Faculty Council extends workload into summer, skips elections

Budget uncertainty will have governance group’s attention in coming months

Faculty Council leaders will continue in their current roles for longer than may have been expected.

During the April 23 meeting of the Faculty Senate, held via Zoom, the senate dispensed with the election of officers to serve in the coming academic year after members passed a motion allowing the current chair, vice chair and secretary of Faculty Council, as well as committee chairs and members, to remain in their current roles. Ordinarily, elections would have been held at the April meeting.

The motion acknowledges the impact of COVID-19 on teaching, research and governance, and stresses a need for continuity and institutional knowledge at a time when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible.

Chair Joanne Addison also announced that Faculty Council won’t take the usual break from meeting this summer. The council’s executive committee and chairs from standing council committees will continue working at a time when decisions about the state and CU budgets will be in process.

The council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is May 14, when further detail about state revenue is expected to inform decisions that have been delayed because of disruption from the coronavirus.

As is customary at the April meeting of Faculty Senate, the university president appeared to discuss the state of the system. President Mark Kennedy highlighted the university’s response to the pandemic and focused on budget questions that he also had reviewed with the Board of Regents earlier in April.

“We know how much of a burden it’s put on you,” Kennedy said of the mid-semester shift to remote teaching and learning. “We know what great work you’re doing and we are appreciative of it.”

Last week’s meeting also included an update on the strategic planning process, which also has been slowed by the pandemic. Lists of action steps originally were due from committees last Friday, but that deadline has been extended to a date to be announced. Review and tentative approval of the completed plan, originally set for July, has been moved to September.

Progress continues on the university’s online initiative, now being led by Sheana Bull, interim senior faculty fellow, and Scot Chadwick, interim AVP of online. The Online Acceleration Committee, being supported by consultants EY-Parthenon, has established working groups that will make recommendations in five areas: academic, online services, finance, campus engagement and IT. Online programs launching in fall 2020 will receive additional marketing support from the president’s office, which also will undertake a longer-term branding and marketing effort for the online initiative aimed at a fall 2021 launch.

Also ramping up across the system is a diversity campaign, requested by the Board of Regents to stress a message of respect among members of the CU community, and to celebrate successes in diversity of all forms – while aiming to make continued strides.

“What the regents have said to us is, we want to make sure diversity remains front and center, top of mind at the university,” said Ken McConnellogue, vice president of communication, who appeared with representatives of Denver firm Essencialize, which has been engaged to create campaign material. “We want to celebrate CU’s commitment to diversity.”