New year for Faculty Assembly

UCCS Faculty Representative Assembly heard the chancellor, discussed proposed changes in class schedules, and learned about green commencement gowns at its Sept. 10 meeting.

Catherine Kelly, associate professor,College of Education, is this year’s president. Katie Kaukinen, associate professor, School of Public Affairs, is vice-president. Several faculty members debuted as new representatives at the  first meeting of the 2010-11 academic term. The assembly heard several speakers and discussed some of the issues faculty and the campus currently face.

Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak said she could not give official information about admissions figures because census numbers were not final. She said unofficially that admissions were up and UCCS will meet its budget commitments. She thanked faculty, saying they helped increase admissions by juggling schedules, providing more class offerings and presenting more options for students.

She reported the University Budget Advisory Committee will meet to address the  budgetary “cliff” signifying the end of federal stimulus funds, and to create a 50 percent-cut budget plan proposal required for submission in early November by the state. She said the university is lobbying to oppose disproportionate state budget cuts that would be unfair to CU System campuses.

Shockley-Zalabak said she had more than budget news to report. She cited the Berger Hall naming as an example of good news. She said friends of the university like James Berger continue their support. She said the one thousandth Reach Your Peak student graduated and this demonstrates the program’s success. UCCS has a greater number of graduate students attending than UNC. UCCS graduation rates exceed those of its national peers and it functions with about 50 percent fewer staff. She said the campus is stable, though not affluent.

Shockley-Zalabak said she had to leave the meeting to teach a class. She said all members of the Leadership Team are teaching classes this semester and left the meeting.

Provost Peg Bacon reported very full classes this semester. She said convocation was successful. She said students are adjusting to new enrollment procedures and the “shopping cart” concept. She praised Homer Wesley, the new vice chancellor for student success and enrollment management. She urged faculty to get to know him. She announced that David Fenell, professor, Counseling and Human Services, is interim dean of the College of Education. She said 33 new members joined the faculty and they bring new energy and skills with them.

Guest speakers Tamara Moore, director, Auxiliary Services Marketing, and Carla Fleury, manager, UCCS Bookstore, told the assembly about the bookstore’s new cap & gown program. They said students, faculty and staff commencement participants who do not own their own regalia currently rent it, and renting is often inconvenient. They said the bookstore will give them the option to buy caps, gowns, and hoods to keep. Fleury and Moore said owning regalia offers advantages, such as wearing the gowns privately for family photo opportunities. They said students who buy gowns don’t face deadlines and fees for a late return.

Under the new plan, the bookstore will purchase the robes for faculty marching for the first time to encourage participation in commencement. Faculty wishing to participate must order any new regalia during the Fall Graduation Fair.  Faculty will still have the option of renting regalia or wearing regalia they currently own.

Fleury and Moore said the bookstore will have caps and gowns in stock and available year round. Gowns available for sale on site will accommodate last-minute student participants and eliminate late-rental fees. Sales will generate a fund to help students unable to afford gowns.

The pair said the gowns for sale are green, as in environmentally friendly. They are recyclable and support campus sustainability goals. Bins will be available following the ceremony for students who wish to recycle their gowns. The fabric is lighter and cooler than rented wear. They said gowns for sale are washable and don’t need dry cleaning chemicals.

Fleury said some details and prices are still being determined and when they are, the bookstore will officially announce the new service.

David Moon, senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, passed out a chart comparing current class schedules with proposed changes to increase “travel time” between classes. He said students, professors and instructors reported problems keeping the existing class times because the campus grew larger and the number of students increased.

He said ten minutes is not enough time for some students to leave one class and attend another in a building across campus, especially for physically challenged students. He said schedules must change to offer more classes in more buildings to more students. He said scheduling fifteen minutes between classes is a possible solution, but classes held before sunrise and after sunset create concerns about safety and energy costs.

Moon said it is important for UCCS to serve as many students as it can. He said it is important for UCCS to enroll and retain as many students as it can and collect the revenue they bring in. He said changes also have to meet the needs of students who have jobs and families to care for, as much as possible.

He said changes to the schedule involve everyone on campus. Student Government is discussing what changes would mean to students. A schedule change could mean staff have to be available for more hours through the day. Moon said there will always be people inconvenienced by any final result. He urged all faculty to discuss options in their own departments, and for each department to determine what schedule changes it favors. He said after considering all suggestions, campus administrators will decide what changes will best serve the most students and the university.

Gary Reynolds, executive director, Facilities Services, gave an overview of facilities projects, including Centennial Hall, renovations to the Heller property, banners decorating the pedestrian spine, and “Clyde’s,” the new campus pub. Mark Malone, professor, College of Education, reported on CU System Faculty Council activities. Susan Taylor, associate professor, English, gave a presentation on the General Education task force’s work with General Education requirements at UCCS.

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