PROFS has a strong record of advocating for the best possible pay plans for University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty and staff and our work during 2021-23 budget process is no different. The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on a pay plan for state employees, including those at UW-Madison Thursday. This is the letter we shared with committee members earlier today.
This legislative update was distributed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate meeting today. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. This semester, the senate will meet in Room B10 Ingraham Hall.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-La Crosse Thursday and Friday, December 6 and 7. All meetings will be held in the student union, 521 East Avenue North. The full board portions of the meeting will be livestreamed.
The board meets in committee Thursday morning:
The Education Committee will discuss many items including the approval of procedures relating to financial emergency and program discontinuance that require faculty layoff and termination at UW-Stevens Point (below). The committee will also hear several reports and consider changes to several Regent Policy Documents and approval of new degree programs at UW-Stevens Point, UW-Milwaukee, and UW-Green Bay.
The Business and Finance Committee will meet jointly with the Audit Committee before meeting to discuss several items, including faculty turnover (below). The number of faculty at all UW System institutions has declined from 6,485 to 5,983 over the past five years, with 434 faculty leaving in FY18. Last year, faculty turnover at UW-Madison was about 5%. Eighty-two tenured faculty members left — 58 retired and 24 resigned. Twenty-two probationary faculty left — 18 resigned and four were non-renewed. The committee will also consider two contractual agreements and hear a report on faculty and staff base salary adjustments.
The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will discuss several building and renovation projects and hear several reports.
The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear the UW School of Medicine and Public Health annual report and consider approval of the Wisconsin Partnership program’s five-year plan.
After meeting jointly with the Business and Finance Committee to discuss the Plante Moran external audit, the Audit Committee will discuss internal audits and internal controls and enterprise risk management.
The full board meets in open and closed sessions Thursday afternoon. Governor-elect Tony Evers has been invited to address the board at 1 pm. The board will also hear from UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow and consider a resolution in support of a faculty and staff pay plan of 3% increase in each year of the 2019-21 biennium (below). The recommendation includes a provision for the state to fully-fund the pay plan given the the likelihood for a continued tuition freeze.
Friday, the board will hear reports from Regent President John Behling and UW System President Ray Cross.
PROFS President Dorothy Farrar Edwards and Chair Anja Wanner sent a letter yesterday to State Representative Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and State Senator Roger Roth (R-Appleton), co-chairs of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER), encouraging them to schedule a meeting to approve UW-Madison’s proposed faculty and staff pay plan.
Last week, UW-Madison announced a 4 percent pay plan for faculty staff to be given in two installments — 2 percent in July 2018 and 2 percent in January 2019 — but the funding for the plan must first be approved by JCOER.
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.
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.
The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee statewide public hearings on the 2017-19 budget proposal last month and began voting on individual items last week. PROFS is meeting with university and legislative leaders to discuss several items in the budget proposal:
State funding tied to performance measures The Board of Regents would rank all UW institutions and distribute funds based on:
- Affordability/Attainability, 30%
- Student Success in State Workforce, 30%
- Work Readiness, 15%
- Efficiency, 10%
- Additional Criteria, 15%
UW Pay plan A pay plan tied to presumed savings from a switch to self-insurance (see below) for all state employees would be offered in 2018 and 2019.
Policy Items in the budget The co-chairs of the Joint Finance Committee said last month all policy items in the budget would be removed, but could be considered after being vetted in committee or as part of the committee’s omnibus motion. Several policy items dealt with the university:
- Require the Board of Regents to create policies for the monitoring and reporting of teaching workload and a mechanism to reward those who teach more than an undefined “standard academic workload.”
- Add language to state statutes that would give the university new power to regulate expression and criticism of that expression.
- Allow students to opt out of allocable segregated fees.
- Require institutions to develop 3-year degree programs.
- Require students to have internship/work experience before graduating.
- Require 60 credits transferable between UW and WTCS.
The Group Insurance Board recommended a switch to self-insurance beginning in 2018, but the Joint Finance Committee must review the proposed changes before they go into effect. The committee received the formal recommendation to switch to self-insurance today and has 21 days to decide whether or not to reject the plan. The committee co-chairs and other members have publicly expressed concern over the plan in the past.
Video from the PROFS/ASPRO forum on self-insurance is here.
Campus Free Speech Legislation
Several legislators, including the chairs of the Legislature’s higher education committees, announced their plans to introduce legislation that would direct the Board of Regents to draft a free speech policy that encourages all points of view. Regents would also be required to create rules that discipline students who interfere with campus free speech. PROFS is concerned about the reach of these proposals and has begun working with UW free speech experts on a response to these proposals.
AB 299 (below), sponsored by Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) was introduced last week, and Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) intends to introduce legislation (below) later this month.
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