The George Mason University Faculty Senate convened on Wednesday and passed a motion that will allow students seeking a bachelor’s degree to select a minor from previous catalog years.

Currently, according to the catalog requirement for degrees, “students may choose to graduate under the terms of any catalog in effect during their enrollment in degree status,” as long as they align all components, like majors, minors and concentrations, to a single year.

The proposal also stated, “In no case may a student choose the requirements of a future catalog year that takes effect after the student’s degree is anticipated.” The motion passed overwhelmingly.

Lloyd Griffiths, dean of the Volgenau School of Engineering, spoke to the faculty’s concerns regarding the budget. He said a tightened budget will make student scholarships and sustaining smaller programs more difficult. He echoed Volgenau’s call for more non-state dependent fundraising.

The other motion involved clarifying the role of the Academic Initiative Committee. The senate voted to strike some language in the definition of the committee in order to better explain the function of the committee.

The other issue included in this motion was adding the vice president for Global and International Strategies to the committee as a non-voting member. With these changes, this motion passed as well.

Rector Ernst Volgenau spoke before the senate. He addressed the issue of the university’s continued fundraising efforts and the need for non-traditional private funding methods of raising capital.

Volgenau said there should always be a focus on Mason’s other priorities, including recruitment and academic achievement.

Griffiths shared Volgenau’s enthusiasm about the recently renamed school’s evolution and future. Griffiths said the new name reflects the changing face of the school, which is adding academic focus into non-IT related areas, including the Department of Bioengineering.

Griffiths said he believes the school’s hosting space for startup companies will help to ensure Mason’s role in future innovation.

The final issue the senate dealt with was the announcement that the College of Health and Human Sciences will gain one senator and the Volgenau School will lose one in the 2011–12 year.