CCOET Primary Team Meeting Notes, Nov. 11, 2015

Primary Team Meeting, November 11, 2015, 3-5 p.m., Regents Room

The co-chairs started the meeting out with a reminder that as an observer, to please not talk while the meeting is in session and if you would like to add something, to please raise your hand and if there is an opportunity for you to share, we will let you, but please remember that it is the CCOET team that is the functioning body of this meeting.

A recap of the support team meeting was given. The support team talked about position control and was in favor of it. However, instead of having the motion go directly to the chancellor, it would be more appropriate to be sent to the various governance groups first. The motion on position control is to have a central point to look to when someone wants to fill a position. That position needs to have a strong rationale behind it as to why it should be filled and not left open. All positions should be justified like this even if they are segregated fee and grant funded. That way, people are informed as to why a position was filled and that we are treating everyone equally.

There was a question about where the positions will be posted as they are filled. Since CCOET is not an ongoing team, and was just created for this budgetary purpose, the website may stay active as a location to house these positions or maybe there will be a spot on Central HR’s website. This point hasn’t been finalized yet.

The primary team voted on the position control motion:

Pending approval of the apposite governance bodies, the CCOET strongly supports the immediate institution of position control on all administrative, faculty, and staff positions for the next two years.

No external recruitments will be held for senior administrative positions (Associate Deans and higher). Any appointments will be temporary and appointed from within the institution.

All positions that become vacant through resignation, retirement, termination of employment, or death will return to central control. Applications to refill positions will have to be justified on the basis of necessity, campus mission, and financial impact, specifically in regard to the recruitment, retention and graduation of students.

Any positions which are allowed to be filled will be published on an appropriate website with a rationale explaining the reasons for the exception.

All in favor- Yes

The motion passes

The group then moved on to discuss the second motion. This motion is coming from the Provost. It concerns carryforward balances. He would like us to pass a motion to freeze carryforward balances so they cannot disappear to anywhere while we are going through this process. The team members mentioned that somewhere in this motion, it would need to mention how the carryforward balances can unfreeze and that maybe there should be a place added that says “subject to the Vice Chancellor approval” for exceptional cases. A lot of funds are committed to specific purposes that might come due during this time. CCOET also would need to put a timeline on this. The members discussed this motion and decided to table it and take it back to the Provost for clarification.

The motion read as:

Motion:  All carry forward balances in the Schools and Colleges should be frozen effective immediately.

Rationale:  Campus currently has about $60 million in carry forward balances, a substantial fraction of which lie in the Schools and Colleges (e.g., CEAS has about $10 million).  

The co-chairs then moved on to discuss a motion from the Letters and Sciences, Natural Science faculty. This motion read as:

Motion:  “The CCOET firmly rejects any across-the-board increase in the faculty teaching load. Such an increase does not account for the total educational activity of faculty needed to support graduate and undergraduate education at UWM, such as teaching graduate and undergraduate seminars, directing undergraduate research projects and graduate theses, as well as obtaining research grants and carrying out the very research needed to present these opportunities to students.

To preserve and support both the research and educational missions of UWM, the CCOET instead urges the adoption of a comprehensive and flexible faculty workload policy that takes into account and encourages all of the activities listed above which support the graduate and undergraduate educational mission at UWM while ensuring accountability to all stakeholders. ” 

Rationale:  This recognizes the dangers associated with an across-the-board increase in the teaching load to a 3+2 or some other arbitrary level.  Doing so would save at most $5 million or so (~800 courses at $5K each), while virtually ensuring that the $10 million in federal indirects we currently receive as a campus will vanish within a few years as research productivity declines substantially. 

The reason for not putting this forward at this time: This is valuable input from a portion of the campus, and should be taken into consideration when decisions on long-term recommendations are being made. However, at this point, it is not in the best interest of the campus for CCOET to be eliminating discussions of options in response to objections from particular groups. Starting this precedent may result in CCOET being left with no long-term options to recommend. We will come back to discussing this, it will be put on the docket for the support team next week.

The timeframe of the CCOET was discussed. We have two meetings after today to come up with some recommendations. We need to start to talk about serious amounts of money. We have not addressed anything remotely close to the challenge we are facing, we have to get there at some point, and quickly, to meet the deadlines we are facing as a committee.

The discussion then moved on to the analysis of the spreadsheets that were sent out earlier with a gap of nearly 15% between expenditures and income revenue which is the internal contribution to our structural deficit in our schools and colleges and for the non-schools and colleges, we are up over 9% during this time period. The spreadsheet discusses the gap of the tuition revenue and payroll increases which forms internal contribution to our structural deficit.

The models from the spreadsheet were then discussed about how we might reduce the gap on campus overall:

Yellow Model (Complete Accountability): Adjust payroll back to FY 2012 pp/and enrollment controlled numbers. We would operate in the same intensity level in FY 2015 as we were in FY 2012. The Yellow Model is the number of dollars each school and college would need to cut which the total budget cut, would then be about $16 million dollars. For administrative units, it would be about $10 million as well. Which then the total savings would be $26,659,414 if we were operating on FY 2012, relying on enrollment that gets us to where we need to be. (Just a note, we wouldn’t get the full fringe benefit credits unless we give up FTEs to UWS.)

Problems with the Yellow Model, (Q1): This is a marginal tuition model, those schools and colleges who had an enrollment decline, have already paid for it and if you compare this with the new budget model, what you are going to see is the schools that are already giving back to campus to support others (revenue generating schools), you would be hurting them the most. If you cut revenue generated units, their ability to generate revenue will be diminished. (R1) It is a flexible model though, it doesn’t need to be generated in any particular way. (Q1) But this would be double hitting schools and colleges that lost during the marginal tuition system since FY 2012 (R1) It doesn’t mean units spent within their means, these are actual payrolls these are not budgeted payrolls. We will have fuzziness around edges here. We need to look at what the big picture is though, we have to put a $20 million cut across somehow.

(Q2) How does this change behavior of the campus though? We have a big responsibility here, we need to keep people accountable going forward, that is the key to change. We need to find a new way to go forward. (R2) If we are tuition constrained though, this is how we are going to have to move forward. There is no cash that we can cut, we have to stop fooling ourselves the change is going to come from people.

(Q2) We are suggesting there might be other ways to go about this. This way doesn’t change our future.

Let’s look at the cuts in a different way.

Tan Model (No Accountability): In this model, there would be 11.2 % cuts across the board at every school, college and administrative unit. This would be a $26,682,326 cut.

The estimated numbers of cuts that already occurred is $6,970,300.

If we play that out we could get there through attrition perhaps, but we need to discuss how we are going to do this, and the tools to use, so we can help the schools and colleges make these difficult cuts.

There is a column for the committee to come up with ideas of their own using these numbers, if they have an idea that they would like to work out, they are able to try it there.

There was another note that these numbers of cuts are fairly large already, administration knows what’s going on already and they are doing what they can. But at some point, we all will get to level where we can’t function anymore.

The guiding principles were brought up to remind the group of where we started. The number one guiding principle is something that lies in schools and colleges. If we decide to do across the board cuts, this will be the first thing that is impacted. If you look at the comments from these meetings and the listening sessions, a lot of them focus on that we have too much higher administration here, we have much more than ever in our history. After a discussion with the Chancellor, part of reason behind that is when we try to hire people to come to the university, we have a difficult time doing so due to the salary aspect here on campus. I still think there are an awful lot of people across campus, waiting for something to take place in Chapman Hall first. Another member agreed with that statement, however, when we talk about the feeling on campus that higher administration needs to be cut, most people are referring to the Vice Chancellor positions, and not really referring to the clerical help or financial specialists. If those positions are cut, that work will have to move out of Chapman Hall and could create costs by having to move it. We need to understand that before we can make the call, we need to make sure Chapman Hall doesn’t lose their ability to function too. We need to figure out what constitutes administration positions. A lot of the positions support the educational mission, so it’s tricky to differentiate what are administration functions and what are administration support functions. We need to look at what we can function with and what we can function without.

A comment was made from the audience: A lot of people on campus are looking for the CCOET to have different conversations about which programs meet the vision and the different tenets and which ones do so successfully. It is not just about getting rid of personnel, but what programs can we identify to meet our vision and which ones do not. We need to come up with a greater vision, but we need to have that difficult conversation first.

The group mentioned the shared services model. If we look at the shared services initiative, the general view of it is there are substantial savings if we do this. There are also costs involved with upgrading our technologies. At this point it is agnostic in terms of schools and colleges.

It was brought up that there are a lot of expenses on campus that are unnecessary that we could get rid of to make the campus run more efficiently. We can’t just look at positions, we have to do things in a more conscious way than a simple 11% cut, etc. there are ways we can do this that don’t destroy people’s lives.

A few examples: Faculty don’t really need a phone, campus vehicles, and multiple post office boxes.

There was some concerned with the level of discussion, (Q3) this is where BPTF was assuming “silos” are correct and now let’s cuts within the “silos”. We can’t assume that our all of our units are operating in the way they should be operating. This also exempts the people who are making the decisions at the “silos”, higher administration. (A3) We won’t give that type a recommendation to the Chancellor, we are going to give him the amount to cut and then give recommendations for each of the cuts we recommend.

As a note, the spreadsheets that are being discussed are for perspective, there would be recommendations incorporated into those numbers. Payroll is payroll, we are not talking budgeted positions here.

(Q4) Has anyone done any modeling on what the effectiveness of future payroll looks like? Has anyone had any conversations with people who are looking for other jobs? What will attrition look like? (A4) This year’s number was $7 million, next year is looking like it would probably be higher but we just don’t know.

We can’t ignore the issues of other areas that need to be looked at. This group needs to think of ways we can stimulate others that know what is going on to deal with issue of effectiveness. One suggestion might be to have groups, like the UBRs, IT, purchasing staff, etc., answer questions like: what are the barriers to making our work more efficient and effective. We just keep talking about how awful this is, without coming up with an action plan. We should talk with the people who are closer to the issues and come up with some ideas with some kind of positive spin. If things are done efficiently, everyone’s time could be better spent. Even as a dean, I don’t know how to fix these things, these things are annoying and costs us money. I’d rather go and talk to the people who could fix it and see what the barriers are to doing things better. We could then convert those ideas into dollars to see if it is not possible that those changes would be able to save us money as well. For example, reducing the process of the shuffling of paperwork, that would make us more efficient. These conversations are important, they preserve our people and mission. As far as the workload topic goes, I don’t think we have an accountability based workload policy here. We may approach it, but I don’t think we have an accountability based review of centers either, a lot of this falls to the deans. We need to look at our processes and efficiencies as well. That all needs to be factored in first before bottom line numbers are factored in. Maybe if we raise the faculty workload, the administration workload should be increased as well.

L&S is working on a calculator that will help with the accountability workload policy and they will bring the information they find out to the group after they figure out their numbers. There are different ways of looking at the workload policies. EAB looks at everything, they take everything into factor, and the Texas model just looks at contribution to teaching and the education to students. Doing something like this across campus, we would probably be talking millions of dollars, or at least hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you think of it, if a professor was doing research and teaching, but stops doing research, they should pick up more teaching. That would save us from having to hire an adhoc lecturer and the cost that goes a long with that and we are being accountable. These tools help a lot of the problems across the board.

A point was brought up about smaller items that saves positions overtime. Even though CCOET is here to come up with larger scale strategic ideas, it is worth noting the smaller ideas yet like saving $200,000 by not renewing our EAB membership.

A concern was brought up by a member of the audience that part of the issue here is there is a broad general concern on campus that we need to make sure we do everything we can to minimize laying off people. We need to look at everything, can we get rid of something, disinvest ourselves from something, or sell something, before we get rid of personnel. It is not simply about large scale vs small scale. Are we willing to say everything is equivalent to our mission? This committee needs to do the moral work and the hard work and not just say let’s cut everything equally.

A response was given to the audience member by the primary team: We need to charge some of our other colleagues with some positive work. We are looking at this important data here, and we need to do that, but we are missing other data, we need to reach out to other groups of like personnel to respond to the barriers questions. This is a complex environment of ours and it requires more than just across the board thinking. We should begin to structure criteria around that. Unless we begin to deliberate about some factors we need to take into account when we prioritize where investments and disinvestments are made, we need to do this quickly.

Should we form subcommittees?

When talking to colleagues, morale is low, people want to see a vision, and serve students the best way we can. I am disheartened when I hear across the board cuts. Let’s make everyone’s job the best it can be. We need a vision to be inspired by. That way we don’t feel were being cut more and more. We need to look at our core priorities and then look at how we fit people under them. It still might mean personnel cuts, but it will be better because we are working towards a bigger goal. We need to look at what streams of income can we tap into, drive into the positive direction. When I look at organizational chart I imagine a lot of mergers, reorganization, etc. We need a range of choices on the spreadsheet.

There was a request for support team: What are things we might do? Do we adopt a flexible workload? What are the ballpark numbers on some of these choices? What are the real savings? If we go to 6 schools & colleges for example, what does that even save us, where are we in terms of savings?

There was one note made on selling our properties, it would be difficult and we are not guaranteed money because the state actually owns those buildings, so we don’t actually save money there, we would have to try to negotiate with the state.

(Q 5) How do you envision the reorganization discussion will proceed? (A 5) It will be rough, we will have to try different combinations of things, and say to what extent can you operate to get us to the 20 mil? If you break colleges up, it will be hard on students, it will create a lot more disruption for them. (Q 6) Speaking of which, why do we have different degree requirements for different degrees: BA, BS, etc., we have to look at that reasoning too. (A 6) The whole idea of how do you share credit hours across schools and colleges is something we will have to look into.

The support group has been assigned with a lot of number crunching but what should we do? We don’t know what the primary team should be doing and that is a waste of time.

(Q 7) A lot of people want more accountabilities. What are good policies that we should be putting forward? Even if they are only seeing $1-2 million dollars, we should be looking at them.

(A 7) A lot of this will depend on managers doing their job. We need to define the criteria to where we keep something as opposed to not keeping it.

The co-chairs ended the meeting and asked that going forward, to try to be thinking about a vision for this campus, what we want to have our campus look like and how do we set up policies and procedures to get us to that vision. It will give us definitive things to settle on.