University Committee Meeting Minutes 2016-12-12

Minutes passed 12/19/2016

Minutes for December 12, 2016
UC members present: Amasino, Bowers, Broman, Litovsky, Wanner, Wendt (chair)
Others present: S. Smith, J. Richard, J. O’Meara, G. Mitchell, M. Bernard-Donals, M. Felber, H. Daniels, O. Arain, M. Mayrl

Chair Amy Wendt called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. Vice Provost for Faculty and Staff Michael Bernard-Donals called the UC’s attention to a draft memo to the Retirement Issues Committee, aimed at making the committee more active, engaged, and impactful. UC (including current Retirement Issues Committee chair Tom Broman) approved sending the charge letter, which nests nicely within the committee’s existing broader charge, to the entire committee. Ample and wide-ranging discussion of possible ways forward with post-tenure review policy (at various points in the meeting). Primary issue remains dean-level review. Conflicting signals from various corners of UWS/BoR. General approval of idea to charge small ad hoc committee to work on this over break, although the UC will have more discussion prior to deciding. Jack O’Meara’s legislative/PROFS update recapped recent legislative strategy group meeting and various ideas on how to react to return of campus carry and fetal tissue bills. 

Chief Diversity Officer Patrick Sims updated the UC on organizational restructuring of his office and how that has impacted the follow-up on award received from chancellor for faculty diversity liaisons. Sims requested input, recommendations, and assistance with putting together call for this. Core idea of award is to provide assistance to faculty and other instructors on adding diversity to syllabi, content, classroom, etc. Ruth Litovsky summarized three main issues: how to engage students, syllabus preparation, and class content. Sims also updated the UC on possible restructuring of the convoluted, diffuse, and confusingly complex network of governance bodies working with his office (CDCC, OED Advisory, EDCs, MDCs, etc.). UC supports reassessing charges and roles of various groups and potentially collapsing some into others and/or restructuring specific committees in light of new realities. (CDCC predates the office it works with; much of the compliance work that the OED Advisory Committee works with has moved to Legal; etc.) Ample discussion followed.

Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduation Education Marsha Mailick, fresh from an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about fall in research rankings, highlighted six areas that, over the long term, have addressed and could potentially reverse trend: (1) creation of OVCRGE and hiring separate DGS, which expanded capacity and focus; (2) development of UW2020, which allocated new money in innovative ways; (3) creation of the Office of Core Research Services, which helps community make best use of resources; (4) return of RSP to OVCRGE, which has helped with information flow, creating potentially critical possibilities for analytics; (5) retention efforts, including research portfolio support; and (6) Third Way efforts, which are improving relations and negotiations with current and potential industry sponsors of research. In addition, investment in research centers has been critical; state re-investment is single biggest thing that could help. Much discussion followed.

Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, pleased with the return of treats to the UC table, discussed PTR developments and plans with the UC. She has been contacted by many people with different ideas. Differing standards and unclear expectations have created significant new challenge vis-à-vis Faculty Senate. For some, the problems with the PTR developments is secondary to concerns about extremely intrusive micromanagement from UWS/BoR. Debate about whether to modify (and, if so, how) or do nothing and accept consequences. Heated and emotional discussion. At most recent Board meeting, the Regents also approved sexual harassment and consensual relationships policies; UC will ask Legal Services to review against our existing policies for potential Senate modification. Wendt asked Mangelsdorf for clarification of student learning assessment requests that have been sent to some faculty members. Following some discussion, Mangelsdorf indicated she will research this and report back. Mangelsdorf concluded her time with a report on a CDCC meeting attended by both the provost and the chancellor. As discussed earlier with the chief diversity officer, thought needs to be given to variety of diversity committees and general shared governance structure.

Dean of the Graduate School Bill Karpus updated the UC on the search for an associate dean to replace Dan Kleinman. Karpus spent the remainder of his time updating the UC on fiscal actions: allocations of flexible part of grad student support pool, divisional competitions, underrepresented students, and a new flexible approach to about ¼ of the budget. The latter will be used to support student recruitment and faculty development, including continuing to add an RA to each UW2020 grant, competitive counteroffers to recruit top students, and a grad student research competition, especially for those in areas with less funding. UC strongly supportive of these initiatives and encouraged consideration of upping research funding to a level that might cover an entire semester. Final area of focus for the budget is money to allow flexibility in areas that don’t currently have 4-year funding guarantee for PhD students.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank called attention to commencement (Sunday), holiday party (Thursday), and Lincoln Project event (Wednesday). Latter is a AAAS project to look at problems facing public universities. Statement will be released this week about policies on undocumented students. One part of this is the creation of an advisory committee related to international and immigrant students. This body will likely start as ad hoc advisory to chancellor (and the international dean and legal services, among others) and then evaluate prior to deciding whether to make it a permanent governance group. Blank also reported on the CDCC meeting (see provost section above) and reiterated need to seriously rethink how this committee operates and what its role is with relationship to chief diversity officer. Ample discussion followed, centered on idea that CDCC and related committees need to be restructured in order to have better impact and focus. Lots of heated discussion followed about post-tenure review policy and process. Blank highlighted need to clarify which of different signals from System/Board are priority and offered thoughts on how Madison policy could be modified in light of those which were passed. Blank concluded by summarizing status of inventory of indigenous programming (will be sent to UC) and return of campus carry legislation (bad timing). 

Litovsky moved to convene in closed session pursuant to Wis. Stats. 19.85(1)(c) and (f) to discuss personnel matters. The motion was seconded and approved at 3:20 p.m. The University Committee reviewed and unanimously approved four tenure-clock extension requests, unanimously approved a dual role waiver contingent on written clarification of workload, and sent one dual role waiver request back for clarification. A request to contract the services of a former assistant professor through purchasing was considered and approved under the academic staff conversion policy. The UC selected Tom Broman to replace Anja Wanner as the UC representative on the UAPC for the Spring 2017 semester. The UC identified which URC inaugural members will be invited to stay as appointees and which will be informed that their seat is being put up for election. Amasino moved to reconvene in open session. Motion was seconded and passed at 4:00 p.m., at which point Wendt immediately adjourned the proceedings.