Secretary of the University T. Turner reported that the Divisional Committee Chair requested a change to the policy for review of full professor cases. Not enough full professors are available who have served in the last five years as required under the current policy. The Secretary of the University’s Office is requesting a change to the policy so that any current full professor who has served on the Divisional Committee could be asked to review such cases.
Chancellor Mone reported on UWM hosting of Vice President Kamala Harris, a major PR triumph for UWM and the Presidential initiative supporting higher education and research. Daily meetings with Legislative leaders on the state budget continue. The proposed “Road Map for Higher Ed in WI” was discussed; it is unclear where the Senate report will go but Interim UW System President T. Thompson not a supporter of the proposed regionalization plan. The UWM fundraising team will soon announce several large gifts. Academic staff voting rights are still being discussed – implementation will be delayed until the possible ramifications have been reviewed by the Codification Committee re: the potential impact on accreditation requirements, review of personnel records, etc. Codification will consult with Schools & Colleges and will report to the UC; Faculty Document 33.30 will be revisited once this process has been completed.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported on the UW System Faculty Representatives meeting last Friday at which discussions included the distance education initiative and efforts by UW System to coordinate online instruction, which individual campuses continue to oppose. The composition of the Search Committee for System President is also a concern; this is likely to be announced in July and the search will be held over the course of the coming academic year. The results of the election of the next Board of Regents President will be announced in June. Also discussed were the “Road Map for Higher Education in WI” released by the Chair of the Wisconsin Senate’s Education Committee which recommends regionalizing the UW System apart from Madison and free speech on campus. Interviews for the two 2030 positions at UWM are proceeding; the campus will make a decision on those positions within the next week.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on the APBC meeting where 2030 updates were presented by Provost Britz and four notice of intent to plan programs were reviewed.
In New Business faculty nominees for Chief of Police Search and Screen were discussed. The composition of the committee is still unknown but there is no cap on the number of faculty names that can be put forward. Four names were suggested. N. Rothfels was elected UC Chair for 2021-2022. The summer meeting schedule was discussed; there will be two meetings a month in June and July. A replacement for Steve McMurtry on the FRRC was discussed and several candidates were suggested. The appointment of a new Chair of Rules was discussed and several candidates were suggested.
Provost Britz, Vice Chancellor Robin Van Harpen and Interim Police Chief Brian Switala will attend the May 18 UC meeting.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported on a faculty member who inadvertently missed the 30-day window for mandatory training while on sabbatical and as per UW System policy will not be eligible for a raise in the next cycle. This is organized and controlled by the UW System so there is no way for UWM to provide extensions. T. Danielson and the Provost’s Office was asked to include language in sabbatical approval documents to remind faculty that they need to watch their Inboxes and complete any mandatory training to avoid such issues going forward. R. Van Harpen and the Interim Chief of Police will be attending the next UC meeting by invitation to discuss ongoing issues regarding the campus climate. K. Dolan attended the Academic Staff meeting at which the Chancellor discussed voting rights for academic staff in departments, part of a campus-wide conversation related to ongoing initiatives including TTC, 2030 implementation etc. N. Rothfels commented that there is probably no omnibus solution to the problem of how to ensure fair representation while maintaining qualitative distinctions between faculty and academic staff positions. R. Van Harpen requested the names of potential nominees for candidates to serve on the search committee for the new Chief of Police, ideally by June 1. S. Schmitt submitted revised policies on changing modalities for courses during the fall 2021 semester for UC review. The new UC Chair election will be on the agenda for the next meeting.
Provost Britz reported on 2030 realignment during the summer; the goal is for the plan to be completed by November 2021, with full implementation by fall 2022. Discussions about course modality and student demand for online courses are continuing as undergraduates appear to be registering for online courses in larger numbers than for f2f courses; this will pose a challenge to transitioning to a normal fall semester. The Board of Regents will meet at UWM in June; protocols for the in-person event are still being worked out. N. Rothfels raised the question of the potential impact on UWM of plans to make community college free. D. Clark and K. Eilers requested input on fall enrollments re: new students, which are better than this time last year but still not as high as had been hoped based on application numbers. The campus is behind in undergrad re-enrollments and there is more of a demand for online instruction than expected; what the patterns may mean is still unclear. CARES funding will be used to update some campus classrooms with lecture capture technology that would make it possible for courses to shift to a hybrid delivery mode in fall if necessary.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported that the Honors College Advisory committee met; overall numbers are down slightly; 104 students will graduate this year; admissions for next fall are slightly behind last year. The major problem is providing enough courses for students to take, which will become more of a challenge as faculty numbers decline and departments struggle to teach required courses.
Chancellor Mone will attend the May 11 meeting.
ASC Chair K. Esguerra reported on the voting rights for academic staff issue that was raised at the last Faculty Senate meeting and acknowledged the complexity involved especially as regards to the process of bringing such changes forward for approval. Compensation and the TTC process were discussed regarding the impact on academic staff to progress within a salary range. The ASC is currently gathering information to provide recommendations to HR. The goal is to establish a process by which pay progression would be built into the annual review process. Incoming ASC Chair Nicole Oswald will attend meetings with outgoing ASC Chair Esguerra over the summer. Mike Priem was elected ASC Vice Chair for 2021-2022. ASC has received questions about the position specific furlough implementation in 2021-2022.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported on the Expanded Cabinet meeting at which new vaccination protocols were presented. Vaccinated faculty and students who are physically on campus no longer need to be tested following an agreement with the Milwaukee County Health Department. Campus will continue testing unvaccinated faculty, academic staff and students taking f2f classes through the summer. This protocol will continue in the fall. The results of the University Staff survey regarding returning f2f and the overall campus climate in the COVID context will be presented soon. A national search has been initiated for a new Chief of Campus Police.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported that the APBC met to discuss 2030 implementation plan, accreditation and P&P. J. Reisel reported that the Policy Advisory Committee voted to send several modified SAPs on for approval by Schools & Colleges. D. Misra reported that the PEC met and discussed the move of the Police Department from Sandburg to Morris and reported on the Space Optimization Project.
In Old Business the UC continued to discuss the College Voting Rights issue, especially the question of whether Chapter 2.023 of P&P will need to be changed for such requests to be considered in the future and if so, how.
Provost Britz will attend the May 4 meeting.
Communications Department Chair M. Allen consulted with the UC about the move of the Journalism and Advertising program into the Communications Department. T. Turner will do some research on a range of options Allen presented regarding what sort of structures are allowable under current governance rules in Policies and Procedures and will report back to him.
Acting Dean of the College of Health Sciences J. Doll visited to seek approval for the continuation of W. Keith’s term as external chair of the Biomedical Science Department. Keith has been serving as chair during the 2020-2021 AY. UC members had no objections.
Provost Britz reported on his upcoming meeting with campus deans to plan for the Fall 2021 semester; the meeting will focus on potential issues raised by planning to bring faculty and staff back to campus. He also said that HR will work on policies to guide units whose employees may want to continue to telecommute.
In Members’ Reports D. Misra reported that the University Relations Committee met and heard from T. Luljak as he prepares to leave his position at the University. I. Hu reported that the Graduate Faculty Committee met and approved a policy to allow visiting scholars to serve on MA and PhD committees. They also supported a plan to request an increase in TA/RA/PA stipends.
Under New Business UC members engaged in a conversation about the issues that were raised about voting rights for academic staff at the April 15 Faculty Senate meeting. The Senate voted on a request by the School of Education to grant college-level voting rights to six academic staff members. Several members of the UC raised concerns about how the requests were handled and questioned whether there should be a more formal process by which such decisions are made. Some raised concerns about the criteria by which academic staff would be evaluated while others raised concerns about whether personnel issues like this should be considered in an open forum like a Faculty Senate meeting. T. Turner pointed out the existence of state statutes, Higher Learning Commission requirements, and current Policies and Procedures language around these issues and suggested that further research be carried out to ensure such decisions are made in an appropriate way in future. UC members recommended the development of a process by which such requests are handled and plan to work on drafting such a policy in coming weeks. Since the Codification Committee is the governance committee with jurisdiction over Policies and Procedures, UC members will likely consult with the current chair of that committee.
Chancellor Mone reported on the ongoing negotiations between campus and the Milwaukee Health Department on the testing requirement for students living or working on campus who have been vaccinated. Cybersecurity continues to be a major problem and ransomware is a particular threat, making compliance important. Budget talks in Madison continue; Chancellor Mone has been meeting with members of the Legislature on a regular basis to discuss employee compensation, the Fresh Water initiative, the expansion of the Promise program as well as other issues. Republican legislators have suggested that the funding of DEI initiatives should be tied to addressing what they view as inequities in the representation of conservative perspectives on UW campuses. The 2030 implementation plan continues to advance; PDs for the positions announced at the recent Townhall meeting will be shared with governance groups.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported on the Instructional and Research Academic Staff Review Committee at which two cases were recommended for indefinite status. T. Turner reported on recent informational training sessions for individuals up for promotion and tenure. N. Rothfels reported that the Affirmative Action and Faculty Employment Committee met last week and continued to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campus.
In the ongoing UC review of governance committees K. Dolan reported on responses by chairs of a small subset of committees contacted about actions to be taken regarding possible governance committee restructuring.
Provost Britz will attend the April 20, 2021 UC meeting.
Provost Britz and Associate Vice Chancellor D. Venugopalan consulted the UC about anticipated School and College realignment in the 2030 implementation plan that could require changes to P&P 2.01 and 4.01. The discussion focused on whether to maintain the distinction between Colleges and Schools, neither of which is explicitly defined in P&P. The suggestion was to make changes to the organizational structure before making adjustments to P&P. Provost Britz reported that the ongoing attempts by UW System to coordinate online programs through UW Extension has been challenged by UWM as well as UW Oshkosh, Superior and Stout. The campuses sent a joint letter to the BOR, which meets Friday to discuss this issue, requesting that it not be voted on until all affected campuses have had a chance to make their objections heard. UWM workload policy revisions are another issue currently being discussed; existing policies are not well designed, implemented or fair and don’t reflect actual effort as currently defined. Teaching load is not the only metric that should be used but there needs to be a way to apply the policy in an equitable way across an increasingly diverse campus. N. Rothfels suggested that the formula used by departments such as Physics could be used as a model for how to assess contributions in areas apart from teaching load.
There were no Chairperson’s or Members’ Reports.
Chancellor Mone will attend the April 13 meeting.
Special Guests A. Braun and members of the Athletics Committee Faculty requested UC feedback on an investigation into the value of athletics at UWM that began in fall 2020. The subgroup involved seeks input on how to communicate more effectively what the UWM athletics programs contribute to the campus community. A.N. Talsma, K. Hartmann, N. Pease and J. Reisel were also present representing the Athletics Board. UC members expressed concern that the difficulties of integrating students who don’t live in the dorms into athletic events has always been a challenge and changing the culture to make non-athletes more actively involved in athletics through attending events is difficult. A presentation to the Faculty Senate might be helpful but wouldn’t necessarily address the goal of increasing student or alumni involvement. The small number of student athletes relative to the total student body was discussed in terms of the resources allocated to athletics.
Special Guest D. Clark requested UC feedback on an initiative regarding changes to the uniform syllabus policy specific to online courses. Concerns about the absence of baseline expectations for the use of the Learning Management System (currently Canvas) emerged following the student satisfaction survey carried out in fall 2020. A template could be developed by CETL to provide a more uniform and predictable course structure in the LMS. The goal is to create a more consistent student experience. The UC responded that to avoid the appearance of infringement on the ability of faculty to make decisions about how to structure their courses, campus-wide recommendations for LMS best practices might be more effective than trying to pass and enforce a new uniform syllabus policy.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported that FAGC, FRRC and UC members met to discuss changes in how and when deans are informed about tenure and promotion decisions. She reported on a meeting with Chancellor Mone on March 18 to discuss issues related to the ongoing UC review of governance committees. Also discussed was the UW System initiative to centralize distance education programs to allow the System to compete with existing online universities that have been siphoning off online learners in Wisconsin. There are 815,000 adults in WI with some college credit but no degree who could complete their degrees in Wisconsin online. About 300,000 could pursue a full four-year degree but other options were mentioned (badges, micro-credentials etc.). Campus administrators across the System are concerned about the ramifications of this effort and are working to ensure it is thoroughly reviewed before it goes to the Regents for approval.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported that the Policy Advisory Committee met and approved revisions to the “Bringing children into the workplace” policy. N. Rothfels reported that Research and Teaching Professor title discussions have been bi-weekly; the Research Professor title is likely to be rare since it relies to a large extent on external sources of funding for salaries. The Search & Screen Committee to replace the Secretary of the University is beginning to interview candidates.
Provost Britz will attend the April 6 meeting.
Provost Britz reported that six and four-year graduation rates are up, credits to degree are down and the percentage of students completing their required credits is also up. Retention is up to 74.3% so all indicators are currently positive. N. Rothfels suggested that we should compare these numbers to data from peer institutions to determine the extent to which the positive changes are due to our efforts vs. national trends. There will be monthly updates on these numbers. COVID-19 vaccinations on campus now include community members who are eligible; Wisconsin is generally doing very well. Kudos to the Nursing School and other units who have done an amazing job with the on-campus vaccination effort. There will be a 2030 meeting on March 17 to finalize the committee responsible for GER curriculum changes and curricular alignment plans. P&P will need to be adjusted to allow existing Schools to become part of Colleges; the Codification Committee will pass all such P&P changes on for approval by the Faculty Senate, ideally before the end of this semester but more likely in Fall 2021. Current efforts to centralize online instruction under the aegis of UW System are still being discussed because of the potential for a loss of autonomy over programs developed by individual campuses.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported on the most recent Space Optimization Project meeting; data are still being collected from units to assess efficient utilization of space.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on the APBC meeting at which the UW System review of low-performing programs was discussed. I. Hu reported on the GFC meeting at which increasing stipends for GTAs and RAs to make them more competitive was discussed. N. Rothfels reported on the Affirmative Action and Engagement Committee. J. Reisel reported on the UWM Faculty Mentoring Program, where allowing service to be given greater weight in promotion criteria was discussed. This would require agreement on the part of individual departments as well as divisions. A conversation along these lines needs to happen even if it will be difficult in some programs.
The UC continued its review of Governance Committees. J. Reisel suggested creating an Administrative Oversight Committee that could replace what are now several disparate committees none of which are currently engaged in active work. The response was that this is what the UC does now but on an ad hoc basis. Perhaps the UC could take on this role on a more regular basis. The Senate could also be used as a sounding board for some of the information updates currently being delivered in committees without an active role, freeing up faculty to serve on working committees.
The UC will not meet on March 23 during Spring Break.
Chancellor Mone reported that curricular changes are on hold in some programs in anticipation of the 2030 implementation plan. Campus also is waiting to see how the budget battle in Madison plays out; it is unlikely that UWM will receive the funding included in Evers’ original budget. Cybersecurity continues to be a concern and is the focus of the Administrative Transformation Project, an effort that is being led by Madison but is likely to impact UW System as a whole. This is part of a trend toward increasing centralization of administration by the UW System whose long-term impact on the autonomy of individual campuses is still unclear. Additional support for Bridge Programs (pre-college programs) for UW System campuses, part of an effort to recruit high school students, is being actively pursued.
The UC continued its discussion of Governance Committee Review. Options include 1) merging/aligning jurisdictions of committees where this is feasible and desirable 2) dissolution of committees that self-identify as no longer serving an effective purpose 3) strengthening committee function/effectiveness 4) or some combination of the above. Suggestions for changes could come before the Senate to be finalized by May 2021 but would not become operative until 2022/2023.
Provost Britz will attend the March 16 meeting.
Provost Britz reported that vaccinations have begun on campus and a registration system will be made available for faculty, academic staff and others on campus who are eligible to receive a vaccine. The goal is to vaccinate all faculty and academic staff by the end of the semester depending on the number of vaccines received through Aurora. Vaccinations will be offered to eligible community members when the vaccine allowance makes that possible. Campus is close to finalizing fees for the fall semester. Priorities based on the 2030 plan are being determined by Academic Affairs. The potentially permanent impact of tenure-clock extensions on faculty will need to be considered going forward.
In New Business Codification Committee representative N. Fleisher discussed the pending review by the CC of P&P Chapter 6, which defines various kinds of committees (standing, administrative, search & screen, student etc.). UC Chair K. Dolan will attend the meeting of the CC this week to present the ongoing UC review of committee roles and responsibilities.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported on her meeting with Chancellor Mone. She will chair the internal search committee established to replace outgoing Secretary of the University T. Turner. The goal is to have someone in place by mid-April.
In Members’ Reports D. Misra reported that the Space Planning Committee met and discussed a request from SARUP to have a room returned to their use that had been utilized by another unit temporarily.
In Old Business the UC discussed Committee Chair responses to the request for input sent by UC Chair K. Dolan as part of the UC review of governance committees. These responses will be reviewed by the UC and discussed at the next meeting.
Chancellor Mone will attend the March 9 meeting.