Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 06-24-21
2:00 – 4:15 p.m. Thursday, June 24, 2021
Members Present: Donna Cole; Tim Dalby, chair; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Rob Cramer, John Horn, Charlie Hoslet, Angela Kita, Crystal Potts
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.
The minutes of June 17 were approved.
Guest: Rob Cramer, Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Interim Vice Chancellor Cramer reported on the progress in planning for the fall semester. There continue to be encouraging numbers on vaccination within Dane County, and 74% of employees have self-reported their vaccination status according to University Health Services. Housing is doing a survey of incoming students, and the initial results are encouraging. The hope is to have a fall semester that is more similar to fall 2019. There is also communication in process to transition slowly away from social distancing (e.g. removing plexiglass barriers in certain areas with guidance from Environmental Health and Safety). Individuals who are more comfortable wearing masks are encouraged to continue doing so. University Health Services will be launching a MyUHS app to replace SaferBadgers, particularly for students.
Many initiatives were underway when Interim Vice Chancellor Cramer stepped in, and he is trying to keep those moving forward. He is working with UW System and the State of Wisconsin Investment Board to improve revenue generation through better investment of existing monies. He is also working with Chief Information Officer Lois Brooks to continue to improve the institution’s cybersecurity posture. It is also important to keep moving forward with equity, inclusion, and diversity work in the Finance and Administration unit, and he has spent time with the VCFA EID group to get up to speed on their work. Moving the work of the Revenue Innovation Study Group forward is also a priority. He will be going to the Board of Regents for approval of a memorandum of understanding with University Research Park to be able to provide better long-term returns to campus from some of the real estate parcels there. Colleagues in Facilities Planning and Management and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education are collaborating to put a program in place for lab renovations. ATP is another substantial priority. Finally, campus is preparing for a large freshman class in addition to our returning students.
Regarding the budget, there were a number of databases that former Vice Chancellor Heller was interested in using to get a sense of where we are vis-à-vis other institutions, and the Budget Office is continuing to look at these. Looking at the budget passed by the Joint Committee on Finance, most of what was requested was approved in terms of deferred maintenance, but we still need to do more to invest and think about the spaces we want to preserve and maintain, as well as think about how we set those spaces up for hybrid work. The Campus Planning Committee will be looking at these issues as well, and the Sustainability Advisory Council will be bringing its recommendations forward this summer, with action plans to follow.
Responding to questions about ShopUW+, there will be a review of what’s working well and what could be working better sometime in late summer or early fall. There is also careful thought around capacity building in diversity, equity, and inclusion, and how VCFA units can partner with DDEEA. Work on Van Hise will be continuing into the fall, with some classes being relocated and some employees working remotely due to the repairs.
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, reported that the date for removal of distancing and masking requirements will be August 9, which coincides with the end of summer session. Of students who have responded to the survey from Housing, 95% have indicated they are already or will be vaccinated by the start of the semester, and we continue to see high vaccination rates among employees. Beginning in the fall, athletic events will be resuming at full capacity. As was previously mentioned, Van Hise repairs will impact a number of courses held there, with particular impacts to language courses. Staff have been encouraged to stay remote where possible.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported that UW System Administration issued a response to ASEC and the University Committee’s letter on concerns regarding the single payroll transition. There will be upcoming changes to the remote work policy that include clinical faculty being treated in similar fashion to faculty, as well as clearer emphasis on flexible work schedule policies remaining in effect for academic and university staff. Jake provided a link to an OHR website on remote work and requested feedback from ASEC. A draft of language on electronic meetings has also been provided to the Office of Legal Affairs for review. From there, it will go to the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee before coming to ASEC.
Stephanie Elkins reported that the Communications Committee is continuing its work with the Secretary’s office on the academic staff website and are discussing different approaches on providing information to academic staff.
Guests: Charlie Hoslet, Vice Chancellor for University Relations; and Crystal Potts, Director of State Relations
We are coming to the end of the current biennial state budget process. University Relations has been working closely with ASPRO, PROFS, the UW Foundation and other stakeholders throughout the process. A number of items that were in the Governor’s proposal were not approved in the Joint Committee on Finance. These were largely policy issues, including language that would allow UW-Madison to better manage working capital and giving the Board of Regents borrowing and bonding authority. The hope is that some of these issues will be taken up as separate legislation. The session will likely go through next February or March, and we are working with colleagues within UW System and the Legislature to move these issues forward.
The Governor introduced his operating and capital budget in February and March and then submitted it to the Joint Committee on Finance. The committee finished its action on the budget last week. The Legislative Reference Bureau is drafting the bill currently. The Assembly will take up the bill on Tuesday, and the Senate will take it up on Wednesday, with the bill going to the Governor by July 1. Governor Evers has significant line item veto authority, so there are several possibilities on how the budget might proceed once it reaches him. The operating budget request from UW System was $95.7 million, with a 2%/2.5% pay plan. Governor Evers’ proposal was $191 million with a 2%/2% pay plan. The Joint Committee on Finance reduced the proposal to $8.25 million and a 2%/2% pay plan, with funding included for Extension and the Freshwater Collaborative. In-state undergraduate tuition authority was also returned to the Board of Regents. For the capital budget, the committee allocated $629 million, with UW’s share to be determined. The L&S academic building request was included, as was money for the Engineering Drive utilities project. Funding for a new UW-Madison Engineering Building was not included.
On the question of separate legislative items, there are three things to pursue: management of our working capital, looking at the MN/WI tuition reciprocity agreement with respect to differential campus impacts of reciprocity, and short-term borrowing authority.
· Topics for Guests
IVCFA: lessons learned on emergency response planning; deferred maintenance
Provost: how will Juneteenth be acknowledged by the university going forward; policy on synchronous hybrid classroom
OHR: follow-up on 2.0 FTE supervisory requirement; single pay
Meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff