March Updates from University Governance

Dear all,

Midway through the spring semester, we are writing with a few updates on work that is ongoing in University Governance.

Shared Governance Initiative

This effort has been going throughout the year. We had thought-provoking conversations with a number of you on February 10th around what it means to be an exceptional learning community. The committee will share a draft of the outcomes of that visioning exercise, which we envision as a community agreement on the culture we would like to see on campus around any number of issues, including research, teaching, inclusion, decision-making, celebrating our achievements, and many other topics. In the meantime, the committee is working toward the second charge, on clarifying roles and responsibilities, and we will report out on those outcomes too as they become available. There are many layers to shared governance, but part of it relates to our walking knowledge of the institution and our own place in it: what we know our roles to be, where we can be expected to have input, who we should approach when there are questions, and what we can expect of each other. We hope to provide some clarity around all these questions.

COACHE Faculty Satisfaction Survey

We want to sincerely thank those of you who took the time to come to the COACHE forums around campus. We are also grateful to AIRE and Governance staff (Mark Sheaves, Cara Nossaman, and Caty Movich) who attended all forums and worked diligently to capture your insights. Some 200 of you came to these forums online or in person. The COACHE Advisory team is presently hard at work drafting recommendations based on insights that came up during the forums and from the survey data. Because you took the time to engage and took the time to take the survey, we will also take the time to respond to what we heard by presenting recommendations around action steps (on all relevant areas: Compensation, Leadership and Shared Governance, Nature of Work, Appreciation and Recognition, Family Policies) that can be taken to improve faculty satisfaction. Please stay tuned for the formal announcement of the COACHE forum, which will take place the last week of April.

Docking Staff Satisfaction Survey

With the COACHE process underway, and that protocol developed, we have useful institutional background of process that will help inform the institutional response to the Docking Staff Satisfaction Survey. The Staff Senate is presently working closely with AIRE and the Provost’s Office to develop a protocol for the Docking Survey. Please stay tuned for additional information around that Advisory Team, Engagement Plan, and other details.

Public Forum with CFO

As part of the ongoing shared governance initiative, specifically Charge 4 of the current process, University Governance is sponsoring a public forum with Jeff DeWitt, KU’s Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice Chancellor for Finance, to be held on April 28, from 1-2 p.m. in 330 Strong Hall. The CFO will give a short presentation on KU’s current financial situation and plan, which will be followed by questions from the audience. There will be an opportunity for people to submit questions ahead of time.

University Senate Reorganization

The University Senate is a senate structure that is distinctive at KU in that it brings together faculty, staff, and student senators into a horizontal space, as peers, to work collaboratively on a range of issues, including advocacy and policy matters. After many years of discussions with our staff and student senators, and to ensure that all relevant constituent groups feel that University Senate belongs to all of us and that all our voices matter in it, our University Senate Executive Committee (SenEx) formed an ad hoc committee this semester to consider equity of representation from the different constituent groups in the University Senate. The committee has developed changes to the University Senate CODE to address equity of representation. You will receive formal notification of the proposal later this month. The proposal, which is informed by shared governance principles, advances equity of representation in the University Senate to ensure richness of dialogue and diversity of perspectives around policy making, while still noting that due to their academic credentials, faculty maintain roles as decision makers around specific USRR articles that pertain to academic policy. The University Senate will have a first look at this proposal this Thursday and take it up for a vote in April. No changes of the CODE can occur without 2/3 majority of the University Senate.

Ongoing Policy Initiatives

Excused Absences (USRR)

The excused absences policy has been approved and is in the process of being updated in the University Senate Rules and Regulations. We will have an informational session on this policy update in conjunction with faculty colleagues and Student Affairs, and we will give everyone an opportunity to ask questions.

Interim Leaders (FSRR)

The interim policy is approved and should be formally added to the Faculty Senate Rules and Regulations later this month.

Academic Forgiveness (USRR)

The University Senate will vote on the Academic Forgiveness Policy this week. This policy change aims to make it easier for students to not be penalized and to be able to return to the university to complete their degrees when they have a difficult start in their careers.

Gen Ed Realignment (USRR)

In response to the statewide General Education package and in an effort to align our existing Core Curriculum with this package, we will amend the USRR code, Article 3, Section 1.1, to integrate the capstone requirement previously reflected in the core (what was Core Goal 6) into the Bachelor's Degree.

Opportunities for your participation

Provost Bichelmeyer will speak at the University Senate this Thursday. We invite you to join the conversation and bring your questions.


Thank you for all you do,

Ani Kokobobo (University Senate President)

Nate Brunsell (Faculty Senate President)

Jessica Chilcoat (Staff Senate President)