Faculty Senate Minutes 2020-11-02
Minutes to be approved December 2020
Chancellor Rebecca Blank called the online meeting to order at 3:31 p.m. with 192 voting members present (113 needed for quorum.) Memorial resolutions were offered for Professor Emeritus Klaus L. Berghahn (Faculty document 2908) and Professor Emeritus Peter Lipton (Faculty document 2909).
Chancellor Rebecca Blank reported on a national survey on student engagement indicated that 91% of last year’s seniors ranked the academic quality of UW-Madison as good or excellent. UW-Madison’s peer average is 82%.
The Nicholas Recreation Center has opened to a limited capacity. The new Meat Science and Animal Biologics Discovery Building is holding a virtual open house.
There has been an uptick in positive cases for students and employees, but rates remain between 1-2%. The cases are widely dispersed on campus except for athletics; this outbreak is being addressed by the Big Ten Conference and UW-Madison doctors.
According to preliminary results from a campus-wide survey to undergraduates, many students would like at least one face-to-face class in the spring. A more expansive COVID-19 testing program will include twice per week for all students and at least once per week for faculty and staff who are regularly on campus. The current 6,000 tests processed per week will ramp up.
Mental health continues to be a concern. Crisis calls are up 300% and the need for counseling services has doubled from last year (especially for students grieving the death of a family member to COVID-19). University Health Services added 10 more mental health counselors.
Diversity Forum last week had over 5,000 registrants. UW-Madison welcomed 85 new faculty of color (about 50%), and 13.5% of the incoming class is from under-represented groups. UW-Madison is retaining more than 96% of students of color. Chancellor Blank stressed the need to continue to build on progress, not just look at the numbers. Culture on campus must change. Watch for more training and educational opportunities. The Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, Steve Ackerman, is launching a competition to fund research projects exploring the causes of racial inequities in the United States.
Many revenue sources are down, especially in the auxiliaries, and COVID-19-related expenses are up. Testing and health protocols will cost about $50 million this year. State funds are down $55 million, and tuition dollars are down a little. The overall budget shortfall is expected to be $320 million. Steps taken to address the shortfall include furloughs, hiring freezes, and tapping reserve funds. On the other hand, UW-Madison received $20 million in federal funding, there will be a 2% pay increase on January 1, and a $15 per hour minimum wage will be implemented. Base budget cuts to all units will be announced in the coming weeks.
University Committee Chair Kirsten Wolf thanked the more than 90 faculty members who attended the town halls on promotion to full professor. The University Committee will be discussing all the comments and working on a revised document for a first reading at the February 1 Faculty Senate.
Chancellor Blank addressed several questions.
The minutes of the October 5, 2020 meeting were approved by consent.
Professor Jordan Rosenblum (German, Nordic, Slavic, District 59) presented the Lectures Committee Annual Report for 2019-2020 (Faculty document 2910). There was one question.
The senate discussed and voted on changes to Faculty Policies and Procedures Chapter 3 that creates a mechanism for academic staff to maintain graduate faculty status following retirement or resignation (Faculty document 2906). The changes passed.
The senate discussed changes to Faculty Policies and Procedures Chapter 6 (Faculty document 2907), which would remove the Commission on Faculty Compensation and Economic Benefits. The senate approved postponing consideration of this item until the February 1 Faculty Senate meeting, with the document updated to include corresponding changes to the duties of the Budget Committee and the University Committee.
The senate discussed and voted on a resolution in support of instruction and training on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice (Faculty document 2911). The resolution was amended and passed.
The meeting adjourned at 5:09 pm.
Secretary of the Faculty