The University of Wisconsin’s Faculty Senate voted to accept the resolution for the Human Resources Design framework in a meeting Monday, meaning the HR restructuring plan will now move on to be addressed by the Board of Regents.
Last month, the Faculty Senate voted to postpone a motion to accept the framework brought forth by the University Committee due to concerns with lack of details on how the plan will move forward and a desire to hear the responses from executives.
University Committee Chair Mark Cook said some of the changes made to the framework since then include the need to balance compensation on not just market but equity as well, the issue of multidisciplinary work, the continued role of shared governance and training.
In last night’s meeting, Interim Chancellor David Ward said trust between various forms of governance is of great importance to the shared governance process.
“If I have failed in understanding with great empathy the notion of shared governance, I need to be told, because I haven’t been told,” Ward said. “Yet there have been implications that I have somehow failed in the shared governance process in what went on in the discussion [at last month’s meeting].”
With the HR Design process, Ward said he would hope for a complete discussion of issues before any legislation were to come before the Faculty Senate.
“I do think that we need to understand governance in a fairly complex array of issues and therefore if there is something about tying my hands on this issue, so that in fact I can only utter what you utter to me, then I am not your chancellor,” Ward said. “That’s not me.”
Ward said he needs the trust that he has judgment with added value to what the Faculty Senate brings forward. He said the issue of content is a serious issue for the HR Design process but added the issue of governance and discussing what he, as chancellor, can and cannot do in discussing with other government entities needs to be a separate issue.
During the meeting, the Faculty Senate debated and ultimately voted down an amendment proposed by Noah Feinstein, UW assistant professor in the school of community and environmental sociology.
The amendment would have altered notions in the proposed framework concerning shared governance regarding faculty engagement and what specifically a decision-making role means. Faculty Senate members expressed concern with the amendment being redundant and that it would have a negative impact on moving things forward.
UW history professor John Sharpless expressed concern. He said if the amendment would be included, then the proposed framework would have to then return to other governing bodies before advancing to the Board of Regents.
“It would be arrogant on our charge to make substantive, important changes and if what you say is true, they are substantive and important and not redundant, it has to go back to the other governing bodies,” Sharpless said. “We don’t have the time for that. We will look like fools if this doesn’t appear before the regents when they meet this month.”
Cook said if approved by the Board of Regents, the new framework will enter its implementation period starting July 1.