The Arts and Sciences Faculty Senate (ASFS), 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Zoom
Representatives Present: Robert Rupert (PHIL), Julie Lundquist (ATOC), Sebastian Casalaina (MATH), Paul Romatschke (PHYS), Mike Zerella (RAPS), Joe Bryan (GEOG), Andrew Cowell (LING), Annje Wiese (HUMN), Juan Pablo Dabove (SPAN), Stephanie Su (AAH), Shelley Copley (MCDB), Matt Jones (PSYC), Kieran Murphy (FRIT), Cecilia Pang (THDN), David Paradis (HIST), Christina Meyers (SLHS), Robert Parson (CHEM), Rebecca Flowers (GEOL), Svetoslav Derderyan (PSCI), Jennifer Schwartz (HONR), Robert Kuchta (BCHM), Aun Ali (RLST), Daniel Kaffine (ECON), Zachary Kilpatrick (APPM), Nicholas Villanueva (ETHN), Matthias Richter (ALC), Matthew Burgess (ENVS), Nichole Barger (EBIO), John Stevenson (ENGL), Liam Downey (SOCY), Irene Blair (PSYC), Lorraine Bayard de Volo (WGST)
Representatives not present: Rebecca Wartell (JWST), Anthony Abiragi (PWR), Elspeth Dusinberre (CLAS), William Taylor (ANTH), Christopher Osborn (CINE), Doug Seals (IPHY), Anastasiya Osipova (GSLL), Benjamin Brown (APS)
Also in attendance: James White (Acting Dean), Bud Coleman (Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Initiatives), Sonia DeLuca Fernández (Senior Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion)
The meeting is called to order at 3:32 pm.
The college is continuing to move forward with re-organization. The goal is to have this wrapped up by the end of the semester. By the time of the final ASFS meeting of the spring, White can give more information on this.
The strategic budget realignment for the campus is also moving forward. If the college goes up in undergraduates, it will see an additional bump in dollars when the census is finished in the fall.
The search for a new dean for the college is ongoing and three candidates will be coming to campus soon.
RLST’s representative asks why the choice was made to go with an external candidate. White says that would be a question for the search committee. Several representatives, as well as the chair, thank White for his service to the college.
The final ASFS meeting of the academic year is in April. It will be held jointly with the A&S faculty as a whole. There will be reports from standing committee chairs and they will try to have items on the agenda that are of interest to the faculty as a whole. One item is the work on a common curriculum for the campus. Katherine Eggert and Daryl Maeda will visit to talk about their work with this. Rupert asks everyone to encourage colleagues in their units to attend.
The election of a chair occurs at the April meeting. The chair’s term was recently changed from one year to two years. Andy Cowell, budget committee chair, has agreed to take on oversight of this. If you would like to self-nominate or nominate someone else, please contact Andy.
The Faculty Salary Procedures Working Group, also referred to as “phase two” of the EPEWA process, will involve review and discussion of faculty merit and salary adjustment procedures. If anyone is interested in participating in this working group, reach out to your BFA representative. The email asking for nomination submissions mentions a deadline of February 11th, but Rupert believes there is some flexibility.
Shelley Copley, chair of the planning committee, shares screen with slides.
There is a new promotion track for teaching faculty that is being implemented in the college. It used to be two ranks: instructor and senior instructor. There was also a category of teaching professor of distinction, which was honorific. The new system institutes a new rank and new working titles: Teaching Assistant Professor, Teaching Associate Professor and Teaching Full Professor. Copley recognizes that teaching faculty would have preferred “assistant teaching professor” and so on, but these are the university-recognized working titles. There will still be a Teaching Professor of Distinction honorary title.
Teaching Assistant Professors are eligible for promotion to Teaching Associate Professor after six years of service. Teaching Associate Professors are eligible for promotion to Teaching Full Professor after three years of service and this promotion process would require letters from outside the faculty member’s department.
There will now be three ranks and the question the planning committee has been working on is, how to handle promotions within this new system. Copley says there are four possibilities.
The first possibility is inspired by the dean’s advisory committee (the successor of the instructor task force). They came up with the idea of constituting a personnel committee. The planning committee has discussed this possibility and they liked a lot of what the dean’s advisory committee recommended. The pros of this option would be that it would enhance rigor, parallel the existing tenure track personnel committee and it would be constituted of specialists in teaching while being chaired by a teaching full professor. The con is that it would require extra service from teaching faculty.
The second option was brought up by the chair of the existing personnel committee. This option would have the existing personnel committee split into two subcommittees. One would handle tenure track cases and the other would handle teaching faculty cases. This helps ensure consistency. However, it would greatly increase the personnel committee chair’s workload and the chair would not be a teaching professor. The existing personnel committee’s chair clarifies that this would involve forming a subcommittee and increasing the number of people on the committee. The composition of that subcommittee for teaching faculty cases would be exactly what the planning committee has envisioned.
The third option is to split the existing personnel committee into divisional personnel committees. The pros of this option include decreasing the workload for individuals. However, the workloads could increase if they are also handling teaching faculty cases. The con would be that it could weaken ties across the divisions.
The fourth and final option is to simply do nothing. This would maintain the status quo, but would not increase the rigor of the evaluation process for teaching faculty.
ALC’s representative says he likes the idea of divisional committees, but sees how meaningful it is to get to see what other divisions do. He is concerned about splitting the college into distinct worlds, but reading files within your division seems easier and quicker.
ETHN’s representative agrees with adding rigor to the process and does not think he would be in favor of not doing anything. He gravitates towards the first option, but his concern goes back to service on the committee. We are already asking so much of teaching faculty, so adding even more to their service seems like an issue. Is there a way to figure out how to alleviate other service required if they serve on this committee?
Copley says a certain percent of their workload is dedicated to service and it would be appropriate for other service to fall off of their workload if they are on this committee.
The same representative clarifies that he began as an instructor, so he knows what the service demands are like and that it is difficult to say no. He feels we would still be adding pressure to the teaching faculty in smaller departments.
Associate Dean Coleman says that, in addition to providing rigor to the process for teaching faculty promotion, there is added reason for moving this promotion process to a college level committee. Currently, the department chair is the only level of review teaching professors go through for promotion. This could be problematic if a teaching professor does not have a good relationship with their chair.
RAP’s representative points out that RAP (Residential Academic Program) instructors do not neatly fit into some of the plans being discussed. They do not teach for a department but instead teach for a RAP, which employ people from multiple departments. He asks that everyone keep this in mind as they get further along in the discussion.
A divisional representative from the Natural Sciences says she does not have a strong preference for any option. She does think there should be a committee similar to the existing tenure and promotion committee with consistency across divisions and across tenure track/teaching faculty. There is a concern that teaching criteria would start to become very different. Tenure track faculty should have a path to tenure through teaching excellence- is that different in a significant way from the path for teaching faculty? There needs to be an eye on consistency as this discussion moves forward.
Personnel committee’s chair says that a single chair acting for both committees would act as the guardian of consistency. There would be one meeting per year of both subcommittees in order to coordinate.
HNRS’ representative says that when she discussed this conversation with her department, the question of “why are we changing this?” was asked by a few. Teaching faculty said they already feel like they are over-worked and underpaid. This feels like more of a burden and they are not fully understanding the motivation.
Copley says the intention is not to add any burden on instructors. A more rigorous procedure would require the same dossier from teaching faculty that is currently required. The task of getting letters from outside the unit would fall on the chair of the PUEC. The idea is not to add anything, but to take the decision out of the department and have it carried out at the level of the college. Associate Dean Coleman adds that they are not trying to burden the teaching professors more and an expedited reappointment process will be an option to reduce work.
Rupert says it is important to recognize that this language connected to excellence in teaching as a path to tenure comes out of regent law. It might be that we are stuck with a certain rubric if we are thinking about tenure by excellence in teaching.
Copley says she has heard at least one person supporting each of the four options.
Rupert says he has heard very different things from different teaching faculty. Maybe there’s a way to survey the teaching professors to see what they want. It is not the final word necessarily, but it is a very important part.
ALC’s representative says he is concerned that with this rigor being proposed, they may be inadvertently raising standards when teaching faculty already have a heavy teaching load.
Copley says maybe her use of the term “rigor” isn’t being understood the way she means it. She is referring to the fact that the promotion process would be at arm’s length, rather than within the department.
The same representative says he recognizes the intention not to do this, but still worries about the possibility of inadvertently raising standards. He asks that everyone pay close attention to this and be very specific about expectations.
Copley says there are two different questions here, the process for promotions and the criteria for promotions. Right now, they are only discussing the process but certainly the criteria should also be clearly laid out.
HIST’s representative says the consistency argument is an important one. As much as he loves the idea of putting it in the hands of different units within the college, that seems like it could be fraught with problems and is more persuaded by the idea of consistency.
White says they ask departments and programs to set the criteria for tenure track faculty. This is because the college is not homogenous. There are differences among the units when it comes to teaching professors as well. He would argue that it is still important for departments/programs to express what the criteria are for promotion for teaching professors. It’s helpful to know what the standards are.
The chair of the existing personnel committee says he understands the concerns about raising standards. There will inevitably be a raising of standards, involuntarily. This is why it is important that cases are decided within a body in which teaching professors are the majority. If the personnel committee is broken up by divisions, this is more problematic because the balance on each committee will be different.
PSCI’s representative says he likes Rupert’s idea about surveying teaching faculty for their opinions. It’s still not clear to him, from the perspective of teaching faculty, what about these options would be considered appealing or elevating to their current situation. This is adding more consistency and rigor, but how exactly does this benefit the teaching faculty? Does this come with more job stability? An increase in pay?
Copley says one of the things that clearly came from the instructor task force is that many teaching faculty feel they are second class citizens, partly because their job focuses on teaching instead of research. The task force requested elevating the status of teaching faculty. The issue of teaching faculty not feeling like they have much respect from faculty as a whole is important in terms of morale. Copley thinks there would be more respect for teaching faculty if they were promoted by a process that was at arm’s length instead of staying solely within the department.
Rupert thanks all for their input, but since they are running out of time and want to respect the time of their visitor, they will have to end this conversation here.
Senior Vice Chancellor Sonia DeLuca Fernández
Sonia DeLuca Fernández joined the campus at the beginning of this AY. The executive committee thought it would be important to get to know her and what kinds of initiatives she has in mind.
DeLuca Fernández thanks ASFS for the invitation. She arrived at CU Boulder September 1st and is still learning a lot. The role she has is new. She has experienced hope and criticisms of what she can and should be doing. She is trying to figure out where she can be helpful and how she can participate in advancing DEI with an intersectional social justice approach. She is mostly interested in not only supporting the work that has already been done, but finding ways to improve the work being done. She is not necessarily interested in creating new initiatives.
Frequently in higher education, there is talk of administrative silos. In her opinion, she has not experienced silos at CU but rather has experienced barrels. There are small initiatives here and there, but there are still gaps to be filled between them- these barrels aren’t connected with other barrels. As a result, she’s concerned with being able to deliver consistent quality of programs across campus. She wonders if we need to have a critical eye towards structures in order to support a sustainable model for organizational development at CU.
HIST’s representative asks how much impact does DeLuca Fernández think the lack of diversity in the Boulder area has on the university. He says there are clearly systemic issues in Boulder, one of which is how expensive it is to live here. This inhibits our ability to have a diverse community. To what degree does DeLuca Fernández think the university is somewhat infected with the issues in the larger Boulder community?
DeLuca Fernández thinks that issue is probably absorbing 10-20% of the variance if we’re modeling retention of employees (staff and faculty). When looking at other R1 institutions, CU Boulder has certain assets that others don’t, such as proximity to Denver, a robust LatinX community in the state and quality/engagement of all sorts of disciplines. Discipline and department have everything to do with retention.
The chair of the personnel committee says that, coming from Argentina, the idea of diversity and inclusion was molded by the collective, national experience. He sometimes feels that when diversity and inclusion are being discussed here, there’s not a lot of space to consider the variety and feels that this is something that should be talked about.
DeLuca Fernández says that when we talk about DEI in higher education, it is not one topic. There are 20 to 30 areas of focus. In her role, she has to be a generalist. That’s not to say they shouldn’t acknowledge that a lot of these topics and issues that fall under a DEI umbrella are frequently pitted against each other. DeLuca Fernández does not subscribe to this. DeLuca Fernández believes we have to grapple with some of these cultural legacies. She thinks if we’re serious about preparing students to participate in diverse democracies, we have to make space for this- whether it’s in the curriculum or how we make budgetary decisions and priorities. She is hoping it’s not an either/or situation. There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to participate and we’re going to have a lot of solutions.
RLST’s representative echoes the spirit of the last comment and says that DEI work at the university in particular is guilty of American exceptionalism that is alienating to faculty who have relationships that are broader than that. It is important to put this on people’s radars.
DeLuca Fernández says this is one of the reasons it’s important to appreciate intersectionality.
DeLuca Fernández shares screen with slides. The campus’s DEI goals were inspired by the Inclusion, Diversity and Excellence in Academics (IDEA) Plan. This includes creating connections to the IDEA Plan, supporting unit priorities and providing structures to align efforts. Support for next steps include consultation and coaching, research and materials and resources.
Moving forward, the goal is to be BUFF (broad, unit-focused, flexible and formative). Priority areas include employee skills and development, student achievement outcomes, community building, employee recruitment outcomes and preparing students to participate in a diverse democracy.
In mid-March, the chancellor will provide goals to the campus and an asynchronous resources site will be launched. In April, there will be a public release of the campus culture survey results, units will connect with staff consultants and information will be assessed to begin action planning.
MCDB’s representative asks what is meant by “building communities.” If talking about LGBTQ+ individuals, does that mean a community of LGBTQ+ individuals, or a community in which LGBTQ+ individuals feel comfortable and included?
DeLuca Fernández says she thinks of CU as a community of communities. Community can be operationalized in a lot of different ways. It’s frequently talked about as a method to bring about a sense of belonging.
SPAN’s representative asks if they have permission to share the PowerPoint with their units. DeLuca Fernández says she doesn’t see any harm in doing that and will send it to Rupert to distribute.
ETHN’s representative says he is interested to hear what DeLuca Fernández might be doing that would include alumni and their experiences at CU. In the department of ethnic studies, they do a survey before students graduate on campus culture. They get a lot of colorful responses as far as their experiences at CU and living in Boulder.
DeLuca Fernández says she has had one meeting with Alumni Relations. There are some wonderful opportunities here, particularly to seed pilot programs. Our best source of information is current students. There is a critical component to needing the involvement of alumni for the benefit of the current students. She has high hopes for new commitments coming out of that office.
Rupert asks what can be done to attract a more diverse undergraduate student body.
DeLuca Fernández says they need greater diversity in faculty and more investment in scholarships. We need a critical look at what we are currently investing in. We have a wide inequity of all sorts of engagement opportunities from college to college. It’s very hard to talk about experiences that are accessible, welcoming and affirming to students who are nervous of popular media conceptions of what it means to be a CU Boulder student. Just because you might apply and get an invitation to come does not mean there is a place for you here. DeLuca Fernández says she believes the biggest problems at CU Boulder is not money, but rather people and structure.
RLST’s representative says that in terms of attracting and retaining students and faculty, a core issue is giving them a sense of belonging. The messaging from the university makes it clear what matters and doesn’t matter on campus. Based on anecdotal evidence, his feeling is that this is much more of an issue than resolving other structural issues.
MCDB’s representative has a question about the retention of faculty of color. Is the issue that they are not getting tenure, or is it that they’re getting tenure but choosing to leave because the climate isn’t supportive?
DeLuca Fernández says that nationally, there’s much more of an exodus around years two to three for faculty of color than white faculty. This is a critical concern and has everything to do with belonging. DeLuca Fernández says these are great questions for Associate Vice Chancellor Michele Moses in Office of Faculty Affairs.
ALC’s representative says he is grateful that others brought up the international aspect and that DeLuca Fernández recognizes that diversity is in itself a very diverse problem. There are all sorts of aspects to how people get marginalized or discriminated against. He is worried about diversity being seen as a zero sum game.
DeLuca Fernández urges everyone not to wait for anyone else to convene this discussion. She says there have been decades in higher education where colleges and universities were notorious for focusing on “international issues” in order to avoid conversations about racism. This is not an either/or game. We don’t get to talk about internationalization at the expense of other issues.
Rupert recognizes that it is 5pm and thanks DeLuca Fernández for joining them. He thanks everyone for their time. While they didn’t get to everything on the agenda, they will revisit the issues they didn’t get to at the April meeting.
The meeting is adjourned at 5:01 pm.