University Committee Meeting Minutes 2015-07-20
July 20, 2015
Present: Broman, Edwards (chair), Litovsky, Wendt
Absent: Meyerand, Wanner
1. Meeting called to order: 9:49 AM.
2. Edwards updated the UC on the tenure and termination ad hoc committee.
3. Legislative update (PROFS)
a. O’Meara asked if the UC was aware of any compilation of outside offers and/or faculty in vulnerable positions. UC suggested directing the question to provost/VPFS/VCRGE.
b. Petty and O’Meara briefed the UC on visit with Baldwin staff in DC office. Discussion focused generally on budget, including 3rd year of sequestration. O’Meara also met with Pocan’s legislative director, with whom discussion focused on tenure and shared governance language in HEA.
c. Edwards pointed out that many people are in and out of DC frequently and most are willing to meet with anyone that would be helpful. PROFS could coordinate.
d. Broman inquired about the possibility of an on-campus meeting with Pocan.
e. Discussion of other budget issues, including Chemistry building, classified research, sick leave carryover.
4. Chancellor update (Rebecca Blank)
a. Blank provided an update of the budget situation.
b. Blank informed the UC that the UW System Shared Governance Task Force has been cancelled. Interest seems to be that campuses move forward from where we are rather than making further changes. Blank sees nothing that should change what we do here. As a reaffirmation of our campus commitment (and hers) to shared governance, Blank asks the UC to work with other shared governance groups to craft a statement. UC will schedule something for fall (only waiting because of ASM and student return to campus). Ample discussion.
i. Wendt pointed out that many in university community are concerned about changes implied by new statutes. Blank identified two major changes in statute language: shared governance role in immediate governance issues and change from “subject to” to “subordinate to.” Previous statute language was already difficult, but on this campus we have policies whereby the chancellor cedes authority on (for example) curriculum. More broadly, Madison has extensive shared governance policies that we all agree to. Some changes to FPP will be necessary, but the agreed-on rules are our policy. The statement called for above is an opportunity to reaffirm shared governance principles as we work through necessary changes to policy documents.
ii. Broman raised topic of student control over seg fee allocation. Following governor’s veto, this is still the way it was.
iii. Ample discussion, including potential symbolic value that System task force could have had. Blank suggested that a task force is not necessary to address this. The Board could make a statement, perhaps encouraged by the campus governance representatives. Broman will send note on this topic.
i. This is chief of staff Menghini’s last week. Interim will be Marianne Bird Bear. PVL for permanent position has been posted; Blank encouraged circulating it to possible candidates.
ii. Process to hire new VC for University Relations will follow that used for university counsel. Committee comprised of differing stakeholders; shared governance groups will be asked for names. Blank expects search to be launched mid-September or later.
d. Blank summed up recent issue involving faculty use of social media with incoming students. Blank is puzzled by the rumors around this topic, including talk of discipline and dismissal, which has never been considered. Blank hopes the issue is behind us. Ample discussion, including comments and questions from guests.
e. Blank concluded with news about imminent groundbreaking on music performance space. Additional funds are required to implement the full design, but building is “value engineered” so that work can begin and additions can be made later.
5. Edwards moved and Wendt 2nd to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to discuss personnel matters. Motion passed: 10:30 AM.
Dean of Engineering presented case for appointing a non-faculty chair.
6. Edwards moved and Wendt 2nd to reconvene in open session. Motion passed: 10:55 AM.
7. UC considered waiver request to appoint non-faculty chair in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for a period not to exceed one year. Discussion. Strong support for using year to increase administrative capacity in department. Broman moved to approve. Litovsky seconded. Unanimously approved.
8. Discussion of possible survey of climate and morale on campus. Litovsky suggests broader survey of faculty and staff about more than work life, to also include recommendations of options f or positive action moving forward. Bernard-Donals felt that a well-crafted, broad survey could be useful also to VPFS and others, but offered that there is already a good sense of what the issues are. Discussion of building on next wave of WISELI survey and/or other tools for gathering this information. General consensus that goal is to find ways to address and solve anxiety in campus community (not just faculty). Suggestion of all-campus convocation to address these issues. Bernard-Donals summarized discussion into three targeted ideas: (1) continue info sessions, perhaps kicked off at leadership summit and new faculty welcome, (2) encourage discussions outside context of leadership, and (3) convocation. General consensus that a “menu” of approaches along these lines (possibly still including a survey) is a productive way to proceed. Ample discussion. Actions to be taken: (1) VPFS will work with provost (who was present for last part of this item) and UC and other governance groups. (2) Meyerand, Edwards, and Litovsky will map out overall process (“menu”) and explore how best to connect with related efforts in other shared governance groups, secretaries’ offices, WISCAPE, OHRD, CDO office, etc.
9. Provost update (Sarah Mangelsdorf)
a. Mangelsdorf acknowledged receipt of bottom-up review recommendations and will work on this with VCFA and UC soon. On a related note, a number of dean 5-year reviews will be launched very soon.
b. Discussion of proposed changes to academic calendar. Provost has received draft white paper with proposed changes and will send to OSOF in preparation for Faculty Senate action. Issues involved in revision to calendar include (among others) moving exams off commencement day, creating a 4-week summer session in addition to 8-week one, standardizing semesters, regent policy, state law, holiday and break placements, dorm logistics and building usage, grading days, and so on. Broman asked about the possibility of a reading week, which could be part of the discussion. Ample discussion.
10. Litovsky left 11:33 AM.
11. Meeting adjourned due to lack of quorum.