A year of changes: Faculty Council in review

Colorado State University’s Faculty Council had a full year of jam-packed meetings, covering various discussions, task force reports, elections, regular reports from President Joyce McConnell and Provost Mary Pedersen, as well as key revisions to the Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual.

Included in these manual changes were revisions to Sections E and C, made in response to efforts to improve University commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Other changes involved expanded participation of non-tenure track faculty in Faculty Council processes, increased acknowledgement of shared governance, a new Presidential survey, improvements to intellectual property protections, consideration of a new standing committee on information technology, and approval of a full rewrite of the Title IX Appendices.

Expanding participation of Contract, Continuing, and Adjunct Faculty

At the meeting on Dec. 1, 2020, Faculty Council members voted in support of extending council representation to non-tenure track faculty as both at-large representatives and departmental representatives. The Committee on Faculty Governance had invited departments to provide reaction, eventually bringing feedback and concerns back to Faculty Council for consideration. Discussion centered around apportionment and how the overall count would affect departments. Following the discussion, Faculty Council members voted to allow non-tenure track faculty to be counted in apportionment for at-large representatives, as well as to be elected as department representatives.

These changes are now reflected in the Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual, in Section C.

Additional recommendations for expanding shared governance were presented to Faculty Council at their final meeting on May 4, 2021. Steve Reising, chair of the Committee on Faculty Governance, presented changes to the Preface, as well as throughout Section C.2 to help formalize CSU’s commitment to shared governance. These changes were approved by Faculty Council and have been sent to be approved by General Counsel before going to the Board of Governors.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Chair Sue Doe created various task forces in the fall, including one centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion. This task force submitted a final report to Faculty Council in late fall 2020. This report outlined their efforts and their recommendations for revisions to Sections C and E of the Manual to reflect the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in faculty work, as well as supporting it through promotion and tenure processes. Recommendations were sent to the Committee on Responsibilities and Standing of Academic Faculty and the Committee on Faculty Governance for consideration in late 2020.

Both committees brought forth the revision recommendations for consideration at the Faculty Council meeting on Feb. 2, 2021. Faculty Council members voted in support of both revisions. The updated wording for all the approved sections, Section C.2 and Sections E.10, E.12, E.13 and E.14, can be found in the Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual on the Faculty Council website.

Presidential survey

For the first time ever, Faculty Council circulated a survey to all faculty to obtain feedback on presidential performance. This information will be compiled and passed along to the Board of Governors for President McConnell’s annual evaluation. A Presidential Survey Task Force worked throughout the past summer, fall, and spring to create a Qualtrics survey instrument, which also included a question submitted from the President’s office. The survey was administered in late March and the data was analyzed by Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness in April. Over 500 faculty participated in the survey and it is hoped that this survey can be administered annually.

Intellectual property

Another task force undertook an initial analysis of intellectual property protections, especially pertaining to classroom materials in online environments. The Intellectual Property Task Force created a report in Fall 2020 calling for changes to messaging in the Canvas and CSU Online environments. Subsequent efforts by a reconstituted Intellectual Property Task Force yielded additional recommendations around classroom materials. The task force has put forward a recommendation to the Committee on Responsibilities and Standing of Academic Faculty to consider changes to Section J of the Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual.

Information technology

This task force recommended the creation of a new Faculty Council standing committee dedicated to information technology. In Spring 2021, the Committee on Faculty Governance sought feedback from various University constituencies and will return with recommendations for the creation of this new standing committee in Fall of 2021.

Title IX Appendices

Faculty Council members saw a sweeping rewrite to the Title IX Appendices in the Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual at their first meeting of the year on Sept. 1, 2020, required by changes in federal regulations. This monumental task was undertaken by the Committee on Responsibilities and Standing of Academic Faculty in coordination with the Office of General Counsel. The appendices were approved by Faculty Council for placement in the Manual.

Both appendices can be viewed on the Faculty Council website: Faculty Manual – Appendices | Faculty Council | Colorado State University.

For the schedule of Faculty Council meetings, approved minutes and agendas, lists of members of the Council and its committees and other information, visit the Faculty Council website.