UW System leader calls for academic cuts, layoffs, more collaboration; Prof. Shelton comments
The leader of the University of Wisconsin System unveiled Thursday a three-part plan that radically re-imagines the network of schools that has been in place for a half-century.President Ray Cross, declaring that immediate action is crucial to the survival of the System, called for consolidating academic programs, streamlining business operations and scaling up online degree programs across the state.The proposal requires all campuses except for UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee, to complete a review of academic offerings by the end of 2020, opening the way for program cuts, staff reductions and new investment to “provide greater institutional distinctiveness and identity.”
Jon Shelton, Vice President of Higher Education for the AFT-Wisconsin union and professor at UW-Green Bay, expressed concerns about broad, centralized decisions putting students at a disadvantage.
“The plan would be especially tough on first-generation students and those with limited means,” Shelton said in a statement. “Our members are going to fight like hell to protect the Wisconsin Idea, and to make sure all students have access to the academic programs they need and want, and not just the elite.”