Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Polytechnic Celebration Speech

Welcome and Good afternoon. My name is Dennis Shaw and I have the honor of serving as Chair of the Senate of Academic Staff here at UW-Stout.

Twenty-three months ago today the Senate of Academic Staff was proud to be the first of our three governance groups to vote to support the polytechnic branding of UW-Stout. The resolution passed, among other things, noted our pleasure that Chancellor Sorensen and the administration had put a planning process in place that solicited valuable public input on the idea of branding the campus as the "polytechnic" institution of the Wisconsin, that it is very important to clearly differentiate this campus from the other UW System campuses when marketing UW-Stout to potential students and business partners, and that our program array does match up favorably with other universities calling themselves a "polytechnic."

I was proud to be a part of the UW-Stout delegation that attended the March 9, 2007 meeting of the Board of Regents where they passed a resolution worded as follows:

That, upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents supports the designation of UW-Stout as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University.

With that simple statement one year ago, we have begun a new and important journey. We have spent much time talking about the branding advantages of the polytechnic designation, and I promised that I would keep my remarks short, so I won’t dwell on those at this time.

I do however want to say just a couple things about the fact that this designation has put us into a new group of peers. Every organization has to have aspirational goals in order to improve and grow. We did not aspire to be like UW-Eau Claire, or River Falls, or La Crosse. They are all fine institutions but Stout is very different from the other UW comprehensive campuses. We will however be more true to our roots, and grow and excel, by being in the same peer group with the other great polytechnic universities such as MIT, Cal Poly, and Virginia Tech.

I told the Chancellor that I’m can’t wait to see a catchy slogan on a bumper sticker or t-shirt that says “Can’t afford MIT, it’s UW-Stout’s in-state tuition for me!” or “Too far from home is Cal Poly, so I’m going to Stout by golly!” Please forgive the bad rhymes, but I hope you share my enthusiasm for the opportunities this polytechnic designation and the peer group we now find ourselves in has opened for the UW-Stout campus.

With that thought, I’ll have the pleasure to introduce our next speaker. First of all, Mike Lubke, SSA President, wanted everyone to know that he wishes he could have joined us, but he told us he has a class at this time and they are reviewing for a test, so he felt it would be a good idea to attend his class. Hopefully he’ll be able to join us later.

Therefore, please welcome our next speaker, Dr. Jerry Kapus who serves as Chair of the Faculty Senate this year.

Chair's Report for March Meeting

Greetings! Another busy month for our senate. Don’t forget that the three Senates are hosting a celebration for the one-year anniversary of Stout’s polytechnic designation today from 1-2 pm, in Ballroom A of the Memorial Student Center. I and the other campus leaders will speak right away at 1 pm then we’ll have some cake and punch to celebrate, so I hope you can join us!

With that said, let’s get right into it. Here’s a rundown of some of the important meetings I participated in representing our senate:

On February 14, the University of Wisconsin System Academic Staff Representatives Council (ASRC) met in Madison. As they were predicting a big snow storm around Madison, and myself and the Reps from Eau Claire and River Falls did not want to risk getting stuck in Madison on Valentine’s Day, we stayed home and arranged to phone in and join the meeting via teleconference.

Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin, Ron Singer, and Bob Jokisch from UW System Administration joined the meeting at 10:30 following the usual private discussion among Academic Staff Representatives.

The first agenda item was a discussion of issues raised by the Academic Staff Reps. ASRC Chair Dave Carlson noted two issues. The first was the interest of academic staff in having input in the evaluation of their supervisors, which is not always common. The second issue was the Shared Governance Protocol. On the second issue, Ron Singer noted that at the Faculty Reps meeting, they planned to review the present document and make wording changes based on the comments from campus governance groups. Ron also noted that System Administration plans to move forward with the protocol and see how this works.

Rebecca Martin next addressed questions about Pay Plan. Rebecca noted that with the $650 million budget deficit, it does not appear likely that the 1.5% supplemental pay plan will move forward, but we should know more in the next several weeks. It is also pretty clear that with the size of the deficit, there will be a budget repair bill.

The next agenda item was the Growth Agenda Action Steps. Rebecca Martin noted that academic staff were represented on the Strategic Framework think tanks. The President and the Chancellors reviewed the recommendations from these think tanks and selected 10 Action Steps. In response to questions, Rebecca clarified that these Action Steps are not mandates and will need to be further studied at each institution to determine if and how they will be implemented. During the discussion, there was agreement on the importance of getting input from various campus experts in studying these Action Steps.

There was also discussion on how to increase the role of academic staff in systemwide discussions such as the Strategic Framework, and it was agreed that Academic Affairs would make clear in the future that we are looking for governance input as part of the process. There was also concerns raised about the workload impact of these Action Steps on academic staff with the hiring freeze, and the Academic Staff Reps suggested that early assessment should be done to insure success and the efficient use of resources.

The next agenda item was the list of Systemwide Committees shared earlier with the Faculty and Academic Staff Reps and which committees they are most interested in for governance involvement. Rebecca Martin noted that she would like to come to the Academic Staff Reps for nominations for the systemwide committees of interest and would also seek nominations from the Faculty Reps and from campuses. The Academic Staff Reps listed the Compensation Advisory Committee and the Fringe Benefits Advisory Committee as two committees of interest for governance representation.

The Academic Staff Reps next discussed how they have been requesting data on academic staff by type of appointment (fixed term, multi-year, probationary) as part of their concerns about UPG 3.05. They asked UW System Admin to help inform campus Human Resource Directors that they are trying to collect this data by campus and Vicki Kenyon from UWSA HR suggested that they could let campus HR directors know about this through their monthly teleconference.

Dave Giroux next provided an update on legislative issues. Dave informed the Academic Staff Reps that UWSA Communications and External Relations posts bill positions on their web site. His office tries to focus on bills affecting the UW System and those bills likely to go somewhere. Dave also noted that Wednesday, March 5 is the Posters in the Rotunda in the Capital. Dave’s office has monthly teleconferences with Campus Public Information Officers and Legislative Liaisons on legislative issues. He offered to share the list of Campus Public Information Officers and Legislative Liaisons with the Academic Staff Reps. Finally, Dave encouraged more interaction between faculty, academic staff, and students and their legislators through coordinated efforts on campus.

The meeting ended following further discussion among Academic Staff Representatives.

On February 16, I participated in the meeting of the Stout Foundation Board. My remarks are listed below. I just wanted to mention that this board is very dedicated and concerned about helping the university and it is a pleasure to participate in their meeting deliberations!

On February 26, the Administrative Leadership Team had a rather lengthy discussion with Robyn Waters, the Cabot Executive for the campus. Ms. Waters, who calls herself a “trendmaster” was a very engaging speaker and gave Stout’s Leadership Team much to think about as we lead the university into the future. I hope many of you also got a chance to hear and interact with her.

On March 3, the Chancellor’s Advisory Council met. First, the two campus master plan scenario proposals were presented and discussed. George Acker and the consultants were also be presenting to other campus groups, as well as two open campus forums. Meridith Wentz then provided an executive summary highlighting the results from the fall 2003-2005 cohort retention study. The meeting was concluded with announcements including that Mary Hopkins-Best announced that the School of Education has been accepted as a NCATE candidate. Chancellor Sorensen reminded everyone that the Baldrige logo must be included on all of our publications, along with the Polytechnic designation.

Other meetings I participated in during the month included:

  • 2/18: Retention Steering Group
  • 2/18: Monthly meeting with Chancellor
  • 2/20: Retention Steering Group
  • 2/20: Open Forum on Emergency Issues
  • 2/22: Meeting of the 3 senates leaders
  • 2/25: Chancellor’s Budget Forum
  • 2/26: Senate Executive Committee
  • 2/27: Retention Steering Group met with FYE Steering Team
  • 2/27: Chancellor’s Budget Forum
  • 2/29: Academic Staff Personnel Committee
  • 3/4: Retention Steering Group met with FYE Hall Directors
  • 3/5: Senate Elections Committee
  • 3/7: Chancellor’s Coalition on Problem Drinking
  • 3/10: Strategic Planning Group

That’s it for now. See you all this afternoon!

Dennis Shaw, 2007-2008 Chair
Senate of Academic Staff