Special Guests A. Braun and members of the Athletics Committee Faculty requested UC feedback on an investigation into the value of athletics at UWM that began in fall 2020. The subgroup involved seeks input on how to communicate more effectively what the UWM athletics programs contribute to the campus community. A.N. Talsma, K. Hartmann, N. Pease and J. Reisel were also present representing the Athletics Board. UC members expressed concern that the difficulties of integrating students who don’t live in the dorms into athletic events has always been a challenge and changing the culture to make non-athletes more actively involved in athletics through attending events is difficult. A presentation to the Faculty Senate might be helpful but wouldn’t necessarily address the goal of increasing student or alumni involvement. The small number of student athletes relative to the total student body was discussed in terms of the resources allocated to athletics.
Special Guest D. Clark requested UC feedback on an initiative regarding changes to the uniform syllabus policy specific to online courses. Concerns about the absence of baseline expectations for the use of the Learning Management System (currently Canvas) emerged following the student satisfaction survey carried out in fall 2020. A template could be developed by CETL to provide a more uniform and predictable course structure in the LMS. The goal is to create a more consistent student experience. The UC responded that to avoid the appearance of infringement on the ability of faculty to make decisions about how to structure their courses, campus-wide recommendations for LMS best practices might be more effective than trying to pass and enforce a new uniform syllabus policy.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported that FAGC, FRRC and UC members met to discuss changes in how and when deans are informed about tenure and promotion decisions. She reported on a meeting with Chancellor Mone on March 18 to discuss issues related to the ongoing UC review of governance committees. Also discussed was the UW System initiative to centralize distance education programs to allow the System to compete with existing online universities that have been siphoning off online learners in Wisconsin. There are 815,000 adults in WI with some college credit but no degree who could complete their degrees in Wisconsin online. About 300,000 could pursue a full four-year degree but other options were mentioned (badges, micro-credentials etc.). Campus administrators across the System are concerned about the ramifications of this effort and are working to ensure it is thoroughly reviewed before it goes to the Regents for approval.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported that the Policy Advisory Committee met and approved revisions to the “Bringing children into the workplace” policy. N. Rothfels reported that Research and Teaching Professor title discussions have been bi-weekly; the Research Professor title is likely to be rare since it relies to a large extent on external sources of funding for salaries. The Search & Screen Committee to replace the Secretary of the University is beginning to interview candidates.
Provost Britz will attend the April 6 meeting.