Monday, September 29, 2008

Report for October 1 Senate Meeting

Greetings! Well the year is underway and I am excited! If you’re anything like me, I am sure you get energized interacting with these great students. I’ve tried to take every early opportunity to meet students. As you’ll see at the bottom of this report, I helped distribute laptops, participated in the “Meet Menomonie” event where freshmen meet the local business community, at the Great American Cookout I helped pass out complimentary Frisbees, and then capped off the first 10 days of the academic year by attending the scholarship ceremony. Wow!

As I have done in the past I want to give you, the reader, some more detailed information about some of the meetings I participated in representing the academic staff on campus. I have already posted my comments to the Stout Foundation Board and the Alumni Association Board meeting held on September 12 and 13.

Next on my list to report is the September 15 Chancellor’s Advisory Council (CAC) meeting. Chancellor Sorensen first went over what they CAC is about and meeting guidelines. We then had a presentation by Meridith Wentz and Tammy Cutsforth on the 2007-2008 Faculty and Academic Staff Salary Study. Next Meredith presented the Summary of Job Engagement and Satisfaction Report. Both of these reports will be shared at the next Senate of Academic Staff meeting. We then talked about the importance of the Fall 2008 Listening Sessions and everyone will be encouraging participation. Finally the Chancellor announced that Dean Murphy will also be serving in a new Role as Coordinator for Federal/State Relations.

Another meeting I participated in was the September 18 UW System Academic Staff Representatives Council (ASRC) meeting in Madison. We always start and finish these meetings with time for the campus reps to meet alone. During this time I was honored to be chosen by my peers to serve as Convener for the ASRC this academic year. Although I have officially served on the group for 3 years now, and occasionally filled in for the past two senate chairs when they could not travel to Madison, there are a number of very bright people on the Council so it felt good when they expressed their confidence in me to serve in this role.

Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin began with a discussion of the schedule for the year for the Academic Staff Reps meetings. Rebecca noted that in her discussions with the Chancellors, they raised concerns about reducing the number of meetings in Madison due to high energy costs. Therefore, Rebecca has looked at the Provosts, Faculty Reps, and Academic Staff Reps meetings to reduce travel. The Provosts began using videoconferences last year and the Chancellors are looking at options to reduce travel also.

After much discussion, it was determined that the following steps would be taken, if possible, regarding the schedule:

  • In October, Rebecca Martin and the Academic Staff Reps would examine whether the upcoming agenda would require adding a face-to-face meeting in November or December.
  • Move videoconference from April to February (System Admin will check with campuses on waiving site support costs).
  • Move meetings to Fridays and same day as Faculty Reps to save on travel (could have joint presentations and still allow separate discussions with System Admin staff).
  • Add joint meeting with faculty in December to meet with the President.

Next on the agenda was to share with System the Reps only discussion items. In summarizing the discussion, we informed them that I will serve as the convener for the Academic Staff Reps, with Mike Pagel as the backup. I noted that there continues to be concern with academic staff contracts and compliance with UPG 3.05. Some campuses are discussing eliminating rolling horizons and many instructional academic staff that have been with the university for years, still have no job security. Rebecca Martin reminded the Academic Staff Reps of the letter from President Reilly that stated that these matters should be handled first at the campuses and then brought to System Administration if not resolved.

Rebecca Martin then provided an update on the Growth Agenda Action Steps. She noted that there would soon be an announcement of a grant program for the Growth Agenda. The Academic Staff Reps were particularly interested in the Student Engagement Portfolio and asked for a presentation from Larry Rubin in the future.

Ron Singer then provided an update on the Making Opportunity Affordable (MOA) project. This is a Lumina Foundation initiative to increase college degrees during this time of limited resources for higher education. This project is a collaboration with the Technical College System, the Department of Public Instruction, private colleges, and the Governor’s Office. The focus of the project is on transitions from high school to colleges and transfers between higher education institutions. There will be a policy audit to enhance degree attainment and focus groups will be used to examine these policies.

Al Crist then provided an update on Human Resource issues. Al announced that as part of the new HR system implementation, they were able to keep the 22 days sick leave benefit intact for new employees. Al also announced that they are looking to increase from three to five years for allowing reinstatement of sick leave for employees who leave the UW.

Al announced that they are looking for representatives to the Fringe Benefits Advisory Committee and asked that nominations be submitted to their Chancellor.

Al then discussed the planned presentation on competitive compensation issues and the aging of the faculty at the November Board of Regents meeting. It will be followed in December by the UW System recommendation for unclassified pay plan. The Academic Staff Reps discussed the importance of informing the Board of the role of academic staff on campus and the huge impact they have on graduation and retention rates. Al noted that will also be presenting information on salary market comparisons, fringe benefits comparisons, aging of the faculty and staff, and examples of recruitment and retention problems.

Jess Tormey and Grant Huber next provided an update on Legislative Issues. They noted that now is an excellent time to invite legislators to campus and share with them the issues you face. Legislators are also being briefed on the Growth Agenda.

Next, Freda Harris provided an update on the Biennial Budget Request passed by the Board of Regents in August. The Budget Request included $50.9 million in new initiatives and $124 million in costs to continue. The UW System is also required to submit a Budget Reduction Plan for a 10% cut in administration as it has in past biennial budgets and plans for a $25 million lapse. In August, the Board of Regents also passed updated performance measures for the UW System. The specific goals will be considered by the Board in October. Regarding revenue projections, it was just announced that tax revenue is running higher than expected for FY07-08 and a new agreement with Ho Chunk set the revenue level. Freda also noted that the Recruitment and Retention request includes funding for faculty and research and instructional academic staff.

The meeting ended following further discussion among Academic Staff Representatives.

The final meeting I wish to spend a couple minutes discussing it the September 29 Administrative Leadership Team (ALT) meeting. The campus ALT members were asked to read the book, “The Speed of Trust” by Stephen M. R. Covey prior to the meeting. After brief introductory remarks by Chancellor Sorensen and Provost Furst-Bowe, we broke into 4 groups and discussed the following questions: What are the characteristics of personal trust?; How do you decide if you trust someone?; What are the characteristics of an organization with high trust?; What are the advantages to working in a high trust organization?; and What can we do to build greater trust at UW-Stout? It was a good exercise and important discussions.

Following is the complete list of activities and meetings I attended representing the Senate since September 2:

  • 9/2: Laptop distribution
  • 9/3: Senate of Academic Staff business meeting
  • 9/3: Meet Menomonie sponsored by the Greater Menomonie Area Chamber of Commerce
  • 9/4: Office Hours in Senate Office
  • 9/5: Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • 9/8: Office Hours in Senate Office
  • 9/9: Great American Cookout sponsored by University Dining Service
  • 9/11: Office Hours in Senate Office
  • 9/11: Scholarship Donor Reception
  • 9/11: Scholarship Award Ceremony
  • 9/12: Stout Foundation Board
  • 9/13: Stout Alumni Association Board
  • 9/15: Office Hours in Senate Office
  • 9/15: Chancellor’s Advisory Council
  • 9/16: Visioning Faculty Senate Listening Session
  • 9/17: Visioning Open Listening Session #1
  • 9/17: Visioning Senate of Academic Staff Listening Session
  • 9/18: UW System Academic Staff Reps Council
  • 9/22: One on one with Provost Furst-Bowe
  • 9/22: Office Hours in Senate Office
  • 9/22: One on one with Chancellor Sorensen
  • 9/23: Meeting with Interim Dean Peters and Faculty Senate Chair Deckelman
  • 9/23: Senate of Academic Staff Exec Meeting
  • 9/23: Student Center Renovation Consultants Presentation
  • 9/24: Visioning Open Listening Session #2
  • 9/25: Visioning Open Listening Session #3
  • 9/25: Office Hours in Senate Office
  • 9/26: Monthly meeting with Faculty Senate Chair Deckelman and SSA Chair Lubke
  • 9/29: Office Hours in Senate Office
  • 9/29: Administrative Leadership Team
  • ·9/29: Visioning Open Listening Session #4

Dennis Shaw, 2008-2009 Chair
Senate of Academic Staff

Friday, September 12, 2008

Report to the Stout Foundation and Alumni Boards

The Foundation Board meeting is today and Alumni Board meets on Saturday. Following is my prepared remarks:

Greetings from the Senate of Academic Staff. I am Dennis Shaw and this is the third year I have had the honor to chair our senate. We are one of three governance groups on campus (along with the Stout Student Association and the Faculty Senate). There are two categories of Academic Staff on campus, the first is Instructional Academic Staff which would include Lecturers and Researchers, and the other is Professional Academic Staff, which would include everyone from librarians, financial aid counselors, residence hall directors and the like to department supervisors and administrators.

We are fortunate on the Stout campus to have a Chancellor and administration that has embraced Baldrige principles and believes in shared governance. All three of our senates are given opportunities to participate in almost every decision made on campus.

One of the most recent opportunities was this summer when we joined many others from campus, community leaders, legislators, business and education leaders, and from your board at the Chancellor’s 2015 Visioning Session this summer. I’m looking forward to the next step in the process which is to present the themes from the retreat at campus listening sessions. Our Senate’s listening session is next week.

Our senate expects to be busy again this year with tight state budget issues (which usually results in Academic Staff trying to do more with less), staff upset that the state cut our promised 2% raise in half in July, working out how we can provide some more contract security particularly for instructional academic staff, and I’m sure there will be a number of decisions we will be involved with as the campus continues to move forward.

Let me close by saying that again this year I attended the scholarship reception and program which always gets me energized about the new year. I want to thank the Foundation and the Alumni Association for your continued support of the institution and especially for your caring about these fine students. I hope you also have time to stick around for the football game and interact with students at that event also.

Thanks again for inviting me to visit with you again today!

Dennis Shaw, 2008-2009 Chair
Senate of Academic Staff