Meeting Minutes, October 12, 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), Zachary Kilpatrick (APPM), 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), Christine Meyers (SLHS), Christopher Osborn (CINE), John Keller (APS), Robert Parson (CHEM), John Stevenson (ENGL), Robert Kuchta (BCHM), Rebecca Wartell (JWST), Nichole Barger (EBIO),
Representatives not present: Rebecca Flowers (GEOL), Jennifer Schwartz (HONR), Janet Casagrand (IPHY), Svetoslav Derderyan (PSCI)
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 3:32 pm.
The strategic budget realignment for campus is moving forward and Interim Dean White is optimistic that this will be an advantageous process for the College of Arts & Sciences.
White, along with others, will be looking at and making recommendations on how to better handle the Program in Exploratory Studies.
The search for a new Associate Dean for Student Success is moving forward and everyone should look for opportunities to interview candidates.
White would like to comment briefly on the issue of unit level responsibility for tenure standards. He says the deans have been working on this and they would welcome allies on the desire to push back against the university system on this policy. White opens the floor up for questions or comments.
ANTH’s representative says people from his unit would appreciate hearing in detail what White’s thoughts are on unit level tenure standards. White says he will contribute his thoughts to the conversation when they get to that point in the agenda. There are no other questions.
Robert Rupert has an update on the process related to the college budget and reorganization. During the ASC’s September meeting, the document put together by the ASC Budget Committee was discussed. The Budget Committee asked for feedback on this document and a few people got back to Andrew Cowell, chair of the Budget Committee. Dean White is now prepared for the document to be posted to the Arts & Sciences website to ask for more broad feedback from faculty, staff, etc. of the entire college.
Chairs and directors have been asked to remind everyone that the campus culture survey is about to be kicked off. The data will be better the more people participate and they have been assured repeatedly that any identifying data is scrubbed from Qualtrics, the platform used for the survey.
GSLL’s representative asks who will be analyzing this data and what kind of rubrics are they looking for? The GSLL department is looking into hiring an external consultant to conduct a survey on the departmental climate. White says he will find this information and put it in the chat. In the chat, White posts the following: “Julie Volckens in the Campus Assessment Office is the best source of information about the campus culture survey.”
Planning Committee’s motion concerning CU’s Presidential search
Rupert shares his screen and reads out the motion from the Planning Committee. Because this motion comes from one of the ASC’s standing committees, it does not require a second. The motion refers to the BFA document. If anyone requests a reading of the BFA document, Rupert will read aloud. There are no requests.
Rob opens the floor up to discussion, but there are no questions or comments. Voting commences through the polling feature on Zoom. The poll states the following: “That the ASC adopt the motion form the ASC’s Planning Committee, concerning recommendations on attributes that should guide the selection of the next CU President (as amended in the chat, if applicable).” Out of 32 total votes, 30 vote “yes,” one votes “no,” and one abstains.
Discussion of career path for Instructor-rank faculty (led by Shelley Copley)
Copley, Planning Committee’s chair, explains that they are following up on a pre-COVID report from the instructor task force. Dean White has asked them to bring the issue of new titles for instructor rank faculty to the forefront: assistant teaching professor, associate teaching professor and teaching professor. This was discussed by the Planning Committee but they haven’t finished their discussion and are looking for feedback and ideas from the ASC.
Copley says they support the idea of implementing these titles for teaching faculty in order to give them more legitimacy and respect. They discussed procedures for promotion, which they want to make more parallel to what happens for tenure track faculty. Their portfolio should include letters from teaching professors and tenured professors from other units in Arts & Sciences, based on observations of classrooms and evaluation of teaching portfolios, as well as external letters. They are proposing that these promotions be handled by the current Personnel Committee or a separate Personnel Committee.
Copley says there is some concern that implementing these titles would regularize the ongoing process of increasing the percentage of instructors on campus at the expense of research faculty. This is not a desirable trend as there is concern that this could damage CU’s reputation as an R1 university, which would impair CU’s ability to attract the best quality postdocs and tenure track faculty.
Representative from CLAS asks for clarification. Will these lines need to be evaluated every three years? Is there a possibility for tenure? Copley says the issue of tenure is not on the table. The timeline for review is once every three years, mandated by law because they are contracted employees. Therefore, it is logical to consider someone for promotion to Associate Teaching Professor after being in rank for six years, then Teaching Professor after another 6 years. If someone is unsuccessful in getting a promotion, they can reapply after a certain period of time.
Representative from GEOG asks if the Planning Committee will also look into reducing a full load from 4/4 to 3/3. Copley says this is on their agenda for the next meeting.
The same representative says that the issue of instructor salaries is a continual sticking point. Copley says this is also on the agenda for the next meeting. White agrees that instructors are underpaid and this problem needs to be addressed.
EBIO’s representative says her department has been hiring incredibly talented instructors over the past few years and she would support the change of titles and looking at adjusting instructor salaries. She does not see this as taking away from the university’s research productivity, instead she sees it as building strength.
HIST’s representative states that while instructor salaries are low, even worse is what lecturers are being paid. He hopes at some point that this is an issue they can take up as well.
Rupert says he was under the impression that some time ago, campus established a right for instructor rank faculty to use teaching titles as working titles. He is wondering if something beyond that is being proposed. White says there is currently no movement at the CU system level to make these teaching titles working titles. He will ask Michele Moses for more information.
CINE’s representative expresses confusion because his department switched over to these titles a while ago. White clarifies that campus has allowed them to move forward with using these titles, but the titles do not become official until January. The dean’s office plans to put out guidance on this for departments, hopefully by next week.
Rupert says he was in a meeting with the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Planning, who said the titles are actually “Teaching Assistant Professors,” not “Assistant Teaching Professors.” Copley says she feels that instructors prefer the latter.
RAPS’ representative asks to what extent the committee’s work is overlapping with evaluation of teaching. Copley says they need to look into what is already being done and what needs to be done in addition. White says the criteria for promotion is coming and will eventually be on the Planning Committee’s plate. As the process moves forward, the units need to have their own internal criteria.
ALC’s representative says he expects someone to make the language surrounding instructor titles clear and asks that time be invested in clarifying that.
ETHN’s representative is curious about the external letters that Copley mentioned for instructor rank faculty undergoing promotion. If the candidate has been teaching at CU for six years, who would be writing an external letter on their teaching? Copley says the idea is that most of the letters would come from either teaching professors or professors in other departments in the college who would be asked to observe classes and evaluate the teaching portfolio. External letters would be evaluating the candidate’s teaching record and materials.
ANTH’s representative asks if Copley has a sense of whether this is broadly supported by instructional faculty. He worries that there is a risk of introducing additional anxiety or stress with this new promotion process. Copley says she thinks that having a rigorous procedure for promotion would give additional professional legitimacy to instructors. In terms of anxiety, Copley clarifies that those who get turned down for promotion will not have to leave the university and they will not be forced to apply for promotion at any time.
HIST’s representative says he has acted as an external reviewer for instructors at other universities. This involved going through student comments, student letters, syllabi, etc.
Rupert says he did some research recently having to do with voting on the faculty governance bylaws and was able to find the proportion of tenure track to instructor rank faculty in the mid-1990s. Back then, it was 9:1 and now it is roughly 3:1. He says this is something to keep in mind and it may become more and more difficult to act as a PhD granting department at an R1 university. However, the bottom line is, the college doesn’t have a viable budget model right now, one that will allow it to do all of the things it would like to do.
SPAN’s representatives agrees that it is important to have rigorous standards for instructor promotion, but if there is no raise associated, he’s not sure what the point is. Copley says there are still many things for the committee to work out and discover.
Unit-level responsibility for tenure standards (led by Dan Kaffine, chair of Grievance Committee)
Kaffine says there was guidance received from the Office of Faculty Affairs on how to count materials towards tenure stating that no material published prior to the probationary period should be considered during tenure review. This was a policy change with no explicit support in regent law/policy or APS. Kaffine says ECON is concerned because this policy is out of step with the department’s discipline and how they evaluate candidates. This raises challenges in terms of their hiring strategy and affects the quality of candidates they can try to hire. In ECON, publishing things during the postdoc period is looked at for hiring junior faculty. Additionally, what happens if half of the external letters writers ignore the request to only consider the candidate’s work within the probationary period?
White says the deans have been told that this was the policy all along, but he does not recall this being an issue any time within the last four years. White says this is potentially dangerous when it comes to hiring quality faculty. This is a system-level policy and the deans have been trying to convince the provost’s office to push back against the system on this. White says he has had conversations with the provost’s office about this. He believes since this policy is at the system level, it will have to be addressed by the BFA. If the ASC wants to send something to BFA about it, White would welcome this.
MCDB’s representative says her department only considers work done since the person has been an assistant professor because work done as a postdoc is directed by a mentor. She would like to have the language reflect each department’s standards and culture.
Rupert says he thinks this makes sense. He says one approach is not to re-write the rule. Rather, neither campus nor system should have any rule about which period is being considered for review- it should be up to the department.
ALC’s representative says this is not just about someone working under a mentor. Faculty come from various academic backgrounds and in the interest of fairness, it has to be considered what someone is able to do at CU under a full workload.
Rupert says these issues of fairness are complicated and may be discipline-specific.
White agrees and says we are not a homogenous college, so there should not be a homogenous, one-size-fits-all rule.
ENVS’s representative agrees, but questions how big of an issue this really is. He suspects this only matters if there is a strong difference between a candidate’s CU record and pre-CU record. He wonders what fraction of tenure cases are unbalanced like this.
White says he rarely sees someone coming up for tenure with a lot of publications before their time at CU and only a few since coming to CU. This would normally be a red flag to the unit. They are looking for consistency of production.
Rupert says it is possible to have a case where someone slows down after coming to CU but still does a significant amount of work. White says that in his opinion, book disciplines are most vulnerable with this policy because their publications are not numerous and take a long time.
MCDB’s representative says her understanding is that the probationary period takes credit toward tenure into account. White says someone can negotiate two years of credit prior to coming to CU, but there is a hard date on that. The faculty should publish what they have when they have it, there shouldn’t be a mechanism in place that pushes them to delay or advance their publications.
Rupert clarifies that the Grievance committee as it currently exists is not the one to take on an issue like this. But faculty governance is in a transitional period and the Grievance Committee was expanded to include professional affairs. Rupert says this issue is roughly in that category, but Kaffine can also bring this as a motion to the ASC as the ECON rep. Rupert reminds all that any time in between agenda items, any ASC member can make a motion on any item.
SOCY’s representative says this conversation made him think of a related issue. His department has lost faculty over the last several years and one result is junior faculty are being asked to do more service and being asked to teach more course preparations. As a result, junior faculty going up for tenure have less time to conduct research and he believes this is something that needs to be thought about in relation to this discussion.
Rupert asks the ASC for any thoughts on what they should we be working on or talking about. GEOG’s representative says he seconds what SOCY’s representative said about junior faculty. Rupert asks if they should ask the Personnel Committee to reflect on this. The Personnel Committee’s chair says he will discuss this with the rest of the committee.
ENVS’s representative says his department has dealt with this issue quite a lot and wonders what a feasible solution would look like.
ETHN’s representative has a question related to process. Can ASC members pass a motion on tenure standards or does this go to the BFA? Rupert clarifies that White’s thought is that the BFA is the best body to put pressure in the right place on this issue, but Rupert believes it is within their rights to express their views on it.
ETHN’s representative says it seems like a motion should be put forward for the issue of unit level responsibility on tenure standards. Rupert explains that they would need written text. If someone wants to bring a motion to the next meeting, that is an option.
Rupert says the Executive Committee discussed the motion from the Planning Committee on the new CU President and this raises a question in how the ASC should be involved in the hiring of the next dean of the college. There are members from the ASC and chairs/directors on the hiring committee- is that enough?
Rupert says ASC members should feel free to speak through their standing committee’s chair, who will bring issues to the executive committee and add it to the agenda.
LING’s representative, who is on the hiring committee for the dean, says the process is moving along quickly, so anyone with something to say should do so quickly. Any comments would be merely advisory.
Rupert says regent law assigns a specific role to faculty governance in hiring administrators. It is within the ASC’s role to provide input on the hiring of academic administrators, although the hiring committee ultimately makes the decision. Rupert suggests that faculty can also reach out to those on the hiring committee with any comments.
ETHN’s representative asks if there is a timeline for the dean’s search. LING’s representative says the committee has an internal timeline but this hasn’t been announced publicly and they may feel the need to change it based on how things evolve, so it would not be appropriate to share it. However, he discloses, they would like to get recommendation for finalists to the provost by the end of the semester.
Rupert says the application deadline is mid-November, so it doesn’t seem too late for the ASC to make some kind of motion on this.
Rupert asks if there is any new business. No one speaks up.
ETHN’s representative makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. This is seconded by the MCDB representative. All vote in favor of adjourning.
The meeting is adjourned at 4:57 pm.