April 26, 2016

Provost Britz joined us and we continued to discuss faculty workload policy. There is a UWM policy, Faculty Document 2027 (passed by the Senate in 2007), prescribing metrics for teaching, research, and service workload for faculty. We would like to see an evaluation of how the campus and the deans evaluate compliance with the existing policy before discussion of other models, for example the University of Texas System’s 18 credit per year “teaching workload policy.”

We had a long discussion about the Regents meeting last month where the Regents passed the Madison tenure policy with significant edits which, it is now clear, were not adequately vetted with the Madison Senate or University Committee. As a result, there is now an open discussion by the Madison faculty of a vote of no confidence in President Cross and the Board of Regents at their May 2 Senate meeting. The Madison Senate agenda and documents are here. (Current draft of the resolution is here.) We expect a similar motion will be proposed in many campuses in the system, including at UWM for the May 12 Senate meeting. The Rules Committee, which sets the meeting agenda, meets April 28. Documents and the agenda will be posted here. There is already considerable media coverage of the issue; we expect more.

UC member Aurora reported on discussion on the Research policy advisory R1 subcommittee; a major focus is to increase TA salaries to a competitive level. We encouraged a re-evaluation of this issue and estimated it could be between 3 and 6 million dollars to bring TA salaries up to a competitive level.



April 19, 2016

We discussed how the Madison tenure policy evolved to the form that was approved at the Regent ‘s meeting on Thursday and Friday, April 7-8. There was some confusion on the exact contents of the document since it was not posted until the day before the Regents meeting (Wednesday, April 6), and therefore, the Madison faculty had not seen it at the time of their April 4 Faculty Senate meeting. There were edits made to the original policy passed last November at the Madison Faculty Senate, but the nature of those edits are not entirely clear. We will be interested to see if the Madison faculty endorses the tenure policy as it was presented at the Regents meeting.

Kyle Swanson joined us to discuss how the Carnegie Classification is calculated. This is the classification that has ranked us as a R1 (doctoral granting, research intensive) university. Briefly, there are seven metrics. Four are the number of doctorates granted in the humanities, social sciences, STEM, and other fields (i.e. business, health sciences, education, and architecture). The other three metrics are research expenditures in STEM, research expenditure in non-STEM, and the number of postdoctoral scholars. In light of this discussion, there were some clear policy actions that could be taken to help preserve R1 status during these times of severe budget cuts. These include:

  1. Invest in TA and RAs for doctoral students. The campus should determine a target for the number of doctoral students that will keep us in R1 status and make the proper investments in competitive salaries and positions to support this target. There is existing capacity for training doctoral students across campus, but anecdotally, we are losing students to other universities due to low stipends or the inability to guarantee funding for a 4 year period.
  2. Create preference for awarding TAs to qualified students in PhD programs, even if these students are placed across departmental of even school boundaries.
  3. Support new assistant professors who are establishing their careers by awarding funding for postdoctoral scholars.

The first point is one recommendation that has been made in many venues in strategic plans, research committee reports, as resolutions by the faculty senate, etc., so it remains unclear why it has not been given higher priority or been implemented, especially since the doctorates granted is a key factor in how we achieved R1 status. We all also highlighted how doctoral students enhance research and enhance undergraduate education.

We also discussed the RGI program and the need to examine the effectiveness and the historical record of who received funding, the return on the investment, and in what form UWM should continue to invest in this program. We were puzzled by lack of data available on this program (repeat awardees, rank of awardees, return on investment) given the amount of investment in RGI.

April 12, 2016

We met with Robin Van Harpen and Jerry Tarrer to discuss budget issues. They explained how the campus is considering giving up hiring authority for 154 vacant positions to save $3 million in fringe benefit costs. (UWM has hiring authority for 3260 FTE positions using state funds.) We continued with a more general discussion of budget cuts. At the April Regents meeting the campus reported about $15.9 million in cuts for 2015-16, and anticipates a similar cut for 2016-17. We also urged the budget officials to estimate the costs to academic programs of these cuts, particularly to general education.

We discussed two draft versions of changes to UWM P&P with reference to layoff and termination of faculty in light of Act 55 and will bring them to the Senate on Thursday.

April 5, 2016

Today we meet with Trudy Turner, Secretary of the University to discuss the policy on promotion to full professor. The procedure is outlined in P&P 5.20. We spent time with Provost Britz discussing faculty workload, annual reviews, the need to work cooperatively across schools and colleges to offer courses needed for the curriculum, i.e. history of medicine offered by history to nursing students, etc. We also discussed the abysmal budget outlook and how the University will be weakened by the cuts. Lastly, we talked about post tenure review and how this might be used for fostering development and promotion of faculty after tenure.

March 29, 2016

We began the meeting discussing the Cryptosporidium outbreak in April of 1993 and the improvements to the Milwaukee drinking water plant. Then a long discussion ensued about pursuing large grant opportunities (NSF traineeships, partnerships with industry) and how UWM needs to be more aggressive and coordinate these initiatives. Pat Borger joined us to discuss this years comprehensive campaign and how faculty and staff could be involved. We noted that faculty and staff are most likely to give to student scholarships and requested that UWM Development share that numbers of faculty and staff that give to UWM and where those gifts are directed. We also discussed preserving research on this campus and developing recommendations on that topic.

March 22, 2016

Chancellor Mone joined us and we discussed yesterday’s campus budget meeting. The majority of the budget shortfall will be made up by position control; this could equate to losing 10% of the UWM workforce of university staff, academic staff and faculty over the next three years. The UC emphasized the need to have a strategic outline and over all picture of what the campus might look like in 3-5 years (optimal size of departments, maintaining research activity), which could serve as guidance as decisions are made about program change, rather than a piece-meal type of approach. We discussed the status of various tenure, layoff, and post tenure review policies (summarized below). The Regents have passed their version of each of these policies. Each campus is now charged with preparing campus level documents implementing the Regent policies. Madison is likely putting forth the tenure policy approved by the Madison Faculty in November at the April Regents meeting. UWM Tenure policies are being formulated based on Madison’s documents. The layoff and termination policy from Madison is also likely going forward in April; ours is in development and is based on Madison’s policy. We are not expecting to call a special Senate Meeting in March since our documents won’t be going to the Regents in April. Also, Kathy Miller-Dillion, ASC Rep, joined us and discussed ongoing concerns of the number of non-renewals. Currently, fixed term appointments offer no security, whereas some AS are long term. Madison used 3-year rolling horizons for contracts, which are not used at UWM frequently. It is unclear why this mechanism is not used at UWM.

Status of different documents:

Board of Regents Tenure Policy, Layoff and Termination Policy, and Post-tenure Review Policy- passed by the Board of Regents. https://www.wisconsin.edu/regents/tenure-policies/

Madison Tenure Policy and layoff and Termination Policy- likely going to April Regents meeting for approval. https://www.secfac.wisc.edu/FPP_ch_10.htm

UWM Tenure Policy (draft form),

Layoff and Termination Policy (draft form)- likely will go to UWM Faculty Senate in May,

UWM Post Tenure Review (draft form)- draft form

(These three sets of documents are in development and will be posted as soon as the drafts are ready for comment and formal consideration.

March 8, 2016

We had a long discussion about the UWM budget, the need to close the budget shortfall that is not covered yet (~15-20M), and the new budget model. There was also lengthy discussion about the charge of APBC and how approval of new programs is consultation only, not approval, in the approval matrix for new programs.

Trudy Turner, Secretary of the University, joined us to talk about the timing of approving tenure policy for UWM. The goal would be to present a UWM tenure policy in the same Regents meeting s Madison. John Reisel also reported on discussions of options presented in the CCOET report. The administration is not looking at any immediate academic reorganization, which would be a longer term action by the faculty.

March 1, 2016

We met with the provost and continued our ongoing discussion about budget and planning, and discussed faculty workload. There is a university workload policy, but the CCOET report claimed that workloads varied widely depending on the department. We discussed how the demise of the annual merit exercise has caused the routine review of faculty performance to fall by the wayside in some areas on campus, and has had the unintended consequence of raising doubts about whether faculty are pulling their weight in their departments.

We have received ~20 comments from faculty on the CCOET report. The UC prepared a response to the CCOET report and attached all the comments we received as an appendix. This material was forwarded to the Chancellor. See the UC meeting minutes for the UC response.

We also discussed virtual dead ends on the UWM website. Currently, for example, the L&S website link to departments does not loop to individual department webpages, only to a terminal page about the department’s instructional programs. We will follow up on these issues.

One a final note, the Regents are expected to pass the tenure and post tenure policies at the March Regents meeting. The faculty reps across system have been working on proposed modifications to these policies that could be introduced at the meeting.

February 23, 2016

The committee discussed the CCOET Report, met with the Chancellor, and continued our ongoing discussions of budget cuts and the changes that will entail. The UC is gathering responses to the CCOET report from faculty, will consolidate them, and prepare a short response of our own by February 29.  Faculty should send comments and concerns promptly so we can integrate these ideas into our thinking and make sure these documents get to the Chancellor for his consideration.  We’ve already received several spirited and informative reports on potential reorganizations, changes to the Graduate School, and position control.

The Chancellor brought us up to date on a major meeting with System officials on the short term and long term budget and planning situation for UWM.  We understand that there is general consensus and support from System for our access and research missions; that our “reserves” are dwindling fast under the pressure of enrollment declines, tuition freezes, and state budget cuts; that the statewide high school graduating class demographics will not turn up anytime soon; that we have considerable ongoing commitments to pay out from the rapid expansion of programs and building during the first decade of this century.  The Chancellor is being tasked with stabilizing all this, and providing guidance on where we are going.  He reported we are about half way to our budget cutting stabilization target with the draconian cuts we’ve already made, and with some luck, he hopes to be able to identify the rest in the next few weeks.  Longer term, we need to set targets for an enrollment base that will provide sufficient revenue to pay the bills, and define standards and priorities for any program changes, both to bring in new revenue and maintain quality.  A tough order.  Look for the fog to clear a bit before Spring Break.

February 16

We discussed at length the CCOET report and what UWM may do going forward. There are no attractive options on the table. Position control will likely weaken the whole university. Restructuring administratively might have some savings, but will fall well short of what is needed to make the 30 million dollar budget gap. We discussed how some targeted reinvestment in programs would be needed sooner than later to maintain the quality for education and our R1 status.