Saturday, April 19, 2008

April 2008 Report to Stout Foundation Board

Today I participated in the Stout Foundation Board meeting. Following is a summary of my comments to the board:

I highlighted some of the issues we still have on the agenda for the last meeting of the year including hearing a proposal from the Teaching and Learning Center for creation of the Center for Interdisciplinary Collaboration, requests for support for grant funding proposals from the Library Learning Center and for infusing diversity into the curriculum, and the recommendation from the Graduate Education Committee on laptops for grad students. I mentioned that academic staff members are serving on the dean searches. That we are holding our breath to see how the state budget repair bill will affect campus budgets and promised employee wage raises. And that we have finalized our bylaws changes and are holding elections for senators.

The Stout Foundation is a key partner to the university providing scholarships and additional funding for initiatives. Over the past 2 years I have seen them come together and really focus on how they can best make a difference for the campus. I always enjoy spending time with them and today was no exception!

Dennis Shaw, Chair
Senate of Academic Staff

Saturday, April 12, 2008

April 2008 Report to the Alumni Association Board

I just got back from the Stout Alumni Association meeting where I gave a report on behalf of the Senate of Academic Staff.

I spoke about being busy this year reacting to proposals from the campus and System with everything from the realignment models to the most recent being the Inclusive Excellence document. I mentioned we are exploring possibilities of how to provide more contract security particularly to instructional academic staff who have been on campus for a number of years. I also talked about continuing to work closely with Chancellor Sorensen and the Administration and with the leaders of the Faculty and Student Senates.

They wanted to know more about the Inclusive Excellence proposal and also asked for our help in connecting with distance ed students who may be interested in serving on or at least talking to the Alumni Board.

I concluded my remarks with a comment that we are still grieving over the loss of the 3 victims of the fire a week ago and that our senate is feeling it deeply as is the entire campus.

We have a good Alumni Board and it is clear they are deeply committed to Stout. I enjoyed spending the morning with them and also some time yesterday when my bride Lisa and I participated in their tour of the local Legacy Chocolates production facility (as you could guess something we really enjoyed!).

Dennis Shaw, Chair
Senate of Academic Staff

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Senate Chair's Comments About Today's Tragedy

I just returned from the press conference dealing with the tragic apartment fire this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the three students who lost their life in that fire.

Dennis Shaw
on behalf of the entire Senate of Academic Staff

Chair's Report for April Meeting


I’ve finally had a month as Senate Chair where I could slow down and take a breath! We didn’t have a CAC or ALT meeting since my last report, my meeting of state Academic Staff Reps was via teleconference instead of having to travel to Madison for a face-to-face meeting, I took Spring Break week off. I’m feeling good and ready to tackle the remainder of the year!

A few items I would like to make special note of. First off, and most important on my mind, you will recall that after the death of Vice Chair Jerry Addie’s wife Sally, a number of you had a discussion via email about what we could do for our friend and long time Senator Jerry. It was decided that we’d take up a collection and offer to purchase a bench that he could put in his garden, or on his deck, or even inside in memorial of Sally. We did make the offer and Jerry and his family picked out the bench they would like. We’ll show a picture at the Senate meeting on Tuesday. If you or anyone you know would like to make a contribution, please contact Janell in the Senate Office (x1789).

Next, the senate elections are just around the corner. If you know someone who would be a good senator please encourage them to run and then submit their names on the website, . The deadline is Tuesday April 8 (but we might extend that for senate seats where no one is signed up to be on the ballot). I am pleased to report that my supervisor has agreed to support my placing my name in nomiation as Senate Chair for one more term. The senate is critical to the campus so please join me in making sure we have good, committed senators again this year!

Our Senate Exec Committee, along with the Faculty Senate leadership, had a very nice breakfast discussion with UW System Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Rebecca Martin. We’ll talk more about our discussions at the senate meeting but I just wanted to publicly say thank you to Dr. Martin for coming here to visit with us. That meant a lot to our group!

Last, I want to thank everyone who came to the Polytechnic Anniversary celebration. You’ve probably already read my prepared comments below, but just wanted to add that we had a great turnout. It was heartening to see everyone there!!

As mentioned above, the University of Wisconsin System Council of Academic Staff Representatives met via teleconference on March 13. Rebecca Martin, Ron Singer, and Bob Jokisch from UW System Administration joined the teleconference at 10:30 following discussion among Academic Staff Representatives.

The first agenda item was a discussion of the trend data on Faculty and Instructional Academic Staff. The Academic Staff Reps raised questions about what the future holds for the roles of faculty and instructional academic staff. It was agreed that this would be an important topic to discuss with faculty and academic staff at campus visits with governance groups.

The next issue discussed was the role of academic staff governance in the appointment to the Compensation Advisory Committee and other systemwide committees. In response to questions on the process, Rebecca Martin explained that it is important that the Chancellors and governance groups work together on the nominations.

Interim Assistant Vice President Vicki Washington next updated the Academic Staff Reps on Inclusive Excellence. Vicki explained that we are nearing the end of Plan 2008 and are discussing where we are going next. They have put together the discussion draft on Inclusive Excellence which was shared with the Academic Staff Reps. Vicki noted that they are expanding the definition of diversity to have a more comprehensive effort moving forward. She asked for suggestions on what was missing and how to have conversations with various stakeholders.

Grant Huber from Communications and External Relations next provided an update on legislative issues. Grant noted that today the Assembly passed a budget adjustment bill that included a $250 million cut in state spending. This follows the proposal from the Governor and a budget proposal is also expected from the Senate. Grant also noted that the Posters in the Rotunda was very successful and resulted in a number of visits with legislators.

Associate Vice President Al Crist then discussed Human Resource issues with the Academic Staff Reps. Regarding the Compensation Advisory Committee, Academic Staff Reps noted that they may have difficulty meeting the April 4 deadline for conferring with the Chancellors on nominations. Al Crist said he had a little more time beyond that deadline and would check with each campus if he hasn’t heard from them. Al also discussed the faculty/instructional academic staff trend data with the Academic Staff Reps.

The teleconference ended following further discussion among Academic Staff Representatives.

Other meetings I attended representing the Senate of Academic Staff since my March report:

  • 3/10: Strategic Planning Group
  • 3/11: Polytechnic Celebration
  • 3/25: Met with Chancellor Sorensen
  • 3/25: SAS Exec Committee
  • 3/26: Retention Steering Committee
  • 3/27: Met with Sr. VP Rebecca Martin
  • 3/31: Retention Steering Committee
  • 4/3: Met With Provost Furst-Bowe
  • 4/4: Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Drugs

That’s it for now. See you all on Tuesday!

Dennis Shaw, 2007-2008 Chair
Senate of Academic Staff