Skip to content

Faculty Senate Meeting Summary 5/30/24; Year in Review

Faculty Senate Meeting Summary 5/30/24; Year in Review

Dear Colleagues,

The final meeting of the Faculty Senate for AY 2023-24 was held on 5/30/24. This report contains the usual meeting summary, and a brief year in review. Full text of remarks and reports from 5/30 can be found on the agenda.

Senate Chair’s Remarks:

Chair Cindy Dougherty summarized some of the considerable work accomplished this year in shared governance, including her priorities: dispute resolution (the inauguration of the faculty liaison program; administrative guidelines for conduct complaints), and faculty well-being (results of survey; safety concerns). She thanked all involved in the Senate, councils, and committees, for working hard and engaging in detail. And thank you, Cindy, for your caring and your tireless work on behalf of faculty.

Secretary of the Faculty:

Professor Mike Townsend (School of Law) will retire on 9/15 after eight years of service as the Secretary of the Faculty. Thank you, Mike, for your distinguished service, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement! Congratulations to Professor Gautham Reddy (School of Medicine, Radiology), who was elected as the incoming Secretary of the Faculty for a term of five years.

Dispute Resolution:

The Executive Committee on 5/20/24 endorsed the “Implementation Guidelines for Upholding Standard of Conduct Requirements in the Faculty Code (FC 25-71)” (p. 5-7 in the Senate agenda). Along with the faculty liaison program, this administrative recommendation is the result of work of the Dispute Resolution Working Group, and aims at reducing or providing off-ramps to the adversarial 25-71 process. Senate leadership will follow through with administration on implementation.

New Business and Discussion Items.

Class A Legislation – Expanding Candidates’ Rights in the Promotion Process.  The Senate approved the third and final version of this legislation which has recently been distributed to the faculty for vote, with a deadline of June 15. This version is the result of significant work in the Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs in response to administrative concerns about the initial version. If passed, the two major changes to the Faculty Code would 1) expand the rights of promotion candidates to review and respond to documents created in the process of review, and 2) explicitly recognize the role of the Provost in order to regulate that level of review. Details can be found in Exhibit G of the agenda.

Class C Resolution – Use of Student Course Evaluations. The Senate debated and passed this resolution, presented by the Faculty Council on Teaching and Learning, which suggests a series of guidelines for the Provost’s office in the use of student evaluations in promotion review, understanding evaluations as tools for improvement and growth rather than absolute rankings.

Class C Resolution – University of Washington Tri-campus Structure. The Senate debated and passed this resolution which presents multiple inconsistencies in administrative structure between the three campuses, and calls on tri-campus and Senate leadership to align Executive Orders with the Faculty Code.

Class C Resolution – Regarding Ethical Divestment from Companies Contributing to Human Rights Violations in Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The Senate debated and passed this resolution calling on the UW Regents to divest from companies whose products or services contribute to human rights violations including but not limited to those involved in the current war in Gaza.

There were two discussion items which the senate was not able to fully discuss at the end of the meeting: updates from campus safety listening sessions (Exhibit K), and the results of the Chair’s faculty wellbeing survey (attached here, also linked). A shared theme across the safety sessions was a desire for more faculty involvement in solutions. The wellbeing survey revealed that merit, salary, and “realistic workload” were significant concerns across rank, title, and campus, along with salary issues like equity and compression.

Other Updates:

Faculty salary adjustment update from the Provost: All adjustments moving forward will take place on the same date, September 1st, each year.

FT impacts on research: the Faculty Council on Research is conducting a follow-up survey on Financial Transformation. Please share your experiences.

Year in Review

Here are just a few highlights of the Senate’s work in 2023-24 under Chair Dougherty’s leadership. More details and links can be found in entries on the Faculty Senate news page.

Legislation on Secretary of the Faculty qualifications, voting timelines, retention offers, promotion and tenure (Class A); incompletes, academic standing, majors (Class B).

Resolutions on decarbonization, support for research scientists, teaching evaluations, divestment, tri-campus structure (Class C).

Presentations on retention offers and demographics, the Faculty Regent, Financial Transformation’s impacts, Disability Access, unit adjustments, future of teaching and learning. PI status of teaching faculty.

Dispute Resolution outcomes: faculty liaisons and administrative guidelines.

Academic Freedom Webinars from Pen America: within and outside the classroom.

Council webinars on decarbonization, holistic mentoring and DEI statements.

Looking Forward

I hope that these Senate vice chair’s newsletters have provided insight into the work of the Senate and councils this year, although they do not of course replace minutes as official records of meetings. It has been an honor to work with the fantastic Senate staff this year, and every single one of my colleagues in shared governance: Chair Dougherty and Senate leadership, council chairs and members, senators, the Senate Executive Committee, and our administrative partners. Faculty service is not given the recognition it deserves – an issue I hope we can address next year as part of a broad conversation on workload equity – and it’s inspiring that so many of you choose to do it anyway. As I step into the role of Senate chair, I’m looking forward to continuing to work with and learn from you next year. Please do get in touch over the summer if you have thoughts about Senate priorities or operations next year. For those of you who are Senate-curious, please consider serving on Senate and/or one of our councils. We’d welcome having you.


Louisa Mackenzie, Vice Chair, Faculty Senate, and Chair-Elect for 2024-25.