Regents roundup

More news and notes from last week’s board meeting at CU Denver
By Staff

Four new degrees earned the approval of the Board of Regents during its regular meeting Friday at the CU Denver Student Commons Building on the Auraria Campus.

Two of the degrees will be offered by CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science: a master’s and doctorate in Environmental Engineering. The other two are at UCCS: The College of Business will a master’s degree in accounting; read more on it in Communique. The other new degree at UCCS – a bachelor of science in Engineering Education – wasn’t expected to be voted on at the meeting, as the regents typically hear a presentation for discussion at one meeting and take a vote at the next one. The new degree will be an interdisciplinary offering with curriculum from the UCCS College of Engineering and Applied Science and College of Education in coordination with the acclaimed UCCSTeach program. It’s aimed at boosting the pipeline of workers in science, technology, engineering and math – STEM – fields.

“This is probably one of the most exciting degree programs I’ve heard about in quite a while,” said Regent Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, who brought a motion for the regents to approve the degree Friday. UCCS leaders said the quick approval would help them begin to market the program, which is slated to begin in the fall. Read more on the new degree in Communique.

The regents approved name changes to three degrees offered by CU-Boulder’s Department of Art and Art History from “studio art” to “art practices”; they also approved a name change of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus Graduate School’s “physiology” doctorate to “integrated physiology.”

A lengthy discussion by the board focused on a CU-Boulder proposal to change Women and Gender Studies from a program to a department. Provost Russell Moore explained that the program is in its 40th year, has conferred bachelor’s degrees for 18 years and boasts a faculty of internationally known distinguished scholars. Chancellor Phil DiStefano said the move to confer official department status should have been made much sooner. Moore stressed that the change would not entail any additional costs. Still, at least one board member expressed reservations about the appearance of such a move. Board Chair Kyle Hybl, R-Colorado Springs, said he was encouraged to hear of the cost neutrality, but that the appearance that the institution is growing could be damaging in an environment calling for reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.

“It’s an optical enlargement of the institution … and optics are important, too,” Hybl said. “As the university moves forward, we really need to be cognizant of not expanding our footprint but instead consolidating it and making us more efficient.”

Said Moore, “There are the optics, but then there’s the right thing to do. … The elimination of (revenue-positive) programs like this would actually increase the overhead on campus.”

Regent Linda Shoemaker, D-Boulder, praised the “academically rigorous” program. “I would be very upset, as a woman, if we were not able to confer departmental status on this program,” she said.

The board is likely to vote on the proposal at the next regents’ meeting, June 22-23 at CU Anschutz.

In other action at Friday’s meeting:

  • The board voted 7-2 in favor of revisions to the regents’ Presidential Search Policy (3.E.), including the stipulation that a presidential search committee be chaired by a member of the board and joined by a committee vice chair who also is a member of the board. The committee’s four faculty members must be members of the Faculty Senate. The board also reserves the right to appoint additional committee members if deemed appropriate, beyond the representatives called for in the policy. The standing members still include deans, students, staff members, alumni and community members. A faculty-requested revision to the policy that called for additional faculty members to be included with any additions made by the board failed in a 2-7 vote.
  • The board heard from chancellors on the status of the online initiative, scheduled to launch in August. CU Denver Chancellor Jerry Wartgow told the regents the campuses had completed the inventory of online offerings and the technology committee is now working on website. All committees associated with developing the online initiative will be meeting together in May and Wartgow said he expects to report more specific data at the June board meeting.
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