UW System (and Madison) ranked in world top 10 for innovation


The news agency Reuters has ranked the University of Wisconsin System eighth on its list of the world’s 100 most innovative universities. The rankings measured such things as academic papers, patent filings and discoveries that have been commercialized. In its analysis, Reuters lauded UW-Madison, in particular, for establishing the nation’s first genetics department in 1910, performing the earliest bone marrow transplant and achieving the first cultivation of human embryonic stem cells in a lab.

Controversial UW-Madison flu research yields new vaccine model

A controversial technique to create flu viruses, now effectively banned, led to the discovery of a flu vaccine model that could be more reliable than today’s main method using chicken eggs, according to a study by UW-Madison scientist Yoshihiro Kawaoka.

Federal officials had told Kawaoka and other researchers around the country to cease experiments that make flu, SARS and MERS viruses more dangerous in the lab. Read more.

Angry over budget/ tenure, prominent UW prof rips Hitl…uh… Walker

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.”

Madison chancellor announces budget-cutting measures


UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank announced a $36 million package of program and staffing cuts on Friday. It includes the elimination of approximately 400 positions; program mergers and restructuring in the areas of information technology, agriculture, and the arts; larger classes and fewer course options; and scaling back student support services and building maintenance.

Proposal for targeted tuition hikes at UW-Madison draws questions

Two UW-Madison experts on higher education affordability said Wednesday that a plan to increase nonresident undergraduate tuition by $10,000 over the next four years at the state’s flagship campus likely would reduce the number of lower- and middle-class students from other states and raise the stakes for attracting wealthy students. Sara Goldrick-Rab and Noel Radomski say their research points to significant risks.

Sexual assault complaint sparks federal investigation at UW-Madison

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights said Wednesday that UW-Madison is under review for possibly violating Title IX. The complaint is reportedly related to an alleged incident that took place last May during the Mifflin Street Block Party. As of Wednesday there are 101 post-secondary institutions in the United States under investigation by the Department of Education, including UW-Whitewater. Read more.

Regents hear Thursday from UW-Madison’s Blank


UW-Madison, hosting Thursday’s opening day of the UW System Board of Regents, took advantage of the standard opportunity for the host campus chancellor to address the board. Rebecca Blank said top students and faculty will go elsewhere if proposed state budget cuts go through, and leading faulty candidates are already withdrawing from consideration for open positions. Blank said that a 4.2% budget cut in 2013-15, coupled with a tuition freeze, forced her to spend down the school’s reserves to only $54 million in discretionary money in a budget of almost $3 billion, the chancellor said. She acknowledged the state’s budget dilemma, but said the proposed cuts were too large. See Journal-Sentinel coverage.

WISCAPE site tackles policy issues related to budget


The Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE), a center at UW-Madison, is posting a series of largely non-partisan articles to its blog to promote informed analysis of Gov. Walker’s proposal to grant the UW System more autonomy while also trimming $150 million from the annual taxpayer allotment to the System’s budget. A link to WISCAPE is now available on the SOFAS website (Secretary of the Faculty and Academic Staff) at UW-Green Bay. Additionally, WISCAPE updates can be accessed at the UW-Madison homepage maintained by that university’ office of external relations.

For women, it’s archrival Wisconsin, at the Kress


After trailing by double digits late in the game, the Green Bay women’s basketball team stormed back on the road to take down South Dakota State 77-75 in the Jackrabbit State on Wednesday night. The Phoenix (7-2) returns home to host rival Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 13) at the Kress. The first 500 kids get a free green youth jersey courtesy of Prevea Health. Fans are also encouraged to wear green to help “Green Out” the Kress Center. For more.

Diversity Forum is Nov. 10, 11 in Madison

For the 16th year, UW-Madison is hosting its annual Diversity Forum. The dates are Nov. 10 and 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, with sessions at the Memorial Union Theater on the first day, then the Pyle Center and Wisconsin State Historical Society on Tuesday. The hosts say they hope “our sister campuses will join us, although this year budget constraints have eliminated live streaming.” The event is free. To register, http://go.wisc.edu/ssgmkn.