Month: August 2020

August Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet via teleconference Thursday, August 20. Registration to watch the public portions of the meeting is here. The full agenda is here.

Regents begin at 8:45 am with committee meetings:

  • The Business and Finance Committee will consider approval of several contracts and agreements and hear reports on shared services, information security, and state and federal COVID-19 assistance.
  • The Education Committee will consider several new programs, including three at UW-Madison — a Master of Science in Financial Economics, a Master of Science in Information and an Educational Specialist in School Psychology. The committee will also vote on the temporary suspension of the SAT/ACT requirement at UW-Madison
  • The Audit Committee will hear the FY21 Audit Plan Progress Report along with summarized recent audits.
  • The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider a renovation project at UW-Stout and hear reports on capital projects and action by the State Building Commission.
  • The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear a report on supporting Wisconsin businesses during the pandemic from Interim President Tommy Thompson and receive updates on the economic impact of COVID-19 in northern Wisconsin and the UW-Green Bay water sciences program.

The full board meets at 12:45 pm. After hearing reports from Regent President Andrew Petersen and Interim President Tommy Thompson, the board will consider the 2021-23 operating budget and capital budget requests. Interim President Thompson announced details about the request Tuesday.

The operating budget proposal — a 3.5 percent increase over the biennium — features ten key initiatives. The cornerstone of the plan is a systemwide free tuition program, the Wisconsin Tuition Promise, for Wisconsin families earning less than $60,000 annually. The proposal extends Bucky’s Tuition Promise, a UW-Madison program created in 2018, to all UW System universities.

Other funding priorities include student loan forgiveness programs for state teachers, 20 new UW-Madison Division of Extension county-based agriculture positions, and support for the Freshwater Collaborative.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s Remarks to Downtown Madison Rotary

UW-Madison Chancellor
Rebecca Blank

University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank told members of Downtown Madison Rotary today that the university faces unprecedented financial losses due to COVID-19. Blank said that current projections show a loss of $150 million, but the loss will grow if fewer students enroll when classes resume in September.

Blank noted that UW System already took almost two-thirds of the $70 million cut ordered by Governor Evers earlier this spring and cautioned that against a similar cut this fiscal year:

You cannot cut the budget on the back of higher education in this state. That will be a disaster for the state in the long run…We are arguing strongly that we’ve already given at the office and we should have a lower percentage in this next round, but we’ll see what happens.