Outgoing UC Chair Schwartz reported that the UW System President has invited all campus faculty representatives to his residence to discuss system planning. The meeting will take place later this week.
In member reports, Boyland reported that the new Provost’s beginning-of-semester letter asked all instructors to refrain from submitting portions of student work to online AI detectors as this would be a FERPA violation. This determination seemed incorrect to him (Boyland), and he was wondering to whom he should bring his concerns. Incoming UC Chair Dolan said that she would keep discussion open on the topic.
Dolan reported that the School of Public Health Dean Search was recharged by Provost Daire, who indicated that he anticipated that this search might stretch into the Spring semester.
Hager reported that in the new bi-weekly pay system, FSA contributions of a fixed amount continue to be removed in the summer for 9-month employees with summer service, unlike in past years. This is a hardship for her and perhaps others as the deductions reduced her pay to zero. This makes it much harder to handle the pay gap in the summer. Apparently she was told that there was no choice other than to stop the FSA altogether, despite the fact that under the old system FSAs were not routinely deducted from summer service pay.
Schwartz previously sent the draft annual UC report to the committee members; there being no objections, it was approved by consensus and will be transmitted to the Sec of U.
In old business, the issue of a flexible policy for credit for prior pre-tenure service will be discussed in the Fall. Secretary Reisel has prepared two alternate draft policies for consideration.
The UW System is likely to recommend a pay plan of more than 2% which in the past involved the UC in negotiating how much of the remaining should be allocated to a merit exercise and to administrative leaders. The regulations that said this explicitly were in the charter of the now defunct Economics Benefits Committee. The UC charter still mentions that the UC may consult in budget matters, but it might be desirable to make this explicit in the charter. Substantively, it is not clear that it makes sense to have a merit exercise when inflation is far higher. Hager expressed the desire that perhaps some of the pay plan could be used to reduce the pay gap between CGS and other divisions on campus.
In order to handle further budget cuts, it has been proposed to reduce the UC chair’s compensation. Such a reduction wouldn’t reflect the many hours of meetings and other work that the UC Chair has (former UC Chair Dolan counted 300 hours in one year alone, in meetings assigned by virtue of the office). It was noted that the UW-Madison UC Chair gets an annual $30,000 research stipend. Discussion on this matter will continue with the Chancellor and Provost.
Provost Gronert spoke at APBC last week. Graduate enrollments are up, especially in Engineering and Business with international students. It’s not clear what the situation is for undergraduate students. Regarding UW System President Rothman’s rule to disallow mandatory DEI statements in hiring, we should see little effect at UWM, since this was not a common practice.
Panther Arena was filled for both Spring graduation ceremonies. UWM continues to have a steady number of graduates, and increased participation at commencement.
In his comments, ASC Chair Priem said the Academic Staff Council is waiting for a Pay Progression Plan, which is still being worked on by the administration. The Academic Staff Orientation Committee is being reorganized to be more accountable. Susan Stalewski was elected as ASC Chair for the next academic year.
The UC will meet next on August 15th, unless there is a matter of urgency.
Dolan identified two faculty who are willing to serve as senators in the next year.
AVC Van Harpen visited to discuss a proposed policy on expectations for non-affiliated individuals on campus. UC members noted that a section on minors in the draft policy would make it more difficult to welcome minors on campus at various events. It was agreed to temporarily put into practice the expectations, while omitting any particular restrictions on minors.
In members reports:
- Schwartz noted the statement on TTC by the APBC.
- The GFC appears to have converged on a process to handle requests for longer-term embargoes of theses and dissertations.
- The basic structure and operations of UW-System shared governance is being codified in a “Shared Governance Council Charter” document.
- The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee of LGBTQ+ Advocacy heard concerns that the IRB had approved studies that used non-inclusive language, while the IRB has a policy requiring it.
- The APBC elected co-chairs for the coming academic year.
Chancellor Mone visited the UC and gave a brief preview of his Faculty Senate comments on the topics of DEI, the HCL reaccreditation visit, the Health Sciences renovation, UW System president Rothman’s visit to UWM, the TTC issue, the newly charged Washington County Working Group (WCWG) and plans for graduation events. He further elaborated that the WCWG will seek extensive input from all stakeholders, including the CGS faculty.
Distinguished Professor Kathleen Dolan was elected to be the next year’s UC chair.
Provost Gronert reported on three topics:
- Prof. Rebecca Klaper has been named the Dean of the School of Freshwater Sciences
- A “Washington County Working Group” will be appointed to examine the recently published “Washington County Task Force” report which recommended merging Moraine Park Technical College and UWM Washington County. The group, led by Prof. Jason Puskar, with representation from CGS and UWM administration, is being asked to see what positive ideas can be gleaned from the report.
- The testing center now provides a six-day turnaround on grading requests. The center may be moved to a new home in Academic Affairs.
In member reports:
- Schwartz reported that after some internal discussion, employees who front the cost for paying restaurant meals for interviewed candidates will no longer have tax liability as a consequence of their costs being reimbursed.
- The Policy Advisory Committee met and recommended three SAAPs be revised, including one proposed to state that students would need permission to add courses after the first five days of instruction.
The UC intends to meet during summer only as expressly needed.
In members reports:
- The APBC met Thursday last week with Provost Gronert.
- The SSEA met and approved questionnaires for the four classes of administrators being evaluated. It was suggested that the scales be reversed so that “5” was “Excellent” to be consistent with common practice.
The Faculty Senate amended the proposed new SSEA charter on the floor to mandate that each college evaluate their associate deans at least once every three years. It is not clear how to notify the parties that need to take action. It would seem that every college should have an “academic planning committee” which should be tasked with associate dean evaluation, but it’s not known who staffs these committees if they even exist. The UC will consider targeted communication later, but for now at least some communication about the new process to all faculty may start the conversation.
ASC chair Priem met with the UC and gave some preliminary information of the results of the TTC survey of academic staff. The full report will be delivered after the appropriate authorities have seen it. Many viewed the “career growth” aspects as uncertain and there is the impression that new employees with no experience are being granted the same titles and pay as long-standing experienced employees.
AVC Hwang came with UWM PD Captain Switala and Libraries Director Doylen to the UC to give more background on the “Library Gun” incident. Switala provided a detailed timeline of the event and explained why even if the individual with the gun were still on campus when the police arrived, no RAVE alert would be raised because it wasn’t being brandished or otherwise used in a threatening manner. Indeed, if it were not for the presence of Hartford School in the middle of UWM, open carry of assault rifles (as well as concealed carry with permit) on campus would be permitted under state law outside of buildings.
Hwang described how in the follow-up to the incident, policies and rules were updated to encourage more timely release of information through MarComm (Marketing and Communication) as seen in the Cambridge Common incident a week later. MarComm is in the process of compiling a full report on changes and how the new policies work to be sent out to the UWM community by summer. There was further discussion about how stakeholders other than campus affiliates (students, faculty, and staff) can be informed.
UC members appreciated the informative presentation but indicated that the campus as a whole deserved to have the full explanation of the incident and questioned the need to delay such communication any further.
Provost Gronert visited the UC today with two items to discuss:
- As per University policies, he informed us that a tenure-clock extension was granted to someone due to a birth.
- The library is considering proposing a policy to permit access to be granted only to affiliated individuals with some exceptions for unaffiliated individuals who could apply for a temporary ID. Some possible consequences were discussed: 1) Enforcing such a policy would take extra employee time, possibly including new security personnel; and 2) It could make the library less welcoming to the community, and even to University members who might not always be carrying their IDs.
He was also asked about the latest UITS report that gave the impression that UITS would create a uniform course evaluation form. We were assured that the content of course evaluations would not be decided by UITS, and even if a more unform course evaluation questionnaire would be beneficial, the content will continue to be determined by each unit independently, not UITS.
In other business:
- The revised System Policy 102 on new and substantially revised programs was discussed briefly. No particular areas of concern were noticed.
- A proposed exit interview for employees leaving UWM looked fine but may be too long to get a good participation rate.
- The proposed SSEA revisions were discussed, especially that the evaluation of associate deans will be left to the individual colleges.
- It was reported in the press that the UW System wants chancellors to indicate how they intend to put branch campus on a “sustainable path.”
- The administration is proposing a new policy on “Unaffiliated Individuals” which places some restrictions for the general public on our campuses, including a blanket ban on all unaffiliated minors unless they are under the “custodial care of supervising adults.” On its face, this proposed policy would seem to make all outreach programs on campuses much less convenient: as even 17-year-olds would need to have their parents bring them to events. Affected programs could include the planetarium, Science Bag, Math circle, K12 music lessons, Girls Who Code, prospective student events and many others.
UC Chair Schwartz reported that UW Faculty Reps were made aware of proposed revisions to System Policy 102 which governs new and revised programs, as well as a proposed new system-wide Provost council.
Boyland reported that the proposed SSEA revisions are set to go before Faculty Senate next week and that the SSEA is finalizing a set of draft questionnaires for administrator evaluation.
Chancellor Mone came to the UC and briefly discussed four topics:
- The Cardinal Stritch closure; UWM is looking at ways we can help their students.
- The Washington County task force on creating a community college out of Moraine Technical College and UWM-Washington County. He reiterated that neither UWM nor MTC has been substantively involved in these discussions, and that any recommendations coming out of the task force are purely advisory.
- UWM is working with the legislature to restore the Health Sciences building renovation project (in NWQ) to the capital budget.
- He is planning a campus town-hall on faculty wellness
The UC asked Mone about the March 16th Library incident (in which an individual was observed handling a gun). Given what happened, it is not clear that the administration knows how to handle reporting on such incidents to campus communities. He acknowledged that the communication was lacking. The UC also asked if he was aware of the bad experiences that came up at the Chancellor’s advisory committee on LGBTQ+ matters, in which students reported being misgendered by faculty. He agreed that we need stronger messaging making it clear that faculty have a responsibility to respect students’ pronouns and preferred names.
Dean Peters of Engineering made a short appearance before the UC to consult about augmentation of a departmental executive committee. The UC felt the action was appropriate.
Interim Provost Gronert came to the UC and was asked to discuss two topics:
- The 3/16 incident where a man was seen with a gun in the library: some people have communicated that they found the delay in communication about the incident concerning. It was not reported to the campus community for several days. Gronert agreed that communication should have been earlier.
- The Washington County Taskforce which recommended merging the UWM Washington County campus with the Moraine Park Technical College. It seems the taskforce didn’t consult either party in their recommendation, but employees are understandably on edge since the State and UW System have pushed through major changes in recent memory with minimal consultation. Gronert affirmed that the employees are UWM employees and that UWM is not planning any changes in the status of the branch campuses.
Interim Dean Rothfels came to the UC with a request that campus reconsider P&P 5.1.3 on prior academic service. In the present reading, it rather inflexibly forces new hires to come up for tenure earlier than is desirable if they had prior faculty experience, even if the position had no research expectations. The UC may take up the matter. Rothfels also consulted the UC on whether Department-Like Bodies can be sunsetted if they don’t achieve their goal of becoming departments. Sec of U Reisel affirmed that there is nothing currently permitting such an action unless the executive committee requests dissolution.
In member reports:
- The Freshwater Sciences Dean selection is now in the hands of the administration.
- APBC didn’t meet during break and will be meeting later this week.
- The LGBTQIA+ Chancellor’s advisory committee heard from students who reported instances where professors refused to use students’ preferred names and pronouns. The UC discussed how this situation could be addressed. On the one hand, students should be aware that they can report to Equity and Diversity Services, and that professors can be sanctioned for behavior against the UW Code of Conduct. On the other hand, professors should be informed that proper use of preferred names and pronouns is not optional.
In member reports:
- The UC has been asked to recommend faculty to the search committee for a new chief partnership officer. The committee identified a few individuals whose names will be forwarded to the administration.
- UW System President Rothman will be visiting UCM Faculty Senate in May. What questions should be addressed to him? Two topics seem appropriate:
- How will the UW System support the continuation of UWM’s R-1 status?
- What resources at the system level will be transferred to individual campuses?
- The SSEA will meet to draft general questions to be used in future evaluations.
- The ZCPH Dean search committee received a draft position description from a subcommittee and will review it.
Chancellor Mone visited the UC and reported on three somewhat linked initiatives:
- Since the Health Sciences Renovation (although being highly ranked by the UW System) didn’t receive mention in the governor’s budget, Mone will work together with others to ask the legislature to include it in the capital budget.
- Mone is working with legislative leaders for an additional base budget increment for UWM.
- Mone is working to develop a positive message of the benefits that UWM brings to the state, in order to counter generic stereotypes of what universities stand for.
Provost Gronert met with the UC.
- He reported that the testing center has been assigned several backup personnel and that they should be able to reduce the lead time required for instructors to request ScanTron processing. Also, UITS repaired the scanner which had been malfunctioning.
- UC members noted that employees now have a new mandatory training status tracker which is helpful. We asked Gronert to widely disseminate the existence of this resource to campus.
- UC members made Gronert aware of various problems with student course evaluation in Fall 2022, so that we as a campus can avoid the same problems in Spring 2023.
In member reports:
- The Research Policy Advisory Committee discussed the proposed new Openness in Research policy. There are some concerns, and so the request for approval has been delayed to the April Faculty Senate meeting where it will get time for discussion.
- Two of the SFS Dean candidates have made campus visits with a third to come later this week.
- The ZCPH Dean position description is nearing completion.