Thursday, November 29, 2007

More on Pay Raises... but not for all of us

Our friends at ASPRO are saying that the Governor's office may ask for an additional raise but just for Faculty and Instructional Academic Staff. We have always fought to keep Faculty and ALL Academic Staff pay plans the same - its the fair thing.

Here's what ASPRO sent out, FYI:

Doyle Prepared to Divide Academic Staff

According to Governor Jim Doyle, some of you are just more worthy than others.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER), Doyle’s appointee, Jennifer Donnelly, announced that she would be back before the Committee in December with a pay plan recommendation for faculty and instructional and research academic staff.

All indications from Doyle’s staff and UW System staff are that Doyle plans to give faculty and Category B academic staff (instructors and researchers) an additional salary increase. Category A academic staff (those not teaching or researching) would not get the additional bump.

This is the same proposal that prompted the creation of ASPRO more than 20 years ago.

For some reason, the Governor believes that an assistant professor of Portuguese at UWM is more important to the undergraduate experience than a student’s advisor or the Director of Financial Aid.

How could the Governor argue that giving an additional salary boost to an academic staff research scientist, but not to the academic staff member who directs the campus’ economic development efforts somehow helps the State’s economy? Let’s face it, without the Category A academic staff member who writes the grants or manages the lab, the researcher would not be able to conduct world-renowned research.

If you are an instructor or a researcher, this plan sounds pretty good and it would be – in the short term. In the long term, this division of the academic staff will lead to more divisiveness. Next time, don’t be surprised if those scientists engaged in politically acceptable research will receive higher salary increases than those toiling on research that the general public does not understand. And it will be easier to propose that teaching academic staff should not get the same salary increases as their faculty colleagues.

To stop Governor Doyle from implementing this proposal, academic staff must act NOW. Email or call the Governor’s office to express your opposition to a salary boost that excludes some academic staff. See the contact information in the sidebar on how to contact the Governor.

Make yours personal, but include the message that “As an academic staff member who is a (your position) at (which campus), I oppose any effort to give a salary raise to faculty and some, BUT NOT ALL, academic staff.”

Please share this Alert with all of your colleagues. We need to flood the Governor’s office with calls and emails to stop the unfair treatment of the academic staff.

ASPRO recognizes that all academic staff contribute to the educational experience of students and help maintain the stellar reputation of the University of Wisconsin. Help us make sure that Governor Doyle gets the message.

Legislative Committee Approves Unclassified Raises

During the Combined Senates Meeting we were informed by Vice Chancellor Moen that JOCER was voting on the pay plan for unclassified staff at the UW which included a 2% raise for this year (retroactive to July 1), 2% to come on July 1, 2008, and 1% to come on April 1, 2009. Communication Director Doug Mell then let us know the plan did pass as proposed.

Academic Staff I have spoke with have had the same reaction as after the budget was passed - that they are glad some action was taken so we know where we stand, but unhappy about the lack of support given to the university. Some have expressed concerns that once again this does not even keep pace with cost of living increases.

As I have said many times if you have strong feelings about this issues - good or bad - your best course of action is to exercise your right to personally contact the Governor and your elected representatives in the state Senate and Assembly but make sure you do it on your own time and don't use Stout's phones or email system - make the contact from your personal cell, home phone or non-university email address.

Combined Senates Meetings Will Be Ending

On Tuesday the Faculty Senate voted to stop the Combined Senates meetings starting Spring Semester. While I know that our senate will be disappointed in hearing this news (at our last meeting the Senate of Academic Staff voted unanimously to continue the combined meetings), we have to respect their decision which they feel is in the best interest of their governance body. During their meeting, which our exec committee members attended, they did express support for our senate and a willingness to continue to find ways to work with the Academic Staff. We appreciate that!

With that said, we will be looking into how our senate meeting times might be shifted to allow the Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor and other presenters to speak with both senates during spring semester. Look for a new senate meeting time schedule to come out ASAP.

Dennis Shaw, Chair
Senate of Academic Staff

Friday, November 2, 2007

Chair's Report for November 6, 2007 meeting

Greetings! Can you believe it's November already. It's been a very busy month!!

The big thing hanging over us for most of the month has been a resolution to the state budget. As you will note from my comments in the blog entry below, a compromise was agreed on and signed into law. Now from the state we are watching 2 issues. First is what will happen with leave reporting and the second is the negotiations on staff pay raises for the 2007-2009 biennium.

A Special Regents' Committee on Response to the LAB Audit will be making recommendations on leave reporting and I serve on that committee – we will be meeting on November 16 in Madison. Each campus faculty and academic staff governance group should have their comments on the proposals into System by now (deadline was 10/31) and that should help guide the recommendations. The key for the committee will be to make sure we have a good, accountable sick leave system in place so that we don't risk the sick leave conversion benefit we now have.

On campus the big issue before the senate is the program alignment process. I personally attended all but one of the Chancellor's Listening Sessions to make sure I knew how you felt about this and the other topics addressed. As a side note I have to say that the SSA listening session was very good. It is always interesting to hear the student's perspective (and important as campus leaders we are listening to the students as well). On October 23 the Provost invited me and the Faculty Senate Chair to the Dean's Issues Meeting. At that meeting the 4 models were narrowed to 2. The two models which are variations of model #3, have been presented to the Senates and we will discuss them at the Tuesday, Nov 6 meeting of the combined senates. The campus is welcome to attend (2:30pm in Ballroom A).

As for other meetings where I represented the Senate, the Chancellor's Advisory Council (CAC) met twice in October. At the October 1 meeting we continued our discussion of the Honor's Taskforce Report and gave approval of the recommendations. Next, Meridith Wentz reviewed the executive summary of the NSSE 2007 Report. The NSSE is an annual undergraduate survey that assesses the extent to which first-year students and seniors engage in a variety of good educational practices. It was suggested that we may want to review our policies and revise them to address the identified concerns/issues. Student engagement is critical to the mission of the university and to retention of students. Our senate and the Faculty Senate will be looking closely at concerns raised and taking an active role in this issue. Meridith also reviewed the executive summary of the FSSE report which is a survey designed to measure faculty expectations of student engagement in educational practices that are linked to high levels of student learning and development along with how faculty use these practices in their work with students. The FSSE is designed to be used in conjunction with NSSE's survey. To me is was eye-opening to see the gaps in perception of the students and faculty/instructors. Finally, Meridith reviewed the 2006-07 Teaching Workload Report. An observation was made that the report does not include the number of preps.

At the October 15 CAC meeting, George Acker introduced Craig Sachs and Michael McMahon, consultants from Miller Wagner Coenen McMahon of Neenah, WI to discuss formulation of the Campus Master Plan. This is the step in the campus master plan development process where they are conducting discussion sessions with numerous groups on campus. It is expected to have the process completed with a final campus plan proposal in October 2008. Next, Howard Lee, Richard Tafalla and Holly Teuber shared a revised Minority Faculty and Staff Network (MFSN) Committee Form and asked for formal university recognition. The charge is linked to several of our enduring goals, as well as Goal 5 of Plan 2008. As the committee represents both unclassified and classified staff, their members would like to be independent of senates but will be looking at how they can be connected to the senates in working on diversity issues. Our senate does have a diversity senator position appointed by the Chair and I have asked the MFSN to provide an individuals name to serve on our senate.

I also attended the statewide Academic Staff Reps Council (ASRC) meeting in Madison on October 11. It's always good to get together with our counterparts from around the state! Our meetings always start off and finish with some time where we can talk alone without UW System Administrators present. Items we discussed during this time included leave reporting, drafting a thank you for the Regents expanding the annual Academic Staff Excellence Award program, discussion of the collective bargaining language in the state budget, a summer conference debrief, developing some type of orientation for campus reps, discussion of various common HR issues, and discussion of effort reporting for federal grants.

Next the formal meeting began with Associate Vice President Ron Singer and Bob Jokisch. The meeting began with a presentation by General Counsel Pat Brady on Legal Issues Facing the UW System. Pat began with a review of Chapter 36, which is the legal framework for the UW System. s. 36.09 (4m) of the statutes explains the role of academic staff in the UW System. Pat noted that in addition to the statutes, UW System Administrative Codes (which the Board of Regents adopts), campus policies, Board policies, System Administration policies, and finance and personnel guidelines impact academic staff.

After that we then discussed with Ron Singer the issues raised during our separate discussion among only campus reps. Regarding leave reporting, the academic staff reps raised the issue of academic staff being treated the same as faculty under the new proposals.

Ron Singer and Todd Bailey with the Office of Policy Analysis and Research (OPAR) then discussed the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) with the Academic Staff Reps. VSA results from an interest in higher education to providing greater accountability. Two national higher education groups, NASULGC and AASCU, are taking the lead in VSA. VSA will provide a web-based portrait that will be uniform for all institutions. Three sets of information would be shown on the template: Student and family information, Student experiences, Student learning outcomes.

Associate Vice President Ed Meachen then discussed the Common Systems Roadmap and the Human Resources System (HRS) project with the Academic Staff Reps. The Common Systems Roadmap is a long range (10 years) look at technology for the UW System. The Roadmap looks at what outcomes we want for students, faculty, and staff, and what new technology we see coming. The Roadmap is a living document that will be reviewed annually. It was presented to the Board of Regents last week.

Ron Singer then provided further information to the Academic Staff Reps on the distinguished title. He shared a table showing the use of the distinguished title across the UW System, and noted that UW System Administration is developing criteria for the title. The use of this title is within the discretion of the campus. The Academic Staff Reps agreed to share criteria developed with each other.

Associate Vice President Freda Harris shared a summary of information available on the Governor's budget proposal for the Special Session. The Governor's budget proposal provides $22 million for the Growth Agenda, but $25 million biennally in lapses ($12.5 million annually). The tuition cap passed by the Assembly is not included. Costs to continue are fully funded under the Governor's budget and the Compensation Reserve is funded at the same level as Joint Finance. Freda noted that the lapse would certainly slow the Growth Agenda. Freda also noted that this proposal may not pass.

The ASRC meeting ended following further discussion among Academic Staff Representatives.

Other meetings I participated in on behalf of the Senate included:

  • 10/3 - attended AS Personnel Committee Meeting
  • 10/9 – the Faculty Senate Chair and I presented results of her performance evaluation to Vice Chancellor Moen
  • 10/12 - met with SSA President and Faculty Senate Vice Chair (we plan to hold monthly meetings to enhance dialog and cooperation between the 3 senates)
  • 10/17 – met with the Chancellor, Provost, Vice Chancellor and other senate leaders to discuss status of state budget negotiations (I want to say a special thanks to the Chancellor, Julie, and Diane for bringing the senates in on almost every major decision the campus has to make – I do talk to the other campus reps and our relationship with administration is envied around the state!)
  • 10/19 – participated in ASPRO Board teleconference
  • 10/25 – monthly meeting with Chancellor Sorensen
  • 10/26 – Polytechnic Steering Committee meeting
  • 10/30 – met with Provost and team from Stout going to Madison for NSSE workshop
  • 11/2 – myself and the SSA Presient and Faculty Senate Chair will have a private meeting with Regent Bartell this morning. Our Vice Chair Jerry Addie then will represent our Senate at a lunch with the Regent (thanks Jerry!)

Well, that's it for my report this month. Hope to see you at the Senate meetings on Tuesday!!

Dennis Shaw, 2007-2008 Chair
Senate of Academic Staff