August Update from Senate President

Aug 24, 2020

The Faculty Senate continues to uphold strong Shared Governance principles in times of COVID-19 and to support faculty and students in changing environments.

Regarding Shared Governance principles in times of COVID-19:

    • In May 2020, Senate voted to allow special Senate meetings throughout the Summer thereby ensuring Senate’s ability to stay involved with rapidly changing circumstances and needs.
    • Senate passed a Resolution laying out important DU principles for decision-making during times of COVID-19, including an emphasis on compassion, clarity, and engaged communication.

Regarding faculty:

    • As early as April 2020, Senate approved an amendment giving faculty the option of a one-year extension for promotion and contract-renewals due to delays in research, teaching, and service plans due to the pandemic; in June, a new amendment was passed giving faculty even more agency by further extending the deadline by when faculty need to give notice of their decision.
    • Senate created a new process for nominating faculty to serve on the Chancellor’s new Task Forces– the process involved an important new partnership between Senate and ODEI.

Regarding students:

    • In May 2020, Senate also voted to support students by extending the Pass/No Pass grading system into Summer 2020 and the Chancellor followed this recommendation.
    • In response to a student petition calling on DU to support Black Students and in consideration too of Students of Color in relation to nation-wide gatherings in support of Racial Justice, Senate voted in support of the petition, granting students optional finals and the opportunity for alternative assignments for Spring 2020; the Provost followed this recommendation.
    • In July 2020, Senate followed this up by voting by an overwhelming 92% to partner with the Provost and Chancellor on a new mandate requiring all DU faculty to have inclusive pedagogy training.
    • In the midst of new visa restrictions, Senate voted 100% in favor of a Resolution in support of international students and faculty–and in support of DU joining Harvard and MIT in a lawsuit against the federal government.

Faculty Senate president Sarah Pessin also worked with a colleague at Brandeis University to co-create a new national ‘Faculty Leadership Network’ of faculty senate presidents from across the country. The new group had their first meeting in July and have since met monthly; it has been successful, and they look forward to continuing to expand the opportunities for members to support one another.

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