New degrees earn approval of Regents

Board members also discuss current program approval process

The University of Colorado Board of Regents on Friday unexpectedly approved two new degree programs and discussed a third, which won’t receive a vote of the board until its November meeting.

The votes for the programs were not unanimous – not because of dissent regarding plans as presented for the degrees, but because of the departure from board procedure.

Receiving approval at the meeting at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs were a master of science in palliative care at the Graduate School of CU Denver l Anschutz Medical Campus and a bachelor of science in exercise science at the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UCCS. Read more on the latter in Communique.

Both had been included on the board’s agenda as discussion items. During separate presentations, leaders from the campuses noted the advantages of receiving approval sooner rather than later, namely the ability to begin marketing efforts to facilitate enrollment by students in fall 2016. Some board members supported calling for votes at Friday’s meeting in order to provide that ability.

The palliative care degree passed 7-2, with Regents Michael Carrigan and Glen Gallegos opposing. The exercise science degree vote was closer; along with Carrigan and Gallegos, Regents John Carson and Vice Chair Irene Griego voted no. Regents Steve Bosley, Stephen Ludwig, Sue Sharkey, Linda Shoemaker (participating by phone) and Chair Kyle Hybl supported both.

In recent years, the board has heard a new degree proposal at one meeting, then scheduled a vote at the next meeting – typically about six weeks later. Occasionally, the board has skipped the wait and decided to vote and give approval early. The practice of waiting is stated in board policy that was formally adopted earlier during Friday’s meeting.

“We are willing to drop those policies at the drop of a hat,” Gallegos said. “Everything is hurry up, we need more money, we need a new degree program. I’m a little tired of it.”

Carrigan said he agreed, and noted that his no vote would be brought about by the board’s procedure, not the degree program.

Regent Sue Sharkey said she understood the concern, “But I think this is an occasion where (an early vote) is necessary. This is not some extraordinary new degree program … that has any controversy to it, but a very well-thought-out proposal. It’s very much in need.”

During discussion of the exercise science degree, Bosley moved for the board to approve it. “I don’t think we should get in the way of campuses reacting quickly to the marketplace,” he said.

Griego said this degree proposal was more complex than the previous one, and thus required the longer review period enabled by waiting on a vote until November.

Hybl asked Ludwig, who leads the board’s Laws and Policies Committee, to revisit the two-meeting consideration policy, address its intent, and recommend when and how that policy should be varied from – or if it should remain in place.

The third degree on the agenda for discussion was a new bachelor of arts in public service in the School of Public Affairs at CU Denver. It is expected to be voted on at the November board meeting.

Other degrees previously presented to the board also were approved by a vote on the consent agenda. The newly approved degrees are: master of arts in Russian studies, CU-Boulder; master of science in athletic training, UCCS; bachelor of arts in inclusive elementary education, UCCS.

In other business at last week’s meeting:

  • The board heard from Patrick O’Rourke, vice president of university counsel and secretary of the board, on notices of motion to revise and amend Regent Law and Policy, including:
    • Clarification of the nondiscrimination policy to include pregnancy: Currently the laws of the regents do not specify that discrimination on the basis pregnancy is prohibited. If approved by the board, the amendment would state the “University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, political affiliation, or political philosophy in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities.”
    • Revisions to policy regarding fiscal misconduct: Under current policy, the definition of fiscal misconduct is dependent upon harm to the university. The revision would include students, faculty and staff. The policy would also consider attempted fiscal misconduct.
    • Modification to add philanthropy to award criteria: The change would allow philanthropy to the university as an allowable consideration when determining awards such as Honorary Degrees, Distinguished Service and University Medals. 
    • New policy for indemnity contracts: Would allow for delegation of regent authority to approve contracts containing indemnity provisions.

The motions will be considered at a future meeting.

  • The board approved two facility upgrade projects at CU-Boulder. Regents voted 9-0 to approve a $2.5 million upgrade to CU-Boulder’s animal care facility and $4.7 million for athletics facilities upgrades. Both increases were approved to cover costs that have expanded largely due to market-driven increases in labor and materials. Read more in CU-Boulder Today.
  • Andrea Herrera, Ph.D., of UCCS attended and was formally recognized by the board for her Chase Faculty Community Service Award, announced in April.
  • Two departing members of CU system leadership received resolutions of appreciation from the board. Kathleen Bollard, outgoing vice president of academic affairs, and Don Eldhart, outgoing treasurer, both were present to receive tributes from board members and administrators.

-Cathy Beuten contributed to this report.

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