College of Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Faculty Assembly Minutes December 3, 2015

Minutes Faculty Assembly of the College of Humanities

and Social Sciences

December 3, 2015

3:00 – 4:30 PM

The Hub, Rooms 1 and 2


I. Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 3:05 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting

It was moved by Jim Bennett and seconded by Rutledge Dennis to accept the minutes of September 24, 2015. The minutes were approved by voice vote.

III. Announcements

a. From the Chair

Chair Lisa Gring-Pemble announced the dates for the Spring 2016 meetings, which will take place on February 18th and April 28th. It was noted that Provost Wu will attend the assembly meeting in April. Lisa also extended her thanks to Esperanza Roman-Mendoza for serving as CHSS Parliamentarian and Jenna McGwin for taking the minutes.

b. From the Dean

Dean Boehm-Davis stated that the CHSS Town Hall meeting with President Cabrera last month was well attended. Those who attended expressed their honest criticisms and deepest concerns, especially regarding the newly revised website and lack of communication from upper administration. During the meeting, President Cabrera admitted that issues existed and said they were working on them. The Dean reported that President Cabrera informed her that CHSS expressed more concerns and issues than other units on campus, and he was impressed that the faculty shared their honest concerns. It was noted by Chair Gring-Pemble that there was a lack of discussion regarding the importance of the humanities in the meeting. The Dean noted that we need to continue to raise issues, especially the importance of the humanities. The next research symposium sponsored by the Provost’s Office will take place on February 12th and will cover various topics related to security. There are currently a number of searches underway at the university level, including Director of Teaching and Faculty Excellence, Director of the Krasnow Institute, Director of Institutional Assessment and Institutional Reporting, Vice President for Digital Learning, and Vice President for Research. The University hired Brad Dawson as Director of Learning Solutions. His goal is to raise $50 million through delivery of training programs, and he sees CHSS involved in this initiative. He identified four clusters for large-scale training programs: national security, gamification, big data, and leadership. This initiative could help generate revenue for the college. Rose Pascarell talked with the Deans last week about the Paris attacks and push backs against Muslims. It was noted that an inappropriate image was posted in a dorm following the attacks. Even though it was taken down quickly, the image was spread through social media. Additionally, a number of student groups met a couple of weeks ago and are working to identify ways to address and reduce the issues on campus. Students have reported a gap in what the administration says and what students experience. It is unclear what form this will take going forward. Rutledge Dennis asked whether administration has met with the advisors for the student organizations. There might be a communication issue between the advisors and student groups. Dean Boehm-Davis noted that she is a co-Chair of the Provost’s Adjunct Task Force. The Task Force recently sent out a survey to 1,000 adjunct faculty and received approximately 450 responses. Neither the Dean nor members of the Task Force will see the raw data. Dr. Lou Buffardi, Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychology, will conduct the analyses and aims to have the report in early January. The Task Force will report to the university what was found. There was a question about what information the survey was designed to collect. It was noted that the survey was aimed at identifying what the adjunct population looks like, salary for adjunct faculty here at Mason and at other universities, etc. The Dean was asked to serve as a reviewer of architectural firms bidding on constructing the new Robinson building. In the future, interviews will be conducted with the departments to get a sense of what facilities are needed. The College has received additional space. The Department of Economics is now on the first floor of Mason Hall and the Dean’s Office is on the second floor with Global Affairs and Honors College. Jim Bennett asked for an update on the budget model. The Dean stated that central administration is looking at the revenue generated by the college and will set a target margin. She believes that if we exceed our margin, either by increasing revenue or decreasing expenditures, we split the difference with central administration. We will also get a certain amount based on the unit of instruction and student’s major (difference is about 80% to unit of instruction and 20% to students major). For all of the general education courses we teach, we will be getting the lion’s share of the revenue. It was noted that not every unit is going to have the same margin. Dean Boehm-Davis believes this new budget model is good for CHSS. Dean Boehm-Davis noted that Robert Matz has generated great information on careers (it can be accessed at In the metro area, median salaries are between $75-$100k. A question was asked about how many faculty took the early retirement buyout and what happened with their positions. It was noted that about six faculty took the buyout and that central administration gets the entire salary and will give back 25% for two years and 50% after two years, leaving us with 75% of the original salary.

c. Other

None noted.

IV. Old business

None noted.

V. New Business

Rutledge Dennis stated that he is working with Steve Pearlstein on establishing a faculty club. They are looking at George’s as a possibility and are working on the membership dues structure. The completed proposal will be coming out within a couple of weeks.

a. Committee Reports

ii. Senior Leadership - The committee discusses issues of concern to the Dean and provides advice as needed. At the next meeting, the committee will review term faculty development awards.

ii. Resources and Long-Term Planning - No report at this time.

iii. Intellectual Life of the College - The committee hosted a wine and cheese reception following the September Faculty Assembly meeting, open to all faculty. Many connections were made across departments. The committee is also working on another initiative to enhance faculty collaboration across disciplines. The committee created and sent out a survey to faculty to get a better understanding of their research interests. The results were used to pair up faculty with similar interests, who will meet up over coffee (Starbucks gift cards are provided by the committee).

iv. Curriculum - Robert Matz provided a handout of all curriculum changes since the spring semester for review and approval. After a few clarifications were provided, the curriculum changes were approved. A listing of changes can be seen in Attachment A.

v. Committee to Advance Teaching & Research with Technology - The committee will meet next semester.

vi. Governance and Nominations Committee - No report at this time.

vii. Promotion and Tenure Committee - It was noted that there are 11 cases for promotion and/or tenure and 12 cases for renewal. The procedures for review of the materials was changed last year, based on requests from the P&T committee. The materials are now available on Blackboard.

viii. Faculty Grievance Committee - There are no faculty grievance cases this semester.

ix. Student Policies and Appeals Committee - No report at this time.

x. Reports from the College Office - There were staff changes in the Development Office, with Elizabeth Shapiro and Van Vu departing and Alecia Shultz being hired. Vince Kiernan, the new Associate Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs, started in October. Michele Schwietz noted that the Dean’s Office hosted a new faculty lunch, open to faculty from the past three years, in an attempt to create community networking. During the lunch, Dean Boehm-Davis gave a presentation on grant development. We are also looking at having a session on Qualtrics next semester. Finally, an update on faculty study leaves was given. Central administration allocated a certain number of slots for each unit on campus. CHSS received the largest percentage of slots at 14. We received 16 applications and were able to fund all but two of them.

b. Other New Business

None noted.

VI. Comments for the Good of the Faculty

The Dean thanks everyone for their hard work this semester and greatly appreciates how dedicated faculty and staff are to the students.

VII. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.



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