Regents met in committee this morning:
- The Business and Finance Committee considered approval of several agreements and contracts and discussed UW System’s 403(b) program.
- The Education Committee considered approval of four new degree programs and heard an update on the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin.
- The Audit Committee discussed current audits and considered approval of the FY2022 Compliance Plan.
- The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee heard a presentation on the WiSys Technology Foundation.
The full board is meeting this afternoon and tomorrow morning:
Thursday afternoon, the board will hear reports from Board of Regents President Edmund Manydeeds and Interim President Tommy Thompson. Manydeeds is presiding over his first meeting since his election as board president last month.
The board will discuss a return to in-person instruction in the fall and hear an update on legislative issues before voting on the 2021-22 annual operating budget. The proposed budget does not include a tuition increase despite the decision by the state’s Joint Finance Committee to not extend the 8-year tuition freeze, freeing the Regents to include a tuition increase this fiscal year.
On Friday, the board will discuss the presidential search process, approve committee action, hear a report on summer bridge programs for incoming freshmen, and recognize the service of Emeritus Regents John Behling and Becky Levzow.
Last night, the Wisconsin State Senate approved the the 2021-23 state budget proposal by a vote of 23-9. Three Democrats — Senate Majority Leader Janet Bewley, Brad Pfaff and Jeff Smith — joined all the Republicans present to vote in favor of the bill. This is the first time since 2007 that a budget bill passed with bipartisan support. The bill now awaits action from Governor Tony Evers who can sign the bill into law, sign it with partial vetoes, or fully veto the bill.
PROFS statement on the budget is below:
PROFS has been working hard for the best possible budget for UW-Madison faculty since late last year. Governor Tony Evers introduced his budget proposal in February, but Republican legislative leaders rejected the plan and began anew in the Joint Finance Committee.
The Joint Finance Committee voted on the UW System portion of the budget late last month. The committee approved, along party lines, lifting the 8-year tuition freeze, which was not in Evers’ budget, and increasing UW System funding by $8.25 million, a fraction of the $192 million increase the governor proposed. The increase in funding is earmarked for specific programs, including $5 million for the Freshwater Collaborative, $2 million for UW-Extension county co-op agents, and $250,000 for a Nelson Institute collaborative program with the Department of Defense.
The Joint Finance Committee also voted to provide funding for pay increases for all state employees, including UW-Madison faculty and staff, of 2 percent in each of the next two years. PROFS urged the committee to adopt a robust pay plan for the university before the committee met earlier this month, noting that strong faculty salaries are crucial for recruitment and retention and allow UW-Madison to remain competitive among our peers.
The Republican-led Joint Finance Committee concluded its work on June 17. The Assembly will vote on the bill on Tuesday, June 29, with the Senate vote likely to follow on Wednesday, June 30. The bill will then go to the governor for his signature, partial veto, or full veto. The fiscal year begins July 1, and the current spending levels contained in the 2019-21 budget will be in place until Governor Evers takes action. Should the governor veto the entire budget, the current spending plan continues through June 2023 or until another 2021-23 biennial budget is passed by the Legislature.
PROFS is also following and taking positions on a number of bills and proposals:
PROFS is strongly opposed to legislation that makes voting more difficult for faculty, staff, and students. Our statement is here.
Assembly Bill 77/Senate Bill 80 PROFS is registered in favor of these bills, which provide $1 million for state specialists who provide certain UW-Extension services. Public testimony in favor of this legislation is Similar funding was added to the state budget by the Joint Finance Committee.
Assembly Bill 195/Senate Bill 323 PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit transgender women from participating in UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System intercollegiate, intramural, and club sports. Our statement on this legislation is .
Assembly Bill 370/Senate Bill 260 PROFS registered against these bills that prohibit UW System and UW Hospital and Clinics from, while in the scope of their employment, performing or assisting the performance of an abortion. This legislation could jeopardize the accreditation of the obstetrics and gynecology residency program.
LRB-3355 PROFS will oppose this legislation that bans instruction on systemic racism (referred to in the media as Critical Race Theory) at UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System when introduced.
PROFS has a strong record of advocating for the best possible pay plans for University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty and staff and our work during 2021-23 budget process is no different. The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on a pay plan for state employees, including those at UW-Madison Thursday. This is the letter we shared with committee members earlier today.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents is meeting at UW-Milwaukee today and tomorrow, June 3 and 4. Registration for the Webex videoconference of the open portions of the meetings is here.
Several Regent committees are meeting Thursday morning:
- The Audit Committee will hear several reports and updates, including updates on information security and youth and precollege protection guidelines.
- The Capital Planning & Budget Committee will hear reports on leasing and capital projects, updates on State Building Commission action and the 2021-23 capital budget, and presentation by UW-Milwaukee on meeting the needs of the state.
- The Research, Economic Development & Innovation Committee will hear about research and industry collaboration at UW-Milwaukee and a partnership between UW-Green Bay and Microsoft/LinkedIn. The WiSys Technology Foundation will also provide an update on faculty and undergraduate research, tech transfer, and statewide commercialization initiatives.
- The Business and Finance Committee will consider several service and consulting agreements and hear a report from UW-Milwaukee, “UWM’s Financial and Administrative Outlook: Meeting Wisconsin’s Needs into the Future.”
- The Education Committee will consider approval of the 2021 report on faculty promotions and tenure and new degree programs at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Madison (Master of Science in Sports Leadership). The committee will also hear a presentation from UW System on the Office of Educational Opportunities and charter schools.
The full board will meet Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. Thursday afternoon’s agenda includes introduction of the new members of the board, updates from UW System President Tommy Thompson and Board of Regents President Drew Petersen and the presentation of UW-Milwaukee’s NCAA Division I Athletics Report. The board will also move into closed session to consider honorary degrees at UW-Milwaukee and changes to compensation agreements for two UW-Madison football coaches.
Friday’s agenda includes approval of committee action, the presentation of academic staff awards, and the election of the 2021-22 officers of the Board of Regents. For the first time in many years, there appears to be a contested election for board president. Vice President Michael Grebe, a Walker appointee, and newly-appointed Regent Ed Manydeeds have both said they are standing for election.