University Committee Meeting Minutes 2017-04-24

University Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes approved 5/1/2017

Approved minutes for April 24, 2017 

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

Chair Amy Wendt called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. according to the atomic clock and reminded those present about forums for the library on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tom Broman announced he has purchased a truck as confirmation of his impending retirement. The minutes of the meeting of April 17, 2017, were approved. Jack O’Meara reported that the JFC has concluded its public hearings and will likely start taking votes next week. Discussion of state legislator positions on tuition cut proposal, self-insurance, performance-based funding. PROFS will be meeting with Representative Erpenbach and is planning other legislative meetings.

Professor Parmesh Ramanathan presented the annual report of the OED Advisory Committee. The primary issue related to the committee is that both its role and that of the office it advises have changed dramatically. Most notably, Title IX and other matters have been moved to the Office of Compliance. Committee members have met with CDO Sims and others to talk about possible changes to the committee. The UC will need to consider the future of this committee with different functions and/or in conjunction with a different office in the context of other similarly themed committees. Ample discussion ensued, focusing on best role for expertise of committee (specific complaints vs broader contexts), possible reconfigurations (of this and other committees), and longer-term goals (advocacy and support). Ramanathan will report at Faculty Senate and emphasize these issues.

Chief Diversity Officer Patrick Sims continued the discussion about the future of the OED Advisory Committee, segueing into a similar discussion about the future of the CDCC. Redundancy is a concern were both the CDCC and OED committees to continue as currently configured. Sims has discussed CDCC remit with chancellor, provost, and many others, and general consensus is that CDCC members and the DDEEA would be better served by a CDCC that is more actively involved in examining new initiatives and resources as opposed to responding to operational details, which are more efficiently covered by the DDEEA (which the CDCC predates). A CDCC that serves as sounding board and strategic partner for CDO is the goal. Sims (and the UC) would like to re-envision the entire structure of shared governance on these topics in order to clarify lanes and eliminate redundancies. Sims’ presentation at Senate will be an update on several initiatives, communications, stewardship, community connections, and so on. Sims’ time with the UC concluded with a detailed discussion of how to better address needs of Native American students, a group that is unique in a number of ways compared to other minority groups. Sims has been working with Dean of Students, American Indian Studies, and others to devise solutions based on an understanding of the dynamics of this community and ways to add value and not burdens. The main suggestion is some sort of governance body (possibly FPP) that pays attention to Native American issues and can be a sounding board to respond to opportunity areas and engage the broader campus (and external) community. Sims welcomes working with the UC as thought partner on this and continues to work with community members as well. Ample discussion followed, including of specificities of this group and how it fits with other groups and existing efforts on campus (native nations partnership, pre-college infrastructure, etc.).

Vice Provosts Steve Cramer and Jocelyn Milner discussed the draft campus credit load policy with the UC. As part of reaccreditation, campus must demonstrate a consistent policy that is applied and followed. Several people and groups have been involved in these discussions for at least 4 years, seeking a policy that is both constrained and flexible. Significant discussion on various models and policies. Cramer argued, and the UC concurred, that federal policy aside, campus needs clarity with regard to blended and online learning and other issues related to credit policy. Much of the discussion (as has been true almost whenever this policy has been discussed) focused on the inclusion of the policy in syllabi, shifting the focus to implementation rather than policy. Milner says it is clear that the implementation is the more controversial aspect. Discussion of best ways to implement various policies that relate to syllabus (credit load, learning outcomes, etc.; Cramer estimates we have two pages’ worth of boilerplate syllabus material). Consensus that syllabi are implied contracts with students and thus it is important to get this right. Suggestion that we could use our electronic/online infrastructure to facilitate inclusion of required items. Discussion of next steps, including what should go to Senate.

Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf informed the UC that a guidance memo on PTR went out today to deans and chair. Discussion. Mangelsdorf also re-raised the need to clarify role of deans in tenure and promotion. Recap by Mangelsdorf, Wendt, and Smith of discussions to this point. Will be a topic for fall. Mangelsdorf reiterated need to ensure divisional committees seek information more proactively before voting on cases.
Athletic Board chair Laurel Rice provided an update on a specific case (without mention of names or details). Rice satisfied with resolution and process, but this will be something of which she keeps track and on which she follows up, both specifically and generally. Discussion of role of sports liaisons and AB generally as recourse/resource for student athletes. Fortified and more formalized onboarding process for new AB members will be introduced this fall. Wide-ranging discussion followed.

Broman 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 passed at 2:40 p.m. The UC discussed a tenure clock extension from SMPH at great length. The waiver request was approved unanimously on the condition that the faculty member’s research time be protected per their appointment letter. The UC also asked that the following statement be included in the waiver approval: “The UC also wishes to express strong disapproval of the way faculty research time has been compromised by other duties, which undermines the ability for individuals to do the work required for tenure.” Wanner moved to reconvene in open session. The motion was seconded and passed at 2:56 p.m., at which point Wendt adjourned the meeting.