Editor’s Note: Amy Barkley, Executive Assistant to the CSU Faculty Council, wrote this article for SOURCE on key reports and discussion points at the Sept. 6 Faculty Council meeting. It is published here on behalf of the faculty council management. Details of the reports and presentations referenced below will be available in the Minutes on the Faculty Council website once approved at the October meeting.
Interim President Rick Miranda visited the Faculty Council at its first meeting of the academic year on September 6 to provide a budget introduction to members.
Miranda discussed details surrounding the education and general (E&G) budgets and what aid budgets are. He said that aid budgets are generally not the responsibility of government other than their administration, and that the E&G budget is usually what the board of governors focuses on.
Miranda spoke about last year’s income and expenses. He explained that the CSU had a shortfall of around $13 million last year, which was covered in various ways. Miranda explained that CSU officials were able to improve the deficit by $7 million this year, and they are forecasting a deficit of only $6 million. He said several new spendings are expected this year, including investments in student success, diversity initiatives, investments in the police department and public safety, and faculty and staff compensation.
Miranda also outlined some of the priorities for this year. He noted that while some issues will have to wait until we have a new president, his office will focus on various issues that apply to students, staff, and operations and facilities. For students, administrators review enrollment management and financial plans to address equity gaps. For the faculty, they will invest resources in examining remuneration, both in terms of internal equity and market competitiveness. With facilities, they have discussions about several buildings for possible renovations and envision what Clark’s renovation will look like.
Questions from Faculty Council members included requests for clarification regarding compensation efforts, how staffing shortages are being managed, and more details on what internal equity looks like.
Interim Probation Report
Interim Provost Janice Nerger also attended the faculty council to provide updates on issues raised during her first few weeks in the interim role:
- She has created a new Provost’s Leadership Council composed of all 10 Deans, including the Dean of Libraries and Dean of Graduate School, the Vice Provosts and the Chair of the Faculty Council. Nerger will meet with this group twice a month.
- Nerger pointed out that several searches are taking place, including for the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and the Director of the Honors Program. She hopes to start the search for the CEO of TILT and the dean of the graduate school. Another upcoming search is for a new dean for the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering after Dean David McLean’s tenure.
- Nerger introduced the two new deans. Alonso Aguirre is the new dean of Warner College of Natural Resources and Sue VandeWoude is the new dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Nerger said Simon Tavener is interim dean for the College of Natural Sciences and Sonia Kreidenweis is interim dean for the graduate school.
- Nerger said her office is also working on accreditation efforts with Vice Provost for Planning and Effectiveness Laura Jensen and Special Counsel to the Provost Mary Pedersen.
Nerger explained that she also worked through the curriculum change from AUCC 3E to 1C and two committees were activated to push this forward. The Implementation Committee will be a temporary committee to determine how many seats are needed in 1C by looking at what CSU previously had in 3E. This report is due to her on November 1st. At that point, she said, her team can review costs and see if basic funding is needed for things like GTAs and faculty training. The second committee, the Advisory Committee, will work primarily with departments and curriculum committees to assist faculty in ensuring courses meet the requirements of the educational guidelines and GT Pathways criteria.
Change of leadership, new task forces
Chair Sue Doe presented her first Faculty Council Chairs’ Report for the 2022-23 academic year, highlighting an unusual summer due to leadership changes. She stressed the need for honest and transparent conversations about how faculty feels after all these changes. Doe noted that while she has the utmost faith in her colleagues during the transition, there is still a lot of confusion among faculty about what happened over the summer.
Doe’s report also included briefings on committees and initiatives she is leading as chair. Doe has been involved with the Recruitment and Retention Task Force, the Housing Task Force and the Student Success Leadership Team, and also regularly attends the President’s Cabinet meetings. Another interesting point is the digitization of the faculty council files with the university archive. Doe also stated that she is helping to find the new vice provost for student affairs.
Doe announced that she is organizing several faculty council task forces to address various issues. These task forces will address the following issues:
- Shared Governance
- Types of appointments of continuing, contractual and non-university faculty and the contracts for these types of appointments
- administrative leave
- A look into the future of the CSU
- Budget introduction in Capstone and building on President Miranda’s budget briefings
Faculty members interested in participating in these task forces should contact either Doe or the Faculty Council Office.
Retirement Plan Review Committee
Robyn Fergus, Vice President for Human Resources, and Joseph DiVerdi, Chair of the Retirement Plan Review Committee, visited the faculty council to provide information on the process of reviewing retirement plans for CSU employees. Fergus first explained that the defined contribution plan was introduced in the early 1990’s and has not undergone a comprehensive review since then. She explained that the investment landscape has changed significantly since that time. The committee’s work is to conduct a comprehensive review of the main structure of the pension plans.
Fergus outlined the current landscape for investments and where they are in the process for recommendations from the Retirement Plan Review Committee. Members have worked closely with Innovest, a national financial investment firm. Fergus said CSU Procurement assists in bidding for vendors. She said she is currently unable to provide further details due to rules during the procurement process. All recommendations must be approved by the Board of Governors, and then, after any action is taken on those recommendations, negotiations must take place with the successful bidder(s).
DiVerdi stressed that this process is about simplifying the process, reducing management fees for participants and protecting the investments already made. He explained that more information can be found on the Human Resources website.
Other highlights from the faculty council
- Susan James, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, provided a brief update on ADVANCE @ CSU, which has been renamed Faculty Success. She will provide a more detailed update at the Faculty Council meeting in October.
- Doe drew members’ attention to an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that quoted her: Last year was miserable. Can colleges do this better?
For the schedule of Faculty Council meetings, approved minutes and agendas, lists of Faculty Council members and its committees, and other information, see Faculty Council website.