Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 09-03-20
2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Thursday, September 3, 2020
Members Present: Donna Cole, Jenny Dahlberg, chair; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Lynn Freeman, Kevin Jacobson, Karyn Matchey, Karl Scholz, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.
The minutes of August 27 were approved.
Jenny Dahlberg, ASEC chair, reported on recent meetings between the secretaries, chairs, and chiefs of staff. The dashboard was discussed, and Jenny also raised the issue of flexibility around the PMDP process, with particular attention to the midpoint conversation. Jenny, Mallory and Jake met with Mark Walters for their monthly meeting and discussed issues around Smart Restart. Those issues will likely be covered later during that agenda item.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, mentioned that the Faculty Senate has called for a special meeting on September 14 at the same time as the Assembly. The first hour of the meeting will now be devoted to a question and answer period on COVID and Smart Restart. The idea is for the Assembly and the Senate to meet in joint session for this Q&A session, and the agenda has been updated to reflect this change. Vice Chancellor Laurent Heller will preside over the business portion of the Assembly meeting. Jake spoke with Barb Lanser regarding an update on the changes to the disability policy that ASEC discussed in the spring. These have been delayed due to COVID but will hopefully come to ASEC and the Assembly in a final form in the fall. Jenny and Jake will be meeting with other secretaries and governance chairs to look at the report of the Revenue Innovation Study Group. This report will be subsequently shared with ASEC and the Assembly.
Bill Tishler reported on the University Committee meeting. The UC received a presentation from Interim Chief Diversity Officer Cheryl Gittens and had a discussion about the academic calendar for the spring. The Faculty Senate will be voting on this change—a proposal to start the semester a week later and eliminate spring recess—at its September 14 meeting. In his capacity as DCS CASI chair, he also reported that the DCS CASI will be meeting with Dean Russell to discuss the impact of COVID on budgets, including layoffs. The CASI also recently revised its bylaws.
Lindsay Stoddard Cameron reported that she reached out to CASIs for the School of Nursing and the School of Human Ecology. SoHE is looking at governance structures within the school, and Jake will work with Lindsay to address any questions or needs the school might have.
Jenny Dahlberg reported on a recent meeting of the Vet Med CASI. The meeting helped clarify the CASI’s purpose and function within the school. They are looking at revising their procedures so that everyone has a better understanding of how the CASI will work.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz will be talking to the Deans later in the day and will get a better view of how things are going with the start of classes. He has received positive reports about it being good to have students back. Administration is watching the dashboard carefully and taking steps to work with areas where there have been multiple positive cases. On the topic of messaging around quality of online courses as compared to in-person courses, Provost Scholz remarked that hundreds of instructors have gone through training in online course design, and he is confident about those courses being outstanding. He is talking with Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning John Zumbrunnen about working with the Survey Center to systematically survey students around the sixth or seventh week of classes to gauge their experiences, both in the classroom and more broadly on campus. A number of Deans, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and colleagues in DDEEA will be a part of this effort as well. While the quality of online delivery is comparable to the in-person experience in many ways, one systemic challenge with remote learning is fostering a sense of connection. On the topic of the layoffs, the recent news from DCS is not solely a response to the pandemic. Demand has decreased for certain non-credit programming and for visiting international student programming, and COVID has also provided additional urgency. Provost Scholz discussed potential alterations to the spring calendar. The idea would be to start the semester on Monday, January 25 and not have a spring recess, but instead to have March 27, April 2, and April 3 as days off, with the semester’s end date remaining the same. The Faculty Senate will take this up on September 14.
• September Assembly Agenda – for vote
ASEC finalized the agenda and made additional edits to the fair trade resolution. Motion to approve the fair trade resolution (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved. Motion to approve the September Assembly Agenda (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
• Planning Session Debrief and Review
ASEC debriefed from its planning session held with standing committee chairs on August 21. ASEC reviewed progress on its goals from last year as well as potential new initiatives for both ASEC and standing committees. Jake will follow up with the standing committees as needed to ensure shared understanding of progress and timelines for these initiatives.
• Topics for Guests
Provost: sense of enrollment in advance of the drop date; discussion of action plan if students or instructors test positive and how that works consistently across campus
Interim Chief Diversity Officer: how to integrate DEI efforts into everyday activity; vision of the division and balancing issues of importance to students with issues of importance to staff/faculty; thoughts on professional development; resources to support DEI efforts at the local level; possibility of publishing diversity plans for schools/colleges/division in a central location; how the university can work with the community on these areas post-COVID
Guest: Mark Walters and Lynn Freeman, Office of Human Resources
Mark and Lynn provided ASEC with an overview of the data that was collected in the employee survey that was distributed at the beginning of August. The results have been broken out by employee category, and academic staff had the highest amount of participation. This overview will be shared more widely in the coming weeks, and the results of the survey will inform future actions and reinforce the need for further flexibilities on campus. On the subject of further furloughs, the initial round of furloughs was more rushed, and if there are further furloughs or layoffs, the intent is to engage governance further on these plans. Regarding the question of increases being granted for faculty but not staff in some areas, OHR can help with these cases. As part of the freeze, these decisions were delegated to deans and vice chancellors. Mark will return to ASEC’s other topics, including the status of TTC, at a future meeting.
Meeting adjourned at 4:26 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff