Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 08-24-23
2:00 – 4:15 p.m. Thursday, August 24, 2023
128 Bascom Hall
Members Present: Donna Cole; Stephanie Elkins; Alissa Ewer; Julie Hunt Johnson; Albert Muniz, chair; Terry Paape; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron
Guests: Rob Cramer, Jenny Dahlberg, Diane Farsetta, Lesley Fisher, John Horn, Zach Smith
The meeting was called to order at 2:02 p.m.
The minutes of August 17 were approved.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported on the ASPRO Board planning meeting. The current members of the ASPRO Board from UW-Madison will meet with ASEC periodically to keep them updated on various issues. ASEC will review the annual shared governance letter at its next meeting and discuss potential updates. A call for nominations for the Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine will go out to all academic staff next Wednesday. After the redistricting, new Assembly representatives and alternates will receive their appointment letters next week. Jake will be giving a presentation on shared governance to the College of Engineering CASI on September 6.
Donna Cole reported that the School of Medicine and Public Health CASI is increasing its membership to 12 members to provide better representation. They also discussed the recent redistricting for Academic Staff Assembly representation.
Guest: Charles Isbell, Provost
Provost Isbell has been thinking carefully about the organizational structure within the Provost Office. He currently has 32 direct reports and wants to make sure that everyone in his organization is receiving the support and resources they need.
Thinking about administrative measures more broadly, Provost Isbell talked about UW-Madison as a university poised to transform itself over the next several years, with an emphasis on impacting the world through the Wisconsin Idea. He is having conversations on topics such as hiring of faculty and staff, budget modeling and incentives, a Graduate School Dean that has the same direct reporting line as other Deans, and a systems approach to administrative initiatives. Part of these conversations also involves more connections between student services offices to strengthen support for our students.
Regarding ASEC’s discussions about a possible ad hoc committee on ageism, it will be crucial to understand the actual issues at play and, from there, what charge would be most useful and actionable. He also encouraged ASEC to consider what past ad hoc efforts they thought had been particularly successful and to think about what support the Provost Office can provide.
- Update on Discussion Addressing Ageism
Albert, Donna, and Jake met with University Staff Central Committee Chair Terry Fritter, Vice Chair Rebecca Forbes Wank, and Secretary of the University Staff John Lease to discuss a possible partnership on a committee to look at ageism. They discussed various impacts to academic staff and university staff and how a charge might be created collaboratively. Terry and Rebecca will bring this topic up with the full Central Committee to gauge their interest in partnering on a committee.
- September Assembly Agenda
ASEC reviewed the Assembly agenda and will vote to approve it at the next meeting.
ASEC recessed at 3:18pm.
ASEC reconvened at 3:27pm.
Guest: Rob Cramer, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Vice Chancellor Cramer reported that the institution is putting materials together to prepare for whenever the Joint Committee on Employment Relations meets to consider final approval of the state pay plan.
We continue to look at benefits enhancements from TTC, including possibilities for advancing paid parental leave. We are also looking at how our next compensation exercise will be structured as part of our commitment to continue working toward market-informed salaries. Last year’s exercise was a good first step. The institution will also continue working on additional benefits for employees and make progress in defining both current and future career paths. The VCFA organization is piloting a program of 40 hours of professional development per employee per year.
VCFA Director of Strategic Initiatives Paul Seitz met with representatives from the Ho-Chunk Nation to discuss the West Campus District Master Plan. The planning team is also working with UW System on the demolition plan for the Biotron Laboratory, which will go to the Board of Regents for approval this fall. Once students return for the new academic year, there will be additional engagement sessions on the district plan. The team has also begun reaching out to residents at Eagle Heights to understand what they would want to maintain and what changes might be possible. While there are housing opportunities for graduate students and the community, we also want to be respectful of the natural areas in the district. Transportation challenges will be addressed as well.
Vice Chancellor Cramer distributed the most recent report from the Office of Sustainability. There are questions around how we can put a plan in place to move toward carbon neutrality. We are working with the Department of Administration to engage a planning firm to advise us on ways to get to net zero. Our current built environment is efficient but fossil fuel dependent, and significant investments will be required over time. We want to figure out the right path for transition while being mindful of both technological advancements and natural features, such as the lakes. The new CDIS building will be the most sustainable building on campus once it is completed. We are also moving forward with various solar projects, and the pilot composting program diverted 191 tons of food waste from landfills. Additional funding for academic and community activities related to sustainability has been approved through the Nelson Institute. We have also partnered with the City of Madison to purchase 9 electric buses to run on Route 80.
The Board of Regents met on August 22 to approve the operating budget and review the 2022-23 final operating budget. In the 2022-23 actuals, we received 10% of our revenue from general purpose revenue. We have seen a substantial increase in gifts and grants. Looking at the operating budget for Fiscal Year 2024, UW-Madison’s portion of the Systemwide $15.9 million budget cut is $7 million. We will deal with the reduction centrally and then build it into budget planning for 2024-25. Due to our enrollment numbers and finances, UW-Madison’s challenges are very different than the other UW System campuses. On the capital budget side, we continue to work on a path forward for a new Engineering Building, for which there has been broad-based support across the state, as well as the other projects that weren’t enumerated in the state budget.
Vice Chancellor Cramer and his team have been working on refreshing the strategic plan for his organization. He intends to bring that plan to ASEC for feedback in the fall. Themes include safety and security within our current environment. UWPD has worked to expand capacity for training around active threats. Facilities Planning and Management and others are working on building access controls and replacing software for door card readers.
The Administrative Transformation Program continues to work through the testing and training stage. The team is also reviewing the implementation schedule due to the amount of ancillary systems integration, challenges with security mapping, and challenges in staffing. UW-Madison and UW System should have more information at the October Board of Regents meeting on possible extension of the implementation timeline. Any extension would need to coincide with a fiscal year timeline.
- Topics for Guests
Provost: continued conversation on ad hoc committee on ageism; professorial titles; information on promotional tracks he helped put in place for non-tenure track faculty at Georgia Tech
OHR: pay plan/compensation exercise update, paid family leave progress, Compensation Center of Excellence’s plans for creating regular equity/parity/market reviews, thoughts on national grad student landscape and how it relates to our campus and academic staff working with grad students
Meeting adjourned at 4:02 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff