An Update from Shannon Davis on Faculty Engagement

This email was sent to the faculty of George Mason University on February 20, 2020.


On Saturday, members of the Faculty Senate will have an opportunity to engage with the finalists for the presidential search. This is an important victory for the Senate and the general faculty. We have spent the last six months pushing the Board of Visitors to uphold the faculty handbook, and this engagement reflects the board members’ commitment to shared governance. I realize some faculty members would have preferred that the board go further and hold a public meeting, but this shows they are willing to give faculty a voice in the final selection of our next president.

In recent hours, I have received a number of emails and texts with questions about the process. In the interest of time and transparency, I will try to answer them here. This biggest concerns that I’ve heard are about the timing of the meeting, the pace of the process, how feedback will be considered, and who has been invited to participate. Below is additional information that addresses those concerns.

  • Participants: All Faculty Senators who complete the code of ethics, along with the invited elected representatives from student government and the graduate student association as well as Staff Senate, will meet with the finalists. The attorney assigned to the Board by the Commonwealth for the search may be in the room, as he has been for all search related activities, in order to serve as a legal resource as needed; members of the Board may also be in attendance.
  • Discussion format: The community members present will meet with the finalists individually, each for one hour.  This session will allow for the finalists to share information about themselves, answer questions from all constituencies present, and pose questions to the community members. I will moderate those discussions.
  • Feedback: After meeting with each candidate, community members will provide written feedback on the candidates’ strengths, challenges, and overall fit for the position of our next president. The President’s Office/Board staff will immediately collect the feedback and process it for distribution to the Board. 

All senators have been invited to attend the meetings with the finalists and it is my hope that we have a strong turnout. If you are not a member of the Senate, I encourage you to contact a senator if you have specific questions or input for the finalists. At these meetings, the finalists will have a chance to learn about Mason and explain to senators how they propose to lead the university and why they are the best candidate to do so.

Thank you again for your continued engagement in the selection process.  I look forward to Mason’s faculty helping to find the best candidate for our university.

Best regards,

Shannon N. Davis, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Sociology
Program Faculty, Women and Gender Studies & Human Development and Family Science
Chair, Faculty Senate (2019-20)