Academic Staff Governance History

UW System Academic Staff Personnel Policies and Procedures:

The 1973 merger creating the current UW System led to the development of UW System (UWS) rules which were approved by the Board of Regents in 1975. Chapter UWS 9 of the Regent Rules directed each chancellor to establish a campus committee to “advise the administration on policies and procedures for academic staff …”

The Academic Staff Advisory Committee:

In May 1975, an interim committee was established to develop procedures for setting up an academic staff committee that would develop UW-Madison policies and procedures for academic staff and advise the administration on matters affecting academic staff. The committee included seven academic staff elected from six areas and four academic staff appointed by the chancellor. The initial Academic Staff Advisory Committee spent almost three years developing the UW-Madison Policies and Procedures Governing Academic Staff Appointments. When the rules became official, the word “advisory” was dropped and the Academic Staff Committee became the official governance mechanism for the academic staff. The faculty’s parallel to the original committee, and now to ASEC, is the University Committee.

Wis. Statutes, 36.09 (4m): On August 17, 1985, Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin Statutes was revised to include academic staff:

The academic staff members of each institution, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the board, the president and the chancellor and faculty of the institution, shall be active participants in the immediate governance of and policy development for the institution. The academic staff members have primary responsibility for the formulation and review, and shall be represented in the development of all policies and procedures concerning academic staff members, including academic staff personnel matters. The academic staff members of each institution shall have the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine, and to select their representatives to participate in institutional governance.

On September 6, 1985, the Board of Regents (Resolution 3359) directed each chancellor to implement academic staff governance participation.

The Articles of Organization:

In 1986, the Academic Staff Committee hired a consultant to assist them in getting input from the widest possible range of members of the academic staff and in the development of new governance mechanisms. The Articles of Organization were developed and were ratified by the academic staff on February 16, 1987:

PREAMBLE EXCERPT: Participation in the UW-Madison Academic Staff Assembly, Academic Staff Executive Committee and subcommittees is recognized by the university as a fundamental right and responsibility of academic staff members. Employing units and supervisors shall encourage these activities as fundamental to the success of shared governance. This includes providing flexibility for academic staff to attend meetings of these bodies. Participation in academic staff governance should be considered among other job functions and responsibilities in performance evaluations for promotion, indefinite appointment, merit increase, and other job-related matters.

Concurrence by the Faculty Senate: On March 2, 1987, the Faculty Senate adopted a supporting resolution.

The Academic Staff Assembly:

An ad hoc districting committee was set up, Assembly representatives elected and the first Assembly met on June 23, 1987. The faculty’s parallel is the Faculty Senate. The Assembly appointed a Bylaws Subcommittee and met almost weekly to amend and fine-tune the Bylaws Committee’s original draft of the Academic Staff Assembly Bylaws. The Bylaws were approved on December 1, 1987 and included the current structure for the selection of the following committees:

  • Academic Staff Executive Committee
  • Compensation and Economic Benefits Committee
  • Personnel Policies and Procedures Committee
  • Nominating Committee

The Academic Staff Executive Committee (ASEC) is responsible for day-to-day governance decisions and reports its activities to the Assembly on a regular basis. The Assembly has since established two additional standing committees:

  • Professional Development and Recognition Committee
  • Districting and Representation Committee

Increased Academic Staff Committee Participation on Committees that Formulate UW-Madison Policies and Make Campus Level Decisions: Over the past several years, the Academic Staff Executive Committee has worked closely with the University Committee to increase the number of campus-wide committees that include academic staff as voting members. Academic staff are now included on approximately 50 committees that previously included academic staff as consultants or ex-officio members. This is an ongoing effort by ASEC.

The Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization (ASPRO):

In response to the need for academic staff to be aware of and have influence concerning legislation affecting academic staff, particularly during the biennial budget exercise, the Academic Staff Assembly established ASPRO on March 28, 1989. There are now two ASPRO Boards–one for the Madison campus, and the second, the UW-System campuses. The ASPRO Board of Directors works with legislators, the governor, the regents, and the general public to help ensure that the interests of both the UW-Madison and UW System academic staff are not ignored. To date, ASPRO has been very successful in meeting its aims. Its influence could become even more effective with a larger membership. Currently there are about 1,000 members of the 10,000 academic staff system-wide who contribute to ASPRO’s efforts that benefit all academic staff.

Governance Impact

A partial list of areas upon which academic staff governance participation has had influence: The UW System Gender/Race Equity Project, harassment policies, parental leave policies, retirement legislation, Academic Staff Excellence Awards, an Academic Staff Endowment Fund, the ban on smoking in university buildings, eligibility to serve on Graduate School examination committees, “permanent” Principal Investigator status, the committee memberships mentioned above, and growing influence in the state Legislature and with the regents.

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