Chancellor Mone visited the UC today and described a number of current matters, including how to best place our Athletics programs in national competition. He reported that a number of donors have increased their pledges or allowed us to re-direct existing pledges in order to help raise UWM’s prominence. In other matters, he also reported that UWM is slated to receive $53 million of a $69 million capital request to renovate the Northwest Quad, although $41 million of that will be needed merely to bring the infrastructure up to code.
UC Chair Reisel met with other campus representatives in the system in the past week. The system is looking at whether policy can be developed to consolidate low-enrollment programs between campuses, and consider avoiding duplication of programs. In budget news, the legislature is considering increasing targeted financial aid rather than bankrolling an across-the-board tuition cut.
He also reported that SEJEC is looking to fund a pilot program to invite high schoolers from high poverty zipcodes to the campus, for mentoring and instruction in skills useful for admission to university and entering employment.
The UC discussed the role of the APBC in new program approval. The Senate Rules committee recently decided that the comments from the APBC on new programs would be available to senators when a program is up for approval. It was also discussed to change the charter of APBC to give them authority to hold back program approval if the budget isn’t sufficiently described or supported. Training for current and new APBC members in financial reasoning becomes even more important given that the APBC may have a bigger role in program approval.
Several summary reports on the evaluation of administrators (that of the Provost and of the deans in the College of Engineering and Applied Science) have been produced. Interested authorized parties can view the reports in the Secretary of University‘s office.
Provost Britz met today with the UC and briefed us on the current status of dean searches. The Public Health dean position remains open and will be re-advertised. Britz is calling references for the Letters & Science dean position. Two candidates for Dean of Nursing have interviewed, and a third is coming next week.
Britz mentioned that a base-budget increase of $2 million for Nursing has been incorporated in the UW System request to the legislature as part of workforce development. A proposal to include Engineering as well is in the works. He also mentioned that he is considering a way to supplement full-year sabbatical leaves to make it more possible for professors on lower salaries to take advantage of a full-year leave.
The UC received a copy of a report of the Student Association that shows that of the over 2000 people surveyed (most of whom were UWM students) about half had experienced food insecurity. (See general information on the project.) Some campus organizations are providing food aid, but a more central approach led by an authority on campus might make sense.
Today, Kris O’Connor joined the UC as a replacement for Jasmine Alinder, who resigned to become acting associate dean of the College of Letters and Science.
Academic Staff Committee (ASC) Vice Chair Cashin met with the UC today. She will be continuing in leadership of the ASC next year as chair. She and the rest of ASC is working on revising several Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures (ASPPP), especially Chapter 104 on appointments, to harmonize practice and policy in a way that still protects AS personnel. One question that arose is if probationary appointments (and a chance for indefinite status) are to be de-emphasized, will there still be incentives for university service?
The chair reported on details from an extended chancellor’s cabinet. Given projected enrollment declines, UWM may see a further cut of $8M in the following year. UWM employees are currently undergoing mandatory Title IX training; in the fall another required training on Data Security is coming, and after that, a possible required training on climate and culture issues.
A discussion on reviewing budgetary implications of new academic programs revealed a consensus view that the new programs should require approval from the APBC, as opposed to merely informing the APBC. The existing approval matrix does not include a committee charged with budgetary, rather than academic considerations.
In other items, the UC set a meeting schedule for the summer, meeting approximately every two weeks (except for the July 4th holiday).
Provost Britz came to UC this day and briefed us on the status of deans’ searches, and how the “Office of Central Advising” will be set up. The process will be incremental, and existing multi-cultural centers will be preserved in the new structure. New advisers funded by a system grant will be hired and will work for the OCA while existing advisers will continue to work within L&S for the first year.
Britz also gave a detailed description of the status of all schools and colleges at UWM, and how strategic concerns are informing new hires, as we start to turn the corner on handling the massive budget cuts of the current biennium.
UC Chair Reisel reported on the recent meeting with departmental chairs on how to proceed with post-tenure review. He stressed that the process is intended to be collegial, not adversarial. Another meeting is planned for the coming week. In other news Honors’ College admissions are now at capacity; if UWM wishes to expand the program it will need more space (classrooms and residential facilities) as well as more instructors, especially in STEM disciplines.
Chancellor Mone met with UC today. The recent fire in the PSOA will incur major costs, which should be covered by the State insurance system. Increased risk of problems may be due to deferred maintenance. Mone also discussed the proposed budget. Some non-fiscal items (such as making allocable fees optional) are likely to be dropped from the budget, perhaps to be passed as separate bills later. It’s also not clear whether the proposal for self-insurance for healthcare will be adopted as part of the budget.
Brondino reported on the SPC process. A log of the new approved hires will be posted soon. It’s important to note that the Provost, not the SPC committee approves hires, and that Vice-Provosts can hire outside the SPC process if a position is immediately necessary.
Director Tully of CIE came to UC to describe the process of designing a novel approach for pathways for international students that addresses UWM particular characteristics. If accepted, this could be a approach used by other universities as well. UWM will be meeting with an international recruitment company in mid April to see if the model will be accepted.
Provost Britz arrived soon afterwards and updated the UC on various Deans searches. Two finalists for the position of Dean of the College of Letters and Science will be coming soon to UWM. The provost is currently negotiating with a candidate for appointment as Dean of the School Public Health. Meanwhile, the search and screen committee has forward the names of three finalists for the Dean of the School of Nursing.
He also was asked to describe how his office is being strategic in leading the academic mission of the University during a time of severe budget cuts. He described how attrition combined with deficit spending have been used as the first response, but as University costs have decreased, strategic vision informs new hires. Deans are told that all hires must be justified in a forward-looking manner.
Academic Staff Committee Vice Chair Cashin met with the UC and described the Academic Staff Senate’s ongoing work updating the policies and procedures for Academic Staff, particularly Chapters 104 (Appointments) and 112 (Grievances).
Then Provost Britz came and updated the UC on several ongoing dean searches: he is close to selecting the dean for Public Health, and the Letters and Science Dean search committee has selected three finalists, of whom one has withdrawn. He is also looking for a new director for Continuing Education. The Nursing dean search committee is starting to interview semi-finalists.
He is also intending to produce a monthly update for the campus on the work of CEMAT including reports on numbers of applications, admits and acceptances in various categories (incl.\ freshmen, transfer, graduate). We should expect to see something next week.
Provost Britz also described the advising reorganization, in which undecided students will be managed centrally rather than defaulting to Letters and Science. Advising will use a new “First Year” program with “meta-majors,” in which students intending for a particular major are given a year or so to meet requirements, with alternate majors available with compatible requirements, so that students can continue successfully with little loss of time. This reorganization also involves other affinity-based advising centers, using possibly an opt-in or opt-out structure as appropriate.
On a question from the UC, Britz described how strategic planning is moving from the first phase which was mainly attrition based, to a phase informed by which important programs need strengthening, and where new opportunities with significant benefit can be started.
UC Chair Reisel reported on the SEJEC mini-grants and how the group is looking ahead to expand the impact. He also reported on activities related to standardizing campus climate surveys and using alternative telecommunication services.
The state budget process continues with the Joint Finance Committee meeting leaders of state agencies (including the UW System). There will be an opportunity for public comment on April 5th at the State Fair Park. Meanwhile, leaders in the UW System have written a joint letter to all Wisconsin Congress members on the importance of federal funding for higher education and research.
Chancellor Mone met with the UC today and discussed some of the aspects of the legislative budget for the UW System. While welcoming the proposed additional support, Mone will continue to advocate that UW-Milwaukee be compared only with comparable universities when computing performance metrics. International enrollment projections continue to be an issue of concern; the drops are not just from nations targeted by the national government.
Chancellor Mone indicated that the CSOWG working group will conclude their work in a few weeks. He also discussed three major projects that showcase some of UWM strengths: (1) the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center, (2) the Water Summit and (3) an Internet of Things (IoT) center built with support from Rockwell and other corporations. The intent is to include any disciplines that can connect with these activities, as a way to strengthen the whole campus.
Mark Harris (for the OSP) and Donna McGee of Legal Affairs discussed a revision of the UW System policy on patents and inventions. The revised policy uses a new format and cuts down much of the text but the policy remains essentially the same.
UC Chair Reisel discussed some of the highlights of the UW system representatives meeting last week. The reps received an update on the status of the proposed budget. UW System is finding that there will likely be many changes to the proposed budget as it goes through the legislature, with regards to the provisions regarding the UW. The Joint Finance Committee will probably be holding a public meeting in the Milwaukee area April 5.
UC member Brondino reported on discussions at the ABPC. A couple dozen faculty are responsible for over half of the research expenditures at UWM. The libraries are urgently in need of a minimum increase of $200,000 in order to prevent falling further behind in maintaining collections. The budget model working group is considering metrics to encourage research, rather than only counting student credit hours and majors.
Brondino also reported on the SPC process which he has asked be distinguished from the work of the SPC Committee (SPCC) to which is reported the results of the process and which serves in a more restricted role of monitoring parts of the process.
The SSEA is nearing completion of reports on the evaluation of the provost and the deans of CEAS.
Faculty members from a particular department came to the UC to be heard about some complaints against the deans of their college. The matter was referred to the provost who recommended that a memorandum detailing the allegations be directed to the dean and to him.
Provost Britz came to the UC and described how his office has worked with CEAS and SOE to address issues that came up in their respective climate surveys. He also relayed that international applications are steeply down, presumably because of actions of the executive branch of the national government. Overall, however, applications for new first-year students are slightly higher than at this point last year.
The new budget for the UW system may include performance-based funding, but collecting the data needed for the likely performance metrics may require new resources.
UC Chair Reisel reported meeting with several associate deans and described to them the requirements of the new post-tenure review systems. He will be meeting with departmental chairs later this semester. It is important that this process get off on a strong start.
The UC received the approved workload policy from the division of Computer Science within the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
On February 28, Acting Associate Dean Jasmine Alinder came as a guest of the UC on which she served until recently being appointed to her new position. She was thanked for her service and encouraged to run for UC again should she return to non-administrative status. The UC in particular will miss her informative reporting on the UC News.
UC Chair Reisel reported on various initiatives at the campus level. Chancellor Mone released a message reiterating UWM’s support for transgender students, even as the national government withdraws LGBT+-friendly guidance for educational institutions. The University is drafting a single web portal collecting information relevant to immigrants including DACA individuals. The University sold the under-utilized Cozzens-Cudahy center. The Integrated Support Services project detailed design kick-off reportedly had good attendance from stakeholders. Student leaders are meeting to protect programs currently served by allocable fees by moving them to non-allocable fees.
In other reports, faculty on the Strategic Position Control committee are working to make sure that financial decisions are indeed strategic. Several Dean searches are continuing; among these, the Letters and Science Dean Search Committee reduced a slate of thirty-two applicants to nine semi-finalists. Campus leaders are working with the INTO international recruitment firm to develop pathways that fit UWM’s unique situation.