How will we pay for public higher education in Wisconsin and at UW-Madison in the years to come? Metaphorically speaking, we have entered a dark fiscal tunnel of unknown length, and that glimmer of light up ahead just might be an oncoming train. According to former UW System President Kathryn Lyall (pers. comm.),
[T]his is the overarching policy issue of the decade (century?) and we need all members of the university community, as well as those in the wider public, to understand the inexorable trends that are driving the university’s future and what it can expect to do for the state in the future.
Three separate campus organizations — PROFS, UFAS, and CAPE — have come together to jointly sponsor the first of a planned series of public forums on the subject, to be held Tuesday, February 23, 4:00-5:30 pm at the Memorial Union (check Today in the Union to confirm the room location; tentatively the Wisconsin Inn).
Distinguished panelists include Kevin Reilly, President of the University of Wisconsin System; Andrew Reschovsky, professor at the La Follette School of Public Affairs; and Noel Radomski, director of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE).
From the press release:
Financing of higher education has changed significantly over the past several decades. Shrinking state support and sharply increased costs have forced campuses to chart new courses for survival. Are our only alternatives hyper-inflationary tuition increases and bigger classes?
“The financing of public higher education has changed dramatically and continues to change. How great universities – UW-Madison, in particular – continue to respond to those changes is among the most important issues we face on campus and nationally,” says Joe Salmons, president of PROFS. “This forum will launch an important conversation for faculty, the university community and our state.”
According to Prof. Salmons, this first forum, which will concentrate on identifying and explaining the current fiscal challenges, will consist of approximately 15 minute presentations by each of the three panelists, with additional time for questions by the audience. Future planned forums in the series will dissect proposed solutions.
The campus community and Wisconsin citizens alike have an enormous stake in sustaining the educational, outreach, and research missions of the University, all of which are major drivers of long-term economic stability and prosperity in the state.
We urge everyone to attend this forum.
– the Editors