PDRC minutes for 1/14/2014
PDRC Meeting Minutes
January 14, 2014
10:00-11:00 a.m. Memorial Union
Attendance: Bob Agasie, Jeff Armstrong, Amy Hawley, Jay Ford, Elisabeth Foster, Ralph Grunewald, John Klatt, Stephanie Kutz, Curtis Ryals.
Guest: Secretary Heather Daniels
1. Announcements – None
2. Automatic Consent Business – Minutes for December 2013 approved without dissent.
3. Guest: Heather Daniels, Secretary of the Academic Staff
There was a wide-ranging discussion with the Secretary about her office and the PDRC.
- Heather Daniels outlined her goals for her office to continue improving efficiency and streamlining procedures through electronic processes.
- Heather announced that Mary Johansen will be leaving the Secretary’s Office for a new opportunity and that a position description for her replacement is in development. Regarding the possible impact of Mary’s departure on the PDRC’s work this spring, Heather did not think it would be problematic.
- The issue of the boundaries that define the responsibilities of the PDRC versus the Secretary’s Office was discussed. It was noted that in the past when paper submission systems were in place, the Secretary’s Office historically reviewed submissions for completeness and forwarded the final set of applications to the PDRC. With the departure of the previous Secretary and a period with an Interim Secretary, which overlapped with the development of the electronic submission system, the PDRC has stepped in to fill some of the gaps. Heather confirmed that she is in full support of her office taking responsibility for the initial review of applications to ensure they are complete etc., and then notifying the PDRC when the complete, on-time applications are ready for our review. It was noted that as the electronic system continues to improve, many of the problems of incomplete or late applications will be resolved.
- Heather noted that she has been continuing to work with Danielle and Amy to refine the electronic system for grants, e.g., elimination of all paper forms and requiring only one electronic approval (from applicant’s Chair).
- Curtis expressed appreciation for the financial support that the Secretary’s Office provided to fix/improve the online submission system, and Heather confirmed that she did not foresee problems if some additional funding was required to get the system in good working order.
- Discussion was had about how to handle questions like what award is most appropriate for a particular nominee. There was consensus that it is generally best for communication to come from the Secretary’s Office, and that the PDRC could provide historical knowledge and specific information on a case-by-case basis. Heather noted that many questions are fairly easy to answer by providing general information and pointing folks to resources, such as award guidelines.
- The importance of promoting PDRC grants and awards was noted. Possible marketing strategies were discussed, such as ads in Inside UW-Madison; emails to Department Chairs; multi-step approaches that include repeated follow-up beyond initial announcements; working to increase awareness of PDRC grants and awards among decision-makers like deans and potential nominators like faculty; possibly moving up the initial campus award announcement to as early as September.
- How to best promote and distinguish campus versus UW System awards was discussed, including the possibility of separating the two announcements. Heather noted that the Underkofler Award will be a good test of the effectiveness of this strategy, since it will be announced and reviewed later this spring.
- The need to increase funding was discussed, both to bolster professional development and permanently fund the Award for Excellence in Research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Heather noted that Kevin Niemi of ASEC has been tasked with working with PDRC to put together a letter to the administration regarding why additional funds are needed. The merits of both historical data (e.g., lack of prior winners from arts/humanities for current research award) and anecdotal evidence (e.g., individuals giving up submitting grant applications after prior submissions were unfunded due to insufficient grant dollars available to fund all meritorious requests). Heather thought it might be best to raise the issue with the Chancellor in the fall. Heather expressed doubt about being able to get support from the administration for privately endowing a research award for the humanities because the Chancellor is currently working with UW Foundation to begin a major fundraising effort.
- The issue of files moving in the PDRC web space was raised. Heather said that Mary may have moved some, noting that there were some files still housed under Donna’s NetID that were moved.
- Heather noted that the AS website is being moved to a new CMS (WordPress). She also noted that, while the PDRC does not need to update the website, it is welcome to use the KB for posting meeting agendas and minutes.
- The possibility was discussed of working with UW Communications and the Academic Staff Communication Committee to profile (with nominees’ consent) award nominees who do not win but are doing interesting and exemplary work. Heather noted that there might be interest in this with AS Communication Committee members, some of whom work at UW Communications.
4. Standing Subcommittees reports
o PD grants – Danielle and Amy
- Notifications of whether Professional Development Grants were funded have been made to applicants.
- Discussion was had about what kind of feedback to provide unfunded applicants when they inquire. There was consensus that communication is best run through the Secretary’s Office after obtaining input and specific information from the chair of the Grants Subcommittee. While there is subjectivity involved in the evaluation of applications, and the applicant pool varies from year to year, there are general recurring issues (e.g., requests for funds to attend a conference without presenting are generally not scored as highly as other professional development activities, including presenting at a conference) and sometimes very specific problems (e.g., incomplete application; activity not appropriate for PD grant).
o Awards – Elisabeth and Jeff
- Elisabeth noted that materials for this year’s awards review were recently sent to review chairs for the various awards. No one had any objections to the proposed timeline that Elisabeth circulated via email. Award decisions should be completed by 2/21/14.
- Winners of each award from the past two years are invited to serve on the review committee. Although their input is valued, the invitation is a courtesy and not required, so it is acceptable to conduct the award review if one or both recent winners are unable to participate.
o Executive Education Grants – Ralph and Jay
- Ralph will be checking in with the Business School soon and will likely have an update at February’s meeting.
5. Committee business
o Conflict of interest policy – Ralph
- As a follow up to issues raised during the recent Professional Development Grants review, Ralph created a first draft of a Conflict of Interest Policy.
Initial discussion focused on whether it was best to require only reporting of (potential) conflicts, i.e., should recusal be mandated or decided by a majority vote of the (sub)committee on a case-by-case basis.
- How to best handle situations involving the evaluating current or recent PDRC members was also raised.
- Ralph will circulate the current (or revised) draft via email.
- Further consideration will be given at a later meeting when the full committee can hopefully be in attendance.
6. ASEC updates – None
7. Other business
o PD grant submission errors
- After discussing how to best handle two applicants who completed grant applications that were inadvertently not forwarded to the PDRC, it was agreed that Amy would coordinate having the review committee from this past fall evaluate the applications to determine whether they would have clearly fallen in the group of highly rated applications. The decision of whether and how to fund these if they are scored well was deferred until the applications have been reviewed, though Curtis noted that we have approximately $700 remaining from the last round of Professional Development Grant funds. Heather will make sure that PDRC members can access these applications online.
- Awards questions
- Unit vs school/college – It was agreed that these questions should continue to be forwarded to the Secretary’s Office and answered with input from the committee as needed.
- Nominees accessing applications – It was agreed that award nominees should not be given access to their nomination packets.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 a.m.