Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 08-19-21
1:55 – 4:45 p.m. Thursday, August 19, 2021
Members Present: Donna Cole; Jenny Dahlberg; Tim Dalby, chair; Stephanie Elkins; Stephanie Jones; Mallory Musolf; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Rebecca Blank, Rob Cramer, Lesley Fisher, Kevin Graeme, John Horn, Katelyn Howen, Angela Kita, Karen Massetti-Moran, Matt Mayrl, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 1:57 p.m.
The minutes of August 5 were approved.
Guest: Rob Cramer, Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Communication on testing protocols for fall was distributed to the campus community yesterday. Public Health Madison and Dane County issued an indoor mask mandate as of today. The start date for UW’s testing protocols is August 30. Changes are anticipated as we move forward, and campus leadership will continue to communicate those changes. ASEC expressed concerns about the lack of specifics around consequences for not following the protocols. There will be check-ins on a weekly basis to ensure that those who need to test are doing so. Individuals who are currently vaccinated can also use campus testing resources.
Regarding deferred maintenance, a substantial number of UW-Madison’s buildings are 25 years old or older, and significant work is needed on some of those buildings. Some of the good news from the last budget regards repair and renovation projects, and UW-Madison is working with UW System to get projects in for funding, which will help some of our older facilities. As we look at longer-term planning for capitol projects, there is also the question of thinking through which buildings can be maintained versus those that might need to be demolished and new buildings built in their place. This connects with some of the recommendations from the Revenue Innovations Study Group regarding the potential for public/private partnerships on certain real estate for academic, research, corporate engagement, and community needs. On the issue of sustainability, newer buildings are well designed with respect to energy efficiency, and recycling of building materials/waste is always a concern. Interim Vice Chancellor Cramer toured several buildings last week with the Secretaries of the Departments of Administration, Financial Institutions, and Safety and Professional Services, talking about ways to partner to move projects forward. For future capitol planning, the idea is to add an intentional layer of sustainability across all projects, and the work of the Sustainability Advisory Council will inform this planning.
Campus leadership is continuing to examine lessons learned from emergency planning around the pandemic. With specific respect to materials (e.g. plexiglass dividers and PPE), the intent is to be deliberate about storage of these materials. Interim Vice Chancellor Cramer will be looking at where we’re at with supplies in the next week.
We continue to make progress with the Administrative Transformation Project. For a pre-award research platform, Huron Research Suite has been recommended to replace WISPER. The hope is to move forward with this recommendation at the October Board of Regents meeting. UW System Administration is overseeing the request-for-proposal process for ATP implementation. Responses were due on August 13, and this will hopefully move forward in October also. Campuses will move forward simultaneously in the ATP process. We will also need to revisit impacts to policies and processes as a result of conversion to Workday, including what existing systems may need to be decommissioned and what training will need to be provided.
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, reported on the recent meeting of the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee, at which changes to ASPP regarding electronic meetings were discussed. At recent meetings of the chiefs of staff, chairs, and secretaries, there have been discussions regarding the search for staff to aid in the ramping up of testing. The Mentoring Committee met on August 13 and is planning for a virtual kickoff event for this year’s Mentor Match Program.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported that Heather L. Reese has been appointed as the interim director of Wisconsin Public Media. The SOAS Office will send out another call for the Electronic Files Working Group to instructional and research staff, extending the deadline for submitting interest. Jake met with the Distinguished Prefix Review Committee to discuss what the distinguished prefix would look like in the post-TTC environment. Jake also met with a small group, including the DRC chair, to discuss planning for impacts to Assembly districts as a result of TTC implementation. ASEC will review a revised draft of the annual shared governance letter at the next meeting.
Stephanie Elkins reported that Heather L. Reese led the recent meeting of the WPM CASI. The group discussed appointments to search and screen committees as well as concerns regarding return to onsite work.
Donna Cole reported that the SMPH CASI discussed issues related to the implementation of the research professor title, as well as communications regarding remote work within the school.
Guest: Rebecca Blank, Chancellor
Chancellor Blank reported on the newly hired members of the senior staff: Rob Cramer as Interim Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, Nancy Lynch as Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, and LaVar Charleston as Chief Diversity Officer.
Regarding enrollment, there was a significant increase in application. Acceptance rates were also higher than expected, resulting in a bigger freshman class than anticipated. This has created some logistical challenges, which the campus is addressing in terms of housing, as well as bringing in additional advisors and UHS staff.
There are a number of substantial administrative initiatives in progress. Title and Total Compensation will hopefully finish soon, and administration is thinking about staff and faculty compensation going forward. It is not yet certain what the total dollars will look like for this effort, but administration is committed to addressing compensation issues for staff. For the Administrative Transformation Project, we have a contract with provider Workday. This project will allow us to be far more effective and efficient in the way we run the university.
The first meeting of the UW System Presidential Search Committee is this Friday. The position has been posted, and this committee has broader faculty and staff representation than the previous one. There will be a listening session at every campus, and two at UW-Madison (on September 30 and October 1). These will be announced soon.
On the topic of return to campus, we should feel good about high vaccination rates, with 89% of all employees vaccinated. We don’t have final numbers for students yet, but high vaccination rates are anticipated for students in the dorms as well. The goal is over 80% on campus overall. There are also high vaccination rates in the county overall. We know that fall is not evolving the way we thought, and we have to be serious about infections. UW announced mandatory indoor masking, and the county has done this as well. Beginning on August 30, weekly testing will be mandatory for those employees and students who don’t report their vaccination status. Since the announcement was released, there have been 1,100 additional statuses recorded. There are no plans at this point to test vaccinated individuals, due to the low numbers of infections among vaccinated individuals. We will be monitoring data on a daily basis.
Accommodations for instructors and remote work for employees are also being looked at. We do not have the services of last year’s testing provider, and the hope is to have most or all tests processed at the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab. There will be 3 testing sites to start, and we will gauge demand in considering whether to open additional sites. Campus will be providing boosters to those who are immunocompromised when they are available. With respect to concerns about those employees with children under 12 who can’t be vaccinated, on the instructional side, accommodations don’t necessarily mean teaching remotely but rather alternative arrangements for the class or alternative work for the instructor. ASEC stressed the need for flexibility on the part of schools/colleges/divisions. More information needs to be collected on usage of the remote work policy, including the number of individuals turned down for remote work agreements. The hope is to have these data by the end of September.
Guests: Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer, and Karen Massetti-Moran, Director of Total Rewards, Office of Human Resources
Previously, there were provisions for using sick leave for situations where children are sent home due to possible COVID exposure. In response to how conditions continue to evolve with the Delta variant, that provision will be reinstated at the end of this month.
OHR conducted one virtual and one in-person TTC forum over the last couple of weeks and received a lot of good feedback from these engagements. Over 600 people joined the virtual forum, and there were over 140 attendees at the in-person session. OHR is looking into issues with some titles that have been reported by employees in terms of inconsistent/incorrect mapping. OHR will address these issues in advance of implementation if possible. Schools, colleges, and divisions are reporting that the employee/supervisor conversations will be completed by September 10 in all areas. OHR has weekly meetings with the HR community to provide the resources that they need, and OHR is still working on the appeals workflow. A question has been raised about seemingly “one-off” titles. In some instances, those titles are in place because the market is driving that information, and this is also in combination with some unique needs in those areas.
We continue to see a large volume of remote work agreements. There have been about 5000 remote work agreements submitted, and very few have been denied. OHR plans to provide ASEC with more granular statistics on remote work usage at a later meeting. OHR has been getting feedback about the need for greater communication and clarification on the difference between workplace flexibility and remote work agreements. There is also the accommodation process that’s occurring primarily with instructors for changing of modalities for instruction. There is a balance between providing flexibilities while honoring the in-person experience that our students want.
Regarding the single payroll transition, OHR is waiting for C-basis employees to cycle through this as well. The overall loan numbers were 781 employees for a total of $1.38 million. Employees have also reported discrepancies in their leave balances, and OHR and the UW System Service Center are investigating the cause of those discrepancies.
Recessed at 4:07 p.m.
Reconvened at 4:10 p.m.
· 2021-22 Liaison Assignments
ASEC finalized its liaison assignments with standing committees and with CASIs for the academic year.
· September Assembly Meeting Agenda
ASEC reviewed the September meeting agenda. OHR will be present to discuss issues related to TTC, remote work, and single pay. ASEC discussed the draft language reviewed by PPPC regarding electronic meetings. ASEC also reviewed a resolution regarding TTC impacts to Assembly districts. There was discussion of a potential resolution similar to ASM’s legislation regarding caste discrimination. ASEC would like to learn more before proceeding. The agenda will be finalized at the next meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 5:04 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff