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Faculty Senate recap

Resources and updates from online learning, Handbook and Curriculum Manual proposals, and selection for 1 Book/1 Project/2 Transform common read this fall.

By Cory Phare

April 28, 2020

Faculty Senate meeting in progress.Katia Campbell, president of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Faculty Senate, kicked off Wednesday’s Senate meeting by welcoming Jeff Loats, director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design, and Matt Griswold, Vice President of Online Learning, as guests.

Loats commended effective pedagogy and the faculty’s role as “primary drivers of student retention” and highlighted three CTLD-related resources:

  • Live trainings and workshops on 16 topics, including creating effective online discussions and customizing a borrowed course
  • Nearly 100 self-service tutorials on a wide range of topics
  • Virtual drop-in availability to meet with instructional designers daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Griswold then thanked the faculty members before reflecting on some lessons learned so far, including the importance of having a banked repository of resources, system streamlining to improve student experience and finding the right balance of synchronous versus asynchronous platforms.

“Across the board as a faculty, you’ve truly understood what it’s meant to put students first,” he said. “In no uncertain terms, the way we moved to remote delivery for spring was extremely effective because you’ve owned it, jumping in with both feet.”

The majority of the meeting was spent on discussion regarding proposed changes to the Faculty Employment Handbook, specifically Section II related to RTP/PTR processes.

Bill Henry, vice provost for Faculty Affairs, led the assembly in robust discussion around whether tenure decisions should be automatically advanced for further review; the Senate then voted to table the measure until the fall semester for further discussion.

Other Handbook changes that were subsequently voted on and approved included those related to sabbatical criteria, disciplinary sanctions and structuring faculty contracts.

Zsuzsa Balogh (civil-engineering technologies) provided a curriculum-manual update regarding the University’s Honors Program; discussion focused on the ability of the program to modify/introduce new curriculum and the potential role of the Honors Council serving as a curriculum committee. Balogh also discussed updating the curriculum manual to further refine definitions related to online, face-to-face and hybrid courses.

Other items of business included:

  • University President Janine Davidson stopped by to provide a brief recap of her Spring Update and to highlight the work of the campus contingency-planning team, led by Larry Sampler, which has planned for different scenarios throughout summer and fall.
  • Randi Smith (psychological sciences) was a guest of the Senate to discuss the upcoming common-read program, “1 Book/1 Project/2 Transform,” now heading into its tenth year. This year’s selection is “Sabrina & Corina,” the National Book Award finalist short-story collection from 2009 alum Kali Fajardo-Anstine. Student copies will be distributed to faculty members who incorporate the book into their syllabi.
  • Griswold also noted the ongoing work to integrate content within Blackboard to migrate over to Canvas; regardless of what happens in the fall, the best place to build out course content is still in a Blackboard shell, he said. A summer group of 15 courses in the new system is planned as a pilot exercise.
  • Jessica Weiss (art history and criticism) provided a second reading and vote on the change to catalog transfer policies clarifying transfer credit from nonregionally accredited locations requiring an articulation agreement or memorandum of understanding; the vote passed.
  • Committee chair reports were tabled until the next meeting due to time constraints.

Topics: 1 Book/1 Project/2 Transform, Academics, Events, Faculty Senate, Inclusive leadership, Policy

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