Faculty Council hears about reaccreditation, Faculty Success program at Oct. 4 meeting

Editor’s note: Amy Barkley, executive assistant to the CSU Faculty Council, wrote this article for SOURCE on key reports and discussion items at the October Faculty Council meeting. It is published here on behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Leadership. Details of the reports and presentations referenced below are available in the meeting minutes on the Faculty Council website once they are approved at the November meeting.

Faculty Council held an abbreviated meeting on Oct. 4, where members heard from two different groups. The two discussion items on the agenda were centered around the reaccreditation process and the Faculty Success program. Members also voted on two proposed Manual changes and elected student representatives to a few of the Faculty Council standing committees.

Reaccreditation process

Vice Provost for Planning and Effectiveness Laura Jensen visited with the council to provide members with an overview of the upcoming reaccreditation of CSU. Jensen described the timeline for the reaccreditation process, which involves submitting assurance arguments and quality initiatives, and then refining these items ahead of the on-campus visit, which will happen in September 2023. Along with providing a timeline, Jensen described the reasons for reaccreditation. She stated that part of it is for accountability, and that CSU is looking at its quality and continuous improvement, which involves looking at academic programs and operations. The other purpose of accreditation is to validate the quality of CSU’s academic programs at all degree levels.

Jensen directed members’ attention to the accreditation website out of the Office of Institutional Research, Planning and Effectiveness. She stated that the leadership of the accreditation teams are listed, as are the criteria being followed and previous assurance arguments. Jensen indicated that the accreditation working groups would be meeting with various groups across campus, including Faculty Council standing committees.

Questions from Faculty Council members included requests for further clarification of the nature of the site visit in September 2023 and what role departments will play in this process, as well as what level of scrutiny was anticipated, given recent leadership changes. Jensen clarified that the site visit is to confirm that what we have submitted is actually happening on campus, as well as to get a sense of the culture. She said CSU is attempting to indicate work that is already happening in its assurance document, to prevent adding to the workload of faculty and departments in this process. Jensen also stated that there may be questions around the leadership changes but does not believe this will be an issue if CSU continues to focus on its mission. 

Faculty Success program 

Faculty Success team lead Ruth Hufbauer, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Susan James and Faculty Success Program Manager Jen Dawrs provided Faculty Council members with updates and an overview of the Faculty Success program. The Faculty Success program has come out of the ADVANCE grant from the National Science Foundation and was originally focused on gender equity among faculty in STEM fields. Hufbauer described what Faculty Success is attempting to do is much broader, across the CSU campus.

James stated that the main objective is to create a sustainable, long-term structure that provides the tools needed to assess workload equity in departments, knowing that it will not be the same from department to department. The key goals for the near future are to understand the processes for how workloads are assigned and distributed within each department. James told Faculty Council members that a survey would be emailed following the meeting to help provide information that will be used to inform the direction of the task force in terms of goals and strategies.

Faculty Council members were encouraged to look at the American Council on Education Toolkit as a starting point for understanding the work of the Faculty Success group.

Other  highlights

  • The Faculty Council office is working on a potential hybrid meeting for the December Faculty Council meeting. There will be updates once more information becomes available.
  • There will be an employee council meet-and-greet at Avogadro’s on Oct. 19 from 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Faculty Council approved changes to Section D.2.2 of the Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual. The changes indicate that the vice president for university operations will convene the University Policy Review Committee, which was created in 2019.
  • Faculty Council members also approved changes to Section E.2, which added clarifying language around academic appointments, the home of academic appointments, and contract renewals. Both proposed Manual changes have been sent to the Office of General Counsel for review and approval ahead of going to the Board of Governors.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be on Tuesday, Nov. 1 on Microsoft Teams. 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.