Archive for the ‘The University Budget’ Category

Will flexibility to retain star faculty create downward salary pressure for everyone else?

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Some of the recent statements for support for NBP come from stars among our faculty. It is no secret that the major reason to seek more flexibility is to meet the challenges in keeping the stars from moving to greener pastures. The competitive compensation plans to stay in the market for stars puts an upward pressure on the salaries of stars, while simultaneously exerting a downward pressure on the salaries of others, particularly exacerbated when you bring in equity considerations.

Let us not forget that while excellence and scholarship among our stars is beyond question, there is large segment among us who are silently sifting and winnowing for truth outside the limelight, working on unpopular ideas. It is the freedom to pursue such efforts that our tenure is supposed to guarantee. (more…)

State Journal guest editorial: NBP arguments “vague”, “elitist”.

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Daniel Bush, an alumnus of both UW-Madison and UW-Oshkosh, has written a guest editorial for today’s issue of the Wisconsin State Journal:

Vague argument, elitist attitude hurt UW-Madison autonomy plan

It seems unlikely that Mr. Bush reads Sifting and Winnowing, yet he concisely and  eloquently raises many of the same concerns about both the goals of the NBP, and the process by which it is being sold, that have been voiced by a variety of  contributors to this page  and elsewhere (e.g., Education Optimists) over the past few weeks.

In his closing remarks, he appropriately takes NBP advocates/salespersons/lobbyists to task for both their politically tone-deaf elitism and their failure to promote a healthier and more balanced discussion of UW-Madison’s options: (more…)

Here’s what dependence on donors looks like

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

One of the cornerstones of the public authority proposal that Chancellor Biddy Martin has been pushing with all her might (in contrast to, say, her non-existent campaign for greater public support of the university) is the assumption that we would be able to count on greater donor contributions to patch holes in the budget.

This Bloomberg article documents how that model has worked out for other universities, and it’s not a pretty picture:

Schools Find Ayn Rand Can’t Be Shrugged as Donors Build Courses

If you support the public authority and believe that private donations will be an important source of new revenue, please explain to the rest of us how we will avoid the same fate. Or at least explain why we should embrace that fate.

Either way, it’s past time for more honesty, more facts, more figures, less wishful thinking, and fewer empty platitudes.

- GP

What I WILL fight for

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Am I the only one who’s noticed how the twisted logical foundation of the campaign for public authority? If you press people, it goes like this:

The state is steadily defunding us and that’s simply inevitable, so the only thing we can do is accept even more draconian cuts in exchange for some modest leeway in managing our own resources. That’s the best we can do and we have to fight for it.

Smart, engaged people on campus are arguing vigorously and explicitly for just this position, if mostly only in the echo chamber of the campus. And the chancellor is spending most of her time and a ton of resources and staff time to push this, not to mention the help of the mysteriously-funded Badger Advocates. She and her staff are incessantly begging us to do the same. (more…)

Two grad students contemplate how the NBP and public authority could lead to bad things

Friday, May 6th, 2011

The following was originally posted as a Facebook note.  In the interest of including more student perspectives on the NBP, it is reposted here with the permission of both contributors.

Alyson S. writes:

Consider people’s attitudes with regards to “saving” and being fiscally responsible. Then check out this article, and especially this paragraph:

Widener, R-Springfield, told the AP he has met with university presidents and financial officers as well as state Chancellor Jim Petro about his findings. His concern is that some institutions are holding almost a year’s worth of expenses in their accounts, even as state budget writers are poised to allow them to raise tuition by as much as 3.5 percent. (more…)

The aftermath: What do we do next?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I’m surprised by the energy still going into debates about public authority for UW-Madison, assuming that it’s going to happen. Recent media reports (and posts to this site) make pretty clear that public authority is extremely close to dead, and that it’s being killed by deep and broad opposition among  members of the legislature. The most informed person I know in matters of Wisconsin politics told me yesterday that public authority was “definitely long odds, at best.” Instead of pushing public authority and split from the System, key legislators will tell you point blank that we need to find a way to get flexibilities while staying within System.

Whether you are profoundly disturbed or greatly relieved by this, we need to acknowledge that this is where things stand. And we need to think about what we’ll do when it’s officially dead and buried. I’d suggest things like these:

  • Heal the divisions on campus. We have allowed ourselves to be terribly divided and cannot afford it at this critical moment. Let’s rally around our shared commitment to top-quality, affordable, accessible public higher education and move forward.
  • Work to make amends with System,  not just to get back the extra $30 million cut that Madison would take with public authority, but just to live within System after what’s happened.
  • Work for changes that are most valuable to us and consistent with top-quality, affordable and accessible public higher education. Some of the ‘flexibilities’ that drove the New Badger Partnership are possible with or without changes to state law.

Joe Salmons

And the failure hangs over the State like a great sorrow*

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I do not remember many times in my life when I have been more ashamed. On Monday, the faculty of the great state University of Wisconsin voted to no longer be the great state University of Wisconsin. Instead we chose to become a private university, absolving the taxpayers of Wisconsin of any responsibility to support public higher education.  Make no mistake – this is what the senate voted to do. (more…)

Calling on the Board of Regents to lead.

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

In her latest post on Education Optimists, Prof. Sara Goldrick-Rab steps back a bit from the contentious debate over the public authority proposal (that according to at least some other posts to S&W — e.g,. this one and this one — is now seemingly on life support) and challenges us — and the Board of Regents — to look ahead and  open the door to “fierce conversations about two key issues that have received insufficient attention in the debate over the New Badger Partnership”:

  1. The public purpose of our flagship university
  2. The way we spend our money

Like all of her posts that we have seen to date, this one is informed, thoughtful, provocative, and simply a must-read for those who care about the future of UW-Madison:   A challenge to the Board of Regents.

Please read it.  And while you’re at it, read this as well (from another author): Giving Away the Farm: The Folly in Privatizing UCLA’s Anderson School of Management

Harry Peterson speaks to Rotary Club of Madison about flexibility and public authority.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you today [April 27, 2011].  The Downtown Rotary has a great tradition of providing a forum for important ideas to be discussed.  I believe this issue certainly qualifies.

Kevin Reilly has described how the proposal by the Board of Regents would provide some much needed flexibility and additional autonomy for the universities in the UW System, including the UW-Madison, as they go about their business.

I strongly support that proposal.  Donna Shalala, my former boss, referred to the State of Wisconsin, meant ironically of course, as having what she described as a “world class bureaucracy.”  This has always been a burden.  Now that the universities are experiencing huge and continuing budget cuts, the lack of flexibility is even more painful. (more…)

This is what the public authority looks like and it isn’t pretty.

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

One area in which both the proponents and opponents of public authority status (not actually the same as the New Badger Partnership) have been curiously silent is on undergraduate enrollment controls.  Board of regents policy requires that UW-Madison maintain an enrollment of roughly 75% Badgers (including Gophers) and 25% out-of-state students.  Will this same split be required by the proposed board of trustees? The chancellor has promised that the number of places for Wisconsin students won’t be reduced, but has said nothing about whether the percentages will change. (more…)