University Committee Meeting Minutes 2016-09-12
Minutes for September 12, 2016
UC members present: Amasino, Bowers, Broman, Litovsky, Wanner, Wendt (chair)
Others present: S. Smith, J. Richard, O. Arain, J. O’Meara, M. Felber, H. Daniels, M. Mocicke.
Chair Amy Wendt called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m., although no business was conducted until everyone was present at 1:03 p.m. Discussion about possibly starting meetings this semester 15 minutes later. This will not be possible for at least several weeks as agenda items are already set. Possibly revisit in a couple of weeks. Wendt called attention to the following: shared governance reception on October 11, campus budget forum on September 14, no UC meeting on October 3. The UC reviewed annual shared governance letter from leadership and recommended adding information on reception and elections. Wendt called attention to letter from AAUP regarding the new Amazon point on campus and a response letter from the VCFA. Ample discussion about the situation and related conversations on campus. The UC is most concerned about whether other residents of the Red Gym were adequately and appropriately consulted prior to the agreement. Discussion also included strategic planning and use of space and whether mission-specific activity is compromised by this type of agreement. The UC discussed the possibility of a senate resolution on the UW System budget request. Litovsky provided an update on the OHR director (now Chief Human Relations Officer) search. Wendt asked the UC to review draft charge to the Commission on Faculty Compensation and Economic Benefits in the coming week. Minutes of the meeting of August 29, 2016, approved with amendments.
Jack O’Meara summarized recent PROFS meeting with Ray Cross, which focused on performance-based measures and potential unintended consequences. Professors Hillman and Moynihan presented their research on the topic. Cross receptive to campus position and also has reservations, but is convinced that this has become a priority for the governor. PROFS position that the key is to get in on conversation with state and that System and campus have substantial areas of agreement. The UC reviewed agenda and materials for September 26 Faculty Senate meeting. Ample discussion. There was not sufficient time to go over the repackaging of the academic calendar materials. Secretary of the Faculty Steve Smith will be presenting this topic to Academic Staff Assembly and will incorporate feedback into new materials for UC to review.
Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller briefed the UC on the first meeting of the shared governance budget committee. He felt that the group is off to a great start, delving into a complex process. There is a lot of work to do, but promises to be a “fantastic venue.” Heller provided an update on FLSA changes, especially as regards post-docs. Ample discussion, primarily of impact on grant budgets. Wendt pointed to the upcoming senate vote on moving RSP back to the OVCRGE, a move the VCFA supports. Wendt provided a brief “primer” on faculty role in shared governance. Heller would like to keep standing meeting time with UC and also reiterated his availability at any time. Heller returned to the discussion of the Amazon contract. He feels that there was not adequate consultation with other residents of the Red Gym and his priority on this right now is to mitigate impacts on those units. Litovsky and Broman raised the point that the general campus operating principle with regard to transparency and communication about using UW space for for-profit entities is not clear. Heller will look into the principles and guidance on private use of space and is committed to making sure that there is a process for this kind of decision. Community buy-in and feedback are crucial to ensuring that these deals maximize benefit to everyone.
Dean of the Graduate School Bill Karpus is working closely with several other offices on diversity and cultural awareness. To address the campus’s lack of opportunities and programing for graduate students on these issues, GS is developing online module for graduate students, which will start out as voluntary with opportunity to participate in small group workshops. They are also working with simulations and separate small group sessions, all in conjunction with what is already being offered at departmental levels, which GS will also promote. Overall approach of multiple modalities, students can choose to participate in one or more, tracked by NetID to get sense of who participates; tied to continual communications that participation is important. GS also plans October 1 launch of professional development portal. They have catalogued all professional development opportunities on campus, breaking them down by competencies and elements so that people can identify needs; will include self-assessment and portal can provide opportunities based on career outcomes, which students can modify. Will constantly update catalog and will develop communication plan that also includes faculty. Third initiative on sexual harassment training with UHS to develop module for graduate students and provide centralized access to resources and information. Similar to above, will be online, not required (initially), but messaged and monitored to encourage participation. Discussion, including faculty training, broader diversity initiatives, and need to disaggregate graduate students in these initiatives.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the semester launched quite well. New effort this year to better recognize promoted and awarded faculty. ASM has expressed concerns related to policing. Blank hopes to have them create group to talk to police on ongoing basis to increase transparency, communication. Blank updated UC on search for new police chief; definitely prioritizing candidates with campus policing experience. Campus budget forum September 14, primarily aimed at campus community, but there will be press, legislators, regents, to talk about impact of cuts, System budget request, and (especially) how we move forward. Compensation plan letters have been sent out; $3.5M each for faculty and academic staff, $2M bonuses. Chancellor has reviewed post-tenure review policy modifications, which are currently being reviewed by System. Discussion about potential reception in Senate; most controversial change will be removal of specific grievance, but other protections still exist, as does right to ask for second review. Would be helpful to have supportive senators, chairs (current and former) at Senate meeting and to have responses prepared on various aspects. Generally, feedback on the policy has been favorable and campus has added funds for positive PTR results. Blank and the UC discussed the Amazon contract at length. She does not feel that this is a (faculty) governance issue; the UC agrees at some level, but there are concerns about impacts on the academic mission. Blank admits that administration did not adequately consult with others in the Red Gym and will address that. The UC pointed to the possibility that Heller raised about having clear expectations and transparency of review for the future. Ample and wide-ranging discussion. Wendt quickly reviewed draft Senate agenda. Chancellor’s update concluded with discussion of initiatives on climate and inclusion. Too early to tell for sure, but other than some items in the press, all feedback has been entirely positive. No resistance on campus and in fact lots of encouragement. Approach has been balanced and careful not to impinge on free speech or academic freedom and this seems to be recognized by campus community.
Associate Vice Chancellor Jocelyn Milner and Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Steve Cramer – co-chairs of the team for the HLC 2018-19 Comprehensive Review – distributed a handout outlining campus structure for the 10-year accreditation preparation and site visit (March 24-25, 2019). As liaison officer, Milner responsible for staying current on requirements, communicating to community, and engaging leadership to meet responsibilities. She reviewed the new criteria and format, explaining that preparation this time will be quite different; much greater focus on teaching and learning. Online assurance (portfolio) system replaces self-study; process more streamlined. Milner explained where campus currently is in process and what remains to be done. Focus of meeting with UC is the Advisory Team, which will have a faculty co-chair. This group will review documents, provide feedback, and serve as “reach out” to rest of campus. Will meet a couple times/semester; request for UC to nominate co-chair. Milner emphasized importance of this role as we are being evaluated on academic performance and student impact. Ample discussion.
Amasino moved to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to discuss personnel matters. Motion was seconded and passed at 3:29 p.m. UC approved a one-year extension of the chair of the Officer Education Committee. UC discussed possibilities to co-chair the advisory team for accreditation; will consider options and revisit next week. Amasino presented and moved approval of a dual role waiver, which was unanimously approved. UC letter to L&S re salary review of the School of Music approved with edits to protect identity of griever; authorization to release letter to griever under separate cover. The UC nominated one-year replacements for vacancies on the Commission on Faculty Compensation and Economic Benefits and replaced the UC representative to the URC with a current UC member. Litovsky moved to reconvene in open session. Motion was seconded and passed at 4:20 p.m., immediately after which Wendt adjourned the meeting.