October 18

John Reisel focused his chair’s report on his meeting with the Provost. They discussed program discontinuance, workload policy, and putting together a task force on grading policy. From the Economic Benefits Committee, Swarnjit Arora reported that WEA Trust South Central is going away from UW system, but WEA East group will be maintained. Health insurance and dental premiums will stay the same next year, and for flexible accounts you will be able to carry up to $500. The EBC also expressed concern about parking and transit for faculty.  The Wisconsin Retirement System will make a presentation on Dec 8th on campus for those interested in learning more about retirement.

Rachel Buff reported that the UWM chapter of the AAUP met with Ray Cross this morning. Cross is optimistic about the $42 million budget request for the UW-System, and stated that State Rep. Robin Vos is a good advocate for the system. While he believes that Performance-Based Funding decreases productivity and opposes workload metrics, Cross said it is likely we will get some kind of PBF from the Governor. Technical colleges have worked with PBF but made it “flexible.”

In advance of the Faculty Senate meeting this Thursday at 2:30, we reviewed the draft report of the UC chair. Senators, please read the relevant documents, particularly the Post-Tenure Review document and the resolution protesting PTR procedure, in advance of the meeting.

We concluded with concerns raised by Marcia Parsons about the lack of policy addressing students who have to miss class for UWM-related activities, such as dance recitals and academic conferences, that fall outside of athletic events. The UC will work on a policy that mirrors what student athletes currently follow. 

October 11

Chancellor Mone joined the UC today to discuss the Board of Regents meeting and budget issues. UW-System requested a $42.5 million increase, and the Chancellor is pushing for a larger percentage allocation of that request for UWM. The Governor continues to indicate that any increase, however, will be tied to “performance-based funding.” It’s unclear what the metrics, goals, and baselines of a performance-based funding model would be. Although many state institutions of higher ed have adopted PBF models, recent research indicates that performance-based funding does not improve academic outcomes. (For example, see the article in Inside Higher Ed, which points to the research of UW-Madison professor Nicholas Hillman who “argues that performance-based funding is rarely effective.”)

The Chancellor also expressed interest in forming a faculty led advisory group on accountability metrics and best practices for faculty engagement of students. He cited the EAB for resources on student retention.

In terms of enrollments, the Chancellor quoted Ray Cross, “aligning our system with what we have and what we will become,” largely in reference to declining high school graduation rates and changing student demographics. For a snapshot of our UWM enrollment numbers please go to the Office of Institutional Research and click on the dashboard for the weekly report, currently showing a 4.1% decline in undergraduate enrollment, a 5.5% decline in new freshmen, and a 4% decline in graduate students. News from UW-Colleges is that they are facing a 12% enrollment decline and have canceled transfer fairs.

After the Chancellor left, members of the UC continued to discuss how the administration needs to articulate a clear vision for moving forward under such difficult budgetary times and is putting off making difficult decisions regarding budget and program cuts. Michael Brandino reported that the SPC committee (Strategic Position Control) has come up with targets for spending reductions by each campus unit, which will be released, along with a plan for the taxing of any remaining carry forwards. The SPC meets as needed on Monday mornings, and invites concerned members of the university community to attend.

The Faculty Senate meeting is coming up on Thursday, October 20th at 2:30pm. The agenda includes the Post-Tenure Review document, preceded by a resolution protesting the Board of Regents PTR policy as going against AAUP guidelines for post tenure review.

October 4, 2016

The UC meeting this week included a discussion with the Provost and reports from committee members. The Provost discussed the progress of the L&S Dean search. He is still taking names for committee membership, but has confirmed Dr. Jennifer Doering, from the College of Nursing, as the committee chair. The search committee should be finalized in the next week or two.

Final enrollment numbers reveal that our undergraduates are down 3.7% overall (which translates into $5 million in lost revenue). The freshman class is down 5%. These numbers reflect both the decreased number of high school graduates from our feeder schools, and the increased number of Wisconsin students Madison is accepting in order to offset their increase in out-of-state matriculants.

In terms of the overall campus budget, the projected $18 million shortfall came down to $12 million. SPC advised we reduce that $12 million cut by borrowing $4 million from reserves. That would leave us with $30 million in spendable reserves. Campuses are required to maintain a certain level of reserves to maintain accreditation. We are above that required level, but nowhere near the recommended level.

The UC discussed at length the recent Journal Sentinel article about a WPRI study on graduation rates across the UW system. The article cited incorrect enrollment numbers. The article also featured a misleading chart that visualized 4 and 6-year graduation rates. While the numbers are not incorrect (technically) their graphic expression inflates the appearance of the number of 6-year graduates, and students who start at UWM but finish somewhere else count against our numbers. Because it focuses on entering freshmen as the measurable unit, the article also does not account for transfer students. In terms of actual numbers we graduate about the same number of students who start here as freshman (they just aren’t all the same students who started). Make sense? These numbers and their articulation will become increasingly important as we enter a new state budget proposal that may include performance-based funding.

UC Chair John Reisel reported on the system reps meeting of faculty governance groups from around the system. Every campus is working on their Post Tenure Review policy. It’s unclear how these policies will be presented to the Regents. Campus PTR policies are due to the System by November 15th. The revised UWM PTR policy has gone through codification a second time and is heading to the Faculty Senate later this month. Reps also heard that our libraries are trying to find a less expensive way to ship system-borrowed books from campus to campus. Finally, System President Ray Cross (see his latest editorial here) reported on the biennial budget proposal and went over the System Strategic Framework (aka 20/20FWD)The UW System is requesting $42.5 million in new money divided into the four areas articulated in the System Strategic Framework. Those four areas are: Educational pipeline (K-12 and Tech); University Experience (be more active and dynamic); Business and Community Mobilization; Operational excellence/Improving Online Degrees. Cross has the expectation that the $50 million lapse will be reinstated, which means the System anticipates $92 million in new revenue, some or all of which might be tied to performance-based funding, depending on the Governor. There is a new model for GPR funding due out this spring.



September 27, 2016

     Today the UC welcomed Rebecca Freer, Chair of the Academic Staff Committee. Freer briefed us on the work the committee plans to take up this year. Their focus will be to review Chapter 104 on contracts and compensation policy. There are about 1800 Academic Staff on campus and most are on terminal contracts that are either fixed term or renewable.
     The UC also discussed reports from other meetings including the Chancellor’s expanded cabinet and Strategic Position Control. Michael Brondino attended the SPC meeting and reported that target budgets have not yet been sent to units. Reserves will be used to cover part of the current $18 million cut to the University this year. Some UC members expressed concern that reserves are low and spending them could compromise accreditation, and ultimately lead to the dismantling of the public university system. Others thought that tapping into reserves keeps us from making difficult decisions in the short term. The Budget Model Working Group met to discuss how R1 status would be protected and supported under the new budget model.
     The Provost has asked for suggestions of L&S faculty to serve on the search and screen committee for the Dean of Letters and Science. UC members gave the John Reisel names and encourages L&S departments also to forward him names. Some members of the UC expressed concern about the state of L&S and would like to see the new dean set up for success.
     Lastly, we tackled another revised version of the Post Tenure Review document. The UC came to a consensus on the post-tenure-review-v7-30, and it will be forwarded to the Codification and Senate Rules committees so that it may be placed on the October agenda of the Faculty Senate.

September 20, 2016

Today’s UC meeting, guest-chaired by Michael Brondino, included a discussion with Provost Britz, and another round of revisions on the Post Tenure Review document. The Provost reported that Rodney Swain will be stepping down as Dean of the College of Letters and Science on June 30, 2017, and asked the UC for names for the search committee. He intends to begin the external search for a new Dean as soon as possible, so that an interim will not be necessary. Members of the UC asked that the structure of L&S be examined. The Provost also remarked that final enrollment numbers will be in next week, currently we are down 3.7%. He believes that we need to move to a stabilized enrollment of 25-26k students. While our current budget cannot sustain our current payroll, he did not say how many faculty and staff we can support. Accreditation requirements have driven hiring, but he hopes that once we have dealt with the current budget cut, schools and colleges will be able to hire in strategic areas. After the Provost left, the UC spent time revising the Post Tenure Review document in light of comments from last Thursday’s Senate meeting. The UC will continue discussion of the PTR document next week.


September 13, 2016

Three guests joined the UC this week: Hope Longwell-Grice, Michael Wilson, and Mark Mone. Longwell-Grice, Associate Dean of the School of Education, asked and was given permission to augment the Executive Committee of the Department of Administrative Leadership.

Michael Wilson, Chair of the Affirmative Action for Faculty Employment Committee, presented the UC with a draft survey that the AAFEC is developing for faculty. The survey is designed to get a sense of current campus climate and how faculty diversity might be impacted by the budget cuts.

Chancellor Mone also joined the UC to discuss campus safety training, undergraduate enrollment, the lump sum adjustment, and his upcoming plenary. The campus will be rolling out 20 safety training sessions open to all and geared to classroom staff, including Faculty, Academic Staff, and Teaching Assistants. The final numbers for fall undergraduate enrollment should be available in the next ten days. Without doubt, enrollment is down. At this point, it is down by over three percent. While applications are up, yield (or the number of admits who come) has decreased. The Chancellor explained that prospective students are applying to many more schools than they have in years past. CEMAT (Chancellor’s Enrollment Management Action Team) is looking at a wide range of issues, and is using DPI (Department of Public Instruction) data about Wisconsin high school students and their matriculation patterns. Enrollments from Illinois are up 38%, which puts that pool of students into the hundreds. The Chancellor gives the fall plenary address Thursday, September 15th at 2:30pm in Zelazo. The UC encourages the campus community to attend. The plenary will also be streamed online if you cannot make it in person.

John Reisel’s report, as UC Chair, summarized his prior discussion with the Provost. He had asked the Provost to articulate the vision for the university in terms of faculty recruitment. Instead of a vision, he was given a list of three priorities: maintaining R1 status, increasing research funding, and improving student success. The Deans are now in charge of coming up with hiring plans for their units.

In the “Where’s Waldo?” section of the meeting, Reisel revealed that the US News and World Report’s 2017 rankings for “Best Colleges” has just been released and that, despite our R1 status, UWM moved significantly down the National Universities rankings to the illustrious position of “rank not published.” Marquette is tied for #86, and UW-Madison is at #44.

Michael Brondino shared a report from the APBC. The Chancellor has asked the Budget Model Working Group to revisit the budget model to see if it supports our R1 status. 

September 6, 2016

As we welcome back students and colleagues for the start of the fall semester, the UC discussed a variety of topics this week. The chair’s report was brief and related that the Secretary of the University conducted a workshop on T&P procedures for department chairs last week. We spent the bulk of the meeting discussing two important issues: the strong desire for an overall vision for the campus, which will guide “strategic position control” and provide the campus community with a greater sense of purpose; and the newly announced “lump sum compensation adjustment.” The chair will ask questions to the campus administration to clarify whether the one-time “lump sum” could be taken as S&E instead of salary, as many faculty have little to no money to cover research travel costs. Some members of the UC also took issue with the way that the lump sums are calculated, as a percentage tied to salary, which benefits those on the top of the pay scale more than those at the bottom. The one-time lump sum is going to all Faculty, Academic Staff, and University Staff as long as they are “solid performers” and have been hired before July 1, 2015. It is also going to all, regardless of recent base salary increases, including administrators who have managed to receive raises in the last few years and faculty who have taken counteroffers. Next week we will be joined by the Chancellor.

August 30, 2016

Provost Johannes Britz and Associate Vice Chancellor Dev Venugopalan joined today’s UC meeting. The Provost gave updates on the status of several units including: the School of Freshwater Science, the School of Continuing Education, and the three Health related units. Dean searches are moving forward in the Zilber School of Public Health and the College of Nursing.The Office of Research will be integrated more closely with Academic Affairs. Advising of undecided undergraduates will be centralized. Associate Vice Chancellor Robert Smith is leading a committee to come up with a plan for the integration of our multicultural centers to better serve our students. John Reisel reported on the status of the Post-Tenure review document, which has been sent to Codification. From the Academic Planning and Budget Committee, Michael Brondino reported that the Course Duplication committee met and suggested cross-listing duplicate courses. The University is looking at an $18 million base cut in the upcoming year. General enrollments, including international students, are down, but students coming from Illinois and transfer students are up. Campus wide, we hired only 10 new faculty this past year.

August 23, 2016

The UC welcomed three newly elected members of the committee: Jasmine Alinder, John Boyland, and Marcia Parsons. Ron Perez, interim Dean of the Zilber School of Public Health, joined us to discuss the steps the School is taking to meet accreditation requirements. Accreditors are coming in October and will make a decision in June. The UC chair report included an update on the work of the Integrated Support Services (ISS) committee, charged with finding ways to better organize IT, HR, and other business functions across campus. We then grappled with the working draft of the post-tenure review document (see link below) and discussed some small revisions to be made before it is sent to the Codification committee. We doled out a few committee appointments for UC members and began a discussion about how the university can better communicate our new R1 status in a way that affirms our commitment to teaching and that shows the benefits to students in the classroom.

Link: Post-tenure review v6.2 clean (updated August 30, 2016)

August 9, 2016

We meet with Chancellor Mone to discuss ongoing budget issues and also discussed the post tenure review policy that is being developed for fall.

We also meet with Andy Gronik, President of Stage W. He discussed different potential initiatives such as advancing urban farming, water, air quality hand and hand with creating jobs.