ACADEMIC STAFF ASSEMBLY MEETING MINUTES
Monday, February 8, 2021
3:30 to 5:00 p.m.
Provost Karl Scholz called the meeting to order at 3:32 p.m.
Automatic Consent Business
The Academic Staff Assembly minutes of Monday, December 14, 2020, were approved.
Guests: Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer; and Karen Massetti-Moran, Director of Total Rewards, Office of Human Resources
Mark Walters introduced Karen Massetti-Moran as the new Director of Total Rewards for the Office of Human Resources. She was previously at the UW-Milwaukee and is stepping into the role previously held by Diane Blaskowski. Mark and Karen provided updates on the single payroll initiative and the Title and Total Compensation Project.
The single payroll initiative is a UW System core initiative meant to simplify processes. Effective July 2021, employees who are currently paid on a monthly basis will move to a biweekly pay schedule. UW System will be hosting several town hall sessions, with the first session coming up on March 3. UW Credit Union will be hosting spending and saving workshops. UW-Madison also has its own resources, which are located on the HR website. OHR will be partnering with Extension to offer financial planning workshops as well as checklists for potential impacts that employees may need to consider. There is also a new email address (email@example.com) and phone number (608-265-2257) for employees to reach out and ask questions and voice concerns.
On the topic of TTC, before the pandemic, we were in the home stretch of the project. During the pause due to the pandemic, we saw that remote work is possible and how we might adapt to certain changes. With confidence that virtual engagement can be effective, we are now ready to proceed with TTC again. The initial goals of TTC remain the same: a market-informed compensation and benefits structure; the establishment of an underlying job framework, such as identifying progression for employees; shorter, more efficient job descriptions; the creation of a compensation resource to aid in good decision-making with respect to hiring and salary increases; and to be responsive to employees’ needs. The title structure and the standard job descriptions were completed going into 2020. Supervisor discussions with employees, creation of the salary structure, and implementation still need to happen. The idea is to implement TTC on July 1, 2021, but the decision has not yet been finalized. The supervisor/employee conversations are the most substantial part of the work that still needs to happen. Any issues that employees have with their titles or job descriptions should be discussed and hopefully resolved in these conversations. The next steps would be to resolve issues from employee feedback and notify employees of their new titles. There will be an appeal process for employees who don’t believe they are in the right title. OHR will provide resources for supervisors and for employees. Once the implementation date is finalized, OHR will finalize the timelines for the other parts of the project, and then that information will be communicated to campus.
Guest: Sherry Boeger, Director, Employee Assistance Office
Sherry presented the 2019-20 report on activity within the Employee Assistance Office. The office transitioned to a remote environment but has been able to provide the same level of confidential services. Over 50% of individuals using EAO’s services last year were academic staff. During the pandemic, people are experiencing increased levels of stress, isolation, and depression. Top concerns for academic staff included mental health, partner relationships, work-life balance, and handling grief. EAO continues to see workplace conflict issues and communication issues. They have increased their services in the last five years. The partnership with LifeMatters has provided access to services on a 24/7 basis, and LifeMatters is generally able to provide appointments for employees within 3-5 days. EAO gives employees pre-test and post-test evaluations on its services, and the results have shown improvements in productivity, workplace engagement, stress, and satisfaction.
ASEC Chair Tim Dalby acknowledged Black History Month and provided thanks to ASEC colleagues for their continuing work. The Policy Library is now available, and Tim provided thanks to the many academic staff who worked on this project. ASEC continues to keep an eye on issues related to single payroll, TTC, and concerns about them being implemented within the same month. He encouraged attendees to let ASEC know about any concerns they had in these areas. Tim urged attendees to take vacation time not only to ensure that they don’t lose that time, but also because the time away from work helps us have a better work-life balance.
Jenny Dahlberg provided the ASPRO report. ASPRO is continuing to offer an opportunity to join at a discounted rate. It is a critical time for support as we move into a new biennial budget year.
Nathan Schulfer provided the 2018-2020 report of the Budget Committee. The committee is a FPP Chapter 6 shared governance committee that was formed in 2016. The first year of the committee’s work was spent learning about the campus budget process. In the last year, the focus of the committee has been on COVID impacts to the budget. In the coming year, the committee will be paying attention to issues related to the biennial budget, TTC, and single payroll. The committee frequently hears presentations from various deans, directors, and other campus leaders, and members are open to ideas on who else should be presenting to the committee.
Alissa Oleck presented the 2021 Academic Staff Executive Committee slate (ASA Document #747). Those running include Donna Cole, Miranda Hofmann, Stephanie Jones, Lindsey Stoddard Cameron, and Diane Stojanovich. The petition process for adding candidates to the slate will be sent out after the Assembly meeting.
ASPP Chapter 13 Change (ASA #748)
Caitlin Cleary, District 443 Representative and PPPC Co-Chair, moved approval of a change to ASPP Chapter 13.03, which removed January from the regular meeting schedule of the Assembly. Seconded. Approved.
Resolution on Climate Divestment and Procurement (ASA #749)
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, moved that the Assembly consider the resolution as a first reading with a vote to follow at the March meeting. Seconded. Approved by unanimous consent. Discussion on the resolution took place. The resolution: 1) urges the University of Wisconsin Foundation to engage in carbon investment disclosure and divestment; 2) states that UW-Madison should assess and publish the carbon footprint of its procurement process and develop and implement a plan to make all procurement processes under University of Wisconsin-Madison's discretionary control carbon neutral within five years; and 3) states that the University of Wisconsin Foundation should engage in other climate-related disclosure mechanisms and procedures. Questions were raised about the feasibility and cost of a 5-year timeline related to procurement processes, as well as what transparency protocols are already in place. The resolution will be brought back to the Assembly for a vote in March.
Provost Scholz reported on the progress of the Safer Badgers program. UW-Madison conducted 100,000 tests throughout the fall semester, and we now have the capacity to do 80,000 tests per week. Public health experts say that robust testing is critical to mitigating the spread of the virus. Enforcement of the program will begin on Wednesday, at which point students, staff, and faculty will need a green badge on the Safer Badgers app to enter campus buildings. Both the rejection rates for test samples and the turnaround time for test results have decreased, and Provost Scholz emphasized the need for patience as we enter the next round of the program.
On the topic of vaccines, we are going to try to vaccinate the campus community as quickly as possible. The issue right now is that of supply. The hope is to have everyone in the university community vaccinated by the end of the semester, and to have new students vaccinated—if they have not already been—when they arrive for the start of the fall semester. UW-Madison has also received $10 million in federal funds that will go to student aid, and where necessary, campus will add funds to support students that may not meet the requirements for federal funding, such as international students or DACA students.
Provost Scholz recognized Black History Month and encouraged attendees to visit the campus website for more information on events occurring throughout the month. The Policy Library is now live and will be a great resource for campus. Provost Scholz also reported that undergraduate applications have been up 16% year-over-year, and UW-Madison has received more than 53,000 applications this year.
Meeting adjourned at 5:14 pm.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff