ACADEMIC STAFF ASSEMBLY MEETING MINUTES
272 Bascom Hall
Monday, November 14, 2022
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Provost Karl Scholz called the meeting to order at 3:32 p.m.
Guest: Jennifer Mnookin, Chancellor
Chancellor Mnookin thanked the Assembly and ASEC for their service in governance and recognized new Assembly representatives and alternates. Chancellor Mnookin is slightly more than three months into her role, and she has spent some time traveling around the state to understand our statewide impact, including visits to a fruit research station, the Dairy Innovation Hub, Wausau for its work with the UniverCity Year Program, and to the Menomonee and Ho-Chunk Nations. She has met hundreds of business and community leaders across the state, many of whom are eager to work with us. She has also met with a number of alums who continue to be engaged in supporting the institution. She has met with 30 legislators on both sides of the aisle and has heard from them about what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. In addition to these, she has spent most of her time on campus and around Madison, meeting and talking with as many people as possible to understand the essential parts of the institution’s DNA and areas for more ambitious transformations. Chancellor Mnookin encouraged everyone to provide feedback in these areas via the Office of the Chancellor’s website.
UW-Madison admitted the largest freshman class in our history, with 8600 students from a record-breaking 60,000 applicants. She thanked academic staff for finding creative ways to meet the increased needs of the incoming class. We are aiming next year for a smaller incoming class size. The new class is also the most racially diverse in our history, with 31% of our entering freshmen as students of color and half of those as underrepresented students of color. We have had a 50% increase of underrepresented students of color in the freshman class as compared to three years ago. We hired 1,711 new academic staff members in the last fiscal year, which is an increase of approximately 600 as compared to the previous year.
Chancellor Mnookin discussed the recent events with Go Big Read author Clint Smith and the keynote from Tiya Miles at the Diversity Forum, two wonderful examples of intellectual engagements for our students and our community. She commented on how we are in a moment of partisan divide in support for higher education, which is concerning. This is a national issue that we need to be attentive to, and we need to be thinking about how universities can play a role of connection across difference. There is also tension between free speech and a sense of inclusion and belonging, and it is important to hold onto both of these values.
The midterm elections just took place, and students involved in the Badgers Vote Coalition meant that there was a strong showing at the ballot box. We were also named one of the top 10 public universities in U.S. News and World Report. A new study on the concentration of tenure track faculty produced by a small set of institutions found that one in eight tenure-track faculty come from five universities. UW-Madison is one of those five universities.
We are going into state budget season. The Regents have put forward a strong budget proposal, with the Engineering Building being the top building priority in the System budget. They have also requested better employee compensation, with 4% increases for each year of the biennium. We are also trying to find a pathway for program revenue bonding. The Regents’ proposal is the first step in the process. Chancellor Mnookin will be working closely with President Rothman on advocating for the budget and other issues.
Returning to her two questions about what is essential to the DNA of the institution and what ideas there are for more ambitious transformation, Chancellor Mnookin has received consistent feedback on things we should not change, including the Wisconsin Idea and commitment to public service, the Wisconsin Experience, preserving Bucky’s Tuition Promise, and preserving the role of shared governance. Areas for change include calls for more robust diversity among staff and broader definitions of diversity, further ways to support high impact teaching, how we can do more in the area of sustainability, and ideas of supporting employees around benefits. There was a nearly 40% response rate to the Staff Climate Survey, and we are also responding to things that were learned as a result of the Title and Total Compensation Project and looking at the results of the latest compensation exercise.
Guests: Felipe Gacharná and Jana Valeo, Co-Chairs, Ad Hoc Committee on Academic and University Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Presentation of Committee’s Report and Recommendations (ASA #797)
Felipe and Jana presented a summary of the committee’s report. Dovetailing with the Chancellor’s remarks and comments made at the Diversity Forum, the recommendations of the report are in service of creating an environment of belonging. The report provides some data on racial/ethnic makeup of staff groups, as well as comparisons to Big Ten peers where possible, full-time equivalents by employee category, and average annual salary per employee category. Getting access to data also posed some challenges. There are six recommendations that the committee has made: 1) improve collection of and access to employee data and tracking; 2) review compensation, promotion, and progression as an equity issue; 3) collect, analyze, share, and use employee experience data; 4) cultivate more focused and sustained campus-wide recruitment and retention efforts; 5) identify and support the unique needed of vulnerable populations on campus; 6) increase institutional commitment and accountability.
Automatic Consent Business
The Academic Staff Assembly minutes of Monday, October 10, 2022, were approved.
ASEC Chair Mallory Musolf presented the ASEC report. The nomination process for the Academic Staff Excellence Awards will be announced soon. Mallory encouraged attendees to consider nominating their colleagues for these awards. The campus is hosting finalists for the Chief Human Resources Officer this week. Public presentations will occur in person and will be recorded for viewing through Monday, November 21, with feedback on the candidates encouraged. ASEC continues to work on remote work and issues related to TTC with the Office of Human Resources. OHR will present an update on some of these areas at the December Assembly meeting. ASEC is working on three other priorities over the course of this year: 1) diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, which ties into the report of the ad hoc committee and ASEC’s work with a small group of deans on these issues; 2) support for Committees on Academic Staff Issues (CASIs), and 3) campus transportation, including looking at changes in the flex pass option, advocacy with Madison Metro, and understanding how a possible tiered parking cost structure might work.
Jenny Dahlberg presented the ASPRO report. The mid-term elections occurred last week. Jenny encouraged attendees to send her any questions for Kathi Kilgore related to the elections and how the coming session may go. Republicans currently have a supermajority in the State Senate, but that is not the case in the State Assembly. Particularly going into a budget season, it is important to support the activities of ASPRO to ensure that the voice of academic staff is heard by state government. ASPRO is also working on surveys both for members and non-members in the coming months.
Endorsement of Ad Hoc DEI Committee Recommendations (ASA #798)
Stephanie Elkins, ASEC Member, moved the approval of ASA Document #798, endorsing the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic and University Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and thanked the committee for its service. Seconded. Approved.
Provost Scholz attended the morning sessions at the Diversity Forum, “The Power of Remembering: Reclaiming Our Legacies to Imagine New Futures,” and encouraged attendees to go to the next day’s sessions as well. Tied into the theme of this year’s Forum, Provost Scholz also commented on the success of the Public History Project exhibit “Sifting and Reckoning”. There have been more than 7,400 visits to the exhibit, with visitors from 25 countries and 47 states. Provost Scholz commended the work of those involved with the project and encouraged everyone to visit the exhibit before it ends on December 23. Public presentations for the Chief Human Resources Officer are scheduled for 10:00-10:45 at the Pyle Center on Tuesday-Thursday. We are also searching for a new Dean of the International Division. Dean Guido Podestá will be stepping down at the end of the semester, and Barry Gerhart will serve as the interim dean until the new dean is in place. Ellen Sapega is chairing the search committee. We are also in the early stages of a search for a new head of Academic Planning and Institutional Research and the Office of Data and Management Analytics Services. Allison La Tarte is serving as the interim, and we will be doing a national search for that position.
Meeting adjourned at 4:57 pm.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff