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Faculty Senate update

President Davidson talks planning; instructional-support overview from online learning/CTLD; resolutions to support faculty diversification, liberal arts and sciences.

By Cory Phare

September 8, 2020

MSU Denver signThe Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday kicked off with Senate President Katia Campbell, Ph.D. (Communication Studies), welcoming Metropolitan State University of Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., who said the University intends to be capable of hosting more individuals on campus while still maximizing safety.

“We knew we were going to take a hit this fall semester and that we needed to be as student-centered as possible; thank you for all your work doing that,” Davidson said. “Now as we plan robustly for the spring, our goal is to give faculty and students as much certainty as possible.”

She went on to discuss investment of CARES Act funds in the implementation of a new learning-management system, Canvas, noting that “faculty are the engine that supports student success.” She also addressed ongoing opportunities for involvement in high-school recruitment outreach; revisiting conversations around potential academic reorganization; and reaffirming accountability and amplification of University commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives.

“Though we’ve still got a long way to go, we can really be a model here,” Davidson said. “I’m glad to see we’re making significant progress … (in) becoming this student-focused machine.”

Matt Griswold, Ed.D., associate vice president of Online Learning, and Jeff Loats, Ph.D., director of the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design, stopped by to provide an update on the shift to online instruction and the introduction over the summer of the new LMS, Canvas.

Loats noted that the Advanced Canvas Training ACT-20 online workshop was likely the largest volunteer training program in MSU Denver’s history, fielding approximately 1,200 participants and 12,500 session registrants. Nearly 150 self-directed tutorials remain available online.

Ongoing fall efforts include evaluation of CTLD support, work of a Canvas continuity committee, how to use the data generated within the LMS, originality checking, integration, new faculty training and more.

“We know this has been the most difficult instructional semester for many and appreciate all the work that goes into such a heavy lift,” Griswold said.

Director of Advising Systems Stephanie Allen and Nahum Kisner, director of Student Support and Retention, also visited the Senate to provide an overview of MSU Denver’s decentralized academic-advising model.

This consists of full-time professional advisors housed within academic departments; exploratory advisors, who are part of the University’s Classroom to Career Hub; and subject-matter-expert faculty advising, all connected by the tools and structures contained within Advising Systems.

“We know that connecting with academic departments early on in a student’s academic career has a positive impact on retention and limits runaround,” Allen said.

Other items of business included:

  • A second read of the Resolution for Ensuring Diverse Faculty at MSU Denver was led by Chalane Lechuga, Ph.D. (Chicana/o Studies), and Liz Goodnick, Ph.D. (Philosophy). Lechuga noted most of the feedback was commentary and included incorporating the Board of Trustees’ commitment to engage in anti-racism work; the subsequent vote on the resolution passed with overwhelming support.
  • Goodnick also led the Senate through a first read of the Resolution Supporting a Liberal Arts and Sciences Education, noting concerns around ensuring that MSU Denver students “have the opportunity to receive a well-rounded, broad-based education grounded in the liberal arts and sciences … as it ties to the (University’s) mission.” A second read and vote will take place at the next meeting; feedback should be sent to Goodnick or Senator Carrie Colton (Theatre and Dance).
  • Senate representatives are still needed for committee vacancies from the College of Professional Studies (General Studies); education (Academic Policies, Budget, General Studies, Rules and Student Affairs); physical-sciences (Rules); and social-sciences caucuses (Academic Policies, Budget, Curriculum, Instructional Resources, Professional Leave, Rules and Student Affairs). Those interested should contact Maggie Thulson.

The next Faculty Senate meeting takes place Sept. 16 at 3:20 p.m.

Topics: Events, Faculty Senate

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