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Washington State University

Current Blog Posts

Select the Post Link to Read the Comments. You may review blog archive posts from year’s past here.

  • Faculty Appointment Salary Distribution

    Dear Colleagues – many faculty at WSU have 9-mo appointments whereby salary is distributed for the 9-month academic year, but not during the summer months. WSU has never been in a position to spread checks from <12-month appoints across 12 months. There are some complicated accounting reasons for this and while it is technically feasible, there is significant institutional overhead associated with such a service.

    If you prefer to have your paycheck divided over 12 months, you have the ability to manage this through Workday. You do this by having a portion of your monthly paycheck distributed to a second bank account that you designate … » More …

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  • Student Accommodations Update

    Dear Colleagues – Kiara Drake, Assistant Director, Civil Rights Compliance, provided us with an updated file to help faculty better understand their role in the student accommodations process. Photo of Faculty Senate Chair, Doug CallPlease let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

    View the linked Student Accommodation PowerPoint

    Sincerely, Douglas Call

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  • 9-over-12 month pay options

    During the March 24th Faculty Senate meeting, a constituent concern was raised about why WSU does not provide an option for distributing a 9-mo salary over 12 months? Apparently, this has never been an option at WSU, but faculty were expecting this to be available after the implementation of Workday. To learn more, I reached out to Matt Skinner, Senior Associate Vice President in Finance and Administration.

    Matt shared that some faculty have expressed interest in this service in the past. In response, they held early exploratory discussions with consultants and other universities who identified a few ways to meet this need through a combination … » More …

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  • Parking Changes on the Pullman Campus

    Dear Colleagues,

    Last Wednesday, Transportation Services alerted the Pullman campus about a proposed fee structure that will result in a 30% increase in parking permit fees between 2022 and 2025. Some parking lots will be reclassified, including instances where permit parking will be converted to hourly parking. I reached out to Christopher Boyan, Director of Transportation Services, to learn more about this proposal. This included a series of questions and responses shown here (edited for brevity).

    Why was the comment period so short (4 business days)? The primary motivation was to ensure that feedback is available for the next task force … » More …

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  • Follow Up on WSU Masking Policy

    Dear Colleagues:

    As a follow up to March 1st announcement of a new mask policy (link: https://from.wsu.edu/covid-19/2022/03-01-update/email.html), we asked the WSU administration for additional guidance about masking as requested during the constituent concerns section of the Faculty Senate meeting on March 4th. President Schulz and Provost Chilton have kindly provided a memo with additional information (PDF). Thank you for considering thisPhoto of Faculty Senate Chair, Doug Call feedback.

    Sincerely,

    Douglas Call
    Faculty Senate Chair

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  • Follow up on the Staff Recruitment & Retention Survey

    Dear colleagues:

    The Faculty Senate Executive Committee conducted an informal, qualitative survey (Dec-Jan) to collect information about challenges that faculty face with staff recruitment and retention. I distilled the information from this survey to produce the following 2021 – 2022 Internal Report (PDF). We delivered the report to the President and Provost in January and on February 22, 2022, we met with HRS representatives in conjunction with our meeting with the President and Provost.

    A key take-home message from this meeting is that if you are encountering problems with recruitment and retention efforts, contact Lisa Gehring or Theresa Elliot-Cheslek by … » More …

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  • More on Administrative Expenses

    Dear Colleagues:

    This past fall your Executive Committee engaged President Schulz and Provost Chilton in discussions about WSU’s administrative overhead. This has been a concern amongst the faculty in general, particularly with the attention to restructuring leadership with a One WSU focus. Provost Chilton and Fran Hermanson (Director of Institutional Research) addressed our concern by accessing data from the Institute of Education Sciences’  National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which “…is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.” NCES operates the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Statistical tables from IPEDS can be access here. Data from … » More …

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  • How does WSU Spend ‘Grant Lands’ Revenue?

    Dear Colleagues:

    On January 27th we received a constituent concern about how the money raised from the 1890 land grant to WSU are expended. These lands were originally expropriated from tribal nations. This concern has been raised previously including in senate and during meetings between the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the President and Provost. Provost Chilton and Vice President Stacy Pearson offered the following specific responses to the postedPhoto of Faculty Senate Chair, Doug Call concern from January.

    Sincerely,

    Douglas Call,

    Faculty Senate Chair

     

    Note: Questions from … » More …

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  • Reasonable Accommodations

    Last fall we had several discussions about how presumptively vulnerable faculty and staff might be reluctant to seek reasonable accommodations for fear that causing extra work or impacting the unit’s budget might lead to subtle or explicit resentment or retaliation in terms of annual reviews and opportunities for career advancement. In short, this issue could be affecting diversity, equity, and inclusion at WSU.

    The Faculty Senate met with the President and Provost last fall, and we raised this concern. Both were engaged and interested in knowing more about this issue and were willing to have the matter looked in to further.

    On February 4th, … » More …

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  • What is Happening with SPS?

    Dear Colleagues,

    Sponsored Programs Services (SPS) is an important unit at WSU that is tasked with, among other things, setting up accounts when faculty are awarded grants and contracts, and invoicing expenditures. There have been numerous complaints about SPS service and the backlog of accounts needing attention (exceeding 800 at the beginning of the academic year).

    Recent efforts have significantly improved this situation and I want to briefly highlight the successes that benefit all of us. To address the backlog of accounts, WSU partnered with Huron, which is a consulting firm that is also engaged with our efforts to develop a new systems-level budget model. … » More …

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  • Concerns about administrative bloat

    Dear Colleagues:

    Speaking for your Faculty Senate Officers, I can confirm that we receive a lot of input about constituent concerns whether it be through our concerns website, Senate Steering and Senate meetings, or through discussions and emails. The path to addressing such concerns is, frankly, much smoother when we have data-informed discussions. Here is one example to consider.

    We frequently hear concerns expressed about administrative bloat at WSU. Most recently, concerns have been raised about “yet another” administrative position in the form of a VCAA for the Pullman campus. Early last semester, I worked with chair-elect Christine Horne to gather information about administrative appointments … » More …

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  • Tracking materials through Faculty Senate

    Dear Colleagues:

    During the constituent concern segment of the February 3rd Faculty Senate meeting, we discussed the perennial challenges of tracking paperwork through the committee review process. We agree that it is a challenge, but there are also a multitude of moving parts, a lack of standardized nomenclature, and different requirements for different reviews. Given the bandwidth of the Faculty Senate Office (Chair, 0.5 FTE; Chair-elect 0.25 FTE; Past Chair 0.25 FTE; Executive Secretary, 0.5 FTE; Principal Assistant 0.5 FTE), and the fact that all of our faculty members working on committees are volunteering their time and effort, there is only so much that we … » More …

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  • Activity insight…Yes, it’s that time!

    Dear Colleagues:

    If it hasn’t happened already, you will soon be asked to embark on the annual ritual of preparing your materials for your annual reviews, and this invariably includes working with Activity Insight to document your efforts. Many of us have traditionally entered the minimal amount of information to ease the pain of this process, and I confess that I have been as guilty as anyone for most of my time at WSU. Frankly, it is difficult to find time during work hours, and all of us have real lives that need nurturing during the evenings and weekends.

    So, why am I writing about … » More …

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  • COVID-19 Transmission in Classrooms?

    Dear Colleagues,

    Faculty and students are continuing to express concern about the safety of face-to-face instruction while the omicron wave is hitting our communities. Recent statements by the President and Provost about finding no cases of in-class transmission are viewed with incredulity. Afterall, most instructors have knowledge of students missing class presumably due to COVID-19 infections. How could in-class transmission not be a huge problem?

    Omicron is a highly infectious variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that has been sweeping across the U.S. and displacing the delta variant. A recent report from the CDC evaluated COVID-19 patients from a single hospital in Los Angeles (about 1,000 … » More …

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  • Addressing Workplace Misconduct

    Dear Colleagues:

    We recently completed a Qualtrics survey for information about the challenges that faculty face with staff recruitment and retention. As part of this survey, we received several responses on unrelated topics. In a couple cases, we received comments suggesting that the respondent has encountered issues of sexual discrimination, retaliation, favoritism, and nepotism. I want to emphasize that WSU is publicly and fully committed to creating a workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.  If any WSU employee encounters such situations, we strongly encourage you to report your concerns to WSU’s office of Civil Rights and Compliance (CRC) for follow up: https://ccr.wsu.edu/file-a-complaint/.

    At … » More …

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  • Mask Distribution at WSU & COVID Funding

    Dear Colleagues:

    At the January 20th Faculty Senate meeting, a question arose about the fate of the WSU strategic stockpile of KN95 masks. I checked with our Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications, Hailey Rupp, and she indicated that the original stock of 4,800 masks have already been distributed. Please contact me if you want a copy of the distribution information, but suffice to say, the masks were passed to COVID coordinators in multiple colleges and administrative units including units in Spokane, Vancouver, Everett and the Tri-Cities.

    Another question was raised about an accounting of COVID-19 relief funding that WSU … » More …

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  • COACHE and Academic Analytics

    Dear Colleagues –

    On January 20th, Senior Vice Provost Laura Hill presented information about the upcoming ‘Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education’ (COACHE) survey that will be launched by late February. This effort is in response to a funded request from the legislature, and it offers an important opportunity for faculty to provide feedback on their work environment with respect to teaching, research, and service. I strongly urge everyone to participate so that we have full representation. I have accepted an invitation from Laura to co-chair a committee that will review the findings from the survey and propose ways that the university can address … » More …

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  • Teaching with Remote Options

    Dear Colleagues – Bill Davis, Interim Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, recently shared some correspondence that may be useful for anyone considering the idea of incorporating online course delivery. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Question 1: When considering a change that includes remote delivery, can the program or college make this determination independently, or does the university have a specific process?

    Answer: As stipulated in the Faculty Manual, the decision on course modality lies in the domain of the instructor with the permission of the chair or the director of the academic … » More …

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  • A Caution About Your Emails

    I am writing to caution faculty that they should “not promote the sale of a publication in your e-mail signature line or by linking to the site where the book can be purchased.” I will update this blog with additional information, including the rationale for this advice, in the near future.

    Doug Call, Chair, Faculty Senate

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  • Why does WSU not provide testing services for staff and faculty?

    Dear colleagues – we have received several messages expressing frustration because of the lack of WSU-based testing services for COVID-19. Specifically, if a staff or faculty member has a known COVID-19 exposure and needs testing (as recommended by the CDC and the WA DOH), the only option is through their provider or other hospital, clinic, or commercial service rather than through WSU. This frustration is compounded by the limited testing availability in the community.

     

    We have been informed that WSU cannot legally serve employees as a diagnostic testing provider for either exposure or symptomatic cases. Cougar Health Services only offers testing to students, which … » More …

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  • Provost’s Office Response to Faculty Senate Concerns

    Dear Colleagues – On August 25th I summarized several questions from the constituent concerns forum and forwarded these to the Provost Office for further attention. The response was positive and immediate. Please below and let me know if you have additional concerns.

    Sincerely, Douglas Call, Faculty Senate Chair.

    Provost’s Office Response to Faculty Senate Concerns

    August 27, 2021

    When updating the FAQ page, please provide a date with specific questions when they have been updated to help readers quickly locate changes in an otherwise lengthy text.

    The information has been sorted into two categories: 1) Frequently Asked Questions; and 2) Additional Questions from Faculty.  Both … » More …

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  • Notice: FacSen Chair Update on Vaccination Data

    Dear Colleagues — I am sharing the latest vaccination data for the WSU system. The denominator for total proportions is not available yet, but for the Pullman campus 60-70% of students are likely accounted for with these numbers. For example, if we have as many as 20,000 students in Pullman this semester, then 66% of students are represented in the table below. It will be another week or two before tallies are complete and vaccination status is completed. WSU will actively engage with students who declared personal exemptions to remind them that they need to get vaccinated.

    For those who have reported, >90% are reporting … » More …

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  • Notice: Message from the Faculty Senate Chair

    Dear Colleagues – Several individuals have expressed concerns about the lack of apparent response to some of the constituent concerns expressed in this forum. The Provost’s Office has assured us that they are monitoring these concerns and that the primary mechanism for them to respond is via the WSU Covid FAQ page. At this juncture, we are sending a summary of outstanding constituent concerns to the Provost’s Office and have requested a direct response that we can share through this constituent concerns page. Thank you for your patience.

    Additionally, here are some mostly Pullman-centric factoids about COVID-19 as of 24 Aug 2021:

    The Whitman … » More …

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