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Faculty Senate update

Wednesday meeting covers summer-session teaching memo, intellectual-property policy discussion and more.

By Cory Phare

November 4, 2019

Faculty Senate meeting in progress.Discussion around the 2020 Summer Session Memo dominated Wednesday at the last Faculty Senate meeting of October.

The document articulates recommendations for scheduling (as parts of term and time of day), courses offered (focusing on those integral to student needs), scheduling (class size, workload and suggested assignment process) and responsibilities (e.g., advising and office hours). 

Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Vicki Golich walked attendees through points of the memo and fielded questions from the floor.

“The most important thing to keep in mind is that teaching in summer is an option, based on student need, demand and budget ability,” Golich said. “Our goal is to develop a genuine year-round budget … that academic affairs is steering.”

She clarified that, although the memo suggests Category 1 faculty should not teach more than 3 hours per summer and that subsequent hours could be paid at affiliate rates, there was specifically “wiggle room” built in for negotiation.

“The key word in the memo is ‘normally,’” Golich said. “If you teach a 4-credit-hour class, you’d get paid for that – not 3 plus 1.”

Follow-up items to come from the conversation include sharing of cost-benefit analysis behind the memo, lead-time consideration for affiliate faculty members teaching online courses and continued discussion at the departmental level.

“This is a conversation that’d behoove us to have with our respective chairs and deans to get more information on what summer session looks like,” said Faculty Senate President Katia Campbell (Communication Studies). “We want to keep in mind this is negotiable.”  

Vice President of the Senate Liz Goodnick (Philosophy) then led the assemblage in the first reading of the proposed policy on intellectual property; she referred to the previously passed policy on online teaching.

“Last academic year, we pushed to make sure that was faculty-friendly,” she said. “Similarly for IP. … There were multiple rounds of feedback incorporation; this feels like good policy.”

Highlights of the proposal included discussion on Curriculog component separation between course constructs (formerly known as “course syllabus”) and course materials (lecture notes, quizzes, tests, uploaded files); and works of authorship (publications, textbooks, creative works); along with ownership articulation of above materials as belong to faculty members – with MSU Denver retaining the rights to use, similar to the online policy.

Administrative works – e.g., memos – would be property of the University, along with data and research as the result of funded support, with the exception of confidential human-subject information.

The proposal also designated that no intellectual property created by students belonged to the University (with the exception of work done in capacity as a student employee) and granted the provost authority in resolving disputes (with a subsequent appeal process to the Faculty Senate).

Goodnick and Campbell urged faculty members to take the proposal back to their departments for discussion and have at least one representative take a close look prior to second reading and vote.

Other items of business included:

  • Zsuzsa Balogh (Civil Engineering Technology) led the Senate through a second reading and vote on proposed changes to the Curriculum Manual; changes included articulation around online classes, incorporation of the General Studies renovation efforts and clarification of verbiage related to letters of acknowledgment. The changes were approved with a vote of 61 in favor, one opposed and one abstention.
  • Jessica Weiss (Art History, Theory and Criticism) provided three updates from the Academic Policies Committee:
    • Related to Administrative Withdrawals, the committee is recommending to strike quality points from calculations as it is essentially redundant with GPA.
    • A first reading on international admissions articulation to be able to respond to factors such as Homeland Security regulations without necessitating a catalog change.
    • A first reading on pass-fail designations that would weight a “fail” as equivalent to an “F” grade.

Topics: Faculty Senate

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