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Academic Staff Assembly Minutes 05-11-20
ACADEMIC STAFF ASSEMBLY MEETING MINUTES
Monday, May 11, 2020
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Provost Karl Scholz called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.
Automatic Consent Business
The Academic Staff Assembly minutes of Monday, April 13, 2020, were approved.
Guests: Rebecca Blank, Chancellor, and Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Chancellor Blank thanked Jenny Dahlberg and Tim Dalby for their service as ASEC chairs during the past academic year, as well as Mallory Musolf for her service as ASEC vice chair. She thanked ASEC and the Assembly for all their work both COVID and non-COVID-related. Academic staff efforts were vital in transitioning instruction to alternative delivery within the span of twelve days. Administration is continuing to develop scenarios for the next academic year for operations and for instruction. UW-Madison has already taken a number of measures to address cost challenges, including salary freezes for reasons other than promotion, a travel freeze, reductions in purchasing, a hiring freeze, and deferral/delay/restructuring of infrastructure projects. These measures are not enough to produce the needed cost savings over the next six months, and so employee furloughs were announced two weeks ago. There are four aspects to the furloughs: progressive, across-the-board furloughs; 15% pay cuts for the senior executive team; a workshare program overseen by Department of Workforce Development. Current estimates show approximately a $120 million loss. The furloughs cover less than 1/3 of this amount, and some is covered by the other actions that have been taken so far. UW-Madison was in a relatively strong financial position coming into the pandemic, and funds that were going to be used to invest in other areas will also be used to cover this loss. The Governor also announced a $70 million lapse for state agencies for fiscal year 2020, and UW System will be cutting $46 million, which is 2/3 of this budget cut.
Vice Chancellor Heller discussed the financial modeling and planning around what the next fiscal year will look like. Ultimately, the current situation is a public health and safety crisis, not a financial crisis. There are parallels on the financial side, and it is difficult to project what will happen. There are questions around when local businesses and auxiliaries can open again, and what will the fall semester look like. He discussed the finance team zeroing in on three scenarios, depending on levels of success in mitigation of the public health issues. The three scenarios of $120 million, $300 million, and $500 million are not intended as specific estimates but rather to give people a sense of the range of the impact. Higher education has not dealt with uncertainty at this scale. Our auxiliary units have already been significantly impacted, as well as slowing in billing activity on some research activities. There is uncertainty in philanthropy as well. The two biggest issues for the year ahead are tuition and the state budget. While the lapse impacts fiscal year 2020, it is unclear when we will know the impacts on fiscal year 2021. Vice Chancellor Heller looks forward to working with the Budget Committee and other shared governance groups to address these difficult and complex issues.
Chancellor Blank acknowledged the hard time that many employees have had in making the transition to remote work and having disruptions at home, and she expressed her appreciation for everyone’s efforts. UW-Madison released a virtual graduation video and successfully graduated almost 10,000 students this year. UW is working on plans to bring the Class of 2020 together when we can gather in large groups again. Chancellor Blank also recognized the 2020 Academic Staff Excellence Award winners: Barbara Lewis, Jerrold Robaidek, Sarah Swenson, Eliot Finkelstein, Laura Hammond, Howard Veregin, Mary Huser, and Lisa Marie Carilli-McCord. She announced that Karl Martin was announced as the new Dean of Extension, transitioning from his interim role. Dean searches for Law and Letters and Science are also moving forward. Finally, there are many planning groups that are working on addressing the many issues before us in the fall.
Assembly Standing Committee Election Results (ASA #734)
Jake Smith, Interim Secretary of the Academic Staff, provided the results of the standing committee elections. Kyle Henderson, Robyn Perrin, and Lori Wilson were elected to the Communications Committee. Kayla Armstrong, Tori Richardson, and Cori Splain were elected to the Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee. Megan Ackerman-Yost and Karla Lemak were elected to the Districting and Representation Committee. Chris Logterman, Justin Sena, and Alex Stark were elected to the Mentoring Committee. Jacob Hahn, Ben Heidke, and Kelly Mallon were elected to the Nominating Committee. Caitlin Cleary, Aaron Crandall, and Nicole Senter were elected to the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee. Nia Norris, Kristina Penniston, Diane Stojanovich, and Andrew Turner were elected to the Professional Development and Recognition Committee. Terms for those elected will start on July 1, 2020, and will end on June 30, 2023.
Tim Dalby, ASEC chair, showed a mockup of the new Wiscard, following up on the resolution passed by the Assembly in February. He expressed ASEC’s support of the recommendations made in the upcoming report from CURAFA. ASEC has also charged an ad hoc committee on diversity, equity and inclusion for academic and university staff, and there will be more to come on this. The work of the Ad Hoc Committee on First Nations Land Acknowledgment for the Academic Staff Assembly continues, and this work may potentially take a different form with a broader campus-wide scope. Tim thanked Jenny Dahlberg and the search and screen committee for producing three finalists for the Secretary of the Academic Staff position, and he thanked everyone involved in the process. He also thanked Assembly Reps and Alts and ASEC colleagues for their work and dedication.
Jenny Dahlberg delivered the ASPRO report and thanked ASPRO members who have contributed to the organization over the last year. ASPRO recognizes that it may be hard to pay additional expenses, and membership and participation in ASPRO matters, possibly now more than ever. ASPRO continues to advocate for academic staff across UW System. The Assembly met to review COVID-19-related items on April 14, but it remains unclear when the Senate will meet. She also mentioned that there is a potential opening on the ASPRO Board.
Marah Curtis, faculty co-chair of the Committee on Women in the University, delivered the annual report of that committee. A highlight is the pulse survey of faculty and academic staff that the committee delivered. The first responses are coming in, and these will inform the work of the committee going forward in the coming year. The committee continues its core work, as well as looking at hostile and intimidating behavior issues.
J.J. Andrews delivered the annual report of the Committee on Undergraduate Recruitment, Admissions, and Financial Aid (CURAFA). J.J. serves as the co-chair of the committee. As a result of its work over the past academic year, the committee produced a report with three recommendations to advance campus-based diversity and inclusion initiatives to improve the experience for underrepresented students at a predominantly white institution: 1) provide necessary support to broaden diversity-based outreach, recruitment, and admissions initiatives; 2) explicitly promote diversity and inclusion in UW-Madison’s mission statement and branding materials as integral aspects of campus culture; 3) increase necessary support for inclusive and diverse campus communities and climate initiatives, which must include resources for existing racial/ethnic student organizations and initiatives.
Resolution to Support UW-Madison DACA Employees (ASA #737)
Lindsay Stoddard Cameron moved that the Academic Staff Assembly approve the resolution. Seconded. Motion approved by unanimous consent.
Provost Scholz reported on the status of the teaching professor and research professor titles. Campus guidelines for those two titles are now complete. The Provost will be assigning the Deans of the schools and colleges to create guidelines within their schools and colleges that are consistent with the campus guidelines. We will be in an entirely online delivery environment for the summer. SOAR will also be transitioning to a remote format. The satisfactory disruption/unsatisfactory disruption grading will not be extended to the summer. Compassionate exemptions may still be made within schools and colleges.
Provost Scholz reflected on the past year and the effect of the pandemic on the spring semester. Nearly 9,000 courses and sections were transformed in a 12-day period to alternative delivery, and this was a truly remarkable accomplishment. We remain the #1 school for providing new volunteers to the Peace Corps, and our students continue to do remarkable things, as do our staff and faculty colleagues. UW Extension and Wisconsin Public Media have transitioned to UW-Madison. Applications to the university remain strong. Provost Scholz also expressed his gratitude to ASEC and to the Academic Staff Assembly for everything that they have been doing during these extraordinary times.
Adjourned at 4:58 pm.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff