Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 08-06-20
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Thursday, August 6, 2020
Members Present: Donna Cole, Jenny Dahlberg, chair; Tim Dalby; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Angela Kita, Tim Markle, Karyn Matchey, Andrew Turner, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:01 p.m.
The minutes of July 30 were approved.
Jenny Dahlberg, ASEC chair, reported on discussions at the meetings between the chairs, secretaries and the chiefs of staff. Pre-college activities that are in-person have been suspended through fall semester, and the approval process for online activities remains in place. There are plans to use the Lowell Center, the Fluno Center, Union South, and hotel space for quarantine needs. There have been communications regarding parking changes, as well as updated capacities for the bus program. There continue to be questions about a backup plan in the event that there is an upswing in positive cases. Jenny also reported on a conversation with members of the SMPH CASI about the contributions of academic staff.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reminded ASEC about the town hall scheduled for August 7 and encouraged members to send questions to him if they would be unable to attend. Jake reported that the University Committee had discussed sending a letter to faculty and instructional academic staff encouraging those groups to bring forward any concerns about the Smart Restart plan. ASEC reviewed a draft of the letter and approved changes to send back to the UC for review at their August 10 meeting. The Chancellor will be at the October meeting of the Assembly. Jake also reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic and University Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion had its second meeting on August 6. The committee elected co-chairs and had discussions with Michael Bernard-Donals and Beth Meyerand regarding the history leading up to the formation of the committee and possible strategies for moving forward.
Mallory Musolf reported on the UW System Representatives meeting with Interim President Thompson. There is $32 million for testing and PPE that is coming from the CARES Act. $8 million of this will go to UW-Madison.
Bill Tishler reported on the August 3 University Committee meeting and provided further background about the proposed letter to faculty and instructional academic staff. The UC also talked with Mark Walters about questions regarding reporting positive cases and concerns around what scenarios might lead to another shutdown.
Stephanie Elkins reported that she met with Jake to discuss how best to get the WPM CASI meeting again.
• September Academic Staff Assembly Agenda
ASEC reviewed the proposed agenda and will return to it again at the next meeting.
• Shared Governance Participation Letter
ASEC reviewed and approved a further revised version of the shared governance participation letter. Jake will send the letter to the Secretary of the Faculty and the Secretary of the University Staff for their review.
• Topics for Guests
Christina Olstad: introductions and review of office, questions on enforcement of mask wearing for students; concerns about academic staff in student-facing positions
Beth Meyerand: introductions and short-term goals in new role (6-12 months); question about role in Smart Restart planning process; views on strategic hiring program for staff
OHR: staff capacity to deal with increased volume; questions about speaking out against plans to return to onsite work and possible retaliation
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c), and (f) to Discuss Nomination to Nominating Committee and Sustainability Advisory Council (Cole). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
• Nomination – for vote
Motion to nominate Nola Walker to the Sustainability Advisory Council (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
Guest: Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer, Office of Human Resources
On the topic of Smart Restart, OHR continues to work on developing resources for the fall semester. They are working on streamlining the process for positive case reporting. This process is now similar for both employees and students and involves University Health Services being a hub for this reporting. UHS will receive positive results for anyone who gets tested in Dane County that is an employee. It will not have this information for tests outside of Dane County. UHS will contact Divisional Disability Representatives (DDRs) and triage will occur with employees from there. Environmental Health and Safety will also make sure protocols are observed. Based on those positive cases, UHS and Dane County Public Health will put contact tracers in place. There will be a message coming out today explaining this to employees.
Regarding the all-employee survey, they have wanted to do this for a while but were still figuring out what to ask employees. The survey will go out tomorrow. There will be a series of questions that will not take longer than 5 minutes. It is focused on supporting employees who have already returned to campus or will be returning and asking about Smart Restart resources. OHR will be providing summaries of the survey results and will plan on doing surveys periodically as the semester proceeds. Responses to the survey will be anonymous.
It continues to be a challenge to distribute information in a decentralized environment. OHR is providing templates to local HR reps that they can use to convey the information. There are meetings for the HR community twice a week, with special sessions as needed. There will also be times when OHR will communicate directly with employees and not go through local HR. If areas are struggling, OHR will help them as much as possible, particularly with smaller units.
Regarding examining policies for structural racism, Mark has met with Cheryl Gittens and is working with DDEEA to start identifying how best to work together in this area. They have formed a small group that includes members from OHR and DDEEA to start developing plans of action. They will also be looking at professional development and learning opportunities as well. They also recognize that other perspectives will be needed in addition to OHR and DDEEA.
On the question on early retirement incentives, OHR has identified some possibilities in this area, but they are not looking to pursue those options at this time. When the budgetary situation is clearer in the fall, they will hone in on what strategies to use.
There have been many discussions about childcare solutions and what flexibilities can be provided. OHR has also been exploring various leave options, including through federal policy (e.g. 12 weeks due to school/daycare closure with 2/3 pay for 10 weeks up to $10,000, which can be supplemented with accrued leave). They will be providing employees with various options, and ASEC encouraged greater communication around these policies.
Meeting adjourned at 4:16 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff