That was the headline over Monday’s top-of-page-A-1 article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette following Chancellor Gary L. Miller’s meeting last week with members of the newspaper’s editorial board. The article addresses the impact of this year’s sizeable budget reductions and Miller’s hope that an administrative restructuring will enhance the University’s ability to discern and address community needs. See http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/education/2015/11/21/uwgb-looks-expand-role-community/76109106/
In a proposed move that could ultimately affect applications and enrollment at other UW System institutions (because Madison’s ripples are felt statewide), the UW’s flagship campus will this week ask UW Regents for permission to lift the school’s cap on out-of-state students. UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank says the move could attract more young people to Wisconsin and boost tuition revenue in the wake of deep budget cuts. Currently, out-of-state undergraduate enrollment at Madison can’t exceed 27.5 percent of total undergraduate enrollment. See news coverage.
On a recent visit to UW-Green Bay, the president of the University of Wisconsin System, Ray Cross, sat down with WLUK-TV investigative reporter Robert Hornacek for a half-hour interview broadcast on the “CW 14 Focus” public affairs program. Cross talks about the recent state budget cuts, his views on tenure, perceptions of UW System “ivory tower arrogance”… and also 300-bushel-an-acre corn yields, spittle beetles, calls for merger of UW Colleges and the state tech schools, and more. Interesting conversation.
The University of Wisconsin System’s administrative office reports that it has eliminated 36 positions in a cost-cutting measure a spokesman said will help it cope with state budget cuts. See a Wisconsin State Journal summary.
UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary L. Miller distributed a letter to all faculty and staff last week, indicating he wanted to comment on developments related to the 2015-17 state budget and the insertion of language dealing with tenure and shared governance. Miller reiterated that Regent Present Regina Millner and UW System President Ray Cross have been adamant in their support of tenure and governance, and noted that a Systemwide task force (both Chancellor Miller and Prof. Steve Meyer are members) will assist the Board of Regents in shaping policies moving forward. UWGB’s Miller shared the following statements on the key topics:
Shared Governance – “Shared governance is highly valued at UWGB and will continue. The new advisory role of faculty and staff does not change the need for an effective shared governance system. Indeed, the collaboration of students, staff and faculty governance bodies will be even more important in the coming years as we celebrate our first fifty years and look forward to the future. The existing shared governance organization and procedures will continue at UWGB as allowed by law.”
Tenure: “I have been, and continue to be, fully and strongly supportive of tenure as essential to ensuring full freedom of inquiry, discovery and teaching in the academy. I will continue to enthusiastically recommend tenure for qualified faculty upon the recommendation of the tenured faculty and with the approval of appropriate administrative officers.”
With respect to program review:
“I strongly support a thoughtful, vigorous, routine and faculty-driven process of academic program review that allows for the possibility of the discontinuation of a program no longer deemed an essential component of the curriculum.”
With respect to the layoff of faculty related to program discontinuance:
“The layoff of tenured faculty resulting from program discontinuation must be governed by rigorous standards of due process operating within an effective shared governance system.”
You can read the Chancellor’s full message.
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.
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.
Some see it as political grandstanding, or as proposals that seem dramatic but won’t in fact change much about the way the UW System does business. Others see deep-seated enmity and a campaign to gut academic freedom and punish higher ed. The Politico website has a relatively concise but well-balanced overview that talks to people with various perspectives on the Wisconsin tenure debate.