University Committee Meeting Minutes 2016-12-19

Minutes passed 1/4/2016

Minutes for December 19, 2016
UC members present: Amasino, Bowers, Broman, Litovsky, Wanner, Wendt (chair)
Others present: S. Smith, J. Richard, M. Felber, H. Daniels, M. Bernard-Donals, E. Sandgren, C. Springer, J. Mertz, S. Kosciuk

Chair Amy Wendt called the meeting to order at 1:01 p.m. and directed attention to the inventory of campus programming around native nations (to be discussed in greater detail with ASM in January). Secretary Steve Smith added that there is a group based in the Nelson Institute working on signage around this issue. Wendt also informed the UC that Legal Services has been asked to review campus policies in light of recent changes to sexual harassment and consensual relationships Regent/System policies, as well as UWS chapters on discipline and dismissal. This will also be discussed in greater detail with a representative from legal services in January. The minutes of the meetings of December 5, 2016, and December 12, 2016, were approved. Jack O’Meara’s legislative update brought the UC up to speed on discussions around fetal tissue policy and a related campus visit by Representative Steineke, mixed messages from the legislature on campus carry legislation, and final approval from the Building Commission to move forward with the Chemistry building.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Dan Uhlrich and Senior University Legal Counsel Brian Vaughan presented a new campus policy on research misconduct. Resulting from the work of an ad hoc committee charged by Vice Chancellor Marsha Mailick, the proposed policy is compliant with federal regulations and has been reviewed by research deans, the offices of the chancellor and provost, and many others. Key differences include the definition of research misconduct (falsifying, fabricating, plagiarizing), the evidentiary standard (preponderance of evidence), and clarifications/reorganization of procedural steps (assessment, inquiry, disclosure, investigation, appeal). Plan is to develop a flow chart as appendix. Accused retain multiple opportunities for comment/input. Discussion about conscious acts vs negligence (new policy only covers the former), role of peers (particularly in investigations), and timing for next steps (consensus that this can go to the February Senate for a vote).

University Library Committee chair Dan Klingenberg and Director of Libraries Ed Van Gamert presented the ULC’s annual report. Klingenberg summarized the primary activities over the last year: consolidation report (especially communication aspects), ULC membership (definite, but not overwhelming, decision to keep seats elected), Memorial Library Committee structure (members feel strongly about keeping it, but there were discussions about merging with ULC), open access policy (following withdrawal of proposal from Senate, focus has been on listening sessions at colleges/schools and clarifying misconceptions), federal depository status, effect of campus master plan on consolidation efforts, and collections budget. On the last point, campus has increased base budget, but we are still not at midpoint of Big10. The ULC anticipates that the overwhelming priority for the coming year will be communication about consolidation, including concentration of resources and reassignment of staff. Bowers asked about Ebling Library, which is not part of GLS. Ostensibly it is administered by the deans of the health sciences, although in practice only Medicine. All agreed there is need for better coordination and communication about how Ebling is managed and how it interacts with other libraries. Van Gamert concluded by congratulating and thanking Klingenberg and all the members of the ULC for their engagement and work.

Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, General Counsel Ray Taffora, and others joined for discussion of post-tenure review policy. Wendt summarized current situation and laid out possible options moving forward. These range from accepting Board “standard” policy as is to revising our policy to put it in compliance with new RPD, and several possibilities in between. Although System/BoR have sent conflicting messages, the main issue appears to still be the dean’s role in reviews. The policies which have been passed include a broad range of language that could serve as a model for administrative review. Other issues raised by System and various Regents include timeline and timeliness, second peer review, and detail on remediation. Much of the ensuing discussion, best described as ample and somewhat angst-laden, focused on possible consultative groups for deans in this process and the broader issue of erosion of faculty governance. Decision to task small group with crafting modified policy, but to put off decision of how to proceed until that document is ready.

Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning Steve Cramer presented revised materials on the Wisconsin Experience. Revisions have been discussed with and approved by UAPC, Gen Ed, and many others. Cramer requests that UC provide feedback, especially on implementation, ways to make these materials more substantial, more inclusive of academic content, and more infused into campus life, and general tone and direction. Much discussion followed.
Members of the Advisory Committee for the Office of Equity and Diversity Parmesh Ramanathan, Janet Mertz, and Steve Kosciuk recommended the UC charge a group with reviewing overall campus climate policies. As the shared governance group tasked with advising on equity and diversity across campus, the OED committee has spent significant time on recent racial and other bias incidents in our community. Their general sense is that specific incidents such as the noose at Camp Randall have been handled narrowly and individually and not in broader context. The group recognizes that there are many policies on campus around these issues, but also that it is not clear how these are interpreted and implemented, particularly with regards to the bigger picture. They recommend that a group be tasked with reviewing what is already in place and how that is balanced with rights and freedoms on one hand and with impact on students and creating a safe environment on the other, perhaps with an eye to recommending a more comprehensive approach. The UC recognized that many underrepresented students (and others) currently feel quite vulnerable and was receptive to the argument that if the issue is not addressed, the status quo threatens to undo diversity gains. Prior to appointing a new campuswide task force or charging an existing committee with reviewing extant policies and making recommendations on what needs to be changed with regards to implementation and communication, the UC felt it was important to first determine what efforts are already underway. The UC also felt that charging an existing (perhaps supplemented) committee is preferable to the creation of a new body. Fundamental question is how to make students feel welcome and safe, without reinventing the wheel or duplicating other efforts.

Wendt adjourned the meeting at 3:24 p.m.