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Faculty Senate update

Safe Return to Campus update, several policy first reads and remembering late History faculty member Paul Sidelko, Ph.D.

November 3, 2020

MSU Denver banner against fall foliage.On Wednesday, Faculty Senate President Katia Campbell, Ph.D. (communication studies), provided insight into Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Safe Return to Campus efforts.

She detailed how the University’s already-conservative approach to dealing with the pandemic has helped keep positive rates below 3% and that in-person instruction is not mandated if faculty members are uncomfortable with doing so.

“No one is being told, encouraged or prohibited – it’s our choice, and I think that’s a wonderful thing,” Campbell said. “Three things to remember: Wear your mask, social-distance and use your judgment.”

Richard Russell, J.D. (accounting), led the Senate in several items of consideration:

Kim Klimek, Ph.D. (history), led a remembrance of her colleague Paul Sidelko, Ph.D., who passed away recently; she thanked the University community for its outpouring of support and directed attendees to the memorial fund established by his family through the MSU Denver Foundation.

“We’re all sorry for this loss,” Campbell said. “We don’t always know the impact we have; it’s so important to take the time to show our appreciation for one another.”

Other items of business:

  • Chalene Lechuga, Ph.D. (Chicana/o Studies), promoted the 2020 Higher Education Diversity Summit; the event Wednesday and Thursday provided in-depth discussion and work on the theme of creating an anti-racist higher education.
  • Liz Goodnick, Ph.D. (philosophy), provided an update since September’s passing of a resolution to support the liberal arts and sciences. Work is ongoing to identify opportunities and barriers in areas including inter-/cross-disciplinary collaboration. Those interested in contributing should submit their thoughts via the recently launched Idea Catcher.
  • Kelly Evans, Ph.D. (human performance and sport), led a first read of the Guests of the Senate Bylaws amendment; the proposed change would allow nonmembers to join discussion before or during official business if the topic is relevant to the agenda; this would also be determined by a first-come, first-served basis and asks for official requests for topics of discussion by nonmembers to be submitted three days prior to meeting.
  • Katherine Hill, Ph.D. (psychological sciences), is now the social-science representative to the Academic Policy Committee. The APC still needs someone from the School of Education; those interested should contact Campbell or Maggie Thulson.
  • Angela Bender, Amanda Berry and Stacy Dvergsdal from Human Resources stopped by to provide an update. Compensation letters were sent to those receiving a promotion or PTR, while open enrollment is also coming up as a “passive” forward-rolling period (with the exception of flexible spending accounts); there will be a 3% reduction in medical and vision insurance premiums, and more information is expected in November about a possible premium holiday at year’s end.
  • Before adjourning the meeting, Campbell reminded everyone to vote and acknowledge heightened levels of stress. “It’s so important to be gracious to ourselves and our students,” she said. “Also, we made it past the midpoint of the semester with a new (learning-management system) and are working hard – it’s all being seen, and we’re kicking ass.”

Topics: Events, Faculty Senate

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