Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 08-20-20
1:55 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, August 20, 2020
Members Present: Donna Cole, Jenny Dahlberg, chair; Tim Dalby; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Kayla Armstrong, Diane Blaskowski, Elizabeth Covington, Angela Kita, Karyn Matchey, Beth Meyerand, Christina Olstad, Andrew Turner, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.
The minutes of August 6 were approved.
Guest: Christina Olstad, Dean of Students
Dean Olstad discussed her first year in the role of Dean of Students and the restructuring of student affairs over the last two years by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor into 4 sections: Health and Wellbeing, Identity and Inclusion, Student Advocacy, and Student Leadership & Community Engagement. Dean Olstad is responsible for the Student Advocacy portfolio, which includes working with ASM, the Center for the First-Year Experience, the Dean of Students Office, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, and the Parent and Family Program. The focus for Student Advocacy is to enhance programs and services to reduce barriers for students and to promote retention and persistence to graduation. She co-chaired a group with Jocelyn Milner about outreach to students at risk of stopping out. Dean Olstad discussed two trends from students in her first year on campus: concerns about the ability and methods for protest, and a push for aspects of the Cultural Landscape Tour to be added to the Wisconsin Experience Seminar. In response to concerns related to COVID, students will be expected to take the Badger Pledge, which has three components: prevent, monitor, and reflect. There has also been a new public health reporting form that has been rolled out to students, in addition to students who are taking on the role of peer health ambassadors.
Guest: Beth Meyerand, Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
ASEC welcomed Vice Provost Meyerand to her new role, which she started July 1. She discussed her short-term goals for the role, which involves a great deal of listening and getting a feel for academic staff concerns. Most of the concerns she has heard so far are related to COVID and Smart Restart. She is involved in Smart Restart and is happy to relay any concerns to that group. On the topic of strategic hiring for academic staff, she has advocated that diversity can’t just be for faculty. The Target of Opportunity Program for faculty might not be the best direction for academic staff, but this is a good time to be having these conversations. Retention and improving climate also need to be part of the discussion. Vice Provost Meyerand meets regularly with Interim Chief Diversity Officer Cheryl Gittens about initiatives coming from the DDEEA. Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to the mission of the university, and Vice Provost Meyerand expressed enthusiasm about working with ASEC and with academic staff to move forward in these spaces.
Jenny Dahlberg, ASEC chair, shared the link to the UW System Childcare Task Force’s report on caregiving. There are further questions about what specific flexibilities are available besides leave options, and she will be putting questions and recommendations forward to the chiefs of staff and to Mark Walters. She reminded ASEC about the campus community forum scheduled for August 21.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, mentioned that the benefits fair will be virtual this year, but academic staff governance will still have a presence. The public dashboard for campus testing will be available soon. Jake talked about a group that he is on looking at HIB procedures, and the group is currently looking at the letter that individuals receive as part of an investigation into possible HIB and revising it to make the language plainer and clearer. Jake reported that the UC agreed with ASEC’s revisions to its draft letter to faculty and instructional academic staff, and the letter was distributed on Tuesday, August 11. The UC did not have any further feedback on the shared governance participation letter after seeing ASEC’s revisions.
Tim Dalby reported that the Mentoring Committee has scheduled its annual mentor match kickoff session for October 8. PPPC met recently and heard from Lauren Hasselbacher regarding the recent Title IX changes.
Mallory Musolf reported on the UW System Representatives meeting with Interim President Thompson, in which he walked through the biennial budget proposal for 2021-23. The proposal requests a 3.5% operational increase for initiatives to renew the Wisconsin Idea, including the Wisconsin Tuition Promise, modernizing administrative and financial processes, greater support for agriculture, and expanding educational opportunities within the state prison system.
Donna Cole reported that the SMPH CASI met today and will be meeting with Dean Golden at their next meeting. The CASI will provide him with their strategic plan, as well as participation of staff in SMPH activities and initiatives around diversity, equity, and inclusion moving forward. Donna will be meeting with SMPH’s three interim DEI officers to discuss involvement of staff in these important issues.
Guest: Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer, Office of Human Resources
Testing protocols are in place and they continue to be made more consistent. OHR is fine tuning the accommodation process as supervisors, HR reps, and DDRs continue working through those issues. Some schools/colleges/divisions are requesting that employees get regularly tested, and OHR is being clear that this would need to go through a centralized process that is reviewed with UHS, EHS, and OHR, as we want to ensure that testing centers are not overloaded. As compared to other campuses, our campus has more robust testing processes, surveillance (i.e. cohort) testing, and quarantine spaces. OHR will provide a summary of the recent employee survey in the near future. There were close to 10,000 responses out of 23,000. The survey was sent to faculty, academic staff, university staff, limited appointees, and graduate assistants. The takeaways are that a large portion of individuals are working remotely and will continue to do so. Over 80% of respondents indicated that they have reviewed the resources, and over 80% said that those materials provided support for them regardless of their location. Analysis of the open responses is occurring now. There are many comments expressing concern about onsite work. The top 2 areas of importance were providing clear public health protocols and ensuring that coworkers are following those protocols. OHR has received concerns about possible retaliation for expressing concerns about returning to campus, and they have indicated to the HR community and to supervisors that they need to be flexible, to listen, and to help identify and address any employee concerns. Workforce Relations is working closely with the HR community and DDRs to help employees navigate these issues. Regarding specific tools for child/family care beyond leave and general flexibilities, OHR met with the UW-Madison reps from the System Task Force this morning and discussed their recommendations, including a subset of recommendations for Madison. There have been some new resources added to the Smart Restart website, and OHR will continue to look further at the recommendations to see what is feasible. A communication will hopefully be going out next week to supervisors reinforcing the need to work with employees on circumstances that involve caregiving for family members.
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c), and (f) to Discuss Nomination to Nominating Committee (Dalby). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
• Nomination – for vote
Motion to nominate Darren Martin to the Nominating Committee (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
• September Academic Staff Assembly Agenda
Chief Roman has confirmed that she can make a presentation at the September meeting. ASEC reviewed the fair trade resolution. Tim Dalby volunteered to bring it forward.
• Planning Meeting Discussion
ASEC discussed the agenda for the planning meeting on August 21 and finalized how the discussions would be structured.
• Topics for Guests
Provost: enrollment update
VCFA: drops in housing, financial impacts of athletics
Meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff