Meeting Minutes, September 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), Anastasiya Osipova (GSLL), Elspeth Dusinberre (CLAS), Svetoslav Derderyan (PSCI), 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)

Representatives not present: Robert Kuchta (BCHM), Nichole Barger (EBIO), Rebecca Flowers (GEOL), Jennifer Schwartz (HONR), Janet Casagrand (IPHY), Rebecca Wartell (JWST)

Also in attendance: James White (Interim Dean), Bud Coleman (Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and Initiatives)


The meeting is called to order at 3:33 pm.


Dean’s remarks


Jim White welcomes all to the fall semester. He recommends that everyone watch the presentation from Roy Parker and Kristen Bjorkman about COVID-19.  


The College has hired a new Assistant Dean for Inclusive Practice, Patricia Gonzalez. Daryl Maeda has become Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education. The college will soon be putting out a call for a new Associate Dean for Student Success. John-Michael Rivera is now the Transitional Divisional Dean for Arts & Humanities.


For the fall semester, student numbers are above 2800 students confirmed. This puts the college close to their 2018 numbers, which is good. This does not translate into money coming back from the university to the college.


White would like to acknowledge the budget cuts made last year. Seven million was paid to the campus. There are three positives on the horizon. Students coming back will eventually equate to additional dollars from the university; there is now a differential tuition in place for the natural sciences; the strategic budget realignment process is moving forward.


The college is moving forward with reorganization this academic year. There will be a search for a new dean. They are also moving forward to give the divisional deans more budget and hiring authority, giving divisional deans as much autonomy as possible under regent law.


There will be a town hall with White on September 22nd in the late afternoon.


A representative from SPAN asks White to elaborate on the additional budget authority for divisional deans. White explains that they have taken the college budget and divided it into four buckets: arts/humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and college. Each divisional dean knows how much money they have and can be spending but the decisions are still made with White’s concurrence.


Chair’s remarks

Robert Rupert welcomes the new crop of ASC representatives: Stephanie Su, Nichole Barger, Daniel Kaffine, Matt Burgess, Keiran Murphy, Joe Bryan, Rebecca Flowers, Anastasia, David Paradis, Svetoslov Derderyan, Matt Jones, William Downey and Juan Pablo Dabove.


ASC also has a few new standing committee chairs: Robert Parson (Curriculum), Daniel Kaffine (Grievance), Juan Pablo Dabove (Personnel) and Shelley Copley (Planning).

Rupert explains that Bud Coleman, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Initiatives has requested to attend ASC meetings and it seems appropriate. When the ASC bylaws were written Coleman’s position did not exist, so there is no mention of whether or not this is allowable. The Executive Committee decided they would like to give this a try on a trial basis and recommend an update to the bylaws to include adding Coleman’s position as an ex-officio, non-voting member if it makes sense.


Over the summer, the faculty of Arts & Sciences voted to adopt a new set of faculty governance bylaws. They are currently operating under the old ASC bylaws with an eye towards the new bylaws. Throughout the fall semester, divisional councils will be put into place and standing committee chairs will consider how the transition will change their committees and prepare accordingly.


New items in the bylaws include a new hybrid faculty governance committee, a commitment to an electronic venue for communication among the faculty, a commitment to working with caucuses, and a commitment to certain forms of participation by other non-ASC groups. Rupert will be working with Old Main to make sure everything is in place for the first meeting of 2022 when the ASC will be dissolved and the Arts & Sciences Faculty Senate will come into place.


Budget Committee on College Reorganization


Rupert explains that a set of recommendations were made by the Budget Committee to White concerning how to handle the budget in the reorganized college. These are important recommendations but in terms of faculty authority, budget is not included in the regent’s list of things faculty have primary responsibility for. There will be recommendations coming from other corners and White will ask all stakeholders for further feedback on things to do with budgeting in the newly reorganized college.


Andy Cowell, chair of the Budget Committee, says he wants to invite comments for the next couple of weeks that can be integrated into the document. The document refers to three earlier reports (on governance, budget and structure) which were produced for the Provost and informed the Budget Committee’s conversations on this topic. Cowell says there is a dean search happening this fall and the search committee needs this document to be finalized by October so they can know what the dean’s budget responsibilities will be.


Cowell explains that the campus is doing a budget remodel, so it is important for the college’s budget to cohere with campus.


The budget committee is made up of nine people, three from each division. They consulted with Dean White, Amy Lavens, Provost Moore, Anne Schmiesing, the divisional deans and the department chairs.


In the document, the budget committee recommends the divisions owning their own L&R money. The divisions will own some portion of their lines, so they will decide who and how to hire. With this autonomy comes flexibility and the ability to produce different divisional cultures around the hiring they do.


At the same time, there is still a single college, so the budget committee would like to allow flexibility for the dean of the college to move money around across divisions to respond to local temporary needs and strategic possibilities as needed.


The Budget Committee believes that the divisions have to own their budgets and have assurance that it cannot be taken away to bail out other divisions. If a division has a deficit, they have to own that. The Budget Committee suggests that the first person to suffer from a deficit would be the divisional dean and their office, then the department, then faculty. Cowell asks if there are any questions.


Rupert asks if the budget committee has talked about the relative percentages of the distribution of freed-up monies when someone retires. Do they know how much will go where? Cowell explains that that particular question was not something the committee wanted to put in the document since this is more of a guideline on principles.


White says the Provost is taking roughly 30% of the salary dollars for associate and full professors. Those dollars are recycled in theory because they come back to the college as tenure track lines through the FDAP program. There have been discussions at the college level about some fraction of empty lines staying at the college level to have the same kind of redistribution process. At this time all retirements are going right back into the divisions so there is no holding back at the college level.


Rupert says it seems one of the purposes of holding back money at the college level is to shift some faculty lines from one division to another and wonders if staff should be treated differently. Should there be a shift in staffing that follows the bulge of faculty moving over?


Cowell says the document recognizes that at some point in the future, they need to take a close look at staffing positions in the college. They know that A&S is understaffed but do not know exactly how it works out by division. Part of the flexibility proposed by the Budget Committee includes the dean giving money instead of lines to a division, so the division would have the flexibility to use the money how they see fit.  


White echoes what Cowell said and says this model is what a lot of faculty said they wanted.


Rupert asks if the college were using its discretionary money to hire more faculty in one division, could they also use that money to hire staff without it having to come out of staff retirements?


White says yes, this is possible. He explains that the college is starting out in a hole as far as staffing goes. They are not in a position to be taking staff positions from one division and moving to another division since they do not have excess staff anywhere. At some point in the future, they may be thinking about this.


MCDB’s representative asks how the decision on how much money each division gets is made. Cowell says this is determined by the dean and regent policy. The Budget Committee is proposing an executive committee provide input to develop consensus as to the best ways to allocate that money. Cowell says he is not sure what the metrics for that are going to be, but he feels it is not up to them to dictate those metrics.

The representative from HIST would like to know if it is accurate that distribution to the various units is more or less based on historical budget and has a life of its own after 30 or 40 years of no major changes to budgeting process in terms of how it’s allocated. He adds that, as he understands it, the budget reorganization at the campus level will change significantly and will be based partly on student credit hours and partly on other factors.


Cowell agrees and says this new campus process will happen fairly soon.


SOCY’s representative would like to know what kind of mechanisms are in place to keep student credit hours from driving dollars. Additionally, if some of the reallocation decisions are made at the college level, it seems there will be political jockeying by divisions for the money and it is not clear that that process will be any less political than it already is.


Cowell explains that the problem is that more students equates to the campus getting more money, but not the college. They are looking to create a direct feedback mechanism where there will be some portion of campus budget that will directly flow back to the college. In this case, A&S might actually get more money since they teach so many students. Cowell says it will always be somewhat political but because campus is finally being transparent about how they allocate money, that gives the college the opportunity to be transparent so that it is not as contentiously political.


White says that the document for the new Arts & Sciences Faculty Senate contains great mechanisms for keeping an eye on how budget is allocated.


The representative from HIST says part of the college’s mission is embracing a form of education that is broad. Budget-wise, he believes it makes sense to make sure A&S has offerings in less expensive fields. He says part of the college dean’s imperative is to ensure broad education and not to be a slave to the metric of student credit hours.


Rupert asks if there is any case to be made for some hold back of some ICR at the college level, for interdisciplinary projects as an example.


Cowell says this is an incredibly complex discussion and there is an ICR working group. Research projects have a direct cost attached and when those come back to campus, it is split between the campus and department. Most of the money goes to central campus. A working group is looking at how this money is currently spent. Only when we have a better sense of where that money is going can there be a campus wide discussion, followed by a college discussion about how we should use our portion. The Budget Committee felt that at this time, it would be premature to get into that discussion at the college level.


Rupert asks if, when doing the annual reconciliation of books, it would be better to have a rolling average.


Cowell explains that what is being discussed is 0.5%, which amounts to multi millions of dollars for a given division. It is a big problem to have a continuing budget deficit and the document says it is up to the dean of the college and the dean of divisions to negotiate exactly how to repay. That negotiation could allow some kind of more flexible repayment plan. There needs to be a policy in place because if not, there’s nothing to prevent someone from running up large deficits and ultimately the dean of the College, by regent law, would be on the hook for this.


White says this is where the dean’s strategic budget could come into play. If there is a need for a division to be growing in some way, the dean would have the opportunity to temporarily fill that need. But ultimately, they cannot spend more than they are given.


Input on hiring of new President of the University of Colorado


Rupert explains this is an issue the Planning Committee will take on. If anyone has further thoughts about this, they should contact Shelley Copley, Chair of Planning.


Rupert would like to know how much the ASC should be doing with this issue, or maybe the BFA document does enough. Rupert displays BFA document via screen sharing. The BFA vote on this document will happen on September 17th.  


Some attributes the document mentions are: inclusive excellence, fighting for public education funding, trying to keep things affordable, emphasizing valuable impact of public engagement, having common bonds with faculty (this might mean having a career in academia) and commitment to transparency .


Rupert sent this out to the ASC a few hours ago and would like to know what everyone makes of this as the Faculty Council wants to know what A&S thinks.


ENVS’s representative says that with the resignation of the last president, there was an influence of politics in the process. Has there been discussion around avoiding that? Rupert says this is not discussed in the document, but in the most recent communication from the regents, they seem to be taking a strong stand on openness in the process. This is White’s understanding also. Rupert says the ASC can make their views known about that.


Copley says she has been contemplating this for a few days.  She believes there are a few things missing from the BFA: emphasizing role of liberal arts education, the value of humanities and social sciences, being scientifically literate. She also thinks that the BFA document’s mention of “public facing scholarship” reads as only valuing applied research.


Rupert says he is on board with these points. Generally, the university could do a better job of expressing the value of pursuit of knowledge for its own sake.


HIST representative says he attended the regent’s listening session with the faculty council and the issue of transparency was front and center. The political aspect partly has to do with the fact that Colorado is heavily gerrymandered which creates a bipolar nature to the board of regents. Regents are aware of this and trying to address it. There is some discussion about maybe having some regents appointed instead of elected as some states do it in order to minimize some of the political element to the process.


ALC representative asks if regents are appointed, by whom?

HIST representative says the way it works in most states is they are appointed by the governor, then confirmed by a legislative body.


Rupert wonders if the ASC would want to say something more on the commitment to diversity and inclusivity, specifically about creating a more welcoming environment and a broader statement about climate. He is hoping the Planning Committee can bring something back to the ASC.


ENVS’s representative wonders if the average American would look at a document that lists diversity as its first bullet, but affordability as its fourth might think the university is out of touch with the barriers to inclusion.


Rupert says there was discussion about how public this document will be. They are not in a position now to give BFA feedback on the document, but it is a good question to keep in mind if the ASC produces a document like this. Who is the audience and how should they adjust with that in mind?


Rupert asks if there is any new business to discuss, but no one speaks up. Rupert says if anyone thinks of new business, contact him or a standing committee chair to convey what might be important for the ASC to work on.

The meeting is adjourned at 4:45 pm