Faculty Council discusses big picture with Regent Griego

Vice chair seeks ongoing input from CU’s educators

CU Regent Irene Griego
Regent Irene Griego

Board of Regents Vice Chair Irene Griego was a guest at the Faculty Council’s first meeting of the academic year, taking questions from council members and discussing big-picture issues affecting the University of Colorado and higher education institutions everywhere.

Griego, a Lakewood Democrat representing the 7th Congressional District, emphasized that she and the board value input from Faculty Council and faculty members across the system.

“We need to hear your voice so we can plan effectively for issues that come up that are important to you,” she said during the Aug. 27 meeting at 1800 Grant St. “We really need that information.”

Griego said she feels it’s important for regents to be able to represent faculty when making decisions.

“Anytime you have issues or concerns, please let me know,” she said. “”It does give me better insight into what goes on.

“The other thing I want to get your input on is the future of the university. Thing are really changing in our world rapidly, and I’d like to know what all of you think is the role of the university?”

Gloria Main said society wants and needs good citizens. “We have a moral obligation, and our students must understand that they have an obligation, to the broader community – to the world. They must use their costly education not only to line their own pockets, but to contribute to the world. That is part of our mission.”

Others said it’s important for the university to support “career literacy” for undergraduates without chasing trends in the current job market.  Michael Lightner, interim vice president for Academic Affairs, pointed to a statistic indicating that 80 percent of current graduates will eventually be in jobs that don’t currently exist. “So there’s a real challenge in looking at a strong core, an onramp (to employment).”

Tamara Terzian said members of the university community serve a mission not just of educating students, but to educate the broader community about the research undertaken across the university. Griego said she agrees completely.

“I never chose to be a public official, but I ended up being one,” said Griego, who first was appointed to the board by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2011. Her professional background is in K-12 education. “I was always in a community of educators. Now that I’m a regent, I’m getting more of the political world, and I’m amazed – and sometimes appalled – at how much some people don’t know about our university. When I speak to (external) groups … all they’re interested in is our football team. They don’t even know about the contributions CU is making to the state and the nation. Not just (economic impact), but contributions in research that impacts our lives.

“I agree that our community needs to learn more about what we do, and I know (CU communicators) are working on that.”

In other business at last week’s meeting:

  • Kathleen Bollard attended her last faculty council meeting before departing as vice president of Academic Affairs to return to her role on the CU Denver faculty. She thanked the council for its support over the years; Chair John McDowell said Bollard’s work has been appreciated by the council, which gave her a standing ovation. “I know that your taking on all of this service is a huge amount of work on your part. It really is appreciated by all the people who work with you on shared governance,” she said.
  • The university’s parental leave policy will be a focus of the coming year, said Kathy Nesbitt, vice president of employee and information services, during her report to the council. “I know there’s interest in that leave being paid. I don’t know if we’ll get there; some campuses pay and others do not. My goal over the next year is to have a conversation about that. I need time because this is a very delicate issue – it’s sensitive to all of you, and there are financial implications.”
  • Committee reports noted the dates of two systemwide symposiums presented by Faculty Council: The GLBTI symposium is set for Nov. 13; the CU Women Succeeding symposium will be Feb. 25-26. Both will be at UCCS.
  • McDowell said he has begun work on facilitating a potential change to the Privilege and Tenure Committee, whose mission is to provide faculty members a hearing for grievances involving perceived violations of rights or privileges. The council has set a goal of allowing non-tenure track faculty to be part of the committee, which isn’t allowed under current bylaws.