Monthly Archives: November 2017

PROFS Annual Report

PROFS president Dorothy Farrar Edwards will present the PROFS Annual Report for 2016-17 (below) to the Faculty Senate Monday, December 4. The senate meets in Room 272 Bascom Hall at 3:30 pm. A full agenda of the meeting is here.

Faculty senators and visitors are invited to join PROFS for refreshments in the rotunda area outside Room 272 Bascom Hall beginning at 3 pm.

Bipartisan Legislation on Faculty Entrepreneurial Efforts

PROFS is pleased that a bipartisan group of legislators is working to introduce legislation (below) related to University of Wisconsin research contracts. Last year, PROFS assembled a small group of faculty who have created businesses to examine ways to encourage UW-Madison faculty to become more entrepreneurial.

The group, led by the late Mark Cook (Animal Science), also included Chemistry professor Robert Hamers and emeritus professor Rock Mackie (Medical Physics). The group identified the need to change state statutes that regulate how the university contracts with companies in which faculty or other university employees have a financial interest, noting current law is slow and cumbersome and ultimately leads to lost contracts.

PROFS wrote a statement calling for new legislation and worked with UW-Madison attorneys on statutory language. Former Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), chair of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges and a member of the Joint Finance Committee, agreed have the bill drafted. PROFS also secured the support of UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW System President Ray Cross.

Senators Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Representatives David Murphy (R-Greenville) and Terese Berceau (D-Madison) have taken the lead on the bill and are encouraging their colleagues to support the legislation (below).

 

November Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meet today at Gordon Dining Event Center at UW-Madison, 770 West Dayton Street. The public full board portions of the meeting will be streamed live here.

The Business and Finance Committee meet in committee at 8:30 am, where they will discuss the transfer the management of trust fund assets to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. They will also consider approval of changes to policy language related to student segregated fees. These changes are required as a result of the 2017-19 state budget which called for consistent classification of allocable and non-allocable funds among UW institutions.

The full board meeting begins at 10 am. Before lunch, they will hear an update from UW System President Ray Cross and recognize one-hundred years of Wisconsin Public Broadcasting.

In the afternoon, the board will consider the proposal to restructure UW System. PROFS has serious concerns about the process surrounding this proposal. In particular, we are troubled that key stakeholders — faculty, staff, students and community leaders — were not consulted prior to the announcement of the plan, contrary to the university’s long tradition of shared governance. Our statement is here.

 

November Legislative Update

The Legislature has shifted its focus to pending legislation following the completion of the 2017-19 state budget earlier this fall. Both the Assembly and Senate have scheduled committee work and several days of floor debate before the Legislature concludes its work next month. PROFS is closely monitoring several bills that could severely affect UW-Madison:

  • Bills Limiting Scientific Research, Senate Bills 422 & 423  Last week, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety discussed two bills that would limit the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. PROFS is registered against SB 423 and presented testimony against the bill. Our statement is here.
  • Assembly Bill 206  PROFS is also registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden testified in July this bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.
  • Campus Carry  Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.

Regent Update

  • UW System Restructuring  The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents announced a major reorganization of UW Colleges and Extension last month. Under the proposal, UW Colleges would be integrated with four-year institutions, Cooperative Extension would become part of UW-Madison, and Wisconsin Public Television would shift to UW System. The Regents are expected to vote on the implementation of the plan Thursday.
  • Administrative Hiring  The Regents adopted new rules relating to the hiring of top administrators. Under new rules, institutions cannot require top administrators to hold a terminal degree or have tenure. UW-Madison Faculty Policies & Procedures had such a rule in place. The new rules also cut the number of faculty on search committees and call for recruiting more candidates from the private sector. PROFS was opposed to the changes and strongly encouraged Regents to reconsider their plan. Our statement is on the PROFS website and Facebook page.
  • Campus Speech  The Regents also adopted new rules relating to freedom of expression on campus. The new language outlines specific punishment, including suspension, for students who violate the policy.