Academic Staff Executive Committee Minutes 04-22-21
2:00 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, April 22, 2021
Members Present: Donna Cole; Jenny Dahlberg; Tim Dalby, chair; Stephanie Elkins; Mallory Musolf; Leslie Petty; Deb Shapiro; Lindsey Stoddard Cameron; Bill Tishler
Guests: Lotus Buckner, Chad Cook, Elizabeth Covington, Josh Cutler, Lesley Fisher, Ron Harris, Laurent Heller, Jessica Karls-Ruplinger, Casey LaVela, Beth Meyerand, Noel Radomski, Kris Tiles, Mark Walters
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 p.m.
The minutes of April 8 were approved.
Guest: Laurent Heller, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration
Vice Chancellor Heller reported on the $320 million budget impact due to the pandemic. This figure was before the university took the different actions to mitigate those losses. Furloughs were included in those actions. Since that time, there have been some positive developments, which has allowed the institution to end the furlough program early. It is complicated to implement this change, but it allows us to give a little back to employees. Employees who have taken their full furlough will get a day back. The federal recovery act provides an estimated $26 million in additional student aid, along with $26 million to assist with institutional need. This is one-time money and not base funding. Testing costs are also coming in less than anticipated. The budget picture is otherwise very speculative right now, and during the summer/early fall, we will be able to do a full budget reconciliation to see where we really are. ASEC encouraged the Vice Chancellor to consider how programs like the Discretionary Compensation Fund might proceed in the future.
Regarding P2P rollout, 95% of requests are getting processed in a day or less. There have also been a great number of help requests in areas of workflow, direct payments, and funding. There has been feedback on the amount of time for required training on ShopUW+, as well as how a smoother transition to the new system might have taken place.
Vice Chancellor Heller reported that he has accepted a similar position at Johns Hopkins University and will be leaving UW-Madison on May 21. He thanked ASEC for their many discussions over the years and for their role in governance at the university.
Guests: Mark Walters, Chief Human Resources Officer; Lotus Buckner, Director of Talent Management, Office of Human Resources; Jessica Karls-Ruplinger, Chief of Staff, Office of Human Resources
OHR is getting feedback on the remote work policy from a number of stakeholders. One of the big areas is delineation on the types of remote work. Greater clarity is needed on occasional flexibility and how that fits in with the policy. The policy needs to be revised to identify that it covers standard remote work agreements that involve a certain specific period of time. OHR is making these adjustments to the policy. ASEC indicated a need for greater clarity around the threshold/frequency for this policy, in terms of the amount of time for remote work. OHR indicated that there is no doubt that this policy will evolve over time, and OHR wants to partner with stakeholders to talk through those changes. The Chancellor sent a message to campus about many employees returning to onsite work in the August 2021 timeframe. There have been a number of questions and comments about what we have learned from the efficiencies and effectiveness of people working remotely. The goal is to achieve a balance between the benefits of remote work with the importance of in-person interactions. ASEC raised concerns about the equity with which the policy will be implemented across schools/colleges/divisions and suggested the creation of FAQs and other resources to add greater specificity and examples of policy interpretation to create more consistency around implementation. OHR is working on employee and supervisor toolkits on remote work. The finalized policy needs to serve as the foundation for those resources, as well as building other tools that are referred to, including the automated workflow. The expectation is that, over June and July, supervisors and employees will engage in discussions about what will and won’t work remotely. These discussions should include employee preferences and the conduciveness of the job to remote work. ASEC asked the question of how shared governance will be involved going forward in this policy, as well as whether it was a possibility to have another addendum to the existing policy as an alternative. Because the existing policy is over 15 years old, the feeling is that we need to have a new policy as a fresh foundation with automated processes. OHR will continue to engage shared governance, along with possible ad hoc engagements as needed.
Tim Dalby, ASEC Chair, reported on the questions on the conflict of commitment policy that arose at the April Assembly meeting. Tim and Jake discussed these with Vice Provost Beth Meyerand. He reported on discussions of the remote work policy by the Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee and the Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee. A town hall has been scheduled for academic staff as well. Tim also reported on his role on the working group looking at communications around the academic calendar. He was part of a subgroup putting out communications on Ramadan and religious observances around finals. There will be another subgroup taking a more long-term look at the calendar for potential conflicts. He reported that a greater number of vaccines are now available through University Health Services.
Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff, reported on the April 22 forum on the Title and Total Compensation Project, which was designed to reemphasize the importance of the project and inform employees of the new timeline for implementation. There will also be forums in May from UW System on the single payroll initiative. The academic staff town hall on the remote work policy is scheduled for April 22 at 5:00, and a survey about onsite and remote work is currently in the field from the Office of Human Resources, with a deadline of April 29 for responses. Jake connected the Division of Extension CASI with Vice Provost Meyerand to address specific concerns regarding the conflict of commitment policy.
Donna Cole reported on that day’s meeting of the School of Pharmacy CASI. Dean Swanson invited a member of the CASI to join his advisory council and wants to engage the CASI more moving forward in decision-making for issues that have specific impacts to staff.
Bill Tishler reported that the Division of Continuing Studies CASI met with the division’s diversity, equity, and inclusion coordinator. There were discussions about supervisors receiving training in these areas before the rest of staff, and it looks like that will be put into practice. The CASI will also meet with the dean and the associate dean about how the division will be handling remote work. The University Committee had a discussion about the remote work policy and how it affects faculty.
Jenny Dahlberg reported that CEBC met with Karen Massetti-Moran to discuss a number of issues related to TTC and also give input into the remote work policy. The School of Veterinary Medicine CASI still needs to discuss the guidelines around professorial titles for academic staff.
Deb Shapiro reported that the College of Letters and Science CASI meeting and a listening session with Dean Wilcots consisted of some of the same topics, including remote work and TTC. The CASI has revised its bylaws and will review them at the next meeting to allow for further discussion of the CASI’s makeup. The TTC Governance Advisory Group will be meeting on Friday, and one of the topics will be how promotion and progression will work post-TTC.
Lindsey Stoddard Cameron reported that the Campus Planning Committee discussed the ongoing repairs at Van Hise, and Lindsey was named as a mid-term appointment to the University Design Review Board. The Committee for Women in the University met with Brent Lloyd, Phillip Braithwaite, and Gary Brown to learn more about childcare on campus.
Stephanie Elkins reported that the Communications Committee discussed reviewers, builders and content creators for the academic staff website, with the intent of implementing the revised site with the Secretary’s office by the end of the fiscal year. The Wisconsin Public Media CASI is trying to reinstitute a Safety and Security Committee, and the Ethics Bridge Committee is up and running with CASI reps and news team reps.
Guest: Beth Meyerand, Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Affairs
Vice Provost Meyerand will be meeting with Brian Fox and Brigid Daly to address a number of questions and issues that have been raised regarding the conflict of commitment policy with the intent of implementing changes to the policy. One issue that was raised was summer activities outside the institution for 9-month appointees. There have been a number of questions from Extension as well. Further delineation between conflict of interest and conflict of commitment needs to occur. Vice Provost Meyerand encouraged ASEC to contact her or Brian Fox for suggested changes to the policy.
The Campus Committee on Diversity Education and Training presented its recommendations to the Provost Executive Group, which were received favorably. A new committee will be formed to create a diversity, equity, and inclusion curriculum. The plan is to have a baseline curriculum for all employees, with subsequent tracks according to job duties for faculty and staff and occurring over a period of time. Training would be mandatory for new hires and optional for existing employees. The hope is that there will be a great deal of engagement in this, and there are also opportunities for study of the efficacy of this curriculum over time. The committee will consist of individuals with experience in curriculum development, with the potential to use other models to create the baseline training.
Vice Provost Meyerand encouraged ASEC to continue to raise any issues related to remote work. ASEC reiterated concerns about supervisor/employee disagreements about the possibility of working remotely on a regular basis, equity with which the policy will be implemented in schools/colleges/divisions, and potential space issues that might arise.
· Remote Work Policy Discussion
ASEC continued its discussion regarding the draft remote work policy. Concerns were also expressed regarding possible impacts of employees switching jobs to achieve either onsite or remote work, which would further contribute to equity issues. There was also discussion about how to further differentiate regular remote work policy from flexible work practices, with particular attention to caregiving.
· May Assembly Agenda
ASEC reviewed the draft Assembly agenda. OHR is confirmed to give a presentation on remote work, TTC, and single pay.
· Topics for Guests
Provost: preliminary enrollment numbers for fall semester and implications; possibility on requirement of vaccinations for certain positions once they fall out of emergency use only
OHR: remote work, TTC, single pay
Meeting adjourned at 4:39 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Jake Smith, Secretary of the Academic Staff