Faculty Senate Hears Budget, Quality Enhancement Plan News

Posted: September 25, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

Following a budget presentation by Provost Peter Stearns and Senior Vice President Maurice Scherrens at the Faculty Senate meeting on Sept. 24, senators passed a motion expressing appreciation for “the consultative process” employed by university administration in dealing with anticipated state budget cuts.

Earlier this week, Virginia officials said that the commonwealth’s revenue shortfall is likely to be around $3 billion over two years rather than the $1 billion forecast one month ago.

The two Mason administrators reported that on Sept. 26 the university will submit three plans – for 5, 10 and 15 percent cuts – to the Commonwealth of Virginia as requested. The budget cuts for 2009 and 2010 will apply only to the state’s contribution toward the university’s current $355 million “Education and General” budget. Scherrens said the university will know on Oct. 15 what the actual cuts will be.

Stearns and Scherrens promised the senate that there would be an open forum before the budget is finalized for the faculty to offer input.

The budget will also be a topic of discussion at the university-wide convocation on Oct. 1 at 3 p.m. in Dewberry Hall.

In other senate action, Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Committee members Kimberly Eby, chair, and Tom Owens outlined this process, which is required as part of Mason’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaccreditation.

The committee will be selecting a specific topic related to improving undergraduate student learning. The committee has proposed several topics, which are posted on the qep.gmu.edu web site, but is soliciting others. Oct. 24 is the deadline for submitting a proposal. Eby said a forum will be held in late October or early November to discuss the project further.

The QEP is designed to engage the entire university community in meeting these objectives over a five-year span.

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