K. Dolan reported that the first full UW System Faculty Reps meeting is this Friday. COVID numbers continue to increase in all communities in Wisconsin with UW campuses. UW System President Thompson has indicated that the two-week pause is the main option available to Chancellors at this point; no campus will be able to shut down without System approval. Representatives of the four 2030 Working Groups (Undergraduate Experience, Radically Welcoming Environment, Reorganization of Program Array, Retaining R1 Status) will be meeting Wednesday. A Washington County faculty member raised an equity issue regarding the difference between the Kenwood and UWM branch campuses in terms of their COVID testing plans for students. Branch campuses don’t have dorms or health centers on their campuses and their segregated fees don’t support health services, so branch campus students have no access to testing. Leadership is trying to work out ways to expand the antigen testing to students not living in dorms, which could include the branch campuses. There is no concrete plan at the moment but it is on the radar.
Provost Britz reported that the number of testing centers in areas where branch campuses are located is limited (Waukesha and Washington County). He will check into whether students from the branch campuses could access Norris services or not if they are symptomatic. There is no final determination regarding spring break at UWM but at the moment the spring schedule is assumed to remain as originally planned. The 2030 Working Group co-leads will meet for the first time Wednesday. Final implementation plans of all four groups should be completed by January. New student numbers are down 16% but applications for incoming freshmen for next year are up 20% compared to last year at this time. There has been a huge drop in international students; most have deferred (especially from India); when the virus situation improves this should normalize. Four-year graduation rate has gone up slightly. Budget discussions with all units are continuing; the 7.5% cut to our budget from the state appears to be a lapse rather than a permanent cut to base. Suspensions of graduate student admissions have been announced at various campuses across the US; this is a potential budget tool but at the moment there are no plans to do this at UWM. UWM and Milwaukee police are monitoring activity off campus that is in violation of COVID regulations. The approach police are using is educational rather than punitive and focuses on engaging students in conversations to ensure their safety and that of the people in the neighborhoods in which they live.
Members’ Reports: I. Hu reported on the GFC creation of a diversity and inclusion working group, which will include students. Emergency procedures were also discussed related to grading and other policies. The GFC has approved individual program specific admission requirements; these will be updated through spring 2021. J. Snethen reported on the APBC meeting, which mainly consisted of a review of the budget cuts. N. Rothfels reported on the R1 Research Working Group, which has a completed draft report that will go out to committee at end of the week. D. Misra reported that the University Relations Committee discussed the COVID dashboard and communication regarding the virus situation; the next meeting will cover new initiatives. IT is the only unit on campus that currently is growing and needs more space.
Due to the Senate/Faculty Meeting scheduled for this Thursday next Tuesday’s UC meeting may be canceled.