PROFS

Legislative Update

The Legislature is in session and PROFS is closely monitoring several bills that could severely affect UW-Madison:

Proposed Bill to Assist Faculty Entrepreneurship, LRB-4627

Led by faculty experts, PROFS worked with a bipartisan group of legislators who plan 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, noting current law is slow and cumbersome and ultimately leads to lost contracts.

Bills Limiting Scientific Research, 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.

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 this bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.

Campus Carry

Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.

Federal Budget

PROFS is closely monitoring Senate and House tax reform efforts and has contacted members of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation to express concern that both bills would seriously harm higher education. In particular, PROFS is opposed to a provision in the House version that would tax graduate student tuition waivers, making the cost to attend graduate school out of reach for many students. The federal budget proposals coupled with many years of declining state support, seriously threaten public higher education.

UW System Restructuring

Last month, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved the implementation of a plan to reorganize UW Colleges and Extension. Under the proposal, UW Colleges would be integrated with four-year institutions, Cooperative Extension would become part of UW-Madison, and Wisconsin Public Television would shift to UW System.

PROFS Annual Report

PROFS president Dorothy Farrar Edwards will present the PROFS Annual Report for 2016-17 (below) to the Faculty Senate Monday, December 4. The senate meets in Room 272 Bascom Hall at 3:30 pm. A full agenda of the meeting is here.

Faculty senators and visitors are invited to join PROFS for refreshments in the rotunda area outside Room 272 Bascom Hall beginning at 3 pm.

Bipartisan Legislation on Faculty Entrepreneurial Efforts

PROFS is pleased that a bipartisan group of legislators is working to introduce legislation (below) related to University of Wisconsin research contracts. Last year, PROFS assembled a small group of faculty who have created businesses to examine ways to encourage UW-Madison faculty to become more entrepreneurial.

The group, led by the late Mark Cook (Animal Science), also included Chemistry professor Robert Hamers and emeritus professor Rock Mackie (Medical Physics). The group 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, noting current law is slow and cumbersome and ultimately leads to lost contracts.

PROFS wrote a statement calling for new legislation and worked with UW-Madison attorneys on statutory language. Former Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), chair of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges and a member of the Joint Finance Committee, agreed have the bill drafted. PROFS also secured the support of UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW System President Ray Cross.

Senators Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Representatives David Murphy (R-Greenville) and Terese Berceau (D-Madison) have taken the lead on the bill and are encouraging their colleagues to support the legislation (below).

 

November Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meet today at Gordon Dining Event Center at UW-Madison, 770 West Dayton Street. The public full board portions of the meeting will be streamed live here.

The Business and Finance Committee meet in committee at 8:30 am, where they will discuss the transfer the management of trust fund assets to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. They will also consider approval of changes to policy language related to student segregated fees. These changes are required as a result of the 2017-19 state budget which called for consistent classification of allocable and non-allocable funds among UW institutions.

The full board meeting begins at 10 am. Before lunch, they will hear an update from UW System President Ray Cross and recognize one-hundred years of Wisconsin Public Broadcasting.

In the afternoon, the board will consider the proposal to restructure UW System. PROFS has serious concerns about the process surrounding this proposal. In particular, we are troubled that key stakeholders — faculty, staff, students and community leaders — were not consulted prior to the announcement of the plan, contrary to the university’s long tradition of shared governance. Our statement is here.

 

November Legislative Update

The Legislature has shifted its focus to pending legislation following the completion of the 2017-19 state budget earlier this fall. Both the Assembly and Senate have scheduled committee work and several days of floor debate before the Legislature concludes its work next month. PROFS is closely monitoring several bills that could severely affect UW-Madison:

  • Bills Limiting Scientific Research, Senate Bills 422 & 423  Last week, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety discussed two bills that would limit the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. PROFS is registered against SB 423 and presented testimony against the bill. Our statement is here.
  • 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 this bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.
  • Campus Carry  Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.

Regent Update

  • UW System Restructuring  The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents announced a major reorganization of UW Colleges and Extension last month. Under the proposal, UW Colleges would be integrated with four-year institutions, Cooperative Extension would become part of UW-Madison, and Wisconsin Public Television would shift to UW System. The Regents are expected to vote on the implementation of the plan Thursday.
  • Administrative Hiring  The Regents adopted new rules relating to the hiring of top administrators. Under new rules, institutions cannot require top administrators to hold a terminal degree or have tenure. UW-Madison Faculty Policies & Procedures had such a rule in place. The new rules also cut the number of faculty on search committees and call for recruiting more candidates from the private sector. PROFS was opposed to the changes and strongly encouraged Regents to reconsider their plan. Our statement is on the PROFS website and Facebook page.
  • Campus Speech  The Regents also adopted new rules relating to freedom of expression on campus. The new language outlines specific punishment, including suspension, for students who violate the policy.

Legislative Update

Progress on the state’s 2017-19 biennial budget is picking up as the Joint Committee on Finance is scheduled to meet today (Tuesday, September 5) to vote on the state’s transportation budget. Until a new budget passed, the state continues to spend according to the 2015-17 budget.

Since the budget was introduced in February, PROFS has been busy meeting with legislative leaders and lobbying for the best possible outcome for University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty.

State Budget

In May, the Joint Finance Committee approved along party lines an omnibus motion containing several provisions relating to the university. Key points:

  • Extension of the current four-year tuition freeze for two additional years.
  • $26.3 million in outcomes-based funding. Regents will create metrics to measure progress toward goals.
  • $5 million for high-demand degree programs.
  • $3 million for the creation of the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership at UW-Madison.
  • $10,000 for the review of policies related to academic freedom.
  • $980,000 for UW Hospital and Clinics Carbone Cancer Center.
  • $200,000 for the Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program.
  • $100,000 for UW-Madison’s Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center.
  • Creation of an engineering school at UW-Green Bay.
  • Language that bars the Board of Regents from adopting a policy that would require UW campus chancellors and vice chancellors and the UW System President to have tenure or hold a terminal degree in their field.
  • Expansion of tuition free-education programs for veterans and their families.

PROFS has deep concerns about policy items in the budget and has asked the co-chairs of the finance committee to remove language relating to the qualifications for UW System President and Chancellor candidates and amend the language that creates the Thompson Center on Public Leadership to eliminate the leadership board, allow for the creation of an advisory committee, and ensure, as is the case for all other UW-Madison centers, that the Thompson Center is subject to university governance.

Regent Administrative Hiring Workgroup

UW System Board of Regents President John Behling named members of the workgroup tasked with review of UW System Chancellor and other top administrative positions (see above). The group, which does not include a member from UW-Madison, will examine hiring practices and consider expanding the search process to include non-traditional candidates from outside academia. Behling told fellow Regents last month he would like UW System institutions to recruit non-academic candidates and “streamline” the hiring process for top administrative positions.

UW-Madison Faculty Polices and Procedures (FP&P) requires the Chancellor and Provost to hold a tenured faculty position. PROFS met with Regent Drew Petersen, chair of the workgroup, to share UW-Madison faculty concerns. Peterson told PROFS it is too late to add a UW-Madison faculty member to the workgroup but he welcomes input from an ad hoc UW-Madison committee and will work with PROFS on strategy related to working with legislators and the governor on this topic.

AB 299, relating to campus speech

This bill, which passed the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee on a partisan vote, requires the Board of Regents to adopt a policy on free expression for all campuses. Under this bill, university administrators would be required to punish students who disrupt campus speakers. The bill would also require campuses to remain neutral on public policy issues. PROFS is registered in opposition to the legislation. Our statement on the bill is here.

Campus Carry

Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.

Fetal Tissue

Republicans who control the legislature appear to be split on legislation relating to the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. Two different bills have been introduced, one that follows existing federal law forbidding the sale of fetal tissue, but not research that uses it, and one that bans research using fetal tissue from abortions performed after January 1, 2017 and imposes hefty fines on anyone who uses the material. PROFS has assembled a working group comprised of faculty and industry representatives to advise us on this issue.

Foxconn

In July, Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn and Governor Scott Walker announced Foxconn’s intention to build a liquid crystal display manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. Wisconsin would provide $3 billion in state incentives over 15 years to Foxconn. The plant could ultimately provide 13,000 Foxconn jobs and thousands of related jobs. Legislation authorizing a financial package passed the State Assembly August 17 and a State Senate vote is expected soon. Prior to the announcement, Chancellor Rebecca Blank met with leaders of Foxconn to discuss the advantages of locating such a facility near a major research institution like UW-Madison. Her statement on Foxconn is here.

PROFS Welcomes Dorothy Farrar Edwards as President

Dorothy Farrar Edwards

PROFS welcomes Kinesiology Professor Dorothy Farrar Edwards as president and extends much gratitude to Chemistry Professor Judith Burstyn for her service as president for the past two years. Burstyn remains a member of the steering committee.

Farrar Edwards, a former member of the University Committee, has served on the PROFS Steering Committee since 2013. She also serves in the Departments of Medicine and Neurology in the School of Medicine and Public Health.

PROFS would also like to thank Murray Clayton (Plant Pathology), Mark Cook (Animal Science) and Irwin Goldman (Horticulture) as they step down from the PROFS Steering Committee after many years of service.

Video from WISCAPE’s 2017-19 Biennial Budget Forum

PROFS recently cosponsored WISCAPE’s 2017-19 Biennial Budget forum. Jack O’Meara, PROFS Legislative Representative, served on the panel alongside Madison College Vice President of Institutional Learning Tim Casper, UW-Madison School of Education Professor Nicholas Hillman, and UW Colleges/Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen. Video from the forum is below.