Faculty Council hears updates on budget, searches from President Parsons

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 April 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 May meeting.

Faculty Council met via Teams on April 4 to hear updates from President Amy Parsons and Interim Provost Janice Nerger, and to discuss several proposed revisions to the Graduate and Professional Bulletin as well as the Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual.

Updates on budget, priorities

Parsons attended Faculty Council to provide an update on the work she has been doing since last visiting with the council in February, as well as updates on the budget and current open searches. Parsons said she had been visiting with a lot of people around campus, including faculty, staff and students, and recently returned from a trip to Japan with Gov. Jared Polis, where they discussed international partnerships and student exchanges.

Parsons also provided a budget update for members. She reported that state numbers are looking good, and CSU leaders are still hoping to provide a 5% salary increase pool. Parsons also indicated that she is working with Interim Provost Janice Nerger, Executive Vice President Rick Miranda and Vice President for University Operations Brendan Hanlon to reinvigorate fall budget presentations. These presentations would be given by deans and vice presidents and will cover priorities and needs, as well as what happened with the budget the previous year. There are also discussions around a potential new budget model. Parsons said that CSU has engaged Andrew Comrie, who is the chief academic officer of the Arizona system, to discuss the budget models. Comrie will visit CSU the first week of May to meet with people and discuss priorities.

Questions from Faculty Council members centered around the involvement of the Faculty Council Committee on Strategic and Financial Planning in the budget discussions, as well as why CSU leaders are considering a new budget model. Concerns were also raised about the possible revival of reallocation exercises. Parsons stated that the Committee on Strategic and Financial Planning will be thoroughly involved in the budget discussions. She clarified that administrators are looking at CSU’s budget model because it has not been analyzed in some time, and that she will look into past reallocation exercises and how they were deployed.

Colorado Re-Engaged (CORE) initiative

Nerger presented details on the Colorado Re-Engaged (CORE) initiative as part of the provost’s report. Nerger explained that the initiative enables CSU and other four-year institutions in Colorado to award associate degrees to students who meet certain eligibility requirements and are no longer enrolled at that institution. Students eligible for this initiative must have earned at least 70 credits without having earned a bachelor’s degree, have not earned more than 15 credits at a community college, have met the general education requirements as defined by the state, and have been unenrolled for at least two consecutive semesters.

Nerger stated that CSU would like to participate in this voluntary initiative. CSU leaders have discussed this with the Board of Governors and plan to only offer an Associate in General Studies degree for now. Nerger explained the implementation process, which will be handled by the Office of the Registrar. CSU received a grant of $26,000 to support implementation and help the Office of the Registrar identify eligible students. The Colorado Department of Higher Education will publicize this initiative and assist CSU in contacting eligible students. CSU will be responsible for conferring the associate degrees if the student requests it, as well as advising students on opportunities to re-enroll to complete their bachelor’s degree. Nerger also stated that CSU would be responsible for reporting how many eligible students are identified and how many degrees were conferred to the Colorado Department of Higher Education every year. More information can be found on the Colorado Re-Engaged (CORE) initiative website.

Questions from members focused on how many students this initiative would impact, as well as the impact on community colleges. Nerger stated that there are about 25,000 students in Colorado that this would affect, and staff are still checking on how many are specific to CSU. Nerger clarified that this should not impact community colleges, as students who have earned over 15 credits at a community college are not eligible and would be sent back to that community college instead to complete their degree.

Graduate and Professional Bulletin

The Committee on Scholarship, Research and Graduate Education presented two motions regarding proposed revisions to the Graduate and Professional Bulletin. William Sanford, chair of the Committee on Scholarship, Research and Graduate Education, was present to discuss the motions.

The first motion was to update language in the “Scholastic Standards” section to replace “academic probation” with “academic dismissal warning,” similar to the language changes made to the catalog for undergraduates. Faculty Council members approved the changes.

The second motion was to place language into the Graduate and Professional Bulletin to indicate the commitment to pay the mandatory fees for graduate assistants. Concerns were raised by Dean of the Graduate School Colleen Webb and Miranda about potential confusion given the phase-in period and the lack of official University policy on the mandatory fees where people can be directed. Other concerns centered around additional updates required in the proposed sections. This motion was referred back to the Committee on Scholarship, Research and Graduate Education. Work has begun to create language around the mandatory fees into a University policy, and updated language will be brought back to Faculty Council next fall.

Section J of the Faculty Manual

Jennifer Martin, chair of the Committee on Responsibilities and Standing of Academic Faculty, presented a motion to Faculty Council for a complete re-write of Section J of the Academic Faculty and Administrative Professional Manual. Martin explained that the re-writes were the result of the work of a large committee, and they bring Section J up to date with federal policy as well as creating separate copyright and patent policies. Chair Sue Doe indicated that the large committee involved not only the Committee on Responsibilities and Standing of Academic Faculty, but also the Office of General Counsel, the Provost’s Office and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Concerns regarding these revisions were raised by the Office of General Counsel and Miranda. Miranda explained that there were concerns around whether the council should wait to allow the new vice president for research weigh in on the changes, as well as inconsistencies with the service agreement with CSU Strata. Miranda requested that this item be referred back to allow more time for review with the leadership of the Office of General Counsel and the chancellor’s office so these issues can be resolved.

Faculty Council members raised concerns about the communication issues with the Office of General Counsel, as well as whether it was necessary to wait for the new vice president for research to be in place. The revisions were ultimately sent back to the Committee on Responsibilities and Standing of Academic Faculty, which will bring updated language back to Faculty Council in the future.

Other highlights

  • Andrew Norton is working with the Board of Governors to have its members attend Faculty Council meetings. Governors Polly Baca and Betsy Markey joined the April Faculty Council meeting, and more will attend the next meeting. The intent is to have them introduce themselves and provide an opportunity for them to get to know Faculty Council better.
  • The next Board of Governors meeting will be held on the CSU Fort Collins campus on Thursday, May 4, and Friday, May 5.
  • Faculty Council approved a new center called the Center for Science Communication, effective in Fall 2023.
  • Members voted on their meeting format for the 2023-2024 academic year. Most members (59%) indicated a desire to remain virtual, with 29% requesting hybrid. The Faculty Council officers will review this information and utilize it to plan a meeting format schedule for next year.
  • Faculty Council members approved changes to the Fresh Start Policy. Alan Kennan, chair of the Committee on Scholastic Standards, presented a motion to eliminate the Freshman Accelerated Fresh Start and change the guidelines of the regular Fresh Start to state that students only need to stay away for one (1) year rather than the current two (2) years.

The next Faculty Council meeting will be on Tuesday, May 2, in TILT 221 and over 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.