Faculty Senate Minutes 2024-03-04

Minutes approved April 1, 2024

Minutes for March 4, 2024

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. with 148 voting members present (104 needed for quorum). A memorial resolution was offered for Professor Emerita Bernice Durand (Faculty Document 3144).

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin shared that both houses of the legislature passed bills related to the deal between the UW System Board of Regents and the legislature. This included funding for the Engineering Building, dorm repairs, utility work, and demolition projects, and changes to the Wisconsin-Minnesota reciprocity agreement, which allow UW-Madison to keep tuition, rather than the difference between state tuitions going to the state. The bills passed with bipartisan support and are expected to be signed by Governor Evers. The Joint Committee on Finance approved the restoration of $32 million in funding for the Universities of Wisconsin.

Governor Evers has already signed the guaranteed admission bill, which means that the top 5% of Wisconsin high school students, by GPA, will be guaranteed admission to UW-Madison, though that won’t guarantee admission into any particular program that might have separate selective admission processes. UW-Madison was already accepting about 94% of the top 5% of Wisconsin high school students, so this will not present a large change, except that it sends a message of inclusion across all 72 counties. The top 10% of Wisconsin high school students will be guaranteed admission to the other Universities of Wisconsin campuses. This will take effect with the 2025-2026 entered class.

The Wisconsin RISE (research, innovation and scholarly excellence) initiative will provide an opportunity to address complex, global challenges through accelerated and strategic faculty hiring, and research and staff infrastructure enhancement, to produce greater interdisciplinary collaboration and increase student and educational opportunities on topics important to the future of the world. The goal is to hire an additional 120 to 150 faculty over the next three to five years in several strategic areas. This will be in addition to regular faculty hiring. The first focus area is artificial intelligence. The university community can submit RISE area ideas through the website; ideas will be reviewed by the deans, provost, and chancellor.

There is a new cross-campus initiative focused on environmental sustainability centered around five goals: 1) to create a sustainability research hub to facilitate grant writing and sustainability innovation across campus, 2) to procure 100% renewable electricity on campus by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2048, 3) to achieve a zero waste campus by 2040, 4) to ensure all interested students have access to sustainability educational experiences by 2030, and 5) to achieve STARS (Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System) gold status by 2025. Nearly half of all departments have sustainability engagements and research and more than 320 faculty participate in sustainability-related research. This initiative will help to embrace what we are already doing and to achieve even more. Several governance groups have been engaged in developing this initiative.

There is a new FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form which has caused delays in the receipt of applicants’ federal aid information. As a result, UW-Madison has moved the admitted student deposit and on-campus housing contract deadlines for accepted students from May 1 to May 15, 2024.

Brent Plisch has been named the interim chief of the UW–Madison Police Department. The School of Veterinary Medicine dean finalists recently visited campus and the search is in its final stages. The vice chancellor for research finalists will visit campus over the next couple of weeks. The School of Education dean search is underway, and finalists will visit campus later this semester. The vice chancellor university relations search firm has just been selected. A NetID log in will be required to see the names and CVs of leadership candidates, posted 48 hours in advance of public presentations.

Professor Susan Thibeault, University Committee chair, shared that Extension senators and alternates often attend Faculty Senate meetings virtually and are engaged through that format. She encouraged faculty participation in campus and school/college leadership searches, in particular by attending and providing comments on candidates’ public presentations. The scheduling process for final exams is being reviewed, and the first step in that process will be to gather data on the positives and the challenges of the current final exam schedule.

Chief Diversity Officer LaVar Charleston shared that the recent deal between the UW System Board of Regents and the legislature provides an opportunity for innovation in the work of the Office of Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement (DDEEA). The commitment to creating and promoting an equitable and inclusive work and learning environment remains steadfast, as do the university’s core values. DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is seeing a paradigm shift with anti-DEI movements, so there is a need to evaluate how to promote academic excellence for all on campus in all constituencies. The university wants to create an environment where everyone is able to thrive and succeed. He encouraged everyone to think about ways to ensure spaces of belonging and to realize our values in the Wisconsin Idea by approaching research, teaching, policies, and practices with an equity-minded lens. With the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continuing to have a significant impact on the campus community, there has been continued focus on physical safety and security for students and efforts to provide support for students and the university community as a whole. Beginning next fall, UW-Madison will support the full cost of attendance for students pursuing an undergraduate degree who are Wisconsin residents and enrolled members of federally-recognized Wisconsin Tribes. The university has also started a pilot program covering in-state tuition and fees for students who are Wisconsin residents and enrolled members of federally-recognized Wisconsin Tribes pursuing either a law degree (JD) or medical degree (MD). The DDEEA leadership team has expanded to include an assistant vice provost for strategic equity inclusion belonging administration and an executive director of communications. The 2023 Diversity Forum was attended by about 2300 people, either in person or virtually. The 2024 Diversity Forum will be held November 13-14 in Union South.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Rob Cramer provided an overview of the new budget approach, which will efficiently and fairly distribute resources, maintain fiscal health and responsible stewardship, engage leaders to act strategically, provide greater transparency and predictability, and reward collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The new budget approach will determine how funds flow from central campus to schools and colleges. Other campus divisions and other sources of funding will be less directly affected by the new budget approach. The university has activities that are highly valued but do not generate revenue, and the new budget approach needs to capture our full set of values. In the draft budget approach, central campus will continue to directly cover the cost of central support units, supplement state pay plans, cover the cost of much of the research infrastructure, and continue to make ad hoc contributions to research activities (e.g., startups and retentions) when warranted. Under the approach, the four areas that will comprise school/college budgets are undergraduate tuitional allocation, indirect costs allocation, graduate tuition allocation, and base budget. Task forces are being formed to consider questions the draft budget approach raises, starting with tasks forces on undergraduate tuition and federal indirects. Task forces will reach out to various communities and stakeholders across campus for additional input. The task forces will provide feedback to the coordinating committee, which includes shared governance representatives. The vice chancellor for finance and administration and the provost will then report recommendations to the chancellor, who has the final decision-making authority. A shadow system will be used in the 2024-2025 fiscal year to evaluate how the new approach is working and to make any needed adjustments. The new budget approach will be implemented in the 2025-26 fiscal year.

During the question period, a faculty senator asked for clarification on the future of faculty in the Department of Extension and expressed concern that the changes in Extension have not been discussed with the Faculty Senate. Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin indicated that in 2022, an agreement was made with the dean of extension, the former provost, and the former chancellor that all future tenure-track hires would be part of the Division of Extension but tenured in other schools and colleges on campus. No terms of that agreement have changed. There are similar units on campus that are of great value to the university but don’t serve as a tenure home. Extension is critical to the Wisconsin Idea and a thriving Extension program is important to the university.

A faculty senator shared that in an open forum with faculty, staff, and students in shared governance in the Universities of Wisconsin, most questions and concerns were about the agreement with the legislature and changes to DEI. This generated questions and needed actions about what it means to remain committed to DEI, if we are succeeding in our DEI goals, and how we demonstrate and communicate success in future DEI goals. Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin shared that diversity is a core institutional value and that time needs to be spent evaluating current work, future goals, and what success looks like. There is also a recognition that many types of diversity are important, such as viewpoint diversity, and the need to think about broader frameworks for diversity, while also knowing that serving underserved populations is one of the goals. There has been progress in recent years, including an increase in faculty diversity, and increase of about 50% in the number of underrepresented undergraduate students, and an increase in six-year graduation rates of students from traditionally underserved communities.

The minutes of the February 5, 2024 meeting were approved by consent.

Professor Emeritus Thomas Kuech presented the Ombuds Office annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3145). Professor Kristine Kwekkeboom (Nursing, district 105) presented the Retirement Issues Committee annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3146). Professor Heather Schlesser (Extension, district 117), presented the Kemper K. Knapp Bequest Committee annual report for 2023-2024 (Faculty Document 3147). Professor Lisa Forrest (Surgical Sciences, district 114) presented the Committee on Disability Access and Inclusion annual report for 2022-2023 (Faculty Document 3148). There were no questions on these reports.

Professor Li Chiao-Ping, University Committee member, moved approval of the academic calendar for 2028-2029 (Faculty Document 3143). The motion was approved.

Professor Annie Jones, University Committee member, presented a first reading of a proposal to amend Faculty Policies and Procedures to clarify the use and purpose of the faculty instructor rank (Faculty Document 3149). A vote on this item is anticipated at the April Faculty Senate meeting.

KeywordsFaculty Senate   Doc ID137215
OwnerCurtis V.GroupUW Secretary of the Faculty
Created2024-05-08 14:48:40Updated2024-05-08 14:56:32
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