Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 12-01-22
1:55 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, December 1, 2022
53 Bascom Hall
Members Present: Donna Cole; Tim Dalby; Stephanie Elkins; Alissa Ewer; Stephanie Jones; Albert Muniz; Mallory Musolf, chair; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron
Guests: Rob Cramer, Luisa Gerasimo, John Horn, Crystal Potts, Karl Scholz
The meeting was called to order at 1:56 p.m.
The minutes of November 10 were approved.
Guest: Crystal Potts, Director of State Relations
In terms of the statewide election, Governor Evers won with larger margin than last campaign. Sara Rodriguez is the new lieutenant governor, and the Office of State Relations is interested in strengthening our relationships with them. We see divided government again, with comfortable majorities in the State Senate and the State Assembly. There are about 30 new senators and representatives in the Legislature, and UW-Madison and UW System government relations staff have traveled across the state to meet with them.
We are in a budget year. The Board of Regents submitted the UW System budget request in November. In February, the Governor will introduce his budget proposal, and he will release the capital budget in March. The Joint Finance Committee then modifies those budgets, and the Assembly and Senate act on them. Depending on whether the Legislature writes its own budget proposal, the Governor signs the budgets and issues vetoes. UW-Madison State Relations works closely with UW System Government Relations, and they are always open to feedback on ways to strengthen that relationship. UW-Madison also has its own lobby day at the Capitol each year to tap into the breadth of activity at the university and showcase our research and all the good that the institution is doing for the state.
Three of UW-Madison’s priorities in the state budget are an increase in general purpose revenue, a fully funded pay plan of 4% in each year of the biennium, and the ability for bonding authority. For the capital budget, the top priority is the new Engineering building, for which there has already been $150 million in private fundraising. There is also a new practice facility for Athletics, which uses residual bonding from other projects and no taxpayer dollars.
Chancellor Mnookin has so far met with Governor Evers, four cabinet secretaries, and 27 legislators, and she will continue these meetings in 2023. She is also engaged with alumni, doing caucus events with the Wisconsin Alumni Association and holding alumni town halls on budget involvement. We are also engaging several industry partners as well, and State Relations continues to work with both ASPRO and PROFS on joint lobbying at the Capitol.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz discussed ways to lessen the challenges of transitioning to college for incoming freshmen that would also be consistent with the institution’s efforts in creating a culture of belonging. One possibility is the use of first year, first semester shadow grading, in which the instructor operates a course as they always would. When a grade is transcripted, it would be as a pass/fail in that first semester. Both MIT and Wellesley College do this now. ASEC expressed general favor for such a possibility, acknowledging that there would need to be infrastructure put in place to support it.
Provost Scholz reported that news from the Staff Climate Survey is good in general, and a Tableau visualization of the data should be available soon. Unfortunately, instances of hostile and intimidating behavior are higher than expected.
Guest: Rob Cramer, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Campus is preparing for the development of the 2023-24 annual budget. Information went out to deans and directors, and Vice Chancellor Cramer will be scheduling time with them and talking through overall timelines with the Chancellor, with figures submitted to UW System in late March or early April for approval by the Board of Regents. OHR and the Budget Office are looking at both data from TTC and faculty data, as well as graduate students. They are also looking at different ways to help non-101/104 units develop their budgets. The 4%/4% pay plan in the Board’s 2023-25 budget proposal was proposed as fully funded as well. OHR is putting together a long-term compensation strategy and will bring this to governance for consultation. We also want to make sure we don’t lose ground on faculty salaries.
There is continued interest in the budget model, and Vice Chancellor Cramer and Associate Vice Chancellor David Murphy are looking at other possibilities, just as other institutions in the Big 10 are looking at their models. The incremental model that is currently in place creates some challenges, but we need to spend time reflecting on the principles behind the budget model, as well as our relationship to the UW System and to state government.
We are allocating $1 million for increases to graduate student stipends. The Graduate School is constantly monitoring this space. For the next cycle, stipends are going up by 10%, which is a significant investment. We are able to make these investments due to revenue growth as well as being more attentive to our expenses. The West Campus District Plan and the forthcoming East Campus District Plan will be helpful in this space as well. ASEC raised concerns in the research space regarding the 10% increase and needing more advance conversations about such increases to ensure that research dollars are best positioned to incorporate them.
Regarding campus buildings, we have conducted drone reviews of 17 buildings. While we found things that needed to be addressed, none of those were deemed to be emergency issues. We are updating our all-agency requests in the budget to account for these. We plan to do these audits every other year, and Facilities Planning and Management are also conducting a deeper review of building envelopes and systems as we think about our next capital budget requests.
ASEC shared feedback on the updates to the flex parking program. There is confusion around the new pricing structure that is impacting individuals in gated lots. While the price is advertised as $8-$12, employees who are in the lot later than 4:30pm end up paying more. Employees are leaving lots to find different parking after that time, which creates disruption. The suggestion was to change messaging around the rates to make the pricing structure clearer, as well as to make the program more service-oriented for employees.
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c), and (f) to Discuss Nominations to the Provost Search and Screen Committee (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
- Nominations– for vote
Motion to nominate Felipe Gacharná, Binnu Palta Hill, Anna Lewis, and Abbey Thompson to the Provost Search and Screen Committee (Cole). Seconded. Approved.
Mallory Musolf, ASEC Chair, reported that she and Jake met with members of the Teaching Academy about the possibility of establishing a relationship between the Teaching Academy and the Academic Staff Assembly. The Teaching Academy used to have a formal connection with the Faculty Senate before it was moved into the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning’s organization. They are looking for opportunities to connect and educate people as to the services that they provide. Ideas that were discussed include presentation of annual reports to the Assembly, discussions with ASEC, and a presentation at the Academic Staff Institute.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported that the first Academic Staff Chat of this academic year was held on November 28. The topic was “Dealing with Isolation in the Workplace.” Preliminary results of the Staff Climate Survey are located on the survey webpage, and the Tableau visualization is due to be ready on December 9. There will be a search for a new Vice Chancellor position for University Communications and Marketing. Vice Chancellor Hoslet will continue to serve as the Vice Chancellor for University Relations. The finalists for the Chief Human Resources Officer gave public presentations the week of November 14. Jake met with Alice Traore in CTLM regarding possible DEI sessions for ASEC, and they will be continuing their discussions on this topic in the near future. ASEC will begin its discussion of next year’s Nominating Committee slate at the next meeting.
Stephanie Elkins provided an update on the Wisconsin Public Media CASI. WPM has a number of recruitments underway. Work on a land acknowledgment statement for use in radio and television broadcasts is in the process of being presented at various stakeholder meetings.
Donna Cole reported that the School of Medicine and Public Health CASI met with Patrick Kass, Director of Transportation Services, to discuss issues related to parking. The CASI also discussed the practice of using video interviews in searches.
Alissa Ewer reported on the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education CASI. Vice Chancellor Ackerman talked about the use of the research professor title and encouraged greater use of the title within OVCRGE centers. VCRGE HR Director Julie Karpelenia gave updates on compensation strategy within OVCRGE.
Lindsey Stoddard Cameron reported that the Districting and Representation Committee is continuing to work through districting issues resulting from TTC and is currently looking at individuals with two or more appointments to ensure districting logic is aligned with stable, ongoing appointments.
- December Assembly Meeting Agenda
Motion to approve the December Assembly meeting agenda (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
- Topics for Guests
VPFSA: update on climate survey (preview of Tableau, if possible), HIB group update, from vantage point of her office: mental health initiatives for faculty and staff
OHR: question of when progression will be ready to be shared and how (central vs. s/c/d); preview of ASA topics, including any DCF results available; disposition of TTC appeals and process for new SJDs being added and permanent appeal processes; update on CHRO search (if available); role for experience/duration within position for salary increases question about use of performance review categories (meets, exemplary) and using ratings to minimize potential for performance increases
Meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff