The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay was recently ranked No. 19 in the “Best Bang for the Buck Colleges in the Midwest” category of the 2015 Washington Monthly College Rankings. The rankings were officially released Monday, August 24, 2015 and rates universities on students’ social mobility, civic engagement and research. Founded in 1969, Washington Monthly is a bimonthly nonprofit magazine covering politics, government, culture and the media. The chart that accompanies the guide depicts those schools in the Midwest that are the best value based on “net” (not sticker) price, success of a school based on graduating the students admitted, and whether those students go on to earn at least enough to pay off their loans.
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.
UW-Green Bay officials were informed earlier this week that the anticipated revenue loss of as much as $4.6 million in state support to the campus would likely be closer to $3 million. The projection shifted when the Joint Finance Committee voted to dial back the overall UW System cuts from $300 million to $250 million over the two years, the UWS Administration devised a formula to target that relief rather than divide it on a straight proportional basis, and the System agreed, as did the Regents at Thursday’s meeting, to one-time payments from central reserves to help individual campuses phase in some reductions. UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller has said he intends to distribute an update to faculty and staff in the near future. He will outline the overall impact of Thursday’s vote by the Regents, and also begin to share those aspects of UW-Green Bay’s strategy for handling the cuts that are most likely to be implemented in the near term. University officials told Green Bay area media this week that, with a total of 29 employees having committed to the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program, along with other cost-saving measures, they are optimistic the institution will be able to avoid any involuntary layoffs.
With Senate passage yesterday and Assembly approval possible today, it’s likely the UW System Board of Regents will have a good handle on what the 2015-17 state budget allocation will be when board members meet Thursday (July 9) in Madison to ratify the System’s one-year spending plan. UW-Green Bay is anticipating a $2.8 million GPR cut as its share of what is expected to be an overall UW System reduction of $250 million. As always, the BOR meeting will be videostreamed, this time from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. or whenever the festivities conclude, here.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller met with the campus community in a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 to answer questions related to the budget and discuss plans for making reductions in the weeks and months ahead. What follows is a summarized and paraphrased list of topics discussed and a summarized version of Chancellor Miller’s response. For the full context of comments, please refer to the audio recording of the Town Hall meeting available on the Chancellor’s Office blog.
Brief Introductory Remarks
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller addressed an audience of about 300 faculty, staff and students as part of an informational budget town hall meeting in the University Theatre, Wednesday (June 3). In his brief opening remarks, the Chancellor expressed his love for working in the Higher Education Academy and his deep appreciation to those who are giving selflessly for UWGB students. He said he understands the frustration and anger during the process, and he expressed his gratitude to alumni, legislators, the Board of Regents and UWGB trustees who are fighting on behalf of UWGB and the UW System. He noted that restoration of about $50 million in funding to the UW System is welcomed news.
‘We will have shared governance and tenure at UWGB’
In his opening remarks at the town hall meeting, Chancellor Miller said that despite the recent omnibus motion that included changes, among them, shared governance and tenure removed from the statutes, “we will have shared governance and tenure at UWGB and in the UW System.”
‘What we don’t know’
The budget still has to go through an analysis by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau and be passed by the Assembly and Senate and then on to the Governor to sign the final budget. We don’t know what the Board of Regents’ reaction will be — Greg Davis, Clif Ganyard and I will travel to Milwaukee for meetings this Thursday and Friday (June 4-5) —we don’t know how the System will determine the campuses with the greatest need for the $50 million in reduced cuts.
‘What we do know’
As it stands, our cut would be from $4.6 to 3.1 million. We do know that if things should remain as currently stated this is still a very deep cut for the University. We do know we have an enrollment challenge to address. The legislature has moved toward giving us more flexibility to manage our own resources and we are grateful for that. We know there is no tuition cap for the 2017-19 biennium (there is one for 2015-17). The Regents have established a taskforce to develop recommendations for setting tuition. I am a member of that taskforce. We appreciate the hard work of our trustees and alumni to help reduce the cuts and gain the flexibilities that have been granted to the System.
We have a catalog of cuts that we will draw upon as we receive the final number for our cuts. Between now and July 1 we will make the reductions. They have been discussed with UPIC (University Planning and Innovation Council). The University Committee and the UPIC have generously committed to meeting regularly this summer. We will continue to update the campus via memorandums and Town Hall meetings, as necessary.
Regarding Tenure and Shared Governance
I fully believe in the process of tenure and shared governance. I expect that regarding tenure, the motion will be taken from state statutes and adopted directly into Board of Regents policy. Concerning shared governance, there will need to be statutory language drafted to reflect the JFC motion. It appears that most of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors) guidelines on shared governance have been retained in the JFC motion. We are uncertain what the board’s action will be regarding this issue.
Question and Answer Session:
Regarding the proposal to give segregated fee authority to chancellors
It is our understanding that the Chancellors already had that authority, although we have left those decisions to the students, but I give final approval.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that our benefits would be affected
There are likely to be insurance deductible and rate changes for all state employees. Information is available on individual employees’ MY UW System portal… https://uwservice.wisc.edu/news/post/239.
The JFC motion gives the Chancellors the right to end appointments without due process
That is incorrect. Due process remains in the JFC motion. There is not a requirement that a fiscal exigency be declared.
When will employees have access to budget cuts and when will offices be aware?
We have vetted changes with the Provost and UPIC. A lot of it is made up in vacant positions and proportional reductions. Only one program has been eliminated. It is not sweeping changes but multiple cuts. It is not something we would publish. We will be meeting with the various governance groups, committees and individual departments.
Will you affirm that despite the fact that the statutes would now give Chancellors the ability to layoff without financial exigency that you won’t operate any differently than the past?
I want to see what the Regents have to say. It would be irresponsible of me to make a statement at this point. Allow the process and the discussion to work. In shared governance, hopefully, we would come to that conclusion together.
Regarding the Board of Regents may change the way Chancellors are hired
I think there will be changes… We will be having a discussion about that.
Why did statues particularly call out the fact that “subject to” means “subordinate to.” Was that just being spiteful?
I have no insight to that.
Regarding director-level changes
There will be some reorganization. We first had to have a discovery process about the way this University works… its advising, its faculty development, etc… We need to know that we are optimizing resources. Some changes will be based on recommendations by the Invent the Future groups. We will be consulting with the UC and UPIC and studying other models. We have hired someone to lead this effort in student services. We will continue the work this summer to come up with a rationale and plan to share with governance groups as we begin implementation in the first of the year.
On ability to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff despite general morale
I believe, and I am not being Pollyannaish about this, that this is a great place to work. I wish we were in a different situation. We can’t take advice from our fears. We will go into the new year with vision and celebrating our 50th anniversary with the hand we were dealt. We need to be at an institution where we encourage others. I think what will help are the flexibilities to get people the resources that are needed and a chance to rearrange ourselves. Compensation is still a huge issue and we will continue to hammer it and hopefully find relief in the next biennium.
We feel as though we are under attack. We do more and more with less and less…
I feel what you feel. The only thing I can do is find the best opportunities to get the resources to the people who need them. We need to continue the conversation in an organized way that improves resources. I am not immune to feeling under attack.
Regarding voluntary separation savings
Yes, it will provide some savings.
On sharing the identified cuts publicly
I’m committed to shared governance. The discussion I had with the UC about the reorganization was to begin this summer. We are working through the appropriate groups and I’m sorry we can’t talk to everybody about them. The downside to publishing possible cuts is much worse than having a transparent shared governance operation where we share these ideas with representatives from the various groups and work toward a solution. It would be difficult to work in an environment where we had to layout 4.6M cuts and say “this could be you.” As far as vision goes, I didn’t get that luxury. We have expressed a bold vision for this University and we got hammered with $4.6 million in cuts. We have got to go into the next semester with the 50th anniversary and a renewed vision and talk about it. I’m very optimistic.
Regarding how cuts will affect students
I know cuts will affect course availability and other issues. Our goal is to diminish the impact of that to the extent that we can. We hope that it is transitional. That is an argument that we make publicly time and time again—that these cuts impact the student experience—and that’s what we’re trying to preserve.
A communication plan for the summer
We’re going to meet regularly with the UC. We will, hopefully in the next two weeks, have all the numbers. Then we will start to announce to the faculty in memos our reductions. After July 1, we’re going to start looking forward toward the 50th anniversary, what we’re going to talk about with regard to reorganization, how we’re going to deal with shared governance, and look to the future. We have work going on. We have new programs in the mix that need to go. The timing of any communication depends on what we know. I have committed to the UC that I will periodically communicate to campus via memos and town hall meetings as necessary.
Will fully-enrolled classes be cancelled because of cuts to teachers?
We’ve been watching that as carefully as we can with the Provost. I don’t think that will happen.
Regarding changes to adjunct faculty
The Provost can tell you how that is managed. We’re down-sizing the institution. Some folks may not be invited back.
Chancellor Miller invited conversation by asking if people have heard anything about what is going on at other institutions in the System in regard to the state budget cuts.
Discussion: Colleagues at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee have expressed disappointment at how their chancellors have been handling the cut.
I would prefer to have conversations with people individually about this.
Regarding programs across the System feeling threatened by the cuts and frustrated that collaboration didn’t lead to saving them.
Leadership (including the provosts) from campuses across the system are meeting routinely about that issue. There have been substantive discussions about how to preserve programs via collaboration. The system is interest in understanding how they can support this.
Discussion: Regarding other UW’s, some Universities were told of specific details of cuts and which positions will be cut or continued. Some cases had a premature release of information that caused anguish and anxiety.
Regarding Chancellor Miller’s commitment to the humanities
Absolutely committed. The humanities are one of our strengths.
On outsourcing, now occurring at other UW System schools
We’re not considering outsourcing services. It has been considered from time to time. My experience is that conditions have to be almost perfect for it to work the way we would like.
Plans to shore up funding gaps
We have to decide where there is potential as revenue stream. Grad programs can be a good opportunity. Executive reorganization plans include a new development person to optimize philanthropy. Unfortunately fundraising rarely helps operations, as it is almost entirely student support. The answer is more students. We have to have some sort of growth agenda. If you can cover costs, you can help everyone else.
Regarding UW-Green Bay being one of the lower campuses receiving support per student
We have this conversation at the system level every time we meet. That is a quirk in the funding model that three chancellors have hammered on. The trustees have really made some headway with that having met with the president last year. This, and the actual amount, is well known in the System.
Discussion: Student view… keep in mind that what affects student doesn’t necessarily affect faculty. She wanted to be the voice of classmates having to leave UWGB and even the state to complete coursework.
Discussion: while there are morale issues during these difficult times it’s important for stress management to bring levity, have a sense of humor and battle isolation with networking.
Good point. That would be helpful.
Reorganizing will have a trickle-down effect that will result in less people having to do more. What will we have removed from our responsibilities? What will be taken away so we can survive?
We’re not trying to push work from the top down, we’re trying to see how we can handle it. It’s unfortunate, but we still have to make the cuts.
Regarding a 21-credit load
I don’t know and it’s not something I’m going to talk about in this forum.
Discussion: Finding a way to learn what colleagues do throughout campus, and acknowledging time consumed with additional duties and responsibilities would go a long way. Don’t compromise cuts at the expense of quality, especially as it relates to things such as advising.
Definitely. By the way, your view of advising is well represented on the UPIC.
Fall 2015 enrollment?
Stable. Which we consider a success, but we will have to do better.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller addressed an audience of about 300 faculty, staff and students as part of an informational budget “town hall” session in the University Theatre, Wednesday (June 3). In his brief opening remarks, the Chancellor expressed his love for working in the Higher Education Academy and his deep appreciation to those who are giving selflessly for UWGB students. He said he understands the frustration and anger during the process, and he expressed his gratitude to alumni, legislators, the Board of Regents and UWGB trustees who are fighting on behalf of UWGB and the UW System. He noted that restoration of about $50 million in funding to the UW System is welcomed news.
‘We will have shared governance and tenure at UWGB’
In his opening remarks at the town hall forum, Chancellor Miller said that despite the recent omnibus motion that included changes to shared governance statutes and the removal of tenure from the statutes, “we will have shared governance and tenure at UWGB and in the UW System.”
UWGB Town Hall audio files accessible
For those who were unable to attend the town hall forum, the full version of the Chancellor’s opening remarks and the following question and answer session are available. Summarized comments will be provided in the Log tomorrow. Listen to the session here:
Chancellor Miller’s opening remarks
12:47 | 5MB | Download the audio file
Question and answer portion
1:15:07 | 27.5MB | Download the audio file
In a memorandum to the UW-Green Bay community, June 2, Chancellor Gary Miller summarized the omnibus motion passed by the Joint Finance Committee regarding the UW System. “The motion reduces the budget reduction to the system by $50 million ($25 million in each of the biennial years). The motion also restores the UW System to the compensation pool and provides advances in some of the important flexibilities needed by the system. This would mean our cut, without further modification, would be reduced from $4.6 million to $3.1 million. The budget reduction is still large but we have been encouraged by the constructive conversations we have had with legislative colleagues over the past several months about the importance of higher education in Wisconsin.” Chancellor Miller’s Budget Update Memorandum to campus is posted here: http://blog.uwgb.edu/chancellor/2015/06/02/budget-update-2/.
Chancellor committed to tenure and shared governance despite statutory changes
Chancellor Miller also noted in the budget memo that as he has affirmed in the past, he is a strong supporter of shared governance and tenure as is the Board of Regents. The omnibus motion included changes to shared governance statutes and the removal of tenure from the statutes (now to be included in Board of Regents policy). Chancellor Miller stated that he expects both of these important features of UWGB’s culture to continue.
Town Hall meeting planned for tomorrow (Wednesday, June 3)
Chancellor Miller and campus leaders will be convening a Town Hall Meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 3 in the University Theatre to hear comments and continue our community discussion of these issues.
As of this writing, the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee continues to debate the governor’s proposal for a $300 million reduction in statewide UW System spending. Earlier today, members representing the Republican majority indicated they intend to reduce the overall cut to $250 million. UW System President Ray Cross issued a statement in response to that proposal.
Cross, Millner release joint statement on tenure issue
Also in the news from Joint Finance are shared governance and tenure, with the latter gaining the most attention. UW System President Ray Cross and Board of Regents Vice President Regina Millner spoke on behalf of the state’s campuses and issued the following statement late this afternoon on the Joint Finance Committee’s proposal for possible changes:
“When the Governor released his budget in January, the leadership of UW System and the Board of Regents spoke with one voice and immediately expressed our commitment to uphold the tenets of shared governance and tenure. Whether these important policies continued in statute or Board policy, we vowed they would live on.
“We remain as committed to these principles now as we were five months ago. We appreciate that the action proposed today by the Joint Finance Committee keeps shared governance language in state statute, and we are reviewing other proposed changes related to shared governance. As tenure was not retained in statute, we will move to incorporate it into Board policies immediately. The Board meets next week. A UW System tenure task force, previously charged with reviewing the tenure issue, will continue its work.
“Our review of all of the Joint Finance Committee’s proposed changes continues. Overall, we are pleased with the substantial reduction of our budget cut and the provision of additional flexibilities, and we are confident our new partnership with the legislature is focused on the future.”
Miller to media: we’ll analyze, consult before commenting
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller declined to comment to the media Friday afternoon, saying it would be premature to weigh in on the Joint Finance Committee’s version of the 2015-17 UW System budget while the committee continued its deliberations. (A vote was possible late Friday.) Additionally, Miller said, he is inclined to await the UW System fiscal analysis of the JFC’s action and to consult with shared governance and campus leadership before commenting in any detail on the potential fiscal impact for UW-Green Bay, its students and employees.
Governance groups and related organizations at UW-Green Bay have joined others at campuses statewide in voicing their consensus on the UW System budget cuts proposed in the governor’s 2015-17 budget for the state of Wisconsin. Their resolutions:
The UW-Green Bay Faculty Senate approved the following resolution on Wednesday, February 11, 2015:
“Whereas the proposed $300 million dollar budget reduction to the UW-System would irreparably damage the quality of the education we provide and our ability to serve our students, the citizens of Wisconsin, and the state economy, be it resolved the UW-Green Bay Faculty vehemently opposes this unprecedented cut. We also reaffirm our commitment to the Wisconsin Idea and to shared governance and tenure as essential to the existence of the University System.”
Academic Staff Resolution
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Academic Staff Committee approved the following resolution on Friday, February 6, 2015:
“The ability to understand an issue from multiple perspectives allows the identification of the best resolution. The goal is not to find the answer, it is to identify what the correct questions are that need to be asked.
Whereas the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in their interdisciplinary approach to education is committed to producing graduates who are poised to face issues and contribute to the successful navigation of global, social and economic future, be it resolved that the Academic Staff object both the rapidity and excessiveness of the proposed 2015-17 budgetary cuts to the UW-System.”
University Staff Resolution
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay University Staff Committee, on behalf of the university staff body, approved the following resolution on Monday, February 9, 2015:
“Whereas, The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s mission to deliver quality education to a diverse student body by cultivating knowledge, encouraging investigation into disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields, and promoting civic engagement and lifelong learning will be severely hampered by the magnitude of the proposed UW System budget reductions; be it Resolved, That the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s university staff is committed to its unwavering support of our campus mission and opposes the 2015-17 proposed budgetary cuts to the UW-System.”
UW-Green Bay Retirees Association Resolution
President Jim Wiersma, president of the association, presented the following resolution to be made part of the record for the Faculty Senate on February 11, 2015. (The UW-Green Bay Retirees Association is not a shared-governance entity as defined by state statute.)
“Whereas the Board of Directors of the UW-Green Bay Retirees Association is deeply concerned with the consequences of the reduction in funding for the UW-Green Bay campus as proposed by Governor Walker’s 2015-2017 budget, let it be known that this Board is in full support of the resolution passed by UW-Green Bay Faculty Senate on February 11, 2015.”
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay will need to plug an unprecedented $4 million revenue hole for the fiscal year starting July 1 if UW System budget cuts proposed in Gov. Scott Walker’s state spending plan are approved without amendment.
That’s the message UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller shared in remarks to about 300 faculty, staff members and students in an informational “town hall” session late Monday afternoon (Feb. 9) in the Phoenix Room of the University Union.
The chancellor would not speculate on possible layoffs or program reductions — steps he said he would like to avoid if a quality university is to maintain and expand service to students and community — but acknowledged that “everything is on the table” as UW-Green Bay anticipates a proportional share of what would be the largest statewide budget reduction in UW System history.
“These cuts are too large, and they will damage this precious institution,” Miller said of the $150 million annual reduction proposed for the state’s public universities in 2015-17. “We will work to reduce them, but as a University we have to prepare in the event the deepest cuts become reality. We will need to be creative, innovative and collaborative.
“We will plan for a $4 million cut at UWGB. This is a huge cut. On July 1, (if the budget passes, as is), we’ll have to work with $4 million less.”
Miller spoke for about 30 minutes in his opening remarks. He touched upon the UW System autonomy proposal (which he favors, from personal experience in other states) but focused on the budget. Over the course of the nearly two-hour forum, he fielded more than 40 questions from employees and students.
In opening the session, Miller described developments since the governor’s budget was released last week, the process by which UW-Green Bay will develop its plan, and a daunting two-month timetable for influencing the legislative process while simultaneously preparing to address the impact of the cuts as proposed.
He called for thoughtful, “evidence-based” discussion of the budget challenge. He said he hoped faculty and staff would pull together during uncertain times, and he expressed confidence they would.
“This is a fantastic University, with a unique product, an incredible spirit… There will be a UWGB for another 50 years, and more… We need to get through this current challenge in a way that positions us for a bright future.”
He also reminded employees to keep students first – “they’re why we’re here… as well as creating knowledge and serving the community.”
Phase I, Miller said, began last week with announcement of the governor’s budget and discussion at the UW System Board of Regents meeting in Madison. UW-Green Bay faces a quick turnaround in having to submit preliminary budget-reduction plans to the Regents and UW System Administration in time for the next monthly meeting, on March 4.
Already, the Chancellor noted, he has announced immediate cost-containment measures including a freeze on most out-of-state travel and the filling of open positions. (About 25 permanent positions are currently left open.) Over the next week, Miller expects reports from budget officers and senior administrators on mid-year fund balances and possible savings across campus —although, “after six years of budget reductions,” he acknowledged, “there’s not a lot of flexibility.”
He said he is also beginning the process of soliciting innovative ideas from across campus to respond to the budget challenge.
Phase II will be the period between that early March meeting of the Regents and their next scheduled meeting, April 9, as the UW System and its campuses fine-tune their strategies and incorporate any new information into their planning.
Phase III, Miller said, will be the period from the April Board meeting through the end of June. Legislative action on the 2015-17 budget is expected during that time.
Miller said he will have the final say on UW-Green Bay’s plan, but he described a transparent process that will invite involvement across campus.
“Ultimately, the decision on what to cut rests with the chancellor,” he said. “I am obligated to make decisions, but what we’re trying to do is make the best informed decisions we can make.”
To that end, he pledged regular briefings and consultation sessions with the University’s four statutory governance groups, representing faculty, academic staff, university staff and students.
Miller said UPIC — the new University Planning and Innovation Council, with cross-campus representation — will play a prominent role in identifying and assessing possible courses of action. Additionally, the University Committee and its chairman, Associate Prof. Steve Meyer, have agreed to the temporary addition of ad hoc members to function in a special advising and information-sharing capacity.Encouraging the widest possible involvement, Miller asked the several hundred employees in attendance to stay apprised of continuing developments by way of:
- following the budget blog and postings at the Chancellor’s web page, http://www.uwgb.edu/chancellor
- future town hall meetings
- inviting the chancellor and other University officers, as available, to attend divisional and department meetings to talk about the budget
The version of the 2015-17 biennial budget released Feb. 3 by Gov. Walker is currently undergoing technical and financial review by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Once cleared by the LFB, the document proceeds to hearings and deliberations conducted by the Legislature’s 16-member budget-writing and review panel, the Joint Finance Committee. Public hearings on the budget are expected in late March and April. The bill then proceeds for approval by both Senate and Assembly, and signing by the governor, typically in June.
Miller observed that lawmakers of both parties have questioned the size of the proposed UW System reductions. Alumni, citizens, business and civic leaders are also weighing in, and UW campuses will encourage that participation.
“(As a university) we have an obligation to prepare for a $4 million reduction,” the chancellor told the town hall meeting, “but there’s going to be a major effort to reduce that cut.”
Miller specifically mentioned UW-Green Bay’s influential Council of Trustees/Foundation Board. That group’s advocacy committee has expressed a willingness to lobby on the University’s behalf, and members will receive a briefing on the budget later this week. The Alumni Association Board of Directors has also agreed to join the effort.
Miller acknowledged the high level of interest among UW-Green Bay students and employees, some of whom are already talking about the proposed cuts to neighbors, community leaders and elected officials. “You need to participate in the budget-decision process through any avenues that are available to you,” he said.
He reminded faculty and staff about the strict prohibition against political activity on state time using public resources, and promised to re-circulate the appropriate guidelines.
Q&A: a sampling
Q. Why the apparent disconnect regarding state taxpayer support? Is message not getting out?
A. We will be talking about UW-Green Bay in a way that communicates 60% of our students are working, 60% are first-generation… our alumni are very successful… our impact on the community and region is impressive. Faculty and staff workload? Chancellor: “I’ve been in higher ed more than 30 years, and the reasons I stayed are the (great challenges and rewards), and the fact people in higher ed are the hardest-working and most dedicated people you’ll meet.”
Q. Is outsourcing of some services, as UW-Superior has done, in our future?
A. Everything is on the table, but we have not been actively pursuing that course of action. Chancellor: “Rarely does that work out to the extent that people think it might.”
Q. How soon can I begin using my office Visa card to purchase needed supplies?
A. We don’t know. Not now, anyway.
Q. Are furloughs a possibility?
A. Have not heard that possibility raised even once.
Q. Tuition revenue from cost-recovery programs has been frozen, and will be pooled. Is this permanent?
A. The University doesn’t have a clear policy for incentivizing programs that generate revenue and determining how much stays with the specific program and how much goes to the larger institution. This is a larger question.
Q. How do you determine a “non-essential” employee from an essential one?
A. UWGB refuses to use those terms, and hasn’t. We’re relatively lean. We will seek to avoid any reductions and, in the event that’s not possible in the short term, try to re-staff as soon as we are able. “Everybody we have here is essential,” Miller said. “Every one of you is essential.”
Q. Is the chancellor’s recent public essay on our unique interdisciplinary structure an indicator of restructuring that might take place because of budget cuts?
A. No, the timing is coincidental… but the University will, at some point, enter a thorough analysis of its organizational structure. In truth, we don’t know enough about the costs (or savings) of maintaining an interdisciplinary administrative structure vs. a disciplinary one. Chancellor: “Let’s be clear. Our interdisciplinary focus is not going away… it’s obviously working… we need to preserve that.”
Q. What will be the breakdown, if staffing cuts are necessary, between administration and faculty positions?
A. If we cut every single administrator, from the chancellor on down, it would only amount to about $1.5 million and we’d still owe $2.5 million to the state. Chancellor: “This is a very ‘under-administrated’ university, by national standards. At the same time, our primary mission involves teaching and research.”
Q. What can we (students) do to push back against the cut?
A. Avail yourself of your opportunities as both students and citizens. The Student Government Association is likely to get involved. Supporters of the University will “push back” at every level. Those efforts will be most effective if they are methodical, consistent, persistent and evidence-based.
Q. Is enrollment growth a possible answer?
A. Yes. UW System institutions retain tuition dollars. Additional tuition revenue is a direct benefit, provided the University can adequately serve the larger enrollment.
Q. If approved, when would “public authority” status take effect?
A. July 1, 2016, allowing for a one-year transition.
Q. Under an Authority, would faculty and staff still be state employees, and with similar health care, retirement and other benefits?
A. No to the first part, yes to the second. As written, university employees would not be “state employees” in the traditional sense, but the law as written would keep them in the current health and benefit plans. The chancellor said there are reasons to believe policy-makers would favor continuing that arrangement.
Q. Any assurances on tenure and shared governance, under a Public Authority system?
A. While Wisconsin is the only state with these issues addressed in state statutes, “49 other states do it without statutory mandates.” Regent VP Regina Miller, other Regents, UW System officials and campus leaders have been adamant that tenure and shared governance shall remain.
Q. Quality and capacity of the institution have been eroded by budget cuts over many years… have we finally reached the point where we should scale back or reconfigure our academic program array?
A. We don’t have an over-abundance of programs, right now, to begin with, but… there would have to be a clear consensus. That doesn’t mean everyone would have to agree. But everyone would have to agree that the choices are being presented in fair and accurate fashion. Chancellor: “I’m (generally) not a supporter of across-the-board cuts that leave institutions ‘mediocre everywhere.’”
Q. How do we focus on our work? I’ve never seen morale so low.
A. Concern is understandable, but…. We can get through this cut. There’s a lot of innovation and creativity in this room. Chancellor: “It’s more than a cut to me… it’s what we look like when we come out the other side.”