May 12, 2020

UC Chair Kathleen Dolan reported that Provost Johannes Britz met with existing and incoming department chairs today to update them on what is happening on campus. Updates were provided on academic policies that have been implemented in response to COVID-19. Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen said that there is no plan to ask for additional furlough days beyond what has already been requested from UWM faculty and staff.

K. Dolan attended the Deans Council meeting on May 6th. Vice Chancellor Van Harpen shared that the estimated share of the state budget lapse for UWM in this fiscal year will be between $6-8 million.

K. Dolan attended the May 8th meeting of the Scenario Planning workgroup. The workgroup planned how to operate during the summer.

K. Dolan provided an update on a call that the Faculty Representatives had with UW System President Ray Cross held on May 8th. President Cross provided justification for the Blueprint for the UW System Beyond COVID-19, presented at last week’s Board of Regents meeting. President Cross said that the financial realities of the System during this time means that things need to start happening now, even before a new president is in place. At earliest, a new president will be in place in September. There has been widespread push back from all campuses about this, saying that decisions on course delivery should made at the campus level. Proposals for how to proceed will be formally considered at June BOR meeting. This represents a shift from local (campus-level) control to control by UW System, and is moving quickly.
K. Dolan attended the weekly meeting of the Crisis Management Team on May 11th. The team was updated on campus activities. Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Communications Tom Luljak reported that the Town Hall meetings with students and parents went well; 350 students attended the student Town Hall, while 300 parents attended the parent Town Hall. Another town hall is being planned for faculty and staff, as well as one for incoming students and parents.

K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Leads subcommittee met this morning. Police Chief Joseph Lemire is the head of the Operations Team. Chief Lemire said that the team is currently mapping campus to determine space needs and capacity of each classroom, meeting room, and hall for fall, given social distancing needs. The team is also examining spaces not currently used as classrooms to see if they could be used as meeting space for fall. Considerations are being made for exit- and entry-only doors, space between buildings, mask stations, sanitation stations, and what a return to dorms could look like. Most rooms will be at 25-30% of normal capacity. Local ordinances in Milwaukee, Washington, and Waukesha counties may influence plans. Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dev Venugopalan reported that department chairs are being surveyed to assess which classes need to be taught in person for accreditation and licensing purposes. The Scenario Planning Faculty and Staff Experience subcommittee also met. A survey of faculty and staff was discussed, asking about online course experience in spring, and opinions about fall course planning.

Chancellor Mark Mone attended. He provided an update on conversations about reopening, which will be discussed in an email that will be sent out to faculty and staff later today. Issues being considered include: safety of students, faculty and staff; tracking; testing; and our mission as an institution of higher learning. Chancellor Mone said we are focusing on higher quality online education, and opening realistically and safely. Compared to students attending other universities, a much larger proportion of our students have reported satisfaction with the courses they attended this spring.

UC Member John Reisel attended a meeting of the Honors College Advisory Committee. For fall, 190 students have already accepted, and 81 students are graduating this month (95 for the whole academic year).

UC Member Laura Otto-Salaj reported that the Affirmative Action in Faculty Employment Committee met on May 7th. Final touches are being put on a set of recommendations to be presented to Faculty Senate in fall. Also, this was L. Otto-Salaj’s last meeting, as she is retiring at the end of semester.

The committee unanimously re-elected Kathleen Dolan as chair for 2020-21.

UC meetings for summer are tentatively scheduled to occur weekly. The committee will reassess this schedule at the end of June.

Provost Johannes Britz will attend next week’s meeting.