Provost Britz reported on College of Health Sciences Dean Tim Behrens’ condition, which is improving. Jennifer Doll will continue as Interim Dean as long as necessary while he recovers. Enrollments have improved somewhat since efforts began over break to contact individual retuning students but are still down from last year, especially for freshmen returning after fall semester. A meeting with all Chairs has been scheduled for January 20. A second tenure clock extension will be made available for faculty who opt to apply for it. There is no news yet on vaccinations; it is possible that UWM will be a site for administering vaccines but this has not yet been determined.
UC Chair K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Workgroup continues to work on recommendations for the fall. All four 2030 subgroups have submitted their reports and Co-chairs K. Dolan and M. Harris will generate a final report to be submitted to the Provost and the Chancellor on February 1. UW System Representatives will meet this coming Friday; there is no word yet on what will be on the agenda.
In Members’ Reports N. Rothfels reported that the Affirmative Action and Faculty Employment Committee met and discussed the Faculty Action Team on Diversity and the interplay between these two groups. Associate Vice Chancellor Venugopalan will be invited to attend to discuss how to better integrate these initiatives. The Teaching Professor Group has met and continues to discuss how UW Madison’s approach to these title changes are being handled. J. Reisel reported that the Instructional & Research Academic Staff Review Committee met and discussed individuals planning to come forward for indefinite status. J. Snethen reported that the Academic Planning and Budget Committee met on January 14 to discuss a proposal for a BS in Neuroscience as well as the impact of the pandemic on space planning. Unit budgets were discussed, as was the response to the VSIP and how that might impact budgets going forward.
ASC Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the January 26, 2021 meeting.
In the Chairperson’s Report K. Dolan reported that 59 assistant professors (more than half the number currently at UWM) have so far requested tenure-clock extensions due to the pandemic. The Provost is considering making an additional extension of a year available for tenure-track faculty who request it. The Scenario Planning Workgroup is deciding whether the fall 2021 semester will be a bridge to a normal schedule or will be a fully normal semester. This will depend on the vaccine situation and whether departments can be persuaded to offer F2F courses at pre-pandemic levels with the understanding that if the pandemic is not under control by September it will be easier to pull back to online instruction than the reverse. It is likely that 15 rather than 30 minutes between classes will be the norm for F2F classes in fall. Instructors and students in F2F classes must be tested bi-weekly; objections on the part of some faculty are anticipated.
In New Business the UC discussed passages in Chapter 4 of Policies and Procedures that deal with promotion to full professor when a subcommittee of the Departmental Executive Committee is responsible for making the decision of whether or not to recommend promotion. Currently such subcommittees are not explicitly required to report their decision to the Executive Committee. There have been instances in which a Departmental EC was unaware of the actions of the subcommittee and no obvious appeal procedures are provided for faculty not recommended for promotion in such cases. The Codification Committee has requested input from the UC on how to revise the relevant sections of P&P to cover such contingencies. The Codification Committee members will attend the UC meeting at 2:00pm on January 19 to discuss the issue in more detail.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Provost Britz will attend the January 19, 2021 meeting.
K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Group met and discussed the Fall 2021 Schedule of Classes, given that it is likely some type of COVID protocol will still be in place. Forty faculty members have accepted the invitation to take advantage of the VSIP; just under half are in L&S. The separation date is July 31st 2020. K. Dolan will chair the search committee to replace retiring Secretary of the University and Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Trudy Turner.
ASC Chair K. Esguerra reported that the ASC has met or will be meeting with all nine of the 2030 subgroup co-leads to discuss the restructuring plans. There is support in the ASC for the need for changes but concern was expressed that these may not happen quickly enough to be effective. Issues have arisen regarding position-specific furloughs, with employees not being given adequate notice and consecutive furloughs being imposed without sufficient notification, effectively a layoff without protections or access to benefits.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on the APBC, where final numbers of reductions to budgets of schools and colleges were presented; they range from 0.6% to 7.4%. J. Reisel reported that the Policy Advisory Committee met and passed a revised version of the current COVID policy which will now go to the Senate.
UC members discussed the ongoing review of campus-wide governance committees to determine where there may be duplication of effort between administrative and governance committees. If a governance committee already exists administration should be encouraged to make use of it rather than creating a parallel committee structure made up of appointed rather than elected faculty or administrators. The review and discussion will be continued at the next meeting on January 12, at which the Chancellor will also be present.
J. Reisel chaired the meeting in the absence of K. Dolan.
Provost Britz reported that returning freshman numbers are down for spring 2021 by about 7% so outreach efforts will be stepped up for the next few weeks in an effort to ensure those students return in January. Fall numbers look positive but the actual yield is still unclear. The Common App and waiving application fees has increased the numbers of Minnesota and international student applications. 2030 Planning Group meetings with deans and programs are continuing. Budget numbers for academic units will be finalized by the end of the week; final numbers will be provided at the APBC meeting on Thursday December 17. The January 2% salary increase is projected to go through. Furloughs could continue into 2021-22 but the hope is that this will not be necessary; a final decision has not yet been made. Spring break may coincide with the distribution of vaccine for educators in the state; campus is going ahead with a break in March as planned. The Board of Regents will be submitting a pay plan to the Legislature for the next biennium that includes a 2%/2.5% raise for UW System but how much of that will be in the final budget is unclear.
K. Dolan reported that the Space Utilization Planning Committee had their first meeting to discuss a six-month project re: consolidation/repurposing of unused space on campus with the goal of reducing costs going forward. A question was raised during the UC meeting about why governance committees are not better integrated into discussions by administrative committees responsible for similar tasks. There is concern that administrative units appear to be sidelining some important governance units with the same remits. The Scenario Planning Group met to discuss fall planning.
In Members’ Reports J. Reisel reported that the Instructional and Research Academic Staff Review Committee has received no cases for consideration yet this year. Documents were revised to be more gender inclusive at the last meeting. The Honors College Advisory Committee meeting report suggests that the program is in good shape numbers-wise with 700+ students. There has been a decrease in the number of students dropping out because they are not able to maintain the required GPA. N. Rothfels attended the Affirmative Action and Faculty Employment Committee; a report of faculty and academic staff diversity at UWM will be sent to the Senate next semester..
ASC Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the December 22, 2020 meeting.
Chancellor Mone reported that the modality for f2f and hybrid spring courses is being finalized contingent on social distancing requirements. At most 40-45% of students will be f2f (20%) or hybrid (20-25%) on campus in spring 2021. Access to testing is the key to making this possible. The number of tests required is likely to triple for spring to meet UW System requirements and will depend on CARES and State funding as well as staffing levels. On-campus testing might begin again around January 4 unless funding for additional testing coverage is not extended. The good news is that there was no post-Thanksgiving surge on the UWM campus, which suggests the system is working. The 2030 planning team has begun meeting with the Deans of Schools and Colleges. The January 27, 2021 10:00am Town Hall with the Chancellor will present a more concrete view of what the future will hold. Leadership transitions due to illness and VSIPs will result in a changed landscape at UWM in 2021 and going forward.
K. Dolan reported on DOE requirements for Title IX implementation. The Chancellor will be asking UW System for a 120-day extension of the interim Trump-era policy until the Biden Administration has made decisions about how Title IX regulations will change. The Scenario Planning Workgroup discussed the spring semester course schedule; weekly testing is likely for residential students and bi-weekly testing for non-residential students. Summer and Fall classes are already being scheduled so questions are surfacing about whether to require vaccines for anyone teaching f2f, taking f2f classes or residing in the dorms. UW System policies are likely to be the default but we need to begin thinking about this now. The conversation will be ongoing. Rapid testing on campus will be extended through late December.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported on the APBC meeting at which the Provost provided an update on the 2030 planning team meetings. I. Hu reported that the GFC has drafted language for a policy allowing Visiting Professor to serve on thesis committees for circulation. Services for graduate students wanting to talk to someone outside their departments about concerns related to faculty or programs was also discussed and it was agreed that the existing ombudsman system should be advertised more widely. The AOP scholarship program was also discussed. J. Reisel reported that the Athletic Board met and discussed budget issues due to cancellations and a decline in sponsorship payments.
Provost Britz will attend the December 15 meeting.
Provist Britz reported that implementation of 2030 recommendations will begin soon with visits to schools, colleges and departments to explain priorities and actions and implications for the future. Campus is waiting to hear whether funding from the Federal government may be available for the Moonshot for Equity initiative. Budgets for administrative units and schools & colleges will be finalized on Friday. The outlook is somewhat better than anticipated but this will vary depending on the unit. There has been no update on the implementation of the 2% payplan scheduled to begin January 1, 2021 so the assumption is that it will be happening as anticipated. It is unclear at this time whether more furloughs will be necessary but that would be preferable to layoffs. Applications are up but so are admits; the latter is more significant because of the absence of application fees this round. Reenrollment numbers for Spring 2021 are up about 1.3% compared to this time last year. It is anticipated that more people will be taking advantage of the VSIP than in the last round but the numbers have not been determined yet. The Board of Regents meeting next week overlaps with next week’s Senate meeting so the Provost and Chancellor may not be on the Senate agenda. About 400-500 students are on campus currently for f2f instruction for the rest of the semester. On-campus rapid COVID testing as a community resource has been received very positively by community members. Holding spring break as planned includes the possibility that testing requirements might make it difficult to maintain the current schedule for the break. A contingency plan for the second half of spring semester might be necessary if an unfunded mandate for student testing is imposed on UWM by the UW System President. It is currently unclear whether the CDC will continue to support the rapid COVID testing program that ends on December 18 but the possibility is being explored.
K. Dolan reported that based on a conversation with R. Beck as of November 30, 2020, 98% of students have signed up for Multi-factor Authentication.
T. Turner led a discussion of standing committee service and the possibility of reducing the number of committees based on documented activity. Reviewing the way service on certain types of committees is currently classified is warranted given the challenges posed by filling open positions on standing committees as faculty numbers continue to shrink. Temporarily shelving some committees rather than disbanding them entirely would require changes to Chapter 6 in Policies & Procedures and would have to be approved by the Senate. The UC is the appropriate body to initiate the process of identifying committees that could be temporarily shelved and will take on this task in the coming months.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Chancellor Mone will attend the December 8 meeting.
K. Dolan reported that the Scenario Planning Work Group met Friday to discuss Spring semester 2021. The main concern was the spread of COVID in Wisconsin and whether campus will be open to f2f instruction. Kelly Haag reported that the Emergency Operations Team has been informed by the CDC that cases in Wisconsin are on a trajectory suggesting they might double between now and when the semester begins in January. Spring 2021 therefore might be the reverse of last spring, when we were open until March and then moved online. The UW System testing requirements post-Thanksgiving have resulted in a reduction of f2f courses on campus; only six UWM courses are currently scheduled to be f2f after the holiday. The Expanded Cabinet met Monday and discussed a new Anti-Racist Training module for the campus that has been custom-built by members of the group led by Joan Prince, Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion and Engagement. Administrators will be the first to test the module. Invitations have gone out to members of the Police Advisory Committee and the first meeting will be held in December.
Kyla Esquerra, ASC Chair, reported that an e-mail will be sent out monthly to all academic staff to update members on the delay in the shift to a bi-weekly pay structure and to remind members about COVID testing availability. ASC members will also be informed about the ongoing discussions surrounding Teaching Professor titles and the existence of a Technology Readiness Committee that has spun off the Scenario Planning Group. A new academic staff survey will be sent out by Jim Kavanagh to identify technology needs on the part of non-teaching as well as teaching academic staff. The general meeting of the ASC several weeks ago was attended by 238 ASC members. The VSIP went out to 103 academic staff members but it is unclear how many will be applying or approved.
Mark Schwartz and Jack O’Meara reported on the status of MORFS. The membership drive in spring was disrupted by the pandemic; the plan going forward is to continue to make appeals via e-mail and attempt to meet with Departments to recruit additional members.
In Members’ Reports J. Snethen reported that APBC met and discussed distribution of funds to schools and colleges vs. central administration.
Provost Britz will attend the December 1 meeting.
K. Dolan reported on a discussion with Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Tim Danielson about the UW System audit of procedures for criminal background checks for faculty and staff who come into contact with minors on campus. Annual reports of campus procedures are planned going forward.
Provost Britz reported that implementation of the UW System directive for testing procedures after Thanksgiving are still being worked out for UWM classes that will have to continue f2f after the holiday. Students will need to be tested twice upon their return, which likely means that no f2f classes will be possible the first week after Thanksgiving. Classes in programs in which f2f courses are a requirement, such as Health Sciences, Nursing, Engineering or Architecture, would likely not resume f2f until December 7 and would then continue f2f following existing testing procedures through the end of the semester. The memo that will be sent to administrators and students in affected programs as well as students working on campus is still being drafted.
Freshwater Collaborative discussions with the state continue while funding approval remains unconfirmed.
In the discussion about the criteria used to determine VSIP eligibility the Provost indicated that the initial selection was made by the Deans of individual schools and colleges, some of whom, including L&S and the Peck School, offered the VSIP to all eligible faculty and academic staff. In other cases only a subset of those eligible based on age and years of employment were offered the VSIP. The final decisions will be made by the Deans in consultation with Department Chairs; this round will take place in December and some faculty or academic staff who indicated that they would be interested in taking the VSIP could be refused for strategic reasons.
In Members’ Reports I. Hu reported that the GFC approved an academic leave of absence for graduate students and discussed shifting the responsibility for deciding whether Visiting Professors can advise MS and PhD students to Departmental Executive Committees.
J. Reisel reported that the Competition Review Committee met and elected a Chair; new business will be on the docket for next month.
N. Rothfels reported that the TTC subcommittee charged with defining Non-faculty Professor titles has met and will be reviewing titling resolutions passed in Madison.
In New Business there was a request for EC augmentation from Urban Planning.
ASC Chair Kyla Esguerra will attend the next meeting and there will be an update about MORFS.
K. Dolan reported on the VSIP, which was offered to 215 faculty and 40 instructional academic staff. Fewer than half of those people are eligible for full retirement, which will likely reduce the actual number of people taking advantage of the VSIP. There will be limited hiring moving forward; this also applies to counteroffers. Departments, colleges and programs are encouraged to think about succession planning and its impact on majors, minors and certificates.
Chancellor Mone reported that he will not be able to attend the Senate meeting this Thursday. He provided a report on the new surge testing, which has already administered more than 200 tests. These tests will supplement but not replace PCR tests being administered by Norris Health Center. So far residential student test rates remain around 2-3%; employee test rates are less than 2%. The challenge is the non-residential students, where the rate is closer to 5-7%. In Kenosha the Health Department has mandated that all educational organizations go online after Thanksgiving. Governor Evers will be giving a state-of-the-state talk this evening that will address the state’s approach to this; any decisions made by Milwaukee County will also have an impact. The concern is that COVID rates will go up if students leave for Thanksgiving and then return. So far UWM is still dedicated to coming back after Thanksgiving but this might be overridden later this week. The Think Tank 2030 update focused on the framework of realistic expectations for what can be completed by the January 31 deadline, which will include a timeline for tasks to be completed through next fall. The Chancellor is continuing to work with the Board of Regents and UW System President Tommy Thompson as well as community and business leaders to discuss budget allocations and funding challenges going forward. Specific requests will be made for additional increases that will be presented later this month. J. Reisel asked how changes that will need governance action will be handled given the aggressive timeline in the event there is resistance to implementation. Flagging changes that will require governance and building the time in for consultation and discussion will need to be part of the charge for the 2030 working groups/implementation teams.
In Members’ Reports D. Misra reported that the University Relations Committee met and details of the UWM My First Choice initiative will be discussed at the Senate meeting on Thursday.
Provost Britz will attend the next meeting.
K. Dolan reported on the Deans’ meeting with the Provost during which the results of the Student and Faculty Surveys were discussed. At the meeting to discuss student recruitment the focus was on changes that could be made to speed up the admissions process in order to be more competitive in the local market, including streamlining certification of WI residence, accepting unofficial high school transcripts, etc. Transfer degree MOUs with MATC will allow anyone with an Associate’s Degree from MATC to transfer directly into a UWM major without needing to take additional GERs. The launch of the Chancellor’s Merit Scholarship was discussed; students with a 3.4 or higher GPA who apply would be eligible for a tiered merit award based on their GPA. The award would provide a maximum of four years of funding at $500 to $1500 per year.
The Faculty Representatives met with UW System President Tommy Thompson in Madison last Friday. The transition to a standardized bi-weekly pay plan for all UW System employees, which was interrupted by COVID, is moving forward again. The biweekly pay plan (every other Thursday) is scheduled to begin February 1, 2021, bringing the UW System in line with other state employees.
Also discussed was the new federal “surge” testing protocol for COVID to be administered in partnership with the U.S. and Wisconsin Departments of Health and Human Services. All UW System students and employees will be provided with access to rapid tests; this includes all the satellite campuses and community members in immediate proximity to campus. The CDC will be sending 250 employees to administer the BinaxNow rapid tests, which provide results in 15 minutes. Rollout will be on November 10 and will continue for six weeks. The rapid tests will not be replacing antigen and PCR testing already being carried out.
There were no Members’ Reports.
Chancellor Mone will attend the November 10 meeting.