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Academic Staff Assembly Minutes 10-09-23
ACADEMIC STAFF ASSEMBLY MEETING MINUTES
272 Bascom Hall
Monday, October 9, 2023
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Provost Charles Isbell called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.
Memorial Resolution for Peter Weix (ASA #818)
Alex Squitieri read the memorial resolution for Peter Weix.
Guest: Patrick Sheehan, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO)
CHRO Sheehan acknowledged the events in Israel and Palestine and reminded attendees that the Employee Assistance Office is available as a resource for employees who are impacted. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) has several initiatives in progress. OHR is partnering closely with the Administrative Transformation Program to help ensure that its work products meet the overall objectives of the program as well as the complex needs of UW-Madison’s faculty, staff, and students. CHRO Sheehan highlighted regular meetings with the HR leads of the schools/colleges/divisions in designing business processes in the new Workday system. OHR is working to ensure that appropriate resources are available to campus for implementation and afterwards. UW-Madison and UW System continue advocating for the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER) to convene in a timely manner and approve the pay plan for all UW employees. We are waiting for JCOER finalization of that pay plan. UW-Madison and UW System continue to be in conversation around paid parental leave. There are several complexities around implementation of this policy, and parties continue to work diligently on this process. Annual benefits enrollment is open and will close on October 20. In addition to other changes, CHRO Sheehan reported that overall insurance premiums are increasing by 11.8% this year. Increases are driven by increasing healthcare/pharmacy costs and increased costs of specialty drugs. OHR is continuing to develop resources to promote career progression. There are educational resources on how to progress in pay as well as broader resources on both promotion and progression. OHR has developed focused trainings relevant to career development, such as leadership in the lab, as well as enhancements to existing manager and supervisor training. OHR has also expanded the capacity of career counseling services. At no cost, employees can meet with career counselors to discuss topics such as work-life balance, career growth, professional development, and more. The career counselors are confidential resources with whom employees can meet and without loss of pay. An online career growth toolkit is also available on the OHR website. OHR has been expending significant efforts in recruitment. We have purchased a LinkedIn enterprise account to better leverage the platform to reach out to candidates across the country. Using this account has led to increases in applicant pool size, fill rate, and diversity of applicant pools.
Guest: Kathi Kilgore, Executive Director, Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization (ASPRO)
ASPRO is a membership organization that began at UW-Madison in 1989. Faculty have a similar organization called PROFS. ASPRO grew into a statewide organization, and the largest number of ASPRO members are at UW-Madison. In June, the legislature passed a state budget that did not include a basic increase for the UW System. JCOER had set aside $32 million in a supplemental fund for the System to come back with a plan to impact the state’s workforce efforts. As part of that budget, there was a call to cut 188 positions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The governor vetoed the cut to the 188 employees, but the $32 million remains in the joint committee’s supplemental fund. The governor called for a special legislative session to take up funding for UW System, the proposed Engineering Building for UW-Madison, childcare, paid family leave, and other issues on September 20. Senate Bill 1 was introduced at the session, and there will be a hearing on this legislation on October 11. It is unclear how this proposal will move forward, but ASPRO will support the additional funding for UW, the Engineering Building, and the paid family leave proposal. There are several bills moving forward that also impact UW, including funding for other campuses that ASPRO would be supportive of. One bill that has moved through the committee process is the bill proposing changes to the Wisconsin/Minnesota reciprocity agreement, which would require differential tuition funds being returned directly to campuses. ASPRO is always watching for potential bills related to free speech, as well as legislation that passed out of committee on a party line vote that would repeal the ability of state legislators to bank sick time. Kathi has also spoken to several members of JCOER about moving forward with passage of the state pay plan. ASPRO continues to advocate for UW employees getting their pay increases.
Automatic Consent Business
The Academic Staff Assembly minutes of Monday, September 11, 2023, were approved.
ASEC Chair Albert Muniz presented the ASEC report. Albert acknowledged that the Assembly was meeting on Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Applications for the Academic Staff Professional Development Grant Program are now being accepted, and the deadline is October 23. Albert reminded attendees to complete or update their Committee Interest Survey to be considered for current and future shared governance committee openings. Benefits enrollment is currently open and will close on October 20. This year’s Diversity Forum is scheduled for November 14-15. Albert talked about the resolution that was discussed at the September 11 meeting. It was scheduled to be brought for a vote at this meeting, but ASEC received feedback from Assembly members and the Office of Compliance. ASEC decided that they needed more time to refine the language and intends to bring the resolution back in November.
Provost Isbell thanked attendees for welcoming him to his first meeting with the Assembly. He reported on the incoming freshman class, which has about 600 fewer students than last year. Enrollment continues to be on a growth path overall. Incoming students were selected from a record 68,000 applications, with the second highest number of Wisconsin resident freshmen in modern history and the highest percentage of students from historically underrepresented groups. We also have the new Bucky’s Pell Pathway program which is making a positive impact for our students. We have over 12,000 graduate and professional students enrolled, which is a slight increase. Our total student body has crossed the 50,000 mark for the first time in the university’s history. The institution welcomed 144 new faculty, and staff numbers have increased as well. Administration continues to advocate for passage of the pay plan for UW employees. We have several administrative searches in progress. Finalists for the Vice Provost for Libraries are visiting campus this week. We are establishing a search committee for the Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dean Diana Hess announced she is stepping down from her role as Dean of the School of Education, and a search for that position will be announced soon. A search is also underway for a new Vice Chancellor for Research. The Faculty Senate is considering language in Faculty Policies and Procedures that would change the direct reporting line for the Dean of the Graduate School from the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to the Provost. In considering news about various initiatives over the course of the year, Provost Isbell encouraged attendees to think of these initiatives as all being in service of the idea of innovating for the public good.
Meeting adjourned at 4:49 pm.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff