University Committee Meeting Minutes 2015-05-18

approved May 25, 2015
May 18, 2015

Present: Broman, Fair (chair), Meyerand, Petty, Wanner, Wendt (mostly)
Absent: Edwards (mostly)

1.Meeting called to order: 1:00 PM
2.Introduction of new member, Anja Wanner.
3.Minutes of the meeting of May 11, 2015, approved.
4.Follow-up discussion on revisions to rule waiver procedures. 
a.Wendt suggested inclusion of “acute illness” along with “chronic illness or disability.” 
b.Discussion of DDR role and suggestion that wording be clear that this should not be a barrier. 
c.UC will review procedures again once revisions complete.
5.1:08 PM: Wendt exited, not pursued by a bear, to attend SOE candidate presentation. 
6.Petty updated the UC on the status of the bottom-up/360 review. A draft document has been produced to be sent to the provost and VCFA, among others, to stimulate discussions and development of procedures to fill a gap identified in reviews of mid- to high-level administrators and assessments of cross-level units. This includes reviews of deans, who are currently reviewed every 5 (or so) years, which is not regular enough to get meaningful input. This document is not binding or prescriptive, rather it contains recommendations to consider. The recommendations, if implemented, would supplement the campus performance review process. Following ample discussion, the UC requested that a final draft of the document be considered at its next meeting prior to submission to administration. Consensus that this is important work that should be advanced. 
7.New UC member introduction and orientation. Fair described UC procedures and functions and member roles.
8.Departmental chair appointments (Ian Robertson)
a.Robertson explained a departmental situation and asked advice from the UC about appointing a chair who was not recommended by the department’s preferential ballot. For strategic planning reasons and to cultivate younger faculty, Robertson is exploring bringing in a chair from outside the department (but within the university) for a short period. Once department has set up robust structure and created leadership training, an internal candidate could take on chair.
b.Department has never had a “regular” departmental administrator or full administrative complement. Commitment in college to staff up completely. 
c.UC consensus that this is a reasonable, solid plan and that Robertson is following proper channels. UC encouraged by fact that college already has successful example of this approach.
d.Robertson will develop detailed plan for review by FPP-mandated parties and will return to UC.
9.Legislative update (PROFS)
a.O’Meara and Petty updated UC on upcoming meeting with Fitzgerald and past meetings with Vos and Risser. Vos has indicated that he will not be going after tenure, even though he disagrees with it. May still put in language limiting shared governance. General sense that meeting was productive and cordial, despite possibility that legislature may still try tosubstantially rewrite Chapter 36.
b.PROFS sent faculty-wide message earlier in the week.
10.International travel policy (Guido Podestá, Ron Machoian)
a.Fair explained that the UC wanted to discuss the general international travel policy and the related decision-making process more than the specific recent ban on travel to Kenya, although that serves as an example of the policy in action. There have been concerns in the past about adequate inclusion of faculty expertise in the decision-making process, as well as ensuring that the process be as transparent as possible and distinguishing between graduate students and undergraduates.
b.Podestá indicated that the travel policy is still a work in progress and has only been in place for a few months. Although the policy is official, they do not consider it closed to further input. Podestá explained that the committee’s reporting line has changed from the provost to him. Podestá agreed on the importance of inclusion of regional expertise, adding that expertise on safety and security is also crucial. Challenge is how to reach the right balance.
c.Machoian introduced himself and indicated he understand and shares the above concerns. The policy is necessarily a compromise document and thus imperfect. The threshold for the committee is the State Department travel warning list, but there is an appeal process. During his tenure, waivers have been granted in every case except Kenya. Discussion of distinction between graduate and undergraduate students. Most universities do not distinguish, but a few with extensive international networks do. Ample discussion of the logic and decision process of a countrywide blanket ban. 
d.Although the IUTC is now listed on the international travel website, the UC continues to have concerns about transparency. Regional expertise involved in decisions should be clearly indicated. Website is still difficult to find.
e.Discussion of ways to deepen committee. UC sees IUTC as administration heavy; could make some of these positions ex officio, non-voting, build up faculty and research academic staff, and deepen ties to area studies programs.
f.Podestá closed by reiterating the importance of finding common ground between regional expertise and safety/security concerns. All agreed.
11.2:20 PM: Wendt returned, refreshed and ready to roll. 
12.Chancellor update (Rebecca Blank)
a.Blank reported a successful commencement weekend, including one of the most effective commencement speeches she has seen. This year even more units held their own events than last year, a trend she would like to see continue. 
b.Blank reminded the UC of the SOE dean candidate presentations and emphasized that feedback is greatly encouraged as always, but particularly in this case with two finalists with such different strengths.
c.Two bus trips launched: WI Idea seminar (faculty) and the student leadership trip (in its 2nd year) led by Lori Berquam.
d.Blank expressed her satisfaction with how many people and constituencies are working on reducing cuts. Almost everyone wants to show their support for UW, including overwhelming majority of state residents and nearly all those in office. Nevertheless, the cuts will likely not be reduced by much.
e.Blank reported less positive news on flexibilities, which remain unclear. Most worrisome news is reports that some legislators want to replace Chapter 36 with an edited version. Continuation of discussion from 9a above. UW message has been and continues to be “don’t touch 36 and let us work on it internally” but it is unclear if that will happen. Vos and others have expressed repeatedly that they do not like faculty majority search committees or the requirement that senior hires be tenurable. Blank pointed out that non-faculty majority committees and other changes would create other problems. Ample discussion.
f.Fair asked the chancellor what she saw as issues for the UC in the coming year. Blank raised the following.
i.Timing of spring semester and appropriate use of summer. Blank sees several positives to creating a “Maymester,” including increased revenue, reduced time to graduation, and more effective building use.
ii.Once the biennial budget is done, Blank believes there will be an opportunity to more carefully think through communication and messaging strategies, both to the legislature and to the people of Wisconsin.
iii.Budget issues will of course continue and the university must think ahead strategically. Beyond the cuts, other reorganization/restructuring could enable other priorities to be pursued.
iv.Growth in faculty over age 65 must be addressed. Ongoing discussions on post-tenure review will help, as might other topics being explored such as contract appointments with review rather than rolling horizons, different retirement structures, rules covering emeritus status, and so on. 
13.2:52 -3:03 PM: Edwards made a brief appearance following her SOE presentation.
14.Meyerand moved and Petty 2nd to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to discuss personnel matters. Motion passed: 3:04 PM.
15.The UC discussed options for and selected a new chair. 
16.Broman moved with alacrity and Meyerand gleefully seconded to reconvene in open session. Motion passed: 3:27 PM.
17.The UC and the secretary of the faculty heartily thanked Fair for her service as chair.
18.Meeting adjourned: 3:28 PM.

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