UW-Milwaukee Office of the Chancellor
March 27, 2020

COVID-19 Impact on Our Budget

Dear Faculty and Staff,
We have never experienced anything remotely akin to the COVID-19 pandemic. The greatest toll, of course, is the thousands of people who have died and hundreds of thousands more who have been infected by the disease. Hour by hour, we also are seeing the financial impact the pandemic is having on businesses and institutions, including UWM and other colleges and universities. Today, I write to share an update on how the pandemic is affecting our financial situation at UWM. The impacts include: 
  • Lost revenue from operations that have been closed. Without open facilities, we can’t provide catering, dining, recreation, community engagement activities and other services.  
  • Providing pro-rated refunds for parking permits, University Housing and dining operations budget.  
  • Costs associated with providing COVID-19 leave. This is the right thing to do, but it was an unplanned expense. 
As a result of these unexpected developments, I am announcing several measures to help mitigate the financial impact the pandemic is having on our campus: 
Cancellation of VSIP
Earlier this month I shared our plans to move forward with a limited voluntary separation incentive payments (VSIP) plan. The VSIP was being offered as a tool to address anticipated FY21 budget reductions. Due to the unexpected and extreme impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our budget, we are canceling the VSIP program. We do not currently anticipate a restoration of the VSIP at a future date. 
Hiring Freeze
We are putting into place a temporary hiring freeze, effective today. Limited exceptions will be allowed and should be forwarded through deans and division heads. All exceptions will be subject to approval from Provost Johannes Britz and Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administrative Affairs Robin Van Harpen.
Effective immediately, compensation adjustments for our employees, other than due to promotions, will be on hold, with very limited exceptions that will be subject to the same approval used for hires.
Safety of our People
As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Wisconsin, and in Milwaukee County in particular, the health and safety of all our employees are paramount. For the safety of us all and our families, we are undertaking efforts to significantly reduce the number of individuals working onsite. Deans and division heads will receive guidance and details on this later today. Employees should talk directly with their supervisors about options before coming to campus.
These are exceedingly difficult times that we are facing together. It is understandable that people are concerned, frightened and discouraged by the financial impact of COVID-19. Yet, we are needed now more than ever. It is important for us to activate our resilience as we reflect on the power of what we do – and will continue to do – to advance our students and communities.

Best regards,
Mark A. Mone signature
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Outside activities disclosure 

The Wisconsin Administrative Code requires faculty, limited appointees and academic staff with half-time appointments or more to report outside activities for 2019 by April 30, 2020. Employees also must complete this requirement to be eligible for any future pay raises, including adjustments included in the proposed 2019-21 State of Wisconsin Pay Plan. 
The criteria for reporting outside activities have not changed from prior years. Faculty and academic staff must complete disclosure forms even if they have had no outside activities or financial interests in 2019. This process will once again be done online. An email from “UWM eWorkflow Process Director” with a subject of “Outside Activities Reporting - Action Required” will be sent to all employees who must report outside activities. The email will include a personalized link for you to complete and submit your report. You will receive the email no later than April 1. 
As in prior years, your department chair and the appropriate dean or director will review your disclosure. These reviews will also be accomplished via the online system. 

Student privacy during online discussion

UW System has provided guidance regarding privacy concerns during online coursework, including the proctoring of online exams and the use of webcams during online classes. UW System recognizes that proctoring of exams, including online exams, is essential in many cases to protecting the integrity of courses and assigned grades. However, instructors should notify students that they are being recorded, including sending an “all-class communication” about the use of webcams or other tools as part of online coursework.

Preparing to teach online

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning is available for last-minute questions before classes resume online or through alternate modes on Monday. CETL support will be available every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through Sunday, March 29. Connect with them through email at cetl@uwm.edu or via Microsoft Teams. Normal hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can also still sign up here for workshops offered daily through Sunday.
Don’t forget these other CETL resources:
  • Daily online question-and-answer sessions begin Monday. These informal, one-hour sessions will be held twice a day, with no formal agenda. Feel free to attend the full session or just a portion. Click here to sign up.
  • Connect with colleagues virtually in the Online Teaching Partnership Program. CETL will connect you with a partner based on interest in the type of online instruction. All levels of expertise are welcome. Complete this form if interested.  

Refunds for online class fees

We’ve received a number of questions regarding the refund of online class fees now that all classes are being taught remotely for the rest of the semester. UWM will not be refunding online course fees.
Students who initially enrolled in online courses paid fees to help fund the digital infrastructure associated with those courses, while students who initially enrolled in face-to-face courses paid more segregated fees to support on-campus resources. We are not adding online course fees for students whose courses moved online, nor are we reducing their segregated fees. In keeping fees unchanged for the semester, all students will have paid fees to help fund campus services and infrastructure.

Contacting the Help Desk

UWM’s Help Desk will be using a new Microsoft Teams phone system to answer incoming calls from the campus community. Callers will hear an introductory message and be able to choose numbered options to route their calls to the Help Desk or the Classroom hotline. Faculty, staff and students can continue to contact the UWM Help Desk through the same methods.
All issues will continue to be handled according to the order they are received and the urgency of the issue. Help Desk personnel ask for your continued patience during this time, as they navigate a new working environment and acclimate themselves to new tools.

Community news

News links

We have created a FAQ section on the coronavirus website with the latest information about UWM’s response. If you do not see the answer to your question, please submit it here.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee