As we have undoubtedly begun to notice, election season is upon us. Each of us has an important role to play in terms of our participation in the civic sphere, and I would encourage you to research candidates for national, state, and local offices, engage in the political process as you see fit, and cast your ballot accordingly.
I also would like to remind everyone of a couple of important considerations.
First, the College will remain neutral in matters of electoral politics, in compliance with federal regulations. In addition, the College developed a document that articulates what types of engagement it is appropriate to pursue as an institution or representatives of the College; this document was drafted by a variety of faculty and staff about five years ago, and its content largely aligns with a more recent piece from the American Council of Education.
To be clear, these documents in no way address what any individual might do except as it pertains to identification with the College or use of resources (including computers, space, etc.). I offer this reminder in an effort to encourage your participation in our civic dialogue within parameters developed by members of our campus community.
U.S. Department of Labor Overtime Rules
The United States Department of Labor has recently issued proposed revisions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), particularly as pertaining to overtime hours and to employee classifications. This refers to whether employees in certain roles qualify for overtime pay (non-exempt) or not (exempt).
While details of the DoL’s original proposal are known, there are no details about the specific revisions suggested by the Administration through its recent action. In particular, we don’t know about the implementation timeline, any changes to what constitutes “exempt” employment, or the salary threshold that will be applied. Because of what is often colloquially referred to as the “teaching exemption,” the impact of any change to this regulation will be felt by staff, not faculty.
With this many unknowns, why am I sharing this update? First, you may be hearing about this in other settings, and I wanted to be sure you know that we are aware of the topic and preparing for how to move forward. Second, and perhaps most importantly, the College may need to move quickly to comply with the regulations (again, complicated by the fact that we do not know now specifically what we would need to change to be in compliance). If and as the federal government moves forward on changed regulations, you can expect to hear about next steps in short order.
Follow up regarding Judicial Processes
The Presidents’ Council reviewed yesterday a draft timeline and process for the review of judicial
processes I outlined in early March. I have asked Tony Chambers, Vice President for Student
Development, to lead this effort. You can expect more specifics soon.
I would like to highlight two important details. First, the College regularly engages in this type of review;
the current policy, in fact, results from engagement between Student Government Association
leadership, the Student Affairs Committee, Student Life Committee, and the Dean of Students’ Office in
the 2012-2013 academic year.
Perhaps more importantly, the timeline for this current review will be rather tight if any changes are
recommended to be effective for the 2016-17 academic year. There will be opportunities for faculty,
staff, and students to provide input between now and the end of the academic year; I realize that this is
not an ideal time of year, but believe it is essential that we conduct a review in time to make any
changes by next fall. Please keep your eyes open for more details and for opportunities to participate.
The final Board of Trustees meeting of the academic year will occur on Thursday, April 21. The
educational session preceding that meeting will pertain to the topic of sponsorship and will be
facilitated by the current members of the Sinsinawa Dominican Corporate Board. The meeting itself
contains action items around board membership and leadership, approval of the operating budget for
2016-17, and a student panel. After the conclusion of the meeting, Trustees will have the opportunity to
hear presentations from students about the research they’ve conducted. I am looking forward to this
opportunity for Trustees to interact with students in an academic setting.
Strategy and vision update
The Strategy Steering Committee continues its work in articulating our vision and identifying how to
move forward on the main pieces that are beginning to emerge. I will be engaging with students in the
next couple of weeks—first at the Deming Way campus, and then at an SGA Forum on the Monroe
Street campus—to get their input as well. I will continue to keep you posted on our progress.
Key events upcoming
As you know, we’re approaching the time when there are a large number and a wide variety of end-ofyear
events. Please be sure to check EC Today and the College Calendar to stay up to date on what's
I’d highlight a few where the target audience is all faculty and staff:
• The final College Assembly of the year will be held at 4:00 on April 11.
• The Dominican Honors ceremony, which recognizes students for outstanding scholarship,
leadership, and service, will be held at 4:00 pm on April 27.
• The annual Faculty and Staff Recognition Ceremony will be held at 4:00 pm on May 2.
• Commencement will be celebrated on May 15.
Where is Scott?
I mentioned last time that I was faced with a growing number of upcoming events as we near the end of the academic year…in fact, I just returned from Washington, D.C., where Edgewood College Trustee Mike Carr and I participated with Department of Education staffers and other college and university leaders about how to improve attendance and completion rates for low-income students.
As the College continues to explore the idea of community impact as part of our strategic framework, I continue to seek ways to participate in both our local community and higher education. Visible upcoming off-campus events on my calendar between now and the end of the academic year include (I listed some of these last time; sorry for the duplication):
• Rep. Pocan’s Higher Education Advisory Panel (April 6)
• Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Presidents’ Meeting (April 11)
• MadREP Business Education Consortium (April 15)
• MG&E Community Leaders Roundtable (April 19)
• WAICU Presidents’ Meeting (April 20)
• Urban League of Greater Madison Board meeting (April 27)
• Coaches vs. Cancer Gala (May 7)
• ULGM/MadREP Diversity Summit (May 9)
• Madison Community Foundation Annual Event (May 12)
Did you see?
I’m sure I won’t capture everything, but wanted to share a few tidbits of Edgewood College in the news…
• In a guest column in the Wisconsin State Journal, History Professor Jay Hatheway outlined one scenario in which the Electoral College might provide an unusual end to the 2016 election.
• Five members of Edgewood College Rotaract assisted Denis Collins (Professor, School of Business) in facilitating the Downtown Madison Rotary High School Ethics Symposium on
February 19. Because of their work, over 200 high school students had the chance to put ethics to use in exploring dilemmas and community issues.
• Derek Johnson, Director of Freshman Admissions, was named as Emerging Leader of the Year by the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals group. He will be honored at the awards ceremony on April 30.
• John Elliott, Head of Technical Services and Technology Librarian in the Oscar Rennebohm Library, published “I’ll Send You to Annie Wittenmyer’s,” published in the March-April edition of Big River Magazine. Both Tim and Chuck (John knows who they are) gave it great reviews!