Faculty Senate Annual Letter Highlights Areas That Need Follow-Up

Posted: November 18, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

At yesterday’s Faculty Senate meeting, David Kuebrich, secretary of the senate, called the faculty’s attention to the recently distributed Annual Letter to the Faculty and reviewed items that need further attention or follow-up.

In addition to reminding the faculty of the senate’s work, the letter “calls attention to things we need to keep in mind, or things we might want to get back to,” Kuebrich said. The areas he outlined were:

  • The faculty’s concern that George Mason continue to have a primarily tenured faculty. The letter points out that a procedures document says term faculty should not exceed 25 percent of full-time faculty. Although figures available from Institutional Research and Reporting are not firm, Kuebrich said it appears that the percentage of term faculty has inched up.
  • Expanded faculty study leaves. The concept was approved in principle by the administration but remains unfunded. “This seems like a relatively cheap way to improve faculty morale,” Kuebrich noted, “and I know in my department, English, many of us value time more than money.”
  • Monitoring faculty and administrators’ raises “for seeming irregularities, so that these may be adequately clarified or corrective action may be taken.”
  • Changes to faculty emeritus status policy. The senate’s recommendation last year was to make the policy “more inclusive and to clarify and extend its benefits.” Kuebrich suggested there was uncertainty as to whether changes had been made.
  • Grade inflation. A senate task force last year studied the issue and found no significant trends, but recommended that the university compile summaries of grades given at the department, course, and instructor level, and forward the information to the deans for dissemination to their units.
  • Senate relations with the legislature and the public. Kuebrich suggested that the senate could be more active in dealing with the news media in regard to issues in higher education.

The senate also passed a resolution thanking Mark and Barbara Fried for their $1 million donation to the university to establish a scholarship endowment.

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