Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 02-18-21
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, February 18, 2021
Members Present: Donna Cole; Jenny Dahlberg; Tim Dalby, chair; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Lotus Buckner, Lesley Fisher, Angela Kita, Karen Massetti-Moran, Lori Reesor, Karl Scholz, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:02 p.m.
The minutes of February 4 and February 11 were approved.
Guest: Lori Reesor, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Vice Chancellor Reesor reported that the Office of Student Financial Aid is in the process of allocating $9.9 million to students in need due to impacts as a result of the pandemic. Combined with last year’s funding, this comes to almost $20 million in direct aid. The Office of Student Financial Aid has implemented this with the first batch of funding going to Pell-eligible undergraduates with grants in the amount of $1,000. The rest of the funds will be available on a per request basis with a simple application. Financial Aid will make a decision and award funds within 1-3 business days. There have been 1,200 additional requests since the funding announcement was released. Federal funding is limited to certain students, but campus will also be providing other funding so that all students will be eligible for funds. Other resources for students include a student food pantry, $75 of credit for food on Wiscards, free meals available from the Union, and other emergency grants managed by Financial Aid and the Dean of Students Office. Graduate students can also apply for grants. Every student who got financial aid got a notice around this, and there has also been communication via email and social media.
COVID testing is going well overall. Student Affairs has received feedback indicating that students appreciate the intentionality with the twice weekly testing. There were glitches early on, and we are now averaging about 6,000 tests per day. We are now entering the compliance stage for our students. The majority of students are following instructions. Student Affairs is following up on some off-campus students who are not getting tested but are required to.
On the topic of mental health, there is a Mental Health Summit planned for March 11 and 12. There will be a keynote presentation from Dr. Joy Harden Bradford the evening of March 11. Student Affairs is partnering with RecWell, University Health Services, and the Center for Healthy Minds in hosting this event. For the week following, the idea is to ask everyone at the university to focus on wellness that week in whatever ways make sense, so that we can all do what we can to give ourselves time to breathe and reflect. While the summit is geared more toward students, faculty and staff are welcome. The new Director of Health Services, Dr. Sarah Nolan, continues to work on a variety of issues in this space, including the impact of certain policies on mental health. There is also an initiative to look at rising sophomores and how they are supported, due to them not having a typical in-person experience their freshman year. Experiences of underrepresented students and incoming freshmen are also being looked at.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz reported that the Pandemic Academic Policy Task Force has met twice so far. There is a listening session that is scheduled for this evening. There have been discussions about moving the drop deadline from week 9 to week 12. There have also been productive conversations about values and principles that will guide further discussions on grading, as well as lessons learned from this experience being carried forward into future work. Grade distribution in fall looked like most other fall semesters. D and F rates were more or less what they were every other fall, and withdrawal rates looked about the same as every other semester as well. Course evaluations, when aggregated by department, were also the same as other falls. A higher number of students than was forecast also returned this spring.
On the topic of plans for instructional continuity due to potential spikes in virus activity, this is a timely question. While campus is not seeing the spikes that caused the shutdown last fall, there is an increase that is concerning. In dorms where there are elevated case counts, those dorms are going to every other day testing. Off-campus students continue to be a challenge in this space, and administration is watching current case counts carefully. There is also a survey for faculty and academic staff instructors that will be distributed soon, asking about workload and stresses for instructors.
ASEC inquired about lessons learned from emergency online teaching and how hybrid teaching might apply in the future. We want to be supportive of teaching in modalities that best meet the learning objectives of the course. To that end, we need to understand our students experiences, looking at data from the fall survey and spring check-in along with regular course evaluations, as well as learning from fellow instructors. There are Teaching and Learning Symposium sessions on building interaction and supporting first-year students, and there are plans to convene a set of pandemic teaching and learning debriefing sessions in May.
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, reported that he, Mallory, Jenny and Jake met with Mark Walters for their monthly meeting to discuss TTC, single pay, and some of the other issues that will be discussed later in the meeting. From the meeting of the chiefs of staff, governance chairs, and secretaries, topics included continuing improvements in turnaround times for testing and continued discussion about vaccine administration. There was discussion about whether to issue a formal statement regarding the ASM legislation on its COVID Relief Fund proposal. ASEC decided against a formal statement, and Tim will follow up on this at the next meeting of the shared governance chairs.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported that the first Academic Staff Chat of the semester was held earlier in the day. It concerned building rapport with students in a virtual environment, and there was a good discussion. He discussed the announcement related to Governor Evers’ budget proposal as pertained to UW System. Town halls were announced for both the divestment resolution before the Assembly as well as the single payroll initiative. Finally, ASEC will meet with representatives of the Disability Access and Inclusion Committee and others to discuss a draft Digital Accessibility Policy in the coming weeks.
Jenny Dahlberg reported that the ASPRO Board will be meeting on Friday to discuss Governor Evers’ budget proposal.
Deb Shapiro reported on the L&S CASI meeting, where discussion revolved around lessons learned from the pandemic and how/whether to resume in-person meetings, as well as vacation carryover. The TTC Governance Advisory Group has resumed regular meetings.
Leslie Petty reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic and University Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has divided into three subcommittees to collect and assess data, to reach out to subject matter experts on recruitment and retention, and to benchmark with other higher education institutions.
Donna Cole reported on the SMPH CASI discussion regarding the School’s guidelines for Research Professor. She also discussed the work of the Engineering CASI with Zach Smith.
Guests: Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer; Karen Massetti-Moran, Director of Total Rewards, Office of Human Resources; and Lotus Buckner, Director of Talent Management, Office of Human Resources
Mark introduced Lotus Buckner as OHR’s new Director of Talent Management. Karen and Lotus both discussed what areas fell into their respective portfolios. Karen has oversight of HRS, benefits counseling, benefits processing, payroll, International Faculty and Staff Services, the TTC Project, and the TTC strategy team. On the Talent Management side, Lotus’ portfolio consists of talent acquisition and onboarding; Workforce Relations; Learning & Talent Development; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Employee Experience, and Wellbeing; Cultural Linguistic Services, and the Communities of Practice.
Regarding policy on vaccines, there was a vaccination policy created 2-3 years ago that primarily dealt with yellow fever. This was more specific to the research area, and OHR wasn’t involved in the review of the policy. The policy has been pulled back so it can be modernized to our current situation. There are not plans to make the vaccination mandatory, but it will be strongly encouraged.
On the topic of vacation carryover, further carryover will not be allowed for FY19 or FY20. OHR has been getting feedback in this area, and there is consideration toward moving the deadline for use of this time from June 30 to August 31. There is dialogue with UW System about this, and there will hopefully be news on this in the near future.
OHR has started to ramp up engagements with the various groups working on TTC and is reaching out to the former TTC-related collaboration groups. The implementation date has not been set yet, but Mark and Karen have been giving TTC updates in a number of venues. Preparation for manager training and review of those materials are occurring.
ASEC recessed at 4:02 p.m.
ASEC reconvened at 4:05 p.m.
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to Discuss Nominating Committee Slate and Appointment to the Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Dahlberg). Seconded. Approved.
· Appointment – for vote
Motion to appoint Allison Zenke to the Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee (Dahlberg). Seconded. Approved.
· March Assembly Agenda
ASEC discussed potential topics for the Chancellor to raise in her address to the Assembly. Jake will also invite Missy Nergard and Alex Frank for a brief presentation on the work of the Sustainability Advisory Council
· Topics for Guests
Provost: follow-up on initiatives when he started in the position; impacts of virus variant on campus operations
VCFA: follow-up on P2P concerns and ATP process engaging end users, plans for use of Pyle Center for course offerings
Meeting adjourned at 4:38 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff