GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE
FEBRUARY 9, 2011
Robinson Hall B113, 3:00 - 4:07 p.m.
Senators Present: Heibatollah Baghi, Ernest Barreto, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Doris Bitler, John Cantiello, Rick Coffinberger, Jose Cortina, Maggie Daniels, Nicole Darnall, Yvonne Demory, Betsy DeMulder, Robert Dudley, Daniel Garrison, Jack Goldstone, Susan Hirsch, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Dimitrios Ioannou, Dan Joyce, David Kuebrich, Howard Kurtz, 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, Eva Thorp, Susan Trencher, Iosif Vaisman, Nigel Waters, Harry Wechsler, Phil Wiest, Stanley Zoltek.
Senators Absent: Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Lloyd Cohen, Kelly Dunne, Mark Ginsberg, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Frances Harbour, Alan Merten, James Olds, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Edward Rhodes, Pierre Rodgers, Shirley Travis, John Zenelis.
Visitors Present: Rizna Ahmed, Assistant Director, Assistant Director, Benefits & Absence Management, Human Resources/Payroll ; 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; Linda Harber, Associate Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll; Robin Herron, Associate Director, Office of Media and Public Relations; Rick Holt, Staff Senate Liaison; Reuben Jones, Academics Editor, Connect2Mason; Susan Jones, University Registrar; Leroy LaFleur, GMU Libraries; Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, Division of Instructional Technology, ITU; Bill Sutton, Associate Chair/Associate Professor, Electrical & Computer Engineering; Joy Taylor, Director, Learning Support Services, DoIT.
I. Call to Order: The meeting was called to order at 3:00 p.m.
II. Approval of the Minutes of December 8, 2010: The minutes were approved as distributed.
Chair Peter Pober welcomed Dean Andrea Bartoli of the School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Professor Bartoli came to Mason three years ago and was selected by his colleagues as Director of ICAR, and is now Dean of the new School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Dean Bartoli thanked Professor Joe Scimecca, a Faculty Senator who served as the first Director of ICAR for his role in the formation of this unit, as well as gratitude to Brian Wedge and Henry Barringer. He noted his current position requires a good deal of travel as GMU takes its place as a global university and the School seeks a stronger engagement with the world. The Point of View Center, located at Mason Neck in Lorton VA,was a gift of the Lynch family to GMU. .Last year a delegation from the Ivory Coast that included the leader of the Muslim population, was able to stay there and expressed their gratitude that they were offered a place where they could think about process.
IV. New Business - Committee Reports
A. Senate Standing Committees
Executive Committee – Peter Pober, Chair
The Executive Committee has been hard at work. The Provost has graciously answered all questions sent by June Tangney (on behalf of the Budget and Resources Committee) on how to improve faculty life. Collaboration on that issue continues.
Chair Pober expressed some concerns about the active engagement of some members of the BOV in the academic mission and fiscal streamlining of the university. Discussion arose at a recent meeting regarding the presentation and approval of a new BA in Chinese Studies that impacts the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and other links to China, i.e. the 1:2:1 Program. A Visitor raised concern raised about new programs and funding issues re this proposal despite its being cost neutral( (participating faculty are already at the university). At the meeting of the full Board, the Visitor re-raised the issue of cost and garnered support from some other board members. The program was approved by the BOV.
Academic Policies – Janette Muir, Chair
The committee is working on a number of lot issues and seeks input:
-1- Discussion about the long period of time between December classes and the beginning of Spring term. Suggestions have been made to begin Spring term earlier or to have a January term.
-2- Dual Enrollment on Campus: Should we come up with a policy for different levels of classes (e.g. 100-level, 200-level)?
Budget & Resources – Rick Coffinberger (for Chair, June Tangney)
Updated salary data has been received and is currently being reviewed. Posting expected on the Senate website within two weeks.
Faculty Matters – Doris Bitler, Chair
Resolution on Faculty Practice Plan 1-28-11
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;”
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.
Discussion: Professor Bitler noted that this resolution removed some language from the previous resolution presented in December, 2010.
Senator question:: How is this consistent with language for term faculty?
Professor Bitler: There is currently no intention to clarify other language in term faculty contracts.
Provost Stearns expressed concern that a Dean has not represented this Resolution as desirable. Standard contracts exist with term faculty
Senator Comment: The Resolution has no legal power. It is intended to represent a view expressed by the faculty, the Faculty Senate.
Senator Question: Is there an amendment to plan presented to the BOV?
Professor Bitler was unaware of any such plan.
Senator Question: Why do we have to have a position on this? We are wasting our influence on an issue which does not make any difference.
Response from a Senator representing CHHS : When the Faculty Senate passed the amendment on Faculty Practice in 2008, it clarified that participation in faculty practice was not mandatory. The current Faculty Practice plan in CHHS requires that term faculty get a second job outside the university and give the money to the university as a in order to keep their positions. We wish to clarify that this is not appropriate for all term faculty.
Senator Comment: If our concern is that people are being hired with a particular set of expectations and then (expectations) are changed, then that is a problem. There are units which have practice, faculty is not hired with one set of criteria.
Senator Comment: Concern that presently, for term faculty to be promoted, they must demonstrate genuine excellence in teaching or research. If they are spending 20-25% of their time in practice, no provision for faculty practice to count, need some provision to evaluate term faculty.
Senator Motion: Amendment to the resolution to replace “reduced” with “changed”.
The amendment was not seconded.
Senator Comment:: There are big differences between programs which require practice for re-certification.
In accordance with a request for a written ballot, ballots were distributed, collected, and then tabulated by the Sergeants-at-Arms.
The Resolution passed by a vote of 25 (for), 18 (against) 1 abstention.
The Faculty Evaluation of Administrators is print ready and will be posted on-line.
Nominations – Jim Bennett, Chair
Daniel Garrison (VSITE) and Paula Petrik (CHSS) are nominated to serve as Faculty Senate representatives to the Distance Education Council.
No further nominations were made from the floor, and the nominees were elected unanimously.
Organization and Operations – Star Muir, Chair
Motion: Recreation Advisory Committee
Charge: To act in an advisory
capacity to Intercollegiate Athletics in all matters pertaining to faculty and
staff use of athletic facilities.
Membership: Three faculty members, three staff members, and three members chosen by Human Resources and Payroll.
Discussion: Professor Muir reported that Professor Linda Miller, Faculty Athletic Representative, was concerned about the inclusion of intercollegiate athletic in the proposed charge, and asked the charge be revised to identify recreational facilities.
Senator Question: Does the Athletic Council have something to say about faculty use of athletic facilities?
Response: Jim Sanford (Faculty Senator who had worked on issues related to faculty access s to athletic facilities) and Linda Miller both confirmed that it does not, that the proposed revision offered to clarify this. Professor Sanford recalled there were no fees to use the Field House when it opened in 1980. When the Aquatic Center opened in 1999, a $175 fee was established. The fee was increased to $250 last year without input from faculty and staff. The increase was put on hold for at least one year, so that faculty can receive a reduced rate. The objective was to formalize a committee to keep track of this issue in future.
Senator Question: Do facilities include (outdoor) fields, etc?
Response, Professor Muir: Directed to it situations in which faculty pay to access something inside a building, such as a gym, not an outside event.
Senator Question: How much do students pay to use facilities?
Response: Access comes out of student fees.
The motion was amended to remove “(to) Intercollegiate Athletics” and replace “athletic” with “recreational” at the end of the first sentence so that the revised charge reads:
Recreation Advisory Committee Charge: To act in an advisory capacity
Athletics in all matters pertaining to faculty and staff use of athletic recreational facilities.
Membership: Three faculty members, three staff members, and three members chosen by Human Resources and Payroll.
The motion was approved as amended.
The Nominations Committee presented the following nominees to serve as faculty representatives to the Recreation Advisory Committee: Dave Anderson (CEHD), Molly Davis (CHHS), and Jim Sanford (CHSS). No further nominations were made from the floor the nominees were elected by unanimous consent.
Motion to Create a Senate Task Force to Examine the Agreements between George Mason University and Private Donors
Motion: The George Mason University Faculty Senate shall create a fact-finding “Task Force re Private Donors” (TFPD). The charge of the Task Force will be to review significant agreements the University that have an overt intellectual dimension. The activities of the Task Force shall include examining the impact of these agreements in regard to A) the teaching and research missions of the University; B) the University’s mission to serve the public good; C) the University’s use of resources; and D) the image of the University--as perceived both by the George Mason community and the larger public.
Composition: The task force will consist of five faculty members elected by the Faculty Senate and one non-voting ex officio member appointed by the Provost.
Schedule: The Task Force will make a preliminary report to the Senate by the end of the Spring semester and a second report early in the Fall semester. In its fall report, the Task Force will recommend either that it be dissolved or that it continue in order to develop and recommend needed changes in University policy.
Rationale: Such a task force is needed for various reasons:
1. Quality of Leadership: George Mason University often expresses a desire to be a model university for the twenty-first century. Such aspirations to innovation and leadership must include high ethical standards.
2. Current Ethical and Political Concerns: There is growing concern both within higher education and among the general public about conflicts of interest and lack of transparency in the scholarship, public presentations, and official testimony of university professors and researchers. This concern is expressed in, among other places, a recent New Yorker article that included discussion of GMU’s Mercatus Center (Aug 30, 2010); the film Inside Job, a recently-released documentary on the current economic crisis; and the Nov-Dec, 2010 issue of Academe: The Magazine of the American Association of University Professors, entitled “The Conflicted University,” which discusses how monied interests use donations, political clout, and legal muscle to influence research, scholarship and teaching.
3. Right to Know: Faculty, students, and other members of the George Mason community have a right to know about agreements that are made between the University and private interest groups.
4. Right to Know: Taxpayers also have a right to know about these agreements.
5. Right to Know: Before the Faculty Senate (12/8/2010), President Merten stated that the University has existing conflict-of-interest policies that require all faculty and researchers to reveal sources of funding that might influence their work. He also stated that the University receives funding from groups across the political spectrum that seek to influence public policy. Since these facts are not widely known, they should be reviewed and given greater visibility.
6. The mission of the public university is to serve the common good as a disinterested center of teaching and research. It is vital to the well-being of public higher education that this understanding of the public university be preserved.
The motion was approved unanimously and without comment.
The Nominations Committee presented the following slate of nominees to the Senate Task Force to Examine the Agreements Between GMU and Private Donors:
Bob Ehrlich (COS), Esther Elstun (CHSS – Emerita), Dave Kuebrich (CHSS), Earle Reybold (CEHD), and Rich Rubenstein (ICAR). No further nominations were made from the floor and the nominees were elected by unanimous consent.
B. Other Committees – no reports.
V. Other New Business
Invitation to GMU to establish new campus in Martinsville, VA
Provost Stearns informed the Senate that GMU has been invited, along with other universities in Virginia, to establish a brand-new campus in Martinsville, VA. This will be investigated. No commitment has been made. Among the universities interested are VCU and CNU as well as two others. GMU has made it clear that it will not engage in a bidding war and would participate only if it is fiscally neutral or advantageous to do so.
Phi Beta Kappa working group arrives at the end of February.
Case of alleged plagiarism:There was a discussion about a case of alleged plagiarism which the Provost refused to comment upon in accordance with procedures of confidentiality. A Senator noted that information has been published on the internet and in the press about the case. Reference made to the University Policy 4007 : Misconduct in Research and Scholarship.
Update re General Assembly Legislation: Linda Harber, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Payroll, provided a brief update about the status of legislation about VRS/ORP retirement plans in the General Assembly. The General Assembly session ends in two weeks and updates will be distributed as they are received. A Senator thanked the HR Staff for its assistance in re-enrolling his 23 year old son in his health care plan. A question about phased retirement for a faculty member with 10-15 years of service was referred to the dean. Chair Pober sincerely thanked Linda and all her staff for all the work they have done for us.
VI. Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty
A special meeting to consider possible revisions to the Faculty Handbook will take place on Wednesday, March 23rd . The proposed revisions will be distributed with the agenda in advance of the meeting.
The new leadership of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society was officially inducted three weeks ago. Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for membership.
Each year we forward (nominations) of some of our most outstanding faculty to SCHEV. Dr. Eden King (Psychology) won the award, one of only 12 applicants statewide. The winner are presented to the General Assembly and also have lunch with the governor. Congratulations Professor King!
The Nominations Committee will conduct an election for Faculty Representatives to the BOV Committees this spring.
A Senator witnessed a very embarrassing and disturbing incident on the CUE bus last Saturday which involved some GMU students who were rowdy, profane, and intoxicated. Question raised about how such incidents should be reported? A Senator suggested contacting Professor Anderson who chairs a Task Force on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Concern raised about late opening of university due to weather and lack of clarity regarding courses that have start times before the university is opened, but the majority of class time takes place after the late opening hour set. A Senator thanked the Provost for considering whether graduate research assistant student be considered for in-state tuition rates, as well as MFAs too.
VII. Adjournment : The meeting adjourned at 4:07 p.m.