Category: The national context

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.

AAUP Statement on Proposed UW System Public Authority Plan

aaup-logo-2_0American Association of University Professors President Rudy Fichtenbaum released a statement (below) yesterday calling for the University of Wisconsin System administration to oppose the proposal to transform UW System from a state agency into a public authority.

Fichtenbaum says the proposal could profoundly undermine tenure, due process, and shared governance. In particular, he is concerned about the statutory removal of these faculty rights.

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On Point with Tom Ashbrook: Testing The ‘Wisconsin Idea’ Of Public Higher Education

on point logo

Today’s first hour of On Point, a National Public Radio radio talk show hosted by Tom Ashbrook, featured a discussion of the Wisconsin Idea, Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts for the University of Wisconsin System, and how they relate to the the governor’s national political ambitions. Audio is below.

University of Wisconsin-Madison history professor John Sharpless and academic staff member Noel Radomski, director of WISCAPE, were joined on the panel by two members of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel staff — higher education reporter Karen Herzog and columnist/blogger Christian Schneider.

Center for American Progress: Wisconsin Lags Neighbors in Higher Education Funding

The Center for American Progress released a report (below) Monday calling for a renewed social compact between states and their institutions of higher education. The report illustrates how the Great Recession resulted in a disinvestment in public higher education, directly resulting in large tuition increases.

Comparing its recommendations to those of the Truman Commission on Higher Education in 1947, the center argues the federal government should offer incentives to states that enroll students receiving Pell Grants or benefits from the G.I. Bill. In particular, states should reach out to low- and middle-income students to ensure access to higher education, while addressing the burden of student debt.

How Wisconsin Fared
The report
found from 2008 to 2012 public higher education funding per student in the state fell 18 percent, while overall higher education spending dropped 8 percent. In 2012, state funding per student in Wisconsin was $4,439, the lowest of all Midwestern states with the exception of Michigan.

 

A Great Recession, a Great Retreat: A Call for a Public College Quality Compact by Center for American Progress

Pocan: State Should Invest More in UW System

Congressman Mark Pocan

Congressman Mark Pocan

Congressman Mark Pocan recently spoke to the Badger Herald editorial board, sharing his thoughts on Governor Walker’s proposed tuition freeze, the academic reputation of UW-Madison, and cuts to National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

Pocan said while a tuition freeze can help students, a freeze without increased funding from the state ultimately hurts the university:

“If the state of Wisconsin doesn’t invest money in the UW System, it puts pressure on tuition, and then if he (Walker) freezes tuition, you put double pressure on the UW. I’m not advocating for raising tuition, but I’m advocating for the state putting a proper share into the UW, given how much it is an economic engine for the rest of the state.”

Pocan also told the editorial board about his recently-introduced Next Generation Research Act. The proposal would encourage NIH to promote policies and programs that would improve opportunities for new researchers. The genesis for this legislation began last year when PROFS invited the congressman to UW-Madison to discuss federal funding and the Sequestration.

When Does the University of Wisconsin Cease to be a Public University?

Mike Brost, a University of Wisconsin-Madison senior from Shorewood, asks in Friday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at what point does a state university cease to be a university?

Brost writes that state spending on higher education has fallen 28 percent since 2008, and UW-Madison receives just 15 percent of its budget from the state. Nationally, as state funding drops, tuition increases — 231 percent over the past 30 years.

At the same time, Brost observes investment in public higher education is a good for the state’s economy:

With $1.2 billion in state funding, the UW System contributes more than $15 billion to Wisconsin’s economy.

Brost argues that if current trends continue, Wisconsin’s funding of higher education will end in 2040.

The full article is here.

 

University Boards and the New Normal

wiscapeJane Wellman, the executive director of the National Commission on College and University Board Governance, will visit UW-Madison tomorrow and participate in a discussion on changes to college and university boards.

University Boards and the New Normal, a conversation with Jane Wellman will be held at 4 pm on Wednesday, June 11 in Room 159 Education, 1000 Bascom Mall. It is free and open to the public.

The talk is sponsored by WISCAPE, the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education.

The continued defunding of public higher education has put enormous pressure on governance boards, and in some cases, resulted in changes to shared governance. Wellman will discuss these challenges and explore ways in which to improve the functionality of public-sector governing boards.