CCOET Support Team Meeting Notes, Nov. 4, 2015

November 4, 2015,
3-5 p.m., Regents Room

Meeting was introduced.

The position control recommendation from last week was discussed. There was some concern because people don’t want to be giving a rationale for every TA and ad-hoc we hire as this will become burdensome and time-consuming. We need to revise what needs constraint. Anyone who is hired for longer than 1 year is the rationale for this motion. We can’t wait until February to take all actions, if there is action we can take now, we should. Our campus wants to see some action. We will discuss this and then send it back to the primary group for their November 11 meeting. (Suggestion 1) Do we want to talk about positions funded by segregated fees? (Response 1) The students pay for these positions, they should be filled. However, segregated fee jobs should still be included in this recommendation and the justification of the hire will be because it is student fee funded, but it’s just for communication.

(Suggestion 2) Are we making this as a recommendation and to whom and when is the effective date? (Response 2) This will go back to primary team and the formal motion will come from them. The minute the approval comes from the committee, the Chancellor will take it into consideration. The primary team will take care of an effective date. (Suggestion 3) In the second paragraph, do we want to leave any room for an exceptional case for extraordinary circumstance? (Response 3) No, this is just for 2 years. (Suggestion 4) Are we willing to live up to that absolute certainty? (Response 4) I am comfortable with that harder language. The positions will still be filled, it will just be internal.

The motion was voted on that the support team will pass the motion on to the primary team with the language that is currently on it.

1 opposition

Motion carries

The motion reads:

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 with a contract period that extends beyond one year that become vacant through resignation, retirement 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 the CCOET website with a rationale explaining the reasons for the exception.

Some documents (posted to CCOET website: FY12 + FY15 salary, CCOET Admin Units) were discussed:

What this shows, is the evolution of expenditures excluding internal transfers, interest payments, and depreciation and capital. It shows the primary instruction, research and public service according to Redbook. What you see is from 2008-2010 things are under control, then the overall spending broke away from enrollment projections and spiked up, then peaked in FY 2013 and slowly descended. A fraction of this is due to the new schools like Public Health and Freshwater Sciences according to Redbook. On the 3rd page, this compares IPEDS data, a projection for 2015 based on Redbook salaries, there is a significant gap in public services that opened up between Redbook level in FY 2015 and actually which in IPEDS; this is the operational deficit. We used to have cash, now we have a cash deficit.

Spending increased everywhere, not just in the support activities, it was in instruction and campus wide. The budget at UWM is very complicated, we can’t just look at Redbook. A vast majority of funds are in salaries. Faculty numbers have gone down, 27.2 FTE, academic staff increased 87.8 FTE, and full time classified staff stayed the same. LTE’s (at all locations) had an increase of 27 FTE, about half occurred in Student Affairs for all of these. This is the context in which we are operating on. We have had an increase on the academic side as well as support side on this campus.

It is difficult to look at this data because of internal transfers that are constantly going on around campus. This is a giant horrendous puzzle and by aggregating it, we can ask how things actually changed. We need to frame the debate in terms of how things have changed over the years. We have seen increases in administration as well as on the academic side that were not supported by enrollment.

The goal of this committee to set a framework for incentives that puts control on the budget as far as budgetary concerns but maybe we shouldn’t go in and make the decisions. (Suggestion 5) When we are brainstorming ideas of cuts and combining schools and colleges, do we have approximate cost of all those ideas? (Response 5) We will go ahead and work out the numbers, we already worked up one combination, and it’s a complicated process, trying to figure out what’s included and excluded and what it actually means. We are not sure if you can really put an exact number on this. This might have to be something that is done more by administration than by any committee. Without having something concrete to work on, something to focus on, it creates a problem. What would it mean on a unit by unit basis? What would it mean to go through a process like this?

A tentative motion was brought up by the co-chairs. As a reminder, it was noted that this was just for discussion purposes:

Motion #1: All Schools and Colleges excluding SFS and ZSPH shall have their unit budgets adjusted to FY2012 pay plan/full time equivalent enrollment (PP/FTE) controlled levels (2% increase FY15 versus FY12 assuming flat enrollment). ZSPH and SFS shall have their budget reduced by the overall campus wide FY2012 to FY2015 PP/FTE controlled level (5% reduction). All other administrative and support units shall have their budgets adjusted to FY 12 campus-wide PP/FTE controlled levels, adjusting for inter-unit transfers over the FY 2012-2015 period. Campus-wide Fall 2018 target for salaries is $225 million.

Motion #2: Intra-unit groups of Department scale and larger are free to move their proportional FY12 PP/FTE controlled budgets to another unit, providing a compelling rationale consistent with UWM’s stated mission exists (as determined by the sponsors).

(Suggestion 6) I wonder if by picking a year that we think the budget was better, does it undermine the idea of this committee. We don’t want to have to keep doing things the way we used to even though we were in the black before. (Response 6) I don’t believe we can really say something like this, we can offer incentives, but this is something that has to come out organically. One way to do this is overcut and then allow incentives back in. We need to figure out if we can build a framework that will allow the institution to move forward with incentives. The purpose of the support team is to come up with the framework and the primary team is to discuss it. These motions are just a means to get the conversation going. L&S has their own reduction process going on right now and they are factoring in these meetings. Being able to have extra funds that you can reinvest is a big part of efficiency argument. Once we get through this, then space will be open up for schools to reinvest. We just need to start somewhere.

(Suggestion 7) We are not at a level where we would vote on this motion today. We will need to see the data first. (Response 7) We will discuss this at our next meeting. For clarification purposes, this data is all salary data, not Redbook data.

The discussion then moved on to UWM’s mission statement and it was discussed that there was some fear that the regents want to make UWM a comprehensive college. After some discussion, it was noted that UWM cannot place ourselves on hold, but we need to have a plan in place now as far as the budget is concerned and that we are being asked to make our case about our mission statement that reflects a research university in order for President Cross to fight for us. Everyone’s weight is behind the idea that UWM is a research university.

The distinguished professors then began their discussion.

They discussed how it is paramount that the preservation, sustenance, and elevation of UWM’s academic core be the central goal of the budget and related strategic planning. It was also brought up that there is a lot of uneasy feelings because people on campus do not know what is going on.

The distinguished professors reported that many programs will go under if they don’t get better support from the TA’s on campus. The most important way to affirm and hold on to the research mission is to increase graduate TA stipends. If we don’t do that soon, we won’t have good graduate students to serve as TA’s, and then the classes won’t be as good. We also won’t hold on to faculty because they won’t be able to afford good students. As well as if we move to a 3-2 teaching load, we don’t think we could attract new faculty to come and do research. We want to keep UWM as a research university. The distinction between UW Milwaukee and UW Whitewater is research. That is one reason why people choose to come here.

The comprehensive vs research university is an old battle we fought it for 30 years. We had 17 years of being forbidden to develop our Ph.D. programs. There were various times that the System has previously tried to change/remove our research status. Recently, we have had 2 new schools added to our university, which affirms our research mission. To us, this needs to be the first thing out of our mouths every single time. When you make the recommendations, whatever measures are taken in terms of budget cuts, we have to keep the mission.

A response to the distinguished professors: The co-chairs of CCOET created guiding principles to help us as we approached our discussions. Our guiding principles mention the mission a few times in order that we make sure to preserve it. We use the guiding principles as important reminders as to what we need to do here. The support team is here to gather information and to try to pull things together to share with the primary team. The primary team then takes the discussion further. In our efforts to gather as much information and ideas as possible, while being transparent, we might have created some panic. Really, the 3-2 teaching load suggestion was more of a starting point than an actually suggestion. Because you are right, a 3-2 teaching load will erase the research mission.

The discussion was brought back to the suggested motions. Motion number 2 is much less thought through. We should really focus on motion number 1, we can discuss what we should figure out to present to the primary team. We should redo the numbers to reflect this motion. The overall framework of this motion is to come up with relatively simple sets of rules.

(Suggestion 8) Given the timeline, I worry that broad suggestions may help us, but how would people actually implement it? (Response 8) We would put everything on a list along with its value, and then see what people’s responses are. The chancellor needs some information to make decisions and some strategies to do it. (Continue of Suggestion 8) We need to see how we can implement this. (Continue of Response 8) This would be given to the unit where they know what they are doing best and then the units have to decide. It forces the decision at the grassroots level. (Continue of Suggestion 8) If we decide on suggesting to combine schools and colleges, and then colleges decided not to do this, or they won’t do it, then it would be like the CCOET didn’t do anything. (Suggestion 9) This is the same process we have been doing, it is not strategic, and it’s not across the board. (Response 9) Growing units will not get hit as hard as non-growing units.

(Suggestion 10) We need to encourage people to give up something tangible. This university is very inefficient, there is a lot of room for improvement. This is a great opportunity to do so and we shouldn’t blow it. I don’t think we should keep the 14 schools and colleges, no school this size has 14 schools. We are very inefficient here, but no one wants to cut anything.

The co-chairs announced that they are looking for more motions like one we are putting through next week about internal hires. The list of potential areas from the last meeting was discussed.

(Suggestion 11) We are very curious about how you arrived at these numbers relating to combining schools and colleges. (Response 11) We went through department profiles and flagged all of the units with less than 1,000 credit hours in revenue, and then looked at expenditures and revenues for those lines items and flagged them and added them all up. Those are targets for cuts, if that’s the route we want to go.

(Suggestion 12) If we are going the route of combining schools and colleges, we need to provide opportunities/incentives to the deans, otherwise it might not happen. Is there a way to not just look at dollars, but the way dollars come? (Response 12) Yes, but we think that is what contributes to difficulty of this. We are not just going across the board, but we have to be thoughtful about what we are doing and what are we going to consider.

(Suggestion 14) Are we considering what brings students in to UWM? What keeps students here? If I am a student looking for where I would like to go to school on the internet, if the only thing I can see is information about budget cuts and what not, it really detracts students. Are we bringing enrollment up to meet expenditures or bring expenditures up to meeting enrollment? Part of it seems like it is a marketing problem. We need to sell UWM better to bring enrollment up especially while all of this is going on.

The co-chairs asked for thoughts on how to proceed going forward:

It was brought up that it’s a good idea to give a menu of options.

Members wanted the data on motion 1 so that they can investigate as well as continue the running list and investigate the costs there.

There was a quick mention about properties, some exploration was done and it was discovered that the Plankinton building costs $250,000 and that campus covers utilities, so maybe $350,000/year which isn’t that great of savings. Also, if we sold another property, it would take around 3-5 years to clear conveyance and there may be donor issues. The alumni house is a fixer upper so we wouldn’t save much money there. There is really no savior on the properties side of things, so that will probably be off the table.

The meeting was dismissed and the co-chairs reminded everyone to attend the Monday campus budget meeting from 1:15pm – 2:15pm.