Meeting Minutes, November 9, 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), Anastasiya Osipova (GSLL), Elspeth Dusinberre (CLAS), Paul Romatschke (PHYS), Mike Zerella (RAPS), Joe Bryan (GEOG), Andrew Cowell (LING), Annje Wiese (HUMN), William Taylor (ANTH), Juan Pablo Dabove (SPAN), Stephanie Su (AAH), Anthony Abiragi (PWR), Daniel Kaffine (ECON), Shelley Copley (MCDB), Matt Jones (PSYC), Liam Downey (SOCY), Kieran Murphy (FRIT), Matthias Richter (ALC), Cecilia Pang (THDN), David Paradis (HIST), Angelica Lawson (ETHN), Lorraine Bayard de Volo (WGST), Matthew Burgess (ENVS), Deborah Whitehead (RLST), Christina Meyers (SLHS), Christopher Osborn (CINE), John Keller (APS), Robert Parson (CHEM), John Stevenson (ENGL), Robert Kuchta (BCHM), Rebecca Flowers (GEOL)
Representatives not present: Jennifer Schwartz (HONR), Janet Casagrand (IPHY), Svetoslav Derderyan (PSCI), Zachary Kilpatrick (APPM), Rebecca Wartell (JWST), Nichole Barger (EBIO)
Also in attendance: James White (Interim Dean), Anna Jensen (Dean’s Office), Bud Coleman (Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Initiatives)
Meeting is called to order at 3:34 pm.
Acting Dean White states that there will be a 3% compensation increase in January, along with a 1% one-time payment in January. Representative from HIST asks White if he has any idea when equity raises will become known. White says the intention is for that to come out at the same time as the other increases in January. He explains that some will get significantly more than 3%, but no one will get less than 3% unless they did not fill out a FRPA or your score was less than satisfactory.
The campus did the process of increase enrollment growth compensation. A&S didn’t get any dollars from this because while freshmen enrollment went up, continuing students balanced it out so A&S was equal on the total number of students.
Student credit hours went down slightly by 2%. White believes this is mostly because the students tied to the years of large SCH increase (2018 and 2019) are no longer taking classes with A&S.
Robert Rupert encourages everyone to take the campus’s climate survey.
Rupert encourages members to become involved in the executive dean search. As time draws nearer, faculty will be encouraged to attend interviews. Last July, CU Today posted the names of the members of the search committee.
The next meeting of the ASC will be held on December 14th and Rupert suspects this meeting will also be held via Zoom. It will be a joint meeting of the ASC and the faculty of Arts & Sciences. For these meetings, the executive committee makes a point of putting things on the agenda that appeal to the Arts & Sciences faculty at large.
Rupert says the new bylaws will be discussed later in this meeting. Much of that will be about the nuts and bolts, but he will also be making a list of possible refinements to the new bylaws. If anything in the bylaws comes up that an ASC member believes should be done better, they should send comments to Rupert or their standing committee chair. A list of proposed revisions will be brought forward at the end of the academic year.
Grievance Committee Motion
Rupert shares his screen with the Grievance Committee’s motion and reads it aloud. It does not require a second.
MCDB representative points out a grammatical error. It should read “interpretations have” instead of “interpretations has,” which Rupert fixes.
Daniel Kaffine, chair of the Grievance Committee, says they had considered a shorter version that stripped out the “whereas” section, but decided they preferred the longer version. They wanted to be clear that given the diversity of disciplines, it is the uniformity of imposing these policies that is the issue.
Rupert clarifies that there were two bits of guidance recently from OFA: external review templates asking reviewers to only consider the tenure window and a section in the chair’s training manual that expressed a similar restriction. The content of the motion is to let departments decide for themselves what window they think is relevant for tenure review.
The poll is launched with the following statement: “That the ASC adopt the motion made by the ASC’s Grievance Committee, concerning the unit-level setting of tenure standards (as amended in the chat, if applicable).” The motion passes with 30 “yes” votes, and no “no” or “abstain” votes.
Rupert says he will work with Tiffany Beechy and Michele Moses to try and get this motion into the right hands so that the Arts & Sciences faculty governance voice can be heard.
Rupert would like to go over a portion of the bylaws that pertains to divisional councils, as this is where most changes will be taking place. Rupert shares his screen with the bylaws. He shows Article 6, Divisional Councils.
Rupert goes over what the bylaws state on the divisional councils’ members and its role in providing guidance to the divisional dean. He adds that divisions can make their own amendments as they see fit.
MCDB’s representative says the chair of her department asked for ideas on how to do this and as she thought about it, the idea of one-year terms does not seem like a great thing because by the end of a one-year term you start to figure out what is going on. She believes that perhaps the terms should be two years and overlapping.
Rupert says some of these things could be addressed in amendments to the bylaws as a whole, but local input is more important. The rationale behind one-year terms was that if there are two-year terms and only four departmental members, it could be years before a department is represented. Rupert says it is helpful to think of departmental members partly as having something like an oversight role, so there won’t be as much need for a new member to “come up to speed.”
CLAS’s representative asks about the language of professorial or “instructor rank.” She asks if this is clarified elsewhere as tenure/tenure track. Rupert asks if she is referring to the departmental members specifically or throughout the document. Representative says she is specifically asking about the departmental members. Rupert says it would be at the department’s discretion who to elect and the ASC did not mean to put any restrictions on that.
Rupert mentions Article 6B, which requires the presence of an instructor to be on divisional councils, but article 6A also allows instructors and the two are not mutually exclusive. Rupert says there are clauses on what kinds of meetings and sessions there will be and personnel matters may require closed sessions.
Rupert explains that each divisional council potentially has a divisional budget committee and divisional curriculum committee. It is up to the divisional council whether these distinct committees need to be formed. There will be a distinction between what curriculum and budget issues will be covered at the college and divisional levels.
Rupert points out a final clause: divisional councils can amend or change the articles pertaining specifically to divisional councils as they see fit, without input or a vote from the ASFS.
Rupert goes on to explain Article 8, which covers the Faculty Governance Executive Committee. This is a hybrid entity that unites ASFS and the divisional councils. It will be made up of the six chairs of ASFS committees, six departmental chairs/directors and the chair of ASFS. The six departmental chairs and directors automatically become members of the ASFS.
CLAS’s representative says it seems that as things are developing, the already onerous task of being chair is now more onerous. She asks Dean White if there is money in the college’s budget to put towards a larger stipend for departmental chairs. White says he shares her sentiment, but right now there is no money in the college’s budget for this. He says this will not always be the case, but it is a very valid question that they should take a look at.
Rupert explains that some of the flexibility that is built into the document was included in order to give chairs and directors the leeway to streamline the process. It may be that some of this work can be stripped down and this is an issue the ASFS will have to be cognizant of.
Rupert says he was asked by one of the divisional deans for a schedule for creating these divisional councils. He provided them with a suggested timeline of dates by which certain decisions should be made in order to work towards creating divisional councils.
Rupert says there have been significant revisions to the briefs of some committees in the transition from ASC to ASFS. The curriculum committee was a pretty demanding committee, but that will become less demanding as divisional councils take on the responsibility for some curriculum issues. Grievance has tended to be a light duty committee focused only on merit and salary grievances. In the ASFS, it has been re-labeled “grievance and professional affairs” and will be responsible for more issues. The planning committee’s description is slightly different and clearer than what was in the ASC’s bylaws.
Rupert says there has been some confusion over portions of the document that define primary units. There is a petition process in place for a unit to have an ASC representative if they don’t meet the criteria as stated.
CLAS’s representative says that the grievance committee has been talking about the greater range of the committee under ASFS and wondering about staff representation on the committee. Rupert says the ASFS bylaws make allowances for staff participation in a few different ways. Budget and curriculum committees have staff members on the committee as non-voting members. There is also a mechanism for inviting staff to attend meetings on a case by case basis.
A document was distributed to the ASC on the state of the college’s finances. Andy Cowell, chair of the budget committee, says this is an informational document and not intended to make any recommendations. It is meant to give faculty an idea of what will happen down the road.
Rupert has a question about the temporary/continuing distinction. PHIL has been relying on temporary funds for lecturers because enrollments are high and faculty numbers are low. There was a recent announcement on restriction of temporary funds. How will this be handled?
Cowell explains that there is a downward spiral that happens if they do not deal with the continuing budget problem. If continuing budget is in the red, this will result in borrowing from the temporary budget. Cowell says it is crucial to not get into a downward spiral with the continuing budget.
White says the college gets a certain number of tuition dollars and it is their responsibility to ensure that those dollars are used to teach classes and support research. The exact details of how that works varies by division, but the college needs to be aware of not overspending because then they have to backfill that with temporary dollars. Each year they run a deficit, that hole gets deeper. White says they want to be a college that has budget stability in order to not run right on the edge and have the ability to handle fluctuations.
Rupert mentions that one of the constraints on budget comes from a restriction on out-of-state students. Additionally, the state support for CU Boulder was cut.
White says he is not sure if there’s been any movement on these issues, but it has been a discussion point for some time. CU Boulder received around 4% of their budget from the state; COVID took it down to 2%. It is very difficult to raise that back up because of the TABOR system. They could ask for a tax increase but that has failed repeatedly in other areas.
White says there have been a lot of very good arguments about how much money the state gets from the ideas the faculty produce that make Colorado’s economy do well. By cutting state support, the state is risking that feedback mechanism. The chancellors and president frequently go to Denver to testify on this.
A representative from HIST says that Kelly Fox (former COO for CU Boulder) conducted a study on CU’s economic impact on the state. For every dollar the state gives CU, it gets back $17.00.
The same representative adds that if it looks like CU Boulder might exceed the 45% cap on out-of-state students, they could change the language of the law to address the CU system instead of Boulder campus. If the cap were to apply only to the entire system instead of each campus, CU Boulder would have the flexibility to bring in more out-of-state students given that CUCS and CU Denver tend to have lower percentages of out-of-state students.
ENVS’s representative says that from a statistical standpoint, this is concerning and he hopes they don’t lose track of the fact that the university is becoming seen as increasingly partisan.
White says that when TABOR was passed, that ratcheting effect was noted by many people. It is the reason the state has much less money available for roads and such. There are many impacts TABOR had on the state’s ability to run the state.
HIST’s representative says he has heard the comment that the dean proposed they hire instructional faculty at the expense of TTT faculty, but he believes this is a mischaracterization of what is going on. Hiring more TTT faculty to replace retired faculty is just going to exacerbate the inflexibility of the budget.
ANTH’s representative brings up the last ASC meeting’s discussion on potential changes to the process of promotion for instructors. He had asked a question about how instructors feel about this. Instructors from outside of his unit reached out to him and passed along comments he feels he should share. He drops the following comments in the chat:
“When I saw guidelines demanding that people who had been the first rank of instructor—senior instructors—for years or decades only be allowed to keep that rank (now Principal Instructor) by meeting standards asking for major impact on the unit, *and the campus *and nationally, I was appalled. Units have very different needs, and one can work around the clock helping students and developing one’s teaching and not have any use for national connections. (Which so often are just friends hanging out at a yearly conference.)”
“I worry about some instructors who have little access to having an impact on teaching on campus *outside their unit as well. I thought that whole section was unwarranted. Why should anyone have to do great work *outside their unit as well as within it? (I say this as a person who has had impact on all three levels—but I don’t think that should be *required.)”
“The section offering examples of how to show teaching merit is fine, and I know the dean wants individual units to determine their own metrics. I just worry that units will think they have to force things on their instructors that don’t help anyone as a result of that section about major unit, campus and national involvement. And many other instructors agree with me. I wish they wouldn’t set one-size-fits-all requirements when one can demonstrate excellence and hugely positive impact in all manner of ways.”
Rupert says he believes the text being referred to is text from regent law. It is a long, arduous process to get that changed but it is good to get feedback from people affected by these criteria.
Meeting is adjourned at 4:59 pm.