Author: Michelle Felber

PROFS Asks Joint Finance Committee for Strong Pay Plan for UW Faculty and Staff

PROFS has a strong record of advocating for the best possible pay plans for University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty and staff and our work during 2021-23 budget process is no different. The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on a pay plan for state employees, including those at UW-Madison Thursday. This is the letter we shared with committee members earlier today.

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June Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents is meeting at UW-Milwaukee today and tomorrow, June 3 and 4. Registration for the Webex videoconference of the open portions of the meetings is here.

Several Regent committees are meeting Thursday morning:

  • The Audit Committee will hear several reports and updates, including updates on information security and youth and precollege protection guidelines.
  • The Capital Planning & Budget Committee will hear reports on leasing and capital projects, updates on State Building Commission action and the 2021-23 capital budget, and presentation by UW-Milwaukee on meeting the needs of the state.
  • The Research, Economic Development & Innovation Committee will hear about research and industry collaboration at UW-Milwaukee and a partnership between UW-Green Bay and Microsoft/LinkedIn. The WiSys Technology Foundation will also provide an update on faculty and undergraduate research, tech transfer, and statewide commercialization initiatives.
  • The Business and Finance Committee will consider several service and consulting agreements and hear a report from UW-Milwaukee, “UWM’s Financial and Administrative Outlook: Meeting Wisconsin’s Needs into the Future.”
  • The Education Committee will consider approval of the 2021 report on faculty promotions and tenure and new degree programs at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Madison (Master of Science in Sports Leadership). The committee will also hear a presentation from UW System on the Office of Educational Opportunities and charter schools.

The full board will meet Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Thursday afternoon’s agenda includes introduction of the new members of the board, updates from UW System President Tommy Thompson and Board of Regents President Drew Petersen and the presentation of UW-Milwaukee’s NCAA Division I Athletics Report. The board will also move into closed session to consider honorary degrees at UW-Milwaukee and changes to compensation agreements for two UW-Madison football coaches.

Friday’s agenda includes approval of committee action, the presentation of academic staff awards, and the election of the 2021-22 officers of the Board of Regents. For the first time in many years, there appears to be a contested election for board president. Vice President Michael Grebe, a Walker appointee, and newly-appointed Regent Ed Manydeeds have both said they are standing for election.

 

 

 

Campus State Budget Forum Recording

PROFS, the La Follette School of Public Affairs, and ASPRO hosted a campus forum on the state budget on Friday, May 7. The forum featured State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-West Point), State Senator Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) and Jason Stein, research director at the Wisconsin Policy Forum. Professor Susan Yackee of the La Follette School moderated the discussion.

May Legislative Update

This legislative update was shared with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate yesterday. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. Guests are welcome to observe the livestreamed meetings and can find the link here.

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PROFS State Budget Forum

PROFS will host a virtual forum to discuss the 2021-23 state budget at noon, Friday, May 7. This event is open to the public, but registration is required (below).

The panel:

Professor Susan Yackee, Director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs, will moderate.

Governor Tony Evers introduced a strong higher education budget, exceeding the UW System request by almost $100 million, but Republican leaders have said they plan to create their own budget in the Joint Finance Committee.

Evers’ proposal included the following:

  • $190 million in new funding for UW System, including more than $50 million to fully fund the continuing freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition.
  • $40 million over two years in unrestricted funding to address student needs and budget losses due to COVID-19.
  • Borrowing authority that will give UW System the ability borrow funds for short-term academic and athletic expenses, long-sought budget tool that UW-Madison peers already have.
  • Expansion of Bucky’s Tuition Promise to all UW System institutions, along with significant increases in other financial aid programs.
  • $2 million for 15 additional county-based UW-Extension positions and 5 climate science research positions.

The governor also introduced a $2.4 billion capital budget, which includes almost $1 billion for UW System, but his proposal was deadlocked in the State Building Commission, leaving the Republican-led Joint Finance Committee to determine the capital budget.

UW-Madison has four major projects in Evers’ proposal:

  • $88 million for a new College of Letters and Science building to replace the aging Mosse Humanities Building.
  • $150 million for the first phase of a new College of Engineering building to replace the 82-year-old Computer Aided Engineering Center.
  • $26 million for the restoration of the 140-year-old Music Hall.
  • $73 million for underground utility work on the Engineering campus, an area prone to damaging floods

The Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization (ASPRO) and the La Follette School of Public Affairs are cosponsors.

Forum Registration A Zoom link will be emailed to you the week of the event.

PROFS Statement on AJR 32, Declaring April to be Freedom of Expression Month

Tomorrow, the Wisconsin State Assembly is scheduled to vote on Assembly Joint Resolution 32, legislation that would declare April to be Freedom of Expression Month across Wisconsin. The resolution was introduced last week by State Representative Dave Murphy (R-Greenville) and State Senator André Jacque (R-De Pere). Murphy chairs the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.

While PROFS is committed to the principles of free expression, it finds this resolution to be an attack on the state’s colleges and universities:

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PROFS Testimony on AB 77, Providing Funding for Extension Services

Emeritus Professor Steve Ventura

On Wednesday, Emeritus Professor Steve Ventura (Soil Science) testified at a public hearing of the Assembly Agriculture Committee in favor of Assembly Bill 77, legislation that provides $1 million per year in funding for state specialists in extension services at UW-Madison’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The funding is to aid in applied agricultural research.

PROFS submitted the testimony below and Ventura, a former PROFS Steering Committee member, spoke about the importance of such funding.

In an executive session yesterday, the committee unanimously recommended passage of the bill. The next step is for the bill to be scheduled for a vote in the full Assembly.

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April Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet via Webex Thursday and Friday, April 8 and 9. Registration to watch the meeting is here.

Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:

  • The Business and Finance Committee will discuss two agreements relating to UW-Madison and hear a presentation from UW-Madison entitled “Revenue Innovations and Real Estate Opportunities at UW-Madison.” The committee will also hear an update on federal COVID-19 assistance.
  • The Education Committee will consider approval of two new degree programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering at UW-Madison. The committee will also hear updates on the expansion of online education, prison education and charter school funding. Host campus UW-Stout will also offer a presentation, Polytechnic FOCUS2030.
  • The Audit Committee will hear reports related to internal audit and compliance.
  • The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider a lease agreement at UW-Madison and construction projects at UW-Madison and UW System.The committee will also hear updates on State Building Commission action and the 2021-23 Capital Budget.
  • The Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee will hear a presentation from UW-Stout on how the university’s role as a polytechnic supports the state’s workforce and economic growth. The committee will also award three Regent Scholar Grants to professors at UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside and UW-Whitewater.

The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Thursday afternoon, the board will hear updates from the UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson and Board of Regents President Andrew Petersen and a presentation from UW-Stout Chancellor Katherine Frank before moving in to closed session.

On Friday, the board will approve committee action and hear a report on the expansion of online education at UW System. The Regents will also present the 2020 and 2021 Teaching Excellence Awards.

April Legislative Update

This legislative update was shared with the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate yesterday. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. Guests are welcome to observe the livestreamed meetings and can find the link here.

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PROFS Statement in Opposition to AB 195, Legislation That Limits Participation of Transgender Athletes in Collegiate Sports

Yesterday PROFS registered against Assembly Bill 195, legislation that prohibits the participation of transgender women in intercollegiate and intramural sports at Wisconsin’s public universities and technical colleges. Our statement is below:

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