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Faculty Senate update

Business Intelligence as a resource, a vote on military-service designation and gratitude for the faculty’s work.

By Cory Phare

November 19, 2018

Faculty senate meetingFaculty Senate President Matt Makley (history) welcomed several guests to the penultimate meeting of the 2018 calendar year.

Morgan Cassimus and Sean Petranovich (philosophy) stopped by to discuss the role of Business Intelligence. They highlighted in-house data points including GPA, retention metrics, test scores, graduation rates and more, as well as clearinghouse and census data that can be pulled upon; and previous decision-making examples such as evaluating the tuition window and retention rates related to credit-hour load. Service requests can be submitted on the BI website.

“We’re not…trying to make the University run like a business,” Petranovich said “Rather, we want to help create a data-driven culture here at MSU Denver to use that information to make decisions in the best interest of the University at large.”

Makley also noted how BI’s services could used to inform the motion to reduce teaching loads to 4/3 for Category 1 faculty discussed in previous Senate meetings.

“Along with the fine work by our colleagues in the similar 2016 proposal, we combine insights to figure out what the data tells us would happen if we were to do this,” he said. “If we find meaningful information that makes an impact on student success, let’s look at packaging it with the conversation around potential restructuring.”

Jessica Weiss (art history, theory and criticism) brought the Academic Policy Committee (APC)’s alternative credit option for military veterans to the floor for a second reading and vote.  Colorado revised statute CR 23-5-145 requires that state universities’ policies regarding prior military credit be in place by January 1, 2019. The vote reflected an effort to make sure MSU Denver’s already extant policy is in line with the changed Colorado statue.

Ikaika Gleisberg of the Gender Institute for Teaching and Advocacy read a statement during floor discussion, expressing concern about the implications of awarding global diversity credit for overseas military experience. Weiss responded by asking for a copy of the statement, noting that the APC will review the statement and take up a broad conversation based on the expressed concerns.

“(The committee) will thoroughly examine this, but right now we’re just trying to clean up the language to make sure we meet what’s mandated by the state,” she said.

After further discussion and a call for a vote, the measure passed 43-17, with two abstentions. 

Makley ended the meeting with a note of gratitude for the faculty’s central role in the University’s mission.

“This is a busy and challenging time for us all, so thank you for being here,” he said. “Thank you doubly for your service in helping our students succeed – we’re in the classroom daily, and though we can’t shoulder the burden by ourselves, we do our part.

“As the faculty, we’re front and center. But we have to play the long game, too. That said, let’s go for it and push for the change to ensure that our students are getting the best education possible.

“That’s the work we do – so don’t lose heart; stay with it, and we’ll see you on the other side of the (fall) break.”

Other items of business included:

  • Chris Harder (math and computer science), as faculty trustee, updated the Senate on the recent Board of Trustees and Foundation Board retreat. Harder noted conversation on the potential academic reorganization, funding issues, physical-space concerns, infrastructure and capital projects, legislative strategies, branding and fundraising tactics.
  • New Vice President for Advancement Christine Márquez-Hudson stopped by along with Brett Befus and Jamie Hurst to update the Senate on efforts including the $211,000 raised from faculty and staff at the University. The group thanked senators for their critical role in sustained giving efforts. “You are absolutely critical to fundraising success and can articulate the vision of life-changing experiences better than anyone,” said Befus.
  • Metza Templeton, president of the Classified Staff Council, stopped by to solicit faculty assistance on bylaw construction for the ongoing combination of CSC with the Council of Administrators to form a Staff Senate.
  • Zsuzsa Balogh (civil engineering technology) provided an update from the Curriculum Committee, rolling over the report from Oct. 31. This included a first reading on clarification for senior experience designations for students to have senior standing or departmental permission. Another update included departmental name changes of Chemistry to Chemistry and Biochemistry, along with Journalism and Technical Communication to Journalism and Media Production; this led to floor discussion about ongoing information-dissemination practices and improvements via Curriculog.
  • The Diversity Committee told the assembly that Chalene Lechuga (Chicana/o Studies) and Liz Ribble (mathematics and computer science) will assist in qualitative and quantitative analysis, respectively, for the forthcoming Faculty Equity Survey; preliminary results are slated for the final Faculty Senate meeting of 2018 with a larger report coming in the spring.
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