ACADEMIC STAFF ASSEMBLY MEETING MINUTES
272 Bascom Hall
Monday, March 13, 2023
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rob Cramer called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.
Guests: Steve Ackerman, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education; and Bill Karpus, Dean of the Graduate School
Vice Chancellor Ackerman talked about the critical role that academic staff play in the research environment at UW-Madison. We have 773 academic staff members who are principal investigators or co-investigators 1,797 active awards. Last month, UW-Madison submitted its numbers for the Higher Education Research and Development Survey. In fiscal year 2021, we had increased 1.2% in our expenditures. We are waiting for the National Science Foundation to verify our numbers for fiscal year 2022, which show an 8% increase. Vice Chancellor Ackerman reported on federal funding requirements coming in the future. The first is NSPM-33, which deals with demonstrating to federal agencies that we can operate a research security program (cybersecurity, export control, mentor training). A work group reviewed these areas in the summer and we appear to be well set up. The second is a push for open data policies. The OVCRGE has collaborated with the Libraries to examine the issues in making research data publicly available. The third requirement is from the National Science Foundation for research mentor training. The National Institutes for Health currently has this in place for training grants, and we are looking at how we can broaden this effectively. OVCRGE monitors federal funding increases and decreases for the research centers in its organization, though some centers focus on non-federal or fee-for-service funding mechanisms. Approximately 46% of the centers’ headcount are comprised of academic staff (758 out of 1677 appointments). Vice Chancellor Ackerman presented a summary of diversity in the centers, with percentages related to race/ethnicity, gender, and age. OVCRGE plans to be more explicit in center and director reviews about what is being done to increase diversity in the centers. There has also been some concern expressed about potential administrative burden in the implementation of research security, open data policies, and mentor training, with the understanding that these areas are highly important.
Dean Karpus provided updates about the Graduate School. The Graduate School is an entity of OVCRGE with 5 administrative offices that execute functions of graduate education on campus: admissions; academic analysis, planning, and assessment; academic services; diversity, inclusion, and funding; and professional development and communication. Reporting on graduate admissions, Dean Karpus stated that we have seen healthy enrollment trending upward over the last 5-6 years. Our Ph.D enrollment remains stable at a time when other institutions are seeing declines. We have roughly 11,000 graduate students, roughly split between master’s and Ph.D candidates. We are making a concerted effort to diversify our graduate student population with programs such as the Summer Research Opportunity Program, bridge programs (e.g., Department of Chemistry), and the Partnership Program in Graduate Excellence (PPGE). The Graduate Student Tracking System, a project started in 2019, has recently onboarded all graduate programs and integrated all graduate program requirements into the Student Information System to check progress toward degree requirements all in one location. The Graduate School’s data team has put together Tableau visualizations that show all of the data collected on graduate students and programs, including time to degree/degree completion, Ph.D career outcomes, and peer institution cross-admit comparison (to see which institutions we may be losing grad student admissions to). The Graduate School provides a funding allocation of over $17 million, which is less than 10% of the total dollar amount used to support graduate students on campus. The Graduate School also advocates for increased support for graduate students, including making great strides in minimum stipends for teaching assistants, research assistants, and project assistants. Additional support goes toward graduate student professional development with several resources, including skills workshops, the Discover PD program, the Delta Program, and a number of different web-based tools. Currently, about 35% of Ph.D students go into industry-related jobs. To better prepare them, the Graduate School is piloting a new internship program, which is in the biological and life sciences for now. The program is modeled after the Biotechnology Training Program. If this program is successful, the next step will be to expand it.
Automatic Consent Business
The Academic Staff Assembly minutes of Monday, February 13, 2023, were approved.
ASEC Vice Chair Donna Cole presented the ASEC report. She reminded attendees to vote in the ASEC election. The election closes on Wednesday, March 15. Applications are now being accepted for the Academic Staff Professional Development Grant program. There is also a call for nominations for the Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellent in Teaching Awards, which are due on Monday, March 27. Donna reminded attendees to sign up for this year’s Academic Staff Institute, which will be held on April 4. ASEC is hoping to meet more regularly with ATP leadership to learn more about impacts of the new systems that are coming in the future.
Jenny Dahlberg presented the ASPRO report. ASPRO is in need of more membership from UW-Madison to help advocate for issues related to our budget. Governor Evers has proposed a generous budget for the UW System, and ASPRO will continue to advocate for support for UW and act in opposition to legislative proposals that would negatively impact UW System and UW-Madison. ASPRO registered in opposition to SB19/AB6, which involves restricting the ability to transfer credits between UW System and technical colleges. The other bill that ASPRO is tracking involves prohibiting the Board of Regents from increasing resident undergraduate tuition by more than the Consumer Price Index. This bill has been proposed but not yet assigned to a committee.
Elise Ahn presented the annual report of the Campus Diversity and Climate Committee for 2021-22. The committee continues its ongoing work on promoting academic success, supporting the Diversity Forum, and making policy recommendations about campus diversity and climate issues. Efforts last year focused on a few specific areas, including strong support for continuation of the Public History Project. The committee appreciates the decision to continue the work of the Project through the recently announced Rebecca M. Blank Center for Campus History. The committee is strongly in favor of creating a scholarship or tuition waiver program for Native Nations students and continues to work with campus partners on this issue. The committee helped plan the 2021 Diversity Forum and provided support this year by reviewing the post-event surveys. For policy recommendations, the committee worked with Provost Scholz and CDO Charleston to streamline and improve annual DEI reporting processes with the schools, colleges, and divisions through a consistent survey instrument. They have been looking at inaugural results from that process and are optimistic about the possibilities of understanding efforts across campus through the use of that instrument.
Assembly Standing Committee Slates (ASA #807)
Kelly Krein, Nominating Committee Co-Chair, presented the slates for the Academic Staff Assembly Standing Committees. Those running for the Communications Committee include Jennie Broecker, Stuart Henn, Christy Lowney, and Faye Lux. Those running for the Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee include Chelsea Gill, Christina Pier, Cori Splain, and Tori Richardson. Those running for the Districting and Representation Committee include Megan Ackerman-Yost, Max Coller, and Sara Hladilek. Those running for the Mentoring Committee include Moses Altsech, Barney Gallagher, Carmen Juniper, and Justin Sena. Those running for the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee include Aaron Crandall, Jason Jankoski, Andrew Turner, and Karina Ward. Those running for the Professional Development and Recognition Committee include Jenny Erickson, Mel Freitag, Albert Nascimento, Diane Stojanovich, and Paul Westerman. No nominations were added to any of the slates from the floor.
Nominating Committee Slate (ASA #808)
Alissa Ewer, ASEC Member, presented the slate for the Nominating Committee. Those running for this committee include Jen Brown, Josh Cutler, Leah Freemon, Daryl Harrison, and Jenee Jerome. No nominations were added to the slate from the floor.
Resolution on Improving Academic Staff Workplace Conditions and Morale (ASA #806)
Albert Muniz, ASEC Member, moved approval of the Resolution on Improving Academic Staff Workplace Conditions and Morale. The resolution was introduced at the February meeting for a first reading. Changes to the document since that time include emphasis on the pandemic as an ongoing concern, a change to the resolution’s title, a clause related to the implementation of the single payroll initiative, a clause related to inflation’s impact on the 2% state pay plan, mention of salary grades not included in the new salary structure for the Title and Total Compensation Project, and a clause about non-101/104-funded positions’ eligibility for funding from the discretionary compensation fund program. Seconded. Approved.
Resolution Urging Implementation of Paid Family Leave Benefits for UW-Madison Employees (ASA #809)
Andrew Turner, Assembly District #455 Representative, moved approval of the Resolution Urging Implementation of Paid Family Leave Benefits for UW-Madison Employees. Seconded. Approved.
Vice Chancellor Report
Vice Chancellor Cramer acknowledged the recent passing of Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank. A memorial service was held on March 4, and UW-Madison will be arranging a campus event later this year. We also honor her legacy with the naming of the Rebecca M. Blank Center for Campus History and the Rebecca Blank Professorship. Vice Chancellor Cramer also reported on current searches. The Provost search is closed, and the committee is reviewing applications. The finalists will be visiting during the first week of April. Vice Chancellor Cramer also recognized current Provost Karl Scholz, who was announced as the University of Oregon’s new President. The search committee for the Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications is underway, with finalist interviews tentatively scheduled for June. Finalists for the Dean of the International Division visited campus last week, and we expect a hiring announcement in the coming weeks. Governor Evers has released his 2023-25 budget proposal, with a number of positive funding recommendations for UW System, including a 5%/3% pay plan increase, with the proposed effective date of July 1. The university would be responsible for funding roughly 30% of the pay plan. On the capital budget side, several projects for UW-Madison have been recommended, including the new Engineering building, restoration of Music Hall, relocation of the Art Department out of Humanities, and other important infrastructure projects. Chancellor Mnookin provided an update on her listening and learning process, and she highlighted five areas of future focus: free speech and belonging; environmental sustainability; increased engagement with industry partnerships in research; strategic investments in faculty hiring; and making certain that students and employees can flourish here. Chancellor Mnookin’s investiture will be the week of April 10. Regarding ATP, we are continuing to work to prepare for implementation of the Huron Research Suite in June. The Workday project team is working with all UW institutions on customer confirmation sessions to focus on continued revisions of system design. Vice Chancellor Cramer has asked the team to focus on where the work is landing in these new systems and processes. This will be a significant transformational effort, with 1800 ancillary systems across UW System to consider how those relate to Workday. Vice Chancellor Cramer also discussed the West Campus District Plan. This plan came out of the Revenue Innovations Study Group in 2018. Several open houses have been held to gather feedback on the planning process as part of over 70 engagement events we have had to date on what the area might look like going forward. The team is refining plans based on that feedback and will be providing an update to the Board of Regents in March on what some of the possibilities are for the area.
Meeting adjourned at 4:59 pm.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff