January 17

Today the UC gave feedback on a draft document that came out of the Chancellor’s Strategic Opportunities Working Group (CSOWG). We also approved the revised Post Tenure Review implementation guidelines, which should be distributed to deans and chairs soon after the semester begins.

Next week the Faculty Senate meets on Thursday following the Chancellor’s plenary at 2:30pm in the Zelazo Center. The plenary will also be live streamed.

January 10

The UC heard from two guests today: Chancellor Mark Mone and Professor Joyce Latham. Chancellor Mone addressed several issues. Tomorrow he is meeting with State Senator Alberta Darling and State Representative John Nygren. Darling and Nygren co-chair the Joint Committee on Finance. On Friday, the campus will submit a report to the UW System detailing contributions to the UWS 2020FWD plan, which is the System’s ask for the next budget. In two weeks, MATC will host the public launch of M3 (the collaboration between UWM, MPS and MATC).

Mone outlined several areas of focus for 2017: including, maintaining R1 status; increasing funding and revenue opportunities; communicating with the legislature and other state government entities; sustaining momentum behind development; increasing enrollments; building on the budget work of SPC and ISS; and bringing attention to issues of diversity, inclusion, safety, and climate. His office is working on a response to the Faculty Senate resolution on UWM’s status as a Sanctuary Campus, which should be ready for the first Senate meeting.

Joyce Latham, Professor in SOIS and member of the committee on IT Policy presented a draft of a new UWS IT policy. The current policy is here. She expressed concern that other shared governance groups before ITPC had not received the draft policy and therefore would not be able to provide input on it. The UC asked her to communicate with the ITPC chair to find an appropriate time to bring the new policy to the Faculty Senate.

We discussed other committee meetings we’ve attended and went over a flow chart that John Reisel drafted to accompany and clarify the process of post tenure review.

December 20

Today we were joined by Provost Johannes Britz who discussed a number of issues including the status of current Dean searches, campus follow up after last week’s speaker who targeted a member of the university community, and the status of sabbatical approvals. There was general agreement that the campus should hold a forum with legal experts to discuss the line between free speech and hate speech, and at what point hate speech becomes conduct.

Sue Cashin of the Academic Staff Committee reported that their task force continues to work on revising Chapter 104 to more clearly define its provisions with the goal of creating better contracts with stronger provisions.

The UC Chair’s report also included an update on the Dean search for the Zilber School of Public Health, and a summary of the last Chancellor’s expanded cabinet meeting. Given the recent approval of UWM Post-Tenure Review policy by the Board of Regents, the UC is crafting implementation guidelines for departments. The strategic visioning working group also met last week. The UC will next meet on January 10, 2017. Happy holidays and happy new year to all!

December 13

Today’s UC meeting began with a visit from Brett Peters, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. He requested clarification on a memo he received from the UC on Nov 3rd outlining allegations of potential violations of UWM Policies and Procedures by his office.

Chancellor Mone started his report by informing the UC that he plans to create a position in corporate and non-profit engagement that will be posted in early 2017. He then addressed a resolution that will come before the Faculty Senate on Thursday regarding UWM as a sanctuary campus. Although Mone voiced support for most of the resolution’s provisions, he stated that the University would have to cooperate with federal authorities so as not to risk federal funds. Members of the UC had many questions concerning the approximate number of undocumented students on our campus, regulations protecting the privacy of student information, and the legality of warrantless requests for such information or for access to students. Mone said that university legal would have answers to these questions on Thursday. The Chancellor then discussed efforts to ensure campus safety given the controversial speaker who is slated to speak on campus tonight. While the speaker, who is an employee of Breitbart and has been permanently banned from Twitter after he issued a slew of racist tweets targeting a comedienne, will be delivering his hate-filled presentation in the Union, Students for a Democratic Society and others will be holding a competing event to condemn hate speech. Please see here for the ACLU’s position on hate speech on campus.

In the Chair’s report, John Reisel informed us that the regents passed our Post-tenure review policy. The UC will now work on guidelines for implementing the policy. The strategic visioning committee met and worked on articulating goals and aspirations. And SEJEC met to discuss possible initiatives to target poverty in Milwaukee beyond last year’s grant program, including adding supports for our own students who are food and housing insecure. Members of the committee voiced concern that they lacked a clear charge and needed administrative support to follow up on and implement ideas.

Vice Chancellor Tom Luljak and Katie Miota (Interim Director of Office of Undergraduate Admissions) reported on recruitment and marketing efforts in Illinois. They plan to hire two additional advisors who will target Illinois high schools.

In members reports, Michael Brondino summarized the last Strategic Position Control meeting, which included projections about decreases in faculty, staff, and enrollments over the next four years. Bob Schwartz shared a statement that Distinguished Professors issued regarding their objection to the “public identification of a few key research areas at UWM” which diminishes the “breadth and depth of scholarly accomplishment at UWM” and may have long-term consequences.

The Faculty Senate meets Thursday, December 15th at 2:30pm in Curtin 175.


December 6

The University Committee discussed a number of important issues this week. Students brought forward a petition that asks the campus to protect undocumented students. A parallel resolution is being brought to the Faculty Senate next week. Chair John Reisel provided an update from last Friday’s UW System Faculty Representatives meeting. This included the status of the Post-Tenure Review documents (six proposals, including UWM’s, are to be considered at Thursday’s Board of Regents meeting), and the proposed changes to the Board policy on PTR (explicitly requiring independent administrative review). An article titled “What Remains of Tenure” on the impact on the BOR policy on tenure protections appeared in Inside Higher Ed this week, with quotes from faculty at Madison and UWM. In addition, the Reps were briefed on the likelihood that concealed carry on campus legislation will be reintroduced in the legislature, and given an update on the activities of the Tuition Task Force.

The UC also considered a situation involving a faculty member who was not allowed by their College to act as an ESL evaluator of a student for whom they are the advisor. Due to the potential conflict of interest, the UC thought that it would be good practice for faculty not to serve as ESL evaluators for their own students.

The UC discussed the potential of a move by Natural Sciences departments to split from the College of Letters & Sciences, and suggested ways that the L&S Dean Search and Screen Committee might want to address this possibility with dean candidates.

Finally, the UC decided tentatively to not meet on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, and to meet on Jan. 10 and Jan. 17, 2017.

November 29

The Provost attended today’s meeting, and discussed several issues, including creating a sense of belonging and inclusion for students on campus, short of sanctuary status. See the letter signed by chancellors and presidents across the country, including UWM Chancellor Mark Mone, in support of DACA. The UWM Post Tenure Review document should be on the Board of Regents agenda for their December 8th meeting. He also mentioned three issues related to the budget: Madison’s drop in ranking shows what happens when the flagship isn’t supported; funding Governor Walker has said he will earmark for higher ed will likely be tied to (as of yet undetermined) performance measures; and Ray Cross has asked for a summary of what UWM is known for in his quest to secure us more GPR funding. The Provost projects that in eight years we will stabilize at a student population of about 25,000 with about 700 faculty. UC Member Bob Schwartz reported on other committee meetings he has attended, and expressed concern that campus safety training does not focus enough on how instructors should handle situations, especially in large lecture halls. UC Member Marcia Parsons reported the that L&S Dean Search committee has approved a position description that will then go to HR and the Provost. We ended our meeting by discussing our meeting last week with members of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board and how we might encourage colleagues to write relevant op-eds.

November 22

We were joined this week by David Haynes, Editorial Page Editor, and Ernie Franzen, Associate Editorial Page Editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Their first question was about how UWM is faring in the current fiscal environment. We talked to them at length about the challenges departments are facing to meet curriculum given the number of faculty who have departed and are not being replaced, and challenges to accreditation. We also discussed the value of a college degree. Additional issues that came up included: asking the state to fund the freeze on student tuition; performance-based funding; graduation and retention rates; concern for the safety of foreign and undocumented students; and the restructuring of the UW-System. Haynes and Franzen invited us to write op-eds that would address these issues.

In his chair’s report, John Reisel announced that the Strategic Visioning Task Force had its first meeting. The committee is supposed to deliver a report to the Chancellor in late January. Members of the UC suggested they look at UWM’s past vision and mission statements, as well as statements from other peer institutions. Here is the University of California-Riverside’s strategic plan; here is Madison’s vision statement. Members of the UC also reported on other committee meetings.

November 15

The UC was joined this week by several guests including three students attending as part of an assignment for a journalism class. We spent the first hour of the meeting with Chancellor Mone, Provost Britz, and Associate Vice Chancellor Venugopalan discussing Post Tenure Review Policy. Although the policy that the UWM Faculty Senate passed last month meets the requirements of the Board of Regents policy, we were informed that UW System and the Board will require us to add an administrative review at the Dean level for all faculty, including those who “meet expectations” as determined by their executive committees. We worked on inserting new language into the policy document that would address this new System request. The UC will bring the revised document to the Faculty Senate on Thursday. Members of the UC expressed concern that System is asking for additions to PTR that are not reflected in BOR policy, and that a review of “meets expectations” determined by executive committees should not require further review.

The Chancellor also informed us that he is putting together an ad-hoc committee on Strategic Visioning, and he mentioned that plans to partner with an international pathways provider have slowed down so that more questions can be answered and communicated to university units.

The Chancellor attended the APLU (Association of Public Land grant Universities) conference this past weekend and chancellors who gathered there discussed post-election fall out and concerns in particular for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students and their families, international students, Muslim students, and other groups who have been specifically targeted during and after the election. Swarnjit Arora pointed out a Chronicle of Higher Education article predicting a decrease of international students. Inside Higher Ed and other sources have reported an increase in incidents of racial and ethnic harassment on college campuses.

Michael Brondino reported on a recent meeting of SPC (Strategic Position Control). They have received plans from campus units, which will be posted online, (password protected). In its first year SPC is supposed to be monitoring the process. Next year SPC will make recommendations of hires via metrics that aren’t yet developed.

Sue Cashin vice chair of the Academic Staff Committee came in to give the ASC report. They are convening a working group that will start meeting at the end of November to update chapter 104 and to review chapter 108.

Next week the UC is meeting with the editorial board of the Journal Sentinel. If you have questions for the editorial board or would like to suggest topics for stories related to UWM, please email John Reisel.

See you this Thursday at the Faculty Senate meeting: 2:30pm in Curtin 175.

November 8

The Provost attended today’s meeting and provided updates on Post Tenure Review policy, dean searches, and ad-hoc committees. The UWM PTR policy is under review at System legal. UW-Lacrosse’s PTR policy should go before the Board of Regents (BOR) at the end of this week. Our PTR policy should be considered by the BOR in December.

The L&S Dean search and screen committee had their first meeting and is working on the position description. The Provost hopes that candidates will be brought to campus in March or April. The Public Health dean search is also underway, and the search and screen committee for the Dean of Nursing search will have their first meeting next week.

The Chancellor’s Enrollment Management Action Team (CEMAT) has a new sub-committee called (for now) the Recruitment Action Team, which will focus on the recruitment of both undergraduate and graduate students. The process to bring an international partnership pathways program to UWM is slowing down so that the proposed contract can be fully vetted by shared governance groups. UC members Bob Schwartz and John Reisel have been asked to join a task force that will work on the Strategic Visioning of the campus.

After the Provost left, UC Chair John Reisel continued his report. We discussed a memo sent by the Provost to the APCC (Academic Planning and Curriculum Committee) requesting a hiatus on the approval of General Education distribution requirement courses. The memo also states that an ad-hoc committee will be appointed to look at GER courses. The UC expressed concerned that because the examination of issues related to GER courses falls under the charge of the APCC, there is no need for a separate ad-hoc committee to do work already under the oversight of a shared governance group. This led to a longer discussion and a deeper expression of concern that there have been an inordinate number of ad-hoc committees formed by the administration that are operating outside of shared governance, and therefore are not accountable to the faculty nor are they subject to the same rules of transparency that govern formal committees. John Boyland reported that the Senate Rules committee has begun tracking ad-hoc committees and will be asking them to give regular reports the Faculty Senate.

Speaking of ad-hoc committees, Michael Brondino reported on the Strategic Position Control (SPC) committee. SPC is discussing changing the way planning and budgetary issues are addressed on campus. Brondino suggested looking at documents produced by Stanford and Cornell as models of strategic planning. The UC also discussed campus workload policy and expressed concern that some schools and colleges are formulating or have already adopted workload policies that go against university policy.

Lastly, we discussed the recently released AAUP White Paper on the Future of UW System with UWM AAUP Vice-President (and Associate Professor of Linguistics) Nick Fleisher. The paper is a collaborative project of AAUP chapters around the UW system released in advance of the budget that concludes with a list of suggested actions to support the UW System. Some members of the UC thought that elements of the paper could be revised to reach specific (non-faculty) audiences. Fleisher pointed out that in the absence of a political climate in which data is persuasive, we still need to make a coherent moral case for the support of Wisconsin’s public universities. He suggested the slogan “fund the freeze” to illustrate how the state disinvestment in higher education is unsustainable alongside a tuition freeze. If the state wants to continue to freeze tuition, then it needs to provide GPR to offset that freeze so that Wisconsin’s public universities can maintain high quality degree programs for our students.

November 1

We started off with the Chair’s report and focused on the status of Post-Tenure Review policy. Our PTR document has not been sent to the UW System yet but will be by the Nov 15th deadline. After all the campuses have submitted plans, they will go to the Board of Regents for consideration during their December meeting. The UC will be working on PTR implementation guidelines for departments.

UC members reported that the search and screen committee for the College of L&S Dean position will have its first meeting tomorrow. Last week, the AAFEC met with Jamie Cimple-Wiemer from the Office of Equity and Diversity Services and discussed how that office could help search and screen committees implement best practices for building diverse candidate pools.

The UC also followed up from last week with a discussion of the international pathways provider that the university is negotiating with. The UC expressed concerns that shared governance groups and academic units will need to have time to examine and consult on the proposal before any contract is signed.

Under new business, a faculty member from CEAS brought forward allegations of P&P violations by the Dean’s office.