Chair’s Report for February 26, 2002

Senate update

1.        Important links to agendas, minutes, Chair's Reports and other sites of interest are available
on the Senate web site: 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.


Other Items from Senate Executive Committee Meetings

1.        A “Chat with the Chancellor and Friends”, sponsored by University Senate, will be held on Tuesday, March 19 from 3-5. This will be an opportunity for any member of the University Community to present ideas and ask questions of the administration in an informal setting.

2.        The next Open Discussion will be Tuesday, April 30th from 3-5. The theme for the discussion will be “Establishing Institutional Priorities within the current Budget Environment”.


Faculty Reps Meeting, February 1

1.        Discussion of the perceived decline of faculty governance included possible reasons: workload, poor reward structure for involvement, perception of decline in power, and perception governance decisions may not make a difference. Other comments included: (1) To get more involved, we need to develop a sense of community. Faculty Governance has been mostly reactive rather than proactive; (2) It is the responsibility of leaders to invite others to be involved and reach out; and (3) Chancellors need to model and value faculty governance; value listening to faculty ideas. Result of the discussion – exploration of the idea of a System-wide Governance conference in the fall for key campus governance leaders.

2.        Much time was spent on discussing the budget situation. Currently, the Governor is not thinking of reopening the Pay Plan. It is now law and would need to return to JCOER if any changes were considered. Faculty and Academic Staff should be aware that the pay plan contract for represented Classified Staff has still not been settled.

3.        A copy of the Memorandum of Understanding that will allow the UW System to create GPR positions was distributed. “Secretary Lightbourn signed the agreement on Friday, November 30th. The ability to create GPR positions will allow institutions to manage their position needs within the limitations of funding available and to move forward in creating new programs to meet the needs of students and the state of Wisconsin.” For UWEC, this would give us the positions and more freedom to hire using Differential Tuition money.

4.        Who approves working titles for Instructional Academic Staff with the word “professor” included in the title, how IAS receive faculty status, and what rights are gained by IAS holding faculty status were discussed. Results from a survey of faculty reps on current procedures were distributed. (Responses on file in the Senate office.) Comments: What does tenure mean if others can be called “prof” without working through the system? Use of ‘professor’ in the title blurs the line between faculty and Academic Staff; may provide an open door for defacto tenure after Academic Staff have been there for a while. Other comments heard included concern for the growing number of IAS, differences in workload, and the unrealistic expectation for IAS to be involved in governance given workloads. Oshkosh shared how IAS are expected to teach 15 credits, Faculty with service responsibilities teach 12 credits, and Faculty with service and research responsibilities teach 9 credits.  Parkside noted that after IAS hold 3 one-year contracts, they will receive a 3-year rolling horizon contract.

5.        Topics presented during the Institutional Senate reports include: Colleges – looking at under what conditions one would search for faculty and allow IAS to fill the position; Platteville – Workload Task Force looking at setting Student Credit Hours for a College and letting the College decide how to schedule loads rather than requiring a particular SCH target for each department; Parkside – internal and external budget crisis prompted workload concern and use of Ad Hoc instructors, causing more load on faculty; Stout – working on policies for per-credit tuition and laptop issues; Oshkosh – reviewing entire handbook to clarify language related to governance, implementing a campus climate study; LaCrosse – consideration of making the entire campus smoke free, discussion role of Classified employees in governance decisions; Extension – looking at collective bargaining concept; Madison – policy for domestic partners and criteria for establishing existence of domestic partner; how secure is tenure; River Falls – merging Academic Staff Senate and Faculty Senate into one, looking at assessment of Administration process and faculty evaluations; Stevens Point – working on Constitutional revisions to streamline committees; UW System – working on Academic Program Planning workshop for Provost, have new Director of Institute of Global Studies, internal reorganization of Academic Affairs office.


Board of Regents Meeting, February 7 & 8


1.        Budget update: Proposed Governor’s budget cuts $10 million permanently from the budget and another $30 million next year. If this is the final cut, we can fund about half of the Economic Stimulus packages next year and more the following year. But if more cuts come, it would eliminate the Economic Stimulus package entirely.


2.        Timing is the issue – admissions and hiring decisions are now. Institutions must take risks now and move forward. If we gamble and cuts exceed proposals, we would have to cut enrollments in the second semester. Other tough choices that will come with more budget cuts may include: delaying replacements in administrative areas; reducing administrative services; freezing the computer replacement cycle; reducing the size of the spring class; closing some recruitment plans for faculty and filling them with Instructional Academic Staff; reducing the number of courses offered in interim; delaying staffing improvements; and creating longer winter breaks to save energy.


3.        Quality: Achieving Excellence – UW System Accountability Report Overview of the report was provided highlighting the difference between the first and second editions of the Achieving Excellence reports especially the addition of institution-specific reports to the current edition. (Printed copy available in the Senate office.)


4.        Regent discussion included: the use of national benchmarks versus targets; consideration of lowering the target for Credits to Degree; looking at the number of hurdles put up by institutions for those wanting to return to the institution later in life or come just one, two, or three semesters; making it easier to study abroad and still graduate in four years; the difficulty or lack of desire of non-traditional students to study abroad; need to look at actual cost of degree – building incentives for finishing earlier; revising the report to look at all study abroad experiences by our students; and consideration of looking at after graduation assessments such as the MCAT.


5.        Brief presentation given outlining how UW-Extension is working with various partners throughout the state to help fund its programs.


6.        United Council (students) outlined its three priority areas for the 2003-2005 and current budget: recruitment, retention, and resources. UC stressed the need to protect during budget cuts Academic and Career Advising, Libraries and Resource Centers, Curricular Infusion (infusing topics of diversity in and out of the classroom), and Maintaining Affordable Tuition. Other goals include completing a comprehensive study of campus climate, access to affordable child care, living wages for on-campus jobs, competitive salaries for faculty and staff, campus health care equity across the system, and support for all goals of Plan 2008. When questioned about the lack of any mention about study abroad, UC representatives responded that students were focused on bring diversity here rather than students going abroad because of cost.


7.        Kathy Sell, Associate VP of Budget and Planning, outlined possible approaches to a long-term funding compact. General consensus of the Board was to spend some time thinking on this because developing a compact with the State would be a long process and isn’t likely to pass now given the budget setting.


8.        Senior VP Marrett began her report by drawing upon the idea of the university as a “community of scholars,” … The Sabbatical Guidelines for 2003-2005 and plans for how new programs will be presented to the Board of Regents can illustrate how the UW System and its constituent institutions form a “community of scholars.” … the revised guidelines now include an assertion of the Board’s commitment to the scholarship of teaching and learning. Also included in the 2003-2005 guidelines is language indicating that sabbatical projects should reflect the mission of the institution. … Regent Mohs commended the new emphases to the Sabbatical Guidelines, and noted that in reading the list of approved sabbaticals from December, few of the projects appeared to focus on teaching and learning as a priority. Regent Olivieri concurred, referring to sabbaticals as a limited resource and questioning how the Board might be most effective in encouraging chancellors, campuses, and faculty to focus more on teaching as they propose, approve, and undertake sabbatical projects. [from the draft Education Committee minutes]


9.        Francine Tompkins, Director of the UW System PK-16 Initiative, updated the Board on Council activities noting two areas receiving primary attention: the importance of early childhood (birth – 8 years) and the senior year of high school.


10.     At the Friday Board meeting, President Lyall introduced Chris Andrews, new liaison for Federal Legislation and announced that Pat Brady will be stepping up to fill Elizabeth Parker’s spot at General Counsel.


Legislative Update


1.        The Senate Committee on Universities, Housing, and Government Operations held a public hearing on SB 145, the collective bargaining bill, along with other bills and appointments on Wednesday, December 12, 2001. The committee voted 5 to 1 to endorse the proposal.  The committee also heard testimony in support of the confirmation of Regent James Klauser.  The committee did not vote on the confirmation.


2.        On January 22, 2002, the Senate took up SB 245 (Wirch/Vrakas), a measure that eliminates the Wisconsin Retirement System Benefit Adjustment Contribution (BAC). The BAC was enacted as a funding device for prior benefit improvements in the 1980's. Eliminating this contribution will not have an adverse effect on the funding of the WRS or overall contribution rates paid by employees or employers. SB 245 passed on a voice vote.


3.        The Senate passed SB 175 on a voice vote on Tuesday, January 29, 2002. SB 175 proposes to add an additional student to the Board of Regents.


4.        AB-264. Sales/use tax exemption for textbooks. The measure provides a sales tax and use tax exemption for textbooks that are required for a university, college, or technical college course. Passed 9-1.


5.        AB-709. Repeals Board of Regents authority to set administrative salaries. A hearing was held, but a vote was not taken.