ASC Chair K. Esguerra reported on academic staff reactions to the plans for a largely in-person fall 2021 semester; concerns were raised about large lecture courses and the fact that not all students may have been vaccinated by September. L&D Dean Gronert and Vice Chancellor Van Harpen will attend the March 9 Academic Staff Senate meeting to respond to questions and concerns. There is still no information about how the new Title & Total Compensation procedures will define and implement progression steps.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported that the Expanded Cabinet met and discussed the UW System’s concerns about IT security; more training is likely in the wake of issues with security breaches.
The Monitoring Core Team’s tweaks to the policy on modality changes this semester were brought to the UC for comment.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Provost Britz will attend the March 2 meeting.
Provost Britz reported on UW System-wide discussions regarding program planning on individual campuses and how these efforts could be integrated more effectively. UWM and UW-Oshkosh are likely to be vaccination sites but there has been no official confirmation from UW System about this yet. The fall 2021 schedule is being planned as a fully face-to-face semester apart from courses that would ordinarily have been online or hybrid. UW System President Thompson has suggested merging technical and two-year colleges based on location and programs.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported that UW System President Thompson has been invited to attend a Faculty Senate meeting in March. Director of Athletics A. Braun and members of the Athletic Board will be joining the UC on March 30 to talk about their efforts to engage in campus and community outreach and education regarding the value of the athletic programs. The UC may extend an invitation to J. Cimpl-Wiemer, Director of Equity and Diversity Services, to attend a meeting to discuss Title IX changes. E-mails were sent to the chairs of eleven committees previously identified in UC discussions as either passive recipients of information without an active governance role or potentially engaged in redundant activities requesting an assessment of the effectiveness of those committees. Reponses will be discussed at a future meeting.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on the Academic Planning and Budget Committee where the upcoming Townhall meeting, Center for Archaeological Research, and the UW System review of low enrolling undergraduate and stand-alone Masters programs were discussed. N. Rothfels reported that the Affirmative Action Faculty Employment Committee met to discuss data compiled by J. Cimpl-Wiemer on spousal and target of opportunity hires. The committee will invite D. Venugopalan, Associate Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs, to respond to the trends identified in the data, which suggest a decline in diversity over time. This issue could be brought before the Senate at some point. I. Hu reported that the Graduate Faculty Committee approved relaxing the requirements allowing academic staff to serve on PhD committees and that a temporary policy allowing departments to waive GRE and other admission requirements has been extended.
ASC Chair K. Esguerra will attend the February 23 meeting.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported on a meeting with Sue Weslow on February 9 to begin the process of hiring a new Secretary of the University; the search will be internal and a decision could be made as soon as April 30.
PSOA Dean Emmons attended the meeting to request an augmenter to the Dance Department’s EC for Spring 2021.
Chancellor Mone has been working to ensure that UWM’s budget will not be cut again by the state given that tuition increases are now off the table. A critical goal is getting campus back to normal in terms of face-to-face instruction and on-campus activities. There may be a role for UWM as a vaccination site, which would aid in getting faculty, staff and students vaccinated by the beginning of fall 2021. Some UW campuses have already announced that they are committed to normal levels of in-person instruction in fall. Implementation of 2030 group recommendations will be announced at the next Townhall meeting on March 9 at 10:00am; the changes outlined will be instituted over the next 6-12 months. Changes to the Board of Regents were discussed, including the recent announcement of the appointment of Regent Miller and the election of the new President of the BOR, which is likely to be announced in June.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported on last week’s Athletic Board meeting at which ways to communicate to campus and the surrounding community the value to UWM of its athletic programs were discussed. D. Misra reported on the Nominations Committee meeting last week; recommendations for honorary degree recipients will be brought to the Faculty Senate.
The UC continued its discussion of the review of governance committees. K. Dolan will contact committee chairs to request their impressions about the effectiveness of their committees as active participants in faculty governance.
Provost Britz will attend the February 16 meeting.
Provost Britz did not attend the meeting because he presented a detailed report at the previous week’s Faculty Senate at which all UC members were present.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported that M. Schwartz will represent the Faculty Senate on the Office of Sustainability’s Climate Action Plan Working Group. Governance leads met with recently appointed Board of Regents “buddies” Weatherly and Leskow on Tuesday February 2, 2021 to bring them up to speed and provide them with some background on serving in this capacity. The 2030 Implementation Team’s final report has been submitted to the Chancellor and Provost and M. Harris and K. Dolan will meet with them to discuss next steps on February 22.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on last week’s APBC meeting at which the new General Business major was presented by representatives of the Lubar School of Business. D. Misra reported that the University Relations Committee met for a presentation by the Care, Respect and Expectation Task Force.
In Old Business the UC engaged in further discussion of the function and responsibilities of faculty governance committees. The UC will review committee charters and additional documentation to initiate a larger discussion about the organization and function of faculty governance at UWM. Campus should engage in a conversation about what governance is and how it can be most efficiently implemented within the committee structure. The language of each committee’s charter will be reviewed to assess its potential for actively participating in, rather than mainly serving as a rubber stamp for, initiatives that have already reached a stage where input is pro forma. Committees whose function is currently be passive but that could play an effective and valuable role in faculty governance could be encouraged to revise the language of their charters. Soliciting input from working committees at a stage when suggestions could actually still be implemented would be a more effective use of both faculty and administrators’ time. Identifying and rectifying duplication of effort where existing administrative and faculty committees have overlapping responsibilities would be beneficial given the decreasing number of faculty on campus and the concomitant increase in workload. This would also make administrators’ workload less onerous, cutting down on the number of largely informational presentations to faculty committees.
Chancellor Mone will attend the meeting on February 9, 2021.
ASC Chair K. Esguerra reported on the Title and Total Compensation project timeline currently being finalized by UW System. It is unclear how this will impact academic staff in terms of how the salary structure will map onto the new title changes. Individual salaries should not change but salary ranges will likely be affected so the ASC is watching that process. Governance will be involved in determining how individuals will move within the new salary ranges once those are defined; the ASC is waiting for additional information on this. Possible resistance of academic staff to mandatory testing requirements was discussed as well. The Teaching and Research Professor Title subgroups met and are consulting UW Madison’s documents to define the the language for those title changes. Next week’s meeting will include a presentation by UWM Chief Sustainability Officer Kate Nelson of the Climate Action Plan for campus.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported on the UW System Representatives meeting last week. There are many different approaches across the System to the evaluation of senior administrators, including some campuses that do not carry out such evaluations at all. The discussion included the possibility of establishing a System mandate for regular evaluations of senior administrators as well as evaluations of non-academic units on campuses, such as IT, HR etc., which are also typically not evaluated the way the academic units and faculty are. Program prioritization activities appear to be happening on some campuses but not others but everyone has been working hard to re-enroll students who were at risk of dropping out after fall semester. UWM staff in Enrollment Management have been especially active in reaching out to individual students. The finalization of the timeline for TTC changes was discussed. Vaccine distribution to Category 1B individuals in Wisconsin at the moment does not include higher education faculty or staff in spite of continued efforts by UW System President Thompson to add them to the list. UW System is not considering a vaccination mandate for faculty and students returning to campus in the fall because of pushback from the Legislature, which will be considering a bill prohibiting this requirement. The Expanded Cabinet met Monday January 25. José Delgado, whose death was announced at the meeting, would have been stepping down in May so Governor Evers will need to appoint a third “buddy” Regent for UWM to replace him. Executive orders coming out of the Biden administration that UW System and campuses are working on include the restoration of protections for DACA students, pausing student loan repayment, ending the travel ban from Moslem countries and reinstating the diversity training that the Trump admin had recently attempted to have dropped. Kay Eilers reported that applications for fall are up due to the shift to the Common App while Bob Beck reported that most students have completed Multi-Factor Authentication. Anti-racism training will roll out to faculty and staff and eventually to students soon. UWM is being considered as a potential vaccination site for the surrounding community when enough vaccine is available; integration with existing testing activity remains to be determined. Next Wednesday campus is meeting with the “buddy” Regents (minus Delgado), both new appointments by Evers. At the first meeting with campus governance leads in November they requested the opportunity to meet twice rather than once a year while they learn more about UWM.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported that the Policy Advisory Committee passed three policies that will go to the Senate for approval to bring UWM policies in compliance with state and Federal policies related to discriminatory conduct and relationships, sexual violence and harassment etc.
Provost Britz will attend the February 2, 2021 meeting.
Provost Britz reported on College of Health Sciences Dean Tim Behrens’ condition, which is improving. Jennifer Doll will continue as Interim Dean as long as necessary while he recovers. Enrollments have improved somewhat since efforts began over break to contact individual retuning students but are still down from last year, especially for freshmen returning after fall semester. A meeting with all Chairs has been scheduled for January 20. A second tenure clock extension will be made available for faculty who opt to apply for it. There is no news yet on vaccinations; it is possible that UWM will be a site for administering vaccines but this has not yet been determined.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Workgroup continues to work on recommendations for the fall. All four 2030 subgroups have submitted their reports and Co-chairs K. Dolan and M. Harris will generate a final report to be submitted to the Provost and the Chancellor on February 1. UW System Representatives will meet this coming Friday; there is no word yet on what will be on the agenda.
In Members’ Reports N. Rothfels reported that the Affirmative Action and Faculty Employment Committee met and discussed the Faculty Action Team on Diversity and the interplay between these two groups. Associate Vice Chancellor Venugopalan will be invited to attend to discuss how to better integrate these initiatives. The Teaching Professor Group has met and continues to discuss how UW Madison’s approach to these title changes are being handled. J. Reisel reported that the Instructional & Research Academic Staff Review Committee met and discussed individuals planning to come forward for indefinite status. J. Snethen reported that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee met on January 14 to discuss a proposal for a BS in Neuroscience as well as the impact of the pandemic on space planning. Unit budgets were discussed, as was the response to the VSIP and how that might impact budgets going forward.
ASC Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the January 26, 2021 meeting.
In the Chairperson’s Report K. Dolan reported that 59 assistant professors (more than half the number currently at UWM) have so far requested tenure-clock extensions due to the pandemic. The Provost is considering making an additional extension of a year available for tenure-track faculty who request it. The Scenario Planning Workgroup is deciding whether the fall 2021 semester will be a bridge to a normal schedule or will be a fully normal semester. This will depend on the vaccine situation and whether departments can be persuaded to offer F2F courses at pre-pandemic levels with the understanding that if the pandemic is not under control by September it will be easier to pull back to online instruction than the reverse. It is likely that 15 rather than 30 minutes between classes will be the norm for F2F classes in fall. Instructors and students in F2F classes must be tested bi-weekly; objections on the part of some faculty are anticipated.
In New Business the UC discussed passages in Chapter 4 of Policies and Procedures that deal with promotion to full professor when a subcommittee of the Departmental Executive Committee is responsible for making the decision of whether or not to recommend promotion. Currently such subcommittees are not explicitly required to report their decision to the Executive Committee. There have been instances in which a Departmental EC was unaware of the actions of the subcommittee and no obvious appeal procedures are provided for faculty not recommended for promotion in such cases. The Codification Committee has requested input from the UC on how to revise the relevant sections of P&P to cover such contingencies. The Codification Committee members will attend the UC meeting at 2:00pm on January 19 to discuss the issue in more detail.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Provost Britz will attend the January 19, 2021 meeting.
K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Group met and discussed the Fall 2021 Schedule of Classes, given that it is likely some type of COVID protocol will still be in place. Forty faculty members have accepted the invitation to take advantage of the VSIP; just under half are in L&S. The separation date is July 31st 2020. K. Dolan will chair the search committee to replace retiring Secretary of the University and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Trudy Turner.
ASC Chair K. Esguerra reported that the ASC has met or will be meeting with all nine of the 2030 subgroup co-leads to discuss the restructuring plans. There is support in the ASC for the need for changes but concern was expressed that these may not happen quickly enough to be effective. Issues have arisen regarding position-specific furloughs, with employees not being given adequate notice and consecutive furloughs being imposed without sufficient notification, effectively a layoff without protections or access to benefits.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on the APBC, where final numbers of reductions to budgets of schools and colleges were presented; they range from 0.6% to 7.4%. J. Reisel reported that the Policy Advisory Committee met and passed a revised version of the current COVID policy which will now go to the Senate.
UC members discussed the ongoing review of campus-wide governance committees to determine where there may be duplication of effort between administrative and governance committees. If a governance committee already exists administration should be encouraged to make use of it rather than creating a parallel committee structure made up of appointed rather than elected faculty or administrators. The review and discussion will be continued at the next meeting on January 12, at which the Chancellor will also be present.
J. Reisel chaired the meeting in the absence of K. Dolan.
Provost Britz reported that returning freshman numbers are down for spring 2021 by about 7% so outreach efforts will be stepped up for the next few weeks in an effort to ensure those students return in January. Fall numbers look positive but the actual yield is still unclear. The Common App and waiving application fees has increased the numbers of Minnesota and international student applications. 2030 Planning Group meetings with deans and programs are continuing. Budget numbers for academic units will be finalized by the end of the week; final numbers will be provided at the APBC meeting on Thursday December 17. The January 2% salary increase is projected to go through. Furloughs could continue into 2021-22 but the hope is that this will not be necessary; a final decision has not yet been made. Spring break may coincide with the distribution of vaccine for educators in the state; campus is going ahead with a break in March as planned. The Board of Regents will be submitting a pay plan to the Legislature for the next biennium that includes a 2%/2.5% raise for UW System but how much of that will be in the final budget is unclear.
K. Dolan reported that the Space Utilization Planning Committee had their first meeting to discuss a six-month project re: consolidation/repurposing of unused space on campus with the goal of reducing costs going forward. A question was raised during the UC meeting about why governance committees are not better integrated into discussions by administrative committees responsible for similar tasks. There is concern that administrative units appear to be sidelining some important governance units with the same remits. The Scenario Planning Group met to discuss fall planning.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported that the Instructional and Research Academic Staff Review Committee has received no cases for consideration yet this year. Documents were revised to be more gender inclusive at the last meeting. The Honors College Advisory Committee meeting report suggests that the program is in good shape numbers-wise with 700+ students. There has been a decrease in the number of students dropping out because they are not able to maintain the required GPA. N. Rothfels attended the Affirmative Action and Faculty Employment Committee; a report of faculty and academic staff diversity at UWM will be sent to the Senate next semester..
ASC Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the December 22, 2020 meeting.
Chancellor Mone reported that the modality for f2f and hybrid spring courses is being finalized contingent on social distancing requirements. At most 40-45% of students will be f2f (20%) or hybrid (20-25%) on campus in spring 2021. Access to testing is the key to making this possible. The number of tests required is likely to triple for spring to meet UW System requirements and will depend on CARES and State funding as well as staffing levels. On-campus testing might begin again around January 4 unless funding for additional testing coverage is not extended. The good news is that there was no post-Thanksgiving surge on the UWM campus, which suggests the system is working. The 2030 planning team has begun meeting with the Deans of Schools and Colleges. The January 27, 2021 10:00am Town Hall with the Chancellor will present a more concrete view of what the future will hold. Leadership transitions due to illness and VSIPs will result in a changed landscape at UWM in 2021 and going forward.
K. Dolan reported on DOE requirements for Title IX implementation. The Chancellor will be asking UW System for a 120-day extension of the interim Trump-era policy until the Biden Administration has made decisions about how Title IX regulations will change. The Scenario Planning Workgroup discussed the spring semester course schedule; weekly testing is likely for residential students and bi-weekly testing for non-residential students. Summer and Fall classes are already being scheduled so questions are surfacing about whether to require vaccines for anyone teaching f2f, taking f2f classes or residing in the dorms. UW System policies are likely to be the default but we need to begin thinking about this now. The conversation will be ongoing. Rapid testing on campus will be extended through late December.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on the APBC meeting at which the Provost provided an update on the 2030 planning team meetings. I. Hu reported that the GFC has drafted language for a policy allowing Visiting Professor to serve on thesis committees for circulation. Services for graduate students wanting to talk to someone outside their departments about concerns related to faculty or programs was also discussed and it was agreed that the existing ombudsman system should be advertised more widely. The AOP scholarship program was also discussed. J. Reisel reported that the Athletic Board met and discussed budget issues due to cancellations and a decline in sponsorship payments.
Provost Britz will attend the December 15 meeting.