Provist Britz reported that implementation of 2030 recommendations will begin soon with visits to schools, colleges and departments to explain priorities and actions and implications for the future. Campus is waiting to hear whether funding from the Federal government may be available for the Moonshot for Equity initiative. Budgets for administrative units and schools & colleges will be finalized on Friday. The outlook is somewhat better than anticipated but this will vary depending on the unit. There has been no update on the implementation of the 2% payplan scheduled to begin January 1, 2021 so the assumption is that it will be happening as anticipated. It is unclear at this time whether more furloughs will be necessary but that would be preferable to layoffs. Applications are up but so are admits; the latter is more significant because of the absence of application fees this round. Reenrollment numbers for Spring 2021 are up about 1.3% compared to this time last year. It is anticipated that more people will be taking advantage of the VSIP than in the last round but the numbers have not been determined yet. The Board of Regents meeting next week overlaps with next week’s Senate meeting so the Provost and Chancellor may not be on the Senate agenda. About 400-500 students are on campus currently for f2f instruction for the rest of the semester. On-campus rapid COVID testing as a community resource has been received very positively by community members. Holding spring break as planned includes the possibility that testing requirements might make it difficult to maintain the current schedule for the break. A contingency plan for the second half of spring semester might be necessary if an unfunded mandate for student testing is imposed on UWM by the UW System President. It is currently unclear whether the CDC will continue to support the rapid COVID testing program that ends on December 18 but the possibility is being explored.
K. Dolan reported that based on a conversation with R. Beck as of November 30, 2020, 98% of students have signed up for Multi-factor Authentication.
T. Turner led a discussion of standing committee service and the possibility of reducing the number of committees based on documented activity. Reviewing the way service on certain types of committees is currently classified is warranted given the challenges posed by filling open positions on standing committees as faculty numbers continue to shrink. Temporarily shelving some committees rather than disbanding them entirely would require changes to Chapter 6 in Policies & Procedures and would have to be approved by the Senate. The UC is the appropriate body to initiate the process of identifying committees that could be temporarily shelved and will take on this task in the coming months.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Chancellor Mone will attend the December 8 meeting.
K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Work Group met Friday to discuss Spring semester 2021. The main concern was the spread of COVID in Wisconsin and whether campus will be open to f2f instruction. Kelly Haag reported that the Emergency Operations Team has been informed by the CDC that cases in Wisconsin are on a trajectory suggesting they might double between now and when the semester begins in January. Spring 2021 therefore might be the reverse of last spring, when we were open until March and then moved online. The UW System testing requirements post-Thanksgiving have resulted in a reduction of f2f courses on campus; only six UWM courses are currently scheduled to be f2f after the holiday. The Expanded Cabinet met Monday and discussed a new Anti-Racist Training module for the campus that has been custom-built by members of the group led by Joan Prince, Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion and Engagement. Administrators will be the first to test the module. Invitations have gone out to members of the Police Advisory Committee and the first meeting will be held in December.
Kyla Esquerra, ASC Chair, reported that an e-mail will be sent out monthly to all academic staff to update members on the delay in the shift to a bi-weekly pay structure and to remind members about COVID testing availability. ASC members will also be informed about the ongoing discussions surrounding Teaching Professor titles and the existence of a Technology Readiness Committee that has spun off the Scenario Planning Group. A new academic staff survey will be sent out by Jim Kavanagh to identify technology needs on the part of non-teaching as well as teaching academic staff. The general meeting of the ASC several weeks ago was attended by 238 ASC members. The VSIP went out to 103 academic staff members but it is unclear how many will be applying or approved.
Mark Schwartz and Jack O’Meara reported on the status of MORFS. The membership drive in spring was disrupted by the pandemic; the plan going forward is to continue to make appeals via e-mail and attempt to meet with Departments to recruit additional members.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported that APBC met and discussed distribution of funds to schools and colleges vs. central administration.
Provost Britz will attend the December 1 meeting.
K. Dolan reported on a discussion with Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Tim Danielson about the UW System audit of procedures for criminal background checks for faculty and staff who come into contact with minors on campus. Annual reports of campus procedures are planned going forward.
Provost Britz reported that implementation of the UW System directive for testing procedures after Thanksgiving are still being worked out for UWM classes that will have to continue f2f after the holiday. Students will need to be tested twice upon their return, which likely means that no f2f classes will be possible the first week after Thanksgiving. Classes in programs in which f2f courses are a requirement, such as Health Sciences, Nursing, Engineering or Architecture, would likely not resume f2f until December 7 and would then continue f2f following existing testing procedures through the end of the semester. The memo that will be sent to administrators and students in affected programs as well as students working on campus is still being drafted.
Freshwater Collaborative discussions with the state continue while funding approval remains unconfirmed.
In the discussion about the criteria used to determine VSIP eligibility the Provost indicated that the initial selection was made by the Deans of individual schools and colleges, some of whom, including L&S and the Peck School, offered the VSIP to all eligible faculty and academic staff. In other cases only a subset of those eligible based on age and years of employment were offered the VSIP. The final decisions will be made by the Deans in consultation with Department Chairs; this round will take place in December and some faculty or academic staff who indicated that they would be interested in taking the VSIP could be refused for strategic reasons.
In Members’ Reports I. Hu reported that the GFC approved an academic leave of absence for graduate students and discussed shifting the responsibility for deciding whether Visiting Professors can advise MS and PhD students to Departmental Executive Committees.
J. Reisel reported that the Competition Review Committee met and elected a Chair; new business will be on the docket for next month.
N. Rothfels reported that the TTC subcommittee charged with defining Non-faculty Professor titles has met and will be reviewing titling resolutions passed in Madison.
In New Business there was a request for EC augmentation from Urban Planning.
ASC Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the next meeting and there will be an update about MORFS.
K. Dolan reported on the VSIP, which was offered to 215 faculty and 40 instructional academic staff. Fewer than half of those people are eligible for full retirement, which will likely reduce the actual number of people taking advantage of the VSIP. There will be limited hiring moving forward; this also applies to counteroffers. Departments, colleges and programs are encouraged to think about succession planning and its impact on majors, minors and certificates.
Chancellor Mone reported that he will not be able to attend the Senate meeting this Thursday. He provided a report on the new surge testing, which has already administered more than 200 tests. These tests will supplement but not replace PCR tests being administered by Norris Health Center. So far residential student test rates remain around 2-3%; employee test rates are less than 2%. The challenge is the non-residential students, where the rate is closer to 5-7%. In Kenosha the Health Department has mandated that all educational organizations go online after Thanksgiving. Governor Evers will be giving a state-of-the-state talk this evening that will address the state’s approach to this; any decisions made by Milwaukee County will also have an impact. The concern is that COVID rates will go up if students leave for Thanksgiving and then return. So far UWM is still dedicated to coming back after Thanksgiving but this might be overridden later this week. The Think Tank 2030 update focused on the framework of realistic expectations for what can be completed by the January 31 deadline, which will include a timeline for tasks to be completed through next fall. The Chancellor is continuing to work with the Board of Regents and UW System President Tommy Thompson as well as community and business leaders to discuss budget allocations and funding challenges going forward. Specific requests will be made for additional increases that will be presented later this month. J. Reisel asked how changes that will need governance action will be handled given the aggressive timeline in the event there is resistance to implementation. Flagging changes that will require governance and building the time in for consultation and discussion will need to be part of the charge for the 2030 working groups/implementation teams.
In Members’ Reports D. Misra reported that the University Relations Committee met and details of the UWM My First Choice initiative will be discussed at the Senate meeting on Thursday.
Provost Britz will attend the next meeting.
K. Dolan reported on the Deans’ meeting with the Provost during which the results of the Student and Faculty Surveys were discussed. At the meeting to discuss student recruitment the focus was on changes that could be made to speed up the admissions process in order to be more competitive in the local market, including streamlining certification of WI residence, accepting unofficial high school transcripts, etc. Transfer degree MOUs with MATC will allow anyone with an Associate’s Degree from MATC to transfer directly into a UWM major without needing to take additional GERs. The launch of the Chancellor’s Merit Scholarship was discussed; students with a 3.4 or higher GPA who apply would be eligible for a tiered merit award based on their GPA. The award would provide a maximum of four years of funding at $500 to $1500 per year.
The Faculty Representatives met with UW System President Tommy Thompson in Madison last Friday. The transition to a standardized bi-weekly pay plan for all UW System employees, which was interrupted by COVID, is moving forward again. The biweekly pay plan (every other Thursday) is scheduled to begin February 1, 2021, bringing the UW System in line with other state employees.
Also discussed was the new federal “surge” testing protocol for COVID to be administered in partnership with the U.S. and Wisconsin Departments of Health and Human Services. All UW System students and employees will be provided with access to rapid tests; this includes all the satellite campuses and community members in immediate proximity to campus. The CDC will be sending 250 employees to administer the BinaxNow rapid tests, which provide results in 15 minutes. Rollout will be on November 10 and will continue for six weeks. The rapid tests will not be replacing antigen and PCR testing already being carried out.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Chancellor Mone will attend the November 10 meeting.
K. Dolan reported that the Expanded Cabinet meeting discussed data and cyber-security on campus following a presentation by Vice Provost for Research Mark Harris. The federal government has identified universities as potential security risks and the task force was created to bring UWM into compliance with new regulations. Work on these issues was delayed after the pandemic began but is now starting up again. The issues discussed were related to security of data during travel, permanent appointments at other institutions, intellectual property rights etc. Some of this could be addressed through the existing OAR forms, which could be expanded to include additional information about a broader range of potential conflicts of interest. The results of student and instructional staff survey were also discussed and the Provost’s Office will be meeting with Deans and Associated Deans to discuss the results and present possible strategies for dealing with problems raised. K. Dolan and K. Esguerra will be taking part in that meeting. Dissemination of the data will be moving outward from the administration. The unanticipated costs of the pandemic are becoming an issue and questions have been raised about possibly using S&E to offset some of the out-of-pocket expenses incurred by faculty and staff. N. Rothfels commented that the impact on non-lab or studio research has also not been addressed adequately and should be discussed. At the Chancellors/Provosts meeting with UW System President Thompson it became clear that Thompson and BOR President Drew Peterson were unaware that some schools are going fully online after Thanksgiving while some are not, UWM included and expressed surprise when informed that campuses are not planning to go virtual after spring break in 2021. It is unclear whether there a System-wide policy will be instituted.
The nominations for the Police Advisory Commission were discussed; four of the faculty invited to be nominated agreed to be considered and the names were submitted to Robin Van Harpen, who will visit the Faculty Senate meeting in November to talk about the composition, evolution and charge of the commission. The commission is not a faculty governance committee that is derived from and reports to the Senate so proper policy was followed in the way potential members were identified by the UC, which, as the EC of the Faculty Senate, has the authority to nominate possible candidates for administrative committees as per Chapter 6.246 in P&P.
N. Rothfels suggested that the recent announcement of multiple factor authentication required of students is also problematic – the potential problems have not been presented and should be. Why was it necessary to do this in the middle of the semester? Guidance must be provided to faculty regarding how to deal with students that cannot access course materials or are having technical issues. How will students get fobs if they do not have smart phones? Students should be able to apply for a waiver without having to jump through too many hoops, especially if they are graduating in December.
ASC Chair K. Esguerra reported that the ASC was asked for three names to be submitted to the Provost and Chancellor for the Campus Police Advisory Commission. Also discussed was the increased costs due to the pandemic of maintaining a home office that are not reimbursed by the University (increased internet speed, printer purchases, Zoom accounts). Jamie Cimpl-Wiemer from EDS was invited to the last ASC meeting to discuss the impact on underrepresented staff of furloughs and layoffs. This year’s analysis of data on this subject will be shared with the group.
In Members’ Reports: the Policy Advisory Committee reviewed Firearms & Criminal Background check updates (Reisel) and the APBC appointed a member to the Physical Environment Committee (Snethen). Tim Danielsen sent out an e-mail about the new working group examining title changes for Academic Staff – N. Rothfelsl will represent the UC in discussions of potential issues associated with the proposed changes. K. Dolan suggested additional faculty might be good to add to committee since it these changes will eventually go through faculty approval.
K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Group has met and spring break will not be canceled next semester to avoid further disruption of the academic calendar. The survey administered by D. Clark and K. Eilers about student’s impressions of the fall semester so far had a 10% response rate so results are limited in terms of their usefulness. Most of the responses focused on issues students are finding challenging in the exclusively online world, including Canvas use by instructors. Food insecurity and general economic stresses are likely to play a major role in decisions about re-enrolling for spring. C. Vang reported on the survey of instructors, which had a 30% response rate – the main theme was the considerably increased workload and how much harder and more complex it is to teach in the online environment. The stress and dissatisfaction in both the faculty/academic staff and student populations are not unexpected. N. Rothfels asked whether there might be an official response to the faculty/academic staff stress levels communicated in the survey results. K. Dolan responded that the Scenario Planning Group is not really the appropriate venue for this discussion but workload issues will need to be addressed at some stage. K. Dolan also reported that the 2030 Group is working to identify areas of overlap with ongoing initiatives on campus in order to avoid duplication of effort.
Provost Britz reported that there will be a UW System Chancellors and Provosts retreat this coming Friday; he will represent UWM virtually while Chancellor Mone begins treatment. UW System President Thompson plans to unveil his vision of the Wisconsin Idea in 2020 and beyond at the retreat. The Provost’s office is still digging into the data on the downturn in freshman numbers this fall; multiple meetings have been scheduled with recruiters to set an agenda for a meeting next Thursday at which all the UWM staff and administrators involved will work through the issues associated with admissions and enrollments. This remains one of the highest priorities for the Provost’s Office, which is also working on bringing deferred international students to campus as soon as national policies allow. The Schools of Health, Business and Computer Sciences have all seen increases in international student applications and admissions. Sabbatical requests and tenure review cases are being processed on the usual timeline.
In Members Reports J. Snethen reported on the APBC Divisional Budget meeting for Academic Affairs; I. Hu reported that in addition to TOEFL a Pearson test may be administered/used by CIE for admission; and J. Reisel reported that the Senate Subcommittee on the Evaluation of Administrators met but because no administrators are up for evaluation this year the Subcommittee’s P&P document was updated and some of the language was adjusted.
Academic Staff Senate Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the October 27 meeting.
K. Dolan reported on the 2030 Work Group: Each of four groups has been broken down into subgroups to work on specific tasks with the goal of submitting the report by the end of January. In the interim reports to Faculty Senate are planned; upcoming Townhall Meetings will also provide updates.
Chancellor Mone reported on the BOR meeting at which budget advocacy was a major focus of the ongoing conversations with UW System President Thompson. Support for the Freshwater Collaborative is one promising area; UWM will play a lead role in grad and undergraduate program development. UWM’s per student funding needs to be adjusted to reflect our dual research and access missions, which are currently not adequately supported by the state. This is even more relevant now following the merger with the comprehensive colleges. Chancellor Mone has been advocating for state support to reduce financial burden on students especially at the beginning of their education, reporting on a community-based meeting to discuss the Moonshot for Equity initiative that is aimed at reducing or eliminating the achievement gap. UWM is partnering with the EAB, which will provide dedicated staff and support for this effort. UW-Parkside, MATC, Carthage, and UWM are the four schools in the region involved in this initiative. Chancellor Mone will be bringing these ideas to a Chancellor’s Retreat next weekend. Strategic cost consolidation opportunities are likely to be considered that would focus on individual campus strengths to avoid duplication of programs across the System. The COVID situation continues to be monitored; testing of students is now expanding beyond the residence halls, which is reflected in an increased positive test rate but still well below that of other institutions in the System. N. Rothfels requested clarification on what is happening with the Innovation Campus. Chancellor Mone reported that the sale of 25 acres of the 81 acres UWM purchased is still in the process of being approved; other portions being leased; prime lots remains reserved. He will follow up on the implications for the future of the Monarch Trail future, a UWM CES initiative and will include information in the upcoming Townhall Meeting. K. Dolan requested clarification on possible overlap between the Moonshot for Equity initiative and work already underway by the 2030 Implementation committees; she suggested that a point person for this EAB initiative should be included in the 2030 group meetings. Chancellor Mone will follow up on this suggestion.
Under New Business Provost Britz had directed the UC to review and provide feedback on a document laying out the guidelines for moving spring courses from f2f or hybrid to online. Shifting modalities in mid-semester will be handled more systematically in spring based on experiences this fall. The guidelines for doing this were submitted for discussion. The UC concluded that the consensus was that there is a fine line between giving people a choice over the modality and wanting some critical mass of F2F and hybrid courses to emerge from this process. At the same time, there were some concerns about the document in its current form. Primarily, these concerns centered around the fact that the guidelines discuss circumstances in which faculty should not switch to online, but when they can/should do so is not mentioned. If having one case or isolated cases over the semester isn’t enough justification, what is? Guidance on when faculty can justifiably shift modes would be helpful – is more than one case simultaneously sufficient or a certain percentage of the class? Another concern was the absence of guidance to faculty on who they should consult about a situation in their class – their department chair, their dean, or some other level of administration? Who would have the “authority” to give faculty advice on what situations do justify a switch? Should a process for what people should do if they do need/want to make a switch be laid out? Finally, the point was made that some faculty moved online this semester for pedagogical reasons – they had tried F2F or hybrid and found it really wanting from a teaching perspective and made the switch on that basis. Health concerns aren’t the only thing motivating faculty behavior around modality. It was clear why choosing a modality and sticking with it was important but members felt that there should be more guidance/information on what process would be in place if change is warranted.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported that APBC budget meetings with schools and colleges have been completed and department meetings are beginning.
J. Reisel reported that the Athletic Board met. The SSEA will meet to discuss their procedures.
N. Rothfels reported that the 2030 Research Group has met but the Affirmative Action Committee has not met yet.
K. Dolan reported that CARES funding must be spent by December; campus is waiting to hear from the UW System about funding for Spring. Spring break may not be scheduled for 50% of the UW campuses but UWM is still waiting to decide what to do about spring break; it is likely that the break will remain as currently scheduled.
The VSIP was announced on October 1 and those who are eligible will be contacted by Deans; decisions will be made by the end of the calendar year. Deans are counting on significant savings from this initiative but it is unclear whether the 9% budget cut that units are facing can be dealt with solely through retirements. The Scenario Planning Work Group meeting discussed the surveys being sent to faculty and students regarding their satisfaction with the campus experience so far this fall. Courses for Spring 2021 will be between 80-85% online, which represents a shift toward virtual instruction compared to fall. Some students living in the dorms are requesting releases from their year-long contracts for spring because their courses are all or mostly online. Faculty have also discovered that hybrid instruction is suboptimal except when essential for accreditation and courses that do not need to be f2f will go online in spring.
Provost Britz provided an update in the CMAC group, which has been investigating possible reasons for the 16% drop in freshman enrollments this fall; UWM is ramping up its recruiting efforts at high schools across the state. The plan is to monitor admits and applications on a weekly basis. Currently applications for spring and fall 2021 are up 20% but it is important to make sure that we do not lose any of those students between admission and enrollment. UWM recruiters are reaching out to high schools directly. Graduate student numbers are up, which includes deferred international students but this will also require monitoring. 2030 Group implementation meetings continue with Schools & Colleges. Reductions in GER courses will be linked to the budget model; that discussion continues. A decision is immanent on whether more intermittent or position specific furloughs will be necessary; the VSIP initiative may be successful in covering the coming round of cuts. Enrollments will also make a difference to strategic hiring to replace some of the positions that may be lost in this round of VSIPs. The Board of Regents will meet this Thursday and UWM, Madison and La Crosse will present on their COVID planning strategies outcomes.
Associate Vice Chancellor Venugopalan reported on the Teaching and Research Professor title change being implemented at UW Madison. A discussion of whether UWM will follow suit ensued, including what steps would be needed for implementing such a change in titles. Approval would be needed from the Academic Staff Senate as well as the Faculty Senate. The creation of a working group that would report back to the Faculty and Academic Staff Senates by the end of this academic year was suggested. If approved the changes could be implemented by next year. Madison has already done most of the legwork on developing language and policies for this initiative so the process should not be as onerous as it might be otherwise. Tim Danielsen has met with the Academic Staff Senate which will provide the names of potential representatives to serve on the working group. The UC was asked to provide a list of faculty who could serve on this working group; N. Rothfels declared his willingness to serve but additional faculty members would be needed. Concern was articulated about this move being the first step toward creating an untenured adjunct category with heavy teaching loads and lower pay, further undermining what remains of tenure. Suggestions for members of the working group focused on units with external funding where the Research Professor category would be most relevant, such as Fresh Water and Physics. English and Math are likely to have the largest number of Senior Lecturers with indefinite status who could be candidates for the Teaching Professor title and faculty from those departments should be encouraged to join the working group.
In Members’ Reports, I. Hu reported that the Rules Committee has been trying to find a way to incorporate the discussion of how the major changes and program reorganization will be presented at the next Senate meeting. The Student Association resolution on Black Lives Matter will also be brought forward.
D. Misra reported that the Space Committee approved a request from Research Staff to be moved from their current downtown location to the main campus, possibly to a space in the Health Sciences complex. Campus IT is expanding their fiber optic network and will need more space on the main campus, possibly in the basement of Enderis or Merrill.
Chancellor Mone will attend the next meeting.
K. Dolan reported on the meeting of the Scenario Planning Work Group last Friday to discuss plans for spring 2021. Antigen testing of the 1900 students in the dorms is being increased weekly; testing of asymptomatic off-campus students is also planned. The 700 individuals officially teaching f2f may not all be doing so. It is unclear how many teaching personnel have switched from f2f or hybrid to online. These data are important because of their potential impact on international students. J. Reisel noted that in hybrid courses students are increasingly choosing to move entirely online, which is an option open to them. Some courses will move fully online because no students are willing to meet on campus f2f. This has an impact on spring planning because of its impact on spring schedule planning, which is currently expected to resemble the fall semester with respect to the mix of online and f2f/hybrid courses. Data have been requested about how many students currently in the dorms are actually taking f2f classes. L&S Dean S. Gronert has been asked for information about the rank and status breakdown of instructors teaching f2f in order to ensure that f2f instruction is not being mainly delivered by academic staff or graduate students; that information is pending.
K. Dolan reported that the nine 2030 Implementation Team co-leads have met to work out logistics and are reaching out to members; regular meetings will begin next week. The final report anticipated by end of January rather than end of December. Major changes are likely based on the expectations communicated by campus leadership. Faculty governance in spring should anticipate changes.
K. Esguerra was welcomed to the UC as the current Chair of the ASC. She reported that academic staff requests for extensions on indefinite status filing are being granted through at least February 15, 2021. The ASC has continued to discuss the Title and Total Compensation process. Implementation of use of the term “Professor” for certain academic staff positions continues to be debated. The “Clinical Professor” academic staff title is already in use in some areas of campus but not others, for example. Whether such titles might be extended to other areas of campus has been part of this discussion. K. Dolan reported that at a Faculty Representatives meeting a range of opinion were expressed across the 13 campuses about whether this would be supported or not; such a change would dovetail with other suggestions for changes in faculty titles (teaching vs research faculty titles as described in the R1 Working Group and 2030 Reports). Tim Danielson may come to the UC to discuss this. Projected layoffs are also a concern but these have not come to ASC to date; a Priority Referral Program is in place to help staff who are laid off find new positions. Another issue is related to the impact of position specific furloughs, which are not being implemented equitably in different units. ASC has requested clarification from HR about the numbers. There were some errors in payroll due to the position specific furloughs that have hopefully been resolved by now. The ASC has received confirmation from Provost that funding for professional development will be available again but there has been a reduction in the amount available.
Provost Britz will attend the UC meeting on October 6, 2020.