Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 07-27-23
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, July 27, 2023
53 Bascom Hall
Members Present: Donna Cole, vice chair; Stephanie Elkins; Alissa Ewer; Julie Hunt Johnson; Terry Paape; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Nola Walker
Guests: Steve Ackerman, Rob Cramer, Jenny Dahlberg, Heather Daniels, Lesley Fisher, Denny Hackel, John Horn, Zach Smith, Scott Wildman
The meeting was called to order at 2:01 p.m.
The minutes of July 13 were approved.
Donna Cole, ASEC Vice Chair, had a discussion with the chair and vice chair of the Central Committee regarding ASEC’s conversations about a possible committee to look at ageism. Jake will set up a meeting between ASEC leadership and Central Committee leadership to talk about how the two groups can partner on this issue moving forward.
Donna Cole reported on the recent School of Medicine and Public Health CASI meeting. They are planning on increasing their committee membership to 15 to account for an increase in academic staff within SMPH. The committee also discussed issues with parking assignments and potentially working with Transportation Services to increase signage in parking garages in the area.
- ASEC Orientation
ASEC continued its orientation discussions, which revolved around resolutions, procedure, and meeting expectations.
- 2023-24 ASEC Liaison Assignments
ASEC reviewed open liaison assignments and discussed the expectations of the liaison roles. ASEC plans to finalize these assignments at its meeting on August 3.
Guest: Steve Ackerman, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education
Vice Chancellor Ackerman has worked with the Provost Office to review ASEC’s draft charge for the ad hoc researcher/scientist committee. They are planning on going to the Chancellor for her input before proceeding. Vice Chancellor Ackerman would like to come back to ASEC once the charge is finalized to talk about sending a call out for members of the committee. He also recommended someone from the OVCRGE CASI be involved with the committee.
Turning to Research and Sponsored Programs (RSP), Vice Chancellor Ackerman meets with VCRGE HR on a weekly basis about RSP. They do exit interviews when possible, and HR keeps Vice Chancellor Ackerman updated on the status of open positions. While they are not having difficulty getting applicants, several people have left their positions. RSP is making progress in getting back to pre-pandemic staffing levels. Due to workload and staffing issues, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rob Cramer approved additional contract positions for RSP last spring. RSP also received 5 additional permanent positions. A review of RSP processes and workflows was scheduled to start in June, but there have been delays. This review will be conducted by an outside agency with expertise specific to RSP. Vice Chancellor Ackerman plans to take any review results with budgetary implications to Vice Chancellor Cramer for approval of additional staff as needed. Consultants hired to perform work in RSP are a one-time cost to address immediate workload issues.
Campus is looking at a possible change to the reporting line of the Dean of the Graduate School and carefully considering the advantages and the challenges of such a change. Vice Chancellor Ackerman plans to share more about these discussions at an all-staff meeting on July 31.
Guest: Rob Cramer, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
The state budget signed by the Governor includes a $15.9 million reduction in UW System general purpose revenue in each year of the 2023-2025 biennium. The Board of Regents will decide how much of that cut goes to each campus, and they will meet in August to act on the operating budget. We will be working to figure out how to incorporate Madison’s portion of the base cut across overall revenues for our campus budget. Thinking about long-term impacts, our research program is growing at a strong pace, allowing for increased indirect cost recovery. The previous two years of growth in undergraduate enrollment will also continue to have revenue impacts as those students move toward graduation. We are expecting to see a smaller freshman class for this upcoming year as compared to the previous two. We also continue to look carefully at our enrollment numbers in relation to revenue, and how to continue growth while maintaining quality.
Vice Chancellor Cramer and Chief Diversity Officer LaVar Charleston have talked with individuals in positions supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts to articulate the institution’s continued commitment in these spaces. ASEC encouraged more messaging from a wider variety of leadership around that commitment.
Vice Chancellor Cramer reported that OHR is working with UW System and the Department of Administration on the pay plan requests, which go to the Joint Committee on Employment Relations for final approval of the 4% increase effective July 1, 2023, and the subsequent 2% increase effective July 1, 2024. Efforts also continue on getting approval for a new Engineering building and other important capital projects that were not enumerated in the finalized state budget.
There has been recent focus on the travel reimbursement process. Business Services is trying to spend more time with schools/colleges/divisions to help them understand current travel policies and to ensure we’re not creating additional burden. More broadly, campus is also looking at cash management practices to maximize interest earnings.
UW-Madison and UW System are entering stages of testing and training for the Administrative Transformation Program, looking at end-to-end business processes. A Workday Walkthrough session is scheduled for August 10. At the last Board of Regents meeting, Steven Hopper from UW System Administration reported concerns on the integration of ancillary systems with Workday. The Board will be presented options for addressing these at the October meeting.
- HR Policy Review
As part of the process of putting policies into the Policy Library, a number of OHR policies are being reviewed and revised as necessary. The Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee is reviewing these policies as they come forward. ASEC provided input on policies regarding salary adjustments, compensation structure and pay upon appointment, and children in the workplace.
- Topics for Guests
Chancellor: discussion of RSP; follow-up on the Instagram incident from early summer and lessons learned from that; communication to staff working in DEI spaces; thoughts on working with the legislature now having gone through a budget cycle
OHR: feedback on child care info from LifeMatters; transition of catastrophic leave program to Workday System; job security; equitable distribution of access to professional development funding across academic staff; update on new benefits as part of TTC phase 2 (e.g., tuition reimbursement)
Meeting adjourned at 4:34 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff