January 11, 2022

UC Chair N. Rothfels reported:  1) The Scenario Planning Workgroup met last week and urged the administration to communicate any changes to the start of the semester soon so that instructors can adjust their syllabi, and that some sort of online or more hybrid start would be reasonable given campus and community transmission rates; 2) The Graduate Program Review Committee needed a replacement, and one was found; a replacement for a senator in social sciences is currently being sought; 3) There was a meeting of a small group of campus leaders to discuss the best paths forward for implementing new opportunity hiring; and 4) UWM System Faculty Reps met to formulate questions to put to prospective candidates for the UW System President position. It is expected that there will be an announcement as soon as later this week about the slate of finalists.

L&S Dean S. Gronert joined the meeting and shared additional thoughts about COVID planning going on this week, including meetings on Wednesday of the Deans and another with representatives of the Emergency Operations Center and the Scenario Planning Workgroup. Recommendations will be given to the COVID Management Team on Thursday and discussions will happen with Chairs on Friday.

The Committee and Dean Gronert then had an extensive conversation about ongoing conversations on GER reform. The model currently being considered would involve moving from a divisional breakdown of GER courses to a breakdown based on areas of inquiry that will match with the UW System Shared Learning Goals. This semester, the plan will need to be fleshed out further and then there will be an analysis of impacts. There is much to do before anything will be ready for consideration by governance bodies.

Member E. Bornstein reported on a meeting on December 19 between members of the AAFEC and Provost Britz, Vice Chancellor Vang, and Associate Vice Chancellor Venugopalan. The discussion focused on how the AAFEC protocols for hiring can be implemented on campus and how retention of BIPOC faculty can be improved. Chair Rothfels will follow-up with Vice Chancellor Van Harpen and AAFEC Chair R. Shumway about coming to a future meeting to discuss HR processes.  Member D. Misra reported that an APBC meeting was cancelled last week and that the meeting before that focused on GER reform.

The Committee then discussed Academic Staff numbers from the last five years. The committee decided that several trends – including increases in the number of fixed-term-renewable Instructional Academic Staff needed further consideration. Chair Rothfels will alert ASC Chair N. Oswald that the Committee would like to hear her thoughts on the data at her next visit to the UC later in the month.