Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 04-01-21
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 1, 2021
Members Present: Jenny Dahlberg; Tim Dalby, chair; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Michael Bernard-Donals, Rebecca Blank, Lesley Fisher, Matt Mayrl, Karl Scholz, Becca Raven Uminowicz
The meeting was called to order at 2:01 p.m.
The minutes of March 25 were approved with corrections.
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, reported on feedback received from recent ASEC listening sessions around return to onsite work and concerns around TTC. At the recent meeting of the chiefs of staff, chairs, and secretaries, it was reported that the testing program is continuing to go well. During the summer, the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Lab will be processing test results for campus. Guidance on holding events remains in place for the present. Bus services should be resuming their typical schedules/routes around August 1.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported on the TTC Governance Advisory Committee meeting. The committee reviewed communications and content of the forums that will be held in the near future for campus. Future topics will include tools and best practices around supervisor/employee conversations. The Athletic Board Selection Committee’s work is complete, and ASEC will be voting on the nominee at the April 8 meeting.
Mallory Musolf reported on the most recent UW System Reps meeting. Topics included the TTC implementation delay to the fall. There was also interest in how the UW System telecommuting policy will work and what impacts there may be on UW-Madison’s policy. UW System is also looking at different areas to explan online education through an initiative called Project Distance Education Plus.
Deb Shapiro reported that the next meeting of the TTC Governance Advisory Committee will take place on April 9. Concerns have been raised about supervisor/employee conversations and areas where employees don’t see themselves reflected in the standard job description library. There were also discussions on increasing communication and support for department chairs and other supervisors to have successful conversations with employees regarding their proposed new titles.
Leslie Petty reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Academic and University Staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion DEI met with Lindsey Stoddard Cameron and Russell Dimond. They presented data from the Academic Staff Worklife Survey that was presented to the Committee for Women in the University, along with some new analysis. Topics included climate, hostile and intimidating behavior, and pay increases. The committee is putting together an initial draft of its report.
Guest: Karl Scholz, Provost
Provost Scholz discussed the recent survey that went to instructional academic staff and faculty. The survey found that instructors worked harder this fall as compared to the previous fall, and there was a greater amount of stress. The work of adapting course materials to remote delivery and engaging students remotely were the top work-related areas causing stress. There was also a striking change for faculty in the breakdown of their work hours, with increased prep time for instruction and reduced time for scholarship. In surveys and course evaluations, students generally thought the fall went well, and the recent instructional survey addresses how the fall went as well as it did. Instructors were working hard to deliver an excellent educational experience. There was also a fairly extensive qualitative aspect to the survey.
The Spring Pandemic Academic Policy Task Force has provided a set of recommendations to the Provost Office. The first recommendation was to change the grade “Unsatisfactory, Disruption,” to “No Credit, Disruption.” There was a second recommendation to add a notation to transcripts regarding COVID. Both of these recommendations were unanimous. There was also a majority of the committee that recommended that the SD/UD option be available for Spring 2021 as it was in Spring 2020. Provost Scholz will be discussing these recommendations with the deans, the Chancellor’s leadership team, and the University Committee.
On vaccination efforts, University Health Services colleagues are doing a wonderful job of administering the vaccine. Allocation of vaccine to campus could be better. Employees should go wherever they need to to receive a vaccine. A clinic has been set up for 2nd and 3rd shift employees to receive vaccines as well.
Guest: Rebecca Blank, Chancellor
Chancellor Blank reported that our testing program is in a good place, though we wish our vaccine allocation was higher. She reiterated the message that employees should record their vaccinations with University Health Services as they get vaccinated elsewhere, which will give them a permanent green Badger Badge and exempt them from the necessity of testing for building entry. UW-Madison will be having an in-person commencement for undergraduates and graduate students at Camp Randall. A green badge, masks, and social distancing will be necessary, and only students and required personnel will be in attendance.
Thinking about our the topic of a wider return to onsite work, we think we will be in a space that looks more like 2019 than 2020, but there will be differences in the ways some work is organized. There will continue to be some health protocols in place. A working group has put together a set of principles around remote work that will inform policy revisions. Remote working arrangements have to meet the mission of the University. We have learned that there are jobs where remote work is possible, and we also know that one of our long-term strengths is as a residential campus. The question is how we balance these. Meeting the mission of the University should be the most important determining factor. We will have to work through this in the fall and over the next year.
Administration is thinking about how we welcome people back, taking into account long-term isolation and a variety of health-related issues. We need to find ways to ensure that people feel as safe as possible. The hope is that by mid-summer a high number of employees will be vaccinated.
TTC implementation will be occurring in the fall. It is important that we place employees in the new titles, so that we will be able to provide market comparisons for academic staff for the first time. As we are in a difficult financial situation right now, salary adjustments won’t happen quickly. However, coming out of 2013-15, where there were budget issues, campus put more money into faculty salaries and put additional compensation in areas where there were gaps for academic and university staff. It is anticipated that we will be following a similar process over time with academic staff once we have market comparisons. A lot will depend on the financial picture. We have also made it clear that salaries will not be reduced.
Chancellor Blank and Provost Scholz discussed the letter on caregiving from the Committee for Women in the University. They will likely charge a committee with a specific scope focusing on issues arising out of COVID and how to address them, with the intention of having recommendations reported on a relatively short timeframe.
On the budget, the Chancellor has been having discussions with legislators, and Interim System President Thompson is a wonderful advocate at the UW System level. The hope is that there will be some new funding, including for much needed building projects.
Guest: Matt Mayrl, Chief of Staff, Office of the Chancellor
Matt shared a draft of remote principles with ASEC. A challenge that we and other institutions are going through is that we’ve had a disruptive period that proved high levels of productivity are available through some remote work. With so much uncertainty in this space, the decision was made to work from a set of principles to inform the remote work policy and its implementation. Having a decentralized campus means that there will be a lot of local discretion and decision-making that comports with our overall principles. The idea is to provide delegated authority with clear guard rails. Remote work needs to meet our mission and maintain service quality. There is also a deep value to in-person interactions to build teams and the broader community. It is important that there is a presence at some point on campus for most individuals. We recognize that we know more than we did 12 months ago, and we will know even more 12 months from now. We need to be open and continually evaluate this process. Space utilization is a factor in these conversations as well. There is work to be done out of OHR and other areas to help equip managers to work with a diverse team of in-person and remote employees. The policy will come to governance groups for feedback this month. The current addendum to the telecommuting policy should expire once the revised policy is put in place. Regarding the use of the term “telecommuting,” the term does not signify a modern approach, and the policy will refer to remote work and be intentionally broad, from an employee working internationally to an employee who has remote work as a component of their position.
Recessed at 4:06 p.m.
Reconvened at 4:09 p.m.
· Post-COVID Workplace Discussion
ASEC continued its discussion on remote work. ASEC discussed multiple approaches to get feedback from academic staff. Jake will reach out to the CEBC co-chairs and will work with them and other ASEC members to craft a short pulse survey on this issue.
· April Assembly Agenda
Motion to approve the April Assembly agenda (Dahlberg). Seconded. Approved.
· Topics for Guests
Mark Walters: return to work, TTC, vaccination policy
Dean Dan Tokaji: short-term/long-term goals, diversity/equity/inclusion issues as a new dean (what has impressed him, what are areas for growth in Law and across campus), thoughts on professor of practice title
Patrick Kass: express service (Campus Master Plan), what are we doing to facilitate rapid transit around campus; how is the funding model changing in the Post-COVID world; what about schools/colleges/divisions that won’t be returning by the beginning of the fall; priority system due to roles and guaranteeing necessary parking
Meeting adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff