Senate communications

July 12, 2018

Faculty senate chair year end report

Dear Faculty:

Summer has officially begun- congratulations on another year of teaching, research, service, and collective efforts. This ends our 80th year of shared governance at UW! That is worthy of celebration.

For my part, it has been a pleasure and honor to serve as the Chair of Faculty Senate. It has been an intense academic year; one in which shared governance played a significant role in stewarding our university and our faculty community. George Sandison will be stepping up to the Chair position on August 1 and I know he will serve all of us with integrity and a commitment to the university.

I would like to take a moment to recognize the leadership of Provost Baldasty, for his partnership with faculty leadership and his trust in shared governance has made us a stronger university. We have partnered with him to review the university’s fiscal health and the role of Activity Based Budgeting and supplements, to foster partnerships between deans and their Elected Faculty Councils, to explore new ways to support incoming departmental chairs, and the potential of a more connected U across all three campuses. This partnership is a part of our collective stewardship of the UW.

We are also looking forward to working with incoming Provost Mark Richards. We will begin by sharing our UW Faculty 2050 report, reflecting emerging visions for our shared future. We will welcome him into an institution that stewards strong shared governance with faculty and leadership contributing to the greater good for our university and our communities. There is much to build on and much work to be done. I am confident he will be a productive and collaborative partner in this work.

Strengthening Shared Governance:  Our faculty councils have overseen improvements in our stewardship of diversity scholarship, support for lectures, in the student code, and in recognizing alternative approaches to scholarship, teaching, and service.

Faculty Senate leadership with the Secretary of the Faculty engaged in a significant review of the Faculty Code and related policies. Learning from questions and concerns in response to previous changes in our Faculty Code, we are proposing tighter guidelines for “housekeeping” and related questions. Furthermore we are reviewing proposals for how to review compliance and other changes to university procedures that impact faculty. Our “code cops” have reviewed the bylaws of our elected faculty councils and have referred recommendations to the Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs. Stay tuned as this work will continue to be refined and eventually presented to faculty for approval in the next year.

Launched in the fall we are in the process of a rigorous faculty governance review of our disciplinary and dispute resolution system as outlined by the faculty code. We have established a framework of guiding principles and values to inform the review process of the current system. Our intent is to develop a system that facilitates access while assuring greater fairness, accuracy, and efficiency in ways that reflect our values and mission. Our goal is to have a draft ready for review with the Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs and other appropriate councils in the coming academic year.

The Open Access legislation is the culmination of three plus years of work on the part of members of the Faculty Council on Research, the Council on University Libraries, and the Faculty Senate leadership as well as our librarians and members of Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs. The next challenge will be the details of implementation including the cost of the software and staffing the project. This is a significant undertaking, but one that we as a public university should be tackling head on, in my opinion.

The Faculty Council on Academic Standards approved proposals for direct admission to the College of Engineering and Computer Science for incoming freshman. They are working on best practices for Syllabi, a resource that will be much appreciated. The Undergraduate Enrollment Management Taskforce, under leadership of Patricia Kramer, streamlined the 1503 process and eased the way for transfer students. Our partnership with the state’s 34 community colleges is important. This is also true for our collaborations with the other state schools including WSU and Western. Let’s leave competition for the athletes while we work together to promote and strengthen higher education, and for that matter education across the state for all who live here.

Meanwhile the Faculty Council on Student Affairs is discussing policy for students who need accommodations related to class attendance for religious reasons and addressing the problems that arise from requirements for medical notes. They are also discussing textbook affordability and Open Educational Resources. The Faculty Council on Teaching and Learning has been tackling the issues of online/ hybrid teaching and learning environments, learning analytics and diversity and equity informed pedagogies. They also reviewed proposals for improving course evaluations and the final exam schedule.

The Faculty Council on Research reviewed a report on Faculty Effort Certification and discussed the Lab Safety Initiative, an essential program to improve the safety of laboratories. The Faculty Council on Benefits and Retirement heard from an ad hoc committee on proposed improvements to the sharing of information on retirement options and benefits and reviewed data and policies on parental leave. The Faculty Council on University Facilities and Services continues to advocate for classroom expansion on the main Seattle campus. The Faculty Council on Tri-Campus Policy sought to clarify the roles of Elected Faculty Councils on each of the three campuses and to strengthen cross-campus communication. Our Councils are essential- thank you to all who served.

UW Faculty 2050 report:  The Faculty Senate leadership in collaboration with the Provost, Board of Deans and Chancellors, and over 40 faculty members (with over 945 who responded to the survey), launched this project. It is intended to guide planning for UW, grounded in shared values and commitment to public education. The areas of focus identified were our role as a public university, strengthening equity, diversity, and inclusion across the university, and recognizing changing faculty career paths. The goal is to be strategic in the approach to the future to assure that we continue to build on our core mission and the generation of knowledge for the public good. This document will be shared with our incoming Provost, Mark Richards as a way to introduce him more fully to our faculty and our university.

Carnegie Community- Engaged Designation Application:  Faculty Senate in collaboration with Undergraduate Academic Affairs and Urban@UW are leading the application for a university-wide designation as a Community- Engaged Institution. The process reflects how community engagement is woven into the fabric of our community and how we can improve our support and recognition of this work. As noted in President Cauce’s spring lecture, we have a strength in working with communities that we need to build upon to assure we are doing our part to make this world better for everyone.

Diversity and Equity:  While we have accomplished much in our efforts to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, there remains significant challenges and work ahead. To begin, we know we need better data. Now with Workday more fully established, the UW is collecting better data so that we can more accurately and productively assess our efforts to build a diverse and inclusive community. As Dean Graumlich wrote, change can be glacial, but we are moving with significant work yet to be accomplished. The challenges of diversity and equity are why we are working to establish equitable benefits for adoptive parents, wellness rooms for nursing mothers and those needed a private space for medical purposes, and to increase the value of diversity scholarship. Addressing the need to recognize the contributions of diversity scholarship, the Faculty Council on Multicultural Affairs led successful legislation to alter our code so that scholarship and teaching on diversity “shall” be considered by promotion committees when requested and submitted by the faculty member. This does not require that we engage in diversity scholarship, teaching, or service, but requires that when we do we have the right to expect it to be acknowledged and considered in a review of our work as faculty.

I served on the steering committee for Title IX contributing to building more robust training resources and reporting guidelines for faculty related to sexual and racial harassment and violence. Our Faculty Council on Women in Academia will be active participants in discussions on the prevention and reporting of sexual and racial harassment in our communities. President Cauce shared the launch of new training videos that we are working to make a part of every faculty members resource base. The next questions are how to assure that every faculty member draws on these opportunities and in turn, that we report when we suspect someone is being harassed. This will assure equitable access to resources for every individual in our community. This work will extend into the fall – stay tuned.

Lecturers:  The Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs (FCFA) has led the successful efforts to pass legislation this year:  for voting rights and for clarifying promotion criteria. A task force is finishing their work to compile a handbook for lecturers to assure that everyone has access to the information needed, and to correct the misperceptions that remain. The next step is for review by the FCFA and then shared with faculty.

Fiscal stability and faculty compensation:  We continue as faculty leadership to be concerned with the fiscal health of the university as well as with the need to address faculty compensation across schools, colleges, and campuses. We are rather dismayed to see how far behind Washington State remains in per student funding with California government allocating almost 6K more per student than our state. We will need to continue our collective efforts to persuade our legislators how important all education is, and this includes higher education across the state.

No matter what the state allocation, we have the responsibility to steward our resources within our programs. Under the leadership of Zoe Barsness, the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting (SCPB) chair has been collaborating with the Provost to review unit budget plans. While some units appear to be doing ok, and others are recovering appropriately, there remain those who are struggling. SCPB Continues to monitor units in deficit closely and receives regular reports on their progress toward fiscal health.

Recently I listened to a group advocate for “free” U-PASSes for all UW employees without acknowledging the cost that is likely to be at least $15 million, equivalent to approximately a 3+% salary increase for faculty and staff. And yet we are an outlier in terms of large employers for not providing such a benefit. I suggest there are informed discussions we need to have about our budget priorities in this constrained context. We are looking to Elected Faculty Councils and each of you in this challenging work ahead.

Community partnerships:  Finally, JoAnn Taricani, our Faculty Legislative Liaison, and I have sought to strengthen the faculty voice with our state legislators. Over a number of months, I have met with those legislators representing UW and my district (I live in the UW district) including Representative Nicole Macri, Speaker Frank Chopp, and Senator Jamie Pedersen to understand their perceptions of the University and our potential to be stronger partners. In turn, as JoAnn does on a regular basis, I have advocated for our faculty and our university. Our leaders have tough choices before them and it is important that we are viewed as active partners. This next year is critical- so we implore you to get out and talk with your representatives.

We have accomplished some of what we set about working on and we have much to do. Thank you for what you do and let’s keep working together.

Best and here is to a productive, fun, inspiring summer!

Thaïsa