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Washington State University
Faculty Senate Responses to Constituent Concerns

Constituent Concerns with Responses

Show All Submitted Concerns

  • COVID mask mandate

    (A note addressing prior concerns, not a concern)

    Luckily, the governor came to everybody’s rescue:
    https://www.governor.wa.gov/news-media/inslee-announces-educator-vaccination-requirement-and-statewide-indoor-mask-mandate

    Alexander Dimitrov, CAS Math & Stats

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  • Using a tuition increase to provide relief to students is self-defeating

    [Please post anonymously. Thank you!]
    I applaud the intention to “support mental health, housing, and food insecurity services for students and will provide additional tuition waivers for students who are having difficulties paying for college” described in this article on the proposed tuition increase: https://news.wsu.edu/2021/04/29/wsu-regents-consider-tuition-increase-budget-items-may-7-meeting/ . However, I’m concerned that raising tuition to fund these efforts would do more harm than good and may defeat their purpose. Tuition costs contribute to food insecurity, housing insecurity, and stress, and a tuition increase across the board will have an impact on low- and middle-income students that the university may not be able to remedy through redistribution. … » More …

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  • Student vaccination requirement

    Is WSU considering requiring students to prove they have been vaccinated before allowing them back on campus? I believe Rutgers is requiring it and there are several other schools that are considering it. Is WSU? I’m not going to feel safe if students are going to misbehave and not follow rules, like wearing a mask etc.

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  • Questions surrounding return to face-to-face Instruction in the fall

    Anonymous constituent concern from 4/7/2021. These questions relate to all campuses.

    Who are the members of the WSU Testing, Attestation, and Contact Tracing (TACT) Committee, their departmental/campus affiliations, and how can members of the university community contact them with concerns or questions?
    We have learned that a 3-foot distancing requirement is to be implemented in classrooms in fall. Where is the data that supports this move? While the CDC has approved 3-foot distancing for K-12 students, their adult teachers are still supposed to remain 6 feet away from them, and from other adults (“CDC continues to recommend at least 6 feet of distance: … » More …

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  • Concerns of Faculty Regarding Fall 2021 Instructional Modes and Transparency of Decision-making

    Shared on behalf of constituent faculty members:

    We understand that there is still much uncertainty about the Fall 2021 semester and that plans are in flux. However, the current planning strategy is causing frustration and concern among some faculty, especially because the communication to faculty from the Provost’s Office has been sparse and vague.

    The following are concerns some faculty have expressed regarding the instructional modes and transparency of decision-making. As members of a research-intensive university, we are asking for evidence in support of student preferences, pedagogical reasons for the instructional modes, and other decisions being made for the Fall 2021 semester. Additionally, … » More …

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  • Concerns with Workday Personal Profile Section

    In the “Personal Profile” section of Workday, there is a required gender field containing problematic language that both others trans-binary individuals and ignores all other gender non-conforming identities. Since reviewing the Personal Profile is an explicit direction in the “First 30 Days” manual, the likelihood of multiple individuals being affected is high. At this time, I would like faculty senate to encourage adjusting the existing options as well as implementing a more inclusive option for gender non-conforming individuals.

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  • Free parking for students seeking services is no longer available at Cougar Health Services.

    Posted for Faculty Senate’s consideration on behalf of the Clinical Psychology Graduate Student Organization:

    To Whom it May Concern,

    This is an open letter in response to the recent decision by WSU Cougar Health Services administration to implement a parking fee for the parking lot in front of the Washington building.

    The building this lot is attached to is Cougar Health Services which houses the student medical center, the psychological services center, and the Access Center—where students go to receive disability services.

    For context, this parking lot has historically been free but required obtaining a parking token while receiving services in order to exit the … » More …

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  • Assigning designations to our 6 campuses

    On September 30, 2020, President Schulz included in an email to the university community the suggestion of using descriptors for the different campuses. I ask that this be reconsidered. Offering some campuses with a specific descriptor (e.g., HEALTH SCIENCES CAMPUS: SPOKANE; FLAGSHIP CAMPUS: PULLMAN) but not others (e.g., REGIONAL CAMPUSES: EVERETT, TRI CITIES, AND VANCOUVER) implies a tiered status, which could impede applicants and opportunities for Everett/Tri Cities/Vancouver as well as neglect the true diversity and unique qualities each campus brings to the system.

    I ask that the campus’ descriptor titles be discussed further to reflect the “one university/geographically dispersed” practice.

    From the President’s September … » More …

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  • Spring Break

    We understand the goal the WSU administration wants to accomplish by canceling spring break. And we understand they made this decision based on the concern of spreading COVID and bringing back more cases because we also share those concerns. But the logic is skewed, misguided, misinformed, and focusing on the wrong thing.

    Instead, WSU should be implementing repercussions for the people who choose to party or not wear masks despite WSU’s COVID policy. Other universities have implemented punishments for people they discover not following their policies. For example, NMSU mandates a day-long zoom class with an essay for first-time offenders. As far as I know, … » More …

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  • Cancellation of spring break

    This is an extreme decision made with zero input from students. This is a huge inequitable practice that will cause more harm than good for students. By letting this decision pass, you are putting your students last.

    Response:  This COVID-19 emergency measure was put forward from the Provost’s Office, discussed during the September 24 and October 8 Faculty Senate meetings and then passed by the Faculty Senate on October 8.

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  • Cancellation of Spring Break

    Spring break needs to be re-instated, my club FormulaVanCougs Electric where we design and build electric racecars use that time to fundraise and meet with potential sponsors to lobby for funding which is vital for our club, we have already missed the time window to apply for senate funding because our campus’s Office of Student Involvement failed to notify any of our club members of when the application period started and when it closed. We just got John Lynch as our faculty advisor and now we are getting set back after setback. We don’t need more time for winter break we need time off for … » More …

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  • Cluster Hire Turnaround

    While it is commendable (and perhaps overdue) that the Provost’s office is willing to fund a cluster hire around racism and social inequality, it is, frankly, irresponsible and undermining to demand that full-blown, interdisciplinary proposals, endorsed by college/campus leadership, be completed within only seven days. Such a short timeframe, unreasonable even under normal circumstances, is necessarily disadvantageous to those individuals who are already working beyond capacity due to the pandemic (many of whom belong, ironically, to groups affected by existing structures of inequality), and to dangle such a funding opportunity in a time of overall austerity without providing the appropriate time to respond to it … » More …

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  • Impact of the new spring schedule on faculty salaries

    Many of my constituents have contacted me with this concern: with the extended winter break now in the new Spring schedule, how will this affect the pay cycles for those faculty on 9-month appointment?

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  • Impact of resuming Pac-12 football in Pullman this Nov

    On September 24th, Pac-12 officials announced resumption of football games, including three scheduled for Martin Stadium (Nov. 14th, Nov. 27th, and Dec. 12th). Fans will not be allowed into the stadium, but WSU has a long history of enthusiastic “tail gating” as an alternative means of attending and supporting football. From a public health perspective, and in the interests of our community’s hopes of reopening K-12 public schools, is anything being done to discourage people from coming to Pullman for these games and participating in traditional tail-gating activities?

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  • Adjustment to Spring 2021 Academic Calendar

    I’m concerned with WSU making such changes to the academic calendar in regards to spring break without considering the actual functional purpose within the academic structure for faculty, students and staff. That said, this is not enough time for faculty to do field work or make changes to research plans. I would rather see us possibly make spring break later in the semester or have the semester end a week later as well as consider other remedies before taking action on this agenda item. My primary point, as always, is if there has been enough discussion on the matter or consideration of the long-term ramifications … » More …

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  • Proposed changes to S2021 academic calendar

    Dear Senators,
    I would like to voice my concerns on the proposed changes to the Spring 2021 academic calendar. I understand the reasoning behind the benefits for delayed start section, but I disagree that finals week can be counted as a week of instruction; 1) no class meetings other than the final exam time is scheduled during finals week so there is no class instruction that week; 2) many classes do not require a final exam so again no meetings that week. MWF classes historically lose 2 lecture days per semester and that will not change so now MWF classes will lose 5 lectures; … » More …

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  • Altered Spring Schedule

    I am writing in support of the proposed change to the Spring semester schedule. Such a change seems wise from a COVID-19 perspective. Additionally, from a faculty perspective, it would give an additional 2 weeks to prep Spring classes for online delivery. While we had all summer to work on fall classes, the winter break is much shorter. So, personally, I would welcome those extra 2 weeks!

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  • WSU’s use of, and statements supporting, ProctorU and/or other proctoring technologies

    On Friday, September 25th Provost Chilton sent out a statement about the University’s utilization of ProctorU to “monitor tests administrated remotely.” As a faculty member and librarian, this statement felt wholly insufficient to address real concerns held by students, parents, and other stakeholders. Not only did this statement insufficiently address issues of privacy and surveillance, but it directly ignored concerns surrounding the inequities that proctoring technologies uphold.

    These concerns include, but are not limited to:
    – Exacerbated mental distress during testing
    – Utilization of racist, ableist, and transphobic technologies
    – Inaccessibility based on technological needs and ability to have an adequate space … » More …

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  • Adjustment to Spring 2021 Academic Calendar

    The memo sent by the Provost proposes to start two weeks later, which means January 25th, 2021.
    However, the memo mentions Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a day off.
    What’s the “official” beginning of Spring 2021 semester date that the Provost is using to base the proposed change on?
    According to the Registrar, next semester starts on January 11th.
    Could you please clarify?
    Thanks!

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  • Black Lives Matter

    I came to WSU in 1970, since then I’ve seen the social, cultural, academic, and athletic contribution from African-Americans, a minority that has fought for the rights of other minorities such as mine (I am Mexican). I believe that now it is time for WSU to come to the front in this matter by adding to the WSU logo painted on Pullman’s streets a “Black Lives Matter” sign, or a sing on Stadium Way. A letter from the President (as is the usual response) is not longer enough to give support to that important movement. I as a member of a minority, WSU faculty, and … » More …

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  • Notebooks and colored paper

    According to our guidelines for tenure and promotion, candidates must submit a notebook, and paper colors are specified. Modifications may be made because of Covid-19 (awaiting updates), but when will modifications be made to make the process fully digital? The current process is inconsistent with our drive to modernize, and needs to reflect our 21st century setting.

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  • University should consider final grade deadline extension

    While WSU has implemented a variety of accommodations to help students succeed during this difficult semester, very little has been implemented for career-track faculty with heavy teaching loads that have suddenly become much heavier. The university should consider an extension for the final grade submission deadline. Some career-track faculty have a teaching load of five classes with enrollments of up to 40 students per course without grading support. Additionally, we have been encouraged to use alternatives to multiple-choice exams to limit proctoring costs, and to be lenient with students who need additional time or resources. Career-track faculty with the highest teaching loads are disproportionately women, … » More …

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  • Confusing messaging surrounding COVID 19

    On March 9th, a message was sent to WSU’s student body with a section heading of “Facts not Fear.” I’m concerned about both facts and fear as it relate to the roll-out of messages from WSU administration.
    1) On Friday, March 6th, President Schulz tweeted one message that I believe to be lacking proper context and retweeted something that included misinformation about COVID 19. His first tweet was about how WSU will be in session after Spring Break and that students should plan to return. No mention was made of making decisions with current information, or on the basis of wider public health. More … » More …

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  • Online courses

    I have had several concerns expressed about the way in which the entire burden of certain expenses is placed on the department. Global campus expects departments to be prepared to fully fund course redesigns. Departments are expected to fund all expenses for disability-related accommodations, interim measures for CRCI reports, temporary teaching for family and medical leave. These costs are especially onerous for smaller departments, and sadly, many of them might be incentivized to ignore responsibilities because they can’t afford to pay out of their already strapped budgets. These kinds of expenses should be funded centrally, so that all employees and students have access to the … » More …

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  • Changes to the scholarship/service language for career track

    I am very concerned about the changes that say “some service and little or no scholarship.” My contract is 80% teaching, 10% service, 10% scholarship. I am very concerned that these guidelines will be used to discount my creative and scholarly activity when it comes to promotion. I believe the wording should take the scholarship of career track faculty seriously, allowing us to be evaluated based on how well we fulfill our contract. I’m also very concerned that this will be used as a way to offload service from tenure track faculty to career track faculty, even though tenure track faculty often have 20% service … » More …

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  • I am concerned about the justification provided by WSU Transportation Services for a parking rate increase, and would like more clarification regarding their published budget.

    On 2/6/2020 we received notifications from WSU Transportation Services proposing that parking rates should increase. The justification for this increase was centered around a need to generate an additional $4.8 M over 8 years to cover “capital maintenance and repair projects”.

    I have several concerns:
    First, according to transportation’s publicly available budget, they already account for costs associated with maintenance ($536,109 / yr) as well as depreciation ($619,992 / yr accounted for in real dollars). Why then, is there a need to spend more on maintenance and repair projects?

    Second, in the budget there is a ($989,450 / yr) line item for “Debt Service”. … » More …

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  • Increase in Parking Rates

    This was forwarded to me about the recently announced increases in parking rates on Campus:

    “I know faculty senate loves parking issues; However, it seems to me that faculty senate is the only way there is push back on raising prices. When the university is providing 1.5% raises and then raising parking in some instances more than 10% something seems off. Add to that the amount of extra money they are making with tickets on the backs of students https://dailyevergreen.com/61732/news/parking-fines-resulted-in-over-half-a-million-dollars-in-2019/ ”

    “…At the end of the day, this won’t adversely affect me, but there are people who work here that this will be a bad … » More …

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  • EP29 and the inherent disconnect between Pullman and the other campuses.

    As we now have a committee and a consultant dedicated to reviewing EP-29 and the the relationship between and among the campuses, I would like to state the following concern: it is naive, dysfunctional, and (in some cases) crazy-making to insist that academic-unit leadership reside in Pullman without any input from that leadership concerning the allocation of resources. I know of no model anywhere, public or private, academic or corporate, for which this principal works. Academic decisions *are* (as often as not) decisions about how to best allocate limited resources–both to promote academic vision and goals, and to assure that our students, faculty, and staff … » More …

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  • Can we delay the search for a provost until we have resolved/clarified EP 29? It seems that this is a glaring infrastructural problem for the incoming provost.

    With a firm in the process of calculating solutions to our system and clarifying EP 29 it seems difficult to communicate to incoming candidates the state of affairs at WSU. Shouldn’t we solidify and clarify the reporting structure prior to the search for a provost? Wouldn’t it be best to be able to establish and test a new structure without a new provost?

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  • My concern is that we get wsu *ready* for a new provost to be successful.

    There has been talk about what we need to do to attract good candidates and also how to conduct the search. These are really important given our circumstances. Beyond that, I’d like us to be talking about what we need to do at WSU to be ready for the next person to be successful. What change in structures and relationships need to be revised so the Provost can engage in productive decision making? What constituencies inside and outside of the university need to be engaged with such that our next Provost can arrive and actually move us forward?

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  • Provost Search

    For the second time in a row, an external provost search has ended with the selected provost stepping down to become a regular WSU faculty member within the first weeks of assuming the office. In the first case, under President Floyd, the person was paid his full provost salary for seven years after stepping down, because that was what was stipulated in his contract when he assumed the provost’s office. The question now that this has happened a second time is: is the latest provost to step down, Prof. Montoya, also going to be paid her full provost salary for the next seven years, or … » More …

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  • Real Life Church on Campus

    Are there potential issues concerning WSU leasing space to Real Life in Daggy Hall, together with concomitant semi-permanent displays in and near Daggy?

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  • Low Course Evaluation Response Rates

    Faculty in our department, which includes many large enrollment undergraduate courses, have ongoing concerns about low response rates for course evaluations, particularly given that these evaluations are typically among the primary data available for determining effectiveness in teaching for annual evaluations and promotion decisions. To improve response rates, various faculty are using a variety of means (e.g., in-class reminders; email reminders; in-class time for completion of the evaluation; extra credit for individual students completing the evaluation by a deadline; extra credit for all students in the course if a criterion response rate is met by a deadline). There are concerns that these techniques require extra … » More …

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  • Online courses killing face to face classes

    This semester, when I try to check course enrollments for the Pullman campuses, 75% of the time, I am immediately directed to global campus offerings. Though I understand that students deserve the option, the automatic re-direct is killing face to face classes. Please make changes so students can see all options when they click on “wsu course schedule.”

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  • Blackboard updates/design is detrimental to student grades and record keeping. The time faculty spend correcting BB is too long and too much.

    Blackboard’s gradebook has become almost non-workable. Fall 2018 changes altered the way the gradebook looked, and has made it more difficult to see the student grades and more difficult to view the student grades online (for the faculty). This is a problem if you have 20-odd students, I cannot imagine what this is like for a faculty member who has hundreds of students.
    This spring, I found an error in the gradebook (that I didn’t find when checking in Fall) that inflated a student’s grade by a half letter grade–not a real big deal, but it alerted me to be more aware of the … » More …

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