University Committee Meeting Minutes 2017-01-30

University Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes approved 2/6/2017

Approved minutes for January 30, 2017

UC members present: Amasino (arrived 1:20), Broman, Litovsky (left 3:35), Wanner, Wendt (chair)
UC member absent: Bowers
Others present: S. Smith, J. Richard, M. Felber, O. Arain, G. Bump, J. O’Meara, H. Daniels, J. Brown, M. Aust, M. Bernard-Donals, K. Holmes, J. Lee, student press reporter and photographer, five faculty assistant representatives, and at least one unidentified visitor

     After calling the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m., Chair Amy Wendt reviewed developments with post-tenure review policy and summarized changes that have been made to the document based on UWS input.  Following some discussion, the UC approved the changes to move forward to the Faculty Senate. Ample discussion ensued about faculty concerns, what to expect at Senate, and need for transparency. Strengthening PTR calls attention to fact that jobs change over time and people may not be doing exactly what they were hired to do; consensus that some thought needs to be given in future for policy/best practices information on when and how appointment letters should be amended. Minutes of the meeting of January 23, 2017, approved.

     Chief Diversity Officer Patrick Sims presented a draft letter on the creation of welcoming spaces, along with resources for instructors to promote positive classroom climates. Ample discussion centered on the purpose of the letter and possible responses. Overall message is that all should be aware of student concerns, that everyone involved is a human being, and that discussion is welcome, open, and encouraged. The letter, an invitation to create spaces and opportunities to engage, recognizes that it is okay not to know how to react, and points to resources and learning opportunities. The UC strongly endorsed the letter. Sims also discussed the Chapter 6 committees related to his office (6.22. and 6.27.). UC supports Sims’ beginning conversations with committee members and others on overall structure, functionality, responsibility, and roles, recognizing that several other offices and people will also be involved as things develop. Sims time with the UC concluded with a brief discussion of “safe spaces” which will be a topic for a future meeting.

     Faculty senator Chad Goldberg discussed potential Senate items with the UC. While he and others feel that a resolution at some point expressing faculty sentiment on the PTR process might be merited, the timing is not currently optimal. Following a presentation by five Faculty Assistants from ESL on issues related to FA compensation, the UC agreed that this was an issue needing to be addressed, but all present agreed that this should start with Academic Staff governance and continue to be pursued through administrative channels prior to raising it with the Senate.

     Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf, who was present for the end of the FA discussion, expanded that topic into an update on other titling issues for instructional academic staff. The System/Madison titling and compensation study has contracted an outside firm to look (separately) at Madison and the other campuses with regard to titling, peer comparisons, standardization, and so on. Wendt updated the provost on the PTR process. Discussion of immigration issues and Senate agenda.

     Wunk Sheek co-presidents Misha Johnson and Kelly Holmes discussed responses to the student resolutions on indigenous peoples. Of the three main resolutions (recognizing that the university is on Ho Chunk land, acknowledging the indigenous massacres during Lincoln’s presidency, and formally observing native and other group identity days and months), only the latter is within the faculty’s purview. All present agreed that simply declaring recognition months (which carry no legal weight) was less meaningful than creating programming (such as a powwow as kickoff for Native November) around the observances. The students stressed the importance of including community members from outside campus when thinking about events, and the importance of keeping in touch with tribes on an ongoing basis. UC committed to reconnecting (with the students and with N. Boyd in the Pathways Office, official advisor A. Bowman, and others) towards the end of the semester to get a planning committee started.

     Chancellor Rebecca Blank and the UC discussed campus reaction to the executive order on immigration and actions related to the (then about 88, now well over 100) campus community members affected. Blank and campus strongly support the AAU and APLU statements and stand ready to act. However, current high levels of uncertainty make it hard to do much more than point people to resources and stay in touch. Big10 events over weekend were enjoyable and productive; Career Exploration Center opened on Monday; the WI Innovation Center in the former Monsanto facility will open on Tuesday; new chief of police will be sworn in this week; Madison is hosting Board of Regents at end of week. Discussion of student attempt to form an alt-right group and related issues, particularly whether campus officials should be made aware of students with potentially dangerous criminal records. Agreement that criminal past should not be a bar to admission, but recognition that parents and students would expect campus to know about at least certain types of crimes. Substantial discussion. Brief recap of post-tenure review and follow-up on earlier conversation about indigenous peoples.

     ASM representatives Sally Rohrer and Katherine Kerwin summarized student campus carry actions and planned activities. Focus now is on petition and getting substantial numbers—especially non-Dane County parents—to express their concerns. Ample discussion. UC will consider sending faculty a link to the petition as Academic Staff did. Students would like to see faculty across the state engaged with this issue. Some discussion of upcoming governor’s budget proposal. Students have created a “fund our UW” Facebook group and invite testimonies on how classrooms, research, etc. have been affected; stories are important.

     The UC discussed SMPH and Vet Med track transfer policies, specifically with regard to equity issues and request from divisional committee for guidance on how these cases should be considered. Suggestion that a formula be created to assess percentage of “tenure activity” in individual clinical appointments along the lines of how clinical activity is currently accounted for when setting the probationary tenure clock. UC will return to the issue of divisional guidance when all are present at its next meeting. Discussion made it clear that there are multiple issues involved in this (distinction between faculty and research-based academic staff, policy issues, equity concerns, differences across colleges, etc.) and others will have to be brought into the conversation (provost, deans, those with historical knowledge, etc.). UC will return to the broader issues over the course of the semester.

     Wendt adjourned the meeting at 3:38 p.m.