Faculty Senate recap
Season’s greetings, preliminary equity-survey findings and feedback on the proposed restructuring at the semester’s final assembly.
December 12, 2018
The last Faculty Senate meeting of 2018 was filled with cheer, as Metropolitan State University of Denver President Janine Davidson stopped by as a guest to share good tidings.
“I’m here to say thanks for a great semester and all you do for our students,” Davidson said. “And thank you for being so open with me – it’s absolutely critical to have this dialogue. I hope we can do even more together in the new year.”
Senate President Matt Makley (history) echoed the season’s greetings, thanking attendees for their service and participation “in the midst of an overwhelmingly busy finals season.”
Davidson invited attendees to the then-forthcoming Board of Trustees meeting and gave an overview of discussion topics, including infrastructure issues, legislative priorities and the economic impact of the University.
“2019 will be a strategic year,” she said. “We’re going to focus on how we think through the infrastructure of our future, together.”
Liz Goodnick (philosophy) and Elizabeth Ribble (mathematics and computer science) provided some preliminary results from the Faculty Senate equity survey. They noted the goal of supporting improvements in the recruitment and retention of underrepresented populations within the faculty body; they also demonstrated a web-based application to eventually be made public while protecting respondent anonymity. Goodnick and Ribble mentioned that next steps include trend analysis and encouraged anyone interested in learning more to contact them.
The Welfare Committee’s Jeff Parker (theatre) also solicited feedback from the Senate body on the proposed restructuring resulting from the recent President’s Advisory Council for Academic Excellence and Student Success.
In addition to collecting open-ended responses, Parker led the group in a clicker vote to provide feedback on the proposed realignment’s impact on resources, retention and overall approach. The results reflected a sense that the changes were more major than initially anticipated; concern that faculty weren’t more involved; questions about resources, transparency and the impact on retention; and the need to devote more time to the process.
Makley thanked participants, Parker and the Welfare Committee for their continued advocacy for MSU Denver faculty members.
“They took on this work in the heart of the semester,” Makley said. “I want to personally express my gratitude and appreciation; this is all good, meaningful feedback, and I’ll sit with with the provost as it’s delivered to ensure the faculty’s voice is heard.”
Other items of business included:
- Barbara Beatty, University ombuds, was a guest of the Senate; she stopped by to announce the launch of Crucial Conversations. The internationally renowned book and training program, which normally run $1,600, are free to MSU Denver faculty and staff; there will be three sessions offered throughout spring semester. For more information, email trainers Danielle Farrell or Beatty.
- Chris Mancuso and Gabriel Christie visited the Senate to emphasize the importance of digital accessibility for public-facing and internal materials (including pedagogical documents); more information on resources and service distinctions can be found on the University’s accessibility website. “We’re approximately 63 percent compliant,” Mancuso said. “We’ve come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.”
- Zsuzsa Balogh (civil engineering technology) provided a brief overview of the 79 proposals overseen by the Curriculum Committee this past semester; many of these were related to the renaming of the Journalism and Technical Communications department to Journalism and Media Production. The Senate also voted to approve the curriculum manual (“purple book”) language for senior-level experience course eligibility to reflect “senior standing … or permission of the department.”
- Jessica Weiss (art history, theory and criticism) provided three updates from the Academic Policy Committee on policy wording: As a perfunctory role in discussing policy, the APC would still look into and report relative issues; language was updated to reflect the splitting of academic and student affairs; and the transfer-credit policy verbiage was updated to reflect the Office of the Registrar instead of a position that no longer exists.
- Vince Piturro (English) gave an overview of the General Studies committee work, including 30 passed proposals and procedural distinctions of content versus noncontent packet changes. Piturro also discussed the General Studies Renovation Task Force and recapped the three open forums; next steps involve looking at student-learning outcomes. More open forums will take place in the spring semester.
- Adriana Nieto (Chicana/o studies) discussed the work of the Multicultural Curriculum Review Committee, including six applications that were unanimously approved with one still under review.