Category: The state

PROFS Statement on Campus Speech Legislation

The Senate Committee on Universities, Technical Colleges, Children and Families held a hearing on an appointment and several bills yesterday, including Senate Bill 403, legislation relating to campus speech. PROFS is registered against this bill and strongly opposes its passage.

The following statement was shared with the committee yesterday.

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UW System Presidential Search Update

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents recently announced a public comment website for faculty, staff, students and others to offer input on the UW System President search.

In correspondence with UW System employees, Regent Vice President Michael Grebe also announced two video listening sessions at 11 am and 3 pm on Thursday, December 19. Those interested can register here.

Grebe writes:

To frame and guide these engagements, I am including a set of questions that I ask you think about:

What are the key challenges and opportunities facing the UW System over the next five to ten years? What particular characteristics and attributes would help the successful candidate address these issues?

What specific role and specific priorities should we expect the new President to carry forward with respect to that future agenda?

What are the characteristics, skills, and experiences we should be seeking in the search for the new President? Which characteristics are required and which would be nice to have? Which are the most important or essential?

What are the top three to five attributes of the UW System that should be exciting to candidates? More generally, why should candidates be excited about coming to UW System?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and insights. Thank you in advance for participating and helping the Committee drive towards a successful result.

PROFS has previously expressed serious concern about the composition of the search committee and finds a comment website and online listening session to be poor substitutes for appropriate faculty, staff and student participation. These are not examples of shared governance. We again ask the Board of Regents to do better.

Faculty Senate Resolution on UW System President Search Committee

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate voted unanimously yesterday to pass a resolution (below) objecting to the composition of the Search and Screen Committee for the new UW System President. The resolution also called for the Board of Regents to add faculty, staff and students to the committee. Similar resolutions have passed at every comprehensive and doctoral campus within UW System.

Regent President Andrew Petersen named members of the search committee in early November, drawing criticism from governance groups and legislators. The letter PROFS sent to Petersen urging him to include governance groups on the committee is here.

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Assembly Democrats Urge Regent President to Add Governance Groups to Search Committee

Twenty-two Democratic members of the State Assembly sent a letter to Andrew Petersen, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents President, last week urging him to add members to the Search and Screen Committee for the new President of UW System. The committee currently has no representation from faculty and staff and just one student, the non-traditional student Regent.

The letter-signers included every Madison area representative whose district is entirely or mostly in Dane County.

PROFS also contacted Petersen with serious concerns about the composition of the search committee. That letter is here.

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Mark Cook Bill Signed Into Law

Governor Tony Evers signed Assembly Bill 38 into law last Thursday, November 21. The legislation, named after the late UW-Madison Animal Science professor Mark Cook, streamlines the process by which University of Wisconsin faculty members can enter into research contracts involving the university and an organization with which the same faculty members are connected.

This bipartisan legislation was a top priority for PROFS and was the result of the work of the PROFS Entrepreneurial Work Group, which was led by Cook before his untimely passing.

UW System President Ray Cross said “This law will help accelerate the critical research UW System does to benefit Wisconsin and the world. We’re grateful to the Legislature and Gov. Evers for their bipartisan support of this new law.”

Thanks to Governor Evers for signing the bill and to Representatives Dave Murphy (R-Greenville) and Shelia Stubbs (D-Madison) and Senators Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Fred Risser (D-Madison) for authoring the bill.

Governor Tony Evers with Ellen, Crague and Lynn Cook
Mark Cook Bill signing with Governor Tony Evers

November Legislative Update

This legislative update was distributed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty Senate meeting yesterday. The senate meets the first Monday of every month at 3:30 pm in Room 272 Bascom Hall during the academic year, October through May, except in January.

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October Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at UW-Superior Thursday and Friday, October 10 and 11. Livestream coverage of the full board portions of the meeting is available here.

Regents meet in committee Thursday morning after a tour of the Lake Superior Research Institute ballast water treatment system testing facility.

  • The Business and Finance Committee will hear a report from UW-Superior, discuss several reports relating to investments and financials, and consider eight contractual agreements at UW-Madison.
  • The Education Committee will consider three new degree programs, including a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in data science at UW-Madison. The committee will also discuss changes to four Regent Policy Documents, including one relating to laboratory animals.
  • The Audit Committee will discuss the internal audit, compliance, and risk management.
  • The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will hear a report from UW-Superior and consider granting authority to several campuses for construction projects, including the Camp Randall renovation and Field House repair project.

The full board will meet Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. UW System President Ray Cross and UW-Superior Chancellor Renée Wachter will address the board Thursday afternoon before moving into closed session to discuss honorary degrees, two salary adjustments at UW-Madison, chancellor evaluations, and legal issues.

On Friday, the board will hear updates from Cross and UW System Board of Regents President Drew Petersen. The regents will also vote to approve an amendment to student disciplinary rules. The amendment would outline punishment for students who disrupt free speech on campus. Regents adopted a policy in 2017 but it does not take effect until UW System administrative rules are amended.

Administrative rules must be approved by Governor Evers before they are sent to the legislature. A spokeswoman for Evers recently said the governor voted against this policy when he was a member of the Board of Regents and he continues to oppose the policy.

Last month, two bills (Assembly Bill 444 and Senate Bill 403) relating to campus speech were introduced. This legislation directs the Board of Regents to create a campus speech policy that would supersede and nullify any prior Board of Regents or institution policies or rules restricting free expression. PROFS is registered against these bills. If either bill passes the legislature, it must still be signed into law by the governor before becoming law.

Regent Tracey Klein Added to College Affordability Panel

UW System Regent Tracey Klein

PROFS is pleased to announce that University of Wisconsin System Regent Tracey Klein will serve as the third panelist at the upcoming forum on affordability and public higher education on Thursday, October 24.

Klein, a health care attorney for more than 30 years, was named to the Board of Regents by Governor Scott Walker in 2016. She is a chairs the Regent Education Committee and is also a member of the Executive Committee.

The forum will focus on the cost of delivering education, why it rises, and the implication of rising expenses – pressure on the state to subsidize the cost, students to pay higher tuition and the university to raise funds and pursue partnerships.

It will be held in the De Luca Forum in the Discovery Building at 4 pm on Thursday, October 24. Klein will be joined by UW-Madison professor Nicholas Hillman (moderater) and panelists David Feldman (professor, William & Mary) and UW-Madison Vice Chancellor Laurent Heller.

Save the Date: PROFS Forum on the Cost of Higher Education

PROFS is pleased to announce a campus forum on the cost of higher education on Thursday, October 24. This event will be held at 4 pm in the De Luca Forum in the Discovery Building, 330 North Orchard Street, and is open to the public.

Nicholas Hillman

The forum, moderated by UW-Madison Education Professor Nicholas Hillman, will examine college cost, in particular why costs have risen so dramatically in recent years and the implications of rising expenses. We will look at the the resulting pressure on the state to increase funding and students to pay higher tuition, along with pressure on the university to raise funds and pursue partnerships.

Our panel includes William & Mary Economics Professor David Feldman and UW-Madison Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Laurent Heller. A third panelist will be named soon.

David Feldman

David Feldman received his A.B. from Kenyon College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University. Before joining the faculty at William and Mary in 1989, he taught at Duke and Colgate University. His current research examines college cost, the demand for higher education, and the role of federal and state policy toward higher education. He has published two books on the cost of higher education with his faculty colleague Robert Archibald, The Road Ahead for America’s Colleges and Universities and Why Does College Cost So Much?

Laurent Heller

Laurent Heller began his appointment as the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration in August, 2016. Heller has extensive experience in budgeting and finance, higher education strategy and business operations, having served as Vice Chancellor, Financial Planning and Analysis at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley.

UW-Madison’s Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership is a cosponsor of this event.

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:

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