Faculty Senate recap
Members discuss Elsevier and Blackboard contracts, approve policy changes.
October 10, 2019
The meeting of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Faculty Senate began Wednesday with a presentation by Summer Browning, associate director of technical services for the Auraria Library. Browning discussed the tri-institutional Elsevier contract, which allows Auraria institutions access to approximately 2,700 journals across all disciplines. The multiyear contract, through the Colorado Alliance for Research Library, ends in December 2020. The Auraria Library’s annual contribution is $335,000.
Browning brought the contract-renewal question to the body as the alliance cannot sustain the cost of subscription, which increases roughly 5% per year, at the expense of other resources. Secondly, Browning referenced industry frustration at the growing costs combined with Elsevier’s “refusal to open up faculty research or even work with universities and libraries on opening up access.”
Possible contract outcomes could include cancellation or establishing a transformative agreement that would make some scholarly articles open access. To assist in next steps, Browning invited two faculty volunteers to join a tri-institutional renewal-proposal working group. Those interested can contact Cynthia Hashert.
Sen. Cynthia Erickson, professor, Psychology, is chairing a committee to review the Blackboard Learn contract. A faculty survey found that satisfaction with Blackboard was not particularly high, and there is interest in considering other systems for affordability and user experience across devices. The committee hopes to issue a Request for Proposal for alternatives by spring and could potentially begin a supported migration to a new system by next fall. Erickson noted this will be a faculty-centered effort in service of student success, and all stakeholders will be able to provide feedback.
The committee also reviewed a Statement of Principles pertaining to freedom of speech on campus. The statement seeks to protect free speech and outline how the University can protect communities affected by hate speech. Language includes the expectation for all Roadrunners to engage in a culture of mutual respect and aligns with the University’s Code of Conduct. The committee will vote on its support of the statement after certain language is also aligned with the Academic Freedom and Academic Expression Policies.
- Faculty Senate President Katia Campbell, Ph.D., made a final request for senators to join the Budget, Curriculum, Welfare, General Studies, Rules and Student Affairs committees.
- Craig Svonkin, Ph.D., associate professor, English, put forth a motion that the Senate investigate reducing required office hours. After questions, comments and suggestions, the Senate voted to approve the investigation.
Academic Policy Committee updates
- The Senate approved the honorary-degree policy, which since its first reading was edited to outline eligibility, significance, process and communication.
- Senators approved an academic-load policy change that will align the policy with language on existing campus resources.
- In response to the RN-to-BSN Nursing program policy-change request, the APC will not recommend any changes at this time. Sen. Jessica Weiss, Ph.D., professor, Art, APC chair, explained that the APC is working with the Nursing program on an articulation agreement that will allow the program to remain competitive and meet the University’s upper-division criteria.
Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee updates
- Zsuzsa Balogh, Ph.D., professor, Civil Engineering Technology, representing the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee, began with the Curriculum Manual review, including language changes, search improvements, minor modifications to senior experience courses, and General Studies renovation-process outcome updates.
- Balogh reiterated the issue of curriculum development that was raised in the previous meeting and invited feedback and suggestions. Honors Program Director Megan Hughes-Zarzo noted that the lack of language concerning the curriculum update/development process poses challenges for programs such as Honors, which offers interdisciplinary courses.
- The FSCC also explored reducing the three existing hybrid-course designations (Hybrid, Hybrid mostly in-class, Hybrid mostly online) to “Hybrid.”
- Reviews are upcoming on a number of School of Hospitality minors, majors and certifications that will be discontinued/reorganized to form a new general major with concentrations.
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