Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 10-22-20
1:55 – 4:00 p.m. Thursday, October 22, 2020
Members Present: Donna Cole; Jenny Dahlberg, chair; Tim Dalby; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Irina Diaz, Lesley Fisher, Laurent Heller, Alyson Kim, Kris Olds, Karl Scholz, Paul Seitz, Maria Widmer
The meeting was called to order at 1:55 p.m.
The minutes of October 8 were approved.
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(e) to Discuss University Business Matters with Competitive Implications (Elkins). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
Guest: Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Vice Chancellor Heller introduced Professor Kris Olds, who chaired the Revenue Innovation Study Group, and Paul Seitz, who supported the group in its work. The group was charged by the Vice Chancellor and Chancellor Blank to find more nontraditional ways to support the academic, research, and service mission of the university. Strategies that Vice Chancellor Heller and the Chancellor have talked about in the past—including Badger Promise, Target of Opportunity hiring program for faculty, and others—involved more traditional ways to get revenue. The group talked about how the time is right to pursue new strategies, based on declining governmental support, growing infrastructure costs, and other impacts, including COVID-19. The group met from August 2019 through December 2019 and was comprised of faculty, staff, alumni, and city officials. They developed guiding principles for ensuring activities support the core mission of the university, generating recommendations for long-term revenue innovations, minimizing strain and new demands on schools/colleges/divisions, and supporting economic development for the region and the state. The three strategic categories covered in the report are corporate and industry partnerships, auxiliary and asset optimization, and real estate. The group thought critically about what can be done in these areas consistent with the guiding principles that the group came up with. The full report will be posted in the future on the VCFA website for everyone to read, and Vice Chancellor Heller will be involving shared governance in the future of these efforts.
Jenny Dahlberg, ASEC chair, reported that she and Jake met with Beth Meyerand to discuss topics for her meeting with ASEC on October 29. ASEC will review the candidates for the Campus Committee on Diversity Education and Training at the November 5 meeting. Jenny, Mallory, Tim and Jake met with Mark Walters on Monday for their monthly meeting, which covered several topics including budget, ensuring furloughs have been taken, and the employee survey that went out the week prior.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported that the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee put forward a proposal regarding one-time changes to ALRA that would increase the amount of hours that could be banked in this fiscal year. ASEC approved of sending the proposal to OHR for consideration. Jake and Jenny attended a meeting held by the state relations team, which provided updates on that office’s efforts. Jake and Jenny also attended the fall meeting of the Big 10 Collaboration on Staff Advocacy Group, which covered various institutions’ response to COVID. Efforts in the mental health space were also discussed at that meeting. Jake presented a draft of a survey to instructional academic staff that paralleled the recent faculty survey. ASEC was in favor of the survey and asked Jake to distribute it.
Liaison reports were postponed to the next meeting.
· November Assembly Agenda
ASEC discussed the November ASA agenda and will return to it next week for a vote.
· Topics for Guests
Provost: update on question at Assembly about pronouns in Canvas
VPFS: course load expectations for instructional academic staff, caregiving and benefits issues Smart Restart group
OHR: furloughs and process for ensuring that they are taken
Guest: John Zumbrunnen, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning
Vice Provost Zumbrunnen thanked ASEC for its work and acknowledged the central role that academic staff play in the instructional mission of the university, both instructors and those whose work supports instruction, like advising, career services, departmental administration, and more. Coming into the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning position from his role as a faculty member in Political Science, Vice Provost Zumbrunnen has two main priorities that are interrelated. The first is work on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and specifically the responsibility to create inclusive learning experiences for all students, especially knowing that there are differential impacts to students from COVID and other recent events. The teaching and learning community has a lot of resources to draw on to advance that work and can do more than it has in the past. Steve Cramer has stayed on to continue work with the Instructional Continuity Team, which gives Vice Provost Zumbrunnen the opportunity to focus on the second priority, which is lessons learned in this moment regarding pedagogy, as well as structures and processes for supporting instructors.
On the topic of concerns around increased student workload and contact hours, this is on his radar and the Instructional Continuity Team’s radar. He hears about this from students in numerous ways. Working with Student Affairs and DDEEA, he will be putting a survey in the field to all undergraduates with questions about workload compared to last spring to get some systematic data. The Instructional Continuity Team is currently processing feedback from students and trying to think about what the highest priorities are for supporting instructors in the spring, and then figuring out the best way to get that information to instructors. Department chairs and departmental governance structures are important in this process.
There is an ongoing conversation between his office, the Office of the Registrar, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, and DoIT Academic Technology regarding Canvas and the ability to have preferred pronouns loaded into the system. There is the possibility to turn this functionality on in Canvas, but there are a couple of considerations: 1) there isn’t a policy in place around preferred pronouns that is instructor-facing (peer institutions have a variety of policies of this kind), and 2) Canvas doesn’t have the capacity to export those pronouns out to other systems like AdvisorLink or the financial aid system. NameCoach is a third-party tool that would allow campus to share pronoun preferences across student information systems, and it can be configured so that students can decide where they want their pronouns present. He believes that this would be a good tool for future use.
Vice Provost Zumbrunnen discussed his views on participatory decision-making, and he finds that kind of collaboration professionally very rewarding. He is working to build more listening and participation into the system. He recently had a retreat with the associate deans on the University Council for Academic Affairs and Assessment, an all-staff retreat with the Collaborative for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching, and is also doing focus groups with students. He acknowledged the challenge of clear communication during the pandemic.
Meeting adjourned at 4:57 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff