Meeting Minutes, December 14, 2021
The Arts and Sciences Council (ASC), 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Zoom

Representatives Present: Robert Rupert (PHIL), Julie Lundquist (ATOC), Sebastian Casalaina (MATH), Paul Romatschke (PHYS), Joe Bryan (GEOG), Andrew Cowell (LING), Annje Wiese (HUMN), Juan Pablo Dabove (SPAN), Stephanie Su (AAH), Daniel Kaffine (ECON), Shelley Copley (MCDB), Matt Jones (PSYC), Kieran Murphy (FRIT), Cecilia Pang (THDN), Angelica Lawson (ETHN), Lorraine Bayard de Volo (WGST), Matthew Burgess (ENVS), Christina Meyers (SLHS), Christopher Osborn (CINE), John Keller (APS), Robert Parson (CHEM), John Stevenson (ENGL), Rebecca Flowers (GEOL), Svetoslav Derderyan (PSCI), Rebecca Wartell (JWST), Zachary Kilpatrick (APPM), Janet Casagrand (IPHY), Jennifer Schwartz (HONR), Nichole Barger (EBIO), Mike Zerella (RAPS), William Taylor (ANTH)

Representatives not present: Anastasiya Osipova (GSLL), Elspeth Dusinberre (CLAS), Anthony Abiragi (PWR), Liam Downey (SOCY), Matthias Richter (ALC), David Paradis (HIST), Deborah Whitehead (RLST), Robert Kuchta (BCHM)

Also in attendance: James White (Interim Dean), Anna Jensen (Dean’s Office), Bud Coleman (Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Initiatives), Mike Barnett (College of Music), Jaroslav Tir (PSCI), Celine Dauverd (HIST), Nils Halverson(APS), Lucas Alan Eads (IPHY), Cheryl Higashida (ENGL), Jack Damico (SLHS), Lynne Howard (BFA), Irene Blair (PSYC), Laura Michaelis (LING), Joshua Firestone (Dean’s Office), Eric Stade (MATH), Robert Ferry (BFA), Kathryn Pieplow (PWR), Jessica Baron (SAC), Arienne O’Connell (SAC), Raina V. Gough (CHEM)

Meeting is called to order at 3:35 pm.

Dean’s Remarks

Acting Dean White thanks everyone for getting through another COVID-filled semester. Hopefully, things will start to settle down soon. There is a large amount of student and faculty angst out there. There are resources available to faculty, students and staff and White encourages everyone to take advantage. A message was sent out to the college asking everyone to please take some down time over the next few weeks and White is encouraging this.

While the College of Arts & Sciences gained about 500 first year students this year, the college lost upper class students. So overall, A&S dropped by a few hundred students. Because of this, the college will not be getting any enrollment allocation, but A&S will also not be taking any more cuts.

White has been working to address a long-standing problem in the college. Other schools/colleges have grown by about 40% over the last 10 years while A&S has either remained stagnant or gone down by 2%. White has been working on some items to address this. Alternative college options are used for students who got into CU thinking they will get into the College of Engineering or Leeds School of Business, but do not. They go into the program in exploratory studies and then tend to leave in large numbers, which hurts A&S’s fall retention rates and six year graduation rate. White has been working with Leeds & Engineering deans on a joint recommendation to the provost that they change operating parameters around alternative college options.

White believes the application for A&S is also a problem. It asks a lot of questions that would put off non-STEM students. White has sent a request into the Buff Undergraduate Success Leadership Implementation Team (BUS-LIT) that they address the common application and make it more in-line with competitors.

White wants to give a head’s up that because of COVID and its fall-out, there has been a high turnover rate of staff. They think this will continue into the next year. They are working hard within the college to make sure they move applications and job openings as rapidly through the system as possible.

The strategic budget realignment process is moving forward. This is a model in which student credit hours and graduation rates are used as primary metrics for how much money the college gets from the university. This creates two important changes. One is moving to a cash economy wherein there is no such thing as continuing dollars and we move away from the historic budget model. The other change is brought about by the fact that student credit hours vary from year to year, so the college needs to be prepared for this variability.

MCDB’s representative asks if this is likely to help A&S. White believes in the end, it will be helpful because A&S does teach 60% of the university’s student credit hours. However, it will also mean being prepared to weather the ups and downs. White says they expect a decline in the number of high school graduates mid-decade because of corresponding birth rates.

Chair’s Remarks

This is the final meeting of the Arts & Sciences Council. Sometime between today and the afternoon of January 11th, the ASC will cease to exist and the Arts & Sciences Faculty Senate will take its place. Rupert thanks everyone who has participated over the course of its history. Rupert shares screen with minutes from the inaugural meeting of the ASC, dated November 1, 1995. Rupert reads from the letter and says they are moving ahead with various matters to do with the transition from the ASC to the ASFS.

Semi-Annual Report from Standing Committee Chairs

Academic Community & Diversity, chaired by Cecilia Pang:

Last year, the diversity committee successfully rolled out the first ASCEND (Arts and Sciences Consortium of Committees on Climate, Equity, Inclusion and Diversity) Awards. She is happy to announce that they will be doing the second ASCEND Awards this year. Be on the lookout for a call for nominations. Everyone is welcome to re-submit nominations from last year.

In addition to ASCEND, they will be instituting a DEI passion project. The goal is to recognize the unit’s efforts in DEI because they feel it is so important for all departments to promote DEI and they want to highlight the units’ efforts. Each unit will submit one passion project that symbolizes their commitment to DEI for AY 21-22.

Pang expresses deepest gratitude to Patricia Gonzalez, new Assistant Dean of Inclusive Practice. In her first month here, she has secured financial resources from Acting Dean White.

Budget Committee, chaired by Andy Cowell:

The budget committee has nine total members and Cowell thanks everyone involved. Everyone should have gotten a faculty education document earlier in the semester designed to update everyone on the current budget situation in the college. In addition, all should have seen the report on the reorganization and budget. This document started from the three working groups on reorganization done for the provost in 2019 and 2020. From that, the budget committee produced a document suggesting new ways for money to flow through the college and across divisions. That document is on the A&S website. It still has many details to be worked out and the committee is interested in comments from anyone.

Cowell is the faculty representative on the design committee for the overall campus budget redesign process. If anyone has questions or comments about the process, reach out to Cowell or Amy Lavens. That process will be continuing throughout the spring semester.

Along with the Boulder Faculty Assembly’s budget committee, they have been asking questions about Colorado’s Equal Pay For Equal Work Act. They all agree this was not handled as well as it could have been. Faculty were not given enough input into the algorithms that are being used to determine who deserves raises.

The budget committee has contacted the divisional deans to ask them to send a message from the budget committee to all chairs for next semester. With the new governance situation, the three divisional councils should all have their own budget committee. They are interested to see how these committees will be set up and how they will relate to the overall ASFS budget committee. They will continue to think about change in governance and structure over the next six months.

Curriculum Committee, chaired by Robert Parson:

The curriculum committee approved one new certificate program. They also approved revisions to two majors (humanities & neuro science). The bulk of their time was devoted to considering courses for the general education requirement. They considered 17 for AHUM, 10 for social sciences, and eight for natural sciences. Approval of those is very straight forward. Most of the time was spent considering courses that had been nominated for the U.S. Diversity and Global Diversity requirement. They considered nine courses nominated for U.S. Diversity and eleven for Global Diversity. One of the things that emerged from their discussion was that they thought they could expand upon/improve descriptions that people use in nominating these courses. They have started working on a Frequently Asked Questions document for people nominating courses to use in order to better understand what the committee needs. They also discussed minor programs versus certificate programs. In A&S, minor programs are defined as within departments. Certificates are normally used for inter-disciplinary programs across departments. Other colleges do have minor programs that span different departments. This will continue to be discussed and they find out what departments want and most satisfies the needs of departments.

Grievance Committee, chaired by Daniel Kaffine:

The grievance committee had three career salary grievance cases and they provided recommendations to Dean White.

In addition to the primary charge of current grievance committee, the new version is “grievance and professional affairs.” Time was spent discussing what that new component will look like. The new charge is to address issues related to professional rights and responsibilities. They spent some time reviewing the new PRR document and thinking about how that document will play into the new role of this committee.

Personnel Committee, chaired by Juan Pablo Dabove:

Dabove shares PowerPoint. The personnel committee (PC) is comprised of 10 members across the three divisions. It considers cases of comprehensive review, promotion to associate and tenure, promotion to full, and hire with tenure. During the fall, the PC typically considers comprehensive review and promotion/tenure cases, as well as any cases leftover from the spring. This fall, there were 36 cases considered: one hire with tenure, 22 comprehensive review, and 14 promotion/tenure. In all cases, the PC issued favorable recommendations, agreeing with the departmental recommendation. In all cases, the PC based recommendation on excellence in research.

There is a public (abridged) version of the PC’s procedural document, to be posted on the ASC’s website to ensure transparency of how the PC works. There were discussions regarding excellence in teaching, but no case was presented based solely on excellence in teaching. PC feels there should be a collective effort to clarify criteria for excellence in teaching. Though it was not universal, there were numerous faculty members who took advantage of the COVID-19 tenure clock stoppage. It was a wise decision to offer this.

Planning Committee, chaired by Shelley Copley

There are nine members of the planning committee. The major thing they have been spending time on is discussing matters related to instructional faculty. In 2018, White and former ASC chair Stephen Moijzsis constituted a task force on instructional faculty, which produced a 2019 report that had recommendations and requests to increase the wellbeing of the instructional faculty. The planning committee has been tasked with providing response to this report. They discussed a number of complex issues in regards to this.

They also discussed the adoption of a new set of titles for instructional faculty: Assistant Teaching Professor, Associate Teaching Professor, and Teaching Professor. These are to be used as working titles for instructional faculty.

They are also discussing the workload for instructional faculty. They are not ready to say what they are thinking and they are still in the midst of discussion. They are also working on professional development for instructors and salaries. They hope to have a final set of recommendations by February/March.

Staff Advisory Committee (SAC)

Rupert introduces the co-chairs of SAC, Jessica Baron and Adrian O’Connell. Baron shares her screen with a presentation on SAC. SAC addresses issues of importance and advocates for A&S staff, gives feedback to White, facilitates communication and builds community.

This year, SAC’s College Connections subcommittee has worked on onboarding/mentoring support, employee of the year awards, and new member applications.

This is the first year that SAC has a JEDI subcommittee. They have been connecting with DEI leaders across campus, bringing awareness to staff inequities.

SAC’s Structure and Governance Committee is working on being involved with reorganization, bylaws, budget and representation.

The SAC website has a feedback form, so if any staff members have something to bring to their attention, they are encouraged to use the form. Also on the website, they have language on SAC’s involvement with reorganization and the ASC. SAC Member applications and Employee of the Year Nominations will be put out in Spring 2022. Please forward announcements to your staff.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, staff are covering more roles. This can lead to staff burnout and a cycle of resignations and attrition. Departments are having difficulty hiring new staff. This uncertainty impacts how staff feel across the college. However, staff have expressed gratitude for flexibility in remote work options.

The university’s emergency alerts are only sent out in English. This was brought to the attention of Assistant Dean Patricia Gonzalez, who arranged a meeting between SAC and the chief of Colorado Boulder Police Department. They are exploring ways to give staff a choice as to what language emergency alerts can be received in.

SAC has met with a variety of campus partners. For the future, they are hoping to have improved representation (divisions, university/classified staff, etc) and visibility. They would love faculty support in encouraging staff members to get involved.

Rupert says one of the implementation guidelines that came along with the new faculty governance bylaws is encouragement to think about various ways to bring staff into the decision making process. One way is to incorporate staff members as playing a regular, consultative role on standing committees. Given the subcommittees, they might want to consider some kind of joint meeting of subcommittees. For example, SAC’s JEDI committee and the ASFS Diversity Committee. Structure & Governance may like to meet with the new Grievance Committee.

Rupert has a question about the idea of representation from units. Is SAC considering expanding membership to where units will select members on a regular basis? Baron explains that they currently have more representation from AHUM. They would love it to be more representative of the college. It is a volunteer committee, so people who have the bandwidth step up and this is not something they can force. Rupert says it sounds as if this process could be more effective if it were not thought of strictly as a volunteer organization. Baron says folks who work on SAC are working it into their performance management plan. O’Connell says some might not feel comfortable going to their supervisor and asking for the flexibility it takes to join SAC.

White says he is very much open to having a discussion on this.

A representative from ETHN says she is fairly new to ASC. She would like to know if the ASC ever had staff representatives attend regular monthly meetings. O’Connell says that at one point, the chair was invited to meetings regularly but this was a while ago. The same representative asks if they are hoping to have representation again in monthly ASFS meetings. Baron says that any way they can collaborate with ASFS would be welcome.

Kathy Pieplow, Professional Rights and Responsibilities (PRR) Document:

Rupert says the PRR document has been revised and the new version has been approved. This is something all faculty should know about. Kathy Pieplow of the Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA) worked on revising this document and is here to discuss the changes.

Pieplow shares her screen with a presentation. The PRR is about 40 years old. It was initiated in 1982 by the BFA. There are four versions: 1982, 1996, 2013 and 2021. In 2018, BFA chair Bob Ferry asked her to chair the committee to revise the document. It took 47 meetings over two years to accomplish this task. This is still a work in progress.

Part one: rights enumerated in the PRR: freedom to study, learn, conduct scholarship/creative work within discipline, right to present relevant info in course of instruction, wide latitude in defining scholarly research/creative work, right to enjoyment of constitutionally protected freedom of expression and shared governance.

Part two: what defines “professional behavior.” Divided into three sections: teaching, research, citizenship.

Part three: Roles and responsibilities of academic leaders. This is a job description of chairs/directors of units.

Part four: the process for reviewing faculty conduct and responding to unprofessional conduct. This is where a lot of time was spent on revisions.

What is a grievance? A complaint or protest over something perceived to be unfair or wrong. This can fall into two categories: Promotion/salary/tenure or unprofessional behavior. In order to determine unprofessional conduct, see part two. If grievance is filed, one of the first things a chair needs to do is determine whether there is a special procedure. If there is a special procedure at the university/system level, that grievance immediately goes through those systems. If the conduct can be labeled as “general bad behavior,” the PRR handles it in part four of the document.

Pieplow says there are issues that remain to be discussed with the PRR. The document needs to continue to evolve. When conduct goes for review out of the unit, no one ever hears about it again. Just because OIEC finds the conduct does not meet their standards for going forward, it does not mean it is not unprofessional conduct. Because of this, they inserted a clause that indicates that matters returned to the unit when OIEC declines to take it up can be examined under a general heading of unprofessional conduct.

Pieplow says the second issue is that the PRR is written to protect faculty accused of unprofessional conduct. When someone has a grievance and raises concern to a chair, that administrator takes over and determines the appropriate sanction. Unfortunately, once someone raises a concern, this is the last the grievant has ever heard about the issue.  The responding faculty member wants as many due process rights as possible. The accused has a lot of rights under PRR, the grievant does not. This is something they are aware of, but right now the focus of the PRR is on the rights of the responding faculty member.

The third issue is confidentiality. Because the PRR deals with employment situations, the responding faculty member has a right to privacy which overrides the grievant’s right to know what happened. Grievances can usually be resolved informally. Hopefully, there is a feeling of closure and resolution. If a situation cannot be resolved informally, the grievant knows nothing except that there was a finding of unprofessional conduct. If there is a finding of no unprofessional conduct, there is an angry or hurt grievant who feels betrayed by the system.

The issue of confidentiality is something they need to be working with and see if there is some way to help the grievant come to a sense of closure.

Solutions to all of these issues include education, mediation, BFA grievance advisory committee, provost’s advisory committee and future revisions to the PRR.

They are going to be revising it once grievance policies are in effect. They need much clearer language stating instructors are covered by the PRR.

More info on the PRR can be found on the BFA website under “resources.” PRR will eventually live on the academic affairs website. If anyone is interested in the nuts and bolts of PRR, there is a Skillsoft training available now for all faculty.

CINE’s representative asks if the PRR covers lecturers. Pieplow says it does not because they are not faculty.

Rupert says that anyone with questions on the PRR should send them to Kathy.

Rupert explains that it has been the assumption of this body that committee assignments and ASC-related positions would carry over into the spring, but there has been no formal vote to make it official. If someone thinks there should be a vote, please contact Rupert or any member of the executive committee and they will begin their January 11th meeting with a vote on this.

Rupert echoes White’s encouragement to relax a bit and rest over the break.

Meeting is adjourned at 5:01 pm.