K. Dolan reported that CARES funding must be spent by December; campus is waiting to hear from the UW System about funding for Spring. Spring break may not be scheduled for 50% of the UW campuses but UWM is still waiting to decide what to do about spring break; it is likely that the break will remain as currently scheduled.
The VSIP was announced on October 1 and those who are eligible will be contacted by Deans; decisions will be made by the end of the calendar year. Deans are counting on significant savings from this initiative but it is unclear whether the 9% budget cut that units are facing can be dealt with solely through retirements. The Scenario Planning Work Group meeting discussed the surveys being sent to faculty and students regarding their satisfaction with the campus experience so far this fall. Courses for Spring 2021 will be between 80-85% online, which represents a shift toward virtual instruction compared to fall. Some students living in the dorms are requesting releases from their year-long contracts for spring because their courses are all or mostly online. Faculty have also discovered that hybrid instruction is suboptimal except when essential for accreditation and courses that do not need to be f2f will go online in spring.
Provost Britz provided an update in the CMAC group, which has been investigating possible reasons for the 16% drop in freshman enrollments this fall; UWM is ramping up its recruiting efforts at high schools across the state. The plan is to monitor admits and applications on a weekly basis. Currently applications for spring and fall 2021 are up 20% but it is important to make sure that we do not lose any of those students between admission and enrollment. UWM recruiters are reaching out to high schools directly. Graduate student numbers are up, which includes deferred international students but this will also require monitoring. 2030 Group implementation meetings continue with Schools & Colleges. Reductions in GER courses will be linked to the budget model; that discussion continues. A decision is immanent on whether more intermittent or position specific furloughs will be necessary; the VSIP initiative may be successful in covering the coming round of cuts. Enrollments will also make a difference to strategic hiring to replace some of the positions that may be lost in this round of VSIPs. The Board of Regents will meet this Thursday and UWM, Madison and La Crosse will present on their COVID planning strategies outcomes.
Associate Vice Chancellor Venugopalan reported on the Teaching and Research Professor title change being implemented at UW Madison. A discussion of whether UWM will follow suit ensued, including what steps would be needed for implementing such a change in titles. Approval would be needed from the Academic Staff Senate as well as the Faculty Senate. The creation of a working group that would report back to the Faculty and Academic Staff Senates by the end of this academic year was suggested. If approved the changes could be implemented by next year. Madison has already done most of the legwork on developing language and policies for this initiative so the process should not be as onerous as it might be otherwise. Tim Danielsen has met with the Academic Staff Senate which will provide the names of potential representatives to serve on the working group. The UC was asked to provide a list of faculty who could serve on this working group; N. Rothfels declared his willingness to serve but additional faculty members would be needed. Concern was articulated about this move being the first step toward creating an untenured adjunct category with heavy teaching loads and lower pay, further undermining what remains of tenure. Suggestions for members of the working group focused on units with external funding where the Research Professor category would be most relevant, such as Fresh Water and Physics. English and Math are likely to have the largest number of Senior Lecturers with indefinite status who could be candidates for the Teaching Professor title and faculty from those departments should be encouraged to join the working group.
In Members’ Reports, I. Hu reported that the Rules Committee has been trying to find a way to incorporate the discussion of how the major changes and program reorganization will be presented at the next Senate meeting. The Student Association resolution on Black Lives Matter will also be brought forward.
D. Misra reported that the Space Committee approved a request from Research Staff to be moved from their current downtown location to the main campus, possibly to a space in the Health Sciences complex. Campus IT is expanding their fiber optic network and will need more space on the main campus, possibly in the basement of Enderis or Merrill.
Chancellor Mone will attend the next meeting.