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Faculty Senate preview with Katia Campbell

President of governing body shares 6 priorities for upcoming academic year to advocate for and support faculty amid pandemic.

By Cory Phare

August 17, 2020

Katia Campbell, Ph.D.Heading into the 2020-21 academic year, Faculty Senate President Katia Campbell, Ph.D., sees collective commitment amid uncertainty as a top priority.

“Our biggest goal is helping everyone steer through the COVID-19 crisis together,” said the associate professor of communication studies. “That means supporting faculty and senior leadership to continue to be responsive to any challenges that come up.”

With the first virtual meeting of the year kicking off Wednesday at 3:20 p.m. (see Teams info below), the Early Bird caught up with Campbell to preview some of the issues she sees at the top of this year’s Senate docket.

Intellectual property and online materials

The passage of policies related to intellectual property and online/digital course materials couldn’t have foreseen a global pandemic, but its importance can’t be overstated in the wake of one now to protect faculty ownership rights to course content.

“As faculty members, we have control over the material we produce,” Campbell said. “If others want to use that, they’ll need to get express permission. That’s especially critical right now, and we’re committed to ensuring that extends to all faculty.”

BRC representation

As the Budget Recommendation Committee works to address operational challenges the University faces, Campbell noted several Faculty Senate representatives’ involvement in the process.

“We’re ensuring the faculty voice is heard and central to the University needs in facing ongoing budgetary issues as we move forward into an uncertain future,” she said.

Reappointment, tenure and promotion

Operational challenges faced from COVID-19 have also disrupted academic processes, resulting in the pausing of RTP/PTR for Category I faculty and the Senate’s decision to pick up discussion with the start of the fall term.

“We’ll be looking at best ways to support faculty members as they’ve had to adjust to eliminated sabbaticals and deferred research,” Campbell said. “That impacts what folks can put in their portfolios when they’re reviewed – so we’ll be looking at ways to mitigate those challenges if necessary.”


Campbell understands the stress and anxiety she’s heard from faculty members about the shift to the Canvas learning-management system over the summer.

“For many, workload across the board has increased substantially – and implementing a whole new LMS is stressful on top of an already-challenging backdrop as it is,” she said, noting that the Senate will be heavily involved with the Provost’s Office and related committees to ensure that faculty members continue to be supported in the transition.

Commitment to faculty diversity

As MSU Denver’s Board of Trustees commits to engaging in the antiracism work necessary to create systemic change, Campbell plans to prioritize the importance of building a faculty representational of the University’s student population.

“We need to examine the impact of the pandemic and do what we can to hire – and keep – diverse faculty,” she said. “A place like MSU Denver has a lot of conscientious people, and I’m looking forward to how the national fight for racial justice further shapes and refines the work that’s already underway here.”

Meeting needs – and having hope

Whether it’s balancing family life at home while teaching online or returning to campus for the limited number of in-person classes, Campbell reaffirmed a commitment to meeting the needs of students and employees alike.

She also acknowledged the road had been bumpy but takes heart in the trademark Roadrunner characteristic of resiliency.

“Personally, I prefer teaching in-person but know that I’m going to walk away from this experience (of teaching online) with a new skill set I didn’t have before and be the better for it,” Campbell said. “We’re ultimately adaptable as humans.”


The first Faculty Senate meeting of the year takes place Wednesday from 3:20-4:50 p.m. Login info below.

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Topics: Events, Faculty Senate, Inclusive leadership

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