March 28, 2012

Robinson Hall B113, 3:00 – 4:15 p.m..


Senators Present:  Dominique Banville, Ernest Barreto, Scott Bauer, Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, Doris Bitler, Charlene Douglas, Robert Dudley, Daniel Garrison, Dimitrios Ioannou, Kathryn Jacobsen, Dan Joyce, David Kuebrich, Jerry Mayer, Alan Merten, Linda Monson, Star Muir, Susan Allen Nan, Elavie Ndura, Paula Petrik, Peter Pober, Earle Reybold, Pierre Rodgers, Jim Sanford, Suzanne Scott, Suzanne Slayden, Bob Smith, Thomas Speller, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Susan Trencher, Halaevalu Vakalahi, Phil Wiest, Stanley Zoltek.


Senators Absent:  Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Rick Coffinberger, Lloyd Cohen, Arie Croitoru, Yvonne Demory, Kelly Dunne, Cody Edwards, Mark Ginsberg, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Margret Hjalmarson, Mark Houck, Howard Kurtz, Ning Li, James Olds, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Edward Rhodes, Joe Scimecca, Lesley Smith, Ray Sommer, Susan Tomasovic, Shirley Travis, Iosif Vaisman, John Zenelis.


Visitors Present:  Rizna Ahmed, Director of Benefits; Human Resources and Payroll; Deborah Boehm-Davis, Associate Dean, CHSS; Esther Elstun, Professor Emerita, Modern and Classical Languages; Kim Eby, Associate Provost for Faculty Development/Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; Josh Eyler, Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; Dolores Gomez-Roman, University Ombudsman;  Robin Herron, Associate Director, Media and Public Relations;  Susan Jones, Associate Provost and University Registrar; Michelle Lim, HR Faculty Business Partner, Human Resources and Payroll;  J. Goodlet McDaniel, Associate Provost for Distance Education; Janette Muir, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education;  Tim Murphy, Director, DOIT-Classroom and Lab Technologies; Laura Phelps, Director, Communication and Planning, DOIT; Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, DOIT; Beth Roszkowski, University Libraries Liaison; Linda Schwartzstein, Vice Provost, Academic Affairs/VP, Enrollment Services.


I.                   Call to Order:  The meeting was called to order at 3:02 pm.


II.                Approval of the Minutes of  February 1, 8, 15, and 29, 2012:  The minutes were approved.


III.             Announcements

Chair Pober announced that University Counsel Tom Moncure will attend the April 25th Faculty Senate meeting to answer questions raised about the contractual parts of the Faculty Handbook.  At the April 25th meeting we will go briefly into closed session to hear a brief update on the Capital Campaign from Mark Broderick, Vice President for University Development and Alumni Affairs.  There will be a meeting tomorrow by the group working on campus police issues.  They will soon issue a report which will be distributed immediately upon receipt.  After reading the report, if Senators have additional questions, we will invite their representatives to the April 25th meeting.  There will not be a resolution on the Presidential Search process by the Faculty Senate.


Chair Pober announced that the Executive Committee accepted his recommendation to cancel the Special Meeting of the Faculty Senate scheduled for Wednesday, April 11, 2012 – 3:00-4:00 p.m. at Founders Hall, room 126, Arlington Campus and reschedule it to the fall term. Two of the four legislators invited to the Special Faculty Senate meeting on April 11th declined an invitation to meet with the Senate, and a third legislator decided today that he could not attend the meeting for work reasons.  Chair Pober offered his deepest apologies to Deans Polsby, Bartoli, and Rhodes and the Arlington campus.  The cancellation notice will be distributed shortly. 


Chair Pober then introduced President Merten for his final appearance at the Faculty Senate.  President Merten thanked Chair Pober and all the faculty.  President Merten mentioned that he had been at GMU for sixteen years – (as the) person who people want to talk to about the university.  He reminisced about campus stories, and then noted three characteristics of GMU:   

-1- Stamina –“We keep moving ahead, we all need to keep stamina – making it better.”

-2- Passion – “Visitors come and people talk about multiple events, of faculty, students, administrators…we do more than expected because we are really passionate about it.”

-3- Caring Attitude – President Merten noted an email from someone who saw him picking up trash. He said that members of the GMU community “walk the walk” for a clean environment. He added, as President, he is aware that he is constantly being watched. 

President Merten noted his attendance at the Don deLaski Memorial Service, a tribute for his passion for his company, his family, GMU, and the arts.  “Don liked, thought, asked, and listened, acted, and celebrated.” (Example) the Potomac Music Academy he supported – he said, “I like supporting you, I ask you questions, you do something, and we all celebrate.”    


A Senator asked President Merten if he would be teaching this fall?

President Merten:  Not in the fall, but in the spring will do a class in the Honors College with Zofia Burr on the impact of technology in the classroom.  He has also been doing leadership-legacy programs for students (in groups of) 20-30-40 at a time, also for faculty and staff, a similar program.  Kim and Michelle are working on how to get PhD students ready to work in the academic marketplace.  He will do various kinds of things.

Another Senator asked if President Merten would be in the Nguyen Building (VSE)?

President Merten:  Yes, on the third floor, in corporate space. 

Follow Up: Our former dean will have office on the same floor.  When do we get benefits from both of you?

President Merten related a story about an impromptu invitation from a faculty member to visit the bioengineering lab – but did not anticipate he would ask to see it right then. 


IV.       New Business – Committee Reports

A.     Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee:  - Peter Pober, Chair

Chair Pober reminded Senators that the annual reports of the Senate and University Standing Committees will be included on the agenda for the final Senate meeting (April 25th), and the Senate will also elect a new chair at the April 25th meeting.


Academic Policies – Suzanne Scott, Chair

Senator Scott presented the  Proposed Changes to Catalog Copy:  Permission to Study Elsewhere for your input/suggestions to be reviewed by the AP Committee and presented for a vote at the next Senate meeting.


Amended 3/13/12 and 3/20/12

Current Catalog Copy

Permission to Study Elsewhere

Students who apply for admission to Mason usually do not seek simultaneous enrollment at another collegiate institution. In those unique situations when a student does seek concurrent enrollment, the student must obtain advance written approval from their academic dean. This process permits a student to enroll elsewhere in a suitable course unavailable at Mason. Catalog numbers and descriptions of courses to be taken elsewhere must be submitted with the request for approval. Students must submit an official transcript for all such course work to the Office of the University Registrar. Note that while credit may be approved for transfer and a minimum grade must be achieved, grades themselves do not compute into any Mason GPA. Students who enroll elsewhere without advance written permission while enrolled at Mason may not receive transfer credit for course work taken at other institutions. The Permission to Study Elsewhere form can be found at

Proposed Changes (in bold) to Current Catalog Copy

Permission to Study Elsewhere

Students who apply for admission to Mason usually do not seek simultaneous enrollment at another collegiate institution. In those unique situations when a student does seek concurrent enrollment, the student must obtain advance written approval from an academic dean. This process permits a student to enroll elsewhere in a suitable course unavailable at Mason or through the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Catalog numbers and descriptions of courses to be taken elsewhere must be submitted with the request for approval. Students must submit an official transcript for all such course work to the Office of the University Registrar. Note that while credit may be approved for transfer and a minimum grade must be achieved, grades themselves do not compute into any Mason GPA. Students who enroll elsewhere without advance written permission will not receive transfer credit for course work taken at other institutions unless they re-apply for admission to Mason as transfer applicants and meet all priority deadlines. Re-admission is not guaranteed and transfer credit is awarded based upon course equivalencies in effect at the time of re-admission.The Permission to Study Elsewhere form can be found at


Proposed Additional Paragraph for Catalog

(bold type indicates additions by Academic Policies Committee)

Special instructions for undergraduates: Freshmen and transfer students in their first semester at Mason are not permitted to study elsewhere. Once enrolled in degree status at Mason, students may request permission to take a limited number of credits at another regionally accredited institution. Students must be in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.00 in their Mason courses and obtain advance, written approval from their advisor and the academic dean of the college, school, or institute that offers the course(s) at Mason. Individual colleges/schools/institutes determine restrictions on the number, type, mode of delivery, location and offering patterns of courses that can be taken elsewhere.Courses previously attempted at Mason (including withdrawals) cannot be taken elsewhere. Students must also meet the minimum 30-hour residency requirement at Mason.


Financial Impact of Current Policy

Summer 2011 Total Course Elsewhere Credits                                                             1,194



Credits Taken Elsewhere by Students in College where Course is Taught

Credits Taken Elsewhere

Approved by Students’ own Disciplines/Colleges

Enrollment/FTE $ Going Elsewhere






































Example of Financial Impact:  During the summer of 2011 students in COS received permission from COS to enroll in 150 credits from other universities. However, students in other colleges around the university received permission from their deans to enroll in a total of 611 COS courses as study elsewhere credits.

Discussion:  A Professor expressed concerns about movement to other schools offering the course in the second additional paragraph.  “Unavailable” if overlapping in time?  Concerned about strictness of interpretation of rules in other schools.  Fall/spring vs. summer:  Some students work during the day in summer, so only available to take classes at night?  The Washington Consortium –UMD-NOVA/GMU would not be able to take course with one of the others if they have it available.

A Senator also noted  many times students not able to do it during academic year and try to catch up over the summer.  If  this is implemented and students are not allowed to take courses, their progress will be slowed down.  Their course advisors know how to help them succeed, college can decide.

A second Senator inquired whether “an academic dean” means request does not need to be approved by your academic dean, but any academic dean?

Senator Scott:  It is on the form that it is the academic dean of the college.

A third Senator concurred that this should be spelled out .

A fourth Senator noted that we have a number of students from other universities taking courses here.  What is the balance between incomine and outgo?

Senator Scott:  The Committee did talk about this, does have statistics. 

In response to several questions, Senator Scott confirmed  unless they (students) re-apply for admission to Mason as transfer applicants and meet all priority deadlines. Re-admission is not guaranteed and transfer credit is awarded based upon course equivalencies in effect at the time of re-admission” is a clarification of present policy.  University Registar Susan Jones also noted that there is time to discuss this as next catalog revision deadline in January 2013. 

A fifth Senator asked about the mode of delivery, does this include on-line?  Patterns of courses?

Seantor Scott:  The fifty-mile rule is not written down.  Colleges can make their own policies. 

A sixth Senator asked whether unavailable means not available at a time when student wants to take course?

Senator Sheryl Beach, a member of the AP Committee, responded that it has always been this way practically speaking when students go home or elsewhere over the summer.


Senator Scott announced that the Academic Policies Committee eventually decided to leave the Add./Drop period as it is now.


Budget & Resources – June Tangney, Chair

The Committee has finished the follow-up mailing about independent study programs.


Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford, Chair

Senator Sanford encouraged faculty who have not yet doe so to submit the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators – so far the present response rate (31%) is pretty good at this time.


The Committee has been working on parental leave for a few months.  There is a proposal to teach half-time for two semseters or one semester free (from teaching).  Problem:  no budget for this, being costed.  Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), new parents can get 12 weeks of unpaid leave.  According to the USDA,  for a child born in 2010,  costs $268K by age 18, not including college.  Unpaid leave may not be feasible.  In response to a question raised regarding the timetable to resolve this, Senator Sanford responded that it depends on budget numbers. 


Senator Sanford said, two or three weeks ago, the committee was asked to review the Responsible Use of Computing Policy. (1301) regarding privacy of research data, specifically Section V (below):  


Personal e-mail, electronic files maintained on Mason equipment, and personal web sites are part of a unique electronic information environment. This environment creates unique privacy issues that involve federal and state laws as well as Mason policies.

Mason reserves the right to inspect user files and communications for all lawful purposes, to include investigating allegations of illegal activity, violations of Mason policies, or to protect the integrity and security of network systems.”

Senator Sanford recalled the recent attempts by Virginia Attorney General against UVA faculty member’s climate change data, as well as protecting identity of Irish Republican Army members in research data at Boston College.   The present policy was enacted in 1996; a lot has changed since then. Senator Sanford said Provost Stearns, Sr. VP Morrie Scherrens, and CIO Joy Hughes “are all on board here.  We will set up an ad hoc committee to see how the policy should be changed.”


Chair Pober thanked the committee for all its work.


Nominations – Suzanne Slayden, Chair

Amin Jazaeri (COS) is nominated to fill a vacancy on the Technology Policy Committee for Spring, 2012.  No further nominations were made from the floor and the nominee was elected unanimously.


Organization & Operations – Star Muir, Chair 

VideoConferencing Faculty Senate Meetings, Preliminary Report

O&O Committee, 3/8/12

A member of the Faculty Senate from the Arlington campus has requested that we consider videoconferencing the Faculty Senate proceedings to avoid disruption of the work day from traveling back and forth to the Fairfax campus.  Based on information from Jeff Pugh, Lead Technician for Fairfax Classroom Support, and a conversation with Cherie Galantis, the Manager of Collaborative Video Technologies in DoIT, these are the options available.

*Rooms available at Arlington and Prince William campuses.  Both Arlington and Prince William have videoconferenced conference rooms, and the possibility of using videoconferenced classrooms subject to course usage.  Both campuses also have “telepresence” rooms which would suffice as well.

*Currently rooms are not readily available on the Fairfax campus based on size and schedule.  With 50 Senators and a visitor’s gallery, any room used would have to hold 60 at a minimum.  There are only two rooms available with that size.  Research 163, controlled by Events Management, is no longer supported as a videoconference room as the equipment is aging and there is no sustaining budget for replacements.  Innovation 132, scheduled by the Registrar’s Office, holds 73 people, but is booked solid from 9 am to 10 pm through the week for classes.

*Mobile options are severely limited. Events Production has a portable videoconferencing cart, but there is a minimum $300 charge per use, and it takes two hours to set up the equipment and bridge the needed connections.  Since Robinson B113, the current meeting space of the Faculty Senate, is also a classroom, gaining 2 hours of access is not feasible on a continuing basis.


While there may be additional facilities coming online in the future, the current videoconferencing facilities and options are prohibitive of broadcasting Faculty Senate proceedings across the distributed University.  Resources at the Arlington and Prince William campuses are sufficient to participate in this venture, but the limited facilities at the Fairfax campus make this a non-viable option in our current configuration.

Discussion:  Senator Muir added that there are plans to make another room in Mason Hall into a videoconference room.  Could we go relatively low-tech and Skype these meetings?  We will explore technology over the next month.  The Senate would have to vote to permit that.   Use of a phone is mostly a set-up issue, not as preferable as Skype, which would be one to many and also visual.  Other meetings and other organizations broadcast around the university, including the Staff Senate.  Their size constraints are much smaller than ours.  James Martin, Staff Senate liaison, added that the Staff Senate is trying to expand to area to allow more guests, to ensure teleconferencing can still occur. 


A Senator noted that the School of Nursing has video-bridged its faculty meetings for years from Research 163 to a room on the second floor of Bull Run Hall with two long tables. 

Senator Muir observed the other campuses seem to be able to handle this.  We could fit into Research 163, but he understood that the room is under construction/process – technology is older, they are not comfortable with this.

A Senator from the Arlington campus who made this suggestion noted that her unit often webcasts things – not a big setup, with a little camera and a computer, not difficult to do. The following motion was made and seconded:  “That the Faculty Senate explore ways of making Senate meetings open to the university and all of its campuses.”  As Faculty Senate meetings are already open to all members of the university, the motion was amended to replace “open” with “available”.  No further amendments were made and the motion as amended “That the Faculty Senate explore ways of making Senate meetings available to the university and all of its campuses.” was approved unanimously.


Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, DOIT, noted that there are some challenges regarding Research 163 as a space managed by Events Management, which no longer supplies the technology.  This is a temporary situation; people are coming together to resolve this.  Chair Pober added that this is now the purview of the O&O Committee to see what is possible.  A Senator inquired “What ever happened to “Innovation is Tradition?”


Senator Muir observed although some say technology is easily available, this is not just about individual faculty being able to do this.  He wants to move forward supported by university resources, not to leap before we look.  Whether web or Skype-based technology, concerns about broadcasts not working or inaudible, to have infrastructure behind us before we go.  Chair Pober encouraged everyone to send ideas to Senator Muir. 


 B. Other Committees – no report.


V.    Other New Business

Technology Upgrade/Transition to Windows 7 – Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, Division of Instructional Technology.  DOIT is upgrading all university classrooms and computer labs to Windows 7.  Installation was completed last year in Prince William and so far in Founders Hall in Arlington.   The transition on the Fairfax campus will be completed by Fall 2012.


There have been multiple opportunities on other campuses to test applications in classrooms and other sites In response to a question raised, she clarified that they are “not touching faculty boxes.” One Senator really doesn’t know who to ask in situations when new technology goes into classrooms, where office computers do not support new technology in classrooms.  At what point do we coordinate that?

Sharon Pitt:    If you wish to change your computer from XP to Windows 7, you have to initiate a request to Desktop Support Services.  (A link to the Information Technology Services webpage that explains the process was later distributed to Senators). We’re trying to do a better job with that, bulk has Windows 7.  How many faculty use laptops not desktops?


A Senator asked whether those with Office 2003 would have problems using Power Point 2003 on Windows 2007 computers?

Tim Murphy, Director, DOIT-Classroom and Lab Technologies, replied Office 2007 will be the standard. Office 2003 can be read in Office 2007.

Sharon Pitt added that we will come back and talk about Office 2010 another time.

Another Senator asked why not use Windows 8 if Windows 7 is old technology?

Sharon Pitt:  We’re really late.  We look to the virtual computer lab.  We do classrooms in one fell swoop.  If you want to use Windows 8, we can make it available with remote access in the Virtual Computing Lab.  We’re trying to be as flexible as possible.  We have to do everyone at the same time.  Not everyone wants to go that way.

Tim Murphy added that we wouldn’t release a system before it was fully vetted, zero issues with faculty using it.  Then would explore Windows 8, not yet released for general use.

A fourth Senator uses a Mac in various classrooms.  Four adapters travel with her; was told we have to use a new particular adapter – she  subsidizes GMU for $40 cost.

Sharon Pitt referenced “Technology Changes which Impact Teaching and Learning” and also asked Senator Zoltek (Chair of the Technology Policy Committee) to discuss with the committee better ways to communicate information to faculty.  A suggestion was made to distribute email about technology changes which impact teaching and learning before the semester begins, rather than early in the semester.

Chair Pober thanked Sharon Pitt for her report.


VI.       Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

Chair Pober expressed an immense debt of gratitude to University Registrar Susan Jones for her decades of work at the university.  Congratulations on your retirement, you will be deeply missed.


Congratulations to Senator Linda Monson who was named “Faculty Member of the Year” by the GMU Alumni Association.


Provost Stearns hopes we will have budget news from the legislature soon and will provide an update at our next meeting (April 25th).


The Mason Dance Company will have its 2012 Gala Concert this Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall.  The performance will feature “Swing Shift” by David Parsons, in honor of President and Mrs. Merten.


Please let the Technology Policy Committee know if issues arise so that they can work on them.


Kim Eby announced the 2012 Teaching Excellence Awards winners:  Paul Cooper (Chemistry), Tamara Maddox (Computer Science), Julie Owen (New Century College), Danielle Rudes (Criminology, Law and Society), Lisa Lister (English) and Yoosun Chung (Graduate School of Education).  The 2012 David J. King Teaching Award winner is Robert Sachs (Math).  You are invited to attend the awards ceremony on April 9th. 


A Senator introduced Kevin Loker, an Anthropology major; he won the award given by the GMU Alumni Association for Outstanding Senior.


VII.     Adjournment :  The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Earle Reybold