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dean for Public Health, and the Letters and Science Dean search committee has selected three finalists, of whom one has withdrawn.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.
On January 27, President Trump issued Executive Order 13769, titled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” The order bans Syrian refugees and limits entry to the US for anyone coming from the countries of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia, with few exceptions. As leaders of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s shared governance bodies, we speak to the very real pain that this executive order is causing our students, faculty, and staff. Our campus is home to international students, staff, and faculty whose scholarship, teaching, and service are vital to the growth and success of our campus, the city of Milwaukee, the region, and the world. UWM’s international community has greatly enriched our campus in the past, and we hope will be able to continue to do so in the future. These peers and colleagues are full members of our university community. “Protecting the nation” means protecting those who live, study, and work here, not just those who were born here. We cannot let fear compromise our principles. Our diversity of both people and ideas makes us all stronger and safer. We stand united in support of our international students, faculty, and staff.
UC Chair John Reisel reported that he met with the ASC yesterday, and discussed the idea of increasing the number of Visiting Professors on campus to cover the work of regular faculty. Both he and the ASC expressed concerns on how this may cause erosion of programs as the number of people committed to UWM long-term is reduced through temporary appointments. In addition, all faculty are encouraged to attend the Coffee With a Cop event, next Tuesday from 9-11 AM, at the Union Grind. Faculty will be able to interact with UWM police in an informal setting, and get free coffee or hot chocolate.
The UC reviewed with Trudy Turner the state of compensation for committee work across campus and across the UW System. It is likely that compensation for UC service will be reduced next year as a result of declining UWM budgets. The UC did identify possible alternatives, which will be taken to the Chancellor for his consideration.
The UC also met with Joan Prince to discuss her plans for a campus-wide discussion to consider how students and faculty should address topics of diversity and free speech. She is looking for faculty to serve on a steering committee to help shape the events surrounding the discussion. The UC suggested several names for her to consider.
The UC was joined by Chancellor Mark Mone who discussed issues, including ways to avoid further cuts to the Secretary of the University’s office, and answered questions about Innovation Campus (the subject of a recent Journal Sentinel article), and the impact of the Governor’s proposed budget on the campus. Mone will be coming out with a more detailed response to the Faculty Senate’s sanctuary campus resolution including resources for those who might be impacted by travel bans or immigration status. The UC and the Chancellor both expressed deep concern for our current students and for the impact that such policies will have on our desire to attract international graduate students. Mone reiterated his desire to “keep ideas and flow of students global.”
The Chancellor’s office is digesting the implications of the Governor’s budget proposal. Details remain uncertain and will come into sharper focus as the budget proposal is debated and amended by legislators. Our campus hopes that the funding inequality in the system will be rectified. A 2016 memo from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau shows the overall decline in GPR funding for the UW-System from 1975 until the 2015-16 fiscal year when adjusted for inflation.
In the Chair’s report, John Reisel discussed what he learned at the Faculty Reps meeting last week. The new title and compensation study, which will cost the UW-System $900k over the next three years, will be of little use to faculty as that group will be excluded from the market compensation analysis. Mercer is the proposed vendor for the study.
The UC also discussed workload policy and members expressed concern that schools and colleges might be crafting such policy unaware that there could be a new policy as part of the Governor’s budget bill and that existing UWM policy locates decisions about workload at the department level. According to our current policy:
“Specific workloads are determined on an individual basis in conjunction with each faculty member’s Summary of Career Plans and the Department’s Mission Statement, which are reviewed as scheduled by the academic dean. In all cases, a full-time load in any semester consists of four units of work, where each unit, in instructional terms, is typically the equivalent of one classroom section of a three-credit group instruction course.
Faculty are expected to make substantial contributions in the areas of research (or scholarship or creative activity) and service as well as in group and individual instruction, though specific emphases, or the particular distribution of effort, may vary from one faculty member to another.…
Departments are responsible for implementing their particular workload policies within the context of the department mission and this campus policy. Department policies, and any subsequent revisions, are subject to review and approval by the Dean and will be reported to the University Committee….As in other personnel matters, the department executive committee bears primary responsibility for compliance with the faculty workload policies.”
This Thursday the Faculty Senate meets at 2:30pm in Curtin 175.
Today the UC was joined by Provost Britz, and we discussed a variety of issues but focused mostly on the details of the newly released budget proposal from the Governor’s office. The proposed budget would include a 5% tuition cut for instate undergraduates, which the state would backfill. There is also a proposed allocation of $100 million roughly divided between making up for the previous lapse and new funding that will be “performance based.”
According to the Governor’s press release: “$42.5 million for performance funding. The Board of Regents must distribute these funds among UW System institutions based on their performance on rankings related to improving affordability and attainability, enhancing work readiness, ensuring student success in the workforce, administrative efficiency, service, and two additional criteria to be specified by the Board of Regents. To ensure transparency in the allocation of performance funding, each institution will publish a ‘Performance Funding Report Card.’”
The press release also includes a section titled “Holding UW System Faculty Accountable,” which describes the following: “Require the UW Board of Regents to establish a faculty workload policy. Their plan must include policies for monitoring faculty and instructional academic staff teaching workloads, including requirements for individual faculty and instructional academic staff members to report the number of hours spent teaching to UW System administration. The plan must also develop policies for rewarding faculty and instructional academic staff who go above and beyond by teaching more than the standard academic load. This information would be made public and included in annual accountability reports.”
UW-System President Ray Cross’s response is here.
In the Chair’s report, John Reisel mentioned that Joan Prince, Vice Chancellor of Global Inclusion and Engagement, is organizing both internal and external events on free speech, and CSOWG held an open forum.
The UC began our weekly meeting with Joe LeMire, Chief of the UWM Police Department. LeMire has been at UWM for a year and a half, with 25 years of experience in law enforcement, coming most recently from UW-Oshkosh. His department has sponsored Coffee with a Cop socials with different student groups and will plan one with faculty coming in late February. His goal is to build relationships and protect campus communities. Members of the UC gave feedback on how to improve campus safety training so that it addresses faculty concerns and suggested that the police department consider implementing cultural diversity training for officers, particularly in regard for safety concerns expressed by our Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu students. LeMire said that his department offers safety inspections of campus spaces and training sessions tailored to departments and units. LeMire also noted that his officers are not trained in anything related to immigration. LeMire said that crime in the neighborhoods surrounding UWM had decreased over the last year, although the alert system has made the university community more aware of crime, which can give a false indication of increased prevalence.
We were also joined by the Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, Dean of the Graduate School. Dean GJ brought up the important issue of graduate student stipends for teaching assistance, research assistants, and project assistants. The Grad School has been working hard to increase stipends and increase our ability to compete for top graduate students. There is still a funding gap, however, and the UC discussed ways to move money from other initiatives to fill that gap. Some thought that funds for the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Research Growth Initiative might be diverted to graduate student stipends. Members of the UC raised concerns that stipends should not be different based on discipline, and that not all project assistants who conduct research have been switched to research assistants.
In the Chair’s report, John Reisel reviewed his morning meeting with the Provost. The UC is considering issuing a joint statement on the recent executive order banning refugees and people from seven, Muslim-majority countries. The Provost continues to work with the College of Letters and Science and faculty from the Natural Sciences to bring them into alignment. Reisel also met with Deans to go over the UC guidelines for Post Tenure Review.
In members’ reports, the Affirmative Action for Faculty Employment Committee is testing an online climate survey that should be ready next month, the M3 initiative launched last week at MATC with the Mayor and other elected officials in attendance. Strategic Position Control met and learned that the university is rolling out a six-year forecasting tool for this budget cycle for all units on campus that submit budgets. Budget reductions are on track for most academic units except Lubar and Architecture & Urban Planning. The School of Education has reduced expenditures by 22% through increased teaching loads and 14 faculty departures. L&S has reduced expenditures by 7% but is expecting to increase that reduction through retirements. The university is at a $12 million reduction out of an overall goal of a $17 million reduction for the year.
In response to the Faculty Senate resolution on the status of UWM as a Sanctuary Campus, Chancellor Mark Mone has written a letter addressed to faculty colleagues. The letter is posted here. Letter from Chancellor on Sanctuary Campus resolution.