GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY

MINUTES OF THE FACULTY SENATE

SEPTEMBER 7, 2011

Robinson Hall B113,  3:00  - 4:07 p.m.

 

Senators Present:  Sheryl Beach, Jim Bennett, Alok Berry, John Cantiello, Rick Coffinberger, Arie Croitoru, Yvonne Demory, Charlene Douglas, Robert Dudley, Cody Edwards, John Farina, Daniel Garrison, Susan Hirsch, Margret Hjalmarson, Dimitrios Ioannou, Dan Joyce, Howard Kurtz, Jerry Mayer,  Linda Monson, Janette Muir, Star Muir, Elavie Ndura, Peter Pober, Earle Reybold, Pierre Rodgers, Jim Sanford, Suzanne Scott,. Suzanne Slayden, Ray Sommer, Thomas Speller, Peter Stearns, June Tangney, Eva Thorp, Iosif Vaisman, Halaevalu Vakalahi, Phil Wiest, John Zenelis, Stanley Zoltek.

 

Senators Absent:  Doris Bitler, Jack Censer, Vikas Chandhoke, Lloyd Cohen, Maggie Daniels, Kelly Dunne, Mark Ginsberg, Lloyd Griffiths, Jorge Haddock, Mark Houck, Kathryn Jacobsen, Bruce Johnsen, David Kuebrich, Ning Li, Alan Merten, James Olds, Paula Petrik, Daniel Polsby, William Reeder, Edward Rhodes, Joe Scimecca, Lesley Smith, Shirley Travis, Susan Trencher.

 

Visitors Present:  Rizna Ahmed, Director, Benefits & Absence Management, Human Resources/Payroll; Betsy Appleton, Chair, Librarians’ Council, University Libraries; Rick Davis, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education; Pat Donini, Deputy Director/Employee Relations Director, Human Resources; Kim Eby, Associate Provost, Faculty Development and Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; Esther Elstun, Professor Emerita, Modern and Classical Languages; Josh Eyler, Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence; Karen Gentemann, Associate Provost, Institutional Effectiveness, Institutional Assessment; Dolores Gomez-Roman, University Ombudsman; Linda Harber, Associate Vice President, Human Resources and Payroll; Robin Herron, Associate Director, Media and Public Relations; Susan Jones, University Registrar; J. G. McDaniel, Associate Provost for Distance Education; Tim Murphy, Director, Classroom and Lab. Technologies; Della Patrick, Staff Senate liaison; Sharon Pitt, Executive Director, DOIT; Claudia Rector, Assistant Provost for Academic Affairs;  Kris Smith, Associate Provost, Institutional Research & Reporting; Joy Taylor, Director, Learning Support Services, DoIT; Bethany Usher, Director, Students as Scholars/Associate Director, Center for Teaching Excellence. 

 

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

 

II.        Approval of the Minutes of April 6,  April 20, and April 27, 2011:  The minutes of April 27, 2011 were approved as distributed.  Due to a technical snafu, the minutes of April 6 and April 20 will be posted shortly.

 

III.             Announcements

Chair Peter Pober welcomed everyone to the first Faculty Senate meeting of the academic year.  He announced the Faculty Forum on the Presidential Search Process will take place on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 3:15-4:15 p.m. in the Harris Theater. He encouraged everyone to attend the forum to show how important this is to faculty.  The theater has seating capacity for 350.  The Forum will also be broadcast to the Arlington and Prince William campuses.   Chair Pober noted that he and  (Faculty Senators) Linda Monson and June Tangney all serve on the Presidential Search Committee and have signed confidentiality agreements for life.  Should any questions arise about the process and more than two search committee members are present, one Senator would need to leave the meeting, as no more than two committee members can discuss business together; otherwise it would become a non-announced meeting (in violation of VA state laws).  The September 14th Faculty Forum is an open meeting.

 

Chair Pober also welcomed the newly elected Senators, who introduced themselves:  Cody Edwards (COS – Environmental Science and Policy), Charlene Douglas (CHHS- Nursing) was elected to replace Jean Moore, who recently retired, and was glad to return to serve in the Senate,  Halaevalu Vakalahi (CHHS – Social Work), Arie Croitoru (COS-Geography/Geoinformation Sciences), John Farina (CHSS – Religious Studies), Elavie Ndura (CEHD), and Jerry Mayer (SPP). 

 

Provost Stearns  – Issues for 2011-2012:  Chair Pober welcomed Provost Stearns who discussed major agenda items for the academic year and welcomed questions.

 

1.  Budget:   GMU is in the third year of a three-year transition to the most recent reductions in state funding.  The budget model held, and GMU could return to a pattern of modest salary increases; but it is not certain.  The Provost said the University was “very glad to introduce the Mason Increase this year.  We will have to keep an eye on the situation next year.  A reorganization of Research Funding has taken place.  Given federal climate, there are new efforts to bundle large projects and support medium-sized projects.  Also a substantial reorganization of Technology Transfer includes increasing commercial revenue, expanding patent applications.  Last year GMU had the lowest increase in tuition and fees in Virginia. This, said the Provost, was not a well advised stance by the BOV, but is of tremendous importance to GMU. 

 

2.  Transitions:  The Presidential Search, as well as searches for two major deanships (College of Health and Human Services and the Volgenau School of Engineering) are underway.  The position of Dean of Admissions is vacant, and there is a nationwide search for a Vice President for Enrollment Development, as well as changes to two positions in the Provost’s Office. 

 

3.  Distributed Campuses and Continuing Education:  There are new plans for the Prince William campus and some possible enhancements in Arlington.  GMU is building the Potomac Science Center on Belmont Bay; and may acquire some gifted/rental property in Tyson’s Corner. 

 

4.   Korea  and Global Strategies directions:  We hope soon to have a decision about program development in South Korea; also GMU is exploring options in India and Brazil in the coming year. 

 

5.  Educational Enhancement:  The Students as Scholars program (QEP) is being implemented.  The Provost hopes that the Faculty Senate will further explore this project’s impact on the quality of undergraduate education guidance.  Restructuring of several types of courses where student drop out/failure rates are very high.  A number of PhD programs will receive more funding, and there will be a new set of PhD proposals.  SACS gave us a few suggestions, we sent in a response in August, hopefully will receive verdict in December, does not foresee major issues.  Our application to Phi Beta Kappa will be voted on at their meeting next summer (2012).  We are also nurturing the Phi Kappa Phi chapter, installed in spring 2011. 

 

6. Retention and Growth:  In the 6 Year Plan, there were annual enrollment increases between 0 .5-1.0%.  Provost Stearns believes we have about a 1% improvement in freshman-to-sophomore retention, and about .5% improvement in sophomore-to-junior retention.  “This is an interesting time in the state of Virginia,” he said, since the new Higher Education Council modifies the role of SCHEV. He is not sure what the new relationship will be. 

 

7.  Research Misconduct; Dissertations; Human Subjects:  The Provost’s office will work with the Graduate Council on research misconduct policies, both for faculty and for graduate students.

 

8.  Balance:  The Provost noted it is important to maintain an active sense of balance as pressures mount to award more degrees, referencing initiatives in Texas to offer four-year degree at a total cost of $10,000.  He acknowledged pressure coming from Richmond to be “transformative” and  to do more with no additional funding.  Some of these ideas are doable, he said, but we need to be able to push back aggressively.  He insisted we continue to be devoted to lifetime educational experience beyond jobs.  University research, he said, is being pushed into a climate of defensiveness: GMU, he said, has been a transformational institution and wishes to maintain the direction we established.

VRS Salary Update:  Linda Harber, Vice President for Human Resources and Payroll used a chart to illustrate the impact of the VRS Salary 5% salary increase offset by the 5% VRS employee contribution in which the take home pay of the VRS employee is less than for an employee enrolled in ORP.    An chart displaying semimonthly pay for an employee earning $70,000 annual salary/married filing status with 2 federal/state exemptions claimed illustrated:

·         July 1, 2011:  VRS annual salary of $73,500  net pay = $2,286.05;

ORP annual salary $70,000, net pay = $2,300.08.

·         August 2011:  2.25 increase in annual salary:  VRS annual salary = $75,153.75/net pay = $2,326.16,

          ORP annual salary $71,575.00/net pay =$2.348.38

·         Estimated 2012 3% increase annual salary:  VRS annual salary $77,408.36/net pay = $2,335.23

ORP annual salary $73,722.25/ net pay = $2,352.80

·         Estimated 2013 3% increase annual salary:  VRS annual salary $79,730.61/net pay = $2,400.40

ORP annual salary $75,933.92/net pay = $2,418.78

She noted there may be other legislative initiatives, as this may not be a long term situation. She said her office is working with Betty Jolly, State Government Relations Director, on these issues. 

 

IV.      Unfinished Business

 

The Faculty Senate voted to accept the 2010-11 Annual Report of the Organization and Operations Committee.  The report  is posted at http://www.gmu.edu/resources/facstaff/senate/MINUTES_FS_2010-11/OandOReport20102011vf.pdf  .

 

A disagreement emerged between two members of the Academic Initiatives Committee regarding the Spring 2011 report.  The Faculty Senate approved a motion to send the report back to the Academic Initiatives Committee for reconsideration and, once revised and accepted, send back to the Faculty Senate Clerk.  The motion also stipulated that all members of the committee attend the meeting to reconsider the report.

 

IV.              New Business - Committee Reports

A.  Senate Standing Committees

Executive Committee – no report.

Academic Policies – no report.

Budget & Resources – June Tangney, Chair

Due to work on the part of the administration and faculty, Dr. Tangney reported that SCHEV approved GMU’s new peer group. This supports a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

 

Faculty Matters – no report.

Nominations – See V. Other New Business, A. Elections

Organization & Operations – Star Muir, Chair

Dr. Muir reported the committee will have a very busy year. O&O, he reminded the Senate, serves as the gatekeeper for issues coming before the Faculty Senate, noting that those who wish to send items to the Faculty Senate should contact him at smuir@gmu.edu.

Motion from the Organization and Operations Committee to amend the composition of the General Education Committee:

General Education Committee

(Charge as revised and approved by the Faculty Senate – April 1, 2009)
Composition: The membership of the Committee comprises 14 voting members:
A. Eight elected fro
m the Faculty Senate ensuring that most academic units are represented, one at least should be a senator;
B. Four faculty appointed by the Provost;
C. The Associate Provost for General Education; and
D. One student elected by the Student Senate.

 

Motion: To amend the composition of the General Education Committee by inserting the words shown in italics.

A. Eight elected from the Faculty Senate for staggered three-year terms, ensuring that most academic units are represented, one at least should be a senator;

The terms of the elected members of the General Education Committee will be staggered effective with the election for AY 2011-2012: three members will finish their terms ending in 2012, two members will be elected for two-year terms, three members will be elected for three-year terms.

Rationale: The General Education Committee functions more efficiently and effectively when there are more members with committee experience and less turnover. With two-year terms, 4 new members (half the elected faculty) potentially could be elected each year, thus diluting the collective experience of the committee. With the elected membership serving three-year terms, there would be only 2 or 3 new members elected each year, with the remaining members gaining additional experience.

The motion was approved.

      

B. Other Committees  - no reports.

 

V.                 Other New Business

A.  Elections

September 2011 Faculty Senate Nominations Committee Report

The Faculty Senate bylaws charge the Committee on Nominations to nominate persons for each available committee position, taking into account factors such as”willingness to serve, previous senate and committee experience, and the need to develop future senate leadership”. Furthermore, the Standing Rules of the Faculty Senate state that each University standing committee should include 5-7 voting members of the General Faculty from more than one college, at least one Senator, and no more than one non-voting ex officio member. Several committees have further specific membership requirements. There are 50 elected Senators and there is a need to fill 25 Senate Standing Committee and 17 University Committee positions with Senators (and 1 Chair and 1 Secretary), along with numerous appointments to represent the Faculty Senate on various university groups.

The Committee on Nominations presents the following nominations for AY 2011-2012:

Election of the Secretary of the Senate:  No further nominations were made from the floor and Earle Reybold was elected unanimously.                       

Election of Members of Faculty Senate Standing Committees 

(all members are Senators)

 

ACADEMIC POLICIES:

Continuing Members: none

Nominees: Sheryl Beach (COS), Kelly Dunne (CHSS), Ning Li (SOM), Suzanne Scott (CHSS), Halaevalu  Vakalahi (CHSS).  Janette Muir (CHSS) was nominated to the Academic Policies Committee.  The nomination was seconded and a secret ballot was distributed.  Sheryl Beach (COS), Ning Li (SOM), Janette Muir (CHSS), Suzanne Scott (CHSS) and Halaevalu Vakalahi (CHHS) were elected.  The Committee will decide how to stagger the length of their terms in order to keep continuity of membership.

 

BUDGET AND RESOURCES

Continuing Members: June Tangney (CHSS), Phil Wiest (CHSS)

Nominees: Yvonne Demory (SOM), Charlene Douglas (CHHS), Jerry Mayer (SPP)

The nominations were accepted and the nominees elected.

 

FACULTY MATTERS

Continuing Members:  Doris Bitler (CHSS), John Cantiello (CHHS), Mark Houck (VSE), Jim Sanford (CHSS)

Nominee: Paula Petrik (CHSS)

The nominations were accepted and the nominees elected.

 

NOMINATIONS:

Continuing Members: David Kuebrich (CHSS), Howard Kurtz (CVPA), Pierre Rodgers (CEHD)

Nominees:  – Two vacancies; nominations must come from the floor.  Rick Coffinberger (SOM) and Suzanne Slayden (COS) were nominated.  The nominations were seconded.  The nominations were accepted and the nominees elected.

 

ORGANIZATION AND OPERATIONS:

Continuing Members:  Bob Dudley (CHSS), Kelly Dunne (CHSS), Star Muir (CHSS)

Nominees: John Farina (CHSS),  Elavie Ndura (CEHD)

The nominations were accepted and the nominees elected.

 

Election of Members of University Committees               

(Members and nominees in bold type are Faculty Senators)

 

ACADEMIC APPEALS

Continuing Member:  Eva Thorp (CEHD)

Nominees:  1-year term: Carryl Baldwin (CHSS), Sheri Berkeley (CEHD)

                   2-year term:Flavia Colonna (COS), Michael Naor (SOM), Johannes Rojahn (CHSS)

Provost Appointee:  Michael Hurley (CHSS)

 

ACADEMIC INITIATIVES

Continuing Members: Liz Chong (CHHS), Wayne Froman (CHSS), Tom Kiley (COS), Thomas Speller (VSE)

Nominee: Robert Johnston (SOM)

Ex Officio: Anne Schiller, Vice President for Global and International Strategies

 

ADMISSIONS

Continuing Members: Dan Joyce (CVPA), Charles Thomas (CEHD)

Nominees: Marion Deshmukh (CHSS), Jeng-Eng Lin (COS), Hung Nguyen (CHSS)

 

ATHLETIC COUNCIL (4 elected members)

Continuing Members: none

Nominees:   1-year term: Len Annetta (CEHD), Steve Klein (CHSS)

                   2-year term: Robert Baker (CEHD), Cody Edwards (COS)

Presidential Appointee:  Linda Miller (Chair, Faculty Athletic Representative)

 

EFFECTIVE TEACHING

Continuing Member:  Paula Petrik (CHSS)

Nominees:  1-year term:Michele Greet (CHSS), Robert Pasnak (CHSS),

                   2-year term:Paul Gorski (CHSS), Ramin Hakami (COS), Danielle Rudes (CHSS)

 

EXTERNAL ACADEMIC RELATIONS

Continuing Members: Karl Fryxell (COS), Frank Philpot (SOM)

Nominees:  Alok Berry (VSE), Arie Croitoru (COS)

Provost Appointee:  Lisa Gring-Pemble (CHSS)

Elavie Ndura was nominated to serve on the External Academic Relations Committee; the nomination was seconded.

 

FACULTY HANDBOOK REVISION COMMITTEE (3 elected members)

Continuing Members: Suzanne Slayden (COS), Lloyd Cohen (LAW)

Nominees: Geoff Birchard (COS), Richard Miller (CEHD)

 

GENERAL EDUCATION (8 elected members)

Continuing Members:  KammySanghera (VSE), Carol Urban (CHHS), Peter Winant (CVPA)

Nominees:  2-year term: Doug Eyman (CHSS), Hugh Sockett (CHSS)

                   3-year term:  Kelly Dunne (CHSS), Mack Holt (CHSS), Mark Uhen (COS)

Provost Appointees: Rick Diecchio (COS), Frank Allen Philpot (SOM), Cliff Sutton (VSE), Kim Eby (Assoc. Provost), Rick Davis (Assoc. Provost for Undergraduate Education)

 

GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE

Continuing Members: Scott Bauer (CEHD),  Robert Pasnak (CHSS), Johannes Rojahn (CHSS), Sylvia Sanchez (CEHD) 

Nominee:  Cody Edwards (COS)

 

MINORITY and DIVERSITY ISSUES COMMITTEE

Continuing Members: Harold Geller (COS), Suzanne Scott (CHSS)

Nominees:  David Anderson (CEHD), Xiaomei Cai (CHSS), Hazel McFerson (CHSS), Michael Mink (CHHS)

 

NON-TRADITIONAL, INTERDISCIPLINARY, and ADULT LEARNING

Continuing Members:  Steve Klein (CHSS), Jaime Lester (CHSS), John Riskind (CHSS)

Nominees: Cynthia Lum (CHSS), Carole Rosenstein (CVPA), Ray Sommer (SPP)

 

SALARY EQUITY STUDY COMMITTEE  (3 elected members)

Continuing Members: Michelle Buehl (CEHD), Prosenjit Mazumdar (SOM)

Nominee:  Margret Hjalmarson (CEHD)

Provost Appointee: Karen Hallows (SOM)

 

TECHNOLOGY POLICY

Continuing Members:  Sharon Williams vonRooij (CEHD), Stanley Zoltek (COS)

Nominees:  Maggie Daniels (CEHD), Andy Finn (CHSS), Nirup Menon (SOM), Nigel Waters (COS)

Provost Appointee:  Goodlett McDaniel (CHHS)

 

WRITING ACROSS THE CURRICULUM COMMITTEE

Continuing Members: Sue Durham (CHSS), Tamara Maddox (VSE), Nicola Scott (SOM), Stanley Zoltek (COS)

Nominees:  Michele Greet (CHSS), Agnieszka Paczynska (S-CAR), Greg Robinson (CVPA), Miruna Stanica (CHSS), Sharon Williams vonRooij (CEHD)

Ex Officio: Terry Zawacki, Director, WAC Program

 

The slate of nominees was accepted with the addition of Elavie Ndura to the Committee on External Academic Relations and the nominees elected.

 

Election of other Faculty Representatives

Faculty Senate Task Force to Examine Agreements between GMU and Private Donors   

Members: Esther Elstun (Emerita), Dave Kuebrich (CHSS, chair), Earle Reybold (CEHD), Rich Rubenstein (S-CAR), and Matt Zingraff (ex officio)

Nominee: Penny Earley (CEHD)      

 

The slate of nominees was accepted and the nominees elected.                Chair Pober expressed his deep appreciation to Nominations Chair Suzanne Slayden and the members of the Nominations Committee for all their work.

 

 B.  Presentations

Blackboard/Technology Classrooms Update: Sharon Pitt, Executive, Director, DOIT addressed four topics in her discussion of Blackboard/Technology Classrooms Update.

(1) She welcomed Dr. Tim Murphy, the new director of Classroom Lab Technologies.

(2) Technology Classrooms in Fairfax: The Classroom Advisory Committee and a subcommittee have worked on the "Fairfax 10 Proposal" to net 10 additional technology classrooms in Fairfax. In addition, five more technology classrooms became available in May in University Hall. In Fall 2010 there were 2,539 requests for Technology Classrooms; in Fall 2011, there were 2,840 requests for technology classrooms; there are 8 requests on the waiting list for fall 2011.  Sharon praised the work of the Classroom Advisory Committee, including (Faculty Senator) Star Muir. Classroom issues not resolved for good, but said the CAC is doing good work to resolve challenges.

(3) The Virtual Computing Lab is an on-line reservation based system.  Faculty and students can use Patriot Pass credentials to access software tools like the Microsoft Word Suite etc. on line 24 hours/day; 7 days/week. She thanked Distance Education for their support in purchasing these kinds of tools.  The VCL can be accessed at: http://www.vcl.gmu.edu

(4) Blackboard: GMU moved to version 9.1 in May, noting that “change is a challenging thing to accomplish.” The bulk of questions associated with using Blackboard 9.1, she said, consist of "how to do in 9 what we used to do in 8." Her office, she said, followed the recommendations of the Academic Technology Advisory Council regarding support and display of information in Blackboard.

“We offered targeted workshops to specific departments and colleges, especially adjunct faculty. We lost a few workshops due to the earthquake and are rescheduling them. There are 3,478 active class sections in Blackboard, that include regular course sections, permanent courses sections (e.g. General Education), and sandbox courses. We are still focused on transition to 9.1, have not marketed the "Elluminate" tool, available within Blackboard 9.1. We have offered 791 only seminars using Elluminate since April 2011 with almost 21,000 attendees.”

VII.       Remarks for the Good of the General Faculty

The Friends of Music at Mason invite you to attend a series of performances in September and October.  A Grand Piano celebration to benefit Dr. Linda Apple Monson Music Endowment will take place on Sunday, September 18th at 3:00 p.m.in the Concert Hall.  Congratulations to Senator Monson!

 

The Presidential Task Force seeking input from members of the Mason community on their interactions and experiences with University Police submitted its report to President Merten and Sr. Vice President Morrie Scherrens.  Peter Pober, co-chair of the Task Force, added that a statement by University Relations will be released, and documents will be accessible, expected mid-September.  The Task Force's presentation was well-received.  The recommendations which came from (the TF) are going to propel us into a wonderful opportunity for change. 

 

Bethany Usher introduced Josh Eyler, the new Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence.  Robert Baird and Paul Rogat Loeb will be the keynote speakers at the Innovation for Teaching and Learning (ITL) conference on October 3rd.  The conference is open to all faculty, including adjunct faculty and GTEs.  Log on to http://cte.gmu.edu/events/in11.html  to register (the conference is free); lunch and refreshments will also be provided.  Faculty Guide: Students as Scholars 2011 Updates was also distributed to faculty.  We are thrilled to start doing things, rather than planning things (QEP).

 

Professor Star Muir thanked the University Police and the education we provide to undergraduates to learn how to operate a defibrillator; the single most important factor is the time to use the defibrillator. 

 

The Senate Standing Committees are reminded to meet briefly to elect a chair following the meeting. 

 

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

Respectfully submitted,

Earle Reybold

Secretary

Faculty Senate