Topics Map > Academic Staff Executive Committee (ASEC) > 2020-2021 > 07. January
Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 01-07-21
2:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 7, 2021
Present: Donna Cole; Jenny
Dahlberg, chair; Tim Dalby; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf;
Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Heather Daniels, Lesley Fisher, Brian Fox, Alyson
Kim, Lori Reesor, Karl Scholz, Andrew Turner, Becca
Raven Uminowicz, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:01 p.m.
The minutes of December 10 were approved.
Tim Dalby, ASEC chair, started by thanking
Jenny Dahlberg for her service as ASEC Chair during the last 6 months. Tim presented
ASEC with a number of ideas for ASEC to consider at a
future meeting, including a possible ASEC newsletter, ideas for organizing ASEC
orientation materials, as well as how to maintain an online space when resuming
in-person meetings. Testing sites are opening next week, and the Safer Badgers
app is available through the Apple App Store. Enforcement of testing policies
begins on January 25. There will also be a call center with one number for
employees to call into with questions on the testing protocols and other issues
related to COVID.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported
that OHR had asked about ASEC representation on a planning group looking at
single payroll and asked ASEC to think about who would like to volunteer. Jake
reported on the Fall CASI Session, at which furloughs, budget discussions, and
single payroll were all topics of interest. Jake and Bill attended the finalist
visits for the Director of Talent Management position in OHR, and the hiring
decision should be announced soon.
Deb Shapiro reported that the TTC Shared
Governance Advisory Group will resume meeting toward the end of the month.
Donna Cole reported that the SMPH CASI took
part in interviewing finalists for the SMPH Director of Diversity, Equity, and
Jenny Dahlberg reported that she met with CEBC
to discuss areas that the committee could work on in the coming semester,
including a plain language document on addition of/reclassification of duties.
Lindsey Stoddard Cameron reported that the Committee
on Women in the University talked with Stephanie Rytilahti,
Jessica Karls-Ruplinger and Kristyn Masters about the
Child Care Task Force. Kristyn proposed the creation of a group on COVID
impacts on family care and career. The committee voted in December to endorse
the creation of this task force. The committee also did a pulse survey of all
academic staff, university staff, and faculty. The preliminary data indicates
that child care and compensation are key concerns.
Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz discussed that Vice Chancellor
for Student Affairs Lori Reesor and her colleagues
have worked hard on personal pronoun guidance. The Provost circulated a 1-page
overview on this topic. Work on this issue has proceeded carefully with mindfulness
around impacts at other institutions. Vice Chancellor Reesor
recognized Gabe Javier, Warren Scherer, and Katherine Charek
Briggs who worked hard to make this happen for the spring semester. This will
be a 2-part approach. There is the implementation in Canvas first, recognizing
the importance of honoring people’s pronouns as soon as possible. Name
pronunciation and connection with other systems will come after through a
third-party system called NameCoach. There may be
unintentional frustration with this approach, but the goal is to have
everything consolidated by the fall.
There is education that needs to happen around pronoun use, and a period
of growth and understanding that is necessary as part of this process.
ASEC asked Vice Chancellor Reesor
about mental wellness for students. She reported that while more is being done
in some ways, there is still a large gap. Her office is thinking about the lack
of a spring break this semester and a possible mental health summit for sometime in the spring, both
for students as well as faculty and staff. Many campuses have been doing
“Wellness Wednesdays.” RecWell has been doing some
work in this space, and there have been discussions about how to broaden that
across campus. Sarah Nolan is the new Director of Mental Wellness within UHS.
Knowing the difficulty of never having enough counselors on staff, the question
is what else can we do to ensure that students have
both therapy and support when they need them. Use of counseling stayed steady
throughout last semester.
Provost Scholz reported on a new External Discovery website to
showcase the work and achievements of UW-Madison researchers. This would be an
outward facing site that addresses requests by a number of
different external stakeholders, including legislators, to help them better
understand the range of work being done at the university, as well as for
students to find faculty members with interests similar to their own. ASEC
offered feedback that the proposal emphasize the
contributions of academic staff researchers and scientists as well as faculty.
Provost Scholz also clarified that this site will not replace the Experts
database, but it is advantageous in that it will not rely on individuals to
update the site themselves.
On the topic of SD/UD grading, ASM has made considerable efforts to
alter the grading approach for the fall. This will not happen for three
reasons: 1) discussions about this proposal did not happen until the twelfth
week of the semester, 2) students had already made decisions (e.g. dropping courses) based on the existing rules, and 3)
there are potential downstream effects and disadvantages to students as they
progress through the curriculum (e.g. graduate work, future employment).
Students who are having trouble can discuss pass/fail grading with their
advisors on an individual basis. There may be a task force to look at grading
for the semester, and instructional academic staff would be a part of this
group. The idea would be for the group to move quickly, so that instructors,
advisors, and students are all aware of any policy changes. ASEC also
recommended putting info in syllabi, so that instructors are encouraging more
dialogue between students and advisors.
Brian Fox, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Policy
Brian shared a draft of the Conflict of
Commitment Policy, which impacts both faculty and academic staff at the
institution. The request to write this policy came from the Provost’s Office
and the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education. UWS
Chapter 8’s code of ethics applies to all faculty and academic staff with a 50%
or more appointment, and it describes potential conflicts with the university’s
responsibilities of teaching, research, and service. In the mid-1990s, there
were greater concerns at the federal level about conflicts related to federally
funded research. A conflict of interest committee was
formed in the Graduate School to address these concerns. These data come
through the annual outside activities report that is required of faculty and
academic staff. We do very well on compliance in this space, but that only
addresses financial conflicts. UWS also calls out time commitment, and this relates
more to 101 funding. This policy specifically addresses time commitment to the
university relative to what might be considered outside activities while being
paid by the state. It clarifies expectations around the number of days someone
who is paid by the university can participate in outside activities related to
their professional activities but aren’t specifically
called out in their job description. The general perception is that one day per
week as a minimum standard was too much. After looking at other peer
institutions, the decision was that two days per month would be the standard
without the need to engage with the university. If the amount of time was
greater, the policy asks the individual to report that time to the dean’s
office as the responsibly party, so that a review and assessment can be done.
The policy is not a prohibition on outside activities, and there are less than
5% of individuals reporting outside activities that would be greater than the
amount set forth in the policy.
Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer
Mark commented on the implementation of a more
robust testing protocol for the spring semester, including requirements for
employees to be tested on a regular basis if they are coming to campus. The
policy will be that employees must have a valid negative test within 8 days of
being on campus. Communications are starting to roll out. The Safer Badgers app
is already in the App Store as of Tuesday night, and it will be in the Google
Play Store soon. OHR is in the process of hiring individuals to staff testing
centers (110 individuals in 14 testing centers). They are looking at doing
thousands of tests per day. They are also hiring Badger wellness ambassadors to
ensure individuals have been tested. There is a soft rollout on Monday of the
testing facilities, and all provisions should be in place by January 25. The
university is also standing up a COVID-19 info line, primarily focused on new
protocols staffed by a variety of individuals, including OHR. There will be
robust FAQs, and employees will get a live person who can either address their
questions or route them to someone who can. Vaccinations are also rolling out.
UW has been approved to administer the vaccine, and the first shipment was
received on Monday. Approximately 1600 employees have been identified in Tier
1A, including those who are working with COVID patients or COVID samples.
Discussions are still occurring on the 1B group, and guidance provided by the
state informs the rollout on campus. OHR is tweaking the workplace safety
policy for mask and testing requirements. Employees who receive a positive test
result won’t have to test again within 90 days.
ASEC raised a question concerning an addendum
to the sick leave policy about using up vacation before sick leave. There has
been a concern about use of sick leave in areas that don’t
involve illness. The university wanted to provide flexibility, but sick leave
would be the last leave option. The addendum to the policy expires on March 1,
but it will likely be extended based on where we are with the pandemic. OHR
will revisit the policy and discuss further with ASEC and the Workforce
There haven’t been
any decisions made regarding extra leave for those who have issues/symptoms as
a result of the vaccine or receiving it, but certainly there are existing leave
options. There is the question of whether there should be additional leave, and
OHR will need to monitor this as more of us get the vaccination, as there
should not be any disincentive to get vaccinated.
On the ALRA proposal, leadership discussed
this more yesterday. UW System will need to be engaged on this issue, and Mark
is hopeful that there will be something more on this next week.
ASEC recessed at 4:05 pm.
ASEC reconvened at 4:10pm.
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant
to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to Discuss the Nominating Committee Slate (Stoddard
Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Stoddard
Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
February Assembly Agenda
reviewed an initial draft of the February Assembly agenda.
Athletic Board Selection Discussion
discussed the possibility of a mid-term appointment to the Athletic Board. ASEC
reaffirmed its decision to have an open call for the vacant seat.
Topics for Guests
question of whether those teaching in the classroom will be designated as
essential for vaccination
of Sustainability: divestment resolution, anything further academic staff can
do to support sustainability
OHR: TTC, telecommuting policy
Meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.
submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff