Faculty Senate Hosts President Merten, Passes Resolutions

Posted: April 2, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

In his biannual report to the Faculty Senate at the April 1 meeting, President Alan Merten discussed the state’s budget allocation to Mason and spotlighted the new Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel.

Merten explained that the university’s budget over the next two years will be helped by federal stimulus funds. However, noting that the state’s contribution to the university’s budget has been steadily declining, he expressed concern over what will happen in 2011 and in the future. He noted that the Board of Visitors will likely approve a tuition increase for the fall to cover rising costs.

Merten noted that all the Virginia gubernatorial candidates have visited Mason, and he urged faculty members to welcome them to campus whenever possible.

Moving on to the university’s many building projects that will be completed over the next few years, Merten encouraged senators to think of the Mason Inn when it comes to planning for conferences and symposia.

Saying, “It will allow us to do things we can’t do now,” Merten listed the benefits of the Mason Inn to the university, students, parents, visiting professors and the community.

He noted that the company Aramark will manage the facility and said a director will soon be hired. In the meantime, he suggested contacting the university’s Events Management Executive Director, Barbara Lubar, regarding upcoming conferences.

Business undertaken at the meeting included the following:

  • A motion to make several changes to the Charge of the General Education Committee was approved. The changes reflect the current status of the program and actual practice and require conference with the Faculty Senate’s Committee on Academic Policies when changes to general education requirements affect the entire university.

  • A motion establishing a university standing committee to review curriculum and faculty matters in current and future campuses, academic programs and activities of the university was passed. To be called the Academic Initiatives Committee, the body will review memoranda of understanding, reports of governing bodies, vetting and approval processes for faculty hiring and course offerings, as well as financial information relevant to personnel issues and curriculum development. The committee will also provide a regular report to the Faculty Senate, function as a liaison on related issues, and participate in the creation of any new campuses, academic programs or activities. The committee will be able to create subcommittees as necessary. Committee members will represent at least five different academic units and serve staggered two-year terms.

Due to lack of time, a motion on changes to the current Teacher/Course Evaluation Form was deferred to the May meeting.

Details on these motions and other reports can be found on the Faculty Senate web site.

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