The twice-weather-postponed Metropolitan State University of Denver Faculty Senate kickoff to 2022 finally took place Feb. 16. It also was the inaugural run of the group’s formal “hyflex” format of operations, consisting of in-person and online commentary and voting.  

Dialogue on Senate operations relative to campus-closure notifications began with a motion to switch to a virtual-only option if a decision was made more than seven hours out on the day of a scheduled meeting; if less than seven hours, the meeting would be canceled. After some floor discussion on the lead time needed, the vote passed with 64 in favor, 10 opposed and one abstention.  

Senate Vice President Liz Goodnick, Ph.D. (Philosophy), and Jovan Hernandez, Ph.D. (Psychological Sciences), provided a first read on University handbook language related to the Wilton Flemon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows Program policy for incorporation in 2022 and formal applicability by 2023.  

The program established to recruit and retain from underrepresented populations into academic fields and MSU Denver faculty is being routed for feedback. Proposed articulation includes a nine-hour assignment cap (subject to change) and no service requirements in the first of two years. A second read and vote will determine recommendation for handbook inclusion.  

Guest of the Senate Sam Jay, Ph.D. (Communication Studies), also discussed a predictive retention task force consisting of leaders across the University to examine targeted communication campaigns. Those interested in learning more should email Jay. 

Ofelia Schepers, Ph.D. (Elementary Education), announced that the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of the Provost have partnered for membership in the National Center for Faculty Development in Diversity. The partnership provides access to equity and support resources for strategic planning and implementation, along with funds for faculty members to go to a 12-week success program this summer. Application for the program and more information on the partnership will be available soon.   

Kelly Evans, Ph.D. (Human Performance and Sport), provided an overview and first read of the proposed Faculty Senate academic-subdivision reorganization. Christina Foust, Ph.D. (Communication Studies), noted the the Communication Studies Department’s formal request to be moved from the Arts & Humanities subdivision to the Social Sciences one. Afterward, Goodnick reminded the group there was no official connection between the Senate and school structure. A second read and vote on the proposed reorganization is slated for the next Faculty Senate meeting.  

Other items of business included:

  • Provost Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., addressed and fielded questions about office-hours expectations. He said that as a broad overview, he sees the conduct and modality of how they are performed as falling under the purview of each individual college or school dean.  
  • Jessica Weiss, Ph.D. (Art History), provided an update that the Academic Policies Committee will insert language into the catalog reflecting the ongoing practice that prior-learning credit awarded to veterans will also include notification to the Veteran and Military Student Services Office due to its potential impact on aid.  
  • Katia Campbell, Ph.D., president, Faculty Senate, announced that a member is needed for the Senate Student Affairs committee. Please email leadership or Barbara Decker, MSW (Social Work), if interested.  
  • The Handbook Committee is working on revisions with feedback due Friday. More information is available on the website and will be emailed.  
  • Meredith Jeffers, Ph.D. (Modern Languages), announced that the Curriculum Committee has five additional proposals in the upcoming catalog, approved unanimously.  
  • The test vote to ensure hyflex functionality saw attendees weighing in on the controversial topic “Faculty Senate should put pineapple on all pizzas served at meetings.” In a surprising upset to traditionalists, 62 voted in favor of the hypothetical measure, with 35 against and four abstentions/possible calzone fans.