UW System

UW System President Ray Cross Discusses “Blueprint” on UpFront

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross appeared on WISN’s UpFront with Adrienne Pedersen Sunday to discuss his Blueprint for the University of Wisconsin System Beyond COVID-19.

Cross introduced the blueprint to the Board of Regents Friday. His plan instructs each regional four-year campus to identify its strongest programs so cuts may be made in areas with limited student interest or instructional capabilities. The plan also includes administrative consolidation and an expansion of online course offerings. UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee are exempt from the directive.

Many faculty throughout UW System have expressed concern about the lack of shared governance in this process, which Cross characterized Sunday as “aggressive and quick.” Cross did not comment on shared governance explicitly in the interview, but said that the board “will seek input from folks in the process” (below).

If they (the Board of Regents) choose to adopt a blueprint, then the faculty and staff around the campuses and communities will be engaged in the process of trying to evaluate this through an objective model that is well known through higher education. How do you refine your mission and make choices on priorities? How do you evaluate programs and services?

Blueprint for the University of Wisconsin System Beyond COVID-19

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents met in a special meeting yesterday. A large part of the meeting was to discuss a “blueprint” (below) for moving the System forward in light of the tremendous budget shortfalls due to COVID-19.

While UW-Madison is exempt from this plan, PROFS continues to carefully monitor the action of the board to ensure that principles of shared governance are honored throughout the process.

Some faculty and legislators have spoken out with strong concerns about the plan. State Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), a member of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee, sent a letter (below) to UW System President Ray Cross outlining her thoughts on the plan. She is particularly concerned shared governance groups and legislators part of the development of the plan before it was announced and how this plan may affect issues related to equity and access.

Regent Executive Committee to Meet to Discuss Creation of Employee Furlough Policies

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Executive Committee will meet at 2:30 pm today to discuss granting UW System President Ray Cross and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Black the authority to create policies and procedures relating to employee furloughs in response to the immense budget pressures due to COVID-19:

“The University of Wisconsin System is facing increased fiscal challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, the Executive Committee of the Board of Regents, under the authority granted to the Board in Wis. Stats. s. 36.115, is being asked to modify Regent Policy Document 20-21 to authorize the UW System President and the UW-Madison Chancellor to create furlough policies. The furlough policies will provide options in addition to the other workforce reduction and cost saving measures, to address these financial challenges in a way that minimizes layoffs and maximizes the UW System’s ability to continue to perform its critical educational and outreach mission.”

The meeting will be webcast live here.

April Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet via teleconference at 9:15 am, Thursday, April 2. Originally scheduled as a two-day meeting, the board will forgo committee meetings and will meet in full board session instead. Livestream coverage of the meeting is here.

Some discussion items include updates on the impact of COVID-19, the UW-Green Bay and UW-Stevens Point Chancellor searches and the UW System President search. The committee will also consider approval of new degree programs, building projects, clinical trials and an update to UW System’s strategic framework. The board concludes with a closed session.

March Legislative Update

This legislative update was distributed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate meeting today. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. This semester, the senate will meet in Room B10 Ingraham Hall.

February Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Madison Thursday and Friday, February 6 and 7. All meetings will be held at Union South, 1308 West Dayton Street as UW-Madison is the official host of the meeting. Livestream coverage of the full board portions of the meeting is available here. UW-Madison will welcome board members for a reception and facility visit at the George L. Mosse Humanities Building Wednesday evening.

Regents meeting in committee Thursday morning.

  • The Business and Finance Committee will hear several reports, including one from UW-Madison Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller. The committee will also discuss non-resident tuition increases at six campuses, several agreements and contracts, and changes to two Regent Policy Documents, including one that relates to Wisconsin Act 36 (Mark Cook Bill).
  • The Education Committee will hear several updates, including one from UW-Madison Provost Karl Scholz, and consider new degree programs at UW-Madison, UW-Platteville and UW-Whitewater.
  • The Audit Committee will hear several reports on topics including audit, internal controls, enterprise risk management, and compliance.
  • The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will discuss several UW-Madison building projects, including the proposed renovation and addition to Sellery Hall.
  • The Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee will hear a report from UW-Madison Women in Science and Engineering and an update from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The full board meets at 1 pm Thursday. UW-Madison Chancellor Blank will address the board, discussing how the university is facing the rapidly changing world of higher education. Regents will move into closed session after a panel discussion on the state’s achievement/opportunity gap.

The Regents meet at 9 am Friday. They will hear reports from UW System President Ray Cross and Regent President Andrew Petersen and consider approval of committee action from Thursday. The UW-Madison Athletics Department will present its annual NCAA Division I report and the Board of Regents will present the 2020 Diversity Awards, including one to the UW-Madison Department of Chemistry.

February Legislative Update

This legislative update was distributed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate meeting today. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm during the academic year, October through May, except in January. This semester, the senate will meet in Room B10 Ingraham Hall.

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