The state

Badgers United Forum

Badgers United, a new advocacy group started by University of Wisconsin-Madison alumni, is hosting a public forum on the importance of UW-Madison to the state’s economy on Wednesday, July 24. More information is below:

Badgers United on UpFront

Amber Schroeder, executive director of Badgers United, recently appeared on WISN’s UpFront (below) to discuss the group’s advocacy efforts on behalf of UW-Madison.

Launched last month, Badgers United was formed to educate the public on the economic impact of UW-Madison and encourage greater state funding for the university. The group’s board of directors includes many prominent alumni, including former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and John and Tashia Morgridge, major donors to UW-Madison.

Schroeder told UpFront host Adrienne Pedersen that UW-Madison contributes $24 for every dollar of state support it receives. She also said the advocacy group supports lifting the tuition freeze and bringing UW-Madison resident undergraduate tuition to the Big Ten average.

Former PROFS President Judith Burstyn on News 3 Now

Former PROFS President Judith Burstyn appeared yesterday on News 3 Now (embedded below).

Burstyn told reporter Rose Schmidt that faculty salaries at UW-Madison lag behind peers and while the current state budget proposal includes two 2 percent pay increases for faculty and staff, the university must reallocate funds from elsewhere on campus to pay for $16 million of the pay raises if tuition remains frozen and the state does not provide inflationary funding.

Newly-elected UW System Board of Regents President Drew Petersen also appeared on the newscast. Petersen told Schmidt that requiring Joint Finance Committee approval for $45 million in state funding to UW System was “a little bit heavy-handed” but he was pleased with the committee’s $1.1 billion allocation for UW System’s capital budget.

Former PROFS President Judith Burstyn on WPT’s Here & Now

Former PROFS President and University Committee Chair Judith Burstyn recently appeared on Wisconsin Public Television’s Here & Now with Frederica Freyburg. Burstyn discussed Joint Finance Committee (JFC) action on the UW System portion of the 2019-21 Wisconsin Biennial Budget, which was approved 12-4 along party lines.

The Republican motion will continue the tuition freeze for two more years, but does not fund the freeze. The motion also included a $59 million increase in funding, $69 million less than Governor Evers proposed as part of his budget. The committee also voted to require JFC approval of how UW campuses will spend money earmarked for academic programming in high demand fields.

Joint Finance Committee to Vote on UW System Today

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on the University of Wisconsin System portion of Governor Evers’ 2019-21 state budget today. Republicans hold a 12-4 majority of the committee and are expected to make significant changes to the governor’s budget.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau has prepared a summary document (below) on several topics, including tuition, supplemental pay, and UW-Extension cooperative agriculture agents. The committee will likely consider options offered in the paper.

Legislative Update

Mark Cook Bills

Assembly Bill 38 and Senate Bill 42, bipartisan legislation named in honor of the late UW-Madison Animal Science professor Mark Cook, have begun to move through the legislative process. The Assembly Constitution and Ethics Committee held a hearing on AB 38 last week, and the Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families will meet today to discuss the SB 42. More information is here.

These companion bills are a top legislative priority for PROFS and are the result of the work of PROFS’ Entrepreneurial Work Group, which was led by Cook. If passed, this legislation will expedite and strengthen the process for Board of Regent approval of projects that involve companies or non-profit organizations in which faculty or staff have a financial interest. Last session, the legislation was approved unanimously in committee and by voice vote in the Assembly, but never received a floor vote in the Senate before the end of the session.

2019-21 Biennial Budget

The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance and Governor Tony Evers both held public hearings on the proposed state budget last month. Republican leadership said last week they reject much of Evers’ budget and will work off the existing state budget when the Joint Finance Committee begins its work May 9. GOP leaders outlined several fiscal and policy items they do not support, but they have not commented on the governor’s higher education budget.

Governor Evers higher education budget includes increases of $44.7 million in FY20 and $66 million in FY21 and $40.4 million for a 2% pay plan for UW System employees, including UW-Madison faculty.

PROFS has already met with members of the governor’s staff and key legislators to discuss items important to UW-Madison faculty and will continue to meet with legislative leaders and others throughout the lengthy budget process. Both houses of the Republican-led state legislature must approve the budget before it is returned to the governor for his vetoes and final approval. The 2019-21 budget officially begins on July 1, but funding continues at existing levels until a proposal is signed into law. Historically, the budget is passed sometime in the summer, but occasionally the process has stretched into the fall.

State Budget Forum Video

Video from the PROFS/WISCAPE state budget forum is on YouTube. The forum featured State Representative Dave Murphy (R-Greenville), Chair, Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee; State Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), former Joint Finance Committee member; Jeff Buhrandt, Senior Director for State Relations, UW System; UW-Madison professor Nicholas Hillman (Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis); and Noel Radomski, Managing Director of WISCAPE.

PROFS State Budget Forum Video

PROFS hosted a forum to discuss Governor Tony Ever’s 2019-21 state budget proposal on April 2. The panel included:

PROFS/WISCAPE state budget forum, April 2, 2019

April Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents is meeting in Madison Thursday and Friday, April 4 and 5. The meeting, originally scheduled to be hosted by UW-Whitewater, will be held at UW System office in Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Avenue. Livestream coverage of the meeting is available here.

Regents met in committee Thursday morning.

The Education Committee considered approval of a change in UW-Green Bay’s mission statement and two UW collaborative degree programs. The committee also heard updates on the UW System associate degree program and the UW System Task Force on Advancing Teacher Education and School Leadership in Wisconsin.

The Business and Finance Committee heard updates on shared services and considered approval of new salary ranges for executives and several contractual agreements.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee considered approval of several building and renovation projects and heard an update on State Building Commission action.

The Audit Committee heard updates on audit reports, risk management and compliance.

The full board will meet in closed and open session Friday afternoon. The board will discuss student behavioral health, the restructuring of UW Colleges and UW-Extension and high impact practices in open session.

On Friday, the board will hear reports from the Board President John Behling and UW System President Ray Cross and consider approval of committee action. Updates on the chancellor search at UW-Whitewater, President Trump’s recent executive order on campus speech, and the 2019-21 state budget are on the agenda.