The Kress Events Center’s fitness wing has an uncredited cameo in a new commercial starring Green Bay Packers standouts Randall Cobb and Eddie Lacy. The brief spot has the two stars talking and joking while riding stationary bikes. It’s an ad for NFL.com’s new fantasy football site. To see the video.
In the most recent edition of our Inside UW-Green Bay print magazine, we highlighted alumnus Jeff Pagels’ success as an inspirational author, speaker, Olympic-caliber athlete, natural-resource manager for the DNR and all-around good guy. Pagels has used a wheelchair since 1984. His 2014 book about his comeback from severe spinal cord injury, Always Climb Higher, is the topic of a recent Green Bay Press-Gazette article.
Jeffrey Selingo sees a big shakeout coming for American higher education, eventually, especially for struggling “bottom feeder” institutions. The former Chronicle of Higher Education editor notes that the U.S. system is still admired around the world, but… “Any time I drive in the Northeast, I’m always struck by the number of signs along the highway for a nearby college,” he writes, “…but we don’t need a college at every exit along the highway anymore.” Interesting opinions.
Sarah Goldrick-Rab, a UW-Madison professor of educational policy studies and sociology, a nationally prominent researcher regarding college affordability and access, and an outspoken public intellectual, is again drawing national attention. So far this month she has tweeted comparisons between Scott Walker and Adolph Hitler, and she also warned some incoming UW-Madison freshmen that the school they’ve chosen is a sinking ship. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quotes UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank as commenting on the issue: “Any institution has its critics,” and “…especially in social media, it’s important to remember that the loudest voice usually isn’t the most accurate.”
In an email Friday (July 10) to all employees, Chancellor Gary L. Miller outlined how the new UW System budget — which includes a loss of $125 million annually in state taxpayer support — will affect UW-Green Bay. The good news: The $2.8 million funding cut here was scaled back from the $4.6 million initially projected, and is unlikely to require involuntary layoffs. The bad news: a significant reduction in force through the loss of several dozen vacant faculty and staff positions will be a challenge. The Chancellor thanked the University’s Trustees for their advocacy, and campus leadership and the University Planning and Innovation Council (UPIC) for their contributions to budget-reduction planning (which continues). To see Miller’s memo, click here.
About 24 positions at UW-Green Bay are losing their state GPR funding, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported in its July 11 print edition. “It is a serious reduction,” said Chancellor Gary Miller, who said layoffs aren’t needed because senior employees (29 total) accepted voluntary separation deals. “That’s a significant reduction in our workforce,” Miller said. “We are losing some key people, and some key knowledge.” The university has some savings to use while it fine-tunes its staffing plans, having frozen hiring, curtailed travel and cut back on purchases months ago in anticipation of the state budget reductions being approved. To read the P-G story, click here.
The UW System Board of Regents approved a 2015-16 budget Thursday that factors in $125 million in “painful” annual cuts from the Governor and Legislature. Several Regents and UW System officials were vocal in reacting to the actions necessitated by GPR reduction in state funding. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, reports that Regent Charles Pruitt voted against the budget, the first time in his 12 years on the board, which he called “a symbolic vote.” Said Pruitt, “Now for two budgets in a row, there’s been a toxic blend of deep budget cuts and a tuition freeze. The short- and long-term consequences of this budget are profound.” For the J-S coverage, click here.
Prof. Harvey Kaye continues his busy schedule of progressive talk show appearances. He’ll talk “American Social Democracy” as a phone-in guest of a New Hampshire radio station at 11 a.m. CDT Thursday the 9th. Also, he’ll begin a standing 30-minute, biweekly gig on the national Nicole Sandler internet radio show, starting at 10:30 a.m. CDT Thursday the 9th.
A Wisconsin Public Radio story earlier this week noted that UW-Green Bay is the first of eight UW campuses with numbers to report on a campus-based “voluntary separation” program. Spokesman Christopher Sampson said a total of 29 individuals signed up for the buyouts (including him) with departure dates between July 3 and Jan. 7, 2016. He said school officials hope to reconfigure or consolidate jobs and maybe eliminate some positions. They hope to do that without laying off current workers. The story is archived here.
Two of UW-Green Bay’s most prominent and honored professors are the authors of separate essays published on this Independence Day weekend 2015.
Contributing to the Green Bay community’s dialog about the Confederate flag controversy playing out nationally, Prof. Regan A.R. Gurung of Human Development wrote a guest column for the July 3 print edition of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Headlined “Celebrate our freedoms, but don’t forget about respect,” the piece celebrates American freedom of expression but reminds us that a populous and pluralistic society derives value when individuals appreciate why some expressions are considered incendiary. The piece is archived here.
Prof. Harvey J. Kaye of Democracy and Justice Studies, who speaks and writes nationally from a progressive perspective, has contributed the column “Social Democracy is 100% American” to the Moyers & Company political website. In it, Kaye criticizes some supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for trying to marginalize the campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Responding to an interview in which a Clinton surrogate described Sanders as “extreme,” Kaye argues that social democracy has long been mainstream in American life. Whether public education, national parks, Social Security and more, from Thomas Paine right up through FDR and on to, yes, Sanders, it’s a fundamentally American tradition, Kaye argues. See http://billmoyers.com/2015/07/03/social-democracy-is-100-american/
The Green Bay Press-Gazette has posted a story by reporter Patti Zarling about the status of UW-Green Bay’s Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). A total of 29 senior employees accepted the buyouts, said Human Resources Director Sheryl Van Gruensven. The packages were offered to 158 employees (about one-quarter of the regular workforce) who met the eligibility criteria of age 55 or older with at least five years of service. Of those, 38 took the step of requesting that paperwork be drafted; the 29 who signed their agreements represent 18 percent of the total eligible. Departure dates range from this week through early January 2016, and Van Gruensven noted the positions reflect a range of jobs and employee categories across campus. UW-Green Bay officials say the VSIP departures should help balance the school’s budget and mitigate against any involuntary layoffs, but they decline to estimate the potential savings or discuss individual positions at this time. Decisions on whether vacant jobs will be eliminated, consolidated or re-staffed won’t begin to be finalized until after the 2015-17 state and UW System budgets are approved. Eight of the state’s 13 four-year universities are offering VSIP options. Read the P-G story.