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December Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at the Gordon Dining and Event Center at UW-Madison today, Thursday, December 8. Livestream coverage of the full board portion of the meeting is here.

Regents meet in committee Thursday morning.

  • The Education Committee will consider revisions to the post-tenure review policy introduced earlier this year. The amended policy would require “an independent, substantive review by a dean, the provost or the chancellor, or a designee, with the appropriate administrator making the final assignment of the category reflecting the overall results of the review.” The committee will also consider approval of the post-tenure review policies of six UW System campuses. UW-Madison’s policy was approved by the Faculty Senate in November, but must now be revised to meet the new guideline. The committee will also discuss adoption of an interim post-tenure review policy to be used by campuses that do not have board-approved policies in place by April 7, 2017. The proposed policies are below:
  • The Business and Finance Committee will hear the annual report on faculty turnover, which increased across UW System from an average of 5.9% to 8% in the last fiscal year. UW-Madison had the lowest turnover rate (5.3%), while five campuses experienced faculty turnover rates  greater than 11%. The committee will also vote on the adoption of a statement in support of a pay plan request. 
  • The Audit Committee will discuss the Fiscal 2017 Audit Plan Progress Report and hear an update on the UW System Waste, Fraud and Abuse Hotline.

The full board meets at 12:30 pm. Items on the agenda include UW-Green Bay’s annual Athletics Report and discussion of report of the UW System Task Force on Sexual Violence and Harassment.

Legislative Update

History 

The 2015-17 biennial budget process was difficult – UW System received a $250 million budget cut along with a two-year extension of a tuition freeze. PROFS played a key role in one budget bright spot: funding for the much-needed Chemistry Building project. In prior budget cycles, PROFS led the fight to ensure retirement contributions are taken pre-tax, saving the average faculty member about $1,800 per year and successfully lobbied for domestic partner benefits and first-day health coverage for faculty and staff. Looking ahead:

2017-19 Biennial Budget

While Governor Walker instructed all agency heads to prepare budgets with zero increases, the Board of Regents approved a $42.5 million increase in state funding over the next biennium. The increase will largely go toward initiatives to develop the state’s workforce and improve its economy, a plan called 2020FWD. The governor has also said he might consider performance-based funding increases for UW. Criteria for such an increase might include graduation and post-graduation employment rates.

FWD2020 highlights:

  • $26.1 million for the educational pipeline, with a focus on addressing the state’s workforce needs and increasing the student pipeline.
  • $6 million to improve the university experience, with a focus on creating graduates who are creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.
  • $6.4 million for business and community mobilization, with a focus on bringing together the university, businesses and the greater community.
  • $4 million for operational excellence, with a focus on improvements in targeted performance areas. The budget process is lengthy, beginning with formal introduction early next year and final passage most likely in late June. PROFS will be involved throughout the entire process and communicate regularly with faculty.

Tuition Freeze

Earlier this summer, Governor Walker said he supported an additional one or two-year freeze on University of Wisconsin System tuition, lengthening the current freeze to six years.

Regent Action on Tenure, Shared Governance and Post-Tenure Review

Last year, PROFS regularly communicated with the chair and members of the Regent Tenure Policy Task Force as they developed new tenure policies. We will continue to aggressively advocate on behalf of UW-Madison faculty as the Regents work to approve a post-tenure review policy this fall.

Fall Elections

All Wisconsin Assembly seats and 16 seats on the Senate are on the ballot in November. Republicans hold comfortable margins in both houses, but some pundits believe the Senate could flip parties if a Democratic presidential landslide occurs. A split legislature would have an impact on the upcoming state budget process and could slow Republican legislative efforts such as a proposed ban on fetal tissue research and campus carry.

Legislative Update

PROFS welcomes faculty back to campus as the new semester begins. For those unfamiliar, PROFS is a non-profit membership organization that represents UW-Madison faculty to the Wisconsin Legislature and Congress.

We are proud of our past achievements. During the most recent budget process, PROFS played a key role in securing $86 million in state-supported bonding for the UW-Madison Chemistry Building Project.

In 2011, PROFS led the successful fight to ensure retirement contributions are taken pre-tax, saving the average faculty member about $1,800 per year. Before that, PROFS successfully lobbied for domestic partner benefits and first-day health coverage for faculty and staff. Recent activities at the state level are listed below.

2015-17 Biennial Budget

PROFS met with more than two dozen legislators and staff throughout the budget process, lobbying for decreased cuts in state funding and the preservation of strong tenure and shared governance for faculty. While the final budget was still much worse than the faculty would have liked, it did include $50 million more for the UW System than the governor had proposed and the attacks on tenure and shared governance, while harsh, were not as punitive as some key legislators wanted them to be.

PROFS took strong stands on these harmful actions. Please see previous posts for statements on budget cuts, tenure, and shared governance. Going forward, PROFS is closely following the work of UW System’s Tenure Policy Task Force and making the case that tenure policy at UW-Madison must meet the standards of the AAUP and peer institutions.

Assembly Bill 305, Limits on Scientific Research

PROFS officially registered and delivered testimony (below) against AB 305, a proposal that would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. If passed, the bill would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years.

PROFS will continue to vigorously oppose the proposal, which has far-reaching negative consequences on campus.

The Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety will meet in executive session to vote on the bill on Wednesday, September 9.

Possible Merger of UW Colleges and the Wisconsin Technical College System

PROFS is deeply concerned about the private discussion among Assembly Republicans on the possible realignment of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Extension and the Wisconsin Technical College System. PROFS shared its concerns in a letter to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester):

“The faculty at UW-Madison urge you and other legislative leaders to reconsider this strategy and instead create a transparent and inclusive process for any review of public higher education in the state”

“UW-Madison faculty welcome an open and consultative discussion on the future of higher education in Wisconsin. We hope to be “at the table,” along with many other stakeholders across the state, as this discussion continues.”

PROFS is funded entirely by faculty contributions. Please consider joining PROFS if you are not a member.

PROFS Welcomes Burstyn as President

burstyn head shotPROFS welcomes Chemistry Professor Judith Burstyn as president and offers many thanks to Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Professor Grant Petty for his service as president in 2014-15. Petty remains a member of the steering committee.

Burstyn, former chair of the University Committee, has served on the PROFS steering committee since 2011. She was an instrumental participant in the lobbying effort that helped secure state bonding for a new Chemistry Building.

 

June Regent Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Thursday and Friday, June 4 and 5. Livestream coverage is available here.

The board meets in committee Thursday morning, while the full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. All meetings will be held in the UW-Milwaukee student union, 2200 East Kenwood Boulevard.

The Audit Committee will review and approve an audit plan, discuss the new waste, fraud and abuse hotline, and hear a report from the Chief Audit Executive.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear updates on UW-Milwaukee’s outreach and economic development efforts and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation trade missions. The committee will also participate in a panel discussion on the state’s angel and venture capitalists and funding university startups.

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will discuss proposed building projects and hear updates on the State Building Commission action and and 2015-17 capital budget. PROFS lobbied hard for the Chemistry Building Project and is pleased the Joint Finance Committee approved bonding for the project.

The Education Committee will approve several new degree programs, hear a presentation on M3, a Milwaukee student success initiative, and hear an update from a UW System vice president. A resolution on tenure is also on the agenda, but without supporting documentation.

The Business and Finance Committee will discuss several contractual agreements, review policies related to UW-Madison’s Human Resources Design program, and consider changes to chancellor and senior administrator search and screen procedures.

PROFS is very concerned about the proposed changes and offered this statement to members of the Board of Regents.

Thursday afternoon, the full board will discuss the 2015-17 biennial budget, hear presentations from host UW-Milwaukee, and recognize outgoing Regent President Michael Falbo and retiring UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer.

On Friday, UW System President Ray Cross will address the board and provide an update on recent events. The board will also hear committee reports and approve action.

New Regents

Governor Scott Walker recently appointed three new members to the board. Michael M. Grebe and Drew Peterson replace outgoing members Michael Falbo and David Walsh, and will serve seven-year terms. UW-Whitewater student James Langnes III replaces UW-L Crosse student Anicka Purath as the traditional student regent and will serve a two-year term. The appointments are subject to Wisconsin State Senate confirmation.

Michael Grebe Grebe is executive vice president and general counsel for HUSCO International, a global manufacturing company in Waukesha. He graduated Dartmouth College and the University of Wisconsin Law School. He was previously a partner at the law firm Quarles and Brady.

Drew Peterson Peterson is vice president of external affairs and corporate communications for TDS Telecommunications Corporation in Madison. He graduated from Ripon College and earned an MBA from UW-Madison. He served on the board as representative of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board for the past two years and continues with a regular appointment.

James Langnes III Langnes, a UW-Whitewater student majoring in finance, will serve as the traditional student regent. Langnes was recently appointed to fill a vacancy on the Whitewater Common Council. He is originally from Lake Geneva.

 

 

Joint Finance Committee to Meet Wednesday, May 27

The Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to meet tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27 in Room 412 East in the State Capitol. Livestream coverage is available on WisconsinEye. Links to Legislative Fiscal Bureau budget papers are here.

Executive action will be taken on the following topics:

Blood Withdrawals — Intoxicated and Reckless Flying Violations
Building Commission
Building Program
Program Supplements
Department of Administration
Department of Tourism
Department of Workforce Development — Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment Insurance
Department of Health Services — Long-Term Care Services

PROFS continues to lobby for the inclusion of the Chemistry Building project which may come up tomorrow as part of the State Building Commission/Building Program discussion.

 

Legislative Update

Capitol_tulips94_10State Budget Update

The 2015-17 biennial budget process continues. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee began meeting in executive session last month, but has yet to consider motions relating to the University of Wisconsin System.

Committee leaders have said they would like to conclude its work by the end of May, with the budget bill then moving to Senate and Assembly for their consideration. The entire process is expected to conclude in late June.

Public authority out of budget  Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) announced today that the public authority plan for the University of Wisconsin System was dead and the committee would instead consider granting the university greater budget and management flexibilities.

Meetings with legislators  PROFS continues to meet with key legislators and lobby on behalf of faculty, focusing on senate resolutions on state budget cuts and shared governance and funding for the Chemistry Building project. Members of the PROFS steering committee have met with more than a dozen legislators and staff since the beginning of the year.

Size of budget cuts While some legislative leaders have expressed a desire to lessen the size of the cut to UW System, both Governor Scott Walker and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said revenue estimates expected later this week are likely to be lower than hoped and the first priority is K-12 education.

Fitzgerald also said he had less of a commitment to decrease the cut after the Board of Regents approved tuition increases on out-of-state and professional students earlier this month. Despite the unpopularity of the proposed cut — one poll found seventy percent of the state opposed — Fitzgerald said some legislators still have a “bitter taste in their mouths” after the budget surplus issue of the last biennium.

Tuition Freeze Governor Walker said in his budget errata message last month he intends to limit tuition increases to no more than the annual change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) after a two-year freeze. UW System President Ray Cross said tying tuition increases to CPI “is not compatible with the agile, market-driven, and competitive entity the state needs us to be.”

Many higher education experts believe the plan to be unworkable: “Because the costs associated with running universities naturally exceed the costs of basic goods and services as represented in the CPI, limiting tuition increases to increases in the CPI is the wrong yard stick to use and is also very likely to reduce the ability of Wisconsin universities to offer the same quality as they have in the past,” said Professor Michael McLendon of Southern Methodist University.

Board of Regents

The UW System Board of Regents does not have a May meeting scheduled, but will meet in Milwaukee on June 4 and 5. Governor Scott Walker is expected to name three new regents this month as Regent President Michael Falbo, Regent David Walsh and traditional student Regent Anicka Purath complete their terms.

Three UW-Madison faculty members will serve on Regent task forces on shared governance and tenure – Biomedical Engineering Professor Beth Meyerand is a member of the shared governance task force, while Kinesiology Professor Dorothy Farrar-Edwards and Plant Pathology Professor Patricia McManus will serve on the tenure task force.

 

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:

Hoslet’s PowerPoint:

WAA video:

 

 

Board of Regents Approve Budget Request

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents met in Madison last week in a regularly scheduled two-day meeting. Audio and video from the meeting is available here. The Regents discussed UW System’s annual accountability reports and the 2013 biennial budget…