PROFS registered in favor of two recently introduced Senate bills. Senate Bill 823 restores tenure to state statutes and Senate Bill 824 restores university shared governance to state statutes. Both provisions had been in state law but were removed in 2015 as part of Act 55, the 2015-17 biennial budget. State Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) and State Representative Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton) are lead authors of the legislation (below).
UW-Madison recently released the 2017-18 Budget in Brief, a publication designed to help people, including legislators and other government officials, better understand the university’s budget. PROFS encourages faculty and other university stakeholder to take a look and become more familiar with UW-Madison budget details.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison Thursday and Friday, February 8 and 9. UW-Madison is hosting the meeting in Union South, 1308 West Dayton Street. The full board portion will be streamed live here.
Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:
The Education Committee will discuss several new degree programs and charter school contracts in Milwaukee.
The Business and Finance and Audit Committees will meet jointly in closed session to discuss the findings of an information security audit.
The Business and Finance Committee will hear reports on UW-Madison’s financial performance, UW System financial management, and gifts, grants and contracts. The committee will also consider proposals to raise non-resident undergraduate tuition at UW-Eau Claire and non-resident graduate tuition at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Stout.
The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will hear a reports from UW-Madison on deferred maintenance and UW Colleges on city and county financial support. The committee will consider approval of the remainder of two building projects at UW-Madison.
The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will host a discussion on successful student preparation led by UW-Madison College of Letters and Science Dean Karl Scholz. Regent Eve Hall will lead a discussion on UW System diversity and inclusion.
The Audit Committee will discuss several recently issued audit reports and consider approval of a new Regent policy document on ethics and conflict of interest.
The full board portion of the meeting begins at approximately 1:15 pm Thursday. Regents will hear an update on UW System restructuring and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank will discuss UW-Madison’s partnership with the state. The board will also meet in closed session to discuss items including UW-Madison several coaching salaries and issues related to the UW-Oshkosh Foundation.
On Friday, the board will hear reports from UW System President Ray Cross and UW System Board of Regents President John Behling. UW-Madison will also present its annual NCAA Division I Athletics Report. The board will also present its 2018 Diversity Awards.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at Gordon Dining and Event Center at UW-Madison Thursday, December 7. Livestream coverage of the full board portion of the meeting is available here.
Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:
The Business and Finance Subcommittee on Investments will review investments and hear a report from the Trust Funds Director.
The Business and Finance Committee will hear annual reports on faculty turnover (below) and faculty and staff salary adjustments and additional compensation payments. UW-Madison experienced 6 percent faculty turnover in FY17, third lowest in UW System. Four UW System institutions had turnover greater than 9 percent.
The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will discuss five building projects, including three at UW-Madison, and hear several reports.
The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear a report on the School of Medicine and Public Health Partnership Program and presentations from UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson and UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford.
The Audit Committee will discuss many reports, including the FY18 Audit Plan Progress Report and recent audit reports on tuition, NCAA sports, international education, the federal TRIO program, and cash handling.
The full board portion of the meeting begins at 11:45 am with updates from Board of Regents President John Behling and UW System President Ray Cross. After lunch, the board will consider a resolution honoring former State Senator Sheila Harsdorf and hear an update on the proposed restructuring of UW Colleges and UW-Extension.
The board will also meet in closed session to discuss the naming of a facility at UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee honorary degree nominations, various personnel issues, and items related to the UW-Oskhosh Foundation.
The Legislature is in session and PROFS is closely monitoring several bills that could severely affect UW-Madison:
Proposed Bill to Assist Faculty Entrepreneurship, LRB-4627
Led by faculty experts, PROFS worked with a bipartisan group of legislators who plan to introduce legislation related to University of Wisconsin research contracts. The faculty group, led by the late Mark Cook (Animal Science), 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 is carefully monitoring two bills that would limit the use of fetal tissue in scientific research and is registered against Senate Bill 423. Our statement is on the PROFS website and Facebook page.
Bill Limiting University of Wisconsin OB/GYN Training, Assembly Bill 206
PROFS is also registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden testified in July this bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.
Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.
PROFS is closely monitoring Senate and House tax reform efforts and has contacted members of the Wisconsin Congressional delegation to express concern that both bills would seriously harm higher education. In particular, PROFS is opposed to a provision in the House version that would tax graduate student tuition waivers, making the cost to attend graduate school out of reach for many students. The federal budget proposals coupled with many years of declining state support, seriously threaten public higher education.
UW System Restructuring
Last month, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved the implementation of a plan to reorganize UW Colleges and Extension. Under the proposal, UW Colleges would be integrated with four-year institutions, Cooperative Extension would become part of UW-Madison, and Wisconsin Public Television would shift to UW System.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meet today at Gordon Dining Event Center at UW-Madison, 770 West Dayton Street. The public full board portions of the meeting will be streamed live here.
The Business and Finance Committee meet in committee at 8:30 am, where they will discuss the transfer the management of trust fund assets to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. They will also consider approval of changes to policy language related to student segregated fees. These changes are required as a result of the 2017-19 state budget which called for consistent classification of allocable and non-allocable funds among UW institutions.
The full board meeting begins at 10 am. Before lunch, they will hear an update from UW System President Ray Cross and recognize one-hundred years of Wisconsin Public Broadcasting.
In the afternoon, the board will consider the proposal to restructure UW System. PROFS has serious concerns about the process surrounding this proposal. In particular, we are troubled that key stakeholders — faculty, staff, students and community leaders — were not consulted prior to the announcement of the plan, contrary to the university’s long tradition of shared governance. Our statement is here.
The Legislature has shifted its focus to pending legislation following the completion of the 2017-19 state budget earlier this fall. Both the Assembly and Senate have scheduled committee work and several days of floor debate before the Legislature concludes its work next month. PROFS is closely monitoring several bills that could severely affect UW-Madison:
- Bills Limiting Scientific Research, Senate Bills 422 & 423 Last week, the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety discussed two bills that would limit the use of fetal tissue in scientific research. PROFS is registered against SB 423 and presented testimony against the bill. Our statement is here.
- Assembly Bill 206 PROFS is also registered against AB 206, a bill that would restrict abortion-related activities of UW System and UW Hospitals and Clinics employees. UW School of Medicine and Public Health Dean Robert Golden testified in July this bill would seriously hamper student training in obstetrics and gynecology and could possibly jeopardize the medical school’s accreditation.
- Campus Carry Supporters of campus carry have said they intend to introduce legislation allowing concealed weapons on campus, but nothing has been introduced to date. PROFS is opposed to campus carry and continues to carefully monitor the issue.
- UW System Restructuring The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents announced a major reorganization of UW Colleges and Extension last month. Under the proposal, UW Colleges would be integrated with four-year institutions, Cooperative Extension would become part of UW-Madison, and Wisconsin Public Television would shift to UW System. The Regents are expected to vote on the implementation of the plan Thursday.
- Administrative Hiring The Regents adopted new rules relating to the hiring of top administrators. Under new rules, institutions cannot require top administrators to hold a terminal degree or have tenure. UW-Madison Faculty Policies & Procedures had such a rule in place. The new rules also cut the number of faculty on search committees and call for recruiting more candidates from the private sector. PROFS was opposed to the changes and strongly encouraged Regents to reconsider their plan. Our statement is on the PROFS website and Facebook page.
- Campus Speech The Regents also adopted new rules relating to freedom of expression on campus. The new language outlines specific punishment, including suspension, for students who violate the policy.
Twenty Democratic legislators wrote to University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross last week (letter below), sharing their concern over the recently announced UW restructuring plan and urging him to include stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students and members of the community in the process. The Board of Regents will discuss the plan November, 9.
Last week, the University of Wisconsin System proposed a sweeping merger plan that would align its 13 two-year campuses with seven of its 13 four-year institutions nearby:
Details from UW System are here. Representatives from UW System will request approval from the Board of Regents to proceed with implementation of the plan, which would go into effect July 1, 2018.
Remarks from UW System President Ray Cross:
Change often produces uncertainty, but we cannot be afraid to pursue needed reforms. We must restructure these two organizations given the state’s demographic challenges, budgetary constraints, and the need for closer alignment between research and practice. We want to leverage the strength of our four-year institutions at a time when overall enrollments at UW Colleges are declining.
Our goal is to expand access and provide more educational opportunities for more students, while ensuring our faculty are appropriately organized and supported. We are committed to making the transition as smooth as possible for students, faculty, and staff.
UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank offered this statement:
We are pleased to welcome Cooperative Extension and Extension Conference Centers to UW–Madison. The roots of Cooperative Extension are intertwined with those of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the state of Wisconsin itself. Cooperative Extension is personally important to me because both of my parents served as extension agents.
Extension embodies the outreach mission of the university, spanning all 72 counties of the state. Indeed, many UW–Madison faculty are partially funded by Cooperative Extension.
We share a similar mission, inspired by the Wisconsin Idea.
There are many details of this proposal yet to be resolved which we’ll be addressing in the coming months. We look forward to working with UW Cooperative Extension leadership, President Cross, and UW System to integrate these programs into UW–Madison.
In an email to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UW-Madison University Committee Chair Anja Wanner expressed concern about the lack of communication about the plan:
We are very much aware of the demographic developments that have led to the restructuring plan, of course but, as far as I can tell, nobody was informed of the plan itself until it was a done deal, which I find troubling.
Cross also appeared on UpFront with Mike Gousha Sunday, October 15 to discuss the plan: