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.
“With more voices joining the highly charged debate over tenure protections in the University of Wisconsin System, it has become increasingly clear that at least in education circles, what’s happening here is perceived as a bellwether for public universities across the country.” That is the lead paragraph the Thursday edition of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article – read more.
The University of Wisconsin System is rolling out a redesigned home page that will spotlight students and faculty in action. The first featured photo chosen to represent UW System excellence in action? It’s a striking shot by UW-Green Bay photographer Eric Miller, who captured the groundwater data mapping work of student Christa Kananen, using a GIS touchscreen. If it’s still up in rotation, you can see it at https://www.wisconsin.edu/.
For 26 years the chancellor of UW-Stout, Chuck Sorensen is still writing about higher education. Sorensen was invited to write a paper about the UW System by the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. He co-authored “Beyond the Ivory Tower: How to Get the UW System More Involved in Ground-Level Economic Development” with Michael Flaherty. Sorensen, it seems, is a big fan of proposals to decentralize the System and empower individual campuses to be more entrepreneurial and accountable. Read more.
On a party-line vote, state senators voted earlier this month to confirm Michal M. Grebe to a seven-year term on the Board of Regents. A graduate of the UW Law School, Grebe is executive vice president and general counsel for HUSCO International Inc., a manufacture of hydraulic and electrohydraulic components. Previously, Grebe was a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP specializing in business law, mergers and acquisitions. Also nominated to the Regents by Gov. Scott Walker is Andrew “Drew” Peterson, a VP for TDS Telecommunications Corp. who holds an MBA from UW-Madison. Read more.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved promotions and tenure for UW-Green Bay faculty members during the board’s meeting June 4 and 5 at UW-Milwaukee. Those promoted from assistant professor to the rank of associate professor with tenure are:
• Tohoro Francis Akakpo, Social Work
• Hernan Fernandez-Meardi, Humanistic Studies
• T. Heather Herdman, Nursing
• Minkyu Lee, Art and Design
• Deirdre Radosevich, Human Development
• Courtney Sherman, Music
• Alison Stehlik, Art and Design
• Mussie Teclezion, Business Administration
• Gail Trimberger, Social Work
• Le Zhu, Human Biology
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.
The next UW Board of Regents will be held this Thursday and Friday, June 4-5 at UW-Milwaukee. A full agenda includes update and discussion of the 2015-17 Biennial Budget. See the full agenda.
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.