Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 02-25-21
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, February 25, 2021
Members Present: Donna Cole; Jenny Dahlberg; Tim Dalby, chair; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Lesley Fisher, Laurent Heller, Angela Kita, Beth Meyerand, Alex Peirce, Karl Scholz
The meeting was called to order at 2:04 p.m.
The minutes of February 18 were approved.
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, reported on the recent meeting of the chiefs of staff, governance chairs, and secretaries. There was an increase in positive cases last week, up to 100 per day, but levels are back down in the 30s at this point. Positivity rates and rejection rates are below 1%. On Monday, there were 11,000 tests administered on campus. Vaccine supply continues to be an issue, and campus put in an order for March 1 for Tier 1B. Regarding support for students, all money earmarked for student relief is being distributed. There was also a brief survey sent to students to gauge peer and instructor engagements, the preliminary results of which appear positive in both areas. The spring leadership breakfast took place yesterday. There were discussions about testing and vaccination plans, as well as breakout sessions devoted to looking at lessons learned and how to resume more normal operations in the fall. Tim discussed the idea of ASEC listening sessions further with the committee. There was agreement that there needed to be clarity around what the sessions would be designed to do.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, discussed the leadership breakfast and brought up the notion of ASEC engaging in a discussion around some of the same topics brought up in the breakout sessions. ASEC will do this at its next meeting. Jake reported on a small group being formed to look at the academic calendar and religious observances. ASEC appointed Tim as its designee to the group. Calls for the ASM Ginsburg Selection Committee and for applications for the Underkofler Award will go out soon. The ASEC Election went live on February 24 and will close on March 10. The town hall on the divestment resolution went well, with good discussion and several good questions posed. Jake reported on the status of the current searches for the Chief Diversity Officer and the Vice Chancellor for Legal Affairs, both of which are in progress. The CDO search will likely conclude before the end of the spring semester.
Donna Cole had a good meeting with the School of Pharmacy CASI. The CASI brought up questions related to its 5-year review. Jake will be contacting CASI chairs soon about the 5-year review process.
Deb Shapiro reported on the Spring Pandemic Academic Policy Task Force. There was a listening session last week, although not many students were in attendance. The task force continues to look at draft guidelines and temporary adaptations in grading policies for COVID. There are also conversations about how those decisions may impact processes after COVID. The TTC Governance Advisory Group appointed a new co-chair, Erik Geiger, and discussed manager training for employee conversations, the project timeline, and the SJD library.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz reported on the leadership breakfast. There was a good balance of presentations and open dialogue on a variety of subjects. The second half focused on return to campus, and there was a great deal of good information generated from those breakout discussions.
Regarding the arrival of variants of the virus in the area, we have been doing a large amount of testing, and case counts have decreased on campus. The Biotech Lab has the ability to screen positive cases for variants. On vaccinations, vaccine supply is not flowing into the state the way we would hope.
Provost Scholz discussed the status of some initiatives that he began when he became Provost. There is progress on a number of these. Conversations are starting about a Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring, with a possible rollout in the fall. Also beginning this fall will be online undergraduate degree programs in marketing, management, human resources, and consumer behavior/retailing. These programs are a manifestation of the Wisconsin Idea for students who have some credits and want to finish their degree but may be place-bound. We want to ensure that these programs have sufficient scale. Enrollment Management continues to do great work in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the Deans are also devoting significant time to this work, looking at metrics, best practices, the nature and definition of equity, and greater diversity, equity, and inclusion for staff. A central question is how we create a better sense of belonging for everyone on campus, which ties into training and professional development opportunities. The Campus Committee for Diversity Education and Training, led by Cheryl Gittens and Beth Meyerand, is looking at these areas. The reorganization of International Student Services and International Faculty and Staff Services will provide better services to students, staff, and faculty. There is also continued work to bring Extension and WPM more fully into campus. Finally, there are discussions on general education, including how best to communicate around questions of what is important for everyone to know in this area. Time to degree and performance in key gateway courses continue to improve, and the institution is being attentive to differences with underrepresented groups. Those differences are narrowing and we need to continue to do better.
Guest: Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Vice Chancellor Heller reported that the Governor’s budget proposal is positive for UW. The Board of Regents requested $95.7 million in August over the biennium, with funding requests for the tuition promise program, mental health, education in prisons, and other initiatives. The Governor’s proposal came in at roughly twice what the Board asked for, including $50 million to fund the tuition freeze, which remains in place for the coming biennium. A 2%/2% pay plan was recommended, and there is also language around managing money differently in terms of working capital management and short-term borrowing in response to sudden economic shocks or major equipment purchases. For UW-Madison specifically, there is $2 million for Extension agents and $300,000 each year for the UniverCity Alliance, along with the authority to negotiate reciprocity with Minnesota. The capital budget came out shortly after, which includes the new L&S Academic Building, a new building for Engineering, as well as other projects. The proposal is now dependent on what the legislature will do.
Procure2Pay will be implemented in April. Originally, the new system was set up to require additional approval steps for transactions above $100, but Vice Chancellor Heller received feedback on issues that having the amount this low might cause. They have raised the limit to $300 for campus. 80% of transactions for FY19 on purchase cards and through Shop@UW were below this limit. There will be some variety in how this impacts divisions. There are also potential issues with how requestors and approvers are set up in different units, which potentially creates additional administrative burden. Vice Chancellor Heller will look into this as well.
The Administrative Transformation Project is still in a holding period for getting the project going. Vice Chancellor Heller and the team are open to any feedback on how stakeholder engagement occurs. ASEC encouraged engagement beyond the ambassador groups, with a focus on ensuring that the user experience is reflected in the discussions.
Guest: Beth Meyerand, Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
The committee reviewing campus guidelines for the professor of practice title has completed its work on the guidelines. There will be flexibility for schools/colleges/divisions to add prefixes to the title as needed, but it will not be required in the campus guidelines. The College of Letters and Science has also approved its college-level guidelines for the other professorial titles.
The Conflict of Commitment policy will be implemented very soon. Since Brian Fox last spoke with ASEC, there have been some significant clarifications. The policy only applies to outside activities directly related to employees’ professional responsibilities. The policy also makes it clear that the deans must engage with supervisors/department chairs on whether the activity would qualify instead of making that decision without consultation.
The working groups of the Campus Committee for Diversity Education and Training have been meeting. The goal is to report out on March 8 regarding the existing training on our campus and other campuses, as well as what is scalable and in keeping with our values and goals as an institution.
There was also discussion regarding the proposal for a task force on caregiving. The Committee for Women in the University is getting endorsements from several shared governance committees and other units on campus, and the intent is to send the proposal to administration in early March.
ASEC recessed at 3:59 p.m.
ASEC reconvened at 4:03 p.m.
Motion to Convene in Closed Session Pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to Discuss Nominations to the Nominating Committee Slate (Dahlberg). Seconded. Approved.
Motion to Reconvene in Open Session (Dahlberg). Seconded. Approved.
· Appointment – for vote
Motion to approve the 2021 Nominating Committee slate (Stoddard Cameron). Seconded. Approved.
· March Assembly Agenda – for vote
Motion to approve the March Assembly agenda (Dahlberg). Seconded. Approved.
· Topics for Guests
OHR: feedback on those with responsibilities with teaching and administration; trigger points for progression/promotion; comparables for units that might be unionized in other areas (e.g. WPM); when will we start to hear about evolving plans for benefits?
Meeting adjourned at 4:51 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff