To start the year off right, senate leadership pledges to operate with transparency, respect, and civility. We may have some difficult issues to discuss this year as we continue to evolve faculty manual policy (see below). We ask that on this issue, and all others, we focus on policy, encourage respectful discourse (including dissent), and recognize that we are all doing our best to improve the life of faculty and the operation of WSU through shared governance. For those issues that require extended discussion, we will continue to use Town Halls.

We recognize the heavy load that WSU faculty bear, especially those in service roles. We appreciate your commitment and we’re looking forward to a great year.

AG, Amy, Dave, Gayle, and Greg

AG Rud replaces Jeannette Mageo as Past Chair

Former senate chair Jeannette Mageo was awarded sabbatical leave for 2019/2020 and therefore stepped away from faculty senate.  AG Rud, former chair of faculty senate (2016/2017) has graciously agreed to serve as the Immediate Past Chair for this year.  AG will also serve as our ex officio faculty representative on the Board of Regents, a position first established by Judi McDonald in 2018.

Faculty Affairs Committee

For those that do not know, Denise Yost will be leaving WSU to accept a position at the University of Maryland. Denise spent countless hours in her role as chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee and we are better off for her leadership. Denise will be missed and we wish her well in her new role. With Denise stepping down, Steve Hines has graciously stepped up and was elected as committee chair for the 2019 – 2020 academic year.

Faculty Manual

Over the years, the faculty manual has not been cohesively updated. For example, when defining the roles, responsibilities, and rights of non-tenure track faculty, a new section (Section V) was added rather than editing the existing faculty descriptions contained in Sections I – IV. This introduced confusion, so Section V was removed with its content being added to appropriate parts of preexisting sections. With this change, we have a comprehensive faculty definition as well as coordinated pathways to promotion. This edited version of the faculty manual has gone to Faculty Affairs Committee for review with a request to move through senate quickly during fall 2019. It is not anticipated that this will be an issue as there are no policy changes. Once approved, the Faculty Manual will migrate to WSU’s Policy site with a modern web interface (the same system used for the Executive Policy and Business Policy and Procedure Manuals).

The next and more challenging part of this project will involve policy updates and, to this end, we are working with several units (provost’s office, AGO, the Ombudsman, and others) to draft updated policy recommendations. Some of these are simple and include revisions to faculty authored materials and royalties (to bring into compliance with the Washington State Ethics Board) and some are complex (annual reviews, P&T). Our hope is to involve the new Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Affairs since the provost’s office is responsible for the approval and implementation of any policy changes that go through the senate. This is an opportunity to refine the language surrounding tracks and appointments while promoting a culture of respect and trust.

Student Messaging/Syllabus Project

Faculty senate undertook this system-wide project in partnership with Student Affairs, Office of the Provost, Information Technology, Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning, and Academic Outreach and Innovation. Milestones include:

  • The Cougar Health Services resource page is now linked both on the faculty senate website and was recently added as a “tile” in My.WSU called “Student Crisis Resources.” Cougar Health is also building out a web resource with a student voice that will be promoted to the student view in My.WSU as well as WSU Mobile.
  • Working with Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Mary Wack, this committee identified required/recommended syllabus elements and syllabus guidance. These have been added to a new staging website that will eventually become We hope to continue to build this site with the goal to:
    • Provide campus-specific guidance to faculty writing syllabi
    • Be a front-facing repository of example course syllabi
    • Guide faculty in using “warm,” inviting syllabus language
    • Guide faculty in constructing student learning outcomes (SLOs) and associated early and frequent assessments of those SLOs that can eventually tie into an early academic warning tool to help identify students at risk of failure.

Working with Enterprise Systems, we are also developing a syllabus tool within My.WSU that will auto-populate with course instructor/times/location data. Further, this tool will produce a minimum syllabus that exists within WSU and can be elaborated (docx output) by faculty wishing to expand areas including student learning outcomes.

We welcome participation in this important project. Please contact one of the project co-chairs, Matt Hudelson or Mark Stephan, to find out more.

2020 Women’s Leadership Conference

This annual all-day conference is a joint project between WSU and UI that facilitates learning, networking, and sharing ideas. The conference will be held in spring of 2020 and is seeking volunteers. For more information, contact Casey St.Clair