Supreme Court Decision

Dear UW-Green Bay Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We live in complicated times and I think a lot about the role of a public university within the discourse of current events.  It is my firm belief that public higher education should provide space for all people to grow and develop as human beings, acquire knowledge, search for truth, and have the full freedom to display their values.  We must provide a place where civil discourse can lead up to and follow decisions that will impact the lives of the people we serve.

I understand that many of you are upset by the decision today from the Supreme Court.  I also understand that many of you will celebrate it.  Both sides have the right to display those feelings.  The issue of women’s rights is not a new one and the discussion that will follow today’s decision is healthy and essential to continue to try to improve the human condition for all.  We hold the ideal of diversity as a core value.  This means recognizing, honoring and respecting the individuality of thoughts, ideas, beliefs and perspectives.  Listening to and learning from diverse voices makes us stronger and moves us forward and closer to our enduring commitment to search for the truth.

As always, we will provide support to those who need it in difficult times and continue to empower all through education.  I am very proud of UW-Green Bay’s history and current practices to support women.  We will continue to do so in a way that provides space for all viewpoints.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Chancellor’s Office Restructure

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Ben Joniaux, Cabinet Liaison for External Affairs, will be departing UW-Green Bay for a new job on May 13. Ben will leave a tremendous legacy here. His work to help us advocate the legislature for the new Cofrin Technology & Education Center brought the resources for the first major, fully state-funded capital project in over 20 years to come to UW-Green Bay. Ben has been a relentless proponent for us in local, tribal, and state government affairs as well as supporting myself, Chancellor Van Gruensven, and Chancellor Miller. He will be missed.

In a continuous effort to streamline the work we are doing administratively, we will not replace Ben’s position. Instead, Susan Grant Robinson will expand her role from Cabinet Liaison for Internal Affairs to Chief of Staff. This will allow Susan to focus the work we are doing to keep us on track with both internal and external endeavors in support of the mission of the university. Janet Bonkowski, will expand her role to include government relations.

Please join me in congratulating Ben on the next step in his career and supporting Susan and Janet in their new roles.

Best,
Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Funding from Governor Evers

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

UW-Green Bay will receive $975,000 in one-time funding this fiscal year from the $30 million to support higher education that Governor Evers announced in his recent State of the State Address.  This money is completely flexible in its use, which is rare in higher education.  As a result, we have decided to use the funds to give all ongoing, budgeted employees a $1,000 bonus. The payment will be effective on 4/10/2022 for those who have active appointments on that date. Employees will see the payment (which is subject to standard taxes and deductions) on their 5/5/2022 paycheck.

In addition, temporary employees (including ad hoc instructional staff) will be eligible for a prorated bonus payment to be determined by their area leader. If employees have questions about their bonus payment, they should contact their supervisor after May 5, 2022.

I will take my bonus and donate it to the UW-Green Bay Foundation to support need-based aid for students.  I encourage employees who have the means to consider using part or all of their bonus to support our students as well.

This payment does not adequately reflect the work that everyone here does, but it is a direct way that we can show our appreciation in ways other than just words.  The work that you do matters to our students and to the future of our region and the state.  Thank you.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

New Guidance Regarding the Expiration of Current COVID Protocols on March 1

Dear UW-Green Bay Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The mask mandate we have in place for UW-Green Bay’s COVID response expires at the end of February.  Due to the rapid downward trajectory of COVID cases and hospitalizations in our region, UW-Green Bay will end its mask mandate on March 1.  This decision applies to masking only; all other COVID protocols regarding quarantining, isolation, and staying home if you are sick remain in place at this time.

I do not come to this decision lightly.  I have visited with faculty, staff, and student governance to consult on the issue.  We enter this new phase of the pandemic in step with all public school districts in our region, the support of the UW System, and the knowledge that every county in Wisconsin intends to lift their mask mandate by March 1.

I ask the following things as we approach and move past March 1:

  1. The mask mandate is still in place until March 1 and should be followed.  We need to allow the numbers to continue to come down to ensure we do not jeopardize the direction we are headed in for the near future.
  2. I beg you to continue to have compassion for each other. This spirit is who we are as Phoenix. There are still people who are at significant risk if they contract COVID.  If someone that is required to be around you asks you to wear a mask in their presence, I ask that you do your best to honor their wishes.  Today’s decision does not ban masks, but allows for personal choices to be made regarding the precautions each of us will take moving forward.
  3. If the trajectory of the pandemic changes, we will reconsider our protocols, just as we have done throughout the last few years.

I know not everyone will agree with this decision. However, at every moment over the last two years we have listened to all opinions regarding our COVID protocols and tried to do what is right by UW-Green Bay.  As an institution, I believe this is the right step to take at this time.

Respectfully,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

New UW System President

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

As you have probably heard, Jay Rothman has been named the next president of the University of Wisconsin System. I am excited to work with President Rothman in his new role. His immense leadership experience and belief in the importance of education will be an asset to advocate for the needs of higher education during his tenure.

I greatly anticipate the opportunity to update President Rothman on the incredible things happening at UW-Green Bay and why our mission is resonating so strongly. We look forward to working with him to further strengthen our university and thereby contribute to the overall success of the UW System.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

COVID Testing

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Thanks to the great work of everyone on our COVID Response Team, we have been able to secure voluntary antigen COVID testing for faculty and staff. Please make appointments at the Wellness Center on the Green Bay campus, beginning
Monday, January 24, through the MyPrevea app.

We will not be able to provide confirmatory PCR tests for positive cases so we ask anyone with any COVID symptoms to not come in-person to work. If you are experiencing any COVID symptoms, please consult with your supervisor to temporarily telecommute or use sick leave.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Spring Semester Update

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

Thank you for your patience while we have watched closely and debated how to proceed for the start of the spring semester. Throughout the pandemic, we have tried to wait as long as possible to make announcements to ensure we are as clear as possible on the conditions we are navigating.  We have consistently followed the guidelines of the CDC, local health conditions, and the counsel of medical professionals and will continue to do so.  Our overall strategy to trust each other to do the right thing as the pandemic has evolved is working.

As a result, we are going to proceed as we have done since the fall of 2020.  We will continue to take precautions across the university to keep everyone safe, but we will trust and rely on you to adapt to your local conditions as needed in the opening weeks of the semester while the Omicron variant is so prevalent.  Below is a list of procedures we have to help everyone make decisions around classes and operations for staff.  As always, if you have concerns, please communicate them to HR or your supervisor so we can help navigate individual issues.  I urge you to continue to exhibit attributes like flexibility, care for others, empathy, open communication, and the belief in the importance of education to our students and the region.

I will continue to place my bet on the people that work at this university.  If necessary, we will pivot quickly to respond to changing conditions.  Thank you for your commitment to our students and the important work you all do.

Procedure Guide

Faculty

  • In the event that an instructor of an in person course is unavailable to provide in person instruction due to a COVID-19 related reason, the modality of the course may be temporarily changed to virtual instruction for a period of one week to facilitate the return of the instructor.  Examples of rationale to change modality include, but are not limited to the instructor being under a quarantine or isolation requirement or being responsible for the care of a person who is under a quarantine or isolation requirement.
  • In the event that a significant number of students are unable to participate in face-to-face instruction due to a COVID-19 related reason, the modality of the course may be temporarily changed to virtual instruction for a period of one week to facilitate the return of the students.  Examples of rationale to change modality include, but are not limited to a significant number of students under quarantine or isolation or the absence of students causing a disruption in advancement of the class (e.g. significant absences during an exam or presentation).
  • In the event that an instructor of any course is Covid-19 positive and physically unable to instruct in any modality, the instructor should report this to their chair.The Chair and Dean will  facilitate colleague coverage as available.  In the event that such coverage is not available, the Dean may suspend the course for a temporary period, and will develop a plan for ensuring completion of learning outcomes within the semester.
  • For any of the above scenarios, the modality change request should be made to the Chair and Dean of the College (copy to Dean’s Assistant) who will review the change. In the event the instructor does not agree with the decision of the Dean, the request may be brought to the Provost.
  • Instructors will need to notify all students via email and Canvas about any changes.  For changes that occur prior to 1/31, written notification should also be provided on the classroom door so that students who are late adds are aware of changes.

Staff Operations

  • In the event that an operational area is unable to provide in person services due to absences of staff for COVID-19 related reasons, operations may be temporarily changed to virtual services for a period of one week to facilitate until a return to required staffing levels.  Examples of COVID related absences include, but are not limited to the employee being under a quarantine or isolation requirement, the employee being responsible for the care of a person who is under a quarantine or isolation requirement, or the employee being symptomatic for COVID-19.
  • In the event that essential employees or a significant number of employees in any area are unavailable to perform work in any modality due to a COVID-19 related reason the Supervisor should report to the Division Director.  The Director will assess the ability of the operational area to continue functioning and any critical impact on the services provided that the absences may have. If it is determined that the risk to continue operation with the reduced staffing is too high, suspension of operations may be considered with approval of the Area Leader.
  • In the event that an operational area wishes to change modality, the supervisor shall make a request to the Director of the Division who will provide approval of the change. In the event the operational area does not agree with the decision of the Director, the request may be brought to the appropriate Area Leader.
    Notification of offices being unavailable for face-to-face transactions will be provided with signage at the location and inclusion on any webpages or other public informational locations.
  • The Division Director shall notify the Area Leader of any modifications of delivery or staff shortages that may impact overall service.  Any staff shortages which will result in impact to essential functions (safety, security, IT continuity) will be considered in making determinations of impact on overall operations in Spring of 2022.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

Covid Testing Update

Dear UW-Green Bay Faculty and Staff,

As the pandemic still evolves, we are continuing to monitor conditions and are using our resources in the best way possible to keep our campuses safe. With the close of the fall semester approaching, we are making the following changes until the beginning of the spring semester:

  • The Testing Center (University Union Alumni Room) will close on Friday, December 10th.  Faculty/staff who need a Covid test will be asked to utilize a personal healthcare provider or an off-campus vendor beginning December 11th.
  • For those wanting to receive a booster shot, clinics will be available at the Wellness Center on January 5, 12 and 19 from 2:00-4:00PM each day. If interested, please call 920-465-2380 to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins will not be able to be accommodated.

We will continue to update other Covid protocols when it is determined safe to do so. Until that time, continue to mask in all public areas, remain physically distanced when possible, and practice good hygiene. Please stay healthy and well.  Support and care for each other while we support and care for our students through the end of the semester.

Thank you for everything you are doing.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

70 for 70 Campaign Update

Dear UW-Green Bay students, faculty, and staff,

It was announced yesterday that our student body has reached the 70% threshold for COVID vaccination. I continue to be incredibly proud of how our students have persevered throughout the pandemic. We want students to continue to have an amazing experience at UW-Green Bay and the 70% vaccination milestone helps everyone stay safe and on track to reach their educational goals. This milestone also means that under the UW System’s 70 for 70 Campaign, four of our vaccinated students will be randomly selected to receive $7,000 scholarships!

I would like to remind students who have received their vaccination, but have not reported it through our verification process to consider doing so before the Oct. 31, 2021 deadline to be eligible for the drawing.

As of this week, 79% of our faculty and staff and 76% of our students who live on campus have also verified vaccination. Achieving this has been a tremendous undertaking from our Dean of Students, Gail Sims-Aubert, personnel in the Office of Covid Response and the Wellness Center, as well as our partners at Prevea Health.

Thank you for your resilience over the last 18 months and your willingness to care for and support each other.

Best,

Michael Alexander
Chancellor

October Coffee Break

Join Chancellor Alexander, Sheryl Van Gruensven, Kate Burns, and Corey King for the next Coffee Break. Campus leaders will provide a brief update and allow the remaining time to take questions from faculty and staff. Colleagues from all campus locations are strongly encouraged to attend.

Monday, Oct. 11
8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
Online Session via Microsoft TEAMS

Agenda

  • Brief Updates
    Michael Alexander, Sheryl Van Gruensven, Kate Burns, and Corey King
  • Question and Answer Session
    Email questions to coffeebreak@uwgb.edu