Faculty Senate eyes controversial regulations, survey results

Contentious regulations regarding procedures and classifications affecting UW faculty were introduced among a wide range of other matters at the Nov. 19 meeting of Faculty Senate prior to Thanksgiving Break.

Senate Resolution 352, including proposed revisions to UW-Regulation 2-1, “Academic Personnel,” was set for further discussion and a vote during next week’s Dec. 3 meeting.

“This has been relatively controversial because this will change the status of fixed term academic professionals,” Faculty Senate Chair Donal O’Toole said. “Extensive discussions have taken place with Academic Affairs to try and iron this out. I think when Academic Affairs originally introduced this, they thought it would be welcomed with open arms and with cries of delight—it was not.”

Despite those initial foibles, O’Toole said good progress has been made to arrive at a more agreeable version of the proposal, such as reworking conditions and procedures set by some of the specific language used.

Also set for final vote in December is the already-extended SR-351, which includes revisions for UW-Regulation 2-7, “Procedures for Reappointment, Tenure, Promotion and Fixed Term: University Reappointment, Tenure and Promotion Committee.”

SR-350, regarding the handling of student academic dishonesty, passed with little discussion.

In the Chair’s Report, O’Toole touched on other pressing business demanding faculty attention, such as the proposal to “reorganize” UW’s Geography Department and phase out its major and graduate programs. O’Toole said responses need to be gathered by February in order to make a statement to administration, as the proposal is in a period of comment and review until March.

“We’re under a pretty tight timeline about whether we agree with that or disagree with that,” O’Toole said. “My sense was those folks, in the Geography Department, would very much like to see a major retained in geography.”

O’Toole’s report also included some highlights from the November Board of Trustees meeting. Results from the Student Satisfaction survey indicated students were “more gruntled than disgruntled,” though the Great Colleges to Work For survey revealed low satisfaction among staff and faculty.

While he had been “nervous” about potential spin, O’Toole said he appreciated that it had been presented “very honestly and straightforwardly” by Chief of Staff Dan

Maxey, of the Office of the President, and Associate Vice President for Human Resources Jeanne Durr.

O’Toole also drew attention to a statement of support and recognition from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Kate Miller, who emphasized to the board that faculty are continuing to deliver and do a good job in the midst of frustration and dissatisfaction.

“I was a little surprised but I think you should know that President Nichols’ comment was—anytime these surveys are brought on campus, and it took considerable courage on her part to do this survey, she said that often there’s a lot of pent-up irritation and anger at an administration,” O’Toole said. “She said that’s probably what we’re seeing here. I guess I don’t necessarily agree but that was her take.”

For an upcoming survey, Chief Diversity Officer Emily Monago and Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology Evan Johnson presented plans for the Campus Climate survey to take place in the spring semester and request input and feedback to construct the survey, which would focus on new areas of life in the UW community as part of the university’s long-term strategic plan.

“This survey is going to be different,” Monago said. “It’s not going to be like our satisfaction survey—it’s really focusing on access, inclusion, diversity, and how we can make this campus more inclusive, and if there are some areas of strength we can build on those. If there are areas that we need to do more work, we can do that.”

A sustainability presentation from Campus Sustainability Committee Co-chairs Nicole Korfanta and Rachel Budowle rounded out the agenda with a look at STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Reporting System. Improving sustainability practices on campus is also a major focus of the university’s strategic plan.

“This will provide some documentation of the sustainability efforts that we’re already undertaking and doing well at the University of Wyoming, but our committee is most excited to uncover some gaps and opportunities for further advancing sustainability,” Budowle said.

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