Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 07-23-20
2:00 – 4:15 p.m. Thursday, July 23, 2020
Members Present: Donna Cole, Jenny Dahlberg, chair; Tim Dalby; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Diane Blaskowski, Keiva Coppage Aranda, Angela Kita, Karyn Matchey, Karl Scholz, Andrew Turner, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.
The minutes of July 9 were approved.
Jenny Dahlberg, ASEC chair, reported on discussions at the meetings between the chairs, secretaries and the chiefs of staff around draft policies on returning to onsite work. Campus will be initiating testing in early August, and they are verifying whether emeritus employees will have access to testing. There will soon be more communication regarding what to do in the event of positive test results.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported that ASEC has been asked for one academic staff member to be nominated to the Sustainability Advisory Council. Jake will send a call to all academic staff for participation. Jake reviewed the proposed charge and membership from DCS for the youth protection policy implementation working group, on which ASEC provided feedback. Jake will also contact OHR to schedule more meetings with ASEC during the fall and into the spring, maintaining the twice-a-month frequency as much as possible.
Mallory Musolf reported on the recent UW System Reps meeting with Interim System President Tommy Thompson. The Governor announced that DOA will be working with state agencies for a total cost savings of $250 million. There was a joint statement from ASPRO, PROFS, and ASM following up on President Thompson’s statement acknowledging the value of investing in the UW System. He highlighted the budget cut that we have already received, and he will continue to advocate for UW with the Legislature and the Governor’s Office. An issue was raised regarding furloughed employees not getting unemployment checks in a timely fashion, and he will follow up on this for the next meeting.
Bill Tishler reported on the July 13 University Committee meeting, during which concerns were raised on testing resources. There was also a discussion of how UHS could provide more support to graduate students.
Deb Shapiro reported that the Librarians’ Assembly has had a change of leadership and will kick off its meetings next week.
Stephanie Elkins reported that the Wisconsin Public Media has been trying to reconvene after its initial meeting before COVID, but given current conditions, this has been difficult. Jake and Stephanie will discuss possible options on how the committee can resume.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz provided an update on fall enrollment with respect to graduate students. While grad students don’t go through the same deposit process, it appears as though it will be a robust year in grad student enrollment. There is concern about international students having difficulty getting visas to get into the country, and UW is figuring out how best to address this issue. Full enrollment data won’t be available until early September. This is also the case for undergraduate enrollment as well. On the question of how to classify a course in which students would attend class in person but the instructor would be teaching remotely, Provost Scholz said that this particular example would be an unusual one, but would technically be a hybrid model. Regarding the virtual town halls for instructors, the goal is to enhance communication and share progress reports for instructors and those who are involved in instruction. There has been a lot of work from the Instructional Continuity Team and they want to provide a venue for questions. There was a similar town hall yesterday for the advising community.
UW-Madison will be getting a Zoom license in the near future. The Information Technology Committee sent out a survey and got 1500 responses, with the overwhelming majority of respondents anxious to have Zoom as a university supported platform. After consulting with Lois Brooks and Laurent Heller, and now that it has patched up its security issues, campus will move forward with getting a license. The timing is uncertain as to when the license will go live.
Regarding communication from UW System on reopening, Provost Scholz talked about the recent announcement of the $250 million lapse in funding for the next fiscal year. They are hoping for lesser impacts to UW System and UW-Madison, given how much of a cut they have taken already. UW-Madison has made strong statements about topics that might be handled at a local level and works with System on necessary differences for UW-Madison as needed.
The Provost commended the Office of the Registrar for its work in scheduling the timetable. Students are getting their schedules this week. It has been somewhat challenging in terms of students seeing some courses offered remotely. There will be communications on Friday and early next week that will have go-to sources for return to onsite work, positive COVID testing results, and other areas. Case counts in Dane County seem to be going down. He also talked about the testing that was going on in Engineering for face shields for instructors.
• Review of ASEC Operating Procedures
Tim, Lindsey, Bill, and Jake met to review and revise ASEC’s operating procedures and presented the amended version to ASEC. They changed the document to make it flow better and to reflect current practices. Motion to approve the operating procedures (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
• Confirmation of 20-21 Liaison Assignments
Jake confirmed that all revisions to liaison assignments were captured for this year.
• Assembly Orientation
ASEC discussed how orientation will work in a virtual environment. The session will have a similar agenda to last year, with more time to explain how virtual meetings work and possibly more time for the Provost. Jenny, Mallory, Tim, and Jake will meet to finalize plans for the session.
• Topics for Guests
Provost: clarity on mandate for face-to-face instruction minimum; efforts to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion in academics
VCFA: status of 2% pay increase and additional furloughs; 5G cell coverage on campus; budget impacts; sports in the fall
Guests: Mark Walters and Diane Blaskowski, Office of Human Resources
Starting tomorrow, deans and directors will receive materials and resources for their plans for fall semester, including the workplace safety policy. The policy has been adjusted based on feedback from ASEC and other stakeholders. Employee messaging on these resources will follow early next week. These communications will also cover notifications for employees returning to campus, checklists for supervisors and employees, and information on accommodations and flexibilities. There have been many changes to the workplace safety policy, and it will continue to evolve due to changes from public health guidelines and protocols. The policy takes a strict approach on symptoms in particular, with employees required to be out of the workplace for at least ten days after the onset of symptoms. The reporting process is also evolving. Currently there are different ways for employees and students to report that they have tested positive. Work is being done to streamline those multiple processes, involving University Health Services, Environmental Health and Safety, Divisional Disability Representatives, and Human Resources. The current policy states that the Divisional Disability Representative is the contact for employees. Regarding the survey for campus concerns, OHR has been rethinking how to proceed with this. They wanted to get resources out and then get feedback on what’s been provided and what is missing.
The administration of furloughs to date has gone about as well as could be expected. There continue to be some bumps, and there has been feedback about whether a pay cut would have been better, given all of the additional work that furloughs create. There are different approaches at the different institutions, which has also been challenging. There is a furlough inbox that earlier in the process was getting blasted with questions, but there are only occasional questions now. There are too many unknowns about a second round of furloughs after October.
Meeting adjourned at 4:19 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff