K. Dolan reported that the first full UW System Faculty Reps meeting is this Friday. COVID numbers continue to increase in all communities in Wisconsin with UW campuses. UW System President Thompson has indicated that the two-week pause is the main option available to Chancellors at this point; no campus will be able to shut down without System approval. Representatives of the four 2030 Working Groups (Undergraduate Experience, Radically Welcoming Environment, Reorganization of Program Array, Retaining R1 Status) will be meeting Wednesday. A Washington County faculty member raised an equity issue regarding the difference between the Kenwood and UWM branch campuses in terms of their COVID testing plans for students. Branch campuses don’t have dorms or health centers on their campuses and their segregated fees don’t support health services, so branch campus students have no access to testing. Leadership is trying to work out ways to expand the antigen testing to students not living in dorms, which could include the branch campuses. There is no concrete plan at the moment but it is on the radar.
Provost Britz reported that the number of testing centers in areas where branch campuses are located is limited (Waukesha and Washington County). He will check into whether students from the branch campuses could access Norris services or not if they are symptomatic. There is no final determination regarding spring break at UWM but at the moment the spring schedule is assumed to remain as originally planned. The 2030 Working Group co-leads will meet for the first time Wednesday. Final implementation plans of all four groups should be completed by January. New student numbers are down 16% but applications for incoming freshmen for next year are up 20% compared to last year at this time. There has been a huge drop in international students; most have deferred (especially from India); when the virus situation improves this should normalize. Four-year graduation rate has gone up slightly. Budget discussions with all units are continuing; the 7.5% cut to our budget from the state appears to be a lapse rather than a permanent cut to base. Suspensions of graduate student admissions have been announced at various campuses across the US; this is a potential budget tool but at the moment there are no plans to do this at UWM. UWM and Milwaukee police are monitoring activity off campus that is in violation of COVID regulations. The approach police are using is educational rather than punitive and focuses on engaging students in conversations to ensure their safety and that of the people in the neighborhoods in which they live.
Members’ Reports: I. Hu reported on the GFC creation of a diversity and inclusion working group, which will include students. Emergency procedures were also discussed related to grading and other policies. The GFC has approved individual program specific admission requirements; these will be updated through spring 2021. J. Snethen reported on the APBC meeting, which mainly consisted of a review of the budget cuts. N. Rothfels reported on the R1 Research Working Group, which has a completed draft report that will go out to committee at end of the week. D. Misra reported that the University Relations Committee discussed the COVID dashboard and communication regarding the virus situation; the next meeting will cover new initiatives. IT is the only unit on campus that currently is growing and needs more space.
Due to the Senate/Faculty Meeting scheduled for this Thursday next Tuesday’s UC meeting may be canceled.
K. Dolan reported that the December commencement will be virtual; feedback from participants in the virtual spring commencement will be used to improve the December event.
Chancellor Mone reported that the enrollment decline of 5% overall is better than expected; returning student numbers are up 1.5% but there are fewer transfers and freshmen than last year. Possible reasons for this include more gap years due to COVID, demographic trends, and students choosing other schools for reasons that are being explored.
Aggregate COVID numbers at UWM are at about 20, including faculty, staff and student cases; we are doing about as well as can be expected considering the conditions and compared to other schools in the UW system and across the country. SAC President Emmy May has been a great ambassador for responsible behavior. Antigen testing is now ramping up, which will increase the number of tests that can be administered to asymptomatic students; up to now PCR tests have been administered only to symptomatic students. The number of cases will inevitably increase as antigen tests are applied systematically to all students. Riverview is the designated quarantine/isolation facility for students who test positive and cannot return home. A $23-53 million shortfall is predicted by the end of the year. More cuts are inevitable.
In Members’ Reports D. Misra reported that the Nominations Committee met Tuesday September 1 to finalize the meeting schedule, which will be the same as last year.
Provost Britz will attend the September 15 meeting.
Provost Britz reported on plans to hold monthly meeting with SAC and other student organization representatives. Student evaluations are a priority, as is encouraging faculty to use Canvas rather than other platforms for instruction. 2030+ implementation group members are being finalized; final recommendations will be due by December. Enrollments are down 5% overall, freshmen enrollments are down 15%, which was expected but isn’t good news. The Provost’s Office is analyzing data re: high schools that have reduced the number of students they sent to UWM this year. International enrollments have contributed to the downturn due to the inability of incoming students to get visas. Nine metrics will be used in evaluating COVID dashboard data; a UWM dashboard should be up by the first day of classes. On the budget front the state numbers are better than expected; the cut of 7.5% may be a temporary lapse and not a permanent cut to the base. The Fresh Water initiative will certainly receive additional support but it is not clear how much of this will come to UWM.
K. Dolan reported on the Faculty Representatives’ meeting with System President Thompson. A UWM System COVID dashboard will be posted on September 8 that will aggregate System-wide data to monitor the regional impact of the virus. The next Crisis Management Team meeting will probably deal with some of the issues identified at the meeting, including criticisms from Faculty Representatives whose institutions have insufficiently robust testing protocols (with the exception of Madison). Some Faculty Representatives have been told that they may not notify students in a class in which a student has tested positive, suggesting that campuses are not following a uniform approach to reporting cases to faculty and students. System President Thompson announced that Chancellors will not have the ability to close campuses unilaterally but will have to work with System.
Kathleen Koch of the Graduate School’s Office of Research invited K. Dolan as UC Chair to an upcoming meeting of the Associate Deans as part of the Research Policy Committee’s attempts to make the UC aware of faculty recruitment and retention issues across the UWM campuses. Dolan will gather data from the Provost’s Office before the meeting in November. Only nine new faculty were hired this year but more than 40 either retired or left the University, for a disturbingly large net loss. Dolan will report back to the UC on the actual numbers at a future meeting.
N. Rothfels and B. Arnold reported on the Research Working Group, which will be submitting a draft of its recommendations to the Provost next week.
The Chancellor will attend the UC meeting on September 8.
K. Dolan welcomed new members Nigel Rothfels, Ivy Hu and Dev Misra.
The meeting schedule with the Chancellor and the Provost is being finalized.
K. Dolan reported on the Scenario Planning Committee meeting, which has shifted to planning for spring 2021, projected to be very similar to fall, with about 25% f2f classes but otherwise online or hybrid. L&S Dean Gronert is working with the staff responsible for building the course schedule to change start and end times to allow for a 30 minute transition period between classes; this will change the way the schedule appears for spring.
K. Dolan reported on the Deans’ Meeting, at which Provost Britz asked all Deans to forward to him the number of layoffs necessary in their school or college to address the budget cuts that have been announced for the year. More details regarding layoffs will be announced in the next month and notices are likely to go out later this fall.
K. Dolan reported on the Expanded Cabinet, which met for first time this academic year. Under discussion was the plenary address by Chancellor Mone, which was scheduled earlier than last year to allow him to talk about the reopening of campus this fall, the budget crisis, the 2030 recommendations and the inclusion initiatives on which campus is working. Also discussed was the policy for informing faculty/students when someone in a course has tested positive for COVID-19. Students will be told if someone in the class has tested positive but without personal information being released; faculty and academic staff members will need to work with the student(s) as who are in quarantine/isolation. Dave Clark and Kay Eislers reported that enrollments are down 4.5% across all three campuses and all student groups (returning/new). Kelly Haag reported that 300 students have been moved into dorms, the rest will be in by Sunday, for a total of 1700 in dorms and another group in Kenilworth Square, for a total of 1900 (below 50% occupancy). Testing in Norris Health Center will focus on dorms and symptomatic students using the three machines that have been allocated to each campus by System. Faculty will not be tested on campus.
K. Dolan reported that at the Crisis Management Team meeting Chief LeMire indicated that only 85% of plexiglass has been installed because of a material shortage but he expects it all to be in place by the first day of classes. K. Dolan requested that the Chancellor ask the Provost to carry out an analysis of the ranks of teaching staff who are physically in classrooms to determine whether there is a correlation between rank and f2f instruction. Documents outlining procedures to follow if faculty and instructors feel the classroom environment has become unsafe once the semester is underway will be provided soon. A committee member asked a question about employees without state health insurance and whether they might need to be able to access testing on campus and K. Dolan agreed to look into this issue.
J. Reisel reported that the PAC approved the COVID policy and changes to the Policy on Policies.
UC representatives on standing committees for the coming academic year were assigned as follows: Affirmative Action in Faculty Employment Committee/Rothfels; APBC/Snethen; GFC/Hu; Policy Advisory Committee/Reisel.
K. Dolan reported on the changes to Title IX campus policies that are being put into place by the Trump administration. The new guidelines go into effect Friday; the UW System has created a series of emergency rules working with individual campuses that will go into effect on that date until campus policies can be changed permanently depending on the outcome of the November elections. The Expanded Cabinet update reported that total undergraduate enrollments are down 5% over last year, mainly new student registrations. There are currently 2100 contracts for students in dorms but the final numbers have not been confirmed. The limited number of students in dorms will make it possible for social distancing to be maintained. Robin Van Harpen reported on a new interim SAP for fall re: masking, social distancing, training and attestation for students, faculty and staff. Normally such interim policies would become permanent after 120 days but in this case the deadline could be extended for an additional 120 days if governance groups agree. The Provost has announced that WinterIm 2021 will be online to the greatest extent possible. Measures to be taken if COVID cases appear on campus are still being discussed.
Chancellor Mone reported on fall re-opening plans; 25% of f2f classes are confirmed at this point. There is a commitment from UW System re: funding for testing of students in residence halls but the details are still being worked out and numerous questions remain. The Provost and Chancellor continue to work on ways to implement the Thinktank 2030 recommendations; the focus will be on maintaining research excellence while reorganizing programs. Four groups will be designated to work on revising the undergraduate experience with an emphasis on developing core competencies that make us different from other schools, making UWM more inclusive, and program array restructuring, which includes not replacing administrators and faculty who have left or retired. Implementation actions will be put in place by January 2021. Sports in the Big Ten remain a major issue being discussed at all levels; cancellation is likely for the fall and spring still unclear. The Horizon League will be canceling all fall sports but questions re: student training, staffing etc. remain. Basketball is a problem because it straddles both semesters; a compressed season is likely in spring. The goal is to avoid exposing young athletes to the post-COVID complications that can accompany infection. In response to a committee member’s question about on-campus testing the Chancellor confirmed that at the moment every campus gets three antigen machines irrespective of student numbers or other considerations; this is just one of the issues being discussed with System. UW System campus leadership is still determining the procedures to be followed if a student in a class is confirmed positive; the goal is to ensure that all UW System campuses have a comparable response.
There were no Members’ Reports.
The UC recognized the contributions of outgoing member Mark Schwartz.
Provost Britz and ASC Chair Leigh Wallace and Vice Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the August 25 meeting.
K. Dolan reported that based on Robin Van Harpen’s discussion of budget issues the UW System contribution to the $250 million cut requested by the state will be about $69 million. K. Dolan also reported on new federal regulations re: Title IX cases adjudicated on college campuses; the new rules will go into effect on August 14 so UW System has released information regarding how this process will be implemented. Faculty representatives and other governance groups will work with the Secretary of the University’s office on how to change P&P to bring existing regulations in line with the new requirements. K. Dolan followed up on a request for information regarding the race and gender data provided to Robin van Harpen by the UWM Police Department. A detailed response is forthcoming.
K. Dolan reported on the Expanded Cabinet meeting: total undergraduate enrollment is down 5% from last year at this time, including first time and returning students; the decline is greater among new students but returning student enrollment is better than expected. The actual numbers of students on campus will be finalized by mid-August. Robin Van Harpen reported a new COVID-related SAP will be going into effect that will include information about the campus mask mandate, social distancing requirements, education and training as well as the daily monitoring protocol for faculty, staff and students. These emergency procedures could become permanent going forward. The virtual May commencement will go live on August 16th.
Provost Britz reported that freshman enrollment is 5-7% down but returning students are up by 2%; graduate student enrollments also slightly up. It is still not clear how many students will be in campus housing in the fall or what the impact will be on revenue from parking, meal plans etc. A meeting with Department chairs is planned to discuss enrollments and returning students; syllabi should be posted and Canvas course sites and gradebooks established as soon as possible to provide students with a sense of how the fall semester will unfold. The Research plan for re-opening offices and labs seems to be on track. A meeting with deans and shared governance groups on August 4 will focus on forward planning re: incoming international students and other issues. Individual programs must have some on-site classes for international students to get visas so communication with incoming students is important. The report of the 2030 Thinktank working group includes recommendations for reductions in the number of schools and colleges as well as changes in program configurations; workload changes are also likely. Spring semester planning is likely to be similar to fall with mainly online and some f2f courses.
Outgoing ASC Chair Leigh Wallace reported on concerns among academic staff that they are the most likely to be affected by coming layoffs and other austerity measures. There have been several inquiries about extensions for indefinite status applications. Current ASC Vice Chair and incoming Chair Kyla Esguerra will be taking over from Leigh Wallace and was welcomed by the UC. She reported that the Title IX updates will also impact academic staff and the ASC is working with campus Legal on language for the changing requirements.
There were no members’ committee reports.
Chancellor Mone will attend the August 11th UC meeting.
K. Dolan reported on a UW System call between governance representatives and Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson last week; the main topic of discussion was recent media reports on fall strategies to deal with re-opening, testing and other policies. Wisconsin has joined the suit filed by 17 states vs the Trump administration’s ICE directive on international students, which has since been rescinded. Thompson has asked the state for $10 million for PPE for the UW System. The new CARES Act that is currently in progress may include $12 billion for higher education; $50-60 million could be available for the UW System for COVID- related expenses. The cut to the UW System from the state will be about 10%.
K. Dolan reported on the Deans’ meeting on July 10, which focused on how to keep international students connected to f2f classes and options available to departments to make this possible. L&S Dean Scott Gronert’s update on campus mapping indicated that about 65% of courses will be online and 35% will be f2f or hybrid for fall.
K. Dolan reported on the Crisis Management Team meeting on July 13, where the discussion of the implementation of the UW System-wide mask policy emphasized education and supplies; enforcement will be handled by the Dean of Student’s office rather than the UWM Police. Policies for quarantine and isolation as well as classes in which a student tests positive are being developed. Building re-opening plans are ongoing and schedules are being developed. Signage templates are being created that can be customized and printed by individual units to ensure consistency across campus. Classroom modifications are in progress and should be completed by the third week of August. Tom Luljak reported that since March the highest rate of students opening emails is still only 60% so additional strategies for ensuring that students receive critical information are being explored. The next Town Hall Meeting has been scheduled for July 29.
K. Dolan reported that all 17 committee vacancies for fall 2020 have been filled using the lists developed last year.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Chancellor Mone attended and discussed five items: 1) the state joining the lawsuit to oppose the ICE policy on international students, which would require hybrid courses to be at least 20% f2f ; 2) a campus-wide message on racial justice at UWM that will be posted on July 16 describing the action plan to be launched in August, which will include mini-grants, mandatory training for faculty and staff starting this fall, including campus police, and initiatives regarding staffing and hiring to increase campus diversity; 3) the current budget shortfall, which is more challenging than previous ones because the campus has no option but to respond reactively. The Think Tank 2030 recommendations will provide guidance on priorities regarding structural changes to reduce bureaucracy and establish a core set of classes for all undergraduates. When asked about the possibility of receiving borrowing/bonding authority from the state, Chancellor Mone reported that Interim UW System President Tommy Thompson had indicated that the current political climate is not conducive to such a measure and that borrowing could make us more vulnerable in the future; 4) UWM has submitted a petition to Milwaukee Mayor Barrett requesting an exemption from the current policy regarding f2f instruction to ensure that campus will be allowed to open for f2f instruction in the fall; 5) Chancellor Mone officially acknowledged K. Dolan’s leadership and contributions this past semester under very trying circumstances, which the UC unanimously approved.
UWM Police Chief LeMire attended the meeting by invitation to discuss the recent protests and UWM’s policies on policing issues. He discussed coordination with local law enforcement and provided clarification on the function of the two jail cells on campus, stressing that they had not been used for protesters and that their maximum duration of use is about 1.5 hours during processing. Coordination with local law enforcement as well as other units on campus is part of the system of information sharing instituted after the Virginia Tech shooting. The SMART (Suburban Mutual Aid Response Team) cooperative agreement makes it possible for all participating groups to have access to adequate resources as needed. A UWM use of force policy statement is pending, as is the organization of a UWM advisory council that could include students. When asked about racial and gender profiling on campus, Chief LeMire reported that records are being kept and shared with administration when requested; they are mainly used internally as part of sensitivity and diversity training and maintaining a culture of self-awareness. The Chief stressed that providing a safe environment on campus for students, faculty and staff is directly linked to the existence of a UWM-specific police department; abolishing the campus police would not necessarily lead to a reduction in police activity but would change its nature and could impact the safety of students and faculty in unanticipated ways. The number of police officers on campus was reduced after 2010 due to Act 10.
Provost Britz and Academic Staff Council Outgoing and Incoming Chairs Leigh Wallace and Kyla Esquerra will attend the July 28th meeting.
K. Dolan reported that the Town Hall meeting Q&A has been posted online; additional Town Hall meetings will be scheduled for several groups in the future.
K. Dolan reported on the June 30 Budget Meeting. The working estimates suggest a $25-55 million shortfall depending on the size of the state cut, final enrollment numbers and the number of students returning to campus in fall. The campus is using the $35 million estimate as the most likely projection in its budget plan, with $3 million coming from the state through CARES to offset PPE etc. costs, $7 million from balance reserves and $25 million from expense reductions. Another round of position-specific furloughs is projected for fall/spring 2020/2021. The model for FY 2021/22 and moving forward will include permanent reductions, including programmatic changes, consolidations, layoffs, etc. There is no plan at this point to increase the number of intermittent furlough days but individual units will be required to institute additional cuts. Units have already had to cut 5% but a 7% cut in addition will mean a total of 12% for all units; this is likely to be a permanent base cut going forward. No borrowing authority will be approved by the Legislature. UG enrollments are down 9% from last year but because registration is spread across the summer a real comparison is not possible yet. The number of returning students is down 1% but those students are registering for fewer credits.
There were no members reports.
The UC officially acknowledged the contributions of Stephen Meyer III, past UC member and Professor Emeritus of History at UW-Milwaukee, who passed away on June 22, 2020.
K. Dolan reported on the Deans’ Meeting at which net operating losses of $15-20 million were projected for FY 2020; in 2021 projected operating losses of $25-45 million are predicted; units will be expected to engage in reductions based on these projections. No travel will be sanctioned unless external funds are used. Units will be able to keep savings from furloughs. More information regarding position specific furloughs will be coming for fall. Campus reserves would be exhausted in 68 days, so at most $10 million of reserves could be used to offset shortfalls. Enrollment Services reported that entering student numbers are down 6.6% compared to the same time last year but final numbers could change. The continuing student yield is also still unclear, but students seem to be registering for fewer credits compared to last year. The actual reduction numbers for individual units, including permanent cuts, will be announced in mid-July.
Provost Britz attended the meeting and confirmed that realignment of programs and administrative organization will be necessary due to the cuts requested by System.
The creation of a UWM Competition Review Committee was discussed. Other campuses already have such a committee so this would bring UWM into line with the rest of the UW System. The UC was asked to suggest the names of faculty and staff to be appointed to this committee to comply with UW Board of Regents Policy RPD12-1.
The UC summer schedule will begin as of next week. The Chancellor has been invited to attend the July 14 meeting.
K. Dolan attended a session during the interview process for J. Johnsen for UW System President. The session included faculty and other governance representatives from across the system as well as other individuals in leadership positions. Questions were asked about shared governance, diversity and other concerns. It was not apparent how feedback would be provided to the Board of Regents, which met in closed session on the evening of June 9.
K. Dolan spoke with Corey Saffold, the newly appointed student regent. She will also speak with the education reporter for the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel about the System President selection process.
K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Working Group presented its final report detailing recommendation for the fall. June 15 is still the deadline for announcing the fall schedule. The general consensus is that campus will be as open as possible depending on the conditions and safety precautions in place at the time the final decision is made.
K. Dolan had a discussion with Dean M. Gajdardziska-Josifovska concerning the opening of research laboratories, in particular the deadline of July 31 for the opening of facilities. K. Dolan will speak with the Dean and Provost about these concerns.
K. Dolan reported on a meeting of System representatives with UW System President Ray Cross to discuss ways in which the System can support campuses.
B. Arnold and N. Rothfels reported on the activities of the R1 Working Group. There were no other Members’ Reports.
Dean S. Gronert sent a letter to Letters & Science Chairs and Directors about the approval of website postings in relation to the ongoing protests. The UC will continue to monitor this process.
A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously to approve the letter sent to the Board of Regents by K. Dolan regarding the UW System President search. K. Dolan will present this letter to the Faculty Senate in September.
The Provost will attend next week’s meeting.