GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

SEPTEMBER 8, 2010

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

 

Senators Present:  Clayton Austin, Heibatollah Baghi, Ernest Barreto, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, John Cantiello, Rick Coffinberger, Lloyd Cohen, Maggie Daniels, Nicole Darnall, Betsy DeMulder, Robert Dudley, Kellly Dunne, Daniel Garrison, Jack Goldstone, Susan Hirsch, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Dimitrios Ioannou, Dan Joyce, David Kuebrich, Linda Monson, Jean Moore, Janette Muir, Star Muir, Paula Petrik, Frank Philpot, Peter Pober, Earle Reybold, Pierre Rodgers, Jim Sanford, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Scott, Suzanne Slayden, Ray Sommer, Thomas Speller, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Eva Thorp, Shirley Travis, Susan Trencher, Harry Wechsler, Phil Wiest, Stanley Zoltek.*

*by teleconference phone.

Senators Absent:  Doris Bitler, Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Jose Cortina, Yvonne Demory, Mark Ginsberg, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Frances Harbour, Alan Merten, Adam Mossoff, James Olds, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Edward Rhodes, Iosif Vaisman, Nigel Waters, John Zenelis.

 

Visitors Present:  Kevin Avruch, Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology, ICAR; Rick Davis, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education; Pat Donini, Human Relations Director/DeputyDirector, Human Resources; Esther Elstun, Professor Emerita, Modern and Classical Languages; Donna Fox, Associate Dean, Office of Academic Integrity, University Life; Dolores Gomez-Roman, University Ombudsman; Zeina Habal, Blackboard Account Executive; Linda Harber, Associate Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll;  Susan Jones, University Registrar; LeRoy LaFleur, Vice Chair, Librarians' Council; J. G. McDaniel, Associate Provost for Distance Education; Danielle Miller, President, Mason Ambassadors; Jason Minkoff, Sr. Director, Blackboard Managed Hosting Support; Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, DOIT, ITU.

 

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

 

II.        Approval of the Minutes of April 28, 2010:  The minutes were approved as distributed.

 

III.       Announcements

 

Welcome from Professor Peter Pober, Chair of the Faculty Senate.  The Chair recounted a moment at a recent retreat when a student  said that his effort was "to give voice to those who are voiceless".  Professor Pober’s “charge” to the Senate echoed that view as the role of the Senate, to “give voice to those faculty members who may not feel able to voice their concerns” and to “begin right now".  

Provost Peter Stearns provided a list of goals/topics for AY 2010-20011

 

SACS Accreditation/QEP:  The SACS report sent forward September 8.  Off-site review occurs in November and SACS  on-site review will take place in March 2011.  The QEP  (Quality Enhancement Plan) is a major university initiative for the next five-six years.  Faculty will be asked to know more about it before the SACS visit. 

 

Expansion of academic income: Next year we will lose $19 million in federal funding and $13 million in state funding; presenting difficult financial challenges.  GMU currently setting money aside for use next year . Sources of increased income include:

·        Access-Bridge:  increased recruitment of international students.  Twenty-five students are enrolled this year, we hope to triple this next year.  Graduate students are also included. 

·        Continuing Education and Executive Education:  Not new, but an opportunity for additional expansion, includes part of distance education revenue.  Interactions with faculty on alternative sources of revenue continue.

·        Pricing/Tuition: Close attention to our two greatest values, faculty and location.  We have received some additional assistance for graduate student development.

 * In terms of reasonable planning regarding state funding, earnings consistent with university purposes, not state aid.

Enrollment Management:  The Provost noted that our enrollment was higher than anticipated:  retention rate, graduate enrollment, students changing from part-time to full time status all increased.  Undergraduate enrollment targets that had been cut back, also met   New Ad Hoc committee will be formed (October-November) to look at long-term enrollment targets.  The Faculty Senate is invited to name a representative to the committee.

 

Facilities:  5,400 students now reside on campus, increasing to 6000 in January, 2012. Other projects include the Potomac Environmental Research Center in Belmont Bay, Academic VII (CHHS), additional lab space at Prince William, and the first graduate dorms at Prince William.  Need for more graduate student housing on the Fairfax campus. New dorm will open Fall 2012 in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution at Fort Royal, VA.

Collaborations: 

1. With the Smithsonian Institution, a new MA program in the Decorative Arts  (begins next year).

2. With Georgetown University:Joint certificate in medical education (already extant and described as successful) will be followed by joint MA program to begin next year. Follow-up question response re : The Provost described the ideal student for the joint program with Georgetown as someone who wants to get the necessary credentials to apply to medical school.  Nationwide, the pool of applicants was high.

3. Discussions about medical school already begun will continue, no decisions yet made.

4. With the Prince William, Manassas, and Manassas Park public schools,  Governor's School at Innovation Park on the Prince William Campus.

 Global:   Faculty Forum on Global Education: Thursday September 30 at  11:00 a.m.,  Research Hall, room 163.  Major search  underway for Vice President for Global Strategies currently filled on interim basis.  Decisions not yet made re  joint programs in South Korea (market survey conducted) and Sardinia (discussions to set up joint science/technology program)  The Provost described dual/joint  degree programs as “the hottest global ticket.” GMU currently has five programs with a variety of international partners, may have 10-15 in a year.

Diversity:  We have made inching progress in faculty and staff diversity over the past ten years.  Diversity is high priority.

Distributed campuses: Opportunity to move forward in the near-term in Loudoun is an open topic.  Development of a campus for continuing/professional education in Tysons Corner has been well-received.  Received increasing solicitations to develop academic activities in the District of Columbia.  GMU currently has license to do so, but not the space. 

Honor Society Applications:  We expect to have authorization for GMU Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi by the end of the year.  We have also submitted an application to Phi Beta Kappa.  A delegation will visit in Spring 2011.  We are optimistic, as the university has made major progress in a variety of areas since the last PBK visit in 2004.

State of Virginia/Development:  Role of Governor's Commission on Higher Education and development opportunities.  In  response to follow-up question, Provost concerned about state efforts to tell institutions that they can handle many more students with less funding.  Noted that efforts in Florida to take on tens of thousands more students on distance (education) without increased funding , does not work. On the research front, 13% increase in awards from last year.  We have also received the largest grant ever for continuing education. 

Chair Pober expressed his deep appreciation to Provost Stearns for the updates and to Senators who have accepted the following appointments:  Suzanne Slayden, Chair Pro Tempore, Star Muir, Parliamentarian, and Sheryl Beach and Linda Monson, Sergeants-at-Arms.

IV.       New Business - Committee Reports

 A.  Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee – Peter Pober, Chair

Motion to amend the By-Laws of the Faculty Senate

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 above motion involves changes to the By-Laws and will be presented for approval at our next meeting (October 6, 2010).

Annual Senate Evaluation of the President and Provost for AY 2009-10

The following email consists of 1) a suggestion for improving the process of evaluation, 2) the text of the January 21, 2009 Senate motion authorizing the evaluation, and 3) the summary narrative evaluation.

I. Suggestion(s)

When the Senate discussed this evaluation, we spoke of it as a work in progress that would likely need major tweaking in the future.  At present, perhaps the most important change is that we make sure the evaluation gets done early enough for the BOV to read it and discuss it with the Senate Chair and Representatives (as called for by the Senate resolution) prior to its annual assessment of the President.  For example, the questionnaire might be sent to the committee chairs on March 1, responses received and summarized by the Exec Comm. by April 1, the draft summary reviewed by the full Senate at its April meeting, and the final report sent to the BOV and Faculty by May 1.  Then the Chair and Reps could meet with the BOV (or a subsection of it or at least the Rector) before the Board makes its annual evaluation.

II. A Proposal for the Senate to Make an Annual Evaluation of the President and Provost  (as amended and approved by the Faculty Senate January 21, 2009):

Introduction:  The Faculty Senate currently conducts an annual evaluation in which the Faculty assesses the performance of the President, the Provost, and the Deans and Directors. While this assessment should be continued, it would also be useful to have the Senate conduct its own evaluation. Therefore the Faculty Matters Committee proposes the following motion:

Resolution:  The elected members of the Faculty Senate will conduct an annual evaluation of how effectively the President and Provost have interacted with the Faculty Senate during the preceding academic year.  The results of this assessment will be summarized by the Executive Committee in narrative form and sent to the General Faculty and to the Board of Visitors.  The Senate Chair and the elected Faculty Representatives to the BOV will discuss the report with the Board of Visitors.

Explanation: The Executive Committee will solicit input from the chairs of the Senate Standing Committees, as well as from ad hoc and University Committees that report to the Senate), and then compose a draft version of an annual assessment report of the President and the Provost.  This draft report will be presented for discussion, amendment, and approval by the elected members of the Senate at its April meeting.  The approved report will then be sent to the General Faculty and Board of Visitors as a separate mailing.

The assessment will include but not be limited to the following issues:

1) Have the Senate and its committees been provided access to the President, the Provost and their staffs in a timely manner?

2) Have the President, Provost and their staffs provided the Senate requested information in a timely manner?

3) In the case of joint Senate-Administration committees or task forces, have the President, Provost and/or their staffs participated in a collegial and effective manner?

4) Have the President, Provost and their staffs complied with the Faculty Handbook?

5) In policies involving the future of the University that have the potential to have significant impact upon the nature of the University or upon the Faculty and their work, has the Senate been included in the planning process in a significant way from the beginning?

Rationale:  Because the General Faculty “delegates to the Faculty Senate the responsibility for participation in governance at the university level” (Handbook, 1.3.1), the Senate interacts regularly with the President and Provost regarding “all governance issues not internal to any single school or college” (Handbook, 1.3.2).  Given this mandate, the Senate has both a unique need for effective relations with the chief administrative officers and a unique perspective upon how well these officers are collaborating with the Senate. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the Senate make a separate annual evaluation of how effectively the President, the Provost, and their staffs, have interacted with the Senate and that it share this information with the General Faculty, and with the members of the Board of Visitors.  The overall goal of this procedure is to ensure that both the General Faculty and the Board gain an understanding of the Faculty Senate’s perception of cooperation between the George Mason Central Administration and the Senate.

Discussion:  An amendment to add “by the Executive Committee” between “summarized” and “in narrative form” in the second sentence of the resolution was accepted with no objection. 

The amended motion was approved.

III.  Summary Narrative

Annual Evaluation of the President and Provost’s Interaction with the Faculty Senate

Executive Summary:  After assessing the quality of collaboration of President Merten and Provost Stearns and their staffs with the Faculty Senate during the preceding year, the Senate generally gives high marks to the Provost and the staffs of both the Provost and the President. However, the Senate has some serious concerns regarding the performance of the President. This brief report also makes several recommendations for developing a more productive working relationship between the Administration and the Faculty Senate.

Evaluation

Provost Stearns:  The Senate appreciates that the Provost regularly attends the meetings of both the Executive Committee and the full Senate. It is most helpful to have the Provost’s input during these deliberations. The Senate also appreciates that the Provost provided the full Senate (at its September, 2009 meeting) with an overview of the major issues he anticipated dealing with during the upcoming academic year. This type of advance notice is indispensable if the Senate is to play a meaningful role in shaping important University policies.  In addition, various Senate committees report that the Provost provides them with timely and helpful information and is responsive to their requests.

The Senate has also found the Provost’s staff to be consistently helpful. Committee reports gave special commendation to Associate Provosts Rick Davis, Renate Guilford and Michelle Marks; Assistant Provost Claudia Rector; Financial Aid Director Jevita Rogers; Registrar Susan Jones; and the Offices of Institutional Effectiveness and Research and Reporting.

President Merten:  The President necessarily has less interaction with the Senate than the Provost who serves as the University’s chief academic officer. However, the Senate notes with appreciation that the President makes a semesterly presentation to the Senate regarding such issues as long-term plans for the University, the annual budget, and other matters of significant import. Also, the Athletic Council, in particular praised the President for his consistently effective support.

 Dissatisfactions with the President’s performance included the following:

1)  Failure to post an annual report for use by faculty for the annual Faculty Evaluation of Administrators. This seems to show a casual indifference to the opinion of the Faculty.

2)  A seeming attempt to avoid a formal review by the Faculty, as explicitly called for in the Faculty Handbook, as part of the larger review process for reappointment by the Board of Visitors. The Senate’s stated concern about this violation of the Handbook was ignored until the Executive Committee discussed the matter with the Rector who called for compliance with the Handbook. The President then cooperated, but the delay resulted in ill-feeling and a rushed process. 

3)  A general perception that the President does not value the perspective of the Senate and is, therefore, not interested in informing the Senate about his activities and  agenda for the University..

The Senate found the President’s staff to be consistently helpful. Committees praised the responsiveness of Chief of Staff Tom Hennessey and office staffers Mary Roper and Sharon Cullen. Also, the Diversity Committee commended the consistent willingness of Corey Jackson, Director of Equity and Diversity Services, to assist them with their work. In a similar vein, the External Relations Committee stated that Government Relations Officer Betty Jolly provided useful information and expressed a desire to work more closely with the Committee.

Also notable was that requested data on administrative and faculty salaries was provided not only in a timely manner but also in a new format that greatly facilitated posting on the Senate website. Special commendation is given to Donna Kidd, Associate Vice President for Budget and Planning, and her staff.   We also wish to acknowledge the contributions of Linda Harber, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Payroll, and her staff in addressing many questions throughout the year.

Recommendations

In an effort to further its collaboration with the Administration, the Senate respectfully makes the following suggestions:

1. As a general statement, the Senate asks that the Administration be more proactive in collaborating with the Senate Executive Committee and the various senate and university committees when the Administration is contemplating new policies that will have a significant impact upon the University and the professional work and lives of the faculty.

2. As a partial but important way of addressing the concern stated in point #1, the Senate asks that the Provost continue to provide (early in the fall semester) an overview of his agenda for the upcoming academic year. The Senate realizes that this agenda may be tentative, but it nevertheless provides the Senate with a helpful context for figuring out how it can add its perspective and best contribute to the shaping of new policies. In fact, it would be helpful if the Provost could provide a brief written outline of the agenda prior to the meeting as a basis for productive discussion.

3. It would be helpful to receive a similar type of tentative agenda from the President.

4. The Senate appreciates that the Provost seeks Senate/Faculty representation on various committees. Sometimes it would be helpful if the Senate were given more lead time for fulfilling these requests as well as a better understanding of what will be expected of the representatives.

5. The Budget and Resources Committee would find it helpful if one of its members could attend every meeting of the University Budget Planning Committee. (At present, the Committee is only invited to send a representative to some of the meetings.)

6. The Diversity Committee welcomes further collaboration with the Administration on various aspects of its work, including the development of benchmarks for monitoring progress on diversity and inclusion issues.

7. Finally, the Senate invites the Administration to suggest how the Senate might take steps to work more effectively.

Academic Policies – Janette Muir, Chair

Questionnaire will be distributed re abbreviated final period during 2010 spring term.

 

Budtget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger, Chair

 3% salary bonus effective December 1st, which will be paid separately, and not a base pay raise. Senator question: Clarification about channeling the bonus into retirement accounts.  Linda Harber, Associate VP for Human Resources and Payroll responded that there will be a  packet available in the next month or so.  An announcement will be sent once the packet is posted on the Human Resources website. 

 

Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford

 

The Teaching Contributions of Administrative Faculty for Fall 2009 and for Spring 2010 are also posted on the Faculty Senate website:  http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/

 

 Mason e-files this week (September 7, 2010) has two announcements about special deals for faculty and staff regarding athletic facility membership.  The deals stem primarily from Senate consultation last spring with  Staff Senate and then the Athletic Department :  (1)  Special Faculty/Staff Membership offer September 7–14, 10% off annual membership and (2) Free Fitness Classes September 7-11 – Mason Recreation .   Senator question about application of 10% annual membership discount availability for existing members will be investigated.

 

Nominations See V. Other New Business

 

Organization & Operations No report.

 

B. Other Committees

Faculty Representatives to the Board of Visitors – Janette Muir

At the request of Visitor Kathleen de Laski,  Faculty representatives (Janette Muir, Rick Coffinberger, Mark Houck, Toni-Michelle Travis), are in the process of looking at faculty concerns which the Board  could really tackle. Additional input from the Faculty Senate will be requested.

 

V.        Other New Business

A.   Elections

September 2010 Report of the Faculty Senate Nominations Committee

 

The Faculty Senate has charged the Nominations Committee to “provide, unless otherwise specified, a slate of at least as many nominees as the number of positions to be filled for each election conducted by the Senate.” In carrying out this Charge, a call for volunteers was issued in June this year to ascertain interest among faculty in serving on the various Senate and University Standing Committees. The slates developed by the Nominations Committee are subject to restrictions imposed when the Senate creates committees and specifies their Charges. For example, only tenured faculty may serve on the University Grievance Committee and the Minority and Diversity Issues Committee; moreover, only Senators may serve on Senate Standing Committees, and each University Standing Committee must have at least one Senator as a member. Beyond membership mandates from the Senate, the Nominations Committee considers several factors in selecting nominees:  interest (volunteers who want to serve are given preference over people who must be dragooned ‑‑ but some dragooning can occur when no one volunteers); experience, i.e., length of service at Mason; unit ‑‑ one college or academic unit shouldn't have all the members of a committee; and  continuity ‑‑ particularly when various initiatives are underway for SACS accreditation, especially those involving the General Education Committee; furthermore, the Athletic Council is undergoing an NCAA review. With these preliminaries in mind, the Nominations Committee offers the following slates:

 

Election of the Secretary of the Senate:  Susan Trencher was elected unanimously.

 

FACULTY SENATE STANDING COMMITTEES:

 

ACADEMIC POLICIES:

Continuing Members:  Sheryl Beach (COS), Janette Muir (CHSS)

Nominees: Jose Cortina (CHSS), Fran Harbour (CHSS), Harry Wechsler (VSITE)

 

BUDGET AND RESOURCES

Continuing Members:  Alok Berry (VSITE), Rick Coffinberger (SOM)

Nominees:  Ernest Barreto (COS), June Tangney (CHSS), Phil Wiest (CHSS)

 

FACULTY MATTERS

Continuing Member:  Joe Scimecca (CHSS)

Nominees:  Doris Bitler (CHSS), John Cantiello (CHHS), Mark Houck (VSITE), Jim Sanford (CHSS)

 

NOMINATIONS:

Continuing Members:  Jim Bennett (CHSS), Dimitrios Ioannou (VSITE)

Nominees:  – Three vacancies; nominations must come from the floor.  David Kuebrich, Howard Kurtz, and Pierre Rodgers were nominated.  The nominations were seconded.

 

ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS:

Continuing Member:  Jack Goldstone (SPP)

Nominees: Bob Dudley (CHSS), Kelly Dunne (CHSS), Jean Moore (CHHS), Star Muir (CHSS)

 

Nominations were closed and a unanimous ballot cast to elect nominees to the Senate Standing Committees.

 

UNIVERSITY STANDING COMMITTEES

(Nominees in Bold Type are Faculty Senators)

 

ACADEMIC APPEALS

Continuing Members:  Betsy DeMulder (CEHD), Marty DeNys (CHSS), Michael Hurley (CHSS) (Provost appointee), Miriam Raskin (CHHS), Carmen Rioux-Bailey (CEHD)

 

ACADEMIC INITIATIVES

Continuing Members:  Bob Johnston (SOM), Terry Zawacki (CHSS)

Nominees:  Liz Chong (CHHS), Tom Kiley (COS), Thomas Speller (VSITE), David Wilsford (CHSS)

 

ADMISSIONS

Continuing Members:  Nicole Sealey (VSITE), Suzanne Slayden (COS), Eddie Tallent (Admissions appointee), Jason Warren (CHSS)

Nominees:  Dan Joyce (CVPA), Charles Thomas (CEHD)

 

ATHLETIC COUNCIL

Continuing Members:  Linda Miller (Chair, Faculty Athletic Representative), Robert Baker (CEHD), Steve Klein (CHSS), Phil Wiest (CHSS)

Nominee:  Guiseppina Kysar Mattietti (COS)

 

EFFECTIVE TEACHING

Continuing Members:  Rodger Smith (CHSS), Suzanne Smith (CHSS), Cliff Sutton (VSITE -Provost appointee), Mary Williams (CEHD)

Nominees:  Paula Petrik (CHSS)

 

EXTERNAL ACADEMIC RELATIONS

Continuing Members:  Deborah Boehm-Davis (CHSS), Kelly Dunne (CHSS), Penny Earley (CEHD- Provost appointee)

Nominees:  Steve Farnsworth (CHSS), Karl Fryxell (COS), Frank Philpot (SOM)

 

GENERAL EDUCATION

Continuing Members:  Rick Davis (Chair, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education), Don Boileau (CHSS), Rick Diecchio (COS – Provost appointee), Kim Eby (CHSS/Associate Provost – Provost appointee), Doug Eyman (CHSS), Frank Philpot (SOM – Provost appointee), Claire Snyder (CHSS), Hugh Sockett (CHSS), Karen Studd (CVPA), Cliff Sutton (VSITE – Provost appointee)

Nominees:  Kammy Sanghera (VSITE), Carol Urban (CHHS), Peter Winant (CVPA)

 

GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

Continuing Member:  Lloyd Cohen (SOL)

Nominees:  Scott Bauer (CEHD), Bob Pasnak (CHSS), Johannes Rojahn (CHSS), Sylvia Sanchez (CEHD)

 

MINORITY and DIVERSITY ISSUES COMMITTEE

Continuing Members:  David Anderson (CEHD), Flavia Colonna (COS), Jeng-Eng Lin (COS)

Nominees:  Jennifer Leeman (CHSS), Suzanne Scott (CHSS)

 

NON-TRADITIONAL, INTERDISCIPLINARY, and ADULT LEARNING

Continuing Members:  Reeshad Dalal (CHSS), Earle Reybold (CEHD), Amelia Rutledge (CHSS)

Nominees:  Jaime Lester (CHSS), John Riskind (CHSS)

 

SALARY EQUITY STUDY COMMITTEE

Continuing Members:  Karen Hallows (SOM – Provost appointee), Margret Hjalmarson (CEHD)

Nominees:  Michelle Buehl (CEHD), Prosenjit Mazumdar (SOM)

 

TECHNOLOGY POLICY

Continuing Members:  Phil Buchanan (SOM), Goodlett McDaniel (CHSS – Provost appointee), Star Muir (CHSS)

Nominees:  Melissa Martin (SOM), Walter Morris (COS), Sharon Williams vonRooij (CEHD), Stanley Zoltek (COS)

 

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM COMMITTEE

Continuing Members:  Tom Owens (CVPA), Ellen Rodgers (CEHD), Daniel Rothbart (ICAR), Terry Zawacki (Director, WAC Program –Ex-Officio)

Nominees:  Joan Bristol (CHSS), Sue Durham (CHSS), Tamara Maddox (VSITE), Nicola Scott (SOM), Stanley Zoltek (COS)

 

Steve Klein (CHSS) was nominated from the floor to serve on the Non-Traditional, Interdisciplinary, and Adult Learning Committee.  Professor Jim Bennett, Chair of the Nominations Committee,  noted that some committees do not have strict numbers of members, so we can elect an additional nominee.  The nomination was seconded

 

Nominations were closed and a unanimous ballot cast to elect nominees to the University Standing Committees.

 

Election of Other Faculty Representatives:

 

FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE

Jim Bennett (CHSS) was elected unanimously to replace Lorraine Brown. 

              

B.  Presentations

Blackboard Usage and Faculty Issues:   Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, DOIT

Ms. Pitt’s presentation  is posted on the Faculty Senate website at http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/MINUTES_FS_2010-11/FacultySenate_LMSRecapDistribute.pdf .  Page 11 contains responses to questions about daily logins/users of Blackboard.  Page 12 provides data in  responses to question about Blackboard costs 2009-2010.

 

Honor Code:  Donna Fox, Associate Dean, Office of Academic Integrity, University Life

Dean Fox distributed the annual report of the Honor Committee:

 

Annual Report of the Honor Committee 2009-2010 Academic Year:

 

Overview of Honor Code cases:

 

In the 2009-2010 academic year, the Mason community witnessed some important improvements in the Honor Committee and the adjudication of cases through it.  Honor Committee members serve in two capacities in addition to their role in the adjudication of cases.  Honor Committee Guard members are HC members who volunteer to help professors in large classrooms to proctor their exams.  Honor Committee Ambassadors are HC members who volunteer to present information at info sessions or in classrooms.  These additional duties of the Honor Committee help us to meet our goals of preventing cases of academic dishonesty and educating students, respectively.

 

For the 2009-2010 academic year, 326 students were referred to the Honor Committee.  (This is consistent with the last academic year.)

 

               321 student cases have been resolved as of the date of this report

                   2 student cases are not resolvable since the students left the university

                   3 student cases are still awaiting hearings due to the summer break

 

Of the 321 cases that have been resolved, 88% of students who were charged with an Honor Code violation were found to be responsible.  Most of these students, 74%, accepted responsibility for the charge in lieu of taking the case to the Honor Committee.  The most common sanction that was recommended by professors in these particular cases was equally split between either an F in the course or a zero on the assignment/exam/quiz in question.  For students in upper division or graduate courses, an F in the course was the most common sanction that was recommended.  For students in lower division courses, the most commonly recommended sanction was a zero on the assignment in question.  Graduate students face an additional sanction of dismissal for a first violation of the Honor Code.  Seventeen students received sanctions of either suspension or dismissal from Mason in the 2009-2010 academic year.

 

Cases reviewed by the Honor Committee:

 

The Honor Committee adjudicated 62 student cases as of the date of this report.  Seventy-three percent of the students who took their cases to the Honor Committee were found to be responsible for the stated charge, and 25% were found to be not responsible.  All students who are charged with more than one violation must have their cases referred to the Honor Committee for review.  In the 2009-2010 academic year, 19 student cases were reviewed for students meeting this criterion (6% of total cases). 

 

In order to appeal a decision made by the Honor Committee, the student must provide documentation of either new information that was not available at the time of the hearing OR evidence of procedural irregularities.  Six students appealed Committee decisions in the 2009-2010 academic year.   All were reviewed by the appeals board of the Honor Committee and none was approved.

 

Statistics for students responsible for an Honor Code violation:

 

Of students who were found to be responsible for an Honor Code violation in the 2009-2010 academic year, 40% were female and 60% were male.  The median GPA for these students was approximately 2.72.  Seniors were most commonly found responsible (35.8% of group), followed in order by juniors (20.1%), freshmen (18.4%), sophomores (17.4%), and graduate students (8.3%).  In most cases (64%), the students were responsible for plagiarism.  Thirty-three percent of the students were responsible for some form of cheating.  The remaining students were found to be responsible for other infractions such as unauthorized collaboration, falsification of documentation, etc.

 

Timeliness of resolution of cases:

 

The median time to resolve cases in which students accepted responsibility for the charge was approximately 3-4 working days from receipt of the case.  The median time to resolve cases in which students elected to take their case to a hearing was approximately 13 working days from date of the election of this option.  This does not include the outliers associated with the summer term.

 

As of the date of this report, 3 cases are still awaiting hearings in order to reach a resolution.  The delay in resolution is due to the summer break. 

 

Other activities of the Honor Committee:

 

In the 2009-2010 academic year, Honor Committee members donated served more than 150 student hours as proctors to help professors in their classrooms during exam periods.  Honor Committee members served more than 20 student hours as HC Ambassadors to educate students about the Honor Committee and Academic Integrity.  Due to the limited size of the Honor Committee, these services are available to the Mason community on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Our first Academic Integrity Week was held in September of 2009, and we are planning on holding this event annually.  The Golden Key International Honour Society and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society work in conjunction with the OAI to raise awareness about the issues surrounding academic integrity.  These Honor Society members and our Honor Committee members will be posting posters in classrooms in addition to holding other activities to raise awareness.

 

Website:

 

The Office for Academic Integrity’s website, academicintegrity.gmu.edu, includes important information for both faculty and students. 

 

Trends: 

 

This year’s data are very similar to last year’s data.  Our hope is that increased awareness and education will help reduce the number of cases filed in the future.

 

Donna M. Fox, Ph.D.

Associate Dean

Office for Academic Integrity, UL

academicintegrity.gmu.edu

September 8, 2010

 

Additional Questions and Comments

Dean Fox:   Seniors as the largest 35.8% of group found responsible for Honor Code violations.   Explanation in part that this group has the most to lose; often repeat a difficult class and cannot do the work.  The Honor Code Guard provides students to help proctor exams.

 

Senator questions re common offenses and penalties:

Associate Dean, AIC; Intentional and unintentional plagiarism.

Penalty depends on whether it is a lower, higher, or graduate level course.  Ultimately the professor decides.

Undergraduate violations.  First violation does not go on record.   Second violation may mean dismissal or suspension, community service is no longer offered. Student may be asked to work with the Writing Center or attend a seminar. 

 

Senator question:  How do you handle (situation) if you think student may have not done this intentionally?

Associate Dean, AIC:  Faculty encouraged to turn suspected cases in as it may actually be that student's second, third, fourth or even fifth violation, and not a first one.  If a professor takes action on his/her own without university involvement, the faculty member may be sued by a disgruntled student.  The Honor Code is published in the University Catalog.

 

Senator Question: Can we handle a case internally and then just notify you of the student's name so that there is a record of the violation?
 
Associate Dean, AIC:  If a case is not submitted to the Honor Committee as an official case, it can't constitute a "strike" against a student.  In order to identify repeat violators of the Honor Code, the cases must be on record with and resolved by the Honor Committee.

 

Senator question: What is unintentional plagiarism?  There really is no such thing.  Student may have forgotten to use quotation marks, place citation, etc.

 

Senators observations: NYT article about plagiarism recently noted that students consider things on Wikipedia as common knowledge, do not see this as plagiarism. Another senator noted article in Cognitive Psychology

 

Associate Dean, AIC:  Did you write it?  No, then it is plagiarism.

 

Senator question:  When students sign the Honor Code, has a student gotten into trouble for not turning in another student?

 

Associate Dean, AIC:   In one case.  If you do not report cheating, then giving or receiving help in an unauthorized fashion is cheating. 

 

Mason Ambassadors – Danielle Miller, President

Chair Peter Pober introduced Danielle Miller, noting that she also serves as a student representative to the Board of Visitors.   Ms Miller described the Mason Ambassadors as a group of students who recruit prospective students, give tours, host distinguished guests etc. Described group as “the face of GMU” (for faculty). Ms. Miller asked about what faculty would like to see included in tours. They are often asked questions about the quality of courses and about faculty, access to faculty.  She asked that faculty send her suggestions for “boasting”.

Senator suggestion:  Include mention of many internship opportunities available in the DC area.

Ms Miller: Already do this, also talk about the many networking opportunities available (with adjunct faculty) as well as research opportunities.

              

VI.       Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

1. Pleasently surprised that he has not had parking problems the first week of school. 

2. Faculty Senator Linda Monson will perform Sunday, September 19th at the Jean Carrington Cobb concert. 

3. Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education Rick Davis read the following letter from Nathan Dorfman, Student Government Liaison to the Faculty Senate last year:

 

Dear Faculty Senate Members:

 

    Though I wish I could say this personally, I want to inform you that due to a busy schedule as chair of Student Government's State Outreach committee and as a teaching assistant, I am no longer able to attend Faculty Senate meetings.

 

    A new Student Government liaison will be appointed by October's meeting.

 

    Already, Student Government is working hard to implement new initiatives. We are currently planning a lobbying day in Richmond to be held in February for Mason student leaders. Also, this month, we are collaborating with the College of Visual and Performing Arts, in support of ARTS by George, a September 25th gala benefit.

 

    Most importantly, Student Government would greatly appreciate a Faculty Senate liaison to attend Student Government meetings once a month. Meetings are held on the Johnson Center's third floor at 4:30 on Thursdays. If any Faculty Senator is interested in and available for the position, please e-mail me at ndorfman@gmu.edu. We hope that a Faculty Senate liaison can be appointed by October’s meeting as well.

 

     Again, it is a pleasure to partner with the Faculty Senate, and I wish you all a successful year.

 

 

     Respectfully,

 

                          Nathan Dorfman

                          Chair; M.A.S.O.N. Committee; 31st Student Senate

                          Student Senator

                          Peer Advisor

                          University Scholar

 

4. Newly elected Senators are:  Nicole Darnall (COS), John Cantiello (CHHS), Bob Dudley (CHSS), Eva Thorp (CEHD), Maggie Daniels (CEHD), Daniel Garrison (VSITE), and Tom Speller (VSITE).  Clayton Austin (CVPA) will represent CVPA for the fall term as Howard Kurtz is away this semester.

 

5.  Note re university community: Some Sodexho employees are on strike today.  They are especially concerned about health and safety issues.  A student demonstration in support of the workers occurred earlier today.

 

6. Chair Pober thanked Morrie Scherrens (Executive VP ) for his exemplary work on the COLA.  He is determined to get this through. Members of the Senate Standing Committees were asked to meet immediately following adjournment and notify the Clerk of the Senate of new committee chairs.

 

VII.     Adjournment :  The meeting adjourned at 4:07 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Trencher

Secretary