Senate Announcements

 
Welcome to the 2023-2024 Academic Year!  The Faculty Senate will be meeting in-person this year, and look forward to seeing colleagues soon.
 
 
 
 

Meetings will be held  In Person [Reeve 306] (with OWL Technology for virtual attendance) for the fall of 2023.  Meetings will begin at 3:10pm until 4:30-5:00pm (approximate).   

Faculty Senate Meeting Dates

Fall 2023

Sept 19th
Oct. 3rd
Oct. 17th - FDL Campus
Oct 31st
Nov 14th
Dec 5th

Spring 2024

Jan 16th
Feb. 13th
Feb. 27th
March 12th
April 2nd
April 16th - FOX Campus
April 30th
May 14th

Senate Contacts

Faculty Senate President (Fall 2023)
Pascale Manning
Professor of English
manningp@uwosh.edu
(920) 424-2102 - Senate Office
Office hours: TBD

Faculty Senate Office
April Dutscheck (dutschecka@uwosh.edu)
Faculty Senate Office Associate
(920) 424-2102 Dempsey Hall, Room 205
Office hours: Monday–Thursday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Friday 8:30 am - 4:30 pm (working remotely). Please Contact via email when working remotely, and/or if unplanned office hours have changed to remotely for any reason and I am not in the office.

 

President’s Blog

 

ENTRY: 5-16-2024

Dear Colleagues,

 
I am writing with the first of two end-of-semester Faculty Senate updates. This update will focus on the status of the ongoing efforts to address issues related to the Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund. A future update will focus on issues related to the furlough.
 
I share the following long summary in the spirit of transparency and to ensure that all faculty are apprised of the broad strokes of this long process. In moments like these, brevity can be the enemy of transparency, so I have favored detail, but, as with any update of this sort, some steps have perforce been left out. If you have lingering questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. And if you would like to skip the contextualizing details, please scroll down to the update’s final sections — the bulleted list at the bottom of “Proposed Solutions” and the “Current Status” section that concludes the email.
 
Context
At the February 13, 2024, meeting of the Faculty Senate, I shared a document – made up of a timeline and relevant appendices – as context for a discussion of concerns raised by myself and members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee about how salary adjustments were calculated prior to the disbursement of the Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund on January 8, 2024.
 
The timeline + appendices can be found here. The “Salary Equity Process Technical Document – Faculty” is Appendix A of that document, and it specifies
  • that “The equity process will be overseen by the Faculty Salary Equity Technical Committee,” which will “work with OIR and/or Human Resources to ensure that the equity process described below is implemented properly,” and
  • that “90% of the mean CUPA salary for every faculty based on rank and discipline in the appropriate comparison group” shall be used as a benchmark for salary adjustment calculations.
 
While the Faculty Senate Executive Committee was apprised on January 9, 2024,
  • that our internal implementation procedure, which is detailed in the “Salary Equity Process Technical Document – Faculty” (2023) had not been followed (namely, that our Faculty Senate Compensation Committee had not been asked to form a Technical Committee to check the correctness of the calculations produced by Human Resources) prior to the official notification of affected faculty on January 8, 2024, and
  • that the calculations had been undertaken by UW HR rather than UWO HR, we were not aware until later, once I had had an opportunity to meet with UWO faculty who are subject-area experts, that UW HR had used 90% of the CUPA median with ± 2 standard deviations rather than 90% of the unfiltered CUPA mean to calculate the salary adjustments. I informed the Chancellor and his Chief of Staff of this issue on January 18, 2024.
 
The Problem
There are two primary issues at stake. These are:
  • that a longstanding faculty-generated process document, which was produced by the Faculty Senate Compensation Committee and had been revised by that committee in 2022-2023, then discussed and approved by the Faculty Senate in the spring of 2023 and subsequently endorsed by the Chancellor in September 2023, was not followed by either UWO HR or UW HR, which raises concerns about the extent to which policies and procedures authored by shared governance are perceived to be legitimate and locally binding, and
  • that the use of 90% of the CUPA median (filtered for ± 2 standard deviations) rather than 90% of the CUPA mean (unfiltered) results in fewer faculty members receiving “parity” salary adjustments (this is the term used by our administration, but the term is “equity” in the Technical Document).
 
Proposed Solutions
On January 30, 2024, I met with Chancellor Leavitt and Chief of Staff Hummel to discuss the information contained in a recently-produced spreadsheet they shared with me showing the differences between calculating for median, mean, and mean with outliers. This spreadsheet revealed that the consequences of using the median rather than the mean were as follows:
  • Fewer faculty received pay increases than would have been the case had our Technical Document been followed.
  • Some faculty receive more than the UWO procedure would have determined.
  • Some faculty received less than the UWO procedure would have determined.
 
My suggestion at this time was that the Chancellor communicate to faculty that UW HR had made an accounting error in the calculation of the Discretionary Fund pay increases, to stand up the Technical Committee to assist HR in producing calculations that follow our Technical Document’s procedure, and to adjust salaries going forward according to those calculations and within the parameters of the existing fund (it was not suggested that any of the already disbursed monies be rescinded or “clawed back”).
 
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee agreed with this suggestion and its members, as well as members of the Compensation Committee, subsequently reiterated it. The above-linked timeline + appendices document includes correspondence on this topic, as well as a memo from the Office of General Counsel responding to a request made by Chancellor Leavitt for a legal opinion on the matter of a “‘claw back’ [of] a faculty member’s pay and decrease of their future salary.”
 
On February 27, 2024, the Faculty Senate endorsed a statement, which can be found here, that, among other things, proposed that the Technical Committee be afforded the opportunity to produce the calculations and share those with UWO HR.
 
By this point, Chancellor Leavitt had apprised the Faculty Senate Executive Committee of his proposed solution, namely, to bring those whose salary adjustments were lower under a calculation for median up to the amount they would have received under a calculation for 90% of the CUPA mean while leaving in place those adjustments that were higher under the median than they would have been under the mean.
 
A variety of meetings have since taken place, including one on May 1, 2024, that included faculty subject-area experts, members of the Faculty Senate Executive and Compensation Committees, the Chancellor, and Dan Chanen, who is the UW System Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer.
 
Overall, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and members of the Compensation Committee provided the following input between February and early May:
  • that we are grateful to the Chancellor for his diligence in advocating on behalf of faculty to UW System to establish the Discretionary Fund in the first place as well as for his willingness to find a solution to the issue that benefits faculty;
  • that the proposed solution would mean adding money to the original fund (of $487,352.20) by an estimated $72,000.00, and that this action might be deemed irresponsible in light of our institution’s current financial circumstances and our recent, and very painful, process of layoffs, non-renewals, and early retirements;
  • and that bringing those who had been under-remunerated – when the calculation uses 90% of the unfiltered CUPA mean – while leaving in place those adjustments resulting from a calculation using 90% of the CUPA median with ± 2 standard deviations serves to enshrine a mistaken imbalance in how the equity monies were disbursed and how affected salaries will be adjusted going forward.
 
Current Status
The Faculty Senate has been unequivocal in affirming that our faculty deserve salary equity raises, especially in light of the fact that – according to our own UW Accountability Dashboard – the faculty at UW comprehensives are, on average, underpaid by 16.47% in relation to peer institutions. The Senate has been unequivocal in affirming that this is not a matter of some individuals deserving more or less than others. Rather, the issue, as it has been discussed at the Faculty Senate, boils down to the following:
 
  • Mistakes were made which originate in HR’s failure to use an existing process document and interact directly, as that document specifies, with subject-area experts in the faculty to ensure the correctness of all calculations;
  • The process of obtaining the unfiltered data and finalizing next steps was very slow, causing meaningful delays in enabling the Compensation Committee’s Technical Committee to produce the calculations according to the parameters detailed in our Technical Document and in implementing an equitable solution;
  • Senate recommendations did not ultimately inform decisions made by our senior administration;
  • Senate requests for an apology from UWO HR – both to the Faculty Senate and to the faculty at large, showing accountability by acknowledging mistakes while also, ideally, expressing a determination to engage, where appropriate, with shared governance going forward – have yet to be fulfilled;
  • Members of the Faculty Senate have expressed the concern that the proposed solution ratifies the idea that shared governance is not being allowed to help move the needle in decision-making.
 
At the final meeting of the Faculty Senate this Tuesday, Senator David Fuller, a member of the Faculty Senate Compensation Committee’s Technical Committee, shared an analysis (which can be found here) that details the committee’s calculations. These have been shared with the Chancellor. (Please note that the final number listed in that document for the cost of raising the adjustments for 109 faculty will be slightly lower going forward, as it includes faculty who have retired or resigned but who were on the payroll when the Pay Plan was approved and are thus entitled to the backpay that was allocated across the System in January, 2024.) Chancellor Leavitt will speak to his decision about next steps in a forthcoming email.
 
Yours,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President

 

ENTRY: 5-15-2024

Dear Colleagues,
I am writing to communicate the results of the recent Faculty Senate elections for the position of President-Elect and for the open seats on the Executive Committee.
Context
The Faculty Senate President serves a four-year term – one year as President-Elect, two years as President, and then one year as Past President. The President-Elect and Past President are automatic members of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. The Past President attends two of the regularly-scheduled institutional shared governance meetings – namely, the Shared Governance Conference (with senior administration and all shared governance leaders, including Student Government) and the Shared Governance Leaders (with shared governance leadership across Academic Staff Senate, University Staff Senate, and Faculty Senate).
The Faculty Senate Executive Committee membership is determined on a yearly basis. Apart from the two seats reserved for Senate leadership, the committee includes four additional seats, one of which is reserved for Access Campus representation. Every year in the spring the Senate holds an election to fill those seats. Here is a link to a committee information form that details the purpose of the committee and its typical work.
Election Results
On Tuesday, April 30th the Faculty Senate was unanimous in naming Prof. Nathan Stuart President-Elect. On Tuesday, May 14th the Faculty Senate was again unanimous is electing Prof. Robbie Wagoner, Prof. Evan Kreider, Prof. David Fuller, and Prof. Catherine Schmitt to the Executive Committee.
On behalf of the Faculty Senate, I want to thank Senators Stuart, Wagoner, Kreider, Fuller, and Schmitt for their willingness to serve in these important roles.
I also want to thank our outgoing Past President, Prof. Jen Szydlik, for her unwavering commitment to the Senate and the faculty, her collegiality, and her mentorship. We are a better representative body for having had her in her leadership roles.
Yours,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President

 

ENTRY: 5-6-2024

Dear Colleagues,
At the last meeting of the Faculty Senate, we discussed an issue that many faculty are not aware of but that affects us all. This is the contract payroll period for each academic year. I’m writing to disseminate the information that I have been able to gather. (For Faculty Senators: note that the end-date for FY 25 that we discussed has been corrected below; the date shared with us prior to our FS meeting cited an earlier draft of the approved FY contract dates.)
Background:
As of fiscal year 2022 (or academic year 2021-2022), and with the establishment of bi-weekly payroll, UW System (as it was then still called) required UWO to change its contract dates for “Academic Year” employees (i.e., Faculty, academic staff, and limited appointees directly tied to the academic year calendar (39 weeks)) to 195 paid week days per contract year in order for UWO to align with other UW campuses.
As a result, a series of academic year schedules were calculated and approved. Here are the ones relevant to our present and near future:
  • FY24 – Full Academic Year 23/24  – 8/28/2023 – 5/24/2024
    • Fall 23 (98 days) 8/28/23 – 1/10/24
    • Spring 24 (97 days) 1/11/24 – 5/24/24
  • FY25 – Full Academic Year 24/25 – August 26, 2024 – May 23, 2025
    • Fall 24 (98 days) 8/26/24 – 1/8/2025
    • Spring 25 (97 days) 1/9/2025 – 5/23/2025
*These dates are now posted to the Academic Calendar.
The issue:
The Faculty Senate discussed potential issues associated with these contract end dates (and the fact that most faculty are not aware of the specific dates that are in place). We were especially focused on the upcoming contract end date of May 24th.
The first issue pertains to the changes these contract end dates present to our university (and more specifically, departmental) culture. It is not uncommon for departments/programs to schedule meetings during the Interim, a decision that is often justified by the assertion that faculty and IAS are still “on contract” until, typically, early June. It is important for department members, and especially chairs and program directors, to be aware that we will not be “on contract” following May 24th this spring and May 23rd next spring.
The second issue pertains to how contract end dates affect those who have submitted resignations. Here is a brief summary of the topics we discussed at the Senate:
  • HR Support for Questions about Health Coverage, Email Accounts, etc.: If you have questions about anything connected to your contract, please reach out to your College or Area Generalist. Here is a list that was shared with me:
    • CON – Molly Henry
    • COB – Kenzie Lingel
    • COLS – Abby Klueckmann
    • COEHS – Candace Ebert
  • Email Deadline: Our email accounts are connected to our contract. As a result of that, those faculty and IAS who resign will typically see their email addressess shut off on or directly after the specified contract end date. This spring, that means that emails will be shut off at end-of-business on May 24th.
    Extending the contract end-date: Resignees are empowered to negotiate later contract end dates if some form of summer compensation is already in place (e.g., an administrative assignment, an ongoing grant, etc.).
I hope this information is useful. As ever, please let me know if you have any further questions and I will endeavour to find answers.
Yours,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President

ENTRY: 4-12-2024

In the wake of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Faculty Referendum Confidence Vote in the leadership of Chancellor Leavitt, Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents President Karen Walsh has spoken on behalf of the regents to say that Chancellor Leavitt has the board’s full support, emphasizing, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that “He is leading UW Oshkosh through a series of difficult but necessary decisions to position the university for a sustainable future.”

I feel that it is my duty, as a representative of the faculty, to report faculty perspectives as they were voiced in the weeks leading up to the referendum. The stated concerns of faculty suggest that while Regent President Walsh is certainly correct to note the difficulties surrounding recent events at UW Oshkosh, the concerns of the faculty, as stated in open forums, repeatedly point to the question of whether these difficulties were the result not of unavoidable or intractable forces but rather of a series of missteps by the Chancellor and his administration.

With this in mind, I will here share a brief summary of the discussions that took place at the two Faculty-Senate hosted open forums. While faculty expressed solidarity with program assistants and instructional staff, with students, their families, and alumni, and with faculty and staff at other UW campuses, thus affirming that the recent layoffs, nonrenewals, efforts at restructuring, and austerity measures cannot be disentangled from the conversation about whether the faculty have confidence in the leadership of our Chancellor, this summary reveals a much wider array of concerns, accounting more fully for the 72% of faculty who submitted a ballot citing ‘no confidence’.

I have broached these issues with Chancellor Leavitt. We had a long meeting early this week, in which we spoke frankly about the concerns that have been raised and the examples that have been cited and began the important work of identifying where change can be implemented and how we might work together to address ongoing challenges and help to heal our community. I was heartened by the conversation and by Chancellor Leavitt’s clear concern to address the issues raised by faculty. It will not be easy to rebuild trust between the faculty and senior administration, but I have expressed my optimism that this is achievable and my unflagging commitment to assisting in that process.

UWO Faculty Senate
Summary – Confidence Vote Open Forums

Many faculty feel that without a meaningful mechanism in place to evaluate the job performance of our most senior administrator, a confidence vote is virtually the only means by which the faculty can speak as one voice in response to decisions made by our Chancellor and his administration and the consequences of those decisions. In the spirit of representing faculty perspectives holistically, the following statement seeks to synthesize concerns expressed by faculty at the two open forums (March 8 and 15) that were hosted by the Faculty Senate in advance of the Confidence Vote Referendum (March 26-April 2). The faculty position with regard to this confidence vote is diverse, but I would stress that the faculty at the open forums overwhelmingly affirmed that they are not motivated by personal animus toward Chancellor Leavitt. As committed teachers and scholars, many faculty see this action as part of their responsibility to the institution.

External factors, such as Wisconsin’s ranking 43rd nationally for per-student funding to public universities, have not been ignored in conversations about faculty confidence in Chancellor Leavitt’s leadership. The faculty are all aware that state disinvestment in our university system has rendered us vulnerable to economic turbulence. Indeed, the faculty have discussed the fact that the same constraints informing our financial circumstances affect the financial wellbeing of all institutions that make up the Universities of Wisconsin. As has been reported variously over the past months, 10 out of the 13 UW comprehensives are projecting structural deficits this fiscal year. Faculty members acknowledged these facts but appealed to objective measures that reveal that UWO has underperformed in relation to other UW campuses during the last decade.

While our current deficit is undoubtedly a relevant factor in this vote, many faculty reported that the shock at the news of our university’s financial situation only served to alert them to deeper and more systemic problems. Faculty noted, for instance, that the events of the last seven months have cast light on a linear decrease in our reserves that has occurred over a span of years. Faculty members have raised concerns about the decision to grow enrollment rather than to contract in the face of financial exigencies, to change admissions standards in light of declining enrollment, or to hire a Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administration during a hiring freeze and without a national search. The faculty, moreover, has raised concerns about the fact that Chancellor Leavitt and his administration have made many meaningful decisions without adequately consulting shared governance, treating it as a sounding board rather than a partner in decision-making.

Many faculty express the view that our institutional culture promotes a devaluation of shared governance. For some, this is expressed by an historical lack of transparency with regard to our institution’s financial health. For others, it is expressed by the ways in which our administration has been slow to respond to requests for information or to act on recommendations made by the Faculty Senate. Some faculty cite ways in which Faculty Senate policies or procedures have not been observed or implemented as evidence that the policies or procedures deriving from the faculty are not considered equal to those deriving from administrative bodies.

The faculty discussions of the confidence vote made clear that the faculty understand the challenges that face our university and others in the UW System. But the faculty also hold that good leadership is not unilateral. It takes a partnership. Many faculty expressed the hope that Chancellor Leavitt would see a no-confidence vote as an expression of genuine concern for the state and direction of the university and would not dismiss the concerns of the faculty but would rather renew his commitment to working with shared governance toward the well-being of the university.

 

 

ENTRY: 4-5-2024

Dear Colleagues,

I write to announce the results of the recent confidence vote in the leadership of Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.

By majority vote the faculty has affirmed that it does not have confidence in the leadership of Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.

Here are the results in greater detail:

  • the ballot was circulated to 281 faculty members (which is the total number of eligible faculty) and of that number, 229 submitted a vote (229 is approximately 81% of faculty);
  • 65 faculty (or 28% of the 229 total) responded “I DO have confidence in the leadership of Chancellor Andrew Leavitt”;
  • 164 faculty (or 72% of the 229 total) responded “I DO NOT have confidence in the leadership of Chancellor Andrew Leavitt.”

The process for the referendum was determined through careful attention to Article 1 Section 6 of the Faculty Constitution, and the document delineating this process was discussed and approved by the Faculty Senate on 27 February and subsequently shared with the facultyThis document specified that the online ballot would be available to faculty from 26 March to 2 April and that the Faculty Senate Elections Committee would assess the results between 3 and 4 April, communicating those to the President of the Faculty Senate, who would announce the outcome of the vote to Chancellor Leavitt and the faculty on 5 April.

All steps of the process have been observed and the UWO Faculty Referendum Confidence Vote is now complete.

Next Steps

I have communicated the results to Chancellor Leavitt, and I hope to meet with him soon to discuss the concerns, comments, and suggestions that were voiced at the two open forums – on 8 and 15 March – held in advance of the voting period. Throughout this process, I have emphasized that the Faculty Senate remains committed to working with our administration to assist in meeting the many challenges that we face as a university community. It is my hope that we will embrace this moment as an opportunity to identify means of addressing the key issues that have informed the outcome of this confidence vote.

Yours sincerely,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President

 

ENTRY: 3-6-2024

Dear Colleagues,

 
I am writing to remind you that this Friday the Faculty Senate will host the first of two general faculty meetings about the confidence vote in the leadership of Chancellor Leavitt. The first forum will be held on Friday, March 8th. The second will be held on Friday, March 15thBoth meetings will be held between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Sage 1214.
 
As I noted in my March 1st Faculty Senate update about the confidence vote, a hybrid meeting option will be arranged for the second of the two meetings and a link to that will be circulated at least one week in advance of March 15th.
 
Given that Article 1 Section 6 of the Faculty Constitution specifies that “The Senate will draft the referendum proposal and will ordinarily distribute it to the faculty one month prior to the time at which a vote on the referendum is to be taken,” the secret ballot will be held online between Tuesday, March 26th and Tuesday, April 2nd. As the Faculty Constitution specifies, “Eligible voters for faculty referenda will be members of the faculty as defined in Article I (excluding those with limited appointment).”
 
Yours,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President
 
 
 
 
ENTRY: 3-1-2024
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
I write to provide the first of several updates on the work of the Faculty Senate. This email will focus exclusively on the Faculty Senate discussion and action regarding a confidence vote in the leadership of Chancellor Leavitt. A subsequent update will include details about Faculty Senate discussions about the Chancellor’s Discretionary Fund, the Restructuring process, and other ongoing Faculty Senate business.
 
Referendum: Confidence Vote
On Friday, February 16th, 2024, a petition addressed to Faculty Senate President Manning expressing a lack of confidence in Chancellor Leavitt’s leadership was shared with me. Having been signed by 74 faculty members (or approximately 23% of UWO’s faculty membership), this petition meets the requirement specified in Article 1 Section 6, “Faculty Referenda,” of the UWO Faculty Constitution for the provocation of a faculty referendum: “A referendum will also be held if one-tenth of the faculty, as defined in Article I as of Opening Day of the academic year (excluding those with limited appointments) petitions the Faculty Senate President to call for such a referendum.”
 
Having requested and been supplied with a full list of the membership of the faculty as of Opening Day, 2023, by the Office of Human Resources, I was, over the course of the following week, able to verify the validity of the petition signatures. Given that the President of the Faculty Senate is the only individual named in relation to such a petition in the Faculty Constitution, I have deemed it my responsibility to certify the validity of the signatures and have therefore not shared the signed petitions with any other UWO employee.
 
On Friday, February 23rd, 2024, I met with Chancellor Leavitt and Chief of Staff Alex Hummel to share draft versions of the process and resolution documents that had by then been composed by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, as well as the text of the petition, thus ensuring that the Chancellor was both aware of the Faculty Senate’s obligation to identify a mechanism to conduct a confidence vote in his leadership and that he was in possession of the same documents that would be shared with the Faculty Senate in advance of its next meeting.
 
At its meeting of 27 February, 2024, the Faculty Senate discussed the process by which UWO’s Faculty Senate will oversee a referendum on a confidence vote in the leadership of Chancellor Leavitt. Given that Article 1 Section 6 specifies that “The Senate will draft the referendum proposal,” the Faculty Senate discussed a document delineating the process for such a referendum as well as the language of the resolution. The Senate also discussed a letter from Chancellor Leavitt dated February 26th, 2024, addressed to Faculty Senate President Manning.
 
The Faculty Senate exercised its authority to suspend the rules and elevate a discussion item to an action item, and the language of the draft resolution was approved (23 Yes, 0 No, 1 Abstention), thus initiating the commencement of the referendum process.
 
As you will see if you read the referendum process document, the Faculty Senate will hold two general faculty meetings, on Friday, March 8th and Friday, March 15th. Both meetings will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Sage 1214. A hybrid meeting option will be arranged for the second of the two meetings and a link to that will be circulated at least one week in advance of March 15th. Given that Article 1 Section 6 of the Faculty Constitution specifies that “The Senate will draft the referendum proposal and will ordinarily distribute it to the faculty one month prior to the time at which a vote on the referendum is to be taken,” the secret ballot will be held online between Tuesday, March 26th and Tuesday, April 2nd. As the Faculty Constitution specifies, “Eligible voters for faculty referenda will be members of the faculty as defined in Article I (excluding those with limited appointment).”
 
I will send reminder emails about these Faculty-Senate hosted forums, and once the survey for the vote has been created, I will also update you all on the process for the secret ballot.
 
Yours,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President
 
 
ENTRY: 1-16-2024
 
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
I am writing to share some encouraging news with you that I received this morning about the state of our Fall 2023-Spring 2024 retention rates. My goal in updating you on this score is to uphold our standard of clear communication about the state of our university, but I am also writing in the interest of empowering each instructor at this university to integrate valuable insight about our retention situation into their semester planning. Many of us oversee student organizations, interact with student athletes, and/or enjoy special relationships with students as their mentors; as such, we are uniquely positioned to access our students, both ahead of the semester and once it is underway. My expectation is that equipping us all with the following information further enables us to approach our current situation intentionally, even if it does not lead all of us to any specific action.
 
Amber Evans, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Marketing, has set a Fall ’23 – Spring ’24 return-rate target of 92% for first-year students. This is based on last year’s Fall to Spring retention rate, so it represents the broad goal to avoid falling behind where we were last year. Of course, the ultimate goal is to continue to improve, but this is the target for this year. At present, the Oshkosh campus is at 88.8%, the Fond du Lac campus is at 82.4%, and the Fox Cities campus is at 81.2%. We have a list of 432 students whom we assume should be on a path to register for Spring 2024. This list is part of a detailed “re-enrolment report” that is guiding the steps being taken to reach our enrollment goals. AVC Evans is overseeing a team of staff who are reaching out as often and as aggressively as possible to this group of 432 students in order to determine what barriers might exist that are preventing them from registering. Here are a couple of examples to help us see how this group can be disaggregated: some of these students are scheduled to study abroad, so in those cases, there is a strong likelihood that the student will register but simply hasn’t gotten around to it. Some students have holds on their accounts. In all cases, these holds are being examined and, if possible, lifted. For instance, financial holds representing $1,500 or less are being lifted. In other words, there is a lot of work being done to connect with students and ease the path to registration. One population that is proving hard to track through our current systems is students who are under-registered (i.e., are registered but, for whatever reason, are not meeting their load threshold).
 
If we want to reach the 92% return-rate goal, then we need no fewer than 96 students to register. Of course, we should hope for all 432, but those 96 students are critical. I hope that, like me, you will all feel encouraged by this information, as it demonstrates how close we are to our goal, but now is the time – if the opportunity arises – to help with the final push. Now is the time to encourage our students to continue to choose UWO.
I wish you all well as you negotiate this cold stretch. I will be sending another update soon, but I wanted to focus exclusively on retention and enrollment in this message.
 
Yours,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President
 
 
ENTRY: 12-13-2023
Dear Colleagues,
 
 
I am writing to let you know that the Board of Regents will meet again today (5pm) for a special meeting on the State Funding Proposal. The meeting notice is attached here, and the following link takes you to the resolution being considered (12-12-2023):

https://www.wisconsin.edu/regents/download/meeting_materials/2023_meeting_materials/Meeting-Book—Special-Board-of-Regents-Meeting-(December-13,-2023).pdf?utm_source=WisPolitics.com%2FWisBusiness.com&utm_campaign=74828a3125-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2023_12_12_10_45&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_-74828a3125-%5BLIST_EMAIL_ID%5D

I was in attendance at the Board of Regents meeting last week. This link will take you to a statement co-written on Friday by the majority of the Faculty Representatives, including myself, in response to the resolution that was circulated on Friday and discussed (and voted down) by the Regents on Saturday. This link will take you to that resolution (12-08-2023). Our statement was read at that meeting on Saturday by Regent Kyle Weatherly (Chair of the Education Committee). I share these documents in the interest of providing you all with further context for today’s important BoR meeting.

Yours,

Pascale Manning

Faculty Senate President

 

 
 
ENTRY: 11-16-2023
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
I am writing with a Faculty Senate update on four specific points, each of which is in its own way time-sensitive.
Registration and Enrollment:
 
At the Chancellor’s Leadership Council meeting on Monday, Amber Evans (AVC for Enrollment Management and Marketing) provided us with an update delineating the current state of registration and our enrollment projections for next fall. I’m pleased to be able to communicate that we are up by 18% on students already admitted for Fall 2024.
 
We do, however, need to keep our attention focused on retention from Fall 2023 to Spring 2024. Registration this semester began a week later than it has in past years, which means that we are currently best positioned to evaluate registration trends amongst juniors and seniors. While we have not, as a faculty community, always received detailed updates about the state of registration at this point in the semester, we do this year know that this group is lagging somewhat behind the ideal registration pattern. I am writing to ask all of us to check in with our students prior to Thanksgiving, reminding them of the importance of registering now. I would also suggest that those of us with advisees check our Advisor Center to verify whether our advisees have holds on their accounts. Departmental holds are just one of a number of possible holds that can function as a barrier to registration, and we are all empowered to discover whether our advisees have holds on their accounts and communicate with them if we uncover a problem.
 
Students who register before Thanksgiving are more likely to return the following semester. I know how busy we all are, but I hope we can all take a moment — in whatever way makes sense — to check in with our students. If this means navigating to Titan Web in class to show students where they can see a record of existing holds or whether it means talking more casually about their plans, if we all participate in the effort, I’m sure we can make a difference.
 
December Commencement:
The mid-year commencement ceremony is planned for December 16th at 10am. As of this writing, that’s 29 days, 23 hours, 22 minutes, and 49 seconds away! As usual, the ceremony will be held in Kolf Sports Center, and as usual, we need many volunteers to make this event successful and special for our students (or future alumni) and their families (which potentially include future students). I realize that we are all very busy, but I hope that many faculty will fill out the form to join the faculty and academic staff processional. We need 100 volunteers to make the event happen, so if you’re willing to put your name forward, you can sign up to volunteer here. This link will take you to the commencement page, which includes event details and useful links for graduating students (as well as an amazing massive countdown clock, which gives me a sense of the sublime).
 
USP Listening Session:
On Monday, the Faculty Senate hosted a listening session about the USP, which was very well attended and resulted in a highly productive conversation. The Word document I circulated in advance of this meeting is still available to you, so if you have comments, concerns, ideas, questions (etc.) about the USP or general education more broadly that you would like to register, please feel free to continue to add to that document. I’m delighted to be able to communicate that the Faculty Senate is partnering with the Provost to create a committee devoted to discussing the future of our USP. You will soon receive an email from Provost Martini soliciting expressions of interest in serving on this committee, whose membership will also be delineated, and the Faculty Senate will work with the Provost and USP Director Kim Rivers to help get this committee up and running. Here is a link to the OneDrive folder containing the above-mentioned USP Word document, where I will also share a document detailing the themes of Monday’s conversation. That new file will be available by end-of-business on Friday.
 
Pay Plan:
As we are all aware, Governor Evers has decided to sue the Legislature for its decision to hold back compensation for 41,000 employees that has been signed into law and is being held in reserve. Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman has encouraged all shared governance representatives, and by extension, all university employees, to talk with their friends, their neighbours, their legislators (everyone!) about how wrong this withholding of approved monies is. This is true for all employees, but it is especially urgent for those who live paycheck to paycheck at a time of high inflation. Please remember, however, that as state employees, we may not use university resources to contact legislators to advocate for the university; we may not contact legislators during our working hours (without ensuring that time off is accounted for). Bear in mind also that employees are encouraged to focus on their own representatives. With this in mind, I here share a list of legislators that can be organized by district. Here is a map of the districts (assembly, senate, and congressional). Here is a link to a copy of an email sent by President Rothman to all shared governance representatives; it includes a sample of messaging points tailored to various audiences. Here again is a link to the PowerPoint slides — focused on state disinvestment — that I shared with you in an earlier communication.
 
As I told the Faculty Senate in my recent President’s report, the current timeline projections about the Governor’s lawsuit are the following: because Governor Evers filed a lawsuit directly to the Supreme Court, that body is in the process of hearing arguments as to why it should accept the case; if it does, the case will be litigated over the next few months; if there is a favourable judgement for us, that would likely occur in June; and it is not clear from this vantage whether our Pay Plan raise would be distributed on a retroactive basis or whether it would be distributed from that day going forward.
 
In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who attended Monday’s listening session and to all my colleagues for your energy and commitment at such a difficult time. I realize that these communications from me are long at a time when we are all taken up with pressing responsibilities in teaching, scholarship, and service, but I hope that they are also informative. As ever, if there are matters you think the Faculty Senate should consider, I hope you will not hesitate to let me or your Senator(s) know.
 
Yours,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President
 
 
ENTRY: 11-3-2023
Dear Colleagues,
I’m writing to share an update on the work of the Faculty Senate over the past few weeks. Since ourmeeting agendasare posted to the Faculty Senate website, and since some of my report will include references to work done by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) outside of Senate meetings, I will permit myself in this email to provide a cumulative report rather than one that moves from each individual meeting agenda to the next. Please note that this report is not exhaustive; my objective is to provide an overview of the matters most likely to be of pressing concern to faculty. As ever, if you have questions regarding any individual item or issue mentioned here, please feel free to email me or seek out your Faculty Senaterepresentative. Hyperlinks in this email will either take you to the relevant document in One Drive or to a relevant website. In some cases, these links will take you to a document I’ve already shared in the intervening weeks since my last Update. I share them here again in the interest of simplicity.
 
Institutional Realignment Plan & Restructuring
 
On 3 October the Chancellor circulated a draft IRP update to Shared Governance leadership. This document included a narrative broadly describing the causes of the current deficit, the parameters guiding the plan for the “reduction in force,” and a timeline for the layoff notification process; in addition, it included an institutional summary of the “reduction in force,” designed to provide a bird’s eye view of the budgetary reductions by employee class and by division (thus protecting employee privacy). This was shared with a request to submit feedback by end-of-business on 5 October. Each governance body duly submittedcomments, questions, and suggestions,which I subsequently compiled and shared with Senators. I share those comments here both to recognize the often invisible work being done across all Governance bodies to identify and articulate questions and make suggestions in this moment of rapid change and to make apparent the ways in which Shared Governance is being included in the discussion. Since then, updates from the Chancellor, Provost, and Chief of Staff during weekly Shared Governance Conference meetings, as well as updated documents, have provided answers to many of our questions, and a series ofTown Hall presentationsthis past week have provided us all with the most granular representation of the changes enforced by the cuts that we have yet had. Indeed, in response to a discussion at the Faculty Senate meeting of 17 October, Provost Martini suggested that he provide Senate with a presentation and the opportunity for robust Q&A at its 31 October meeting, previewing the week’s subsequent Town Hall presentations. The slides he shared with Faculty Senate can be foundhere.
Senate Actions
 
Pausing Assessment:Following a suggestion made at the September meeting of the Faculty Senate to pause assessments during this period of restructuring, the FSEC communicated with Charlie Hill, Associate Vice Chancellor, Curricular Affairs & Student Academic Achievement, to inquire into the feasibility of temporarily pausing 7-year Program Reviews as well as internal Program Outcomes Assessments. On 5 October, the Provost communicated to campus that his office will grant a one-year extension for 7-year Program Reviews, and later in October, AVC Hill wrote to chairs and directors who have Program Outcomes Assessments due this year to give them the option to postpone their assessment reports until the 2024-2025 academic year. In both cases, the pause is optional. Committee Charges: All chairs of Faculty Senate committees have received a Committee Information Form and a request that they work with their membership to provide Senate with a description of their committee’s purpose that accounts for the existing description inGov 3 but provides updates to register any way in which that description is either out of step with the actual work of the committee in recent years or is no longer relevant. Where possible, this has been the extent of the “charge” suggested to Faculty Senate Committees for this semester. The Senate expects to hear committee reports in upcoming meetings, and I will update the faculty on those next time. Policy: Following detailed responses from Mark Clements, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Information Technology, to questions that arose during a discussion on 17 October, Senate voted on 31 October to approve the university’s new Data Governance Policy.Dual Enrollment: At the Shared Governance Representatives meeting in Madison on 22 September, Johannes Britz, UW System Interim Senior Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs, communicated to Faculty Representatives the Board of Regents’ goal to expand dual enrollment to enable Wisconsin high school students to graduate with 30 university credits. In response, our Faculty Senate has unanimously endorseda letter to Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman and members of the Board of Regentsthat requests the implementation of key guardrails to protect the quality of our educational product.
 
Listening Sessions and Public Discussions
 
Open Listening Session:As I communicated on 26 October — in sharing theOne Drive foldercontaining notes from the open listening session, a PPT presentation, and a Word file for anonymized comments and concerns — I distributed the listening session notes to Chancellor Leavitt, Provost Martini, and Chief of Staff Alex Hummel in order that they might inform the Town Hall presentations planned for this week (slides linked above). A number of faculty have entered comments and questions in the Word file (and I thank them), and it is my hope that you will continue to use this space to voice the issues you would like me and my Faculty Senate colleagues to raise with the administration and discuss amongst ourselves.OSG Town Hall:Along with Karl Boehler, President of the Academic Staff Senate, and Danielle Juan, President of the University Staff Senate, I was invited to represent the Faculty Senate at the Oshkosh Student Government Town Hall this past Wednesday. Following a presentation given by Chancellor Leavitt and Provost Martini, and supplemented by Erin Grisham, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, students were given the opportunity to ask questions. Many students testified to intense distress at losing valued members of their local support system, asking pointed questions about the impact of the layoffs and VRIOP on those positions facing, reflecting, and serving the LGBTQ+ community, students of color, working-class and first-generation students, etc. In addition, one student spoke forcefully in communicating that some of their distress in this moment is coming from faculty behavior in the classroom. Both sets of concerns were distressing to me and my Shared Governance colleagues; we did our best to respond by reassuring students that faculty and staff will strive to provide them with the forms of support they need, with the “safe” spaces they crave, and with opportunities to enable them to communicate ways in which the cuts might be leaving their needs unmet. In addition, we stressed the faculty commitment to protecting the excellence of their education.
 
I realize that this has been a very difficult month for all of us. I hope that this communication finds you entering a restorative weekend.
 
Yours,
Pascale M. Manning
Faculty Senate President
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ENTRY: 10-2-2023
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
I am writing to you to offer updates about the work of the Faculty Senate, both in the month of August after the deficit announcement to our community and since the beginning of the semester. Please contact your Senator(s) for further detail on any of the information included here or visit me during my posted office hours, and I will be happy to elaborate where possible.
 
August:
As I shared with the Faculty Senate in my President’s Report at our first meeting on September 19th, shared governance leaders from all three governance groups were informed on August 2nd of the coming announcement about the university’s structural deficit; following that, we attended regular meetings with the Chancellor, as well as the Provost, in which we had opportunities to weigh in with comments, concerns, and suggestions about plans for institutional contraction. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee prepared a memorandum, which we circulated to the Chancellor on August 14th, that requested detailed budgetary data, advocated for a more progressive furlough plan, offered suggestions on how to avoid an across-the-board courseload increase, and asked questions about the administration’s plan for IAS contract nonrenewals.
 
While our suggestions about the furlough structure did result in a more equitable taxation progression, we have not yet received the budgetary data we requested, though we have been assured as recently as this past week that it is forthcoming. Additionally, while Provost Martini has expressed his commitment to our institution’s future as a research-enhanced comprehensive, we were not successful in provoking a granular discussion of either the current courseload increase or the methods by which IAS contract nonrenewals are being decided.
 
Prior to its distribution to our university community, the Chancellor also circulated the draft form of the Institutional Realignment Plan to shared governance leadership, and we were able to ask clarifying questions and make suggestions before it was widely shared in its current form.
 
September:
The Faculty Senate has met once so far this semester, on September 19th. In my President’s Report, I was able to provide Senate with unofficial 10-day census numbers delineating the state of our enrollment and our retention rates, which Amber Evans, our Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Marketing, supplied at a Provost Administrative Staff meeting that morning. I reported on the August 22nd Board of Regents meeting, at which shared governance representatives heard about UW System university budgets and learned that, in addition to the current structural deficits reshaping UW Oshkosh, UW Parkside, and UW Platteville, 10 of the 13 UW universities are currently projecting a structural deficit for 2023-2024. I noted that UW System Administration has hired the consultancy firm Deloitte to audit System universities’ structural deficits and to work with those schools to address their deficits and reduce their future reliance on tuition balances. I updated Senators on the status of the Pay Plan, and informed them that on September 8th I had been interviewed on PBS’s “Here & Now” to discuss the situation at UWO and state disinvestment in the UW System. And I asked Senators to consider requesting that a Faculty Senate update be included as a standing item on their department meeting agendas.
 
The Senate welcomed Provost Martini as its guest, and he provided us with a report that offered financial background for the current workforce reduction process in which he detailed UWO’s decreased revenues and increased expenses, broke down the structural deficit by fund, and detailed the Institutional Realignment Plan. He also updated the Senate on his ongoing work to finalize the membership for his Academic Planning Group, which will soon be announced to the university community. He offered detailed responses to Senator questions.
 
The Senate addressed itself to two discussion items, beginning with a statement entitled “Expectations for Collaboration,” which was prepared by two Senators and circulated to the Senate in advance of our first meeting in order to allow for comments to inform its final shape. This document is addressed to both Chancellor Leavitt and Provost Martini and requests a response by October 1st, 2023. In our discussion, Senators expressed: frustration regarding a lack of communication about UWO’s financial health leading up to the announcement about the structural deficit; frustration that faculty no longer feel that they occupy the job into which they were hired; the belief that the university’s current situation was foreseeable; concerns about the role and perceived value of shared governance — especially in light of the considerable labor expended on policy documents last year, which process was in some cases not informed by clear communication from the administration; concerns about how to promote transparency between the administration and shared governance to enable collaborative work; concerns that the administration does not value the teacher-scholar model; concerns about protecting the university’s commitment to the liberal arts; and concerns that the university should uphold the values stated in UWO’s Strategic Plan. Senators voted to suspend the rules and elevate this discussion item to an action item, and in the subsequent vote on whether to endorse the document and share it with the Chancellor and Provost, it passed unanimously.
 
The second discussion item considered by the Senate was titled “Faculty Senate Essential Offices Working Document.” This document was prepared by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee (FSEC) in response to discussions between shared governance leadership and the administration and identifies three programs and/or offices directly involved in student academic success and/or student retention that Senators felt might be at particular risk in the process of workforce reduction. Senators discussed the document’s function to advocate for programs and positions that can be shown to be directly connected to our academic mission and thus within the Senate’s purview. We discussed that it intentionally does not aim to provide a panoramic perspective on the university as a whole and its many essential offices, programs, and positions, but rather that its authors hoped that in focusing more narrowly, the document might meaningfully inform decisions that could affect student academic success and retention. An objection to the document’s narrow focus was voiced, and it was agreed that subsequent work might be pursued to provide a more encompassing recommendation. In the awareness that time is of the essence during this period of rapid decision-making, Senators voted once again to suspend the rules and elevate this discussion item to an action item, and it was passed by a strong majority in the subsequent vote.
Following the meeting, I shared both of these FS-endorsed documents with the Chancellor (including the Provost on the former). And as the deadline for the “Expectations for Collaboration” statement was today, I am here sharing the response I have this morning received from Chancellor Leavitt.
 
Going Forward:
The Senate meets again this Tuesday, and we will be joined by AVC Evans, who will discuss her assessments and plans regarding enrollment and marketing. I will provide a report on the business of this meeting in my next communication, in late October.
 
I know that we are all awaiting the enactment of the next steps in the workforce reduction and restructuring, and I would like to take this opportunity to state unequivocally that I am in solidarity with all of my colleagues, and especially with those valued colleagues who are facing layoff and nonrenewal. The processes by which our university is being reshaped will require robust faculty engagement and response, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Faculty Senate, shared governance leadership, and university administration in ensuring that we do all we can to provide a platform for faculty engagement and, by these means, protect the university we will inherit as a result of these changes.
 
Respectfully,
Pascale Manning
Faculty Senate President
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ENTRY: 5-15-2023
 
The Faculty Senate passed three important policies this spring. If they are adopted by Chancellor Leavitt, they will be in effect next year.
 
The Policy on Extending Faculty Voting Rights to Instructional and University Staff requires departments that wish to have their Instructional Academic Staff vote for department chair to have their faculty Tenure and Renewal Committee evaluate and recommend appointment/non-reappointment of those IAS. This solves two problems. First, it eliminates any conflict of interest that IAS have in voting for the person who recommends them annually for reappointment. Second, it provides a robust evaluation process for IAS, and one that is more aligned with the evaluation process for the faculty.
 
The Policy on Faculty Evaluation Criteria allows all tenured faculty to choose where to focus their work and therefore the criteria by which that work is evaluated as often as every four years. The UW Colleges (UWC) promotion criteria and Oshkosh college and departmental criteria (OSH) serve as our initial two evaluation pathways because these are the criteria under which the faculty were hired. For example, a tenured faculty member might decide to use OSH criteria requiring peer-reviewed outcomes for four years after tenure and be promoted to Full Professor under those criteria — and then they might choose to select the broader, more flexible promotion UWC criteria that embrace (but do not require) peer-reviewed outcomes for the next four years and be evaluated for Professorial Productivity Salary Increase (PPSI) under those criteria. This effort also ensures that the production of peer-reviewed outcomes is supportedTenured faculty members who choose OSH criteria for a four-year cycle will have opportunities to apply for reassigned time for scholarship during that period. There are administrative and logistical hurdles to be overcome here — but we will work on those in the coming year.

 

Finally, the Faculty Salary Equity Technical Document recommends a salary equity process (in the event that money is available for that purpose) that places all faculty in the same (Masters Large) CUPA category for the purpose of salary equity and does not make tiered distinctions among faculty based on location. 

We hope that these policies embrace the idea of what it means to be one university and honor the knowledge production inside and outside of the classroom that constitutes the work of our campus communityWe want to promote positive discourse going forward. 

I wish you a wonderful summer!

Jennifer Szydlik

Faculty Senate President

 
 
 
ENTRY: 5-26-2023

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

We ran out of time at our Senate meeting on Tuesday, so here is a brief President’s Report. 

The HLC Peer Team has sent us their report. They were very complimentary and voiced no official concerns. AVC Hill is grateful for our help with the site visit. 

Commencement is May 13. We will have two ceremonies in the Kolf Fieldhouse. Regalia is still available! To sign up to walk in graduation, go here: https://www.uwosh.edu/commencement/faculty-and-staff/

Please do whatever you can to help get our students registered for fall. There are still a large number with registration holds. If you have not done so, please contact your advisees to be sure they are signing up for classes. 

Provost Koker announced that he will retire on July 7, 2023.  I think that makes this his 32nd year of service to UWO. John Koker is compassionate, thoughtful, and, above all, a problem solver. He has been a tireless advocate for the faculty. I (and all of us) will miss him.  Please join me in thanking him for his unwavering support of shared governance. 

 
 
ENTRY: 4-18-2023
 
What a tough week for us all! As many of you know, the Faculty Senate is attempting to craft policies that will 1) Honor the Tenure and Promotion evaluation criteria that each faculty member was hired under; 2) Recognize that across the academy, faculty salaries depend upon discipline, rank, and institution type (which is mainly defined by expectations for scholarship and creative activity, with R1 salaries at the top); and 3) Allow faculty to change their evaluation criteria with a declaration. It is worth noting that the Faculty Senate is advisory on the use of the Chancellor’s discretionary funds for salary equity. We are not the deciders.
I have attached (see below) the current drafts of the two relevant policies. Both policies are subject to change and will not be voted on until our May 9 meeting. If you have suggestions, please contact your faculty senator.  The Equity Process Technical Document describes how we suggest the salary equity process should run, and the Policy on Changing Faculty Evaluation Criteria describes how to, well, change evaluation criteria.
 
 
 
 
 
ENTRY: 3-15-2023
Faculty Senate Leadership has been busy this week participating in HLC accreditation. HLC held a session to discuss shared governance structure and a session in which Faculty Senators answered questions about the work of the faculty at UWO. I also had an opportunity to talk about dual-enrollment programs with Regent Weatherly during his campus visit.
 
Faculty Senate is at work updating the Faculty Grievance Policy and the Faculty Complaint Policy to make them both more effective and to ensure they comply with UW System and Wisconsin State policies. I would like to thank AVC Carmen Faymonville for her expertise and assistance. We are also discussing how to resolve a conflict of interest with IAS voting for their supervisor (chair). Our current proposal is to require that departments that want their IAS to participate in Chair elections use their Tenure and Promotion Committees to evaluate and recommend the rehiring of eligible IAS.
 
At our March 7 meeting, the Senate endorsed the following Statement focused on Student Success:
 

Investing in the Classroom Is Our Best Strategy:   

Faculty Senate and UFSO Joint Statement on Support and Retention of First-Year Students  

As the elected shared governance representatives of the faculty and the elected leaders of the campus local of the American Federation of Teachers, we enthusiastically encourage all members of the teaching community to participate in the Student Success Initiative launched by Provost Koker and coordinated by campus leaders from CETL, COLS, and the USP. It is crucial that we acknowledge that the disruptions to education caused by the pandemic have left many of our students in greater need of support both pedagogically and emotionally, and that we need to recalibrate our classroom practices to these new realities. The Student Success Initiative provides a welcome spur to such reflection and innovation, affording us crucial opportunities to listen, discuss, and develop pedagogical strategies to support our students as effectively as possible.

With that said, we wish to register our urgent concern that no degree of pedagogical innovation, however well-implemented, will improve student success if instructors of our freshman students do not have adequate time and resources to build relationships with students and to provide them the feedback and support they require.  We have gathered the following rough data on how several first-year courses were staffed in Fall 2022:

Course(s)

Sections

% Taught by IAS

% taught by Faculty

COMM 111

41

75%

25%

WRT 110, 188

41

83%

17%

Quest 1

65

46%

54%

Math 100, 101, 103, 104*

39

90%

10%

*We acknowledge that these are not all first-year students.

These numbers reveal that courses specifically aimed at first-year students are disproportionally – indeed overwhelmingly – staffed by IAS, a group that typically teaches 24 credits each year (those with a terminal degree) and 30 credits each year (those without a terminal degree). We now hear that teaching workloads for terminal-degree-holding IAS may be increased to 30 credits each year. We oppose this plan. First-year students are our most precarious students in terms of retention, and to increase the workloads of instructors with the most direct contact with this population as we move into a pivotal Fall 2023 semester is a disaster in the making.

More generally, we ask both the administration and the university community to consider whether any instructor should teach more than 12 credits per semester in this post-pandemic era, in which increased student support is paramount. We assert that student-instructor relationships are decisive in determining whether students stay and succeed at UWO. We remind our administration of the importance of continued robust support for research and creative activities, as enshrined in the university policy on Scope of Faculty Responsibilities and Workload. And we call for investments in the classroom that will promote and sustain the kind of relationship-rich education that will benefit all of us – students, instructors, and the university as a whole.

Endorsed at Faculty Senate 3-7-2023

 
ENTRY: 2-8-2023
UWO Updates
At our February 7 meeting, the Senate passed two policies related to expectations around teaching. The first is a Policy on Credits and Contact Hours that defines a credit hour aligned with HLC requirements. The second policy defines “regular and substantive interaction” and requires that instructors provide a minimum of 1 hour per week for 14 weeks per credit (or the equivalent) for all course modalities. This policy puts us in compliance with US Department of Education requirements for online and hybrid courses and clarifies the variety of activities that compose regular and substantive interaction.
 
Our Senate Committees are at work studying DFW rates, investigating ways to promote UWO among local businesses; advocating for faculty salary equity using CUPA data; looking at ways to make courses more accessible to a diversity of students; planning recommendations for displaying and summarizing SOS data for the purpose of tenure and promotion; creating an evaluation process and evaluation schedule for UWO AVCs, the provost, and the chancellor; monitoring budget planning for the coming year; and studying the grievance policy, the plagiarism policy, and the policy on department chair appointments. We will be discussing these issues at meetings in the coming months.
 
System Updates
UW System has formed a working group to study the expansion of dual enrollment courses across the state. They are also working on updating a policy on faculty professional development (I am a member of that working group) and one on intellectual property — this second policy is particularly urgent given the proliferation of online content.
 
System has released the results of a Free Speech Survey. As a mathematician, I note that the methodology of the survey is subject to significant non-response bias (12% response rate). This type of bias amplifies the concerns of respondents with strong feelings because they are likely overrepresented in the sample. All interpretations of results should be qualified by that fact. Here is a link to the results: https://www.wisconsin.edu/civil-dialogue/
 
 
ENTRY: 11-17-2022
This semester, the Faculty Senate provided feedback to the Strategic Planning Committee and debated a Vehicle Idling policy and Credit and Contact Hours policy.
 
Our Senate Committees are at work studying DFW rates, investigating ways to promote UWO among local businesses; advocating for faculty salary equity using CUPA data; looking at ways to make courses more accessible to a diversity of students; planning recommendations for displaying and summarizing SOS data for the purpose of tenure and promotion; creating an evaluation process and evaluation schedule for UWO AVCs, the provost, and the chancellor; monitoring budget planning for the coming year; and studying the grievance policy, the plagiarism policy, and the policy on department chair appointments.
 
At the System level, faculty representatives from across the 13 campuses provided feedback on the proposed UW System Strategic Plan and a free-speech survey that President Rothman hopes will “… shed light on our students’ understanding of the First Amendment, including their rights and responsibilities.” President Rothman has also announced the launch of a new website with resources to help faculty and staff promote and navigate civil dialogue across the System: https://www.wisconsin.edu/civil-dialogue/

Jen Szydlik

 

 
 
ENTRY: 10-31-2022
The Fall 2022 semester brings Strategic Planning for both UWO and UW System. Know that your Faculty Senators and your Faculty Representatives at System have been busy providing input for these endeavors. For the latest draft of the UWO plan, look here: https://www.uwosh.edu/strategicplan/. For a draft of the UW System plan, check this site: https://www.wisconsin.edu/news/download/bor/UW-System-Strategic-Plan-Update.pdf
 
As Faculty Senate President, I am helping to write three sections of the HLC Assurance Argument for our visit in the Spring. Out of the effort I learned that more than 25% of our CAPP adjuncts have not yet completed the required 18 graduate credits in the discipline they teach for UWO. This prompted CAPP leadership and I to write guidelines that will assure that these instructors are supported in reaching HLC compliance by 2025 (our extended deadline for completing those 18 credits). I note that individual departments can require more restrictive guidelines (and deadlines) if they wish. Please reach out to me or the CAPP office for more information.
 
The Senate is currently considering a Vehicle Idling policy and a policy defining “Substantive Interaction” for asynchronous online courses. You are always welcome to join us.
 
 
ENTRY: 9-27-2022
This fall the Faculty Senate is focused on providing a strong faculty voice in the Strategic Planning process at UWO. We are hoping to discuss the latest draft with members of the Strategic Planning committee at our next virtual meeting on October 4, 2022. All are welcome.
In UW System news … System has completed a review of affordability. They found that while we compare very favorably to our peer institutions in other states, students from low-income groups are still unable to afford college in Wisconsin. In response, President Rothman has announced the Wisconsin Tuition Promise. This program will ensure, “underserved Wisconsin students can attend any UW System university without paying tuition or fees. The goal of the program is to increase the number of state residents who graduate with a bachelor’s degree – especially first-generation students and those from low-to-moderate income families throughout Wisconsin – thereby improving individual lives and communities and helping meet the state’s workforce needs. The Wisconsin Tuition Promise would provide up to four years of tuition and fee funding for students coming from families earning less than $62,000 annually and enrolling at the 12 public universities other than UW-Madison.” This program was funded this year by the UW System; in future years it will require a commitment from the legislature. For more information, check out this site: https://www.wisconsin.edu/tuition-promise/
UW System is also in the midst of strategic planning. While much of the earliest draft (released today as part of the Board of Regents’ agenda) was written in consultation with the Chancellors from across the state, President Rothman has had two meetings with shared governance (one in June and another on September 26) to elicit ideas. We hope to have even more involvement going forward.
The UW System is responding to a need for increased mental health services with new initiatives. They have signed a contract with Mantra Health for supplemental telehealth services for our students; they are implementing a well-being portal called YOU at College to direct students to resources; and they have created a new suicide prevention training for faculty and staff that will soon be available in Canvas.  They have also launched a Healthy Minds app. You can try it at https://hminnovations.org/meditation-app

 

ENTRY: 5-17-2022
The Faculty Senate finished the academic year by passing the Policy on Scope of Faculty Responsibilities and Workload. This policy codifies a structure for faculty to reassign portions of teaching load to substantive scholarly or service activities and supports UWO in becoming a research-enhanced comprehensive institution. We thank the Working Group led by Stephen Kercher for their work on this important policy, and Provost Koker and Chancellor Leavitt for their support.
 
At our final meeting, we endorsed a resolution from Oshkosh Student Association (OSA) declaring the first week of April to honor graduate and professional students at UWO. We thank our student governance body for giving us the opportunity to join them in honoring this important group.
 
On the horizon: further participation in academic and strategic planning; work on a policy providing faculty oversight of our Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP); and participation in the development of policy and practices related to UWO+ (our suite of online asynchronous degree programs).
 
 
ENTRY: 4-13-2022
Faculty Senate election results are in! Congratulations to our new Senators and our returning Senators: Christine Tipps, Catherine Schmitt, Nathan Stuart, Anna Hersey, Pascale Manning, Evan Williams, Jim Feldman, Jason Belnap, Eric Matson and Mike Jurmu. I am also delighted to announce that Pascale Manning is our new President-Elect.
The Faculty Senate is hard at work on the Policy on Scope of Faculty Responsibilities and Workload. This policy incorporates the excellent work of a group charged last summer by Provost Koker and chaired by Stephen Kercher focused on reassigned time for scholarship and creative activities.  We are also discussing proposed Strategic Priorities written by the Strategic Planning group. There will soon be an opportunity for all faculty and staff to comment on these priorities. Please do so.
The UW System Board of Regents (BOR) met on April 7 and 8. The BOR approved a transfer agreement between UWO and Fox Valley Technical College. FVTC may now offer an associate’s degree that we will accept. The BOR also approved our purchase of the Associated Bank building near Titan Stadium. The new building will be home to the Titan Thunder Marching Band as will provide needed storage and office space for our athletic programs.
 
 
ENTRY: 2-28-2022
The spring semester is in full swing, and the Faculty Senate is at work updating our committee structure to include all-campus Collegia on the Fox and Fond du Lac campuses, contributing to the UW System Presidential Transition Recommendations, providing feedback on Academic and Strategic Planning, and monitoring work on a Faculty Workload policy that will describe a process allowing faculty reassigned time for scholarship.
The UW System Board of Regents (BOR) met on February 10 and 11. The BOR approved two new UW Oshkosh degrees: the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Leadership and Organizational Development and the Executive Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.). They also voted to continue to allow our application fee to be set at $0.
Tommy Thompson will be on the UW Oshkosh campus on Monday, March 7 for the last time in his role as UW System President to meet with campus leadership.   We appreciate his advocacy and leadership during the pandemic.
Faculty Senate elections are coming with a call for nominations on Wednesday, March 2. Faculty, please consider running. We need your voice.
Jennifer Szydlik
Faculty Senate President
ENTRY: 12-14-2021
Here is an end-of-the-semester update on all things Faculty Senate!
 
At our November 16 meeting, the Faculty Senate approved an updated charge and membership description for the Academic Policies Committee to better reflect their work. We also considered recommendations from Provost Koker’s working group on Total Title and Compensation (TTC) titles for Instructional Academic Staff (IAS). The working group recommended that UWO use two titles (Lecturer and Assistant Teaching Professor) for IAS. The working group also recommended that UWO not adopt “business titles” to create a structure for title progression outside of HR. The Faculty Senate declined to endorse both recommendations.
 
At our December 7 meeting, the Faculty Senate endorsed a letter addressed to UW System President Tommy Thompson, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Anny Morrobel-Sosa, and Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Daniel Chanen expressing our disappointment in the loss of title progression for our staff colleagues and our frustration with the TTC titling options for IAS.
 
The Board of Regents met on December 9.  At that meeting, President Thompson reported that UW System has provided more than one million Covid 19 tests to students, faculty, staff, and the public. We will continue to provide testing through this winter. We have also led the way on vaccinations.  
 

The UW System Presidential Search Committee has sent a list of finalists to the Special Regents Committee — but they have not released the names. There will be an opportunity for some Faculty Representatives to meet with the finalists in late January. I will try to be a part of that delegation.

 

UW System has launched a Student Behavioral Health Initiative to address increased cases of anxiety and depression. They are working to provide help in crises, target vulnerable populations for services, and promote well-being and healthy working environments. UW System has implemented a digital mental health platform (SilverCloud) available to all faculty, staff, and students (Feel free to make use of the platform: https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/well-being/mental-health/) 

The Joint Committee on Employee Relations (JCOER) of the Wisconsin Legislature has yet to schedule a meeting to endorse the pay plan. This means that UW System salary increases may be delayed 

 
Finally, the BOR Education Committee has lengthened the “temporary suspension” of the use of the SAT or ACT in UW System admissions until 2024. (Students may still test if they wish to do so.)  

 I wish you all a wonderful end of the semester and a relaxing holiday season.

 
Jennifer Szydlik
Faculty Senate President
 
 
 
ENTRY:  11-18-2021
The Board of Regents met on November 4, 2021. President Thompson reported that UW System Enrollment for Fall 2021 is down about one percent. We serve a total of 162,980 students. This compares to a 2.3% dip in college enrollment nationwide. In other Regent news, the Board passed a policy allowing for faculty and staff to again serve on Chancellor search committees. A link to that policy can be found here: https://www.wisconsin.edu/regents/policies/selection-process-for-system-president-chancellors-vice-chancellors-and-uw-system-senior-leadership-positions/
Here on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus, the Strategic Planning Working Group has begun “mission and visioning exercises.” They are now reaching out to shared governance for input. Contact Chad Cotti if you want to hear more about this project.
Provost Koker briefly considered a partnership with a for-profit company called Academic Partners to create asynchronous undergraduate degree programs for nontraditional students. After input from faculty and a study of financial implications, he has declined to partner with that group.
At our November 16 meeting the Faculty Senate expressed frustration and disappointment in the Total Title and Compensation (TTC) initiative from UW System Human Resources. Senators declined to endorse the recommendations of the TTC Working Group that 1) UWO use the titles of “Lecturer” and “Assistant Teaching Professor” and 2) that UWO discontinue the use of prefixes for IAS titles (e.g., “Senior Lecturer”). The final decision will be made by Provost Koker.

Jen Szydlik

Faculty Senate President

November 18, 2021

 
 
Board of Regents Meeting and UW System Updates
 
The UW System Board of Regents met on our campus on October 7 and 8. Chancellor Leavitt addressed the BOR highlighting University Studies Program, the Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) and UWO’s success at leading the charge for testing and vaccinations in the community. He also stressed that our three campuses are positioned in an industry-rich part of the state, and this provides for unique opportunities.
 
A UW System reported on an initiative called “Pathways to UW” that invests in “college navigators” to work with high school students who might not otherwise consider attending college. President Thompson announced that seven UW institutions have made the threshold of 70% vaccinations. The deadline for the “70 for 70” campaign has been extended for two weeks. He noted also that UW System positivity rate last week was less than 1%, and about 80% of system courses are in person.  Finally, President Manydeeds announced a 72-credit transfer agreement between technical colleges and the UW System.

The BOR will consider changes to Regent Policy Document 6-4 related to the search process for UW chancellors at their November 4th meeting. The draft is open for comments until Friday, October 22: https://www.wisconsin.edu/regents/draft-policy-proposals-for-comment/Please comment. This is an opportunity to advocate for strong faculty representation on important search committees.

Jen Szydlik

Faculty Senate President

October 14, 2021

 

 

 

 

Welcome to our Sesquicentennial Year!
 
We are celebrating 150 years of excellence and opportunity here at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. If you missed the celebration on September 12, you can still visit the Gail F. Steinhilber Art Gallery on the third floor of Reeve Memorial Union to view the Humans of Oshkosh and Sesquicentennial Rephotography Project.
 
On Monday September 27, faculty have the opportunity participate in a listening session with Regent Karen Walsh regarding the search for a new University of Wisconsin System president. The session will be held from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Reeve memorial Union Ballroom 227BC. Please attend! It is important that faculty help shape the search criteria.
 
Five finalists for the College of Letters and Science dean’s search are visiting campus during the next few weeks. Watch your email for opportunities to meet these candidates and to provide input to the search committee.
 
Join us for “An Evening With Tommy Thompson” on October 6 from 7-8:30 p.m. in the Music Hall on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus. Tommy Thompson is the current president of the University of Wisconsin System. He served as the 42nd Governor for our state and as the 19th United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in the cabinet of President George W. Bush.
 
The UW System Board of Regents will meet on our campus on October 7 and 8. Watch for opportunities to participate.
 
Dr. Szydlik, Faculty Senate President
September 23, 2021
 
 
 
 

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