Assembly also introduces its own anti-concealed carry motion
The Boulder Faculty Assembly got a first look at the newly posted Faculty Salary Procedures Working Group draft report (PDF) Thursday—a vital first step in changing the unit-based practices that can lead to highly differential salaries for faculty members within the same academic unit.
In a 40-plus minute presentation to the assembly, co-chairs of the working group, Daria Kotys-Schwartz of mechanical engineering and Steve Vanderheiden of political science, outlined the background, process and outcome of the group’s work, which commenced last April under the joint sponsorship of the BFA and the provost’s office.
“Lack of equity is corrosive,” said Kotys-Schwartz. “It’s harming our culture and the climate of our academic units.”
Other negative impacts of salary inequities Kotys-Schwartz cited included promoting faculty disengagement and higher rates of faculty turnover that “threaten the university’s research and teaching objectives.”
The working group concerned itself with a clear task, said Vanderheiden—“Trying to define what salary inequities are”—and arrived at a definition offered in the report: “Faculty salary inequities are salary disparities between faculty within a comparison group that cannot be justified by differences in career merit.”
Kotys-Schwartz said the working group’s work—which she said was far from complete and would need extensive follow up—had created a compendium of policy documents from nearly every academic unit on campus—236 documents from 77 units that included bylaws, salary committee procedures and evaluation guidelines. The group recommends this collection ultimately be made available as a campus resource.
The group agreed on several hypotheses on the main drivers of salary inequity—that merit review practices matter, along with hiring and retention practices; that auditing is an opportunity to detect or correct hiring/retention practices; and that transparency is important at all points in salary processes.
Vanderheiden previewed data from the report that showed that over the past 10 years, “The faculty raise pool [available for unit-level distribution] has averaged 2.3%...while inflation has averaged 2.5%.”
“What we’re able to do with raise pools isn’t enough to keep our faculty,” he said.
Extensive discussion focused on the report’s methodologies and recommendations, including challenging aspects of the campus’s approach to retention of tenure-track faculty, wherein faculty are put into the position of having to threaten to leave the institution to receive a competitive salary in their discipline. The role of favoritism in how units devise and make retention offers to select faculty and the disparate impact that approach has on faculty was mentioned, as was how retention raises are charged to departments.
Kotys-Schwartz encouraged faculty to widely distribute the report and to provide feedback on it at the working group’s webpage by noon March 20, and to register to attend Zoom open forums on Wednesday, March 8, from noon to 1 p.m. and Thursday, March 16, from 2 to 3 p.m.
BFA Chair Tiffany Beechy ended that section of the meeting with a thanks to the committee, saying, “It took a village to make this happen.”
New BFA notice of motion to end concealed carry
Beechy also announced that the BFA’s executive committee was submitting a notice of motion asking the Board of Regents to rescind the current policy that allows individuals with permits to carry concealed weapons on all four of CU’s campuses.
The BFA motion not only endorses a previous and nearly identical CU Student Government (CUSG) resolution, it adds the faculty perspective on the need for such a move in order to ensure “health and wellbeing for students, faculty and staff on all campuses.”
The Colorado Supreme Court in 2012 invalidated the portion of an existing CU regents’ policy that prohibited all firearms on campus. The decision held that the university’s campuses were subject to the Colorado Concealed Carry Act. The regents modified the weapons control policy to allow concealed carry in accordance with the ruling.
The Colorado Legislature last year modified the act to permit the governing boards of institutions of higher education to enact rules governing concealed carry on their campuses.
Last October, the BFA endorsed by a vote of 46-1 a motion by CUSG to reverse the policy. The motion has also been endorsed by CU Boulder’s Staff Council and the Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG). Supporters of the CUSG resolution have also testified at subsequent regent meetings, calling for an end to the practice of concealed carry.
Beechy said the new BFA resolution will be revised and provided with supporting documentation during March, then sent to representatives to share with their constituents prior to a vote in April. If the resolution is adopted, it will be presented at the upcoming Regent University Affairs Committee meeting April 18, along with the resolution from the students.
In other BFA action
Beechy updated members on plans for a Campus Curriculum Policy and associated campus Curriculum Committee to meet longstanding campus needs and the recommendations of the Academic Futures report, as well as the adoption of the new campus budget mode and the Common Curriculum.
Beechy said she would send more updates next week, giving the back story and details of the current policy draft. A motion to approve will be introduced at the April General Assembly, allowing for the customary month-long official comment and revision period, with the vote to approve to be held in May.
Members of the assembly also were invited to attend three colloquia offered by the Center for Teaching and Learning on AI and ChatGPT and their impact on teaching and learning.
The BFA heard a short presentation from CU faculty member Shawhin Roudbari of environmental design on a planned April 7 special film screening and in-person event with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi. Register to attend.
Beechy announced that nominations for at-large seats in the assembly are open through March 10. Nominations and self-nominations are welcome, and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a two-to-three sentence statement of interest. See the BFA Elections webpage for details.