University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Meeting Minutes

March 19, 2007

Members present: Alicia Acken Cosgrove, Kevin Bertelsen, Sarah Egerstrom, Brad Gee, Mark Kinders, Gretchen Link, Jason Neuhaus, Cara Rubis, Travis Tubré

Members absent: Carmen Croonquist, Kimberly Gould-Speckman

Guest: Gorden Hedahl

Call to order: 2:03 p.m.

Approval of 2/12/07 minutes: Moved by Bertelsen. Seconded by Rubis. Unanimously approved.

Chair's Report (S. Egerstrom):

United St. Croix Valley Day last month in Madison was a success. Kinders added that it was a good opportunity for business and industry leaders from the area to speak on behalf of UWRF.

In meeting with the Chancellor, he stressed that the strategic planning process is going forward. He also would like feedback from participants in the leadership development group he has formed this semester.

Two members of the Board of Regents will be visiting campus in April: Charles Pruitt (Apr. 4) and Judith Crain (Apr. 16).

Vice-Chair Cara Rubis will be starting the election process soon for four Academic Staff Council seats that will be open next fall.

The recommendations of a retention consultant who visited campus recently are available at G:\Committees\Enrollment Management\Retention Information.

Representative's Report:

No representatives report. Minutes of the 3/15/2007 meeting of Academic Staff Representatives are attached.

Legislative Update (M. Kinders):

The Joint Finance Committee will hold a hearing in Chippewa Falls next Tuesday. The Provost will attend, as will other top administrators from UW's in the region.

UW Day at the State Legislature will take place on April 18. The event will include student posters, and UW alumni and friends will visit with legislators.

New Business:

Resolution on Domestic Partner Benefits (G. Hedahl): Kinders motioned for approval of the resolution. Seconded by Link. Unanimously approved. Gorden Hedahl thanked the council for its support, and he encouraged individuals to contact their legislators.

Hedahl added that the Diversity Committee will be conducting a diversity survey on campus this semester, and he asked for the support of the council in promoting it. He also said that the NCA Self-Study Committee will be sending out a campus climate questionnaire soon. The second draft of the study should be ready by early April.

Recommendations on Leave Reporting (S. Egerstrom): A sheet of recommendations of the UW System President's Fringe Benefits Advisory Committee was distributed (on file). Kinders commented that UWRF is already requiring leave reporting on an hour-for-hour basis. Regarding the recommendation that sick leave accrual not be allowed in a payroll period where an employee fails to submit a leave usage report, Acken Cosgrove said she would prefer to see a more flexible wait time-possibly two months-before any action would be taken. This would allow for human error or late delivery of the reporting form through campus mail. She also said Human Resources should investigate ways to make the leave reporting process smoother and more easily trackable. Tubré commented that the University of Minnesota has an excellent online self-service system for employees and that UW System should look into new leave tracking software.

Collective Bargaining (S. Egerstrom): Egerstrom reported that the Faculty Senate had voted in favor of supporting the ability of faculty and staff to join a collective bargaining agreement. Collective bargaining provisions are contained in the 2007-2009 executive budget bill. Kinders and Tubré both expressed concern about the de-coupling of academic staff and faculty and the creation of separate bargaining units that could compete with one another for salary and benefits. Kinders also pointed out that collective bargaining for classified staff does not have a good recent track record of gaining better pay and benefits for that particular group. Tubré wondered how a separate bargaining unit for UWRF would benefit the faculty and staff. He offered the possibility that UW-Madison would be able to use its stronger bargaining power to obtain higher raises for faculty and staff than would be possible at UWRF.

Egerstrom asked the council about the next step in addressing this issue. Bertelsen thought it would be advisable to wait until an actual bill comes before the legislature before reacting. Egerstrom said she would continue to keep the council informed.

Continuing Business

Handbook Updates
Sections 5 & 6 (Acken Cosgrove)
Motion was made by Neuhaus to delete the following wording from 5.11 (1): "type of appointment, whether fixed term, probationary, or indefinite." Seconded by Bertelsen. Unanimously approved.

In response to questions regarding why UWRF does not offer indefinite or distinguished status for academic staff, Egerstrom said she would contact Human Resources and advise the council of what she learns.

Motion was made by Acken Cosgrove to change the wording of 5.31 to read: "Within 30 days from the effective appointment date, the Chancellor's designee shall schedule a meeting with each non-instructional and instructional academic staff member to review the terms and conditions of employment as stated in the initial appointment letter." Seconded by Link. Unanimously approved.

Bertelsen pointed out that it was especially important to inform the Chancellor of the new wording of 5.31. His designee, rather than the individual academic staff member, is now required to schedule the review meeting.

Sections will be renumbered in order to be consistent with the rest of the document.

Sections 7 & 8 (Link)
Link will review these sections and present any changes to the council at the next meeting.

Adjournment: Motion to adjourn was made by Link. Seconded by Bertelsen. Meeting adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

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