The state

October Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Parkside Thursday and Friday, October 4 and 5. All meetings will be held at the UW-Parkside Student Center, 900 Wood Road in Kenosha. Livestream coverage of the full board portions of the meeting is here.

The Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:

The Education Committee will consider a new degree program in video production at UW-Stout and mission statement change at UW-River Falls. The committee will also hear reports on UW System restructuring and teacher education in Wisconsin.

The Business and Finance Committee will consider two contractual agreements at UW-Madison and hear reports on topics including program revenue balances, financial management, information security, shared services and performance funding.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider two remodeling projects at UW-Madison — Helen C. White Library and Memorial Library. The committee will also hear presentations on UW System building conditions and UW-Parkside’s capital planning and budgeting.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear two presentations — an update from UW-Parkside women innovators and an update from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation on Foxconn supplier initiatives and partnerships.

The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Thursday’s agenda includes reports from UW-Parkside Chancellor Deborah Ford (partnerships), UW-Madison Athletics Director Barry Alvarez (safety review), and UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside and UW-Stout (capacity building efforts).

Friday’s agenda includes committee reports and updates from UW System President Ray Cross and Regent President John Behling.

Legislative Update

PROFS, a non-profit membership organization representing UW-Madison faculty, monitors legislation and lobbies the governor, members of the legislature, and members of Congress. PROFS has a long history of effectiveness – PROFS led the fight to ensure retirement contributions are taken pre-tax, saving the average faculty member about $1,800 per year and successfully lobbied for domestic partner benefits and first-day health coverage for faculty and staff. Recent activities at the state level are below.

2019-21 Biennial Budget

While Governor Walker instructed agency heads to prepare budgets with zero increases, the Board of Regents recently approved a request for a $107.5 million increase in state funding over the next biennium:

  • $82.5 million to be directed to meet outcomes-based goals set by the Republican legislature, including student success, workforce development and operational efficiencies.
  • $25 million to be directed to improve access in high-demand fields in science, math, technology, engineering, health care and business.

The Regents also approved a $1.9 billion capital budget request, including $90 million to expand UW-Madison’s Veterinary Medicine building.

UW System’s budget request did not include a pay plan for faculty and staff. UW System President Ray Cross said he would ask Regents in December to approve a plan equal to twice the rate of inflation.

The state budget process is lengthy and begins early next year when the governor introduces his budget proposal. The Joint Finance Committee and both houses of the state legislature must then approve the plan before it is returned to the governor for his vetoes and final approval.

PROFS will actively monitor and participate in the state budget, meeting with key legislators and leaders from UW-Madison and UW System.

Tuition Freeze

Earlier this summer, both candidates for governor – current Governor Scott Walker (Republican) and Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers (Democrat) – said they support an additional two-year freeze on University of Wisconsin System tuition, lengthening the current freeze to eight years.

Fall Elections

All Wisconsin Assembly seats and 17 seats in the Senate are on the ballot in November. Republicans hold comfortable margins in both houses, but some pundits believe the Senate could flip parties. A split legislature would have an impact on the upcoming state budget process and could slow Republican legislative efforts such as a proposed ban on fetal tissue research and campus carry.

 

Reminder: Shared Governance Forum

PROFS, along with several campus cosponsors, is hosting a public forum on shared governance at 3 pm, Thursday, May 3 in the Wisconsin Idea Room in the Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall (poster below).

Our panel:

  • 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 HerzogMilwaukee Journal Sentinel higher education reporter, will moderate.

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

The La Follette School of Public Affairs, the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership, WISCAPE (Wisconsin Center on the Advancement of Postsecondary Education) and ASPRO (Academic Staff Professionals Representation Organization) are cosponsors.

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 concluded its regular session work in March, passing several items key to Governor Scott Walker’s re-election agenda including a school safety passage, an overhaul of the juvenile corrections system, and a one-day sales tax holiday and $100 per child tax credit. The Legislature did not take action on the following:

“Mark Cook Bills” to Assist Faculty Entrepreneurship, Assembly Bill 758 and Senate Bill 671

PROFS worked with faculty experts to develop bipartisan legislation that would change state statutes that regulate how the university contracts with companies in which faculty or other university employees have a financial interest. AB 758 passed the Assembly, but was not scheduled for a vote in the Senate.

Bill Limiting University of Wisconsin OB/GYN Training, Assembly Bill 206

PROFS registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. This bill died in committee.

Bills Restoring Tenure and Shared Governance to State Statute, Assembly Bills 991 & 993 and Senate Bills 823 & 824

PROFS registered in support of legislation that would restore language relating to tenure and shared governance to state statues, provisions that were removed as part of the 2015-17 state budget. These bills died in committee.

Bills Limiting Scientific Research, Assembly Bills 83 & 549 and Senate Bills 422 & 423

PROFS registered agains SB 423, and monitored additional bills that would have limited the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. SB 422 received a public hearing but was never scheduled for a floor vote, the remaining bills died in committee.

Bills Eliminating Certain Reporting Requirements, Changes to UW-Madison Health Sciences Start Date, Assembly Bill 932 and Senate Bill 790

PROFS registered in support of this legislation that would eliminate several duplicative reports and allow graduate health science classes to start before September 1. These bills died in committee.

Federal Relations

PROFS President Dorothy Farrar Edwards and Legislative Representative Jack O’Meara traveled to Washington, DC last month as part of the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s UW-Madison Day. They met with members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation including Senator Tammy Baldwin and Congressmen Mark Pocan and Glenn Grothman, and staff from the offices of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Johnson.

 

 

 

Legislative Update

The Legislature is expected to wrap up the 2018 session this month and PROFS is closely monitoring several bills. More information on PROFS lobbying effort is here:

“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. AB 758 has passed the Assembly and PROFS is hopeful it will be scheduled for a Senate vote later this month.

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.

Bills Restoring Tenure and Shared Governance to State Statute, Assembly Bills 991 & 993 and Senate Bills 823 & 824

PROFS is registered in support of legislation that would restore statutory language relating to tenure and shared governance to state statues. These provisions were removed as part of the 2015-17 state budget.

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.

Bills Eliminating Certain Reporting Requirements, Changes to UW-Madison Health Sciences Start Date, Assembly Bill 932 and Senate Bill 790

PROFS is registered in support of this legislation that would eliminate several duplicative reports and allow graduate health science classes to start before September 1.

Shared Governance Forum

PROFS is planning a campus forum on shared governance – what it is, how it works on a flagship campus that is part of a system, and why it leads to best business practices. A date and more details to come soon.

Federal Relations

PROFS President Dorothy Farrar Edwards and Legislative Representative Jack O’Meara will participate in the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s UW-Madison Day in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 14. They will also meet with members of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation during their time in on Capitol Hill.

 

Governor Walker Announces Regent Appointments

Last week, Governor Scott Walker announced three appointments to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. The governor reappointed Regent Gerald Whitburn to a second seven-year term and named Cris Peterson to a seven-year term and Jason Plante to the remainder of former Regent Margaret Farrow’s seven-year term, ending in 2020. Farrow announced her immediate retirement from the board in December.

Whitburn, former CEO of Church Mutual Insurance Company, also served as Secretary of the Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and as Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services under Governor Tommy Thompson. Whitburn holds degrees from UW-Oshkosh and UW-Madison.

Peterson, a Grantsburg dairy farmer, has received several agricultural awards including 1997 Farm Woman of the Year and 2004 World Dairy Expo Woman of the Year. She served as a student regent while at the University of Minnesota, where she received a degree in education. She replaces outgoing Regent Tim Higgins of Appleton.

Plante, a UW-Eau Claire graduate, is Vice President of Market & Johnson, a general contracting/construction management company in Eau Claire.

Nominees must be approved by the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges and full Senate. A public committee hearing on the appointments will be held at 2 pm this afternoon in Room 300 Southeast in the State Capitol.

Video from La Follette WRS Seminar

PROFS cosponsored a La Follette Seminar featuring Gary Gates, former Secretary of the Department of Employee Trust Funds. Gates spoke to faculty, staff and others about the history of the Wisconsin Retirement System on Wednesday, February 21 in Union South.

PROFS Registers in Favor of Senate Bills 823 and 824

PROFS registered in favor of two recently introduced Senate bills. Senate Bill 823 restores tenure to state statutes and Senate Bill 824 restores university shared governance to state statutes. Both provisions had been in state law but were removed in 2015 as part of Act 55, the 2015-17 biennial budget. State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) and State Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) are lead authors of the legislation (below).

2017-18 Budget in Brief

UW-Madison recently released the 2017-18 Budget in Brief, a publication designed to help people, including legislators and other government officials, better understand the university’s budget. PROFS encourages faculty and other university stakeholder to take a look and become more familiar with UW-Madison budget details.