October Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet Thursday and Friday, October 5 and 6 at UW-Stout. The full-board portions of the meeting Thursday afternoon and Friday morning will be livestreamed.

The Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:

  • The Education Committee will consider two new degree programs and hear a report from the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Topics include outcomes-based funding, enrollment, low-enrollment degree programs and student transfer policy.
  • The Business and Finance Committee will consider several contractual agreements, review and approve changes to the policy on the use of university information technology resources and hear reports on several topics, including program revenue balances and segregated fees.
  • The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will hear an update on the State Building Commission, discuss strategy for the 2019-21 capital budget and consider approval of several items relating to UW System campus properties. The committee will also meet in closed session to discuss the naming of a UW-Madison facility.
  • The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear updates on economic development efforts at UW-Stout, UW-Extension and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
  • The Audit Committee will discuss many reports, including the Fiscal Year 2018 Audit Plan Progress report and tuition policy reports from seven UW institutions.

Thursday afternoon, the full board will discuss the report and consider recommendations (below) from the Administrative Hiring Workgroup. This group, chaired by Regent Drew Petersen, began meeting in August to consider changes in the hiring requirements for the UW System President and UW Chancellors, Provosts and Vice Chancellors.

The group did not include representation from UW-Madison, but accepted input from an ad hoc committee of three UW-Madison faculty members appointed by the University Committee. Their response to the Regent workgroup is here.

Friday morning, the full board will hear reports from the UW System President Cross and Regent President John Behling. They will also consider a proposed policy on freedom of expression. The board previously adopted statements on freedom of expression in December, 2015 and July, 2017.

The proposed policy codifies the previous statements and outlines the punishment for students who disrupt the expressive rights of others:

 

 

 

 

 

Legislative Update

State Budget

After an almost three-month delay, Governor Scott Walker signed the $76 billion 2017-19 state budget into law on September 20. He made 98 partial vetoes that went unchallenged by the Legislature. PROFS joined other campus advocates in successfully advocating for new state funding – including funding for faculty and staff pay raises – in many years.

At the same time, PROFS is very concerned about two provisions added to a wrap-up omnibus motion without discussion:

Faculty workload: This provision requires the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents to create a policy that monitors faculty and instructional academic staff teaching loads. Each institution is also required to develop a policy to reward those that exceed standard (not defined) workloads. Chancellor Blank has indicated she thinks it is important to report all aspects of workload: research, outreach and teaching.

UW Chancellor and President qualifications: The wrap-up motion modified language previously passed by the Joint Finance Committee. The final language prohibits individual institutions from having a policy that requires chancellors to hold a tenured faculty position. UW-Madison Faculty Polices and Procedures (FP&P) currently requires the Chancellor and Provost to have tenure.

Budget highlights:

  • Extension of the current four-year tuition freeze for two additional years.
  • $26.3 million in outcomes-based funding. Regents will create metrics to measure progress toward goals. The governor used his veto pen to keep UW institutions from choosing which metrics will be used to measure progress.
  • $5 million for high-demand degree programs.
  • $3 million for the creation of the UW-Madison Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership.
  • $10,000 for the review of policies related to academic freedom.
  • $980,000 for UW Hospital and Clinics Carbone Cancer Center.
  • $200,000 for the Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program.
  • $100,000 for UW-Madison’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
  • Creation of an engineering school at UW-Green Bay.
  • Language that bars individual institutions from adopting a policy that would require chancellors and vice chancellors to have tenure or hold a terminal degree in their field.
  • Expansion of tuition free-education programs for veterans and their families.

PROFS had deep concerns about policy items in the budget and asked the co-chairs of the finance committee and the governor to remove language relating to the qualifications for UW System President and Chancellor candidates and to amend the language creating the Thompson Center to eliminate the leadership board, allow for the creation of an advisory committee, and ensure the Thompson Center is subject to university governance. The full letter is here.

Regent Administrative Hiring Workgroup

A workgroup created by UW System Board of Regents President John Behling was tasked with review of UW System Chancellor and other top administrative positions (see above). Behling told fellow Regents earlier this year he would like UW System institutions to recruit non-academic candidates and “streamline” the hiring process for top administrative positions.

The group, which does not include a member from UW-Madison, is examining hiring practices and discussing expanding the search process to include non-traditional candidates from outside academia. The workgroup’s draft findings were released last week and Regents are expected to vote on the documents at their October meeting. PROFS met with Regent Drew Petersen, chair of the workgroup, earlier this summer to share UW-Madison faculty concerns. Peterson told PROFS he welcomes input from an ad hoc UW-Madison committee and will work with PROFS on strategy related to working with legislators and the governor on this topic.

AB 299, relating to campus speech

This bill, which passed the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee on a partisan vote, requires the Board of Regents to adopt a policy on free expression for all campuses. Under this bill, university administrators would be required to punish students who disrupt campus speakers. The bill would also require campuses to remain neutral on public policy issues. PROFS is registered in opposition to the legislation. Our statement on the bill is on the here.

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.

Fetal Tissue

Republicans who control the legislature appear to be split on legislation relating to the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. Two different bills have been introduced, one that follows existing federal law forbidding the sale of fetal tissue, but not research that uses it, and one that bans research using fetal tissue from abortions performed after January 1, 2017 and imposes hefty fines on anyone who uses the material. PROFS has assembled a working group comprised of faculty and industry representatives to advise us on this issue.

Foxconn

In July, Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn and Governor Scott Walker announced Foxconn’s intention to build a liquid crystal display manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. Wisconsin would provide $3 billion in state incentives over 15 years to Foxconn. The plant could ultimately provide 13,000 Foxconn jobs and thousands of related jobs. Legislation authorizing a financial package was signed into law September 18. Chancellor Rebecca Blank met with leaders of Foxconn prior to the announcement to discuss the advantages of locating such a facility near a major research institution like UW-Madison. Her statement on Foxconn is on the UW here.

UW System Board of Regents Administrative Hiring Workgroup Recommendations

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Administrative Hiring Workgroup recently released draft documents relating to their work on streamlining the hiring process for the System President and UW institution Chancellors (below). The Regents are expected to review these documents at their meeting October 5 and 6 at UW-Stout.

Regent President John Behling created the workgroup earlier this summer to examine the hiring of of non-traditional President and Chancellor candidates and to streamline the hiring processes of those positions. Regent Drew Petersen chaired the committee, which did not include a representative from UW-Madison.

An ad hoc committee of UW-Madison faculty is working to respond to the recommendations. Faculty are also encouraged to share their thoughts on the Administrative Hiring Workgroup webpage.

2017-19 State Budget Documents

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau released a summary of AB 64, the 2017-19 biennial budget, along with individual agency summaries, including UW System (below). These documents reflect the Governor’s original proposal and changes made by the Joint Finance Committee.

Both houses of the legislature must pass the bill, which will be taken up by the Assembly tomorrow, Wednesday, September 13. Governor Walker said last week he hopes to sign the bill later this month.

Tracking of Faculty Workload, Language Regarding Hiring of Chancellors Added to Budget

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance concluded its work on the 2017-19 state budget last night with the adoption along party lines of a “wrap-up” motion that included several non-fiscal policy items relating to the University of Wisconsin System (highlighted below, pages 2, 8, 9).

Faculty Workload Reporting

The committee restored language originally proposed by the governor in February. Each UW institution will be required to create a policy that monitors faculty and instructional academic staff teaching loads. Each institution will also be required to develop a policy for rewarding faculty and instructional staff who exceed standard workloads. Aggregate data must be published on UW System’s online accountability dashboard and included in legislatively mandated accountability reports.

Qualifications of UW System President, Chancellor, Provost and Vice Chancellor positions

The committee modified previously adopted language relating to the hiring of university leadership positions. The new language prohibits individual campuses from adopting a policy that requires the Board of Regents to only consider candidates who hold tenure or a terminal degree in their field. The committee had previously applied that prohibition to the Board of Regents. UW-Madison Faculty Policies and Procedures (FP&P) currently requires the Chancellor and Provost to hold a tenured faculty position.

Earlier in the budget process, PROFS asked the co-chairs of the finance committee to remove the proposed language. A Regent working group is currently reviewing the hiring process and expects to release their recommendations later this fall. PROFS is carefully monitoring the group’s work.

Pay Plan

The motion also changes the dates for the proposed 2 percent pay plan for all state employees, including UW faculty and staff, from September 30, 2018 and May 26, 2019 to July 1, 2018 and January 1, 2019. The pay plan must also be approved by the Joint Committee on Employment Relations.

Legislative Update

Progress on the state’s 2017-19 biennial budget is picking up as the Joint Committee on Finance is scheduled to meet today (Tuesday, September 5) to vote on the state’s transportation budget. Until a new budget passed, the state continues to spend according to the 2015-17 budget.

Since the budget was introduced in February, PROFS has been busy meeting with legislative leaders and lobbying for the best possible outcome for University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty.

State Budget

In May, the Joint Finance Committee approved along party lines an omnibus motion containing several provisions relating to the university. Key points:

  • Extension of the current four-year tuition freeze for two additional years.
  • $26.3 million in outcomes-based funding. Regents will create metrics to measure progress toward goals.
  • $5 million for high-demand degree programs.
  • $3 million for the creation of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership at UW-Madison.
  • $10,000 for the review of policies related to academic freedom.
  • $980,000 for UW Hospital and Clinics Carbone Cancer Center.
  • $200,000 for the Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program.
  • $100,000 for UW-Madison’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
  • Creation of an engineering school at UW-Green Bay.
  • Language that bars the Board of Regents from adopting a policy that would require UW campus chancellors and vice chancellors and the UW System President to have tenure or hold a terminal degree in their field.
  • Expansion of tuition free-education programs for veterans and their families.

PROFS has deep concerns about policy items in the budget and has asked the co-chairs of the finance committee to remove language relating to the qualifications for UW System President and Chancellor candidates and amend the language that creates the Thompson Center on Public Leadership to eliminate the leadership board, allow for the creation of an advisory committee, and ensure, as is the case for all other UW-Madison centers, that the Thompson Center is subject to university governance.

Regent Administrative Hiring Workgroup

UW System Board of Regents President John Behling named members of the workgroup tasked with review of UW System Chancellor and other top administrative positions (see above). The group, which does not include a member from UW-Madison, will examine hiring practices and consider expanding the search process to include non-traditional candidates from outside academia. Behling told fellow Regents last month he would like UW System institutions to recruit non-academic candidates and “streamline” the hiring process for top administrative positions.

UW-Madison Faculty Polices and Procedures (FP&P) requires the Chancellor and Provost to hold a tenured faculty position. PROFS met with Regent Drew Petersen, chair of the workgroup, to share UW-Madison faculty concerns. Peterson told PROFS it is too late to add a UW-Madison faculty member to the workgroup but he welcomes input from an ad hoc UW-Madison committee and will work with PROFS on strategy related to working with legislators and the governor on this topic.

AB 299, relating to campus speech

This bill, which passed the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee on a partisan vote, requires the Board of Regents to adopt a policy on free expression for all campuses. Under this bill, university administrators would be required to punish students who disrupt campus speakers. The bill would also require campuses to remain neutral on public policy issues. PROFS is registered in opposition to the legislation. Our statement on the bill is here.

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.

Fetal Tissue

Republicans who control the legislature appear to be split on legislation relating to the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. Two different bills have been introduced, one that follows existing federal law forbidding the sale of fetal tissue, but not research that uses it, and one that bans research using fetal tissue from abortions performed after January 1, 2017 and imposes hefty fines on anyone who uses the material. PROFS has assembled a working group comprised of faculty and industry representatives to advise us on this issue.

Foxconn

In July, Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn and Governor Scott Walker announced Foxconn’s intention to build a liquid crystal display manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. Wisconsin would provide $3 billion in state incentives over 15 years to Foxconn. The plant could ultimately provide 13,000 Foxconn jobs and thousands of related jobs. Legislation authorizing a financial package passed the State Assembly August 17 and a State Senate vote is expected soon. Prior to the announcement, Chancellor Rebecca Blank met with leaders of Foxconn to discuss the advantages of locating such a facility near a major research institution like UW-Madison. Her statement on Foxconn is here.

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