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Faculty Senate update

Visitors presented a gamut of student-support resources, and senators discussed several policy changes.

By Lindsey Coulter

February 25, 2019

Faculty Senate meeting in progressAfter the Feb. 6 meeting of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Faculty Senate was cut short by inclement weather, Wednesday’s meeting featured a robust agenda highlighting campus resources, ongoing policy conversations and more.

Cynthia Baron, director of the Center for Multicultural Excellence and Inclusion, and Juan Gallegos, assistant director, presented on the organization’s progress – and broke the news of MSU Denver’s Hispanic-Serving Institution designation. They highlighted the CMEI’s identity-based programming, which aims to promote equity and a sense of belonging for underrepresented students. Faculty are invited to visit the CMEI at JSSB 237 and to sign up for the email list by contacting Baron or Gallegos.

Next, Emily Ragan, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry, presented on Open Educational Resources as a method of making education more affordable, accessible, exciting and relevant. Thanks to HB18-1331, MSU Denver will receive $60,000 for OER integration efforts to increase awareness and adoption. Ragan encouraged faculty members to attend an on-campus workshop April 5 and to participate in a new Faculty Learning Community. Both opportunities feature stipend opportunities. She also gave members a heads-up on OER Week March 4-8 and a free state-level conference May 31.

Thomas Hernandez, associate director of scholarships in the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Lauren Koppel, assistant director of scholarship, retention and support for Roadways, explained how their offices coordinate and disburse scholarship funds. Koppel and Hernandez noted how instrumental faculty are in encouraging students to complete scholarship applications and pointed faculty to AcademicWorks, a centralized application platform. Faculty are also invited to serve as scholarship reviewers and to help publicize scholarship workshops for students.

As part of his mission to boost mental-health and substance-abuse outreach and education, Richard Miccio, clinical outreach specialist, discussed the role faculty can play in supporting students with mental illnesses. He welcomed faculty to participate in the Gatekeeper training and pointed to the Counseling Center and the Health Center at Auraria as additional resources.

Bill Henry, Ph.D., associate vice president for Faculty Affairs, took the floor to offer his assistance to faculty members interested in forming policies around first-year-faculty course loads. Henry then introduced a new policy outlining disciplinary procedures related to misconduct and professional performance. Henry spoke to deficiencies in the current language with regard to disciplinary procedure and advocated for a more bottom-up approach to conversation and issue management, as the current language begins and ends at the presidential level and does not outline a role for chairs, deans or the provost. Proposed new language would address these inefficiencies and initiate resolution at a lower level while allowing for progressive discipline. The group reviewing the policy is soliciting questions and feedback.

Other items of business:

  • Senators voted to approve Jan. 23 and Feb. 6 meeting minutes.
  • A volunteer is needed to represent the Faculty Senate on the SEM Retention Council, which meets every other Wednesday at 10 a.m.
  • Senators discussed the Reassigned Time for Administrators Returning to Faculty Status Policy and proposed requirements related to campus presence, sabbatical applications and possible impacts.
  • Zsuzsa Balogh, Ph.D., engineering, updated the group on the approval of two certificates, several minor program and prefix changes, service-learning designation modifications and more.
  • Jessica Weiss, Ph.D., assistant professor, art, reported that a working group is reviewing the Shared Governance Policy related to presidential delegation of authority and the involvement of constituent groups. Members have 30 days to provide comments.
  • Weiss also highlighted Academic Policy Committee-recommended language changes related to second degrees in areas with concentrations.
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