July 7, 2015

We met with Provost Britz and continued our ongoing discussion about the budget cuts and governance/tenure policy, the timetables involved, and procedures in place. We brought up the issue that prospects for improved compensation are more abysmal, and seemingly hopeless, than ever. We had a lively conversation about a first round draft “Policy on Academic Freedom and Tenure.” We met with Vice Chancellors Pat Borger and Tom Luljak and discussed the upcoming inauguration for Chancellor Mone. This program will be combined with the official opening of the Kenwood IRC, and will be funded entirely through the Foundation and private funds. We were assured that it would be appropriate in context of our dire financial outlook, while still celebrating our importance within the state.

June 23, 2015

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.

June 11, 2015

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).

June 9, 2015

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.

Know Your Place

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.”

First VSIP Sign-ups Reported

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.

May 26, 2015

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:

1) Here is the current policy.
2) Here are the proposed changes mentioned above.
3) Here is the UC’s response to the proposal.

May 19, 2015

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.