University Committee Meeting Minutes 2017-04-10

University Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes approved 4/17/2017

Approved minutes for April 10, 2017                 Approved April 17, 2017, as amended.

UC members present: Amasino, Bowers, Wanner, Wendt (chair)
UC members absent: Broman, Litovsky
Others present: S. Smith, J. O’Meara, J. Richard, H. Daniels, C. Springer, M. Bernard-Donals

Chair Amy Wendt called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. exactly. Secretary Steve Smith distributed the 2016-2017 data digest. Everyone shared relief at the BoR passage of our post-tenure review policy. Wendt reminded the UC that PTR passage means that the Senate will need to formalize the DCRC in the fall. Some discussion followed, which also included items for the May Senate agenda. The minutes of the meeting of April 3, 2017, were approved.

Jack O’Meara and Wendt both acknowledged the LFB list of non-fiscal items that will be removed from the state budget. Many of the items of concern for higher education have been removed, although any of them may be brought forward separately. PROFS will continue to work on these issues as they arise. O’Meara called attention to upcoming hearing on performance-based funding, to be held by the state legislature committee on colleges and universities. President Cross, Professor Hillman, and a pro-PBF person from Lumina will be presenters. Discussion followed. O’Meara also indicated that PROFS is working on fetal tissue bill with the chancellor’s office in anticipation of upcoming hearing by state science and technology committee. WARF, Waisman, and other university parties will be represented. PROFS is publicly supporting bill on revising training for CPAs. Discussion about CNA flex option in budget, which was not removed, despite fact that it appears to have no budget component and raises serious certification issues and quality concerns. President Cross has indicated this proposal will not move forward; PROFS will continue to follow. 

Officer Education Committee chair John Hall presented the committee’s annual report, which covers two years and will be presented at May Senate. Highlights focused primarily on facilities; Air Force and Navy particularly pleased with their locations, but Naval is slated for demolition at some point. Gathering all ROTC programs together (as they were in the past) is desirable. Biggest requirement is physical fitness space. New AF commander is first woman and first National Guard officer to head that program. Hall suggested that there might be ways to make the programs feel more integrated into campus, including university leadership attendance at commissioning ceremony and fall ball. Fundraising is a concern as these programs do not have UWF representation or Boards of Visitors and members are legally barred from fundraising. Our ROTC programs consistently rank highly – often #1 – nationally. Ample discussion.

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller discussed the initiative on removing administrative barriers to research excellence (raised the previous week by VCRGE Mailick). Still defining parameters (and name), but all agree that there are significant opportunities to increase efficiency and effectiveness of administrative systems. Areas of activity might include partnerships with industry, intellectual property, purchasing regulations, and so on. Much discussion was had; all agreed that this is a worthwhile effort and that we need to find ways to make sure that the biggest pain points are surfaced. Current list of opportunities is largely anecdotal; UC could help greatly with being more strategic on this aspect. Heller and UC discussed creating flexibilities in 9-month contracts, primarily “9 over 12” as all our peers do, but also finding ways to be more flexible in general. This issue has been raised several times in last decade, and failed each time. Chancellor and others are eager to move forward.

Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf joined for the last part of the VCFA discussion. Following Heller’s departure, Mangelsdorf celebrated the (anticlimactic) passage of our campus PTR policy by the Board of Regents. Acting Education Committee chair Regent Peterson pointedly apologized to campuses for how hard this process has been. Discussion about DCRC and guidance to deans and chairs on PTR, budget bill and removed non-fiscal items, and the CNA flex proposal. Mangelsdorf will follow up on the latter with VCUR Hoslet.

Dean of the Graduate School Bill Karpus conveyed his excitement about the addition of new Associate Dean Ramanathan. UW-Madison has 18 NSF grad research fellowship winners this year and a total of approximately 120 NSF/NRSA on campus, a comparatively low number (UDub has 253). Eligibility rules changed this year, which may have led to the low numbers. Regardless, Karpus is embarking on an effort to publicize opportunities and assist in increasing numbers. Discussion. Karpus reminded the UC of the OHR-led project to move old TAA contract language into policy manual for TAs. This will include grad student input through ASM. Preliminary admissions data somewhat allays concerns of drop off in international applications; we are on par with last year, but don’t yet know if distribution has changed and will need to watch how admissions progress to acceptances and actual enrolments. Discussion about application procedures and joint applications.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank also celebrated the smooth passage of our PTR policy. Other items that came up at BoR included SERF (moving forward), the Amazon project (also moving forward), and the impending Foundation audit, which will actually be an audit of the campus end, not of the Foundation. No concerns about our processes and activities, although recognition that these things sometimes have a way of blowing up for reasons beyond our control. The chancellor’s week includes meetings with MadREP, the Academic Staff Assembly, and cheesemakers; Posters in the Rotunda and Lobby Day; Speakers Bureau staff and faculty to acknowledge service and discuss talking points; Olin House lunch with National Academy members and dinner with legislators. Ample discussion on a variety of issues ensued, including administrative organization, budget and state legislature, self-insurance, and ad hoc committee on shared governance. Given removal of non-fiscal items from budget, Blanks highest priority at this point is to get program revenue building funding approved. Wendt adjourned the meeting at 2:59 p.m.