Tag: faculty

Bipartisan Legislation on Faculty Entrepreneurial Efforts

PROFS is pleased that a bipartisan group of legislators is working to introduce legislation (below) related to University of Wisconsin research contracts. Last year, PROFS assembled a small group of faculty who have created businesses to examine ways to encourage UW-Madison faculty to become more entrepreneurial.

The group, led by the late Mark Cook (Animal Science), also included Chemistry professor Robert Hamers and emeritus professor Rock Mackie (Medical Physics). The group identified the need to change state statutes that regulate how the university contracts with companies in which faculty or other university employees have a financial interest, noting current law is slow and cumbersome and ultimately leads to lost contracts.

PROFS wrote a statement calling for new legislation and worked with UW-Madison attorneys on statutory language. Former Senator Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls), chair of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges and a member of the Joint Finance Committee, agreed have the bill drafted. PROFS also secured the support of UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW System President Ray Cross.

Senators Dan Feyen (R-Fond du Lac) and Fred Risser (D-Madison) and Representatives David Murphy (R-Greenville) and Terese Berceau (D-Madison) have taken the lead on the bill and are encouraging their colleagues to support the legislation (below).

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October Board of Regents Meeting

uw system logoThe University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison Thursday and Friday, October 8 and 9. Meetings will take place in Gordon Dining and Event Center at UW-Madison, 770 West Dayton Street. Livestream coverage of the full board meetings is here.

Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will hear a report on State Building Commission action and discuss a resolution to fund maintenance and repair projects.

The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear a report on UW-Madison business outreach and an update from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The Business and Finance Committee will discuss several contractual agreements, receive the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Wisconsin Partnership Program Annual Report, and hear a report on faculty turnover in UW System.

The report on faculty turnover shows that UW-Madison had a turnover rate of 3.89 percent among tenured faculty and 3.58% among probationary faculty in fiscal year 2015. Half of tenured faculty who left UW-Madison cited salary as the primary reason for leaving.

The Education Committee will discuss a plan to waive non-resident enrollment limits at UW-Madison and hear reports on campus accreditations, high school to college success, and preliminary enrollment figures.

The full board meets Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The regents will discuss the 2014-15 Program Revenue Fund Balance Report and credit transfers Thursday and work of the Tenure Policy Task Force and remedial education Friday. According to the fund balance report, UW-Madison held $52.25 million in unrestricted reserve funds — 13.8 percent of the total. All other unrestricted monies fall under the categories of obligated, planned, or designated.


2015-17 Budget Passes Legislature, Awaiting Gubernatorial Approval

Capitol_dome_fall05_13988Both houses of the Wisconsin Legislature approved the 2015-17 biennial budget (Senate Bill 21) this week, sending the bill to Governor Scott Walker for his approval. The governor has not indicated if he will use his extensive veto powers to eliminate or change any sections of the proposal, but quick action is expected as Walker has said he would like the budget completed before he formally announces his run for the presidency.

The budget cuts $250 million from the University of Wisconsin System, removes tenure protections and shared governance language from state statutes, outlines new procedures to fire tenured professors, and freezes in-state tuition for two years. Walker originally asked for a $300 million budget cut and full public authority for UW System.

PROFS lobbied vigorously against the tenure and shared governance proposals and massive budget cuts, communicating with members of the Joint Finance Committee and sharing formal statements on the budget and tenure with the entire legislature.

Yesterday, Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent two letters to Governor Walker requesting vetoes relating to tenure and shared governance and indefinite academic staff appointments:

Tenure and Shared Governance

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Indefinite Academic Staff Appointments

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Regent President Michael Falbo on Increasing Faculty Workload

Michael Falbo

Michael Falbo

Michael Falbo, President of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, recently spoke with WisconsinEye senior producer Steve Walters. A two minute video excerpt is below.

The pair discussed Governor Scott Walker’s budget proposal, including the governor’s recent remark that the university’s budget situation could be improved if faculty taught one additional class each semester.

When asked to react to the governor’s remark, Falbo said, “certainly it’s true if they (faculty) taught another class there would be some efficiencies from that.” Falbo went on to say any changes to faculty workload would not happen quickly and would be the result of a collaborative process with all involved.

The full 18 minute video interview is here:

Petty on Faculty Workload


Grant Petty

PROFS President Grant Petty was asked by WKOW-TV to comment on Governor Scott Walker’s recent remarks about looming budget cuts and the role faculty workload could play as a result. Petty told WKOW that an increase of one course per professor would likely result in a diminished educational experience for students.


WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports


Response to Governor Walker’s Call for Faculty to Teach More

Governor Scott Walker suggested yesterday that University of Wisconsin System faculty could teach more in an effort to offset his proposed $300 million budget cut.

Walker’s comments, which also implied shared governance and faculty participation in decision-making have hindered cost-effectiveness, were made to Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes. Remarks about UW System begin at 12 minutes.



Response from UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank and UW System President Ray Cross was swift. Cross told Wisconsin Public Radio host Joy Cardin that faculty work on average 50-60 hours per week (18 minutes):



Chancellor Blank said that teaching is just part of the work faculty perform for the benefit of the state:

“Teaching is a core mission of the university and taxpayers should expect that faculty are spending time in the classroom. But we know that our faculty are working on behalf of the state in research, outreach and fundraising, among other capacities.”

PROFS President Grant Petty told the Wisconsin State Journal a professor’s job is much more than time spent in the classroom, likening it to the work of clergy:

“As Governor Walker knows from his own family background, a pastor’s job doesn’t start and stop with the Sunday sermon. The same is true of university professors and the classroom.”

Petty also noted that faculty are responsible for more than just undergraduate education, including graduate student teaching and advising, research and publication, continuing education, and outreach:

“I was not able to tell from the governor’s statement which of these things he thought we should do less of to make room for more of something else.”


UW-Madison Professors: Keep Hands Off the GAB

Four University of Wisconsin-Madison political scientists write in today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that politicians should not interfere with the management of the Government Accountability Board (GAB). Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Burlington) recently called for the removal of GAB director Kevin Kennedy, saying the board was dysfunctional and undemocratic.

PROFS Steering Committee member Donald Moynihan, Barry Burden, David Canon, and Kenneth Mayer contend the board operates independently and faces criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike. They write the board is comprised of former non-partisan judges nominated by the governor and approved by a majority of the State Senate. The six-member board has the authority to remove the director if they choose.

The four professors also cite a recent journal article that found the GAB to be the country’s top model for independent election administration. According to that article, Wisconsin has the only non-partisan multi-member elections board in the country.

The full column is here.

Rate My Professors: UW-Madison Professors 5th Best in Nation

The website RateMyProfessors.com recently announced its ranking of top professors, and faculty at UW-Madison came in fifth on the list. The listing is based entirely on student reviews and is not scientific. Schools had to have at least 30 rated professors…

Faculty Senate Resolution

The Faculty Senate met on Monday, April 4 and overwhelmingly supported a resolution in support of academic freedom. The resolution specifically calls on Chancellor Biddy Martin to defend the academic freedom rights of the faculty and to take a leadership…