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Faculty Senate Minutes 2023-10-02
University of Wisconsin--MadisonMinutes approved 11-06-2023
Minutes for October 2, 2023
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. with 149 voting members present (100 needed for quorum). Memorial resolutions were offered for Professor Emeritus Lowell M. Creitz (Faculty Document 3099), Professor Emeritus David G. Dibbell Sr. (Faculty Document 3100), Professor Emeritus Robert Haveman (Faculty Document 3101), Professor Emeritus Frederick Douglas Kelly (Faculty Document 3102), and Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Blank (Faculty Document 3103).
Professor Susan Thibeault, University Committee chair, shared a proposal to change the Graduate School dean reporting line from the vice chancellor for research and graduate education to the provost, with a dotted reported line to what would become the vice chancellor for research. There will be a first reading of this proposal at the November Senate meeting. Online town halls will be held on November 16 from 11am-12pm and November 29 from 12pm-1pm to discuss the proposal, with a vote scheduled for the December Senate meeting.
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin welcomed University Committee members Annie Jones and Michael Bernard-Donals, who were elected to serve three-year terms, and University Committee member Barbara King, who is replacing Li Chiao-Ping during a sabbatical leave.
There are several challenges currently facing the university including budget cuts, the ability of the university to work on DEI issues, and an attack on a member of the UW–Madison community early in the school year. The state budget only included one capital building project and did not include UW System’s top priority of the UW-Madison Engineering Building; UW–Madison and UW System are working to see whether the legislature will consider moving this project forward.
The state budget includes 4% and 2% pay raises for UW System employees over the next biennium. The Joint Committee on Employment Relations needs to approve the release of the funds before the pay raises can go into effect. In previous years, this committee has met as late as December with raises being retroactive.
Following the Supreme Court decision on the use of race in college admissions, UW–Madison is no longer able to consider race as one element in its holistic admissions process. Student support programs can continue as long as they remain open to all students as they always have been. UW–Madison is still awaiting federal guidance regarding future allocations of financial aid and scholarships.
During the summer, members of the administration were engaged in discussions with leaders of the Blk Pwr Coalition student group. In late summer, Chancellor Mnookin appointed an Ad-Hoc Study Group on the Black Community Experience co-chaired by community member Rev. Dr. Alex Gee and Professor Angela Byars-Winston. The ad-hoc group will study the Black experience at UW–Madison and recommend steps the campus community could take to positively impact that experience, with the goal of reporting back to the chancellor by the beginning of the spring semester.
Provost Charles Isbell, Jr., Vice Chancellor Diana Harvey, and Dean of the International Division Frances Vavrus recently began their positions in campus administration. Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Steven Ackerman retired in September, and Cynthia Czajkowski is serving in an interim role, pending an international search for a replacement. School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Mark Markel is stepping down as dean in the summer of 2024 and a search for the position will launch soon.
By design, this year’s new class is slightly smaller than last year, to balance the number of students with the number of instructors and the university’s infrastructure. The number of applications from prospective freshmen and transfer students hit a record number at almost 68,000, about double the number of applicants from five years ago. This year’s freshman class includes the second highest number of Wisconsin resident freshman in modern history. It also includes the highest percentage of students from historically underrepresented groups at 17.8% of new undergraduates. About 25% of this year’s incoming Wisconsin resident students are receiving Bucky’s Tuition Promise (full tuition) or Buck’s Pell Pathway (full tuition plus cost of attendance). In addition, the university welcomed 144 new faculty members in 80 departments across campus.
Chancellor Mnookin will be introducing new plans or programs in several areas, including a strategic faculty hiring initiative to recruit faculty at different levels to tackle critical problems in interdisciplinary ways, the support of entrepreneurship through a variety of avenues and collaborations, a “deliberation dinners” pilot program, facilitated by discussion project faculty, to help undergraduate students with diverse backgrounds and views learn how to engage across differences, national leadership in sustainability, and a renewed focus on flourishing both as individuals and a community.
During the question period, a faculty senator inquired about the progress towards family leave benefits; Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin indicated that this is being worked on and progress is being made. A faculty senator asked how to submit ideas on the strategic hiring initiative and contributing to making the world a better place through our institution; Chancellor Mnookin indicated to send ideas to department chairs and deans for the time being and clearer methods to provide input will be shared at a future date.
The minutes of the May 1, 2023 meeting were approved by consent.
Professor Susan Thibeault, University Committee chair, presented the University Committee and Faculty Senate annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3104). Department of Extension Chair Annie Lisowski presented the name change of the Department of Extension Faculty to the Department of Extension, and the discontinuation of the Division of Extension Department (Faculty Document 3105). There were no questions on these items.
Professor Fernando Tejedo-Herrero, University Committee member, moved approval to amend Faculty Policies and Procedures 6.28 to update the Campus Planning Committee membership, allowing the Arboretum to be represented by the director or designee, instead of by a faculty member of the Arboretum Committee, as the director is better positioned to advise on facilities and planning, and removing Faculty Senate confirmation of the environmental concerns seat, which is no longer a necessity (Faculty Document 3106). The motion was approved.
Professor Dietram Scheufele (Life Sciences Communication, district 3) moved approval to amend Faculty Policies and Procedures 6.41 to reduce the membership size of the Committee on Honorary Degrees from 28 to 15 members, to allow for greater flexibility and participation in committee meetings and decisions (Faculty Document 3107). The motion was seconded and approved.
Professor Annie Jones, University Committee member, presented a first reading of a proposal to amend faculty legislation II-323 (UW-870) regarding the policies and procedures governing access to electronic files, to remove language already covered by Board of Regents policy 25-3 and to clarify and update technical terms (Faculty Document 3108). A vote on this item is anticipated at the November meeting.
Professor Michael Bernard-Donals, University Committee member, presented a first reading of a proposal to amend Faculty Policies and Procedures to add a new section 7.21 regarding leave of absence under state or federal Family and Medical Leave Acts, which is not currently not addressed, and outlines that approval of this type of leave is based on whether an employee meets the standards under the law as determined by divisional disability representatives, and that because of this, an executive committee vote is not necessary (Faculty Document 3109).
Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin adjourned the meeting at 4:35 p.m.
Heather Daniels, Secretary of the Faculty