ACADEMIC STAFF ASSEMBLY MEETING MINUTES
272 Bascom Hall
Monday, February 13, 2023
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Provost Karl Scholz called the meeting to order at 3:31 p.m.
Memorial Resolution for Kristofer Dressler (ASA #802)
Greg Nellis presented the memorial resolution for Kristofer Dressler.
Memorial Resolution for Zhumin Zhang (ASA #803)
Sue Carlson presented the memorial resolution for Zhumin Zhang.
Guest: Missy Nergard, Director, Office of Sustainability
UW-Madison participates in the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment, and Rating System (STARS) program and has so far completed two STARS assessments for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2021. UW-Madison received silver ratings in both assessments, with a higher silver rating in FY21 reflecting incremental progress that the institution has made. The Sustainability Advisory Council has done a gap analysis to understand where our opportunities are. UW will submit again in 2025 with the goal of achieving a gold rating in the next assessment. The rating system uses 63 indicators across the areas of academics, engagement, operations, and planning and administration. The data collected by the Office are available for public consumption, and the office has created a dashboard to view these data. The site currently has operations data, and the Office of Sustainability is in the process of loading the rest of the data. Another highlight from the previous year is that the Lakeshore Nature Preserve joined the Office in May 2022, which is an important area for teaching, research, and respite for our community. The most common question the Office of Sustainability gets is about composting on campus. The commercial compost facility in the community stopped accepting food waste, which put an end to our program. The Office of Sustainability is working with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the West Madison Ag Station to pilot a composting program with dining facilities on campus. This pilot program will develop a workable system in anticipation of a new commercial compost facility being available in the future. Other highlights include: approval for installation of a solar array at the Kegonsa Research Campus; the inaugural Sustainability Symposium; and funding derived from utility savings to do sustainability pilot projects that provide experiential learning for our students.
Guest: Joshua Schiffman, Director, Employee Assistance Office
The Employee Assistance Office (EAO) provides confidential counseling on both personal and work-related concerns. The Office consists of Joshua Schiffman as the director, and counselors Hailey Krueger and Jamesetta Fousek. In addition to confidential counseling, EAO also provides management consultation sessions, department/unit-level training sessions in areas like effective communication and stress management, and crisis/grief response sessions. EAO offers in-person counseling sessions, virtual sessions, and a space in their office where visitors can meet virtually with counselors to ensure those visitors have both a private space and virtual means to receive counseling. For 2021-22, 56% of EAO clients were academic staff. The number of visits overall has increased compared to last year. The largest percentage of visits were related to personal concerns. The office saw a substantial decrease in work-related issues, as well as an increase in management consultations. The university also contracts with LifeMatters to provide 24-hour counseling services, which provides the same confidential problem-solving resources that EAO provides, as well as some legal and financial services. All employees and family members are eligible for EAO’s services. EAO is currently located at the Lowell Center but will be moving to WARF this summer.
Guest: Gavin Luter, Managing Director, UniverCity Alliance
The UniverCity Alliance helps make UW-Madison more accessible to local governments for collaborative problem-solving. The program connects existing courses and other university structures to local governments over an academic year to work on large-scale projects. An institution-wide network of schools, colleges, divisions, and departments form the advisory board for the UniverCity Alliance. UW asks local governments what they need help on, helps them scope projects over the course of a year, and matches those projects with solution-based courses. UW-Madison students work on issues and questions related to those projects, and then governmental partners receive research, reports, designs, and implementation support. To date, the UniverCity Alliance has worked with over 30 communities on projects, including flood mitigation, marketing and communications plans, facilities planning, workforce development, and housing availability/affordability. Academic staff are encouraged to get involved by applying for their classes or programs to work with UniverCity Alliance, collaboration on field placements or internships, applying professional knowledge to community needs, and community-based learning designations through the Morgridge Center.
Automatic Consent Business
The Academic Staff Assembly minutes of Monday, December 12, 2022, were approved.
ASEC Chair Mallory Musolf presented the ASEC report. Applications are accepted through March 20 for the Academic Staff Professional Development Grant Program. Registration is open through March 20 for this year’s Academic Staff Institute, which will be held on April 4. Public History Project Director Kacie Lucchini Butcher will provide the keynote address for that event. Mallory reported on the Administrative Transformation Program (ATP), which seeks to standardize business processes across HR, finance, and research administration. The Research Administration Modernization Project (RAMP) will be implemented this summer, and the Workday system will go live in July 2024 for HR and finance. Mallory encouraged representatives to bring forward any concerns or questions from their districts, and ASEC will be engaging more regularly in the coming months with those working on ATP.
Jenny Dahlberg presented the ASPRO report. ASPRO helps provide lobbying support for academic staff across all of UW System. Signing up for membership now will provide free admission to this year’s Academic Staff Institute. Governor Evers will be introducing his budget proposal on February 15. The Board of Regents included full funding for 4% pay plan increases in each of the next two years. The Governor’s Office and the Legislature will be working on the budget over the next several months, with a finalized budget hopefully going to the Joint Finance Committee in June. ASPRO will keep track of the budget and other legislation that impacts academic staff. On February 22, PROFS and ASPRO are co-hosting a forum on free speech on campus with UW System President Jay Rothman, State Senator Rachel Cabral-Guevara, and Political Science Professors Howard Schweber and Alex Tahk.
Alison Rice, Nominating Committee Co-Chair, presented the Academic Staff Executive Committee slate (ASA #804). Those running for election include Sara Alva Lizarraga, Monique Bryson, Albert Muniz, Terry Paape, and Nola Walker. The petition process for adding candidates to the slate will be sent out after the Assembly meeting.
The Campus Diversity and Climate Committee annual report was deferred to the next meeting.
Resolution on Academic Staff Morale (ASA #806)
Albert Muniz, ASEC Member, presented the Resolution on Academic Staff Morale for a first reading. The resolution documents numerous changes and stresses that have negatively impacted academic staff morale over the last three years. It also acknowledges areas where progress has been made. The resolution asks for prioritization of salary improvement, promotion of workplace flexibilities and equitable use of remote work, an institutional survey on the availability and effectiveness of remote work, and continued work with governance to address morale issues, including increased attention to conditions for marginalized populations. There was discussion on ensuring that the language in the resolution acknowledges that the pandemic is still ongoing, retitling the resolution to focus on workplace conditions, consideration of non-101/104 staff for compensation exercises, greater emphasis on inflation as a factor, thinking about how the positive aspects of the Staff Climate Survey results are represented, and necessary attention to salary grades without maxima. Representatives and alternates were invited to submit any other comments to ASEC or the Secretary’s office by March 1. ASEC will bring the resolution back to the Assembly in March for a vote.
Provost Scholz acknowledged the recent tragedy in Turkey and Syria, which has had profoundly heartbreaking loss of life and destruction, and he expressed his deepest sympathies to all those directly and indirectly affected. Campus has worked to support the Madison Association of Turkish Students and Muslim Student Association, with the Council Room in Memorial Union identified for those who wish to gather in support and solidarity. The Dean of Students Office, UHS, and the International Division are ready to provide support as needed. UW-Madison recently announced the Rebecca M. Blank Center for Campus History, which is an extension of the Public History Project. The Center will be a permanent part of the Division of Teaching and Learning and will educate the campus community about the university’s past in ways that will enrich the curriculum, inform administrative decisions, and bolster efforts to make a more equitable university. The results of the UW System survey on campus free speech were released. The survey affirms that a substantial majority of students at UW-Madison and across UW System largely believe that instructors encourage diverse viewpoints in the classroom. Many students across the political spectrum also reported that they don’t express their views on controversial topics in class due to concern about peer reaction. A search for a new Vice Provost for Libraries will be starting soon. Associate University Librarians Lesley Moyo and Lee Konrad have been appointed in a joint interim capacity until the position is filled. We are also searching for a new Vice Provost for Data, Academic Planning, and Institutional Research, a Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications, and a new Provost. Provost Scholz congratulated Patrick Sheehan on his appointment as the new Chief Human Resources Officer. At the February Board of Regents meeting, Chancellor Mnookin announced the Bucky’s Pell Pathway program, which continues to expand support for eligible students from low-income Wisconsin households by providing full financial need through a combination of grants, scholarships, and work-study programs without loans. Provost Scholz encouraged nominations from the academic staff for the Award for Mentoring Undergraduates in Scholarly, Research, and Creative Activities. The deadline for applications is March 10. A committee report came out last semester that recommended the creation of a paid parental leave benefit for faculty and staff. Conversations are still in progress on this topic in conjunction with the state.
Meeting adjourned at 4:53 pm.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff