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Shared Governance Spotlight - CU Anschutz

Ethelyn Thomason Larsen
Associate Professor, Restorative Dentistry
CU Anschutz Representative at Large, Faculty Council 

What does shared governance mean to you? Why is it important?

After nearly 20 years of practice, I started teaching full time at the School of Dental Medicine in 2013.  Having little background in academia, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I love my job and I love the institution I have been privileged to join.  As Faculty Senate president for the SODM, I began attending the Faculty Assembly meetings.  Shortly thereafter, I became an AMC Representative-at-Large to the Faculty Council.  My learning curve on shared governance has been nearly vertical since that time. We are all parts of a whole that cannot function without each other.  To me, that is the essence of shared governance:  we the faculty work together, support each other, protect each other, and the result is a common voice that works with the campus leadership to build up the University as a whole.

Tell us about your role on the Faculty Council, how long you have served in this role, and what your initial motivations were for engaging in this type of service.

I am currently serving as the Vice Chair to the Faculty Assembly on the Anschutz campus and member-at-large to the Faculty Council.  My role is to support the Chair to the Faculty Assembly (Cindy O’Bryant) and also report back to the Faculty Assembly what happens at the Faculty Council. I am also responsible for being one of the voices to support the wants and needs of the faculty on the Anschutz campus at the system level.

What makes this work rewarding? Can you share some of your committee’s or the Council’s initiatives or achievements that you are particularly proud to have contributed to?

I have not served on any committees of the Faculty Council.  The bulk of my shared governance activity has been at the school level, supporting the faculty of the SODM.  I am proud to have contributed to the establishment of the Student Success Task Force, participated as a facilitator and representative of the SODM in the Interprofessional program, and am currently on several of the subcommittees preparing for our next accreditation visit.