sarahpessin@sarahpessin.com

Senate President

After three years serving as the Chair of the Faculty Senate’s Academic Planning Committee, Sarah was elected to serve as Senate President from 2020-2022.

She began this role at the very start of the COVID pandemic during an especially challenging time in higher ed.

After her term ended in May 2022, Senate voted to establish a new Excellence in Shared Governance Award in honor of Sarah’s service; Sarah is also the award’s first recipient.

Here are a few of her accomplishments as Senate President:

Strengthening Shared Governance

  • Worked with Chancellor to implement historic process changes, including sensitive budget updates to Faculty Senate in real time
  • Worked with Provost to implement historic new partnerships, including new partnerships between Senate leadership and the office of Academic Affairs around a new general education curriculum
  • Chaired a Senate “Reconciliation Committee” charged with arriving at general education recommendations in partnerships with multiple constituents after a complicated multi-year process led to an impasse
  • Co-chaired the search for the new Associate Vice Chancellor of the Kennedy Mountain Campus
  • Partnered with Staff Advisory Council and key administrators on a new Contracts Committee to help provide community members with meaningful ways to offer feedback in advance of contract CFPs for health care and other core services

Advocating for Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • Helped coordinate communications and processes between upper administration and faculty experts resulting in an historic Tribal-led land study at DU’s new Mountain Campus
  • Oversaw the creation of a Senate report for members of the Board of Trustees in support of a recent Senate resolution calling on DU to retire its non-inclusive “pioneers” moniker
  • Worked with Vice Chancellor of DEI and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs to bring to successful Senate vote a required faculty inclusive pedagogy training
  • Worked with Vice Chancellor of DEI and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs to support faculty with timely classroom resources in response to campus, national, and global incidents of racial injustice
  • Developed a partnership and process between Senate and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for nominating faculty to serve on important university committees

Working for Faculty and Student Success

  • Co-created with Provost Team and other Senate leaders an equitable “Call for Proposals” process for curricular and curricular-meets-co-curricular use of DU’s new Mountain Campus
  • Co-created, coordinated, and co-hosted faculty ideation workshops to help faculty think in interdisciplinary, out-of-the-box ways about curricular and curricular-meets-co-curricular program ideas for the new Mountain Campus
  • Chaired a Freedom of Expression Committee and co-led a workshop to help the committee prepare to work together
  • Co-Chaired a Faculty Workload Equity Committee
  • Co-Chaired a Teaching Excellence Committee
  • Officiated Senate meetings and communications during complicated COVID times entirely online

Learn more about some of Sarah’s related civic efforts: