Faculty Senate Minutes 2023-12-04

Minutes approved February 5, 2023

Minutes for December 4th, 2023

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. with 162 voting members present (102 needed for quorum). Memorial resolutions were offered for Professor Emeritus William B. Blankenburg (Faculty Document 3123), Professor Emeritus Glenn Hamel Bowen (Faculty Document 3124), Professor Emeritus Thomas J. McCormick (Faculty Document 3125), Professor Emeritus Richard Herbert Sewell (Faculty Document 3126), and Professor Emeritus John Uicker, Jr. (Faculty Document 3127).


Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin reported that UW–Madison topped $1.5 billion in research expenditures for the first time, ranking eight again nationally. The gap between the seventh and eight ranked universities shrunk, and UW–Madison research expenditures grew by 10%. Graduate assistant stipend minimums will go up by 14% in FY25. Over the past decade, minimum stipends have increased by 79% for TAs, 52% for RAs, and 76% for PAs. There is an effort to develop a multi-year plan to support graduate students, which will outline more holistic support for graduate students, as well as forecast minimum stipends for planning purposes. 


The Diversity Forum was held in November 14-15, 2023. It was the largest forum in campus history and included many well-received sessions, several of which are available online.  


UW–Madison and the Universities of Wisconsin continue to engage with the legislature regarding university priorities, including the pay plan and the engineering building.


There are searches underway for the School of Veterinary Medicine dean, chaired by Professor Kristen Bernard, the vice chancellor for research, chaired by Professor William Murphy, and the School of Education dean. In addition, Charles Hoslet, vice chancellor for university relations, is stepping down at the end of the academic year after 27 years at the university; a search will be launched for his successor in the near future.


Campus leadership is starting to look at changes to the budget model to better support the core priorities of the university, including great education for students, tremendous research and support of the Wisconsin Idea, and outreach that makes a difference to the world. Many universities have turned to budget models that are activities-based. A new model would need to support unit collaboration and the cultural dimensions of the university. Committees, which will include faculty, will be formed to look at various aspects of a new model.


Professor Susan Thibeault, University Committee chair, shared that the Lectures Committee is receiving 50% less applications than in the past and encouraged faculty to submit applications, which have a high success rate. The vote on honorary degrees will be delayed to the February Senate meeting.


Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori Reesor shared that UW–Madison’s Student Affairs supports well-being, involvement and belonging for students. Student involvement and connection, which took a large dip during the pandemic, has rebounded with students becoming more engaged. It was a difficult semester for those connected either directly or indirectly to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Students appreciated the flexibility faculty have provided. There is a new Center for Interfaith Dialogue, which used to be a program operated out of the College of Letters and Sciences and has now been moved to Student Affairs, which provides ways to educate students about their own faith, learn from students with other religious identities, and build community and harmony. The new Badger Dialogues series provides an opportunity for students share their feelings of belonging on campus. There are new events and programming for first-generation students. Cultural centers and spaces are being evaluated and processes for creating or expanding those spaces is being discussed.


About 10% of UW–Madison students affiliated with the McBurney Disability Resource Center in 2022-2023, which is an 132% increase in the past five years. More than 90% of students affiliated with the McBurney Center have a nonapparent disability. Overall, there are more requests for classroom flexibility and disability accommodations. A new instructor guide and FAQ document will be launched in the spring semester to help instructors with strategies for student support.


There is considerable growth in mental health services needs, with the most increase in areas of anxiety, stress and depression. Last academic year, there were over 26,000 visits to Mental Health Services, representing service to 7,000 individual students. Mental Health Services has one of the largest and most diverse mental health services staff in the country. There are no session limits for mental health visits, and there is a new Uwill virtual service. Students are typically able to schedule an appointment within two weeks, and counselors are always available for immediate needs.


Members of the university community can report students of concern to the Dean of Students Office, who will look into the situation and reach out to the student to see what they can do to provide support.


During the question period, a faculty member asked about how to accommodate the numbers of students with different needs. Senior Vice Provost John Zumbrunnen indicated there is work being done to expand the capacity of testing and evaluation services provided by the School of Education, and that the McBurney Center and the Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring are working on a list of best practices and resources for instructors, to help with the understanding of accommodations, requirements and spaces that can be used for universal design. A faculty member commented that more TA support for larger classes would be helpful.


The minutes of the November 6, 2023 meeting were approved by consent.


Professor Nasia Safdar (Medicine, district 89) presented the Committee for Women in the University annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3128). J.J. Andrews presented the Committee on Undergraduate Recruitment, Admissions, and Financial Aid annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3129). Professor Eve Emshwiller (Botany, district 47) presented the Lectures Committee annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3130). Professor Catherine Arnott Smith (Information School, district 62) presented the Information Technology Committee annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3131). There were no questions on these reports.


Professor Susan Thibeault, University Committee chair, moved approval to amend Faculty Policies and Procedures 3.05, 6.31, 6.59, and 9.05, the result of which would move the Graduate School dean reporting line from the vice chancellor for research and graduate education to the provost and rename the vice chancellor for research and graduate education to the vice chancellor for research (Faculty Document 3122). A dotted reporting line would exist from the Graduate School dean to the vice chancellor research. The change would better align the responsibilities of the Graduate School, which are 75% academic, better position the provost to participate in national conversations with peers about graduate education, and still maintain important connections with the research enterprise and the vice chancellor for research. Since the first reading of the proposal, the University Committee held two town halls to answer questions and gather additional feedback and did not receive any suggested changes to the proposal. The motion was approved.


Professor Annie Jones, University Committee member, presented a first reading of a proposal to amend the academic calendar spring recess scheduling parameters to better align the university spring break with area school district spring breaks (Faculty Document 3132). A vote on this item is anticipated at the February Faculty Senate meeting.


Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin adjourned the meeting at 4:29 p.m.

KeywordsFaculty Senate   Doc ID135251
OwnerCurtis V.GroupUW Secretary of the Faculty
Created2024-02-06 13:31:21Updated2024-05-08 15:20:17
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