Skip to main content Skip to main content

Faculty Senate update

Highlights include brief budget breakdown, proposed changes from transfer task force and LMS migration update.

By Cory Phare

February 12, 2020

Faculty Senate meeting in progress.The Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday saw several guests and robust discussion prior to the rescheduled celebration of tenure and promotion.

Building off the discussion from the previous Senate meeting, George Middlemist, associate vice president for administration/CFO, stopped by to provide an overview of the University’s operating budget and expenditures.

Approximately 35% of expenditures goes toward faculty compensation, while 21% goes to nonoperating expenses (e.g., technology purchases) and 19% to nonclassified professional staff. Within this context, Middlemist discussed how the steady drop in enrollment since the rapid post-recession growth affects the budgeting process, as each percentage point of decrease equates to about $1 million lost in state funding.

He also noted how the Budget Task Force helps the University strategically allocate available monies to mitigate impact to the campus community.

“Sixty-five to 70% of our expenses are salaries, which makes it difficult when we need to reduce budget,” Middlemist said. “Faculty – and support staff – are keys to helping our students succeed.

“When we don’t invest in our people, it costs us more in the long run.”

Middlemist also offered to connect with departments that would like to discuss finances further.

Shaun Schafer, associate vice president for curriculum and policy development, also provided a curriculum-policy update that grew out of the transfer-process task force that launched last August.

One recommendation from the group was related to general studies. Currently, major courses don’t meet core GS requirements and departments can prescribe specific GS courses, both of which are counter to statewide statutes. Schafer said rectifying this practice to come into compliance wouldn’t affect the 120-total-credit requirement and would actually simplify the back end by removing the need for individual exemptions to be built into degree plans.

Another proposal he discussed was lifting the University requirement for nonextended majors to have a declared minor. MSU Denver is one of two 4-year institutions in Colorado that have such a requirement.

“As far back as our enabling legislature, it’s always been in our catalog,” Schafer said. “We couldn’t find any data related to how likely it impacts retention, but it does have an impact on those students who transfer into MSU Denver.

“What we’re proposing is lifting the University requirement – not saying that individual departments can’t set their own.”

A robust floor discussion followed; Faculty Senate President Katia Campbell assured attendees that further conversation around the matter is to come. 

Other items of business:

  • Associate Vice President of Online Learning Matt Griswold stopped by to update the Senate that the University had received two proposals for potential learning management system migration. The committee is deliberating and will make a decision by the end of February on whether to make the transition.
  • Jessica Weiss (art history) provided the Academic Policy Committee’s first reading on a proposal for academic-policy enactment. The major change in procedure she highlighted was the response to noncatalog changes and the expeditious communication of rejected policies for revision.
  • Weiss also discussed the APC’s articulation of College-Level Examination Program score implementation into the catalog; these are practices already in place after consultation with departments and applied to degree requirements.
  • Zsuzsa Balogh (civil-engineering technology) provided an overview of the proposals reviewed, discussed and voted on by the Curriculum Committee.
  • A call went out for a tenured faculty member to serve on the Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion Committee. The group meets infrequently (called only if proposals are deemed “needing work”); those interested should contact Campbell.
  • There’s also an at-large seat available for the Faculty Welfare Committee; those interested should contact Campbell or committee chair Bob Schatz (psychology).
  • Several workshops are offered by the Center for Teaching, Learning and Design; also, remember that the Tri-institutional Faculty Forum is Feb. 28. More information is available at CTLD’s website.

Topics: Events, Faculty Senate, Inclusive leadership

Edit this page