Month: November 2014

PROFS Welcomes New President Grant Petty

Grant Petty

Grant Petty

PROFS welcomes Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) Professor Grant Petty as president and offers many thanks to Agronomy Professor Bill Tracy for his hard work as president the past three years. Tracy remains a member of the steering committee.

Petty, chair of AOS,  is currently serving his third and final year as a member of the University Committee, the PROFS Board of Directors. He joined the faculty in 2000 and became a member of the PROFS Steering Committee in 2012. Two years ago Petty’s thoughts on public higher education were featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

WAA Fall Forum

Dozens of alumni and friends of the University of Wisconsin-Madison gathered Saturday to discuss the state budget process and learn how they can play a role in advocating for the university. PROFS President Grant Petty attended, along with legislative representative Jack O’Meara and administrator Michelle Felber.

Attendees heard from Chancellor Rebecca Blank, Associate Vice Chancellor Charles Hoslet, and Chemistry Professor Robert Hamers.

Blank and Hoslet focused their remarks on the biennial budget process, while Hamers discussed the proposed Chemistry Building renovation project and the importance of the department to other departments, schools, and colleges throughout campus. WAA also shared a new video that was sent to alumni and donors throughout Wisconsin.

Hamers’ PowerPoint:

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Hoslet’s PowerPoint:

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WAA video:



Legislative Leadership Selected

Capitol & ForwardSenate and Assembly partisan caucuses met this week and selected their leadership for the 2015-16 legislative session.

Assembly Republicans will continue to be led by Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), while Senate Republicans re-elected Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) as their leader. Republicans enjoy large margins over Democrats in both houses — 63 to 36 in the Assembly and 19-14 in the Senate.

Democrat Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) held off challenger Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) for the position of Assembly Minority Leader. Senate Democrats will be led by Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), who challenged Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Democrat). Larson withdrew his name before the caucus met yesterday.

Assembly Republican Leaders

Robin Vos, Rochester, Speaker

Jim Steineke, Kaukauna, Majority Leader

Dan Knodl, Germantown, Assistant Majority Leader

Tyler August, Lake Geneva, Speaker Pro Tempore

John Murtha, Baldwin, Caucus Chair

Lee Nerison, Westby, Caucus Vice-Chair

Jesse Rodriguez, Franklin, Caucus Secretary

Samantha Kerkman, Salem, Sergeant at Arms

Assembly Democratic Leaders

Peter Barca, Kenosha, Minority Leader

Katrina Shankland, Stevens Point, Assistant Minority Leader

Andy Jorgensen, Milton, Caucus Chair

Jo Casta Zamarripa, Caucus Vice Chair

Beth Meyers, Bayfield, Caucus Secretary

Josh Zepnick, Milwaukee, Caucus Sergeant at Arms

Senate Republican Leaders

Scott Fitzgerald, Juneau, Majority Leader

Paul Farrow, Pewaukee, Minority Leader

Mary Lazich, New Berlin, President

Rick Gudex, Fond du Lac, President Pro Tempore

Sheila Harsdorf, River Falls, Caucus Chair

Van Wanggaard, Racine, Caucus Vice Chair

Senate Democratic Leaders

Jennifer Shilling, La Crosse, Minority Leader

Dave Hansen, Green Bay, Assistant Minority Leader

Julie Lassa, Caucus Chair

Kathleen Vinehout, Caucus Vice Chair

Chancellor Blank Offers Budget Transparency

Chancellor Rebecca Blank recently sat down with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Karen Herzog to discuss the university’s budget and how it relates to the upcoming 2015-17 state biennial budget process.

The chancellor told Herzog that she has worked to make UW-Madison’s budget more transparent to lawmakers, work that culminated in the publication of the 2014-15 Budget in Brief (embedded below).

Blank also shared how the campus has drawn down its reserves as a result of the 2013 controversy over UW System’s financial reserves, and deans and directors have been asked to model budget cuts of 2, 4, and 6 percent in anticipation of possible budget cuts from the state.

Blank also made the case for better faculty salaries, stating the university must compete globally for the best faculty. Faculty salaries are currently at the bottom of the university’s peer group — full professors earn almost 13 percent below the peer median.

The full article is expected to run in the November 11 edition of the Journal Sentinel. ETA: The article ran in the November 12 edition of the paper.


2014-15 Budget in Brief

Election Update

Governor Scott Walker handily defeated challenger Mary Burke last night, and legislative Republicans widened their margin in the Legislature with a 19-14 majority in the Senate and a 63-36 majority in the Assembly. Full election results from The Wheeler Report are below.

A special election will be scheduled in the 20th Senate District after State Senator Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend) resigns to represent Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District, a seat he won yesterday after defeating Democrat Mark Harris. Two Assembly races are very close — the 51st and 85th Assembly Districts — and recounts are possible.

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) and Joint Finance Committee Co-chair John Nygren (R-Marinette) spoke to the media earlier today and outlined their legislative agenda. Vos told reporters that while he supports UW System, changes in teaching and research will be considered.

Assembly results 2014 page 1Assembly results 2014 page 2Senate results 2014

November Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at 9 am tomorrow, Thursday, November 6, at UW-Madison. The meeting will be held in the Symphony Room of Gordon Dining and Event Center, 770 West Dayton Street. Livestream coverage of the meeting will be available here.

The regents will host several panel discussions on Wisconsin’s workforce issues, and UW System Interim Senior Vice President David Ward and UW-Madison Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf will present accountability reports for 2013-14.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank will be among four chancellors discussing UW System’s response to workforce needs around the state. Other participants include Todd Berry of the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance; Reggie Newson, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development; Todd Battle, President of the Kenosha Area Business Alliance; Mark Tyler, President of OEM Fabricators; and Kathi Seifert, former Executive Vice President of Kimberly-Clark.

Governor Scott Walker was invited to the meeting, but a spokesperson said he will not attend.


Post-Election Analysis with Loftus and Thompson at Noon Today

WisconsinEye will stream post-election analysis with former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson and former Democratic Assembly Speaker Tom Loftus at noon today, November 5. The pair will discuss election results with Steve Walters, senior producer at WisconsinEye, and JR Ross, editor at WisPolitics.

Loftus and Thompson, Wisconsin’s longest serving governor, both enjoyed service in the federal government after leaving state politics — Thompson as Secretary of Health and Human Services for President George W. Bush and Loftus as Ambassador to Norway for President Bill Clinton.

The program will also be available live on the WisconsinEye website, the WisconsinEye YouTube channel, Charter Cable channel 995, and Time Warner Cable channel 363.



Legislative Update

Fall elections will be held tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4. Polls will be open statewide from 7 am to 8 pm. Polling places in Madison are available here. Statewide polling information is here.

Photo identification is not necessary to vote as a result of last month’s United States Supreme Court ruling. Voters with proof of residence may register at the polls on Election Day. More information is available on the Government Accountability Board website.

In addition to the statewide constitutional offices, all members of the Assembly and 17 members of the Senate are on the ballot. Republicans are expected to maintain control of the Assembly, but Democrats hope to win control of the Senate by flipping three seats:

  • District 9 (Fond du Lac/Manitowoc/Sheboygan): Democrat Martha Laning and Republican Devin LeMahieu face off in this traditionally conservative area. This seat became open when Senator Joe Leibham ran for Congress.
  • District 17 (Southwestern Wisconsin): Democrat Pat Bomhack and Republican Howard Marklein are vying for this seat vacated by retiring Senator Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center).
  • District 19 (Fox Valley): Democrat Penny Bernard Schaber will face Republican Roger Roth in this race which became open after Senator Michael Ellis (R-Neenah) announced he would not run for reelection.

Assembly Republicans outlined their agenda for 2015 last month. With regard to the university, they say they would like to “(r)eform UW System schools to be responsive to Wisconsin job markets and economic needs . . . Resources should be focused on major study areas that are identified as needs for today’s economy and for the future of Wisconsin.

Governor Scott Walker and Mary Burke on Higher Education
Both candidates have spoken about higher education on the campaign trail and offer differing points of view:

  • Walker supports a two-year tuition freeze as a way to ensure affordability for students and their families. He also prefers keeping tuition low rather than increasing governmental aid programs.
  • Burke supports a tuition freeze when coupled with increased support for UW System. She also advocates for a larger income tax deduction for tuition and student loan refinancing programs.

Alumni for Wisconsin Event
Faculty are encouraged to attend the fall meeting of Alumni for Wisconsin, the advocacy group of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. The group,will meet at the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street on Saturday, November 15. The meeting will begin three hours before the kick-off of the Wisconsin-Nebraska football game, which has not yet been announced.

The chancellor will participate in the meeting, which comes on the heels of the gubernatorial election. The 2015-17 state budget will be the focus of the discussion. The meeting will be followed by a tailgate luncheon (reservation and fee required). More information is available here.