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Faculty Senate update

MSU Denver’s role in CDHE’s Master Plan, reassigned time and disciplinary policy under discussion.

By Cory Phare

March 14, 2019

Faculty Senate members sitting in the crowdThe March 6 meeting of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Faculty Senate began with President Janine Davidson updating the group on related legislative efforts halfway through the current session.

She highlighted the wide reach of alumni throughout the state, the positive progress of the Auraria Higher Education Center’s shared-facility request and how the University is uniquely positioned to address the disparity of higher-education attainment among local populations.

“MSU Denver is the epicenter for moving the needle on the Colorado Department of Higher Education’s Master Plan,” Davidson said. “If you want to close the equity gap, you need to put money where the issues are and in places that make the biggest impact. We know how to do that here.”

She also noted progress on shifting the funding-formula conversation and acknowledged it will likely stretch into the next legislative session.

“I’m cautiously optimistic we can get there,” Davidson said. “My top priority is making sure our world-class faculty are taken care of.”

In Senate business, the group had significant discussion on several policy items:

  • Faculty members who have served in an administrative role for a minimum of six years may request up to 12 hours of reassigned time upon returning to teach, provided they refrain from sabbatical application and serve a minimum of one year. The measure passed with 59 percent in favor and will be routed onward to the Council of Chairs and the President’s Cabinet.
  • The sister policy, for department chairs, came further under discussion; a friendly amendment was made by Craig Svonkin (English) to break the policy into three parts, which were discussed and voted on individually.
    • Chairs who have served a minimum of six years would be eligible to apply for up to six credit hours of reassigned time; this passed with 53 percent in favor.
    • Similarly, those chairs who serve a minimum of three years would be eligible for up to three hours of reassigned time. This passed the vote with 72 percent in favor.
    • The proposal to expand this to positions engaged in significant duties outside of the chair role was defeated with 54 percent voting against the measure.
  • The Senate was slated for a second reading on the updated policy for disciplinary procedures, but floor discussion centered on the scale of proposed changes without a thorough opportunity for analysis. The assemblage voted 87 percent in favor to table the reading; the policy will be sent to all faculty members for further review.

Other items of business included:

  • Ariadna Ochoa Magallanes, specialist with Immigrant Services, encouraged senators to attend the upcoming UndocuPeers training sessions to support undocumented students. The sessions are split across today and Thursday from 1-3:30 p.m. in Tivoli 440/540; those interested should sign up here.
  • Amber Mozet, coordinator for the Center for Equity and Student Achievement and special projects, invited attendees to submit proposals for and attend the upcoming Professional Development Conference taking place May 30. The 2019 PDC theme, “Shaping Our Systems for Collective Success,” will address issues of student and employee retention by empowering attendees to change processes, conference chair Mozet said.
  • Michael Jacobs (chemistry) updated senators on Ricoh’s move out of the Tivoli and encouraged those in need of printing to utilize services available downtown or those in the Auraria Library.
  • Jessica Weiss (art history) held the Academic Policy Committee’s first reading of the academic-freedom policy; Faculty Senate President Matt Makley (history) encouraged departmental review and feedback. Weiss also reviewed the policy on shared governance outlined in the Trustees’ manual.
  • Faculty Trustee Chris Harder (math and computer science) discussed the Board of Trustees’ decision to incrementally close the tuition window.
  • Makley noted Wilton Flemon’s (chemistry) inquiry into post-tenure review, leading to discussion by the compensation subcommittee of the Budget Task Force. The proposal to be advanced to the Budget Task Force consists of graduated increases from the current amount of $2,000 to $5,000 by 2021.
  • To acknowledge service, those who are on non-Senate-related committees or task forces should notify Makley or Maggie Thulson, assistant to the Faculty Senate and academic affairs.

Topics: Academics, Faculty Senate

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