Several UW-Green Bay faculty members are sharing word of a gathering next Saturday (Sept. 19) in Milwaukee, as the American Federation of Teachers and the American Association of University Professors will host a joint summit for higher education workers across Wisconsin. All faculty or staff members of AFT-W or AAUP are invited to attend the summit, which will include talks by AAUP Executive Director Julie Schmid and AFT Executive VP Mary Cathryn Ricker, as well as coordinating strategies across Wisconsin campuses for dealing with the big changes to state law regarding tenure and shared governance. Members of UWGB-United are also coordinating ride sharing. You must sign up to attend by Monday (Sept. 14). For questions or to sign up, please contact UWGB-United President Doreen Higgins, Vice President Andrew Austin, or CLAS representative Jon Shelton.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller distributed a letter to all faculty and staff last week, indicating he wanted to comment on developments related to the 2015-17 state budget and the insertion of language dealing with tenure and shared governance. Miller reiterated that Regent Present Regina Millner and UW System President Ray Cross have been adamant in their support of tenure and governance, and noted that a Systemwide task force (both Chancellor Miller and Prof. Steve Meyer are members) will assist the Board of Regents in shaping policies moving forward. UWGB’s Miller shared the following statements on the key topics:
Shared Governance – “Shared governance is highly valued at UWGB and will continue. The new advisory role of faculty and staff does not change the need for an effective shared governance system. Indeed, the collaboration of students, staff and faculty governance bodies will be even more important in the coming years as we celebrate our first fifty years and look forward to the future. The existing shared governance organization and procedures will continue at UWGB as allowed by law.”
Tenure: “I have been, and continue to be, fully and strongly supportive of tenure as essential to ensuring full freedom of inquiry, discovery and teaching in the academy. I will continue to enthusiastically recommend tenure for qualified faculty upon the recommendation of the tenured faculty and with the approval of appropriate administrative officers.”
With respect to program review:
“I strongly support a thoughtful, vigorous, routine and faculty-driven process of academic program review that allows for the possibility of the discontinuation of a program no longer deemed an essential component of the curriculum.”
With respect to the layoff of faculty related to program discontinuance:
“The layoff of tenured faculty resulting from program discontinuation must be governed by rigorous standards of due process operating within an effective shared governance system.”
You can read the Chancellor’s full message.
Wisconsin Public Radio’s Patty Murray sat in on the UWGB Town Hall meeting this week. Attendees seemed most concerned about changes to tenure and shared governance, she reports. For more.
In a memorandum to the UW-Green Bay community, June 2, Chancellor Gary Miller summarized the omnibus motion passed by the Joint Finance Committee regarding the UW System. “The motion reduces the budget reduction to the system by $50 million ($25 million in each of the biennial years). The motion also restores the UW System to the compensation pool and provides advances in some of the important flexibilities needed by the system. This would mean our cut, without further modification, would be reduced from $4.6 million to $3.1 million. The budget reduction is still large but we have been encouraged by the constructive conversations we have had with legislative colleagues over the past several months about the importance of higher education in Wisconsin.” Chancellor Miller’s Budget Update Memorandum to campus is posted here: http://blog.uwgb.edu/chancellor/2015/06/02/budget-update-2/.
Chancellor committed to tenure and shared governance despite statutory changes
Chancellor Miller also noted in the budget memo that as he has affirmed in the past, he is a strong supporter of shared governance and tenure as is the Board of Regents. The omnibus motion included changes to shared governance statutes and the removal of tenure from the statutes (now to be included in Board of Regents policy). Chancellor Miller stated that he expects both of these important features of UWGB’s culture to continue.
Town Hall meeting planned for tomorrow (Wednesday, June 3)
Chancellor Miller and campus leaders will be convening a Town Hall Meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 3 in the University Theatre to hear comments and continue our community discussion of these issues.
We’ve told you here before about the University Staff Assembly scheduled to take place 1:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 29, in Phoenix Room B of the University Union. It’s the first full assembly of UW-Green Bay university staff since the transition of the Classified Staff Advisory Council to a UW System shared governance group, the University Staff Committee. “We look forward to sharing a little bit about who we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re headed. We encourage all university staff members to join us. Please RSVP. Root beer floats will follow the business portion of the meeting.
The program “Intro to Shared Governance” is open to all Academic Staff at 2 p.m. Friday (April 24) in the Christie Theatre. Then stick around for the Academic Staff Spring Assembly at 3 p.m. To register.