Chair’s Report for February 11, 2003

 

Senate update

1.       Important links to agendas, minutes, Chair's Reports and other sites of interest are available
on the Senate web site: http://www.uwec.edu/Usenate. Senate Chair’s Report will be available on this site by noon on the day of the Senate meeting.

2.       During debates, Senators may speak only twice to any motion or amendment. Each speaking term is limited to 10 minutes. The Chair will add names of those wishing to speak to a speaker's list upon recognition.

 

Open Forum Items from Senate Executive Committee Meeting minutes

1.       Upcoming Budget cuts. Comments included: Would like to see opportunity for faculty and academic staff to have input on approaching budget cuts in order to preserve quality; Would also assist staff in bracing for cuts; Would prefer not to wait to react, but be involved from beginning; Would like to see possibly smaller, leaner, meaner university, but just as good or better; If faculty and staff knew up front what might happen if additional cuts, eventual news would not create panic; Still hope to develop consensus if cuts are deep – will be complicated process; Would like to plan and act rather than react; Need to put together program with minimum impact on students; Legislators back on campus on February 17th at invitation of District Nurses Association to discuss health care issues.

2.       Classified Staff concern. Some classified staff concerned supervisors were alerted by email not only of possible work stoppage job actions, but also asked to report anything they hear in way of union activity, and advised to deny vacations during certain times; Chancellor Mash indicated he heard and appreciated classified staff frustration, but noted campuses were advised by Madison to send out notice to supervisors; Governor apparently prepared to sign negotiated contracts with number of state unions; some legislators saying no; University administration limited in support can give on union matters; must be worded carefully; Do appreciate and value work of classified staff; Morale beginning to be affected; memo added to frustration; Showing appreciation for work no longer sufficient for classified staff falling further and further behind economically.

 

 

Faculty Reps Meeting, January 31

 

1.       The Faculty Reps began the meeting discussing the tenure. A subcommittee of reps presented findings.
Tenure Issues Identified: variation in standards between different departments on campus; variation in specificity of institutional policies; standards for tenure changing from when faculty are hired and when they apply for tenure; criteria are out of date or do not reflect reality; and variation in review criteria between Department & Provost/Chancellor. Reps began to discuss the inconsistencies between faculty, division leaders, deans, and provost criteria. Stout noted that when Personnel Rules were written for that campus, only the involvement of the faculty member and Chancellor were mentioned (those specifically mentioned in Chap. 36). If the Chancellor wanted to designate responsibility to Provost and Dean, he/she had the right to do so.  Legal Council stressed the need for consistency between annual reviews and the final tenure decision.

Suggestions to Improve the Tenure Review Process: Institutional process and department criteria for tenure should be defined; while institutional tenure criteria may change, for individual probationary tenure track faculty the criteria in place at the time of hire should apply to their tenure decision; and departments should review tenure criteria regularly, probably as often as every five years.

Informing the Board about Tenure: Apparently a major reason for looking at tenure is the assumption that tenure prevents faculty from accountability. Explain the several ways that faculty are regularly reviewed. Emphasize the importance of tenure and peer review on standard criteria for the different stakeholders. Link tenure to the quality of teaching and student success; to the quality of research on a wide range of issues of importance to citizens, businesses and non-profits throughout the state; and to the quality of service provided to these stakeholders.

 

2.       Other campuses commented on the benefits of tenure – protecting academic freedom; sense of respect; ownership; providing an incentive to attain a terminal degree; something that can be done without adding much cost; and the ability of committed tenure faculty to enhance the curriculum and programs.

 

3.       Campuses shared created ways to address the budget cuts. Most campuses have been working on ways to involve faculty in the discussions. Degree of faculty involvement varied greatly.

 

4.       George Brooks from Human Resources shared how the University Insurance mandatory program was changing underwriters. Current Regent policy identifies this as condition of employment, but if the premiums jump when the company changes, this may be reconsidered. Brooks also noted how employees were suffering from the way DER was negotiating contracts. In addition he stated that no decision has been made as to when a proposed 03-05 pay plan is going forward. Every indication shows that the legislature will not look at increases fro 03-05. 

 

5.   The meeting concluded with Institutional Reports: Stevens Point – Foundation in financial problems, already put in some GPR dollars to help foundation keep going, Senate voted to not add any more GPR into the Foundation, Director resigned; working on student evaluations of faculty. Parkside – trying to incorporate Teacher Education into other departments. Oshkosh – calendar issues; teaching load (Academic Staff 5 classes with Master, 4 with PhD, Faculty 3 if productive scholarship). Milwaukee – Student Association spent $10K for Pick-a-Prof.com, initially faculty had no access online, are comments are screened and must follow guidelines, not open to public; holding discussions on tuition proposals, looking at per credit and differential tuition by Schools; discussing merit process. Colleges – passes revision of Mission; IAS looking at how the faculty voice has been diminished; move to creating focused tenure review guidelines, limiting submissions to one 3” binder and specifying what must be included. LaCrosse – asking for Provost’s vision, separately from Dean’s; looking at reorganizing from 4 to 3 schools; talking about grade inflation; finishing strategic plan. Platteville – closed admissions because increased retention and increase in Business Ed; assessment; concern for remodeling projects. Green Bay – GE revisions shot down; Advising committee went into hiding, FYE working group as well; talk of new budgeting process to include F/AS in process; technology problems. Stout – budgeting system was highly participatory for all areas, not trying to extend that process to budget reduction with reps from all areas – deans, chairs, faculty, staff, classified, students, etc. to come up with guidelines, discussing what is sheltered as well; working at cutting number of credits from 124 to 120 and cutting number needed for GE; will be creating School of Education. River Falls – asking what is the criteria for tenure for administrators when hired on campus; differential tuition; panic on budget; passed calendar. Whitewater – hope to build new technology building. Superior – looking at rules for student evaluations in terms of when required.

 

 

 

Board of Regents Meeting, February 6 & 7

 

The following is a brief summary of the Board of Regents meeting. Details can be obtained online at: http://www.wisconsin.edu/news/2003/

 

1.       Gov. Jim Doyle addressed the Board of Regents, Thursday (Feb. 6).  "This state is in a very difficult situation. If we don't handle it correctly, it imperils the University of Wisconsin, and ultimately, the people of this state. If we slash education, we undermine what makes our state so attractive." …"That's why education should be our top priority, and it will be as long as I'm governor," Doyle said. "We must protect it, we must improve upon it and we must celebrate it." Doyle was very careful not to make the University any promises during his remarks. He did say that the “process will be a painful one:, “simply have to do more with less”, “only way to get through is by shared sacrifice”, and “crucial we understand that we can not get through this with ‘politics as usual’.”

 

2.       During the regular portion of the Thursday meeting,

-          Four new Regents were introduced

-          American Council of Education President David Ward shared his insights on the Higher Education Reauthorization Act stating as Congress prepares to reauthorize the spending bill, which provides federal funding for postsecondary education, his job is to serve as an "alliance-builder," bringing a unified message to Congress on behalf of the 3,000 public and private colleges and universities ACE represents.  Ward said student financial aid is among the most important issues Congress will consider in the reauthorization act. The UW System submitted several recommendations regarding the reauthorization act to Congress this week, including calls for expanded financial aid, increased funding for improving teacher quality and additional resources for online learning.

-          Key findings of the Accountability Report were shared showing that graduation and retention rates continue to increase, and that one out of every three Wisconsin high school graduates immediately enrolls in the UW System, one of the highest access rates in the nation. Some board members expressed concern about certain targets in the report where results are mixed, such as the availability of academic advising and the access gap for students of color. Others said the campus-specific reports need more uniformity in the data they report, particularly related to minority students. Prepared by the UW System Office of Policy Analysis and Research, the report is available online at http://www.uwsa.edu/opar/. This year's report also contains 15 institution-specific accountability reports, which were first included last year. [Hard copy of the report is available in the Senate office.]

-          The Education Committee discussed three questions: what do the members of the Education Committee consider the most effective indicators of quality; what will be the consequences of budget reductions on those measures of quality; and how can the UW System and the Board of Regents most effectively communicate the university's quality measures to the public and to political decision-makers? After a lively discussion by committee members and chancellors, it was generally agreed that quality definitions are derived from the individual mission and character of the campuses, and that the variety the UW System offers is one of its strengths. The regents also discussed measures including student access to classes, percent of faculty that teach courses and retention and graduation rates.

-          An Update on the Program Moratorium – Criteria for Bringing New Programs Forward – was given. “Despite the uncertain state of the budget and future GPR funding, we indicated planning and implementation of certain programs should continue.  We identified the following exceptions to the general moratorium.

Programs responsive to a demonstrated critical state need, e.g. health care, special education, etc.

Programs where delay in implementation would place at risk unique, time sensitive funding and/or collaboration opportunities.

Programs with a revenue and cost structure that will result in the enhancement of resources for the institution.

In each of these cases, the program must of course meet all of requirements for new academic programs.  In addition, these exceptions by no means signal a change in the scope of our responsibility to assure a wide array of accessible academic programs that meet the needs of students and the state.  However during this time of fiscal emergency, our attention must shift to the task of maintaining quality with less state support, and new program planning must be narrowly targeted to address immediate compelling needs.  Campus program planning liaisons should consult with our office regarding any program planning contemplated that may fall within these exceptions to the general moratorium.

-          Business and Finance Committee discussed how to engage in longer-range planning when evaluating programs and priorities to manage potential budget cuts. Two chancellors addressed how past budget reductions have affected hiring instructional staff, loss of matching funds and differential tuition.

 

3.       During the Friday meeting, President Lyall address the Board. She outlined cuts that have already been made – reducing GPR travel by about 50%; restricting printed matter & publications; eliminating most advertising except for job notices that are legally required and public events information serving the community; and selective replacement of vacancies to maintain instructional capacity. She then outlined principles to which the UW System will adhere as campuses and administrators react to future cuts over the next biennium:

-          will first look to cut administrative expenses most removed from serving students, meeting legal requirements and generating revenues apart from state funding - likely resulting in slower services and longer wait times for students, parents and legislators

-          will look to eliminate or merge academic programs and majors with low enrollments or with parallel programs elsewhere being careful to ensure the same majors are not removed across the system (certain coursework may be limited to a few campuses; some students may need to apply out-of-state for highly specialized programs)

-          will support tuition increases that would place UW campuses close to the midpoint when compared to peer institutions, coupled with matching need-based financial aid. "State subsidy dollars should be removed first from those who can afford to pay and last from those least able to pay,"

-          after steps have been taken to cut administrative costs, eliminate programs, and move tuition to the midpoint, if further position/personnel reductions are necessary, may need to review and adjust enrollment targets to reflect the elimination of additional faculty and staff from the budget. (Lyall noted that positions and personnel will be lost as the system looks for cost savings.) "I want to stress that adjusting our enrollments is the fourth, not the first, step in this process," Lyall said. "It is driven only by necessary reductions in faculty and staff that eliminate the ability to provide the sections, labs, and other educational services that students need to graduate."

           

Legislative Update

1.       The Joint Committee on Audit voted this week to forward plans to audit UW System administrative expenditures. These include an examination of the campus administration, including the Dean level and below, as well as the UW System Administration. The intent of the auditor is to visit or obtain information from each campus. 

2.       The Joint Finance Committee will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 11, on Gov. Jim Doyle's bill to reduce state spending in the current fiscal year (FY 2002-03, ending June 30) by $81 million. DOA Secretary Marc Marotta has been invited to testify at the hearing. Executive action may be taken on the proposal prior to the next floor session, scheduled for Feb. 19, 2003.

3.       Gov. Doyle will deliver his budget address to a joint session of the Legislature on Feb.18, 2003. Legislative action on the special session bill could come later that week.

4.       Information on the Web

UW System Government Relations Web Site:  http://www.uwsa.edu/univ_rel/govrel/index.htm

Wisconsin Legislature on the Web:  http://www.legis.state.wi.us/