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 Sept. 6 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 October meeting.
Interim President Rick Miranda visited Faculty Council at its first meeting of the academic year on Sept. 6 to give a budget primer for members.
Miranda discussed details around the educational and general (E&G) budget and explained what auxiliary budgets are. He said auxiliary budgets are not generally under the purview of administration other than their management, and that the E&G budget is typically what it focuses on with the Board of Governors.
Miranda discussed revenues and expenditures over the last year. He explained that CSU experienced a roughly $13 million shortfall last year, which was covered in a variety of ways. Miranda explained that this year, CSU officials were able to improve the deficit by $7 million, and they are projecting only a $6 million deficit. He said there are several new expenses expected this year, including investments around student success, diversity initiatives, investing in the police department and public safety, and faculty and staff compensation.
Miranda also explained some of the priorities for this year. He noted that some items will need to wait until we have a new president, but that his office will be focusing on various items that are student-facing, employee-facing, and in operations and facilities. With students, administrators are looking at enrollment management and financial plans to help close equity gaps. For faculty, they will be investing resources into looking at compensation, both in regard to internal equity as well as market competitiveness. With facilities, they are having conversations about several buildings regarding possible renovations, as well as imagining what the renovation of Clark will look like.
Questions from Faculty Council members included requests for clarification around compensation efforts, as well as handling the staffing shortage and more specifics on what internal equity looks like.
Report from interim provost
Interim Provost Janice Nerger attended Faculty Council as well, to provide updates on items she has been addressing during her first few weeks in the interim role:
- She has created a new Provost’s Leadership Council, which is made up of all 10 deans, including the dean of Libraries and dean of the Graduate School, the vice provosts and the chair of the Faculty Council. Nerger will be meeting with this group twice a month.
- Nerger indicated that there are several searches occurring, including for the vice provost for undergraduate affairs and the Honors Program director. She hopes to launch the searches for the executive director of TILT and dean of the Graduate School. Another upcoming search is for a new dean for the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering following Dean David McLean’s term.
- Nerger introduced the two new deans. Alonso Aguirre is the new dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources, and Sue VandeWoude is the new dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Nerger said Simon Tavener is serving as the interim dean for the College of Natural Sciences, and Sonia Kreidenweis is serving as the interim dean for the Graduate School.
- Nerger said her office is also working on accreditation efforts with Vice Provost for Planning and Effectiveness Laura Jensen and Special Advisor to the Provost Mary Pedersen.
Nerger explained that she has also been working through the curricular transition of AUCC 3E to 1C, and two committees have been activated to help move this forward. The implementation committee will be a limited-term committee to help determine how many seats are needed in 1C by looking at what CSU previously had in 3E. That report will be due to her on Nov. 1. At that point, she said, her team can look at the cost and whether any base funds are needed for items like GTAs and faculty training. The second committee, the guidance committee, will primarily work with departments and curriculum committees to assist faculty in ensuring that courses are meeting requirements with the pedagogy guidelines and GT Pathways criteria.
Changes in leadership, new task forces
Chair Sue Doe presented her first Faculty Council Chair Report of the 2022-23 academic year, highlighting an unusual summer due to the changes in leadership. She emphasized the need for honest and transparent conversations around what faculty are feeling in the wake of all this change. Doe indicated that while she has the utmost confidence in her colleagues during the transition, there is still much lingering confusion among faculty about what happened over the summer.
Doe’s report also included briefings on committees and initiatives that she is undertaking as chair. Doe has been involved with the Recruitment and Retention Task Force, the Housing Task Force and the Student Success Leadership Team, and is also regularly attending the President’s Cabinet meetings. Another item of interest includes the digitization of the Faculty Council records with University Archives. Doe also indicated that she is helping co-chair the search for the new vice provost for undergraduate affairs.
Doe announced that she is organizing several Faculty Council task forces to address various issues. These task forces will address:
- Shared governance
- Continuing, contract and adjunct faculty appointment types and the contracts for those appointment types
- Administrative leave
- Envisioning the future of CSU
- Budget intro to capstone and build on President Miranda’s budget briefings
Faculty members interested in participating in these task forces should contact either Doe or the Faculty Council office.
Retirement Plan Review committee
Vice President for Human Resources Robyn Fergus and Joseph DiVerdi, chair of the Retirement Plan Review Committee, visited Faculty Council to provide information on the process for reviewing retirement plans for CSU employees. Fergus began by explaining that the defined contribution plan was initiated in the early 1990s and has not had an extensive review since then. She explained that the investment landscape has significantly changed since that time. The work of the committee is to conduct a comprehensive review of the major structure of the retirement plans.
Fergus outlined the current landscape for investments and where they are in the process for recommendations from the Retirement Plan Review Committee. Members have been working closely with Innovest, which is a national financial investment firm. Fergus said that CSU Procurement is assisting in putting out a bid for vendors. She said she was not able to give more details at this time due to rules during the procurement process. All recommendations will need to be approved by the Board of Governors, and then, following any action on those recommendations, negotiations will need to occur with successful bidder(s).
DiVerdi emphasized that this process was about helping to simplify the process, lowering administration fees for the participants and protecting the investments already in place. He stated that more information can be found on the Human Resources website.
Other Faculty Council highlights
- Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Susan James gave a brief update on ADVANCE @ CSU, which has been rebranded as Faculty Success. She will be providing a more in-depth update at the October Faculty Council meeting.
- Doe directed members’ attention to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education in which she is quoted: Last Year Was Miserable. Can Colleges Make this One Better?
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.