November 23, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported that:  1) DEI VC candidate interviews have now concluded; 2) A faculty member has been selected to serve on the AVC for Human Resources search committee; 3) The new campus police chief will be announced in early December; and 4) Communication was received from the Arts & Humanities Divisional committee regarding the roles/interactions of departmental and divisional criteria for tenure and promotion, which prompted additional general discussion and clarification.

ASC Chair N. Oswald provided the following updates:  1) 20-25 volunteers have been solicited to serve on TTC appeals committees; 2) TTC discussions and concerns continue; 3) Some instructors have reported inconsistent communications about positive COVID test notices related to students in their classes; and 4) Concerns are emerging about potential academic staff representation issues emerging from the planned campus School/College realignment.

Registrar K. Hildebrandt and Provost J. Britz visited the UC to discuss the recently announced proposed new standardized scheduling policy. The impetus for the change is related to providing flexibility for students to be better able to easily schedule needed classes. Input from campus on this issue will continue to be gathered.

AVC D. Venugopalan joined the meeting to discuss the consideration of proposed changes to GER requirements. This process will be a difficult and much more deliberation is needed before any plan can be ready for consideration/approval by the Faculty Senate.

Lastly, member E. Bornstein reported that the AAFEC met and discussed Search & Screen procedures, as well as how the committee can get “connected” into the new targeted hiring process being developed by campus administration, especially regarding identifying target areas.

November 16, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported that:  1) The UC ex officio member on the Graduate Faculty Committee has now been removed; 2) VC R. VanHarpen has reported that a new FAQ on ventilation has been developed and will be shared with the UC and Profs. J. Jordan and J. Berkowitz; 3) The possibility of requiring 2X per week testing of unvaccinated faculty/staff has been raised. After brief discussion the UC recommends continuing to follow MHD/CDC guidance; 4) VC for DEI interviews are underway; 5) UC has been approached by Wisconsin Public Radio about vaccine mandates; 6) The UC will meet with the 3 CGS faculty senators to discuss the CGS faculty experience at our Dec. 7th meeting; 7) ASC has been discussing pay progression procedures developed in relation to TTC (20% of staff assessed each year). The UC noted there is no equivalent process for faculty and should discuss further, including reconsidering previous proposals developed in that area; 8) AVC D. Venugopalan will be invited to join the UC for a discussion of the revised GER plan at the Nov. 23rd meeting; and 9) Discussions continue with the Chancellor about the need to provide compensation for campus governance service.

Provost J. Britz provided the following updates:  1) A new diversity hiring document for campus is nearly ready—it needs to fit into the context of needed strategic faculty recruitment; 2) The 2030 document is being shared with faculty senators; 3) The “ask” for more GPR funding to UWM from the BOR is crucial to visions of a successful future; and 4) Masking and vaccination mandate issues continue to be contentious, but UWM’s mask mandate is expected to be extended.

VC R. VanHarpen has asked for faculty nominees to serve on the search committee for the soon-to-be-vacant AVC for Human Resources position. A list was developed and Rothfels will first contact individuals and then provide names back to the VC.

Lastly, member J. Snethen reported that the APC has sent a revision of SAAP 1-11 for consideration to the Faculty Senate, removing the unused “F+” grade, and member D. Misra reported that the APBC meet for 2 ½ hours this past week which included approving a NOI from the Business School. Additionally, College/School realignment discussions continue to move forward, and campus unit FY23 budget details are expected to be shared in early December.

November 9, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported that:  1) The UW-System-wide Caregiving and COVID Task Force submitted a report about issues for caregivers in relation to COVID, which has now received a formal response from campus administration. Local members of the task force will join the UC meeting on 11-30 for further discussion of their concerns; 2) Campus administration has requested a faculty nominee to serve on the VC for University Relations Search Committee. UC will recommend the chair or some other member of the University Relations committee for this position; and 3) The Office of Legal Affairs requested a faculty member nominee to serve on the campus Compliance Officer Search Committee. After brief discussion the UC did not deem a faculty presence was necessary on this search committee. Additionally, the “Free Speech” bill currently being considered by the State Legislature was discussed and it was agreed that Rothfels will work on a UC statement in response, drawing in part from earlier UW-System communications in connection to similar past proposed legislation.

Chancellor M. Mone provided the following updates:  1) The BOR is discussing the need for more funding commensurate with UWM’s joint research/access missions. While this is encouraging, the possibility of finding new funding is still uncertain; 2) A substantial commitment by campus administration to hiring diverse faculty will be coming soon; 3) The status of the federal COVID vaccine mandate and its impact on UW-System is still uncertain. Currently, 83% of UWM faculty and staff are vaccinated; 4) Finalists for UW-System President are expected to be announced in January 2022, with the possibility of an appointed by February; and 5) Mone will continue consideration of concerns raised by the UC about financial support of campus governance.

Associate VCs D. Venugopalan and T. Danielson, as well as VP M. Harris joined the meeting to discuss issues related to the implementation of the Teaching and Research Professor academic staff titles on our campus. The UC recommended that a committee-of-the-whole on this topic be included in the December Faculty Senate meeting.

Lastly, member D. Misra reported that the APBC will conduct an extensive meeting this week to discuss the campus budget for all units next year.

November 2, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported that:  1) A faculty senator has agreed to fill the vacancy on the Rules Committee; 2) UW-System will be following federal guidelines on vaccine mandates and preparations are underway, but we are still waiting for more details; 3) He discussed issues surrounding the teaching professor academic staff title, campus understanding of administrative budget levels on campus, and financial support for campus governance with the Chancellor; and 4) After his meeting with the ASC, it may be useful for the UC and ASC to have an in-person meeting to discuss concerns about the teaching professor title implementation.

Provost J. Britz provided the following updates:  1)  the UW-System President S&S committee in now looking at applications—they hope to complete the hiring process by early 2022; 2)  Budget discussions have wrapped up with campus units, and final recommendations are expected later this semester (after discussion with the APBC); 3) An enrollment management deep-dive took place which emphasized the need for more investment in the 2-year campuses as well as opportunities to expand collaborations with Kenwood campus units; 4) There is continued interest in exploring potential adjustments to out-state tuition and fees;  5)  An information session is planned for the November Faculty Senate meeting addressing School/College realignment progress; and 6)  UW-System intends to continue the waiver of SAT/ACT tests for admitted students.

Lastly, member D. Misra reported that the University Relations committee met last week.

October 26, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels attended the recent UW-System governance reps. meeting and reported that:  1) D/F/W grade rates are a big concern across the System, however a quick consultation with VP for Student Success D. Clark suggests UWM does not have an issue in this area; 2) Discussions are continuing about adjusting student experience terminology, such as “undecided” versus “exploring”; 3) Concerns are surfacing about ordering issues in the new Shop@UW+ system; 4)  Some discussion occurred about advocating for state law changes, so that classes could start before Sept. 1st and allow a full week fall recess; and 5) The Board of Regents appears interested in talking about ways to strengthen governance, which merits further discussion.  On the UWM campus, Rothfels attended the recent International Committee meeting, and urged the committee to carefully review its Charter to see whether it might strengthen its governance role.  After discussion, the UC remains concerned about the efficacy of this committee if there is little substantive discussion and never any opposition to proposals coming from administration.  Additionally, the AAUP made an inquiry about availability of minutes from a specific faculty governance committee.  After discussion, it was agreed Rothfels will send them a detailed response.

ASC Chair N. Oswald reported that their committee is working on a TTC appeals procedure but is concerned that this process will involve many academic staff and only result in recommendations to AVC T. Danielson for any changes.  The UC then engaged with her in a detailed discussion about concerns regarding the upcoming TTC Teaching Professor academic staff title.  A committee-of-the-whole discussion at the December Faculty Senate meeting was suggested as the next logical step.

Member E. Bornstein reported that the AAFE committee met and had a good discussion about what the committee can accomplish.  It was noted that the tasks include retention as well as hiring, and there is a need to gather more information (including existing policy in this area) in order to figure out how best to proceed.  Further, the committee looks to work directly with the new VC in this area (when hired).  Member J. Snethen reported the APC met and that several policies will be coming to the next Faculty Senate meeting for consideration.  Member D. Misra reported that the most recent APBC meeting was cancelled due to lack of business, and the University Relations committee will meet this week.

Finally, the UC reviewed the revised procedure for securing academic staff voting rights at the School/College level, and agreed by consensus to forward it to the Codification committee.

October 19, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported that:  1) a replacement faculty senator has been appointed to serve the remainder of the Fall semester; 2) there will be a special graduation ceremony on April 10, 2022 for all those who were not able to attend one earlier due to the pandemic; 3)  he attended a Space Planning committee meeting where the Union closing during summer 2022 for renovation was discussed; 4)  a TTC special meeting was held that included the three governance chairs, along with Chancellor M. Mone, Provost J. Britz, AVC T. Danielson, and VC R. Van Harpen;  5)  Assoc. VCs D. Venugopalan and T. Danielson will share position descriptions of the Teaching and Research Professor academic staff titles with the UC soon; and 6)  implications of student athlete’s new ability to profit from their “image and likeness” was discussed at the most recent Chancellor’s expanded cabinet meeting.

Member G. Rodger noted that the International committee will be meeting next Monday.  Discussion ensued about the need for this committee and its usefulness.  Rothfels will look to join the meeting.  Member D. Misra noted that the APBC has begun budget meetings with individual campus units, and that a total of 22 will be held.  Also, a new master’s in data science degree proposal is under development.  Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, it will be housed directly in the Graduate School.

Finally, VC R. Van Harpen, AVC M. Spadanuda, as well as Profs. J. Jordan and J. Berkowitz joined the meeting to discuss campus building ventilation with respect to COVID concerns.  While there is no evidence of spatially related COVID outbreaks on campus so far this Fall (as defined by the CDC), it was agreed that making available campus ventilation information more robust, along with providing direct contacts that individuals can approach with concerns (or for more information) would be worthwhile to strive for.

October 12, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported that:  1) he attended the remaining UWM police chief candidate interviews; 2) VC R. Van Harpen, AVC M. Spadanuda, as well as Profs. J. Jordan and J. Berkowitz will join the UC meeting next week to discuss campus building ventilation with respect to COVID concerns; 3) UW-Lacrosse faculty have passed a TTC resolution like ours, and the ASC will also be considering one soon; and 4)  a faculty senator needed to be appointed to fill a vacancy for the Fall 2021 semester.  Additionally, the campus faculty workload “action group” is engaged in discussions, and while much more needs to be considered, ultimately what can be accomplished remains unclear.

Chancellor M. Mone reported that:  1) campus vaccination rates are up to 79% for faculty/staff and 87% for students, implications of the federal vaccine mandate are being considered, COVID positive test rates remain low at 1% for faculty/staff/students, and work continues on improving positive COVID case reporting and communication; 2) GPR base budget discussions will take place at a special BOR committee for governance issues meeting in December; 3)  VC searches underway (D&AR and DEI) are  going well, and after receiving input from an external agent regarding roles and responsibilities of the position, the search for the University Relations VC is expected to commence in November; 4) students continue to express pleasure at being “back on campus” this year; and 5)  UWM police recently helped apprehend a group of criminals that were victimizing both UWM students and others on the East Side.

Member E. Bornstein is participating in TTC-related discussions about the Teaching and Research Professor academic staff titles.  It is anticipated that these conversations will be controversial, and that the UC will become involved at some point to initially review any proposed new procedures.

Finally, the UC approved a draft resolution to dissolve the Economic Benefits committee, which will now be transmitted to the Codification committee for further consideration.

October 5, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported that he is still working on various committee appointments and has attended two of the UWM police chief interviews.  After a brief discussion with the entire UC, it was agreed to allow a Faculty Senator to take leave from the body during the Fall 2021 semester, due to a class schedule conflict with the monthly meeting time.  Concerns have been raised about COVID-related building ventilation system issues, and the UC will invite VC R. Van Harpen and Prof. J. Jordan to attend a future UC meeting to discuss.  Rothfels noted that the recent announcement of free 30-minute parking on campus (only after 8pm on weekdays and anytime on weekends) was facilitated by a long advocacy campaign from member M. D. Schwartz.   Lastly, UW-Whitewater faculty have passed a resolution urging UW-System to consider revisions to processes and language that are considered detrimental to the student experience.  More discussion of this matter seems warranted.

Provost J. Britz reported that:  1)  there are no matters of special concern expected at the Board of Regents meeting this week; 2) the Freshwater Collaboration is still waiting for funding to be released by the State legislature; 3) Details are being worked out on School/College reorganizations, with considerable progress having occurred; 4) UWM’s 4- and 6-year graduation rates have shown considerable improvement in recent years; and 5) Strategies will be explored in the next year to increase UWM’s yield of undergraduate student enrollment from applicants.

Assoc. VC D. Venugopalan discussed the issues raised in relation to granting of School/College voting rights to academic staff by the Faculty Senate.  A process is being considered that will direct requests from departments first to the Codification committee for discussion, prior to placement on the Senate agenda.

Member E. Bornstein noted that problems are continuing with student COVID reporting and other related logistics in classes, as well as that she will be participating in an “action team” discussion in relation to the adoption of Teaching and Research Professor academic staff titles for use on our campus.  The UC feels it may be productive to meet directly with the ASC for a discussion about this matter.

Member D. Misra reported that the APBC met last week and heard a report from the Provost, as well as the committee chair’s comments regarding progress on the logistics of planned unit budget meetings.  Additionally, he reported that the Economic Benefits committee (EBC) met and voted to discontinue operation and (if necessary) transfer any functions to other faculty committees.   The Sec of U will work on creating a faculty document to implement this action.

September 28, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels attended the in-person Faculty Reps. meeting in Madison last Friday.  At the meeting an informative update was given by UW-System legislative liaisons, but Rothfels was surprised by unexpected resistance during discussion about the library book return issue (see earlier posts).  Fortunately, there may be a path forward with further dialog, and the proposed changes will likely not affect UWM’s internal policy options on the matter.  Associate VC Dev Venugopalan has developed a discussion paper on the Academic Staff voting rights issue which surfaced at a Faculty Senate meeting last year.  Rothfels will share this document with the rest of the UC.  There will still need to be additional work to develop any policy revisions.  New appointees are needed for the Arts and Humanities Divisional Committee, nominees for the Chancellor’s appointments to the Information Technology Policy Committee, and the Student Government Finance Committee.

Academic Staff Committee Chair N. Oswald thanked the faculty for passing the TTC resolution at the September Senate meeting.  Both the Academic Staff Committee and the University Staff Committee are considering passing similar statements.  Some specific concerns beyond those previously mentioned are the removal of the pay progression system, and lack of detailed information on the appeals process (as well as any sense of how likely appeals are to be successful).

Member D. Misra reported that the APBC is starting to schedule 2023 budget planning meetings with individual campus units (these will all have one APBC chair and one other committee member in attendance).

The UC also discussed concerns raised about:  1) COVID reporting procedures; 2) Building ventilation concerns in relation to COVID; and 3) DEI training for graduate students.  Lastly, Rothfels will investigate inviting organizers of the gathering (at the fountain) last week concerning campus racial climate to attend a future UC meeting.

September 21, 2021

UC Chair N. Rothfels presented an additional modification of SAAP 10.12 (COVID), which extended the mask requirement through Nov. 26th, and it was unanimously approved.  He reported that the ITPC vacancy had been filled, the status of the UC ex-officio rep. to the GFC is still in process, and that the change of name from “Thanksgiving” to “Fall” Recess is moving forward.  A brief discussion also ensued about the visit by Regent Robert Atwell to the most recent Chancellor’s Expanded Cabinet meeting.  Rothfels discussed our concerns about the Council of UW-Wisconsin Libraries proposal to limit borrowing between campus libraries with UWM Libraries Director M. Doylen, who is optimistic that there may be ways to build in flexibility to deal with this issue.  The borrowing proposal will also be on the agenda for discussion at the upcoming Faculty Reps. meeting in Madison.

Provost J. Britz reported that a listening session for the System President Search and Screen committee was just held on our campus.  The committee has Feb./Mar. 2022 as a target for determining finalists.  He is also working on ways to ramp up the System-wide presence of UWM online degrees.  Britz mentioned that a recent report shows UW-System campus’ share of college students has dropped from 33 to 29% over the past 5 years, and that strategies are being considered to address that decline.  The Freshwater Collaborative will be receiving $2.5M in funding this biennium, and there is optimism the UWM may receive some Federal COVID funds that are being distributed by Governor Evers.  Lastly, Britz will check on the status of UWM’s COVID vaccination dashboard, as so far (unlike UW-Madison) our employee data has not been released.

Member D. Misra reported that at the most recent APBC meeting the Provost announced expected 3.5% reductions to School/College budget planning for 2023, and that the committee determined its representatives for other campus committees

Rothfels presented the revised statement about the Title and Total Compensation (TTC) process and after a few minor edits, it was unanimously approved.  He will now send it to the Faculty Senate by email, and the statement will be introduced for consideration by that body at the Sept. 23rd meeting.