Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 10-29-20
1:55 – 4:00 p.m. Thursday, October 29, 2020
Members Present: Donna Cole; Jenny Dahlberg, chair; Tim Dalby; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Diane Blaskowski, Lesley Fisher, Larry Jolón, Alyson Kim, Angela Kita, Beth Meyerand, Karl Scholz, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.
The minutes of October 22 were approved.
Jenny Dahlberg, ASEC chair, reported that the Provost Office has sent a survey to all undergraduate students about fall and spring semester instruction. A separate survey will be sent to graduate students as well. Planning for Friday’s football game went better than was expected, but then there were the announcements with respect to positive cases on the team and among staff. There was a request to the University Committee from ASM about cancelling classes on Election Day, and the UC didn’t pursue supporting the request. She also mentioned that not much feedback had been received with respect to the announcement of furloughs from January – June 2021.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported that the Committee Interest Survey would be going out soon. The TTC Governance Advisory groups will be reconvening in the near future. ASEC confirmed that they were supportive of the previously appointed academic staff members continuing to serve on those groups. The modality survey to instructional staff was distributed and closes on Sunday evening. Jake and Lesley will work on tabulating the results and will discuss them at the next ASEC meeting.
Tim Dalby reported on the recent PPPC meeting. The committee advanced a proposal for a one-time exception for ALRA leave banking, which ASEC subsequently reviewed and presented to OHR for consideration.
Leslie Petty reported on the October meeting of the Board of Regents. The meeting focused heavily on mental health issues and virtual access to mental health support. She also attended the meeting of the Education Committee, in which Provost Scholz gave presentations on textbook affordability, alcohol policy, and distance learning. The Regent policy for distance learning is in the process of being updated.
Bill Tishler attended this week’s ASM meeting, at which was discussed the proposal for asynchronous classes on Election Day. This proposal was approved. There were also conversations regarding mental health concerns, as well as the notion of institutional debt as related to budgetary issues. At Monday’s University Committee meeting, the Revenue Innovation Study Group gave a similar presentation to the one they gave to ASEC, and there was a report of the University Lectures Committee. The DCS CASI will be meeting next week and will be working on making the activities of the CASI much more visible to all academic staff in the division.
Deb Shapiro reported that the L&S CASI met and set dates for a series of listening sessions.
Donna Cole attended her first meeting as liaison to the School of Pharmacy CASI. She was asked to speak about her role and had a very positive interaction with the group.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz provided updates on planning for the spring. The recent survey results of the faculty mirrored the current percentages of modalities, and he is interested to see the results of the survey to instructional academic staff. Over 1000 students have completed a survey regarding modality preferences and other issues. Testing continues to go forward. UW is working on a contract with a company to facilitate more robust testing on campus. Periodicity of testing is being discussed, with students living on campus being required to have testing twice weekly. There will be some sort of mandatory testing regime for off campus students and faculty/staff who are working part of the week on campus. The frequency for faculty and staff hasn’t been decided. There have been some discussions regarding pass/fail grading, but due to very little demand on the part of students and other stakeholders, they have decided not to do this for the fall semester.
The university is working hard to have a campus policy and guidance regarding preferred pronouns in Canvas and other systems. The aim is to have a tool available to do this by the start of the spring semester. This would be NameCoach, which integrates with Canvas, advising, and other areas, as well as offering name pronunciation. Regarding the question of why this capability is not activated for Canvas immediately, administration wants to engage governance groups and other stakeholders on this policy and guidance. It is also important to make sure the right tool is in place to follow that policy.
Guest: Beth Meyerand, Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
There is not yet any news on the results of the recent survey sent out to all employees by the Office of Human Resources. There was discussion among the committee who worked on the survey about whether to send out this second one, and the group wanted to do this in a systematic way. It is important to know how employees are reacting to all of the multiple challenges we are facing, such as furloughs, family care, and more.
Vice Provost Meyerand addressed concerns raised by ASEC regarding increased course load expectations for instructional staff in the wake of possible budget cuts. There have been no discussions about this. Vice Provost Meyerand meets regularly with Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning John Zumbrunnen, and she will bring up this concern with him as well as the Provost Executive Group. She will also be thinking about similar workload issues with respect to other academic staff positions as well.
There was discussion about the Smart Restart group looking at family care and benefits. While Vice Provost Meyerand was not directly involved in this group, she reported that University Committee member Kristyn Masters was. Stephanie Rytilahti and Jessica Karls-Ruplinger also met with the Committee on Women in the University last month to discuss these issues, and they will return this month to talk about a website that offers resources for family care.
Vice Provost Meyerand’s office is continuing to approve school/college-level guidelines for the teaching and research professor titles. SMPH is the only school/college that is completed so far. She will come back to ASEC if any broader issues arise with these guidelines.
ASEC recessed at 3:27 p.m.
ASEC reconvened at 3:30 p.m.
Guest: Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Diane Blaskowski, Director of Talent Rewards, Office of Human Resources
ASEC asked about the proposal from UW System to convert all employees to a single payroll structure. Mark and Diane indicated that UW System campuses are proceeding with this, and the tentative implementation date is January 1. This was originally part of a set of initiatives that were identified by UW System 2 years ago as they were creating shared services capabilities. It was initially shelved due to the complexity of changing all employees to a biweekly pay structure. After Interim System President Thompson came in, UW System looked at these initiatives again and identified the single payroll structure as something to move forward with due to administrative efficiencies. OHR understands that the January timeline leads to stress with the amount of change management needed as well as the impact of such a change on grant activities. Extensive conversations with RSP are occurring. UW will be doing what it can to make this successful, and UW System will have “go/no-go” conversations on whether to move forward if there are areas where this will not be possible. Diane is working with UW System on two separate teams looking at this process. The HR Reps were informed today, and there will be a meeting of the joint governance reps on Friday. OHR will have a website for UW-Madison employees and will link to System resources as well. Employees will also receive communications via email and home mailing, and there will be employee forums on the change. They are looking at a number of resources for employees to get answers to their questions, as well as possible help with financial issues, and there will be impacts to the timeline for TTC as a result of the efforts toward this conversion.
On the topic of ensuring that people have taken the required amount of furlough time, OHR will be communicating to individuals who still need to take furlough time. They are allowing a deadline of December 31 to use those furlough hours. If those furloughs haven’t been scheduled by mid-November, divisional HR managers will work with employees to get them scheduled.
Mark discussed communication on mental health resources and the promotion of wellness, balance, and self-care. A message is going out to campus on Thursday afternoon that covers the current state of the pandemic, including the increased infection rate across Wisconsin and on campus, along with reemphasis on available resources like SilverCloud, the Employee Assistance Office, and Life Matters. OHR is trying to boost communication on existing resources, and Mark will continue to talk more with Sherry Boeger in the Employee Assistance Office about further communications in November and December.
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c), and (f) to Discuss Appointments to the Immigration and International Issues Committee, Professional Development and Recognition Committee, and Nomination to the Academic Staff Appeals Committee (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
· Appointments and Nomination – for vote
Motion to nominate Heather Reese to the Academic Staff Appeals Committee and to appoint Felix Savino to the Immigration and International Issues Committee and Ilia Guzei to the Professional Development and Recognition Committee (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
· November Assembly Agenda – for vote
Motion to approve the November Assembly Agenda (Shapiro). Seconded. Approved.
· Topics for Guests
ATP: updates on hiring and possible building of an office for the project
CIO: possibility of funding cellular service for employees.
Meeting adjourned at 4:31 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff