Annual Report of the University Committee
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
John M. Lyon, Chair
Committee Members: Cliff Abbott, Mimi Kubsch, Dick Logan, John Lyon, Illene Noppe, Joyce Salisbury, and student representative John Rumpel
In this report I will try to summarize the history of UC and Senate business for the 2002-2003 academic year. If you have questions on the details I encourage you to review the excellent minutes of the Faculty Senate and the University Committee meetings that are available in the office of the Secretary of the Faculty and Academic Staff.
The academic year began with Provost Sue Hammersmith and Dean of Liberal Arts and Science Carol Blackshire-Belay joining the University. The addition of these two new faculty members to the administrative ranks of the University created a year that was rich in the analysis and discussion of the policies and practices of the University. These investigations and analyses helped the University Committee to better understand ourselves and to provide the Provost and the Dean with a foundation of knowledge of our University that should help to support their deliberations for the foreseeable future.
The business of the Faculty Senate began this year with three items that carried over from last year. These items dealt with faculty status for teaching academic staff, General Education reform and Extended Degree questions.
At its September meeting the Faculty Senate approved changes in sections 50 and 51 of the faculty handbook dealing with faculty status for teaching academic staff. The changes in the code were intended to change the process by which teaching academic staff would be granted faculty status. The change attempted to connect the privilege of faculty status to the position instead of to the individual. Changes to this section of the faculty handbook require the approval of the Board of Regents. Currently, the changes as passed have not been forwarded by the Chancellor to the President of the System as required for Board of Regent approval. This was due to the Provost having questions regarding the language of the approved changes. She is currently reviewing the language and has promised to work with the UC this year to produce a code change that she can support. In the mean time, the old code is being enforced.
Also at the September meeting of the Faculty Senate the General Education Council presented their vision for a new General Education program. This proposal was widely discussed over the next few months and was finally rejected by the senate. The Faculty Senate then passed the following resolution supporting the role of interdisciplinary studies in the general education program.
Whereas the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is committed to a distinctive academic plan characterized by strong interdisciplinary, problem-focused liberal education,
Be it resolved that providing students with an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving be the top priority of the general education program.
While the first two items of old business started strong and loud, the Extended Degree business began as low key discussions between the UC chair and the Dean of Liberal Arts and Science. The business heated up in the spring when the University Committee called for the formation of a Faculty Executive Committee to oversee the academic interests of the Extended Degree Program and, after months of debate, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution calling for the formation this Committee. While this discussion was ongoing, the Dean of Liberal Arts and Science requested that a complete analysis of the Extended Degree Program be conducted. The UC took on this task and completed its work in late spring. The UC report on the Extended Degree Program presented an analysis of a number of issues regarding the program including program mission and governance.
In the middle of the year, the Faculty Senate passed code changes dealing with Section 6.01 and the Committee on Academic Actions. The code change regarding Section 6.01, some refinement to the language of the code, was forwarded by the Chancellor to the President of the System for the approval by the Board of Regents and will be placed into action while we await the approval from the Regents. The code change dealing with the Committee on Academic Actions, dealing with the length of terms for faculty representatives, does not need Regent approval and was placed into action for next year.
The January Senate meeting allowed some free time for unscheduled business and the UC chair invested this time by inviting comments and concerns regarding the state of campus technology and in particular the state of implementation of the PeopleSoft system. The timing must have been right, as a number of issues were brought to the floor of the senate. The most critical problem that was addressed was one of not knowing whom to contact for specific questions regarding campus technology and a tendency to be passed around when you do ask a question. In less than a week the UC and Associate Provost Kathy Pletcher had worked out a process by which the computer help desk would act as the point of first contact for any and all questions regarding campus technology and software systems. The plan called for the help desk to log all questions, to provide or obtain answers to all questions, to develop and post on a web site a list of commonly asked questions and their answers and to develop a campus email technology list serve. I encourage the Associate Provost to review these systems in the spring to determine their effectiveness and to make changes as needed.
Budget issues were with us the entire year. They began with budget reductions in the fall, became stressful during the discussion of the use of the "Learning Experience" funds and continued into the spring as the state tried to address its budget deficient. Along the way the Senate Budget and Planning Committee presented to the Senate for their approval a plan for Strategic Budgeting at UW-Green Bay. The plan, a joint product of the Senate Budget and Planning Committee and the Provost and Chancellor was accepted for a one year pilot trial and was quickly put into action as the University worked to produce a 03-04 budget that included a significant base budget reduction and a decrease in staffing.
The year saw the retirement of the Jerry Rodesch, the Secretary of the Faculty and Academic Staff. The UC and the Faculty Senate recognized Jerry for his outstanding service to the University at its May meeting with a formal resolution and a standing ovation. The UC and the ASC worked together to recruit and interview candidates for the open position and made its recommendations to the Provost and Chancellor in late spring.
Even without a hope for faculty salary increases for the next academic year the Senate, at the urging of the UC chair to maintain the practice if just for the practice, debated and passed a resolution regarding the distribution of the faculty pay plan.
A number of issues and problems were discussed to some extent at UC meetings but survived our best attempts to solve them during the year. Included among these issues are:
faculty development opportunities;
childcare facilities to support the needs of our faculty, staff and students;
the position of a faculty advocate;
the role of the University Ombudsperson;
equality of S&E funds across units.
I would like to thank once again the University Committee for their strong support and wise council over the past year, without which I would have made many more mistakes. I would also like to thank the Faculty Senate, the Provost and the Chancellor for their active roles in shaping the decisions that were made in the Faculty Senate this past year. I encourage you all to continue to ask the difficult questions, to seek the truth and to work to forge effective solutions to our problems both large and small.