November 24, 2015

We began the meeting reviewing the campus workload document and discussed that not all Department chairs and executive committees are aware of this existing policy. We pointed out that any workload discussions at the college or department level should start with the UWM policy. Provost Britz joined us and we discussed how best to convey our activities as a research university. Bob Schwartz and Margo Anderson reported on the work the distinguished Professors are doing in compiling information on research activities across the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts. Later, Stan Yasaitis joined us and talked about the need to involve staff in communications and for gathering input in the decision making process. Stan stated that an increased information flow would be helpful as classified staff are generally demoralized and concerned for their jobs. We mused as to why UWM is not pursuing creative revenue streams, like renting Zelazo Center, Klotsche Center, or combining PO boxes rented from the post office. While these savings may seem small individually, they easily add up to someone’s position.

November 17, 2015

The University Committee meet with the JS Editorial Board as it does annually. The main topic of discussion was UWM’s role as a research university and the loss of State support. We discussed the need to have a strong foundation across core disciplines to support specific areas of research, and how the role of the university is to generate new knowledge. No research area stand alone without being entwined in the fabric of the university. Graduate student education as also a prominent topic, particularly as it relates to attracting and retaining the best students that are critical piece of the intellectual energy behind discovery and scholarly activities.   UC members expressed concern about the State’s lack of investment in UWM as Wisconsin’s urban research university, which is central to the success of SE Wisconsin and the State.

Professor Robert Schwartz at the JS building

Professor Robert Schwartz at the JS building

On another note, we enjoyed our visit to the Journal Sentinel Building, which is full of history. The building was designed by Frank D. Chase (Chicago) in 1924 and has features of the Art Modern style. Pictured: Distinguished Professor Robert Schwartz, sitting on the same bench where John F. Kenney sat in 1960.

November 10, 2015

The committee met with the chancellor and continued discussions of budget and system initiatives, the evolving debates about faculty tenure, post tenure review, and financial emergency. The landscape is still quite confused on much of this, as the Regents tenure task force, campus senates and governance groups, and administrators wrestle with the implementation of Act 55. “Accountability” seems to be an emerging watchword, resonating with discussions of both post tenure review and potential “outcomes based” metrics for evaluating campus performance in such areas as student retention, graduation, and employment, or “economic development.” The chancellor articulated some of the concepts used at UWM on these matters, e.g., “student success,” “community engagement,” and “research outcomes,” which may or may not match with what System is talking about. It appears to us that there is still lingering dissatisfaction in the legislature and perhaps among the Regents about whether the university system or individual campuses are hoarding “surplus” revenue, which given the dire budget situation at UWM, was met by all with dismay.

The tenure policy position paper will be before the Senate next week for a committee of the whole discussion. The UC committee hopes to parse the issues involved into a discussion of tenure language; financial emergency language; and post tenure review policy.

October 27, 2015

Robin Van Harpen and Jerry Tarrer joined us to discuss budget cuts and structural deficits (due to shrinking GPR funding, enrollment declines). Its clear the outlook for UWM is dismal. UWM is not funded as a doctoral institution and budget cuts will further hurt this scenario. Jerry indicated units should move to 6 year budget planning exercise to improve planning capabilities.

Patricia Borger, Vice Chancellor of Development joined our meeting and reported the capital campaign is nearing 40% of its goal and is beginning to plan its public phase. In addition, one of the UWM representatives on the UW System Task Force on Tenure (Kristene Surerus) reported back to the UC that there is discussion of continuing post tenure reviews and discussion of what constituted cause for dismissal. The UW System Chair of this committee wants to complete the committee work by November. This afternoon we got a reply from AAUP on our position paper on tenure and will discuss this at our next meeting.

October 20, 2015

We met for an abbreviated session today so that members could attend the Fall Awards Ceremony.  We continued discussions of the progress of CCOET listening sessions.  The chair reported that the responses have been good, and will be posted on the CCOET website.  We will post a link once available.

We voted unanimously to send the resolution on guns on campus (sent to faculty last Friday) to the Faculty Senate for its consideration Thursday, October 22.  We will request its addition to the agenda for consideration at the meeting.  Senate materials are available at:

Congratulations to the faculty and staff that were recognized this afternoon at the Fall Awards Ceremony.


October 13, 2015

This week, we had a long discussion about budget cuts and how program evaluation, reorganization, and efficiencies might occur, much of it while the Chancellor was with us. Some 15 years ago, a campus wide program array review examined the overall academic program array and made recommendations to maintain, expand, or restructure programs. We discussed both the impact of and the flaws of this past process. The consensus was that the central nature of that process helped focus everyone’s attention on larger issues of governance and planning. We discussed how that process might also include the other large units on campus, e.g., Student Affairs, University Relations, Financial and Administrative Affairs, and be integrated into ongoing faculty committee work on campus.

As an element of these issues, and in response to ongoing morale problems of faculty, we discussed the disparity between market rates for faculty and administrative staff, and the particularly dismal salary situation for faculty, especially full professors. UWM is on the low end of salaries for university professors. See the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The university committee recommended that Chancellor Mone make clear that the budget cuts will force us to make dramatic changes in administrative structure, campus organization and programs. One of the very few positive aspects of these activities is that we have an opportunity to reinvent UWM. We want to open this discussion in the faculty senate and encourage and charge the faculty to develop some recommendations to submit to CCOET. John Reisel noted that there are many potentially promising, but still incomplete ideas bubbling up about combining resources to improve programs on campus. We need to encourage people at the grass roots with ideas to step forward and make suggestions.

Academic Staff Committee Representative Kathy Miller-Dillon joined us to discuss academic concerns, including the challenge to indefinite status by the UW system and Regents level and the loss of jobs. Margo Anderson will be serving as the UC Rep to the ASC this month.

October 6, 2015

We discussed the current status of the UW-System Task Force on Tenure, which meets again on Oct 22 and is to report to the Regents in the second semester. At the campus level, UW Madison has also developed new policy language in light of Act 55, which is being considered by their University Committee and Senate. See their Secretary of the Faculty site for more:  We have been receiving updates from the UWM representative on this committee, Robert Smith and Kristine Surerus. Stay tuned.

Provost Britz joined us and we discussed how the university will weather a major budget crunch. The campus faces ongoing cuts in state tax support and two biennia of a tuition freeze. UWM enrollments have also declined as the pool of Wisconsin high school graduates has declined. UWM’s peak enrollment was ~30,000 in 2010. It is about 27,000 now, somewhat lower than the 28,000 average enrollment since 2000.

We also discussed the potential for campus reorganization and the work of the Chancellor’s Campus Organization & Effectiveness Team (CCOET). We expressed concern about the coordination between committees, especially CCOET and the Budget Planning Task Force. John Reisel, the UC Chair and Co-Chair of CCOET, gave an update of that group’s charge and planned meetings. CCOET committee has a plan for engaging campus faculty, staff, and students, which includes listening sessions and a webpage, though we are still awaiting more information on exactly how these large committees will address immediate problems we face or be able to fix them.

The Chancellor’s Campus Organization & Effectiveness Team website can be found at

September 29, 2015

This week we continued our discussions of the budget. We are considering trying to add reporting from other faculty committees dealing with these matters (for example the Academic Planning and Budget Committee) on UC News to keep the faculty informed.

We discussed the UWM Tenure Policy Position Paper, the similar document from UW-Madison, and the recent communication from national AAUP critiquing the Madison document. We will be revisiting our document in light of the work of the Madison faculty, AAUP commentary, and perhaps requesting further review by individuals versed in employment law.

We discussed possible future agenda items including an analysis of enrollments, a review of recommendations made in previous years, e.g., by Chancellor’s Enrollment Management Action Team (CEMAT), to find out if recommendations were implemented and with what results. We also are considering reviewing past proposals for administrative reorganization of departments, schools and colleges (implemented or suggested) to see they might provide guidance on current planning and budgeting.

September 22, 2015

This week’s meeting again centered on a budget question: how and why UWM has a looming $30 million structural deficit. Kyle Swanson (Mathematical Sciences) presented an analysis of budget trends since 2006, and we discussed how this data can guide us in dealing with UWM’s portion of the $250 million budget cut to the UW system. That system-wide cut has the potential to reduce the capacity of the university system to educate some 10% of the current ~180,000 students, and will dramatically affect UWM.

Swanson’s presentation emphasized that tuition is our major revenue source, and illustrated how expenditures on student support and administration has grown in recent years as our enrollments grew. Yet, now that our enrollments have declined, spending in these student support and administrative units have continued to grow. For example, limited term employees (administration) have increased by 23% since 2011. During the same time, faculty numbers have decreased 27 FTE. We also learned that while faculty and academic salaries have remained flat, the salary pool for administrators has increased 2-3% per year.

In response to the budget cuts and the shrinking support for the university, UWM will have to undergo drastic cuts. The current ballpark figure equates to 200-300 layoffs. We raised questions about how many of these will be in administration vs. faculty or academic staff directly involved in instruction or research.

We continued the discussion on how to address these issues. We do not seem to have effective budget policy making tools which can calibrate our complex delivery of instruction, research and support services with anticipated revenue streams. Currently, there is no thermostat to adjust academic and administrative planning in response to enrollment or State support cuts. Second, the structure of the university needs to address the disincentives to not cooperate across units. Currently, School and College budgets are driven by student credit hours, so teaching more classes within a unit moves budget between units to relieve local pressures, but does not add additional revenue to help the university as a whole.

We have questions about whether the committees recently appointed by the chancellor to address budgets can address these problems.

In the past three weeks we have had presentations on the New Budget Model, additional information on reserves, enrollment and budget projections from Robin van Harpen and Jerry Tarrer, and Kyle. We hope in the weeks ahead to produce our own analysis and action steps for the faculty going forward.

In other items, we reviewed the tenure position paper and made revisions based on feedback from the Faculty Senate. John Reisel will prepare a revised version for a future meeting.