University Committee Meeting Minutes 2017-08-14
Minutes approved August 28, 2017
Approved minutes for August 14, 2017 Approved as amended on August 28, 2017
UC members present: Amasino, Bowers, Litovsky (arrived 1:17), Wanner (chair), Warfield
UC member absent: Ventura
Others present: S. Smith, M. Felber, J. O’Meara, J. Richard, H. Daniels, N. Lynch, C. Springer, M. Mayrl
Chair Anja Wanner called the last-meeting-of-the-summer-but-one to order at 1:02 p.m. and announced the Faculty of Color reception on September 18. All are encouraged to attend and spread the word. The minutes of the meeting of July 31, 2017, were approved as amended. Jack O’Meara reported that PROFS and others will meet with BoR VP Peterson on Friday to discuss new working group on hiring of chancellors and summarized other discussions on the same topic. Ample discussion ensued, concluding with importance of articulating differences on this issue across campuses.
UW Police Chief Kristen Roman provided an update and discussed her plans for developing community and other advisory groups to provide input and feedback on safety, training, policy, concerns, and priorities, all in an effort to make the UWPD as responsive as possible. Roman has been working with the VCUR’s community relations office to identify relevant stakeholders and interested parties. At this point, it is clear that there is need for at least one overarching group (potentially including shared governance elements) and a separate student group. Goal is to have body in place by end of calendar year. Ample discussion, including student services organization, crisis response, academic and non-academic misconduct policies, connections to FPP, and more. Roman has already implemented a related internal employee advisory council, focusing on operations, health, transparency, and so on. Roman’s discussion with the UC concluded with an update on the physical facilities, which finished slightly ahead of schedule. There will be an open house on September 13.
Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Steve Cramer presented a handout on the Student Digital Ecosystem, showing how various student-related electronic systems interact. These systems have traditionally been independent. Links (especially the new Guide) are being created to connect the systems, with SIS as the underlying foundation, and is all in the context of newly developing campus IT structures. Activities for the coming year on the student digital ecosystem are laid out in “T&L software and student digital ecosystem.” A major piece of this ecosystem is the ongoing rollout of Canvas, the progress of which is described in “Canvas Credit Transition Update”, focused on summer 2017, and at canvasinfo.wisc.edu. The transition to Canvas is progressing relatively smoothly, pushed by the need to not have to re-sign with D2L, which would cost millions of dollars. The transition is approximately 50% complete, with 2 academic semesters left to get everything completed. Cramer concluded with an update on syllabus standardization. “Syllabus Standardization and Access” lays out this project, which will prioritize software features and support over mandatory policies, with the goal of getting faculty and instructor buy-in and support. Ample discussion throughout.
Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, accompanied by Associate Vice Chancellor Nancy Lynch, discussed a revised UWS policy on IT usage. [current campus policy and new draft policy] Campus information technology and legal offices are working with their System counterparts to address the following concerns: (1) Supremacy clause: the new policy prohibits campuses from passing anything that contradicts, supplements, or replaces it. Obviously, campus has several policies that connect to this one and supplement it. (2) Provisions banning use of IT services for obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit materials, except for research. There is case law to support regulation of state employees, including faculty, but the regulation of student use is not clear, and even if it were, would create massive monitoring and oversight structures. Open question of whether campus would be responsible under the new policy for monitoring and/or blocking residence hall usage. (3) Enforcement issue: Not clear that these policies are constitutionally valid or enforceable. Ample discussion ensued, about this policy, similar policies on other campuses, and apparent tendency of BOR and state to create “precluding policies” that restrict campus latitude. This will move quickly, as it has been slated for action by the Board in October.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank reported that the state budget is still completely unsettled, with much to be resolved, including Foxconn, transportation, and bonding. Additional funding to expand engineering and computer sciences to support Foxconn and other needs is unlikely. Blank and the UC shared information on various aspects of “professorship” titles, including work by OVCRGE on Research Professorships and the new ad hoc committee on instructional titles (which will look at possible Professor of Practice and Professor of Teaching/Instruction” titles). Blank has asked a number of people working on environmental issues to put together information on what we do with facilities, teaching, and research that relates to sustainability and major environmental questions. She also provided a preview of the Academic Leadership Summit. While we don’t know how Charlottesville and other national events will play out on campus this fall, Blank directed attention to the community resource guide put together by the Southern Poverty Law Center (https://www.splcenter.org/20170814/ten-ways-fight-hate-community-response-guide) as good advice. Blank concluded her remarks with an update on the UWS administrative review committee on hiring of chancellors and presidents. The working group has no representation from either of the System research campuses. Warfield updated the chancellor on the PROFS meeting with System (see above). Strong consensus that there has to be faculty/research voice from Madison in the process. Discussion followed, about the above topics, campus climate, mid-fall diversity and inclusion event, hiring and retention of under-represented group, and conversation on unconscious bias to be held by the chancellor’s executive committee with campus experts.
Wanner moved to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to discuss personnel matters. The motion was seconded and passed at 2:52 p.m. The UC selected potential nominees for a one-semester sabbatical replacement on the Committee on Committees and four division-based members for an ad hoc committee on 7th-year reviews. The UC unanimously approved a two-year leave of absence (temporary assignment). The UC discussed developments related to a grievance and two members were selected to follow up with the provost. Smith will contact the griever. Litovsky moved to reconvene in open session. The motion was seconded and passed at 3:43 p.m., at which time Wanner adjourned the meeting.