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Inside the President's Cabinet

Wednesday's meeting covered Intellectual Property policy, emergency preparedness and much more.

By Lindsey Coulter

May 9, 2019

MSU Denver sign against blue skyThe meeting of the President’s Cabinet opened Wednesday on a somber note as President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., reflected on the Tuesday shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch.

“My heart goes out to all those affected,” Davidson said. “It’s a tragedy for our community and one that we’ll have to keep addressing.”

The comment was followed by a timely discussion on emergency preparedness. Mark Pokorny, environmental and emergency-preparedness manager, discussed the University’s emergency preparedness efforts and progress, noting the success and findings of a recent tabletop exercise that helped pinpoint Metropolitan State University of Denver’s emergency-response strengths and areas needing improvement.

Pokorny also noted the success of recent trainings and the delivery of the Threat and Hazards Identification and Risk Assessment document, which focused on active-shooter scenarios and cybersecurity. He outlined efforts to increase emergency communications and emphasized the value of including emergency-management procedures in syllabi, reminding all departments and offices that he is available for consultation.

Davidson encouraged all campus leaders to discuss response procedures with their teams and to take full advantage of existing resources. The University expects to have a full-time emergency-preparedness manager in place by the end of June.

Associate Vice President of Online Learning Matt Griswold presented updates to the Online and Digital Course Materials Policy. For the past decade, University policy stated that the institution retains ownership of all materials created by faculty members. However, the revised policy will create a team of instructional designers to support the development of new and existing materials and provide stipends to faculty members as they develop online courses. If faculty members do not use these resources in material development, they will fully retain ownership of the materials they create, Griswold explained. If faculty members do take advantage of the stipend and support team resources, they will continue to retain those materials throughout their employment at MSU Denver. When they leave the institution, MSU Denver will have a three-year license period to continue using the materials, ensuring a period of continuity and avoiding gaps in educational offerings.

“As we move into our strategic-planning year and think about what we can do to double down on our niche and serve our students even better, online offerings are really going to matter,” Davidson said, noting the opportunity to strategically position MSU Denver to attract students with diverse learning and education needs.

Next, Provost and Executive Director of Academic Affairs Vicki Golich, Ph.D., outlined five policy recommendations related to grievance procedures, reassigned time for department chairs and administrators returning to regular faculty roles, second bachelor’s degrees and promotions from associate to full professor. Learn more about these policy changes in an upcoming Early Bird article.

Other key updates and announcements:

  • Shawn Worthy, Ph.D., interim chief diversity officer, announced that MSU Denver is preparing for the Hispanic-Serving Institution Request for Proposals process and that the University remains in the recruitment phase for the new chief-diversity-officer position.
  • Shaun Schafer, Ph.D., chair, Journalism and Technical Communication, discussed draft policy outlining the spending of Summer Revenue Sharing funds and requested a definition of expectations and guidelines around appropriate Summer Revenue Sharing fund spending.
  • Cathy Lucas, vice president of strategy, invited the campus community to two upcoming Strategic Plan 2025 events: a town-hall meeting from 3-4 p.m. on Monday in JSSB 400 and a Launch and Learn event from noon-1p.m. in the Aerospace and Engineering Sciences Building Forum on May 22. A facilitated conversation will also take place between Commencement ceremonies May 17.
  • Lucas also gave an important weather-related update on the Faculty and Staff Appreciation BBQ and the HSI Salud Celebration, both scheduled today. Because of anticipated inclement weather, those events will take place in the Tivoli Turnhalle and King Center, respectively. See this Early Bird story for more details.
  • David Fine, general counsel, noted that the University is developing a free-speech policy and statement of principles as well as faculty-recruitment policies. More details will be available soon.
  • Fine added that new Board of Trustees members Russell Noles and Marissa Molina will complete the Board orientation and join the full Board meetings beginning this week.
  • Christine Márquez-Hudson, vice president of Advancement, announced that University Advancement has raised $4.5 million this fiscal year, with another $3.3 million in planned gifts, keeping the University on track with its fundraising goals. Additionally, the University’s endowment has grown from $10 million to $13 million this year, and $1.54 million from donor Frank Day will be divided equally between the School of HEaT endowment and a new academic-leadership academy.
  • Matt Makley, Ph.D., Faculty Senate president, reminded the body that Faculty Senate elections occurred May 8, making the meeting his final President’s Cabinet meeting. He commended the body for its work to communicate more effectively across all levels of faculty, staff and administration.
  • Golich provided updates on policy language referencing summer salary and overload supplemental pay as well as a procedural policy related to removing department chairs mid-term and clarifying language around campus-closure procedures and guidelines.
  • New Vice President for Administration Larry Sampler provided an update on the search for a new associate vice president of Human Resources and highlighted progress on the establishment of a Health Institute facility. A program plan will begin by the end of May, and more details will be forthcoming.
  • Council of Administrators President Evan Bowles, representing the Staff Senate, announced that Staff Senate elections will be held soon as the staff governance policy is still in development. The body will host a picnic June 19 on the JSSB lawn, and all are welcome.
  • Will Simpkins, Ed.D., vice president for Student Affairs, announced that he and Executive Director of Classroom to Career Initiatives Adrienne Martinez will kick off a Classroom to Career Hub road show this month. The presentations will outline progress made as well as potential restructuring and resources.
  • Simpkins also noted a projected 3% decline in fall enrollment, highlighting a number of evidence-based communication efforts underway to encourage registration. Davidson encouraged all employees to check for related emails and urged faculty and staff to start registration conversations with students.
  • Anthony Grant highlighted strong finishes for the Roadrunner softball and baseball teams and the upcoming Softball National Championships at the Regency Athletic Complex.

Davidson ended the meeting by recapping the most recent legislative session. MSU Denver secured a 13% funding increase as well as the authority to re-examine tuition rates. Davidson thanked all who contributed to legislative efforts.

Topics: President’s Cabinet

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