Budget input, communication main concerns for CSU faculty council

Sady Swanson

Colorado State University’s Faculty Council is ready for a year full of change for the better.

After resignations from the faculty council executive committee in spring over issues with shared governance, CSU Faculty Council Chair Mary Stromberger said she is working to improve communications with administration and faculty members.

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In the last executive committee meeting for the faculty council in May, CSU President Tony Frank proposed to campus leadership the option to build an academic addition to the stadium. He spoke with the executive committee of faculty council, the Committee on Strategic and Financial Planning, leadership from the Administrative Professional Council, Classified Personnel Council and members from Associated Students of Colorado State University.

The faculty seemed to be in favor of the stadium addition because it would provide additional classroom space on campus and expand stadium use, according to Stromberger.

“We provided Tony with some positive feedback (saying), ‘Now is the time to move forward with this,’” Stromberger said. “I don’t think Tony would’ve made the decision to do the academic build-out if he did not have the support of this group.”

At the faculty council meeting in May, Stromberger said a resolution was passed that outlined improvements in shared governance that the faculty council wanted to see.

In that resolution, faculty said they wanted to be recognized for their participation on University boards or committees, according to Stromberger.

“We want faculty to feel that effort (being on a committee) is being recognized by their department heads and their deans, and that they’re credited for their work when it comes to annual evaluations and promotion and tenure,” Stromberger said.

There will also be a task force that will study how departments value University service, and how it should be counted toward their annual evaluations, promotions and tenure.

“This task force will develop policies and guidelines to help academic units evaluate faculty service on University committees and provide some guidance how to really evaluate faculty for their time, and their participation and the impact those committees have,” Stromberger said.

The resolution also expressed the faculty’s request to be more involved with budgetary planning and overall vision planning at the University. Stromberger said she met weekly with Provost Rick Miranda over the summer to discuss ways to improve shared governance.

“Provost Miranda is in the process of reforming how budgets are proposed and reviewed here at CSU, and we’re going to see a lot more employee engagement in that review process,” Stromberger said.

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Miranda said they have not settled on all of the details of the new process yet, but the goal is to create a more formal process where faculty can provide input in the budgetary process.

“(We want to) make faculty council as functional as possible,” Miranda said.

Stromberger said she has been working with people in CSU’s External Relations Department to improve communications within faculty council, with administration and with faculty.

Good communication is imperative for shared governance to be successful, according to Vice President of External Relations Tom Milligan. He is helping Stromberger use different forms of communication to share as much information as they can.

“There (are) so many different ways to communicate now,” Milligan said.

The faculty council website has been redesigned and is now easier to use, according to Stromberger.

Stromberger said faculty council will also work on improving the working conditions of all faculty, especially non-tenure track faculty.

“I think right now, Provost Miranda and Tony Frank are really sensitive to the employee’s desires for better shared governance and more participation in decision making,” Stromberger said. “We’re going to see some changes to make that better and stronger here at CSU.”

Collegian Assistant News Editor Sady Swanson can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.