The national context

Shared Governance Forum

PROFS is pleased to sponsor a public forum on shared governance at 3 pm, Thursday, May 3 in the Wisconsin Idea Room in the Education Building.

Public higher education has faced enormous challenges in recent years — massive funding cuts, declining student enrollment, shifting perception on the value of a degree. Many legislative leaders have called for the University of Wisconsin System, and UW-Madison in particular, to operate more like a business, often citing shared governance as a major impediment to institutional efficiency.

Our panel of nationally known experts will guide our discussion.

  • Gary Rhoades, University of Arizona Professor, Director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education, former General Secretary AAUP
  • David Maxwell, Drake University President Emeritus, Association of Governing Boards Senior Consultant
  • Regina Millner, University of Wisconsin System Regent, Board President Emeritus
  • Thomas Harnisch, American Association of State Colleges and Universities Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis

Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel higher education reporter, will moderate.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Legislative Update

The Legislature is in the final weeks of the 2018 session and PROFS is closely monitoring several bills that could that could seriously affect UW-Madison:

  • “Mark Cook Bills” to Assist Faculty Entrepreneurship, Assembly Bill 758 and Senate Bill 671  Directed by faculty experts, PROFS worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to introduce legislation related to University of Wisconsin research contracts. The faculty group, led by the late Mark Cook (Animal Science), identified the need to change state statutes that regulate how the university contracts with companies in which faculty or other university employees have a financial interest. Both bills have passed through committee and PROFS expects them to be scheduled for a floor vote sometime this month.
  • Bills Limiting Scientific Research, Assembly Bills 83 & 549 and Senate Bills 422 & 423  PROFS is carefully monitoring two bills that would limit the use of fetal tissue in scientific research and is registered against Senate Bill 423. Our statement is on the PROFS website and Facebook page.
  • Bill Limiting University of Wisconsin OB/GYN Training, Assembly Bill 206  PROFS is also registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden testified in July the bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.
  • Campus Carry  Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.

Wisconsin Retirement System Seminar

PROFS is cosponsoring a La Follette School of Public Affairs seminar on the history of the Wisconsin Retirement System at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, February 21 in Union South. Wisconsin’s pension system is regarded as one of the best, and Gary Gates, the first secretary of the Department of Employee Trust Funds, will explain how the system was created and why Wisconsin has not experienced shortfalls like many other states.

Spring Primary

The Wisconsin Spring Primary is Tuesday, February 20. The only statewide race on the ballot is for Wisconsin Supreme Court where three candidates are vying for two spots on the April 3 general election ballot. More information on voting in Wisconsin is here.

Federal Relations

PROFS Steering Committee member Judith Burstyn recently met with Congressman Mark Pocan as a member of his Higher Education Advisory Group. Pocan gave the group an update on Congressional action related to higher-education policy and federally funded research.

Campus Speech Bill Passes Assembly

Assembly Bill 299, dubbed the Campus Free Speech Act, passed the Assembly Wednesday, June 21 on a 61-36 vote. Republican Bob Gannon of West Bend joined the Democrats in opposing the bill. A statement of PROFS’ opposition to the bill is here.

Representative Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum), the bill’s main author, maintains the legislation is necessary to ensure all voices are heard on campus, citing incidents at Middlebury College and the University of California-Berkeley as evidence that free speech is stifled on college campuses.

PROFS lobbied against the bill, noting that in 2010 the University of Wisconsin Faculty Senate adopted a policy (Faculty Document 2186) that protects speech on campus. In 2015, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents adopted a resolution affirming academic freedom, including free speech, on all UW campuses.

Under the amended bill (below), the Board of Regents would be required to adopt a policy that would apply to all UW System institutions and supersede any existing Regent or campus policies. The legislation also requires mandatory punishments for students violators and employee and new student training on free speech annually.

The bill now moves to the State Senate.

March Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents is meeting in Madison today, March 9. All meetings will be held in Gordon Dining and Event Center, 770 West Dayton Street. Livestream coverage of the full board meeting is here.

The Subcommittee on Investments and Committee on Education will meet before the full board begins at 9:30 am. The education committee will consider the post-tenure review policies of UW-Extension, UW-Parkside and UW-Stout.

The full board will hear updates from UW System President Ray Cross and Board of Regents President Regina Millner. Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University, will lead a discussion on public higher education and Susan Baxter, Executive Director of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology, will discuss Cal State’s system-wide biotechnology efforts.

 

UW-Madison Drops in Research Expenditure Rankings

nsf1For the first time since 1972, UW-Madison does not rank in the top five in research expenditures as ranked by the National Science Foundation. UW-Madison dropped from fourth to sixth this year, with $1.07 billion in research spending in 2015.

Johns Hopkins University continues to lead in research funding ($2.31 billion), followed by the University of Michigan ($1.37 billion), the University of Washington ($1.18 billion), the University of California-San Francisco ($1.13 billion), and the University of California-San Diego ($1.1 billion). Among the top 30 universities, Wisconsin led among the four that experienced a drop in spending, with a 3.6 percent reduction.

UW-Madison Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Marsha Mailick noted the impact of disinvestment by the state:

“We are extremely proud of our faculty, staff and students but if Wisconsin is to remain at the pinnacle of American research universities, the state will need to reinvest to be sure we have the faculty positions and conditions necessary to attract and retain the best researchers.”

Alice Dreger: Galileo’s Middle Finger

Alice Dreger

PROFS is pleased to cosponsor a public discussion with Alice Dreger, a former clinical professor at Northwestern University.

Dreger, author of Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, will talk about academic freedom and how it relates to research. She will also share ways in which researchers can work individually and together to protect themselves.

She will speak at noon, Friday, March 4 in the Wisconsin Idea Room in the Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall.

This is event is hosted by the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE) and cosponsored by the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies, the Department of History ​of Science, and the Wisconsin HOPE Lab.

Chancellor Blank: Public Research Universities are Centers of American Innovation and Education

Chancellor Rebecca Blank offers her view on public research universities and their role in Tuesday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Blank writes that top public research universities like the University of Wisconsin-Madison play an important role in keeping the United States at the forefront of the global economy by educating the majority of skilled workers. At the same time, public research universities conduct basic research that is essential to future innovations:

“The importance of research universities in educating top scientists, engineers and doctors is well understood. But the second part of our mission is equally important and often forgotten or misconstrued. Those who criticize our faculty for not teaching enough fail to recognize that teaching is only half their work.

At a research university, faculty are expected to actively engage in producing and publishing research results. And most faculty are expected to raise the money needed to support their work by writing proposals to federal agencies, foundations and private industry.”

Blank acknowledges that funding for research has slowed in recent years, with potentially devastating consequences as other nations increase their research funding.

“This nation’s public research universities are centers of American innovation and education. Maintaining these institutions and maintaining strong federal funding for their research on big, complex and important problems is critical to keeping this nation competitive in today’s global economy.”

The full article is here.

UW-Madison to Host Former Congressmen Obey and Petri April 13

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Federal Relations will host an event featuring former Congressmen David Obey and Thomas Petri at 3:30 pm Monday, April 13 in Tripp Commons in the Memorial Union, 800 Langdon Street.

The forum, one stop in a statewide tour of college campuses, will focus on the importance of civic participation and thoughtful bipartisan discussion of key policy issues. Obey suggested the lecture series after Petri announced he would not run for re-election in 2014:

“I just thought that, given all the negative vibes about what is happening — especially in Madison — that it would be good if we could have a bipartisanship roadshow to simply talk, especially to college students, about the importance of politics and how politics have changed since we got involved with it.”

Together, Obey, the longest-serving Wisconsin member of Congress, and Petri served in Congress for almost 80 years. 

The Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service, the David R. Obey Civic Resource Center, the Wisconsin Humanities Council/Working Lives Project, UW-Madison Department of Political Science, the Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs, and the Elections Research Center are event partners.