuition caps and encourages enrollment of more in-state students without cutting the number of out-of-state students (tuition money from out-of-state helps to pay for in-state). State proposals for Virginia universities include awarding 100,000 more degrees in the next 10-15 years. GMU seeks credit for increases since 2005 rather than start count in 2010 as currently set out. The President suggested that the GMU Faculty Senate work with the Senates at other major universities to lobby the General Assembly and the Higher Education Commission.
Remarks: Dean Mark Ginsberg, College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)
The Dean thanked the Faculty Senate for the opportunity to provide information about CEHD and looks forward to his working at GMU in his new position (start AY 2010; previous position CEO of(National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC] 18 years; faculty member at Johns Hopkins.
The GMU College of Education and Human Development:
Challenges, Opportunities, and a Vision for The Next Era.
Core Values: Innovation, Collaboration, Ethical Leadership, Research-Based Practice, and Social Justice; Promoting Learning and Development Across the Lifespan.
Vision: CEHD is an innovative, cutting-edge college that prepares professionals successfully to promote learning and development across the life span while contributing meaningfully to research in the learning and developmental sciences.
Key and Critical Issues
· Education as a “key and critical” national issue.
· School success means local, regional, and national success.
· “Waiting for Superman” as a metaphor for a focus on strengthening our system of public school education.
· STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
· Developmental Science as a construct for the teaching and learning profession.
· Teachers and School Leaders.
· GMU CEHD as a “cutting edge” school focused on innovation and “Education 2020”.
College of Education and Human Development (CEHD)
· Units: School of Recreation, Health and Tourism, and the Graduate School of Education
· Undergraduate and Graduate (Masters and Doctoral) Education
· 4 campuses (Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington, Loudoun County) and Off-Campus Programs
· Broad range of professional development partnerships with school systems and human services agencies
· 32 Academic Programs including 60 Masters Concentrations and 34 Certificate Programs
· Ten Research/Service Centers
· Over 110 FT Faculty (nearly 25% minority)
· 4,500+ Students (nearly 1,100 graduates in 2009)
· 16,000+ Alumni
Opportunities – 2010
· Education as a “Prime Time” Issue: Teachers and School Leaders; Counseling and Development; Special Education and Kellar Center for Human DisaBilities; Education Policy
· VISTA Project (Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching Achievement) received a $34 million grant from the US Dept of Education (the largest single award received at GMU). Purpose to enhance student learning achievement in STEM, a very exciting challenge. Almost every student in Virginia public schools will be touched by VISTA.
· RHT Programs
· School. and Community Partnerships
· National Reputation for Innovation and “Cutting Edge” Programs
· Human and Resources: Faculty, Staff, Students – Undergraduate and Graduate
· Support from University Administration
· Facilities – New CEHD Building in July 2011
· Development and External Relations
· Loyal and Active External Advisors
· Allies, Friends, Supporters
· Regional, national, and international reputation: Top 35 nationally (now in the top 50).
· College others will look TO and TOWARD
· Wide ranging and expanded research portfolio
· Robust fund development program
o Many allies, friends, and supporters
o Named School and sponsored facilities, programs, etc.
· CEHD as an Incubator, Laboratory, Translator, and Injector
· Innovation in Education and Human Development with respected and renowned teaching and research faculty and loyal, engaged students.
· Programs across many disciplines
o GSE and RHT – wide ranging in scope
o Conceptually well-grounded, evidence-based programs married with emerging delivery systems
o Growing funded program of research and support for research/service Centers
· CEHD must embrace innovation, dare to be different, be bold and willing – take (calculated) risks, push the envelope, build increased capacity, nurture a “sustainable resource base”, and lead regionally, nationally and globally.
IV. New Business - Committee Reports
A. Senate Standing Committees
Executive Committee – no report.
Academic Policies – no report.
Budget & Resources – June Tangney, Chair
Professor Tangney thanked everyone for suggestions in the Quality of Life Surveys which will be discussed further by Chair Pober and the BOV. The Chair met with Senior Vice President Morrie Scherrens and Gil Brown (Chief Budget Officer) who provided excellent information on the ways in which extramural funds are spent. The material will be reviewed and reported on to the Senate. An announcement will be circulated by the Senate when new salary data is posted on the Senate web-site (one month time frame).
Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford
On-Line Course Evaluations: Faculty Matters Committee recommends that the university refrain from continuing on-line course evaluations because of low (number of) responses received. People who have not attended class can submit evaluations.
Professor Paula Petrik, Chair of the Effective Teaching Committee, noted that they have also been charged to make a recommendation and has yet offered no recommendation. Thus far information suggested an uneven response rate; problems with the GMU email system and problems with Blackboard which beset efforts. The two schools now using on-line evaluations will continue to do so. Promotional activities to alert students and faculty are in the works. The Provost has said there will be no long-term commitment to on-line evaluations.
Provost Stearns confirmed there is no commitment to on-line evaluations except for those enrolled in on-line courses.
Professor Sanford offered a personal observation regarding past discussions in which privacy concerns expressed about identifying individual student responses. Professor Petrik clarified that students are not identified by name, but, for example, as a third year economics student. On-Line Course Evaluations face an uphill battle to get the system to work for them.
Professor Petrik disagreed with a remark from a Senator stating that the on-line evaluation was addressing a problem that didn’t exist, noting that students did not know that they could look on-line at systems other than “rate my professor” to make decisions and that on-line evaluations were less costly.
Nominations – Jim Bennett, Chair
Harold Geller (COS) is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Minority and Diversity Issues Committee.
Paul Rogers (CHSS) is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Writing Across the Curriculum Committee.
No further nominations were made from the floor, and the nominees were elected by unanimous ballot.
Organization & Operations – Star Muir, Chair
Professor Muir noted that the following resolution was reviewed by the Faculty Matters Committee, adding that he was not here in March 2008 when the Faculty Senate approved the then-proposed Faculty Practice Plan.
Resolution on Voluntary Faculty Practice
Whereas the Faculty Senate passed a Faculty Practice plan in March of 2008 outlining the nature of faculty practice and the eligibility of full-time faculty to participate in such a plan; and
Whereas, the original intent for faculty choice about participation was made clear in the explanation of the plan by Professor James Maddux in the following excerpt from the Senate minutes of February 13, 2008: “Attention was paid so that faculty was not forced into some overarching plan against one’s will. There is a choice to join to gain benefits such as malpractice insurance and enhance department programs;” and
Whereas, one unit at the university has begun implementing a plan that forces term faculty to seek outside employment and require employer payback to the unit for approximately one or more days a week (the amount of time has varied between 20%, 25%, and somewhat less) of the faculty member’s salary; and
Whereas, the “choice” offered to term faculty for not participating in the faculty practice plan is a renewal of contract for one year beyond which continued employment is not guaranteed or a 20-25% pay cut (amounts have varied) from their originally negotiated salary; and
Whereas, this represents elements of mandatory implementation of a faculty practice plan that was verified as being non-mandatory before Faculty Senators voted to approve it ; and
Whereas, this implementation of Faculty Practice violates the original approved faculty practice plan and so is of questionable legality;
Therefore be it resolved: That George Mason University’s Faculty Practice Plan shall be amended by including the following language under the section on Individual Participation:
Faculty Practice participation cannot be held as a condition of continued employment and renewal; faculty opting out of Faculty Practice cannot have their negotiated salaries reduced.
Oral Intent for the Plan on the Floor of the Senate on February 13, 2008:
The Dean invited Professor James Maddux to make comments as an advocate for the Family Practice Plan.
Comments, Professor James Maddux: Attention was paid so that faculty was not forced into some overarching plan against one’s will. There is a choice to join to gain benefits such as malpractice insurance and enhance department programs. Faculty currently engaged in practice may continue to do what they’ve been doing. There is a need to bring in non-tenure line faculty such as nurses with titles so that they may conduct clinical practice.
Senator Question: What is the difference between faculty practice and faculty consulting?
Professor Muir: noted that this is not an area with which he is very familiar, but thought that when faculty participates as part of a professional obligation as a faculty member, it is Faculty Practice, in contrast to consulting where faculty operates independently of the university. Faculty Practice is more closely tied to unit activity than consulting is.
Senator Comment /Question : “Practice” referred largely to clinical practice, not designed to have something to do with consulting. Are we talking about university policy on Faculty Practice or the Faculty Practice Plan?
Professor Muir: The Faculty Practice Plan to which I refer includes policy.
Senator Comment : The plan (2008) was endorsed as a mechanism to make sure that those faculty members who must be participants in professional practice could implement Faculty Practice.
Senator Question: Is the plan objected to, or is it individual faculty who object?
Professor Muir: Individual faculty perceive they are required to go outside the university to get additional work and then give the money earned back to the university.
Statement: Dean Shirley Travis, College of Health and Human Services:
The important point (is that) there is a group of faculty members with this perception, but where is the evidence? I encourage the Faculty Senate to gather (information) to do a full investigation. We have been at this for 4 ½ years. This document (resolution) is inaccurate. Faculty hired in Faculty Practice are paid as part of their workload. I have brought with me a group of faculty who came here to have the opportunity to participate in Faculty Practice. A group of faculty in the School of Nursing are unhappy. The document before you is wrong and I beg you not to endorse it. There are groups of faculty here who practice on the side. Are we going to be forced to bundle them into a university practice plan? Faculty are not forced to participate. This never was our interest. Term faculty members are given a choice. This is a strategic plan to hire (practitioners). Term faculty may continue with a one-year instructional contract without Faculty Practice, or a two year renewal with Faculty Practice.
Senator Comment: A resolution is not a policy, it represents a view. The question that arose in 2008 asked whether faculty would be required to participate. The question is whether someone could have a contract for conditional employment – some might call it forced, some might not. What is the difference between practice and consulting? What prevents the university from taking money from (the allowed for all faculty) one day of consulting as part of the basis of their employment?
Dean Travis: The state of Virginia says you may have one day a week to consult. This resolution is crass and inflammatory. (The Dean particularly objected to phrases such as “forces faculty to seek outside employment”, “pay cuts”, and “questionable legality” contained within the resolution).
Senator Follow–up Comment: The (Faculty Senate) Executive Committee has pursued information about this for a long time. My colleagues have worked on this document and it is neither inflammatory or crass. It is about having to go out and do clinical work to earn money that goes back to the college in order to keep your job. (Your statement about the document) is an insult to the faculty who framed it and to this body.
Dean Travis: I have met with the the Executive Committee over the past year to answer questions about this. You needed to have asked for more information about the program.
Clarifications to the resolution were proposed. A motion was made and seconded to return the resolution to the committee with the instructions that the committee needs to be clear on whether they are drafting a statement regarding the notion that units can require faculty to engage in practice or whether they are drafting a statement regarding the Faculty Practice Plan that the Faculty Senate approved a couple of years ago. In a division of the house, the motion to return the resolution to the O&O Committee was approved, 21 votes in favor, 9 votes against.
B. Other Committees – no reports.
V. Other New Business
Dean Flagel's presentation is posted on the Faculty Senate Website at Admissions Update - Dean Flagel -
Dec. 8, 2010
VI. Adjournment : The meeting adjourned at 4:22 p.m.
Secretary, Faculty Senate