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Faculty Senate update

Safe Return and vaccination news, Faculty Workload Task Force survey results, budget-recommendation info highlight first meeting of 2021-22 academic year.

By Cory Phare

August 31, 2021

August 25 Faculty Senate meeting in progress.Katia Campbell, Ph.D. (Communication Studies), president of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Faculty Senate, kicked off the first meeting of the 2021-22 academic year Wednesday by welcoming Faculty Fellow Sam Jay, Ph.D. (Communication Studies), and Edward J. Brown, chief of staff to President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., with an update from the Roadrunners Safe Return committee.

At the time of the meeting, 79% of students have been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to state data; the employee rate is projected to be 95%, Jay said. All Roadrunners and campus visitors are expected to adhere to health and safety protocols. Violations should be reported to department chairs.

When positive cases are reported, faculty members will be contacted directly by the Health Center at Auraria for follow-up. Only community members who are unvaccinated will need to quarantine, while others should monitor their health and contact the Health Center should symptoms arise. More information can be found in the RSR faculty and staff guide.

“Safety is at the core of our fall return; we’re concerned about our entire community,” Brown said. “Info changes daily, so we’re trying to be as fluid and flexible as possible.”

Gabrielle Katz, Ph.D. (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences), provided an update on the Faculty Workload Taskforce, examining the number of required teaching hours for MSU Denver faculty.

Katz said workload has been a longstanding Senate issue, with various proposals dating to 2009 and culminating in last year’s proposal to reduce the number of annual hours for Category I faculty from 24 to 18 and Category II from 30 to 24. Last spring’s survey resulted in 70% of respondents supporting a reduction in instructional requirements to accommodate the office hours, administrative tasks and additional teaching, mentoring and advising as part of their role.

“All faculty perceive this will enhance teaching and put attention where it is needed,” Katz said. “This is an investment in our institution, faculty members and students.”

Further analysis and recommendations from the task force will be reported as they develop.

Keah Schuenemann, Ph.D. (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences), updated the assemblage that the Higher Learning Commission had accredited MSU Denver, and she thanked all the faculty members who participated in the process.

She also noted the three General Studies policies that will change for next year’s academic catalog: Departments cannot prescribe specific General Studies courses (but can recommend them); students can count General Studies contained within their major prefix, and General Studies can be “double-dipped” by simultaneously applying across major/minor/certificate

Other items of business included:

  • Kelly Evans, Ph.D. (Human Performance and Sport), provided an overview of Robert’s Rules of Order as a process reminder. Highlights included:
  • George Middlemist, Ph.D., guest of the Senate and associate vice president of Administration/chief financial officer, provided an update from the Budget Recommendation Committee’s summer meetings. Highlights included impacts from a $12 million increase in state funding along with an anticipated decline of 10% to 11% in enrollment this term, as well as a proposed 1.75% increase in compensation and a return to College and University Professional Association average application/addressing wage compression.
    • Quorum requires 50% of membership plus one in attendance.
    • Motions can be made at any time, with a second opening the topic up for debate; these include main motions, subsidiary motions, privileged motions, incidental motions and motions to table or postpone topics.
    • Votes can be cast by senators only and only in person (no proxies).
    • Votes to abstain count against affirmative/yes votes.
    • Speakers may approach the microphone and must be acknowledged by the Senate president; they may speak no more than 10 minutes and no more than twice on each motion.
  • There are multiple vacancies across committees and schools that need to be filled. Please check the committee rosters on the Faculty Senate webpage for more info and contact the chair if interested.

Topics: Events, Faculty Senate, Inclusive leadership

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