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Faculty Senate year in review

June 5, 2017

A gavel.There was a lot of progress cultivating solid working relationships between faculty and the administration this academic year, according to Matt Makley, president of the MSU Denver Faculty Senate and associate professor of history.

“It’s important to identify common ground because it helps generate a culture of collegiality that minimizes animosity and suspicion,” he said. “That’s in the spirit of shared governance, and breaks down the things that divide us – we realize we all want what’s best for our students.”

Makley noted that although this relationship-building wasn’t a set agenda item, I was the result of effective University processes quietly plugging ahead.

On a more formal note, the Faculty Senate has been busy this year, working to advance undergraduate learning outcomes. According to Makley, these are measurable ways to assess skills and shape curricula, signaling to employers and the community the value inherent in a Roadrunner diploma.

“These outcomes are intended to be pillars of our institutional mission and the foundation from which all MSU Denver students grow,” he said.

The Faculty Senate is currently integrating feedback and hopes to have the learning outcomes in place soon.

Another highlight was the passage of the resolution of support for all students, including those who are undocumented and pursuing their education. Makley noted the well-received nature of the resolution and appreciation of the senate’s advocacy for the MSU Denver community.

The Faculty Senate diversity committee, led by Wilton Flemon, professor of chemistry, successfully launched a post-doctoral program aimed at increasing faculty diversity at MSU Denver. Two faculty members, in the departments of Marketing and Sociology, were hired this spring to begin instruction in fall 2017.

There were also many curricular and policy efforts this past year. Makley cited the work of the academic policy committee to standardize certificate requirements in the catalog, the movement from paper-based curriculum proposals to the Curriculog software (involving Erica Buckland, curriculum manager), and the faculty impact of students using challenge exams to test out of GT Pathways courses.

Other developments included working with the Center for Faculty Excellence and advisory committees to recommend removal of existing summative peer reviews from the handbook (to give departments more autonomy in teaching observation), and voting in favor of the Master of Health Administration degree program.

“These processes could be long and challenging at times, but ultimately were productive,” said Makley. “We’ve made a lot of progress this year.”

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