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Colleges and Schools

University Governance

PDF Version: BOT Colleges and Schools Policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Definitions
  4. Policy Statement
  5. Procedures
  6. History

I. Introduction

  1. Authority: C.R.S. § 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to establish rules and regulations to govern and operate the University and its programs. The Trustees retain authority to approve, interpret, and administer policies pertaining to University governance. The Trustees authorize the President of MSU Denver to approve, administer, and interpret policies pertaining to University operations.

  2. Purpose: This policy describes the process to establish colleges and schools at MSU Denver.

  3. Scope: This policy applies to colleges and schools established under the Metropolitan State University of Denver name or using University resources.

II. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Responsible Executive: Chief Executive Officer

  2. Responsible Administrator: Chief Academic Officer

  3. Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Academic Officer

  4. Policy Contact: Chief Academic Officer, 303-615-1900

III. Definitions

  1. Colleges and schools share certain characteristics:

    1. Increase the visibility and competitive advantage of the college or school to enhance the potential to:
      1. Attract a diverse student population;
      2. Increase the opportunity to solicit external funds through grant writing or fundraising;
      3. Provide greater focus on the educational mission of the unit;
      4. Make it easier for students to navigate a path to degree completion; and
      5. Create an academic identity that enhances opportunities for collaboration among student and faculty groups.

    2. Provide a home to a logical collection of Academic Departments and/or programs – and also possibly to Centers, Institutes, or Academies – which
      1. Deliver effective educational curricula through degree majors, minors, general studies, or service courses to students;
      2. Align with the MSU Denver Vision, Statutory Mission, and Strategic Plan;

    3. Accomplish functions and activities effectively;

    4. Respond to any relevant regulatory issues from government(s), accrediting agencies, professional organizations, etc.; and

    5. Demonstrate fiscal sustainability and have the appropriate organizational capacity in terms of staffing and support, e.g., advising, physical space, equipment, etc.

  2. Where colleges and schools differ is as follows. Normally, a school should house

    1. A small number of closely-related academic programs and faculty, or
    2. A single disciplinary academic program if the designation “School” would:
      1. Place the program at a competitive advantage by aligning with national norms;
      2. Assist the program in competing for external resources, such as naming opportunities;
      3. Position the program to better compete with similar programs at like institutions; and/or
      4. Align the program with the perception of the community and/or the expectations of accrediting bodies.

  3. Schools with a single disciplinary academic program may be stand-alone or reside in a College, created within the constraints of existing resources, and aligned with the strategic direction of the University.

  4. A college would offer more diverse programming through a collection of related disciplines, programs, and departments; this could also include one or more schools. 

IV. Policy Statement

  1. The Board of Trustees must approve a college or school established under the Metropolitan State University of Denver name or using University resources. Colleges and schools established under the Metropolitan State University of Denver name or using University resources will:

    1. Define their focus to on- and off-campus populations, including the identification of interdepartmental collaboration and connection to the MSU Denver mission.

    2. Comply with the accompanying procedures and process for establishment, approval, operation, reporting, and evaluation.

    3. Conform to all federal, state, and University regulations related to fiscal management and practice, exercise fiscal accountability, and provide an annual report of activity and accounts.

    4. Be administered by a dean or director. The President or designee appoints the dean or director, after conclusion of the approved search process. Deans and directors will, at a minimum, be expected to fulfill the following job responsibilities:

      1. Establish a college or school vision and goals which support the University mission;
      2. Demonstrate prudent financial management of the college or school, ensuring fiscal stewardship;
      3. Provide assurance that the college or school operates in accordance with all relevant federal, state, and University laws, regulations, and policies;
      4. Offer appropriate consultation with the advisory board (if one exists);
      5. Prepare an Annual Report for the immediate supervisor, the Provost and, if relevant, the Board of Trustees;
      6. Undergo individual employee evaluation in accordance with University policies and procedures.

    5. Consider establishing an advisory council with community representatives.

    6. Administer the finances of the college or school.

      1. Manage State support according to relevant campus budgetary policies and procedures;
      2. Allocate and manage any indirect funds (F&A) from grants for a college or school according to University policies and procedures;
      3. Except for that portion from the state, budget will normally be handled through auxiliary funds or by the MSU Denver Foundation.

    7. Establish a name in accordance with the MSU Denver naming policy.

V. Procedures

  1. Establishment of a new college or school requires a proposal that responds to the following questions:

    1. Statement of General Purpose/Rationale

      1. Why is the new college or school needed? 
        1. Use this section to address the leadership role the proposed college or school would play in the creation and configuration of new knowledge or in addressing the needs of un- or underserved community constituencies.
        2. Describe any other activities the college or school would promote that would add value to MSU Denver.
        3. Describe how the new college or school will serve as a campus or community resource.
        4. Use the template provided to summarize how the proposed college or school compares to similar universities with respect to purpose, administrative structure, proposed activities, accomplishments, and funding sources?

    2. Statement of Mission Alignment

      1. How does the mission of the college or school support the University mission?

    3. Institutional Capacity and Resource Implications

      1. What resources – personnel, physical, financial – are already present to support the creation and sustaining of the proposed college or school?
      2. What additional resources – personnel, physical, financial – do you anticipate needing to support the creation and sustaining of the proposed college or school?
      3. What plans, if any, are there for seeking support for the college or school from non-MSU Denver sources?
      4. What plans, if any, are there for generating internal revenues through self-support type programs, e.g., master’s degrees or cash-funded programs?
      5. What, if any, unique advantages does the campus provide for the college or school because of its geographic location, mission, or other characteristic/quality?
      6. What efficiencies do you anticipate would accompany the establishment of the proposed college or school? (e.g., shared or better lab facilities, collaborative grant funding, improved public presence, etc.)
      7. Please describe any other benefits that might accrue to MSU Denver as a result of creating this new academic unit.
      8. Please delineate the anticipated size of the proposed new unit, including total annual Credit Hour Production and total number of students potentially served.

    4. Relationship to Other University Entities

      1. Which programs or administrative units will be included in the proposed new college or school? Describe the curricular advantages to becoming a college or school. Use the provided template to list the offerings to be delivered from the proposed college or school.
      2. What effect will the college or school have on existing administrative units academically, operationally, and financially?
      3. If the proposal is for a school, with what college does it seek association?
      4. How might academic units “live” within separate schools or colleges and share common interests in delivering a curriculum related to economic clusters in the region – e.g., aerospace and advanced manufacturing – and/or collaborating through a center or institute?

    5. Description of Organizational Administrative Structure

      1. What is the proposed organizational structure of the college or school?
      2. Will the college or school have an Advisory Council(s)? If so, why? Describe desired composition of members, e.g., how many external community members from which kinds of agencies, corporations, not-for-profits, governmental groups, etc.?

    6. Demonstrated Consultation with Affected Academic Units

      1. All proposals will be reviewed by the delineated levels of review. 
      2. Attach a recommendation from affected departmental faculty, chairs, and deans indicating their support or non-support of the proposed college or school. The recommendation should include
        1. a vote count of the departmental faculty for or against the proposal;
        2. a rationale for the support/non-support from the Chair; and
        3. a rationale for the support/non-support from the Dean.
      3. As noted in the Policy, final decisions reside with the Board of Trustees. No level of review prior may execute a  “veto” of the proposal; recommendations are expected to provide important information to the review panel regarding the overall support for the proposed change(s).

  2. Process for Proposal Review and Approval:

    1. All proposals will be reviewed by the delineated levels of review.

    2. College or school initiators must send their formal proposal to a review committee designated by the Provost or President, who will review for completeness and make a preliminary recommendation within four weeks of the submission request. The review committee will be comprised of

      1. One Academic Dean,
      2. One Council of Chairs and Directors Representative,
      3. One Faculty Senate Representative, 
      4. One Classified Staff Representative,
      5. One Exempt Staff Representative,
      6. One Enrollment Services Representative,
      7. One Faculty Member from each existing college or school,
      8. One Student Government Representative from each existing college or school, and
      9. One representative from Finance and Administration (the VP or designee). There should be no overlap with proposing departments.

    3. The Provost and President will complete their determination within the established deadlines (assuming the proposal is submitted by the first Friday of October).

    4. Proposals can be revised and resubmitted following recommendations of review levels.

    5. The final decision regarding establishment of a college or school resides with the Board of Trustees of the University.

VI. History

  1. Approved by: Board of Trustees

  2. Effective: April 1, 2019

  3. Original Enactment: February 2014

  4. Review: This policy will be reviewed every five years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.

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