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Faculty Senate update

Legislative update from President Davidson, plus a disciplinary-procedures vote and Academic Policy Committee items.

By Cory Phare

March 26, 2019

Faculty Senate meeting from March 6Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting kicked off by welcoming Metropolitan State University of Denver President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., who provided the group with legislative updates. She noted that the Joint Budget Committee voted on the Capitol Development Committee’s slate of proposals and how the campus’ deferred maintenance request, including replacing the steam-heat infrastructure in shared buildings, made it into the lineup to progress further.

“Though we’re not across the line, this was one of the biggest hurdles to clear,” Davidson said. “There was a lot of collective hard work that went into this; we stood shoulder-to-shoulder with AHEC and really advanced everyone’s understanding of the needs here.”

The upgrades are expected to save the campus almost $1 million in efficiencies. 

Davidson also reiterated the push for state backing that would support MSU Denver employees; those interested in assisting the University's legislative efforts should contact Tyler Mounsey, director of government affairs.

“The good news is folks are starting to listen,” she said. “We’re looking for the funds to compensate our great faculty and staff – that’s what we’re fighting for.”

The Senate also engaged in robust discussion around the updated policy on disciplinary procedures in a second reading. Results from a recent Qualtrics survey on the update circulated to faculty yielded 18 responses; the four emergent themes included clarification between major and minor distinction, clearer language on involved bodies, trust issues and a general support for the document as it stood.

Sen. Craig Svonkin (English) raised awareness around potential vagueness of misconduct definitions and the need to further document procedure; Faculty Senate President Matt Makley (history) acknowledged these concerns and called for a vote with the expectation for clarifying inclusive language to be worked into the handbook prior to a codifying vote with the Handbook Committee.

“The way things are worded right now, the process is built around a way that doesn’t exist,” Makley said. “We want to make sure we’re covering ourselves but also will work to ensure the Senate is comfortable with what we’re proposing.”

The subsequent vote passed with 84 percent in favor of approving the measure.

Makley also acknowledged the heavy lifting done by the faculty members during a busy part of the semester.

“Thank you for being present in the sprint week before Spring Break,” he said. “We’re all part of something special here; the work you’re doing in the best spirits possible makes all the difference in the world.”

Other business items included:

  • Luis Rivas (English) gave an update on general studies and first-year writing requirements; those looking for clarification on placement process or to develop courses that meet specific gtPathways criteria should contact Rivas/the department.
  • Zsuzsa Balogh (civil-engineering technology) provided a recap from the Curriculum Committee, noting approved proposals for GWS 2400, GWS 3930, ENG 1009 and NUR 4850-SE; and that the group was in the middle of work on revising the curriculum manual.
  • Jessica Weiss (art history) held a second reading of the academic-freedom policy, highlighting modifications including a change from “research” to “scholarship” and noting the Senate as the responsible entity; the vote that followed passed with 93 percent in favor.
  • Weiss also led a first reading of the Academic Policy Committee bylaw update routing graduate policy through the APC and an informational item regarding CLEP score catalogue clarifying format changes.

Topics: Faculty Senate

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