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Faculty Senate

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University of Denver

Faculty Senate

The Faculty Senate is the primary body through which faculty participate in the shared governance of the University of Denver. The Senate is composed of approximately 90 members elected to represent the academic units of the University. Much of the Senate's work is accomplished through its five Standing Committees:

  • Academic Planning Committee (APC)
  • Financial Planning Committee (FPC)
  • Nominations, Credentials & Rules (NCR)
  • Personnel Committee
  • Student Relations Committee (SRC)

Here is a quick PDF of the descriptions (drawn from the Senate Constitution).

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) includes the Chairs of the five Standing Committees, the President, the President-Elect, the Secretary, and several at-large members. Questions and concerns may be addressed through elected departmental or divisional Senators, or may be addressed to the Senate President at sarah.pessin@du.edu.

President's welcome - September 2020

Greetings, Senators and Faculty.

During these difficult times, I thought I would offer up a quick overview of just a handful of the amazing things we've accomplished together over the last few months. We have shown a strong commitment to shared governance even during COVID times; here are some examples from Spring-Summer 2020:

  • 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.
  • In May 2020, Senate voted to allow new president the ability to call special Senate meetings throughout the Summer thereby ensuring Senate's ability to stay involved with rapidly changing circumstances and needs.
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • And in 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.
  • In July Senate passed a motion in support of Visiting and Adjunct faculty,
  • and in August we began a series of difficult conversations about financial scenarios resulting in a faculty-side Senate survey on financial values during times of COVID—we received 435 responses from faculty, 32 faculty (mostly Senators) volunteered to analyze the data on a tight turnaround, and FSEC is now finalizing a full report (planned to be released during week of 9.14.20).
  • This summer we also seated Senate-nominated faculty onto COVID task-forces, the COVID response team, a Title IX working group, a Vice Chancellor search committee, and a graduate students task force.
  • We are currently seating committees related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; teaching excellence; and faculty workload equity.

Looking forward to learning from and with all of you this year,

Sarah Pessin, President