Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 03-25-21
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 25, 2021
Members Present: Donna Cole; Jenny Dahlberg; Tim Dalby, chair; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Lesley Fisher, Laurent Heller, John Horn, Angela Kita, Beth Meyerand, Karl Scholz
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.
The minutes of March 18 were approved.
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, reported on the continuing pilot series of ASEC listening sessions. Conversations were on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues, as well as return to campus and uses of technology in employee engagement. It was reported at the meeting of the chiefs of staff, chairs, and secretaries that there were 0 positive COVID cases over the weekend and only 2 by Tuesday. Positivity rates are still in the 0.1% range. Vaccinations are progressing, with 1409 of 1500 available appointments through a partnership with SSM being taken by UW-Madison. Over 10,000 members of the UW-Madison community—employees and students—have been vaccinated so far, with approximately 6,500 having been vaccinated on campus. There will be three test sites that will be closing due to low utilization rates and increased vaccinations: HSLC, Helen C. White, and Carson Gulley. There are no changes to the policy on wearing masks at this time. Only some bridge programs will be face-to-face, and all other summer programs will be online. Tim also attended the first meeting of the group looking at the academic calendar. There will be four subgroups looking at spring messaging around Ramadan and finals, longer-term messaging with respect to the fall semester, military accommodations, and the next 5 years of the academic calendar.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, shared that there was a draft UW System policy on telecommuting that was available for review. The draft states that UW-Madison is not subject to the proposed policy. Matt Mayrl, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Chancellor, will be coming to ASEC on April 1 to discuss a draft of overarching principles that would guide schools/colleges/divisions in development of their guidelines for remote work. At the University Committee, there was discussion on a possible resolution from the Committee on Disability Access and Inclusion as well as a proposal from ASM regarding students participating in election day activities such as working at the polls. Along with a number of co-signers from other committees on campus, the Committee for Women in the University sent a letter to Chancellor Blank and other members of administration calling for the formation of an ad hoc committee to look at caregiving issues as a result of the pandemic. In response to requests from the CASIs, Jake and Lesley have provided a template for the 5-year review document and are also working on scheduling the spring CASI session.
Deb Shapiro reported on the Letters & Science CASI meeting, which included discussions about return to campus post-COVID and a review of their bylaws. The TTC Governance Advisory Committee will be meeting on Friday. The group will discuss the new timeline for the project and review the material for the first wave of forums. The Spring Pandemic Academic Policy Task Force will have recommendations going to the Provost this week on SD/UD grading, transcript notations, and making SD/UD grading available for this semester.
Donna Cole reported that the Pharmacy CASI is having a town hall next week. They are also starting to look at their school-level guidelines for the research professor title.
Jenny Dahlberg reported that the drafts of school-level guidelines for the teaching and research professor titles were shared with the School of Veterinary Medicine and were discussed at a town hall on Wednesday.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz reported on the progress of creating a Center for Teaching, Learning and Mentoring. Much of the work concerns administrative organization between the Provost Office and the Collaborative for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching. The goal is to improve student learning by continuing to improve teaching. UW-Madison has a number of resources in this space, but we are unique among our public and private peers in not having a centralized resource for teaching, learning, and mentoring. The center would build relationships with instructors across their careers, offer professional development in course design and production support, and be a general asset to the instructional community in exploring innovative approaches to instruction. Academic staff instructors will be a critical part of this initiative. During the pandemic, the community supporting instructors has pulled together, and the center would continue to foster those collaborations across schools, colleges, and divisions. Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning John Zumbrunnen will be leading this effort.
Provost Scholz continues to have conversations with the Deans on the issue of belonging. When we recruit more diverse staff, faculty, and students, we won’t be successful if people don’t feel as though they belong. The Deans have broken themselves into 4 working groups: 1) how to diversify staff, 2) sharing best practices from schools, colleges, and divisions via more formal mechanisms, 3) thinking about top metrics that can be published regularly with accountability attached to those metrics, and 4) engaging what equity means on a practical and operational level within schools, colleges, and divisions. The group working on staff diversity has consulted with Mark Walters in OHR and is learning about successful pipeline efforts from American Family. The best practices group is meeting regularly with their chief diversity officers to find out what’s working well.
Guest: Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Vice Chancellor Heller reported that the $300 level for purchases without further approvals in the new Procure-to-Pay system is set at this point, though we will be looking at how that level works and may revisit as needed. Regarding the issue from the previous meeting on approver and requestor roles, Business Services would like for there to be more approvers, with the understanding that those roles carry financial responsibilities. The number of people in these roles will be variable depending on the division, and there will be a team ready to help with issues in this area, as well as any other issues with P2P.
On the topic of the Administrative Transformation Project, there will be an interoperability project looking at timeout issues across systems. It won’t fix these issues all over campus, but the reduction of shadow systems will help. At a higher level, the ATP team has been doing visioning sessions on the overall project, as well as in specific areas such as finance, HR, and research administration. These will lead to more discussions in specific topic areas and will cascade to how policy will support changes to our systems. UW System has also asked internal audit to perform a review of the procurement process in response to a complaint from a prospective vendor. The report will hopefully be received in the next couple of weeks, along with any necessary recommendations for controls to ensure that staff are better supported and that any issues with the process are addressed. UW System will also be participating in the next procurement process.
Regarding the single payroll initiative, Vice Chancellor Heller has asked for a clearer business case for this implementation. There are good reasons to implement this project, but the time and cost impacts need to be thought through.
Addressing a question about use of space at University Research Park, URP is pretty full at this point. There is some available space, but there is a cost to that. Hopefully, over time, what we’ve learned about our ability to do remote work means that demand for space may be reduced. For any building projects, possible relocation of employees creates pressure on telecommuting arrangements. Vice Chancellor Heller also emphasized the importance of physical presence to the university. He also addressed the building projects for the Mosse Humanities Building and a new L&S academic building. The naming rights of the Mosse building will continue to be recognized in some way.
Guest: Beth Meyerand, Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
Vice Provost Meyerand reported that her impression is that there will be an attempt to be flexible as to how fall will look, with some positions having mutual agreement as to on-campus or off-campus arrangements. Campus will be encouraging supervisors to be flexible in these conversations.
Vice Provost Meyerand and Interim Chief Diversity Officer Cheryl Gittens are working with the Campus Committee for Diversity Education and Training over the next couple of weeks to choose a path forward based on the findings of the different workgroups within the committee. Currently, it looks like campus may be able to use existing training similar to one of our peer institutions for a base-level training for all employees. After that point, the idea would be to implement a series of pipelines that are determined by job duties, with an appropriate curriculum constructed in a tiered fashion. Solely online training may be enough to change opinions but won’t be enough to change behavior. Whether they take the form of reading/discussion groups or something more didactic, the group has determined that there needs to be face-to-face components as well. Vice Provost Meyerand will report back with more details on this toward the end of April.
Thinking about the recent Academic Staff Chat, it is clear that there are differences in how performance reviews are happening on campus, and that there is a strong desire to make the process more uniform and more helpful to employees. It is important to convey the message that the performance management process is an ongoing process as opposed to one that solely happens twice a year. There were also questions about making training on the process mandatory for supervisors.
Vice Provost Meyerand reported that the school/college guidelines for the College of Engineering and the School of Human Ecology have been approved.
Recessed at 3:59 p.m.
Reconvened at 4:03 p.m.
· April Assembly Agenda
ASEC discussed the draft agenda. Vice Provosts John Zumbrunnen and Beth Meyerand will be presenting at the meeting. ASEC will vote to approve the agenda next week.
· Topics for Guests
Chancellor: thoughts on single pay and costs associated with conversion, along with the possibility of using ATP; telecommuting philosophy; pay equity and addressing compensation levels once TTC is implemented; response to CWU letter
Provost: instructor survey results; thoughts on vaccination efforts in wake of new round of eligibility; post-COVID priorities shift for some areas in Provost Office
Meeting adjourned at 4:26 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff