March 28, 2023
The purpose of this memo is to update the university community on the recent progress of the Cross-Functional Taskforce on Faculty Workload. The primary goal of the Cross-Functional Taskforce remains to identify solutions leading to a sustainable, student-centered workload implementation that aligns with our university’s strategic plan. The work of the current Cross-Functional Taskforce continues to build off the tremendous amount of work completed by the Faculty Senate, the previous Faculty Workload Taskforces, Dr. Alfred W. Tatum, and other faculty and senior leaders over the past several years.
Since our campus-wide update on Friday, March 3, 2023, our first order of business was to meet with the full Steering Committee on Monday, March 6, 2023. We presented common themes that arose during our series of meetings with key stakeholders between February 22 and March 3, 2023, and discussed our preliminary answers to the questions that the Board of Trustees had following the January 26, 2023 Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting. The Steering Committee also shared the names of individuals who had communicated interest in participating in the Working Teams and made recommendations as to the preliminary charges of the Working Teams.
On Tuesday, March 7, 2023, we met with the Co-Leaders of the Working Teams. We again presented the common themes that arose during the series of meetings held with key stakeholders, as well as the preliminary answers to the Board of Trustees questions. The Working Team Co-Leaders discussed their preliminary charges and chose to finalize their membership by the start of the following week.
On Thursday, March 9, 2023, we presented at a “Deep Dive” with President Davidson and the Senior Leadership Team. We received insightful feedback on how to structure our presentation to the Board of Trustees the following week.
On Friday, March 10, 2023, we created a Teams site for members of the Cross-Functional Taskforce. The Teams site houses all files and asynchronous discussion related to the work of the Cross-Functional Taskforce and has individual channels for each Working Team. As work continues, it will be the responsibility of the Taskforce Co-Chairs and the Steering Committee to ensure that all campus constituents receive the same relevant information at the same time via multiple channels.
Each of the Working Teams finalized their membership early in the week of Monday, March 13, 2023. The final rosters were shared on the Teams site and are available upon request. Similarly, each of the Working Teams met and confirmed preliminary goals with the Taskforce Co-Chairs.
On Thursday, March 16, 2023, we presented an informational update to the Board of Trustees at their Academic and Student Affairs Committee meeting. The purpose was to provide more context on the history of the workload issue at MSU Denver, to explain the changing landscape of higher education and MSU Denver, to identify the members and goals of the Cross-Functional Taskforce, and to describe common themes that had arisen since its establishment. We had a positive discussion following the presentation and received great feedback to help frame our collective ongoing work. The full recording is now available on the Board of Trustees website under the 3/16 meeting.
Following the presentation to the Board of Trustees, we scheduled meetings for the Steering Committee and the Working Teams Co-Leaders for the week of March 27, 2023. The Steering Committee will review the work completed thus far, in addition to the observations shared during the discussion with the Board of Trustees. They will help craft recommendations for the Working Teams for the upcoming month of April. The Working Teams Co-Leaders will similarly review work completed thus far, in addition to the observations from the Board of Trustees and the recommendations from the Steering Committee. Our intent is for the Working Teams to set aim points through the end of the spring semester.
This week we are following up with the Executive Committees of the Faculty Senate and the Council of Chairs and Directors to determine if they would like us to present formal updates at any of their April meetings. We also intend to schedule open forums for the full campus community in April (dates to be announced).
We also recently updated the Academic Affairs website to include a landing page for the Faculty Workload Taskforce, to which we plan to post various communication items (such as this memo), upcoming events, and other information. Note it is currently a work-in-progress.
Lastly, we are using upcoming Tuesday Talks with the Provost to discuss the progress of the Cross-Functional Taskforce. Please join us at 12pm on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 on Teams using the link provided here.
General Timeline through June 2, 2023
March to mid/late May 2023: Campus Community Updates
Working Teams will share progress reports with the full Cross-Functional Taskforce (i.e., Steering Committee and all other teams). Taskforce Co-Chairs will determine how to share reports once specific dates are determined (e.g., SharePoint, synchronous Teams/hybrid meeting, etc.).
The Steering Committee will continue to report to/from their constituent groups to inform their discussion of next steps. They will communicate recommendations for next steps to the Working Teams.
The Taskforce Co-Chairs will organize open forums and straw polls (or similar) to gather feedback from faculty, staff, students, and administrators. These events will be announced with advance notice. Hybrid options will be provided for any in-person events, and recordings will be shared through our university communication channels.
Steering Committee members and the Working Teams will continue to solicit feedback/input from their constituents – including the Faculty Senate – and report back on how this feedback/input is being used.
The President and other members of the Senior Leadership Team will also participate in a Deep Dive on the Cross-Functional Taskforce’s progress to provide additional feedback and guidance on next steps.
June 2nd, 2023: Board of Trustees, Full Board Meeting
The purpose of this update will be informational, unless the Taskforce has developed specific ideas or recommendations that (a) require action by the Board of Trustees, (b) have been vetted by faculty and senior leaders through appropriate channels of elected representation, and (c) are ready to be presented in full by designated members of the Steering Committee and/or Working Teams.
Should the update be informational only, Taskforce Co-Chairs will outline the Taskforce’s progress and answer questions. Following the full board meeting, Taskforce Co-Chairs will bring unanswered questions from the Trustees back to the Steering Committee and Working Teams. Taskforce Co-Chairs will communicate next steps to the full university community.