The University of Wisconsin System Regents met with key legislative leaders last Thursday to find common ground after a contentious budget process last spring. The conference featured several panel discussions and opportunities for dialog.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) raised concern with his assertion that chancellors need to be more like CEO’s in an effort to be more nimble. Citing UW System’s Flex Option, Vos said that faculty governance on individual campuses is slow and cumbersome and can slow the development of new programs: “Does the role of allowing faculty to make a huge number of decisions help the system or hurt the system?”
Regent President Michael Falbo strongly denied Vos’s assertion that governance slowed the process and said the process was relatively quick, especially given Flex Option is one of the first of its kind in the country.
Speaking with Inside Higher Education, PROFS President Bill Tracy said that shared governance, while sometimes slow, often leads to better decisions. Tracy also said faculty have led the effort to improve student education on campus, citing increased graduation rates and decreased time-to-degree for students:
“We’ve been effective in many, many ways. It’s hard to see that we’re being inefficient or inflexible or not ‘nimble,’ or stodgy, if you will.”
PROFS is communicating with legislators and sharing examples of how shared governance at UW-Madison has led to groundbreaking innovations and ensured that taxpayer dollars were well-spent.