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Academic Senate Newsletter 2020-21 #1
September 09, 2020

Dear Colleagues,

Summer is nearly over, and I would like to introduce myself as your new chair of the San Diego Division of the Academic Senate. These are challenging times, and I do hope that you managed to achieve some of your goals during the summer, be that time off, a chance to conduct research, or to develop course material. This is the first of a periodic newsletter to keep the Senate informed about the activities of its committees and leadership.

First and foremost, I would like to thank outgoing Chair Maripat Corr for her tremendous service and leadership during this past year. I learnt a great deal by working alongside Chair Corr – I hope it was enough!

Normally things are quiet at the Senate during summer, but not so in this Covid-19 year. Following earlier exceptions to policy to allow remote instruction and to extend add, drop, and withdraw deadlines in the Spring, as well as extend doctoral time limits by a year, the Senate extended policy exceptions for the use of remote instruction through Summer 2021, in order to give faculty maximum flexibility in their choice of instruction and to allow the University to continue operations in the event of a shutdown. The Senate also extended the withdraw deadline for Summer 2020 to provide students with more time to make important decisions.

Committee on Planning and Budget Chair, Karen Oegema, participated in the Summer Task Force on Budget Planning, which delivered its report in August. By means of this report, many faculty concerns about the application of necessary budget cuts have been communicated to the Chancellor, resulting in important changes to the budget process. This report is posted on the Senate web page at Budget Report.

The Senate hosted two town halls to answer faculty questions on the budget and non-budget Covid-related issues. Although the large participation (over 400 attendees) necessitated a webinar format, questions asked in real time during the webinar, as well as after the town hall, have been answered and are available (along with videos of the presentations) via links in the Resources section of this page.

The Senate Task Force on the Climate Crisis submitted its final report, which was endorsed by Senate Council and forwarded to the Administration in August. This report calls for many concrete actions, including some for the Senate to address in the coming year. You can find this report on the Senate web page at Climate Crisis Report.

A Senate Task Force on Long-Term Strategies for Remote Instruction convened during the summer and made recommendations which will be considered by Senate Council in the Fall Quarter.

The Senate, and in particular Jennifer Burney and Michael Trigilio (incoming and outgoing chairs of the Committee on Diversity and Equity) have met with the Black Student Union and are bringing BSU concerns and demands to the Senate for action going forward.

A Senate-Administration task force has been convened to recommend ways to implement the recommendations made by the Senate-Administration Workgroup on Holistic Teaching Evaluation.

I will close by saying that shared governance has become increasingly important in these times of global pandemic, budget crisis, and racial injustice. Throughout the summer, Senate leadership has engaged with the Administration to bring faculty concerns for privacy associated with Covid-19 testing, impacts of budget cuts, choice in remote and in-person teaching, policing on campus, impacts of Covid-19 on teaching reviews and research productivity, and many other issues. As the Chair of the Senate, it is my responsibility and privilege to represent the interests of the faculty. Accordingly, please feel free to contact me at academicsenateoffice@ucsd.edu or call 858-534-3640 to schedule time to meet with me.

Steven Constable
Academic Senate, San Diego Division