Faculty Council continues work on severance policy recommendation

Presentations at campuses under way
Faculty Council continues work on severance policy recommendation

John McDowell, right, receives a Distinguished Service Award from Faculty Council Chair Mark Malone during the council’s Sept. 22 meeting at 1800 Grant St. in Denver. McDowell, a D.D.S. in the School of Dental Medicine, served two consecutive terms as chair of Faculty Council. He currently is working 20 hours weekly on special projects, including the health and wellness initiative, as an executive fellow in the president’s office. Photo by Tricia Strating

Members of the Faculty Council continue to review current language in the university’s policy regarding severance pay for dismissed faculty, with the most recent council meeting providing an opportunity for further fine-tuning.

At the request of the Laws and Policies Committee of the Board of Regents, the council agreed to make a final recommendation on the wording of the policy by late this year, in time for the full board to consider it at its January 2012 meeting. In preparation for that, Faculty Council Chair Mark Malone and other council leaders have begun making presentations to campus faculty assemblies, having started with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

“Feedback so far from various groups is that people generally seem to like the improved language,” Malone said at the Sept. 22 Faculty Council meeting at 1800 Grant St. in Denver.

Proposed changes are highlighted at the Faculty Council’s website. They include the addition of “gross or repeated” preceding the term “neglect of duties,” and the striking of “moral turpitude,” which many faculty have said is hard to define.

At last week’s meeting, council members also agreed on changes to a proposed last sentence to the policy: “After consultation with the faculty panel on Privilege & Tenure and in consideration of the circumstances, the Board of Regents may vote to deny severance pay for a faculty member dismissed for cause.”

The current Board of Regents policy states that "teachers on continuous appointment who are dismissed for reasons not involving moral turpitude should receive their salaries for at least a year from the date of notification of dismissal whether or not they are continued in their duties at the institution ..." In recent years, some regents have expressed desire to eliminate that portion of the policy.

Since last week’s meeting, the council has presented to the Anschutz Medical Campus faculty; they’ll present to CU Denver faculty on Tuesday, followed by CU-Boulder on Oct. 6.

In other action at last week’s Faculty Council meeting:

  • The council unanimously passed a motion by the Faculty Council GLBTI committee “to investigate the implementation of a validated and reliable equity assessment tool at all four campuses in the interest of defining a baseline for the status of the diversity issues on all the campuses.”
  • The council heard from Regent Michael Carrigan, who asked to speak about the board’s recent decision to revisit the decision to combine the positions of university counsel and secretary of the Board of Regents, in light of the upcoming retirement of Dan Wilkerson, who currently holds the posts. The board’s Laws and Policies Committee also has been reviewing language in regent policy regarding hiring authority over chancellors, currently the responsibility of the president. As part of a fellowship in the president’s office, former Faculty Council Chair John McDowell is gathering data on how similar institutions deal with such arrangements.
  • McDowell was honored with a Distinguished Service Award (see photo above).

The Faculty Council and Faculty Senate next meets from noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 27 at 1800 Grant St., Denver.