Faculty Senate Minutes 2023-02-06
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. with voting 155 members present (99 needed for quorum). A memorial resolution was offered for Professor Emeritus Gerald A. Duchon (Faculty Document 3062).
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin announced the establishment of the Rebecca M. Blank Center for Campus History, which will continue and expand on the work of the Public History Project, which is ending this summer. The new center will be housed in the Division of Teaching and Learning in the Office of the Provost. The center’s staff will be charged with educating the campus community about the university’s past in ways that will enrich the curriculum, inform decision making and bolster efforts to foster a more equitable university.
The results of the UW System survey of student attitudes on free speech and free expression were recently released. The survey found that students from across UW System, including UW-Madison, largely feel that their instructors encourage diverse viewpoints in the classroom. A number of students report not feeling comfortable sharing their views on controversial topics, indicating the reaction of peers as the primary reason. The survey data suggests this is more prevalent with conservative students. The survey results did not completely align with the results of surveys conducted on the UW-Madison campus with a completely representative sample of students. In UW-Madison’s most recent survey, conservative students did not report feeling uncomfortable sharing their views, but rather feeling other conservative students didn’t feel comfortable sharing. Chancellor Mnookin sees these results in the context of belonging and making sure all students feel like they belong on campus.
Governor Evers will be announcing his budget proposal on February 15 at 7 pm. UW-Madison’s priorities for this budget and the legislative session include a new engineering building, pay plans for faculty and staff, additional funding to boost educational and research missions, a new athletics facility and flexibility to issue bonds for buildings.
University Committee Chair Lauren Papp reminded senators about a number of searches for leadership positions on campus, including the provost search. She shared that the University Committee continues to meet regularly with administration about topics such as the state budget process and the UW System free speech survey.
During the question period, a faculty senator raised a question regarding the number and disparities of employees who did not receive the play plan increase and expressed concerns over how clearly people were notified of required training in order to qualify for the increase. Patrick Sheehan, chief human resources officer, shared statistics and the OHR process of ensuring faculty were notified of training requirements.
The minutes of the December 5, 2022 meeting were approved by consent. Changes to Faculty Policies and Procedures (FPP) standardizing membership information for the Committee on Disability Access and Inclusion (Faculty Document 3063) were approved by consent.
Professor Beth Larson (Kinesiology, district 31) and Hannah Silber (Industrial and Systems Engineering, academic staff) presented the Committee for Women in the University annual report for 2021-2022 (Faculty Document 3064). Professor Heather Schlesser (Extension, district 117) presented the Kemper K. Knapp Bequest Committee annual report for 2021-2022 (Faculty Document 3065). Professor Fernando Tejedo-Herrero, University Committee member, presented the spring 2023 election candidates for faculty-elected committees (Faculty Document 3066). Professor Lisa Forrest (Surgical Sciences, district 114) presented the Committee on Disability Access and Inclusion annual report for 2021-22 (Faculty Document 3067). There were no questions on these reports.
Professor Lisa Forrest (Surgical Sciences, district 114) moved approval to amend Faculty Policies and Procedures to add a postdoctoral scholar to the Committee on Disability Access and Inclusion membership (Faculty Document 3068). The motion was seconded and approved.
Professor Michael Bernard-Donals, University Committee member, moved approval to amend Faculty Policies and Procedures to remove the reference to UW-Extension from the definition of university faculty (Faculty Document 3069). The motion was approved.
Professor Lauren Papp, University Committee chair, presented a first reading of the 2027-2028 academic calendar (Faculty Document 3070). A faculty senator requested that the religious holiday of Tu BiShvat be added to the list of religious observances. A faculty senator asked a question regarding the alignment of spring break with district schools. A vote on the academic calendar is anticipated at the March meeting.
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin adjourned the meeting at 4:29 p.m.