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TO:                  University Senate

FROM:             Michael R. Wick
                        UW – Eau Claire Faculty Representative


DATE:              September 13, 2005


SUBJECT:        Report on September Board of Regents Meeting


The Board of Regents (BOR) met in West Bend, WI, on September 8th and 9th.  Interim Chancellor Larson attended the meeting and will provide the Senate with a complete report.  My report is intended to convey to the senators personal reflections on the BOR meeting from a faculty perspective.


The BOR meeting was a fascinating glimpse into the operations of the University of Wisconsin System.  The meeting revealed a general misunderstanding of shared governance by several regents.   In fact, Regent Loftus plans to lead a charge to completely reform the policies and procedures of the UWS with the explicit aim of “giving the administration the tools necessary to run the UW System in the coming decade”.  Regent Loftus believes that the current model of shared governance was simply an outgrowth of merger and is no longer an appropriate model through which to run an institution.  Faculty and academic staff alike should keep a close eye on his agenda.


The dominant item on the BOR agenda was the discussion of revisions in UW System personnel policies as they relate to “backup” positions, sick leave, and other elements of limited appointments.  The outcome of that discussion was Resolution I.2.c by the Business and Finance Committee.  As I am confident that Interim Chancellor Larson will report on the details of the Resolution (which passed by unanimous consent), I will focus on the regent attitudes I observed on this issue.  The BOR clearly understood that faculty and academic staff who step forward to accept a limited appointment have a statutory right to “concurrent” (or “backup”) positions and completely agreed with such a right.  They completely understood that the recent stories in the newspaper are not about tenure, academic freedom, or the use of sick leave.  The primary concern of the regents was accountability.  They wanted to be assured that anyone serving in a concurrent position would have a clear list of duties and would be paid commensurate with those duties.  They also wanted assurance that individuals using sick leave are using it for its intended purpose.  In addition, I did sense an undercurrent of resistance to the concept of “indefinite status” for academic staff.  Regent Walsh indicated that he believed the existence of “backup” positions wasn’t the real concern but that rather it was the existence of “indefinite status” contracts in general that was a problem.  This is certainly something that our academic staff colleagues will wish to monitor.








            Michael R. Wick