We reviewed a draft adapted from an AAUP policy document regarding academic freedom and tenure at UWM. The UC has been tasked with creating a working tenure policy that will later be reviewed by faculty via Faculty Senate and appropriate committees. We discussed how such a document might mesh with current legislative proposals such as clause 39 as well as how to solicit faculty input and engagement.
The University Committee issued this statement on behalf of the UW-Milwaukee Faculty Senate, endorsing UW-Madison Faculty Senate Document 2565, which was approved on June 9, 2015. (note: pdf is three pages, and includes the faculty document from Madison).
We met with Chancellor Mone, Provost Britz, VC Luljak, and Director Urdan in order to review issues related to the erosion of tenure and shared governance in the UW-System, as well as the budget cuts. We discussed the need to write a UWM tenure policy, and the complexities involved due to so many changes at multiple layers of policy and law. We agreed that it will be useful to see what UW-Madison does in this regard, and spent a lot of time speculating on intensely negative scenarios.
The UC called for an emergency meeting to include Faculty Senate, in which we put forward resolutions regarding tenure and shared governance.. We also discussed the general dismembering of higher education. You can read the resolutions here.
From the Joint Finance Committee Omnibus Motion approved last Friday:
(38.) Shared governance, general: Specify that, with regard to the responsibilities of the faculty, academic staff, and students of each institution, “subject to” means “subordinate to.”
We now have a report on the number of UWM employees who opted to participate to date in the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). This post updates our earlier April report on this program. See here for further details and background on the program.
At UWM, a total of 232 employees were deemed eligible for the program. Of those 81 signed up (35% of those eligible). Ninety faculty were eligible; 13 signed up (14% of those eligible; ~1-2% of the total faculty). Of the remaining employees (academic staff; classified staff and limited appointments), 143 were eligible and 68 signed up (48% of those eligible).
From the data in our April survey of the faculty, it was clear that there weren’t going to be a lot of takers among the faculty. Among the other campuses that have used the program, Eau Claire reported that 115 signed up; 21 were faculty (21% of those eligible on the faculty). It appears the program was less popular both in absolute numbers and as a proportion of employees in the much larger UWM labor force.
Caveat: There’s a second stage when someone can opt out, so these numbers could decline further.
We discussed the proposed changes to System policies related to chancellor and other executive searches. These changes seem to be aimed at diminishing the role of faculty within these searches. Last Friday (May 22nd), campus governance groups received notice that the Regents will be considering these major changes at their June 4-5th meeting. The changes were proposed just before the Memorial Day weekend with a feedback cutoff date of the following Tuesday. UC Chair, Mark Schwartz complained about this extremely short turn-around time. The background documents and the UC’s response can be seen below. There are three relevant pdfs regarding this issue:
When Chancellor Mone arrived, we discussed the “M-cubed” initiative, involving MPS, MATC, and UWM, and the desire to coordinate programs to allow greater fluidity for students and greater advocacy and planning among administrators. We then discussed entrepreneurial initiatives, and especially a desire to connect with underserved local communities. We ended on the strategic plan and how to put if forward even with the budget cuts.
Academic Staff Chair Sarah Morgan visited and we discussed Catastrophic Leave Program calculations. After she left, we discussed calling an emergency meeting of the Faculty Senate in response to the JFC’s actions. While we are open to a potential necessity, we don’t foresee anything outside of what is anticipated regarding the bad budget decisions the state is making, nor do we see the options of efficacious actions beyond new faculty resolutions. We briefly discussed the Fraud Hotline and how demoralizing it is under the circumstances, what poor timing it is, and whether or not to put out a statement about it. It was pointed out that the hotline was a Regent Audit Committee initiative, started last year, and probably seems like normal routine to those from the corporate world. We decided to not give it more attention for the time being.
We met with State Representative Jonathan Brostoff and discussed the ongoing challenges regarding the budget cuts, and the short time left to try to influence the legislators. It was a very active conversation about both short term and long term strategies.
Trudy Turner visited and discussed the dire consequences of potential cuts to her Secretary of the University budget, in that these are the modest funds for UC and ASC service. We asked the question, “Does shared governance still matter at UWM, and if so, how is it supported?” Provost Britz arrived and we discussed ongoing issues of the budget, tenure and shared governance, especially the instability of the current situation. We discussed the uncertainty regarding continued value of the sick leave conversion program that is currently being reviewed. We then elected a new chair for next year’s UC (John Reisel) and discussed how UC News will be handled.