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University Committee Meeting Minutes 2016-04-18
Minutes approved with amendment April 25, 2016
UC members present: Broman, Edwards, Litovsky, Meyerand (chair), Wanner, Wendt
Others present: S. Smith, J. Richard, J. O’Meara, M. Felber, H. Daniels, H. McFadden, G. Bump, B. Tracy, C. Goldberg, M. Bernard-Donals
Chair Beth Meyerand called the meeting to order at 1:01 p.m. The secretary of the faculty made several housekeeping announcements. The minutes of the meeting of April 4, 2016, were approved. The minutes of the meeting of April 11, 2016, were approved with no amendments, although it was noted that the UC belatedly conveyed the warmest of birthday wishes to Tom Broman for that day. Jack O’Meara indicated that the PROFS steering committee meeting would be rescheduled and that a new bipartisan legislative children’s caucus would be happy to make use of university expertise.
Vice Chancellor for University Relations Charlie Hoslet indicated he was glad to answer any questions the UC might have. Seeing none, John Lucas and Alice Gustafson presented and demonstrated the new Working At UW website (working.wisc.edu). The site is part of an effort to improve internal communication, particularly with employees without regular computer access and/or for whom English is not their first language. Sarah Mandell, also present, hired as a communications specialist to assist with rollout. The people-focused website targets information pertinent to internal audiences and will be ported into an e-digest that can be printed and posted and tied to a series of phone lines in the five main campus languages, where callers can hear translations of printed materials. This “path of respect” for the work force aims to communicate information to people in a way that makes it most accessible to them. A final element of this suite of internal communication tools will be an email distribution list library that is more transparent and useful than wisclist. The suite is intended to complement Inside UW, allows for easy contribution of content, and will call out governance as a major aspect. Ample discussion ensued. The UC commended the effort and especially its utility for 2nd and 3rd shift employees.
Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Marsha Mailick updated the UC on the progress of the IRB survey, which will incorporate feedback from the Survey Center and launch in May, and indicated that her preference is straight black licorice rather than the mix. The UW2020 announcement has received very nice feedback, including old-fashioned handwritten letters. Over 85 faculty were involved in the reviews and Mailick plans to advocate for more funds to continue the effort. Ample discussion about the review and feedback processes. Secretary Smith informed those present that an amendment to the URC incorporation into FPP will be made at the Senate meeting to add that the UC-appointed seats on the URC would be made from nominations supplied by the Committee on Committees. The UC would like to discuss how this impacts its role in the process at next week’s UC meeting. Mailick’s time concluded with a discussion about the most appropriate timing for a “state of the research enterprise” presentation to the Senate.
David Rosenthal presented the context and background of a senate resolution in solidarity with Muslim students, staff, and faculty to be moved by Andrea Ruppar. This is primarily a resolution of religious freedom, recognizing that other groups are also under attack, but motivated by the danger of complicity by not saying something in support of students (and faculty and staff). Discussion, minor edits, and unanimous support from UC.
Faculty Senator Chris Walker and CDO Chief-of-Staff Carl Hampton, along with several others, discussed a resolution on cultural competency with the UC. (Others in attendance supporting the resolution included two students from First Wave Learning Community, Joan Fujimura, Dan Vimont, and Jeffrey Brown.) Walker provided context and background. The expectation is to create training designed with all stakeholders, ultimately aimed at creating a campus we can all be proud of. Ample discussion, primarily of what happens after the resolution and what can be done now. There is significant demand for tools and resources even beyond what is currently available. Walker emphasized the importance of starting conversations within departments, at a level where people live and interact. Meyerand expressed the UC’s desire that momentum not end with the resolution and that it be seen as a launching point for continued action and discussions.
Faculty Senators Chad Goldberg and Bill Tracy joined the UC to discuss a resolution in response to the Board-modified tenure policies. They speak on behalf of other faculty who are concerned and angered about the Board’s process for considering campus tenure policies at its Green Bay meeting. Primary issue is infringement on shared governance. Draft document is result of many conversations and aimed at garnering broad consensus. Recognition that this is a strong statement. Ample discussion about outcomes, expectations, symbolism, potential ramifications and repercussions, national and state contexts, and impact on PTR policy. Consensus that it is important to emphasize loss to the institution over unhappiness.
The foregoing, which emphasized a failure of process over the content of the policy, segued into a conversation about developing local protocols to be followed by current and future chancellors in the event of layoffs or terminations. Recommendation that UC announce this effort at May Senate meeting and task force be created to implement this reaffirmation of campus policies. Unanimous strong support for this idea.
Secretary Smith presented context and background of report and recommendations of the ad hoc committee on the academic calendar. Ample discussion and consensus approval for first reading at May Senate.
Litovsky led discussion of ways to address campus climate and faculty morale. Building on ideas discussed at beginning of this academic year (delayed due to pressing other matters), Litovsky suggested the UC spend time over summer first defining issues that affect climate and morale and then figuring out best ways to create engagement around those issues. Short list of issues includes diversity and inclusion, tenure and PTR, raises and retention effects, and research funds and overall reduction in funding. Possible methods of engagement include listening sessions, formal and informal processes within departments and units, participation in the diversity framework process, building communities, and informal ways to leverage interests (“clubs”/affinity groups). Very ample discussion on experiences in units (e.g., junior faculty meetings in Education, informal discussions, VPFS career talks and sessions, etc.), experience with campuswide listening sessions and other existing engagement methods, role of content experts and data, connection to existing SG structures and low participation in service, connections with actual decision-making, burn-out, and isolation. Tracy pointed to past efforts and activities along these lines, including faculty-staff scholarship drive (Great People), which grew out of survey of campus priorities. Engagement and well-focused energy are key. Possible way to start off next academic year on positive note.
Litovsky departed at 3:33 p.m. 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 3:34 p.m. The UC unanimously approved a change to a previously approved dual role request, with the understanding that the department has revised its procedures to avoid the need for such multi-stage requests in the future. The UC nominated faculty to fill multiple vacancies on the Committee on Access and Accommodation in Instruction. Meyerand moved to reconvene in open session. The motion was seconded and passed at 3:58 p.m. and Meyerand adjourned the meeting at 3:59 p.m.