Published: Sept. 8, 2023

The Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA) opened its first general assembly meeting of the academic year, unveiling an assessment of Provost Russ Moore and receiving updates on a recent faculty contract pay issue and a new building safety policy in the works.

Moore first administrator evaluated under new process

Fernando Rosario-Ortiz of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering and chair of the BFA’s Administrator Appraisal Committee (AAPC) unveiled the committee’s assessment of Moore via a new administrator appraisal process more than a year in the making. 

The upshot 

The provost was judged against core competencies (derived from CU Boulder’s Academic Leadership Institute competency model) by evaluators from the University Executive Leadership Team (UELT), the BFA’s Executive Committee and a random sampling of 20% of CU Boulder’s faculty across job titles and ranks. 

The overall assessment of Moore’s performance varied between faculty leaders when compared to rank-and-file faculty in almost every category. Faculty leadership had a more favorable assessment of Provost Moore’s performance.

The AAPC had seven takeaways for Moore: 

  • Moore is deliberative and judicious when making decisions.
  • He should work on more agile situational decision-making.
  • He should articulate a “more compelling and collective vision for the university.” showcasing how all academic units are vital to its success.
  • He should build collegiality, trust and transparency.
  • He needs to continue and deepen campus efforts for recruiting and retaining diverse faculty.
  • Faculty salaries remain a “pressing problem,” and Moore should be more “proactive, expeditious and strategic” in solving it.
  • There is a disconnect in the assessment of Moore’s performance between raters in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, who rated him highly, and those in the College of Arts and Sciences, who rated him much lower. The committee noted “this is an area for further inquiry and management.”

Moore has received the committee’s report and agreed to meet with the BFA’s executive committee each semester, according to new BFA Chair Shelly Miller. 

“The [evaluation’s] results give me effective insights into where I am succeeding, and where work needs to be done. I had a productive conversation with the BFA Executive Committee that culminated in specific suggestions for how I, in collaboration with BFA, could enhance transparency and collegiality in decision making," Moore said. 

August contract faculty pay issue addressed; HR commits to better communication

Chief People Officer Robyn Fergus, appearing at the request of BFA Chair Shelly Miller, told the group that some faculty on semester or nine-month contracts, including “9 over 12” faculty (those whose nine-month contracts are paid over 12 months’ time), received smaller paychecks due to the later start of the semester and a shortened August pay period (by six days) compared to last year. 

Graduate students on appointment were not impacted. Faculty who are suffering financial hardship are eligible to receive a bridge payment on Friday, Sept. 15, if they apply by Monday, Sept. 11, via their college, school or unit human resources liaison. 

How this is being fixed

Fergus said HR would “do a better job of reminding folks in the spring semester to check their election of a nine- or 12-month contract” and would work to get impacted faculty “talking earlier” in the spring with their unit HR liaison about impacts caused by late pay schedules in August. 

The money to help those faculty with current financial hardships due to the short month would come from advances on their contracts and is not “an addition to base salary,” Fergus added. Subsequent monthly pay, she said, “would be adjusted downward for the remainder of the year” to account for the advances. She encouraged faculty to use a calculator tool on the payroll website to help understand how pay is spread throughout the year.

BFA members Tiel Lundy, Cinema Studies & Moving Image Arts, and Javier Krauel, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, told Fergus of the impacts of the shortfall. “It was rolled out clumsily and communicated even more poorly,” said Lundy. Krauel added it was “demoralizing to start the year this way” and that “the outrage is sort of hard to exaggerate.” 

Kenny Nelson, assistant vice chancellor for HR shared services and employee relations and Fergus’s co-presenter, echoed her assurances of a better future approach. “This is a lesson learned for us—we could have noticed this back in the spring. The 9-over-12 pay issue (for short months) we can fix, long-term.” 

In other BFA news

The assembly received an update from Brian Lindoerfer, assistant vice chancellor for facilities management, and Garry DeJong, director of events and emergency management for the CU Police Department, on the campus’s new Building Access Policy, which is being drafted and calls for: 

  • Classroom buildings being open during business hours
  • Outside of normal business hours, classroom buildings requiring a Buff OneCard for access
  • Flexible access provisions for administrative, research and special use facilities

University Libraries faculty Melissa Cantrell, scholarly communications librarian, and Gabrielle Wiersma, director of collection management, shared insight on how a BFA resolution on campus libraries licensing would provide strong support to libraries’ leadership in their negotiations with materials providers. 

BFA Secretary Vicki Grove updated the assembly on the process of adopting a Boulder Faculty Senate constitution and on upcoming BFA elections

Visit the BFA website for more context and background materials.