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Message from the Chair

As we embark on another academic year, this year feels a little different. With new CU Faculty Council (FC) leadership, a new President and new Senior Diversity Officer within the university, there is a sense of a real opportunity for change. Representing the faculty on all four CU campuses, FC is uniquely able to collaborate with CU System Administration through shared governance to address common faculty concerns and advocate for change. This is best done through developing collegial partnerships that allow for respectful, transparent dialogue and a commitment to working together. Thus far in our work with President Todd Saliman and Senior Diversity Office Judi Díaz Bonacquisti, FC is encouraged by their approach and commitment to shared governance. They both have shown a strong desire to listen to and address faculty needs/concerns and work with FC to realize transformation. We look forward to continuing to build these relationships and work collaboratively on important issues including inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) and faculty hiring/retention. 

One major task the FC is tackling this year is revision of the Bylaws of the Faculty Senate of University of Colorado, which were last approved in 2014. This work is being done to ensure our governing structure is contemporary and supports the academic operations of our institution. The FC Bylaws committee is actively working on revisions. As part of this work, the Faculty Senate Faculty Grievance Committee (FSGC, formally the Faculty Senate Privilege and Tenure Committee), the only standing committee of the Faculty Senate, is also revising the section of the bylaws related to their function. The FC received revisions from the FSGC and the Bylaws committee will work with them on a final version that will be incorporated in the revisions. This work will continue with the goal of approving Bylaw revisions at the Faculty Senate meeting in April 2023.

Through shared governance, FC continues to provide input on new and revised university related Administrative Policy Statements (APS). This is accomplished by feedback received from each of the four campus Faculty Assemblies and FC committees, especially that of the Educational Policy & University Standards Committee. While I know that reading and reviewing policy statements is not at the top of every faculty member’s “To Do” list, by doing so, faculty can advocate for changes that shape policy to reflect the best interests of the faculty. Currently the following APSs are under review: APS 1014 - Intellectual Property That is Educational Materials, APS 1020 - Tenure Accountability and most recently, APS 5060 - Faculty Appointments. If you are interested in providing your input on these policy statements, please reach out to your campus Faculty Assembly leadership to learn more. 

Over the last year, FC committee chairs from the CREE, LGBTQ+, (Dis)ability & Access, and Women’s Committees have been serving in an ad hoc capacity on the FC Executive Committee (EC). This has allowed the EC to better understand multifactorial issues and opportunities to make real change regarding IDEA climate and practice within FC and on our campuses. Our FC committees and Faculty Assembly leaders are doing amazing IDEA work on the four campuses and at the system level. The FC EC recognizes the vast importance of including diverse perspectives. In that spirit, the FC EC has given a charge to all of the FC committees to find areas of combined interests and collaborate on projects that add value. One example of partnership is the LGBTQ+ committee and the system diversity office who are teaming up to host a symposium in May 2023. You can read more about the symposium in this newsletter, and additional information will be forthcoming in the next few months. 

The FC continues to identify ways in which we can encourage and engage our talented, committed, and dedicated faculty here at CU to participate in shared governance. We understand that an important aspect in doing this is, there has to be value in and recognition for participation. What that value is may be different to each of us but we all understand the importance of being acknowledged for the time and efforts faculty invest in upholding shared governance; especially in the current environment. The FC is has joined in conversations with system leadership regarding this issue. We will continue these conversations and plan to work with the Faculty Assemblies to identify best practices across the four campuses with the goal to diversify and increase faculty participation in shared governance at all levels. 

Lastly, it is my hope that you too feel this sense of a real opportunity for change. To create change we will need to work together as “our unity is our strength and our diversity is our power” (Kamala Harris). Together, we the faculty, can create transformational change bolstering CU to meet its mission here in Colorado and beyond. I encourage you to seek opportunities to get involved in shared governance at any level and in doing so help realize change.

Cindy O’Bryant 

Faculty Council Chair

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