Updated April 5, 2011
- Questions on the Board of Trustees
- Questions about the public authority
- Questions about the relationship with UW System
- Questions on the effect for UW-Madison
- Questions on the effect on UW-Madison employees
- Questions on tuition and student life
The following list of questions and comments have been received and answered in recent webchats and campus forums.
Will Governor Walker “control” the board with conservative appointees at the expense of students and other UW System schools?
Under the proposed Chapter 37, the governor would appoint 11 members of a 21-member Board of Trustees. One of those individuals appointed by the governor must be from the Board of Regents and another must represent agricultural interests in the state. Seven of those appointed by the governor must be UW alumni. Nine of those appointed by the governor must have a demonstrated commitment to the welfare of the university and must have management experience or possess expertise in aspects of the university’s mission, such as undergraduate, graduate and professional education, research, intellectual property, support of existing industries, new business startups and public service.
Ten members (all of whom have voting rights) will not be appointed by the governor, but rather by individuals and entities with a connection to the university. Three of those are employees of the university, one is a student, and six others are appointed by entities that exist for the benefit of the university. This gives UW-Madison a far larger voice on the Board of Trustees than it currently has on the Board of Regents.
Additionally, the terms of appointment for the Board of Trustees are generally three years, shorter than those for the Board of Regents, and are staggered so that the entire board would not turn over at the same time. As a result, as the individual who inhabits the office of governor changes, so too will the composition of the Board of Trustees, and at a faster rate than will occur for the Board of Regents.
Having the executive branch appoint a majority of the Board of Trustees will preserve the university’s public status and its sovereign immunity from certain types of lawsuits. However, there are several provisions that ensure the board will represent a diversity of perspectives and expertise in all of our missions. First, UW-Madison faculty, staff, students and alumni will be guaranteed representation, which is not the case for the current Board of Regents. Second, the trustees’ appointment terms will be staggered to ensure new perspectives and ideas are represented. Finally, the governor must appoint one member from the current Board of Regents and seven members from among UW-Madison alumni. These provisions provide the framework for a balanced board, and we will continue to work with the governor and the Legislature to assure the trustees are fully committed to the best long-term interests of the university, first and foremost.
Under the NBP, how would the Board of Trustees voting be structured? Would a simple majority be required to make decisions?
Under the governor’s proposed budget bill, 11 voting members of the board constitutes a quorum for the purpose of conducting the business and exercising the powers of the authority. The board may take action upon a vote of a majority of the members present, unless the bylaws of the authority require a larger number.
Will Gov. Walker be able to appoint the 11 members to the Board of Trustees as soon as the budget is passed?
The expectation is that if the proposed budget bill is passed, the public authority status will take effect July 1, 2011. Thus, we would expect that a Board of Trustees would be put into place on that date or as soon thereafter as is feasible.
Is it accurate to say that the university appoints its 10 members? For example, for the two Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) seats, does the UW select those two people, or does WAA? (Same thing for the student seat – is that the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) making the selection or someone else?)
Under the proposed budget bill, individuals who are employees or agents of the university appoint four members of the board as follows: faculty appoint two members, nonfaculty appoint one member and enrolled students appoint one member. Six other members would be appointed by entities that exist for the benefit of and act on behalf of the university as follows: the Wisconsin Alumni Association board appoints two members, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation board appoints two members and the UW Foundation board appoints two members.
What is the difference between the new Board of Trustees and the UW-Madison Authority Board or they one in the same?
Yes, they are the same.
Will Gov. Walker personally appoint these 11 members?
Under the proposed budget bill, the governor appoints 11 members to staggered terms. Whether he (or potentially she, in the future) does that on his own, or with advice and counsel of others, is a question we cannot answer. But those 11 members appointed by the governor must meet certain criteria established in the proposed bill, which are discussed above.
I still feel uneasy about Walker’s control of the board. Can you tell us a little more about what kind of decisions the board can make as opposed to what is decided through shared governance?
The relevant provisions in the proposed budget bill are nearly identical to those in Chapter 36 with respect to the Board of Regents authority and its current interplay with the shared governance responsibilities of faculty, academic staff and students. Under the proposed bill, the primary authority for governance of the university would be vested in the Board of Trustees. The board would appoint the chancellor and delegate to the chancellor, subject to the policies and guidelines established by the board, the responsibility for the administration and operation of the university.
The faculty, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the board and the chancellor, would maintain primary responsibility for academic and educational activities and faculty personnel matters. The faculty would continue to determine their own faculty organizational structure and to select representatives to participate in university governance.
The academic staff, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the board, the chancellor and the faculty, would maintain primary responsibility for the formulation and review, and would maintain representation in the development of, all policies and procedures concerning the academic staff, including academic staff personnel matters. The academic staff would continue to have the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine and to select their representatives to participate in university governance.
The students, subject to the responsibilities and powers of the board, the chancellor and the faculty, would maintain primary responsibility for the formulation and review of policies concerning student life, services and interests. In consultation with the chancellor and subject to the final confirmation of the board, students would continue to have the responsibility for the disposition of those student fees that constitute substantial support for campus student activities. The students would maintain the right to organize themselves in a manner they determine and to select their representatives to participate in university governance.
Please explain your rationale for having more faculty on the board than nonfaculty staff and students.
Currently, no faculty or academic staff must be appointed to the Board of Regents. Two students serve on the Board of Regents, but there is no requirement that one be from UW-Madison, and one cannot be from UW-Madison if a UW-Milwaukee student is currently serving. Thus, as composed, the new Board of Trustees increases shared governance compared with the Board of Regents. Under the old Chapter 36 and the proposed Chapter 37, academic staff and student shared governance are subject to the faculty’s governance responsibilities. This proposed board composition maintains this distribution of governance responsibilities.
The boards for UWF, WARF and WAA are separate from the university for good reasons. What is your justification for granting those entities greater representation on the board than the university’s own faculty, staff, and students? Why would WARF, the WAA, or UWF get positions on the governing board?
Under the proposed budget bill, four members would be elected by the university community to serve on the board. The UW Foundation, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and WAA each only appoint two members to the board. The UWF, WARF and WAA boards would select alumni with the proper qualifications to serve on the Board of Trustees. Members of the Board of Trustees would not represent those entities, they would be selected by them. On a board of this sort with fiduciary responsibility for a university, none of the members are considered to be representative of any group.
As entities that exist for and act on behalf of the university, WARF, WAA and UWF are closely tied to the success of UW-Madison. The composition of the Board of Trustees as proposed ensures that the board fulfills its independent oversight function while at the same time drawing its representation from diverse constituencies that will act in the best interests of UW-Madison.
How do you know what the composition of the Board of Trustees will be? This proposal is far from having gone through all of the routes it must pass through before it becomes law.
We can only respond with what we know to be within the governor’s proposed bill as released on March 1, 2011. We cannot say how that bill might be amended by the Legislature.
How do you know that the majority of the governor’s appointees will be UW alums?
Because the budget bill requires that a majority of those appointees be UW-Madison alumni.
The current Board of Regents has 13 institutions to deal with. The new trustees will have one. Will the new authority model result in much more public accountability? Micromanaging?
We anticipate that the new Board of Trustees under the public authority model will continue the traditions of public accountability. To provide for the evaluation of the quality and effectiveness of the university, the board will be required to prepare an accountability report measuring performance in areas such as the access and affordability of the university, student achievement, the research efforts of the university, the economic impact of the university on the state, the services provided by the university to the citizens of the state, and the financial accountability of the university’s operations. Education in the state would benefit from a separate board responsible for holding UW-Madison accountable to the standards of a world-class research university. In fact, UW-Madison currently plays the primary role in establishing its own accountability and would continue to do so, via its own board.
Can we trust that Walker has not made unacceptable changes to the draft bill?
A comparison between the governor’s proposed budget bill and the Feb. 18, 2011 draft bill did not reveal any significant changes.
Did Gov. Walker agree to the outline in your memo?
No. The outline was prepared by analyzing drafts of the governor’s budget bill.
With Gov. Walker appointing half of the members of a new governing board for the UW-Madison, I worry that he will appoint people who will do his bidding and damage the university. Are you worried about that possibility?
Having the executive branch appoint a majority of the Board of Trustees will preserve the university’s public status and its sovereign immunity from certain types of lawsuits. However, there are several provisions that ensure the board will represent a diversity of perspectives and expertise relating to our mission. First, UW-Madison faculty, staff, students and alumni will be guaranteed representation, which is not the case with the current Board of Regents. Second, the trustees’ appointment terms will be staggered to ensure new perspectives and ideas are represented. Finally, the governor must appoint one member from the current Board of Regents and seven members from among our alumni. These provisions provide the framework for a balanced board even though the governor would make more than half the appointments. We will work to assure the trustees are committed to the best long-term interests of UW-Madison.
I am concerned about the ability of the governor to make drastic changes to the budget after it has passed through the legislature. How do you address concerns about the governor’s ability to line-item veto parts of the budget, including all UW-Madison funding specifically, as well as policy, particularly when you will have little support from direct legislators?
A comparison between the governor’s proposed budget bill as introduced March 1, 2011, and the Feb. 18 draft revealed no significant changes. We acknowledge that Wisconsin’s governor has extensive line-item veto authority. He has supported UW-Madison’s need for flexibilities by proposing a public authority model, and we will continue to work on addressing any issues raised during the legislative process.
Q: Will all board members turn over at the same time every three years, or will there be a rolling turnover with a few members changing each year? That is to say, will Gov. Walker appoint 11 board members to begin in July with terms ending in 2014, or will some of his appointees this summer only serve one- or two-year terms?
A: Members appointed to the initial Board of Trustees will have staggered terms of one, two and three years. After the initial appointments, all appointments will be for three years, except the student appointment, which is for two years.
Q: Are you anticipating having only a single student representative (such as an undergraduate) or several students (to include graduate and/or professional students)?
A: We are anticipating one student at this point. This board is not a representative board — it is fiduciary. If there were interest in any changes to the board composition, it would need to be an amendment to the budget bill.
Q: Will the majority of the Board of Trustees be appointed by the governor? Will they have the qualifications and values to make decisions in the best interest of students and the university campus community?
A: Eleven members of the Board of Trustees will be appointed by Gov. Walker. Of those, one will be a member of the Board of Regents of the UW System, one will represent agriculture interests in the state and the other nine must have a demonstrated commitment to the welfare of the university and management experience or possess expertise in aspects of the university’s mission, such as undergraduate, graduate and professional education; research; intellectual property; support of existing industries; new business startups; and public service.
Q: How was the decision made to have the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) select two seats on the Board of Trustees?
A: The composition of the Board of Trustees is outlined in the governor’s bill. The bill requires a majority of the board members to be alumni of UW-Madison. We hope graduates agree that the alumni voice is important for UW-Madison in the future.
Q: The appointment of a board to oversee the public authority left me with some concern. With 11 members appointed within the university, only 10 will have voting rights. That leaves 10 additional voting members appointed by the governor. How will the 10 be selected, and will they have the same qualification requirements as UW-Madison participants to be a part of that board?
A: The Board of Trustees would include 21 members. Eleven would be appointed by the governor, seven of whom must be alumni. Of those, one would be a member of the UW System Board of Regents, and one must represent agricultural interests. The chancellor serves as a nonvoting member and is not counted in the 21. The remaining 10 appointees are appointed by the following groups: two by faculty, one by non-faculty employees, one by students and six — two each, all must be alumni, by the boards of the Wisconsin Alumni Association, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Foundation. Qualifications include a demonstrated commitment to the welfare of the university and management experience or expertise in aspects of the university’s mission.
Q: Among all of the appointees, 13 members of the Board of Trustees will be alumni?
A: Yes, that’s correct. In fact, more members may be alumni, depending upon who is chosen.
Q: Why were WAA, UWF and WARF given more seats than students and non-faculty employees?
A: Members of the Board of Trustees would not represent the interests of a specific entity or constituency — they are simply selected by them. Members have a fiduciary responsibility for UW-Madison. It is important to have a group with broad experience to ensure participation from diverse constituencies who will act in the best interest of UW-Madison.
Typically boards are composed of individuals who have a connection with the entity but come from outside. The size of the board allowed us to include individuals within the institution. While the current Board of Regents allows for two student members, there is no guarantee that they would be UW-Madison students. In addition, the Board of Regents does not include any employees of UW System institutions.
How is this public authority model different from the model at the University of Michigan — which some have compared this plan to?
Michigan’s autonomy derives from its status as essentially a fourth branch of government in the Michigan state constitution, which grants Michigan’s Board of Regents independent authority over the supervision of all aspects of the institution, including control and direction over expenditures. In contrast, the autonomy granted to UW-Madison under a public authority model would be granted by the state Legislature and remain subject to ongoing state oversight.
Despite the 30-plus events and website, I have talked to many well-informed and news-savvy students who were nevertheless taken by surprise. Could you please address why that might be?
As Chancellor Martin discussed the New Badger Partnership, she focused on the principles without advancing a particular model. The public authority model emerged when Gov. Walker indicated an interest in using that vehicle to provide the needed flexibilities for UW-Madison. There will be more forums, Web chats and other events during the budget process. In addition, as Chancellor Martin has previously noted, there are times in any process that require discretion while ideas are still in formation.
Are you considering answering some of the tougher questions that have been posed in this semi-public forum?
We are answering all questions and will continue the open dialogue we’ve had on the New Badger Partnership as the budget process advances. Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chancellor Martin has pointed to Virginia as a possible model for Wisconsin. Recently, Virginia Commonwealth University announced its intention to substantially raise tuition. Virginia Gov. McDonnell responded by cutting the university’s budget to offset the increase. Why don’t you think a similar circumstance would be possible for UW-Madison under the proposed model?
There are no guarantees. But the state share of UW-Madison’s budget has been declining for years. This new model would give the university greater latitude in managing potential budget cuts.
I take it that the New Badger Partnership would be a section of the budget bill? Why not separate to provide reasonable opportunity for discussion, hearings, etc?
The governor has chosen to include the New Badger Partnership in the biennial budget bill. As part of the budget bill, the partnership will be the subject of extensive public hearings and forums both on the UW-Madison campus and statewide.
How will UW-Madison remain a public institution? Flexibility from the state does not mean still being part of the state’s apparatus.
Even without executive branch state agency status, UW-Madison as a public authority would remain a public institution that would receive state funding, maintain strong ties to the state, and have a public purpose and mission. Additional flexibility from the system would enable the university to address its unique needs as a public educational and research institution.
Why in the world would the state even want to support us as a university if we’re so quick to abandon it as a partner for need of “breaking up the bureaucracy” and needing “more flexibility.” Who says you’ll get your cake and eat it too?
Under the public authority model contained in the proposed budget bill,, UW-Madison will maintain a strong and important relationship with the state. UW-Madison will remain a public institution with a public mission and purpose. The flexibilities afforded by the governor’s proposal will enhance UW-Madison’s ability to manage its limited resources and to address its unique needs as a public educational and research institution.
Why are you rushing this thing through Walker’s budget and only giving people a few days to address their grievances on it? Shouldn’t the public have more of an ultimate say over their university’s destiny? What if we, the people, oppose this proposal? Do you plan on ramming it forward anyway in an undemocratic manner?
The governor has made the decision to include this proposal in his biennial budget bill. All portions of the bill will be subject to public hearings statewide, and we will continue to engage the campus community in a discussion over the merits of the proposal, consistent with the principles adopted by a campus working group that the New Badger Partnership initiative be vetted by a wide range of appropriate university groups.
“We need to continue making the compelling case that every state in the nation and every region in the world is rushing to establish a world-class research university because of their value in a knowledge-based global environment.” So, by that, you mean, we have to find a way to fit into the neo-liberal market. Why not stand up as an institution and say we oppose neo-liberal policies and make a difference in this world? There are, after all, plenty of scholars who oppose neo-liberalization, and frankly, this is the “global market” we live in and the one you say UW is trying to fit in.
Your question highlights the importance of maintaining a strong university that fosters critical inquiry and debate. The New Badger Partnership is an effort to strengthen UW-Madison’s ability to fulfill its mission in the face of diminishing state resources. Upcoming campus discussions will provide additional opportunities for all to share their thoughts and concerns.
How will you convince people throughout the state that they should continue public funding for UW-Madison at a significant level? Not everyone is likely to get the details of the partnership and need for differentiating UW-Madison and as voters they could pressure legislature to cut funds.
Citizens of the state of Wisconsin have a longstanding commitment to the state’s world-class flagship institution. We see no reason why that would change now, considering that an outstanding research institution is more crucial than ever given the support of alumni, parents and students all over the state to achieving success in the knowledge-based global economy. It will be up to the university’s administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni to continue to make a strong case for supporting UW-Madison.
With the NBP, I am concerned about the influence that private donors would have in dictating to the university how it does its business, in the donors’ best interest.
The governor’s proposed budget bill does not alter existing protections for university faculty, staff and students to teach, conduct research or engage in service on topics of their own choosing. In addition, it does not alter current protections for intellectual property rights for the university, faculty, staff and students.
Do you believe that the proposal will have the same effect on others as it does on me — directing planned giving away from the university?
We are sorry to hear that it has had that effect on you. UW-Madison will continue to proudly serve our students, our communities and the state of Wisconsin. The New Badger Partnership would provide opportunities for managing UW-Madison and its resources more effectively. UW-Madison will continue to work closely with its alumni and friends to fulfill the university’s public mission and purpose. UW Foundation members are excited about the opportunities and are convinced giving will increase.
Q: What role can alumni play in supporting UW-Madison?
A: Alumni can help by making their views known, asking good questions, helping inform the public and continuing to support the university in all the ways they already do.
Q: I am not understanding how becoming a public authority allows the university to increase its funding from sources outside of the state or tuition. Can you please explain how becoming a public authority will allow UW-Madison to increase its income during the next several years?
A: While the money would still be invested in the state of Wisconsin, as a public authority we would receive interest earnings on all of our funds, which currently is not the case. Because we would be able to operate in a more nimble manner, we believe we will be more attractive to granting agencies. We also would be in a better position to leverage current fund sources. We believe our alumni and donor base would be more energized to increase their generous giving.
Q: Do you see private contributions as the main way to make up for the decrease in state aid?
A: Philanthropy will be one among several important sources of revenue. We consider the ability to generate, keep, manage and use our own revenue to be as important a source of funding. The financing of higher education, as you know, has been changing for some time with students and their families, private donors and universities assuming a larger share of the responsibility. Our alumni understand the rebalancing and will continue to step up.
Q: As a public authority, will UW-Madison continue as a land-grant institution?
Q: Can you offer any advice to UW-Madison community members about maintaining a respectful tone to the dialogue around these issues? While I admire the approach of many who have spoken on budget and New Badger Partnership topics, anxiety and rumors are spreading, as evidenced by many of the questions posed today.
A: We have been encouraged by the respectful dialogue on the issues related to the proposed bill. In addition, the questions posed during this and prior Web chats demonstrate a strong interest by our community to learn more about the proposal. We look forward to continuing to engage in dialogue as the budget process continues.
Q: Is the governor 100 percent supportive of the NBP? Do you foresee him changing the New Badger Partnership if Democrats succeed in negotiating/amending the budget repair bill?
A: The governor has accepted the merits of the New Badger Partnership and has proposed the public authority model as a way of achieving the goals articulated in the partnership initiative.
Q: How will you assess the New Badger Partnership’s effectiveness? Who will assess this and over what time period?
A: One of the key provisions of the New Badger Partnership requires the campus to report annually to the legislature on critical elements of our mission. These include access and affordability, student achievement, research effort of the university, economic impact of the university on the state, services provided to residents of the state, and financial accountability of the university’s operation. We would still be subject to oversight by the Legislative Audit Bureau and the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Q: So are you still considered a “state” school, or are you now a “private” school?
A: We will always be a public university.
Q: Do you see any downsides to this proposal?
A: There would be down sides if the proposal were to be picked apart and lose its coherence. As currently constructed, it would provide us with much-needed flexibility and decision-making at the levels at which we operate.
Q: How is this proposal similar to what happened to the UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) when it became a public authority?
A: In Wisconsin, public authority does not have a single definition. An authority is created by the Legislature to further a specific public purpose. A bill is required to be introduced and passed by the legislature to authorize the creation of a public authority. To that extent the process is the same. The structure of the UWHC authority and the proposed structure for UW-Madison authority differ greatly because each authority is tailored based on what it needs to achieve its mission and the public purpose for which it was established.
Q: As UW-Madison gains more flexibility with “public authority” status, are there going to be any rule changes regarding to the university’s intellectual property commercialization? What would this mean to alumni who like to bridge discovery and industry? How about research collaboration between faculty and alumni? There are many restrictions now, making the collaboration very difficult. Is it going to be easier?
A: Current policies regarding intellectual property commercialization would continue to apply. The Board of Trustees through the shared governance process would have the authority to revise policies. This is an important area in which people would be encouraged to share their ideas for improvement.
Q: If we support the NBP but oppose other aspects of the governor’s budget, do we hurt the institution by protesting against those other aspects?
A: The budget is a big, complex document. Everyone is encouraged to comment on or advocate for what they like and don’t like about it. The key is getting the facts and staying informed. You can visit http://budget.wisc.edu/ or http://www.uwalumni.com/alumniforwisconsin for information about the university’s budget.
What will happen to UW-Extension?
We anticipate that UW-Extension will remain part of the UW System. Funding that has come to UW-Madison via Extension will be directly included in Madison’s budget, UW-Madison greatly values its long-standing cooperative relationship with UW-Extension and is committed to maintaining existing relationships, appointments and programs in connection with UW-Extension. The bill includes language that emphasizes that the current relationships will continue and Extension serves as a prime example of our continuing collaboration and commitment.
How would this situation work with UW-Extension? Split UW-Madison/UW-Extension appointments; UW-Extension specialists who are also UW-Madison faculty; funding; the Division of Information Technology (DoIT); etc.?
Existing relationships with UW-Extension can and would be preserved by way of contractual agreements — in fact, the current relationship between UW-Madison and Extension is established in a cooperative agreement.
Could UW-Madison be in a position to contract with other campuses to facilitate programming in special areas. — i.e. could UW-Stevens Point work with UW-Madison to create a program in environmental law for example?
Absolutely. UW-Madison envisions that its existing relationships with the other UW institutions and the UW System administration can be retained by way of contractual agreements, and new programs and relationships can be similarly established. UW-Madison is committed to being a partner with the other UW institutions regardless of the structure of its governing board.
Can you remind everyone of the history of the UW System and Wisconsin’s ties to the rest of the state schools? I mean, haven’t we (UW-Madison) been separate for most of our time since the 1800s anyway?
UW-Madison was founded in 1848 and the merger occurred in 1971.
I fully support the flexibility. What’s confusing to me is why we have to be out of the UW System to achieve it. We’ve had much discussion of the NBP but not public authority. How important is the latter to the former?
Gov. Walker has proposed a public authority model for UW-Madison, but not for the UW System. A public authority model is a traditional vehicle utilized to provide additional flexibility to units of state government and also provides a framework to achieve the goals of the New Badger Partnership. These flexibilities are key to preserving UW-Madison’s ability to meet its public mission in light of diminishing resources.
Of course Wisconsin benefits from having a world-class research university in UW-Madison, but wouldn’t the state benefit even more if UW-Milwaukee continues to grow into its role as a major research institution? It’s not clear to me how this plan benefits UW-Milwaukee and the rest of the system. Or maybe that’s not the goal.
The New Badger Partnership speaks specifically to flexibilities for UW-Madison. We fully agree that it would be beneficial to the state if UW-Milwaukee continues to grow and enhance its ability to meet its unique mission. We have stated that we believe many of the flexibilities sought by UW-Madison in the New Badger Partnership would be beneficial for other system institutions as well and we are committed to working with UW-Milwaukee and other system institutions. Moreover, direct collaborations with UW-Milwaukee have increased significantly.
There are a number of technological connections between UW-Madison and the UW System schools. These technological connections have fostered real (and formal) collaborations between the schools. How would a split impact our ability to continue this cost-saving work? How would it impact the product contracts that we are member to at a system level?
In most cases there would be no near-term effect as we would participate in common system tools. In the future, when common system tools make economic and functional advantage, we would continue to participate. An excellent example is the providing of library services.
Obviously the Board of Regents is not happy … but have we heard from other schools — other chancellors, other faculty/students? How do they feel about a split? Is there a chance they’re in favor so they might get more flexibility themselves down the road?
There has been a mixed reaction from the Board of Regents and other system chancellors. As you may have heard from the Board of Regents special meeting on Feb. 25, some of the other chancellors and regents have expressed concerns about the impact of a public authority status for UW-Madison. However, many indicated support for the kinds of flexibilities we have proposed in the New Badger Partnership and the unique opportunity that it has created, and we are hopeful that all campuses will benefit from increased flexibilities in the near future.
If UW-Madison split from the other system schools, how would this allow for more flexibility in decision making by the board of regents? What would be some examples of the items UW- Madison would have more flexibility in controlling than before as a part of the 26-school system?
UW-Madison no longer would be governed by the Board of Regents. Instead, UW-Madison would be governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of 21 members to oversee the university’s specific and unique needs. Additional flexibilities would be in areas such as human resources/personnel, purchasing, tuition and facilities management.
The draft bill seems to guarantee greater spending flexibility for the UW-Madison. Does it also guarantee more funding for UW-Madison? How does it impact funding for the rest of the UW System?
The governor’s proposed bill provides for UW-Madison to continue to receive significant state funding, but under a revised structure. Funding would come largely through a single “block grant,” which would not limit how the money may be spent when received by the university. We do not envision public authority status for UW-Madison impacting funding for other UW campuses.
I think I understand why UW Madison and other UW System campuses are interested in being allowed greater flexibility. I don’t understand, however, why the governor is proposing separating UW-Madison from the rest of the system. It sounds like it would be detrimental to other campuses. What is the reason for separating UW-Madison? What are the risks?
The governor sees the public authority as one model that would afford UW-Madison additional flexibility. UW-Madison is a major research institution with specific and unique needs that are different from other institutions in the UW System. UW-Madison will continue to remain close to the other institutions and the state through both its mission and revenue streams. We would work diligently to build on partnerships and collaborations with other UW institutions and to strengthen our shared commitment to the Wisconsin Idea. This steady commitment to collaboration will minimize any potential risks that are associated with differentiation between UW-Madison and other UW institutions.
The Board of Regents members serve staggered terms, I believe. It will take some time for Walker to take control of the Board of Regents. Under the new arrangement, the governor will immediately have at least half of the members of a new governing board, giving him easy control. Doesn’t that worry anybody?
Throughout the legislative process and beyond, we will work to assure the trustees are committed to the best long-term interest of UW-Madison. Having the executive branch appoint a majority of the Board of Trustees will preserve the university’s public status and its sovereign immunity from certain types of lawsuits. However, there are several provisions that ensure the board will represent a diversity of perspectives and expertise relating to our mission. First, UW-Madison faculty, staff, students and alumni will be guaranteed representation, which is not the case with the current Board of Regents. Second, the trustees’ appointment terms will be staggered to ensure new perspectives and ideas are represented. Finally, the governor must appoint one member from the current Board of Regents and seven members from among our alumni. These provisions provide the framework for a balanced board.
Do you think the other universities will suffer because of the split?
If you mean other universities in the UW System, the answer is “no.” These outstanding universities will continue to fulfill their missions and strengthen their service to the state and communities they serve. UW-Madison looks forward to solidifying and building on our collaborations/partnerships with these campuses. As the other chancellors emphasized on Feb. 25, this is a time for innovation and change.
The backlash from the other system schools is certain to be great. Is UW-Madison administration prepared to deal with the fact that the UW System is certain to place a big red target on the back of UW-Madison in terms of competition for our students?
We are working with UW System to maintain a close working relationship with system and all UW entities.
Q: Is a split from the UW System something that UW-Madison truly supports, or is it merely accepted because that is the best way to achieve autonomy?
A: UW-Madison advanced the principles in the New Badger Partnership because we are committed to preserving the quality of a world-class university and one of the state’s great treasures. A split from UW System was not our goal. At this point, we believe the governor’s proposal gives us the best and most realistic means of achieving our primary goals.
Q: What will be the implication of this new development on the Human Resource System (HRS) project?
A: It’s full speed ahead on the launch and implementation. Longer-term, we will analyze what the best approach will be to maintain HRS under the new proposed structure. Of course, the goal continues to be to ensure that the new payroll/benefits system is successful.
Q: How would an organization such as the Division of Information Technology (DoIT), which regularly performs IT work for system campuses, continue working with system campuses?
A: We would expect to continue collaborations and services to other UW institutions.
Q: Can you explain why you feel the Board of Regents is resisting the separation?
A: The regents have not taken an official position. To the extent they resist the change, we believe it is because they have responsibility for the system as a whole and have not yet had time to consider how innovations could help individual campuses meet the particular challenges that each one faces.
Q: I’m concerned about the proposal’s impact upon the UW System as a whole. Can you comment on the separation implications?
A: Our goal is to have a positive effect on the state as a whole and on higher education. We have compiled a record of all our connections with other system campuses and will remain committed to them. Many of our partnerships and collaborations were established and operate directly from campus to campus, and there is no reason why that direct collaboration should change. We have enhanced our connections with UW-Milwaukee, for example, by proceeding to establish research collaborations campus to campus.
Q: What do you mean “we will always be a public university” when UW-Madison is splitting from the UW System?
A: Under the Wisconsin Constitution, UW-Madison is the public institution of higher education required to exist at the seat of government. In addition, we remain a public institution via our land grant status and by the fact that we will continue to receive state funding, maintain strong ties to the state and have a public purpose and mission. UW-Madison has always been a public institution, even prior to merger, and will continue to be.
Q: How will UW-Madison as a public authority help the system schools financially?
A: UW-Madison has been assigned a larger-than usual share of the overall system cut. That will help the other campuses financially. Moreover, having UW-Madison lead the way and show how flexibility can help other institutions will have benefits for everyone.
Q: How can collaboration with UW-Extension be fostered if Extension is now part of UW System? Faculty hired under Extension make great contributions to the upholding of the Wisconsin Idea, but if there is an administrative separation, I am afraid it might become real separation.
A: The answer is that UW-Extension will remain with UW System. UW-Madison is deeply committed to maintaining existing relationships, appointments and programs in connection with UW Extension.
Q: If Madison is splitting from the UW System, I don’t understand how it can continue to call itself UW-Madison.
A: Names are expected to stay the same, here and around the UW System.
We keep hearing how satellite universities in the UW System would not be greatly affected, but what is the most significant change students and faculty will see under this proposal?
We do not consider the other UW System institutions as satellite campuses. Therefore, we do not believe that the other institutions in the system will be significantly or negatively impacted. UW-Madison has stated its commitment to continue the collaborative degree programs and other cooperative arrangements that currently exist, including continuing the transfer processes among the institutions.
In the Twitter chat, somebody raised the question over academic freedom. However, the chancellor’s responses were either too vague or too politically correct for anyone to get any actual information out of it. Can you define “academic freedom,” in terms of how far it extends? Does it cover ALL research conducted by UW-Madison?
UW-Madison will maintain its current commitment to academic freedom as expressed and codified in applicable policies. See for example, section 8.01 of UW-Madison’s Faculty Policies and Procedures: “8.01. FACULTY RIGHTS.FPP 8.01 (2)In any consideration of matters of tenure and academic freedom, the following statement of policy is relevant. It was enunciated at the time of the previous codification of the Laws and Regulations of the University of Wisconsin by the Regents of the University of Wisconsin on January 10, 1964. In adopting this codification of the rules and regulations of the University of Wisconsin relating to tenure, the Regents reaffirm their historic commitment to security of professorial tenure and to the academic freedom it is designed to protect. These rules and regulations are promulgated in the conviction that in serving a free society the scholar must himself be free. Only thus can he seek the truth, develop wisdom and contribute to society those expressions of the intellect that ennoble mankind. The security of the scholar protects him not only against those who would enslave the mind but also against anxieties which divert him from his role as scholar and teacher. The concept of intellectual freedom is based upon confidence in man’s capacity for growth in comprehending the universe and on faith in unshackled intelligence. The university is not partisan to any party or ideology, but it is devoted to the discovery of truth and to understanding the world in which we live. The Regents take this opportunity to rededicate themselves to maintaining in this university those conditions which are indispensable for the flowering of the human mind.”
Faculty Policies and Procedures will continue to be included among the operational policies of the institution.
How will the usage of research grant indirect costs change under the proposed model? Do you anticipate increasing the indirect cost rate that the university has negotiated with the National Institutes of Health (NIH)?
The indirect cost structure is based entirely on the recovery of expenses, administrative and otherwise, as discussed in and controlled by Federal Circular A-21. We do not anticipate any substantive changes in this calculation will result from the New Badger Partnership.
Many of my friends in humanities departments are concerned because their fields aren’t traditionally ones that “pay for themselves” with private grants. With the proposed flexibility, how might the humanities (essential to the mission of the university) continue to receive funding?
Humanities would continue to be funded as they are now and, as you say, they are essential to the mission of the university. We do not anticipate any negative consequences for the humanities. In fact, we are hopeful that with increased flexibilities, we will be able to better cope with the impending budget cuts and therefore be able to protect humanities, as well as other areas.
How will this impact the faculty committees that determine where research funds are allotted? Won’t this end up taking the expert judgment away from faculty in regards to grant money and research money?
There is nothing in the proposed draft bill that alters the existing structure of determining the expenditure of research funds.
How will this impact the UW-Madison competition for research grants?
We believe that increased flexibilities, if granted to UW-Madison, will only improve our ability to compete for research grants. By having increased flexibility in the areas of human resources, procurement and facilities, we would be better positioned to offer more competitive salaries, promote or give increases to those whose work merits acknowledgement, and hire more quickly through our own processes. We also believe that increased flexibilities would allow us to be more nimble and able to respond to potential research opportunities that may have matching requirements, for example.
How does this impact the distribution of grant money and the faculty control in allotting this money for research? The uncertainty created by this and losing the input of faculty will have a damaging impact on research, especially stem cell research.
There is nothing in the proposed budget bill that alters the existing structure of determining the expenditure of research funds.
Can you provide some examples of flexibilities the New Badger Partnership would provide our campus?
UW-Madison would have additional flexibilities in areas such as financial aid, human resources and personnel, purchasing, tuition and facilities management, and budget. For example, the university, rather than the Department of Administration would manage constructions projects not funded by the state. This would provide cost savings and increase the potential to complete projects in a timelier manner. UW-Madison also would have the flexibility to create a personnel system that would more effectively address the university’s unique hiring and compensation needs.
If the UW-Madison in general were more autonomous, could the private sector help fund and direct programs at the various campuses?
Under the new model, UW-Madison would continue to seek to enhance its private fundraising, particularly in areas such as need-based financial aid. However, the private sector would not have additional authority to “direct” programs. For example, partnership agreements with private entities must protect intellectual property rights of the university and of university faculty, staff and students. And such agreements must not infringe on academic freedom.
How can you ensure that the university will not become even more highly corporatized, neo-liberalized, and militarized under the New Badger Partnership? Would higher tuition be what fills the void instead of corporate inflow of cash? With less state money flowing in, something has to give.
The New Badger Partnership has been presented a vehicle for giving UW-Madison additional flexibilities in managing its resources at a time of declining state funding. Although Chancellor Martin has talked about moving UW-Madison tuition closer to the mid-point of Big Ten universities over time, tuition increases must be accompanied by increased financial aid in order to maintain access to a UW-Madison education for Wisconsin students and their families.
Would UW need to follow the state Department of Administration (DOA)’s mandatory purchasing contracts, such as cell phone service, or would we be looking to do our own procurement?
UW-Madison’s procurement activities would continue under DOA delegation, and thus would continue to be subject to DOA requirements applicable to state agencies. However, the bill provides additional purchasing flexibilities such as direct delegated authority to purchase goods and services unique to higher education.
Other than the rhetoric of “autonomy” and “freedom to govern” what would you say is/are the main motives of this move? Is it driven by financial resources available to UW-Madison?
The main motive of the New Badger Partnership is to protect and enhance UW-Madison’s standing as a world class educational and research institution. UW-Madison needs new management tools to compete in a changing higher education environment both nationally and internationally and at a time of diminishing state resources.
What are the some of the potential downsides to the Badger Partnership that have been discussed?
It has been argued that the New Badger Partnership will increase competition for state funding between UW-Madison and other UW campuses and erode UW-Madison’s commitment to the Wisconsin Idea. However, we believe strongly that the New Badger Partnership will enable UW-Madison to leverage additional nonstate funds. UW-Madison also is committed to strengthening its collaborations/partnerships with other campuses in pursuit of the Wisconsin Idea. Increased competition is not anticipated.
What is the alternative? What happens if we don’t change, if we just continue the way we are now?
No change – in other words, diminished state funding and no additional flexibility – will make it much more difficult for UW-Madison to compete with other higher education institutions nationally and internationally and will diminish our standing as a world-class research institution.
Will we have greater flexibility in selling/transferring/disposing of equipment and supplies? The summary indicates that we will have greater flexibility in purchasing, but we will be bound by DOA procedures and policies in some ways.
UW-Madison’s procurement activities would continue under DOA delegation, and thus would continue to be subject to DOA requirements applicable to state agencies. However, the bill provides additional purchasing flexibilities such as direct delegated authority to purchase goods and services unique to higher education.
What’s your response to the idea that the chancellor and UW-Madison are “following the money?”
We’re not quite sure what you mean by “following the money.” The purpose of the New Badger Partnership is to protect the integrity of the university as a university, rather than having it whittled away by declines in support and by one-off decisions that are made at a distance from the campus. We are especially interested in raising more private funding to support need-based financial aid. Donors would not have additional authority to “direct” programs.
How is this going to affect the funding to other schools and libraries?
We do not believe that funding to other schools/libraries will be impacted significantly or negatively. UW-Madison is committed to continuing its collaborations with other UW campuses. As for libraries, UW-Madison Libraries will continue all access, services and cooperative programs with other UW campuses and UW System. On the tuition question, Chancellor Martin has talked about moving UW-Madison tuition closer to the mid-point of Big Ten universities. However, tuition increases must be accompanied by increased financial aid in order to maintain access to a UW-Madison education for Wisconsin students and their families.
What does this mean for current contracts that the UW holds? Do they all have to get renegotiated?
The budget bill contains language transferring all UW-Madison-related contracts from the Board of Regents to the UW-Madison and those contracts will remain in force.
If we do not move forward with the New Badger Partnership, what will be the long-term impacts on the UW-Madison campus?
We are facing a large budget cut to the UW System operating budget, beginning in July 2011. We will be faced with absorbing those cuts, according to UW System’s discretion, and without the specific flexibilities needed to help the university manage those cuts in the long run.
Q: In the event that the power plants on the UW-Madison campus are sold, will the revenue from the sale be made available to reduce the UW-Madison portion of the deficit?
A: No. The power plants are owned by the state, not the Board of Regents. So the state would realize the revenue from any transaction.
Q: I was a bit confused by your comments regarding the sale of power plants on UW-Madison property belonging to the state, not UW-Madison. Are there other assets on campus that could be sold, but not benefit UW-Madison under the new plan (whether or not they are addressed in Walker’s budget bills under consideration or the New Badger Partnership)?
A: All power plants are owned by the state. UW-Madison operates the Charter and Walnut Street plants on behalf of the state so we would not financially benefit by the sale of those plants. All UW-Madison assets that are currently owned by the Board of Regents would be transferred to us should we gain public authority status.
Q: I understand the state budget doesn’t start until July 1, and between now and then (if the budget is done on time) there may be adjustments to the New Badger Partnership. How does this timeline dovetail/overlap with UW-Madison’s timeline in figuring out how to adjust for the cut in state funds? And what is the process for UW-Madison figuring this out, i.e., will the dean of my school be figuring out what cuts to make at the school level, or will the head of my department be figuring out how to make cuts at the department level? How does the chancellor’s office fit into that?
A: The timeline is the same. The challenge is anticipating what cuts and what flexibilities will be in the final budget bill. We will begin planning based on the governor’s proposal and amend our plans as the bill moves through the legislative process.
Q: I’m unclear on how the budget cuts can be partially addressed by finding “new efficiencies.” Given these efficiencies have not yet been identified, I don’t understand how true significant savings can be found in time to offset a part of the cuts unless you are simply cutting positions that someone feels are unnecessary. Can you elaborate on how this would work and how much money is being spent on private consultants as part of the process to identify these efficiencies?
A: Though we cannot say with precision what savings will be possible, we are confident that some portion of the cut can be addressed. The consultants will be helpful in identifying areas in which we can be more effective and realize savings. We will use one-time funding to help mitigate the cuts in the first year so we have time to implement more effective administrative operations.
Q: Are there any FTE reduction requirements in the governor’s budget?
A: We are subject to the $62.5 million cut. Under normal circumstances, we would need to reduce FTEs to help accomplish a cut of that magnitude. However, if the university gains public authority status, we would not be required to reduce our FTE count to meet our budgetary obligations.
Q: Can we tap the endowment to offset some of the cuts that we are going to need to absorb?
A: Most of the endowment funds held at the UW Foundation are devoted to specific purposes, such as financial aid, professorships and program funding. However, our partners at the foundation and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) are supportive of our efforts and aware that we may need additional help. Our alumni have expressed enthusiasm for an effort that would bring more philanthropy to the university.
Q: Is it accurate that an increase in outside funding would dictate which direction research follows? How does following the agenda of big businesses serve the greater good of Wisconsin?
A: No, it is not accurate to say that greater dependence on outside funding will dictate research directions. Our donors have a long history of supporting the research in which our faculty have interest and expertise. We also hope to increase the amount of private giving that can be used flexibly, rather than for specific purposes, not because specific-purpose funds dictate research directions, but simply because we need more discretionary revenue.
Q: Will there be any ethical guidelines as to what private funding will be accepted? Or will this put the university in a more dire situation and continue/increasingly accept money from unethical sources?
A: UW-Madison has relied on private giving for its margin of excellence for a very long time. There are ethical guidelines already in place that ensure the appropriate relationship between donor interests and university uses of funds. The UW Foundation is full of experts on ethical and effective fund-raising practices.
Q: Would the proposed budget impact the university’s recycling program and campus bus system?
A: We have made a strong commitment to sustainability on our campus as an important component of our strategic plan. We would intend to continue our recycling program with or without a state mandate. We Conserve is a great example of our voluntary effort to create a sustainable campus. The bus pass program will continue. The Transportation Services budget is presently not balanced, but we have decided not to make any changes to the bus pass program in addressing our budget shortfall.
Q: Do you have any information to share regarding privatization of services on the UW-Madison campus?
A: We do not have any plans to privatize functions currently performed by university employees.
Q: How would UW-Madison athletics be affected by the partnership? Would they too receive increased autonomy or are they already virtually self-governing?
A: Athletics is a revenue-generating operation. The athletic director would still report and be accountable to the chancellor. The athletic board would be retained and would continue to provide oversight over athletic department operations and policies.
Q: Can’t athletics contribute to the university’s budget cuts in any way?
A: Yes, Athletics will be asked to help the campus manage the proposed budget cuts. They are part of the solution.
Q: Why doesn’t the university consider reducing the $3 million Bret Bielema makes and put it toward education and faculty?
A: More than 80 percent of Coach Bielema’s salary comes from noncampus revenue sources and, therefore, is not available for reallocation. These include media opportunities, sponsorships and private giving targeted specifically to the Athletic Department.
Q: When discussing budget cuts, the chancellor has mentioned short-term pain. When and how do you envision this short-term pain to end?
A: This next budget cycle (2011-13) will be difficult. We are hopeful that if we are granted public authority status, we can make more localized decisions and the autonomy should help us be able to better manage our fiscal and human resources in future years.
Q: Will the increased pension and health benefits that staff will be required to pay stay at the university or go to the state?
A: The increased payments will go toward paying for retirement and health care benefits, to replace amounts currently paid for by the state, not the employee. Currently, these amounts are covered by the state. So the increased retirement contribution will go to the state Department of Employee Trust Funds and the increased health care contribution will go toward paying for the employee’s portion of health care costs.
Q: Does the $62.5 million cut for next fiscal year include the pension and health care reductions? Will those cuts offset part of the $125 million budget cut?
A: No, the benefit/pension savings have already been removed from our proposed budget for the next fiscal years. We would still need to reduce our base budget by that $62.5 million.
Q: How would separating the UW-Madison campus from the rest of the state campuses help the budget — would tuition increase or decrease?
A: The autonomy under a public authority model would allow us to operate in a much more streamlined manner and make better use of our limited resources. Given the state’s fiscal health, tuition will certainly increase, but we hope to keep the increase at a modest level and increase our financial aid available.
Q: Any loss of revenue from whatever source will have to be made up from budget cuts or new sources found. Does this mean increasingly turning to corporation funding, and to what extent will such funding determine programs of the university (research, teaching etc.)?
A: The focus of our effort to increase revenue from other sources will be on private giving rather than from corporations. Academic freedom and existing faculty policies will remain in place to ensure our continued integrity.
Q: Are the programs for students, faculty and staff with disabilities in any danger with restructuring of UW-Madison?
A: No, we remain committed to those programs.
Q: Any thoughts on how $62 million will be saved, or how revenues will be raised outside of tuition increases?
A: In dealing with a cut of this magnitude, cuts to the base budget will have to occur. We are in the process of hiring an efficiency expert to help us save money and improve services to the campus community. Under a public authority model, we would have the ability to generate and control our own revenues. Only a portion of the cut would be made up through a tuition increase.
Q: Will the UW-Madison public authority be able to take donations directly, or will there still be a need for WAA to channel donations through to the university?
A: The UW Foundation would remain the main entity to handle gifts to UW-Madison. Donors would still be able to direct their funds to specific programs if they like. As always, the Wisconsin Alumni Association will continue its role to connect alumni and the university, as well as alumni to one another.
Q: What’s the difference between “private giving” and private corporation funding?
A: Private giving provides the margin of excellence for the campus and helps us fund specific initiatives. In contrast, corporate funding is typically associated with a specific research project.
Q: Is it true that there is language in the budget repair bill that would allow the state government access to the UW-Madison pension funds?
A: Our pension funds are part of the Wisconsin Retirement System and managed through the Department of Employee Trust Funds. This approach would continue under a public authority model. We are not aware of any language in the budget repair bill that would allow the governor or Legislature to access these funds.
Q: To what degree will the campus community be able to become involved in understanding and contributing to the strategy and important decisions that are required for dealing with the current budget cuts? When will the Board of Trustees members be appointed?
A: Over the past few months, we have been preparing the campus for a budget cut. Just this morning I met with our deans to begin more detailed planning for the reductions that we will have to take in the upcoming budget. Once final, budget cut numbers are assigned to the deans, and the deans will work with their academic planning councils and other staff and faculty to determine the approach they will take to address their share of the cuts. Given that the budget bill would provide us with public authority status as early as July of this year, we will want to form the Board of Trustees as soon as the bill passes.
With all this talk of layoffs, do you expect to see any university layoffs for full-time staff members?
It is too early to tell what kind of effect the budget cuts will have on UW-Madison. Although budget reductions will likely occur, we will explore all options before laying off employees.
Currently, as you know, academic staff can be laid off immediately if there is a budget crisis. With the New Badger Partnership, do you expect budgetary woes to be somewhat unstable at first or alternatively, immediately less challenging for UW-Madison? And if there is less financial stability, will academic staff bear the brunt of balancing the budget through layoffs? Should budgetary woes be handled differently under a new authority?
Minimum layoff notice periods for academic staff range from one month to six months depending on length of service and appointment type. We are likely to face a budget reduction on July 1, 2011, whether we become a public authority or remain part of a state agency. If that is the case, the university will need to decide how to make those cuts. Those decisions might mean layoffs (although the university will do all that it can to avoid them), a hiring freeze or some other cost-savings measures. If there are layoffs, academic staff may not bear the brunt because only 25 percent of academic staff are funded by state money. If we do become a public authority, the layoff policies and procedures will remain the same through at least June 30, 2012.
If the budget repair bill passes in its proposed state, and UW-Madison separates from the state, would UW employees be protected from some of the possible pension payments, health insurance premium increases and possible layoffs proposed by the governor?
The proposed budget bill will provide UW-Madison with the flexibility and autonomy to develop strategies more consistent with its academic mission. This would include the ability to manage resources in creative ways to possibly avoid layoffs. However, UW-Madison still will be covered under the same retirement and health insurance programs that currently exist for state employees. It is anticipated that our employee contributions to these benefit programs will not differ.
Is it possible under public authority status that faculty and academic staff could receive a merit-based pay plan in the 2011-‘13 biennium?
If the language we proposed for the governor remains in the final approved budget, we will have the flexibility to create our own pay plan. Pay plan decisions will need to be made by the Board of Trustees. It is too soon to know whether the board will have time to consider a pay plan for 2011-12. The university, in collaboration with faculty, academic staff and non-represented classified employee governance bodies, will design a new personnel system, including a compensation plan, during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
What is going to happen with the UW-Madison classified employee positions if this agreement goes through?
Classified employees will be covered by the provisions within state collective bargaining agreements and/or classified civil service laws that are in place between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. On July 1, 2012, all classified employees (along with other campus employees), will be covered by new personnel policies and procedures established by the UW-Madison Board of Trustees. This could include the ability to collectively bargain if the authority employees retain these rights within the state statutes.
How would this impact faculty salaries?
If the language proposed in the budget bill remains in the final budget, the Board of Trustees would have the flexibility to create its own compensation plan. This plan will be designed, in collaboration with faculty, academic staff and non-represented classified employee governance bodies, during the 2011-12 fiscal year. We expect the new plan to be flexible and attuned to the market needs of faculty and other university employees.
In the past there has been some sort of pressure from the top to “demote” academic staff positions to classified positions. I’ve always wondered where that came from but assumed it was some sort of union pressure. Will this preference for classified positions change under the new system?
First, it is important to note that classified positions aren’t demotions from academic staff positions. There are many professional classified staff at the university. Professional employees in other state agencies include doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses and teachers. Under the proposal, the authority will design a new personnel system during 2011-12. It will be a priority to resolve the classified or academic staff issue.
I have heard UW Hospital Employees are basically being dropped from the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) as part of the budget repair bill. What guarantees do we have the same thing won’t happen to employees of the university during the next budget cycle?
Based on our reading of the budget repair bill, UW Hospital employees remain covered by WRS. Keeping university employees covered by WRS is absolutely essential.
Do you believe that the NBP would allow for increased pay rates for teaching assistants? Attracting top-level graduate students seems similar in importance to attracting the right faculty.
Attracting top-level graduate students is absolutely critical to the instructional and research enterprises of the university. Under the authority as proposed, the Teaching Assistants Association (TAA) may negotiate with the Board of Trustees rather than with the Office of State Employment Relations. Although we certainly cannot predict the outcome of future negotiations, we think the trustees will have a better understanding of the role and importance of our graduate assistants. A very significant concern, however, is if the budget repair bill passes as it is currently drafted, the board and TAA may be limited to negotiating increases no greater that the rate of inflation, as all other state employees and agencies will be. It is too early to know whether the board and the TAA will be constrained.
Q: Will New Badger Partnership eliminate unions?
A: No, the New Badger Partnership does not eliminate unions.
Would the governor’s proposal to eliminate all collective bargaining except for wages apply to employees of the UW authority?
Under our reading of the bill, UW-Madison employees will have the same authority to collectively bargain as other state agencies. This authority may expand or contract based on any statutory changes to the collective bargaining laws pertaining to public sector workers.
Q: As a public authority, will UW-Madison have the ability to create its own union?
A: The proposed bill incorporates UW-Madison as a public authority into current statutes authorizing collective bargaining with state employees.
Q: So from mid-March (approximately) to June 30 there would be no unions, then July 1 when NBP kicks in the unions would be re-instated?
A: According to the proposal, as of July 1, 2011, UW-Madison staff would have the same collective bargaining rights as state employees.
Q: Would it be correct to say that Gov. Walker’s budget repair bill will strip collective bargaining from the proposed public authority when it eliminates the current Wisconsin statutes granting collective bargaining rights?
A: The outcome of the budget repair bill will apply uniformly to employers who are included in Chapter 111. This would include UW-Madison.
Q: As a classified employee, will I still have bumping and transfer rights within the university and transfer rights within the other campuses?
A: During the transition year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012), classified employees will retain transfer and bumping rights. Starting on July 1, 2012, employees will have reinstatement eligibility. Transfer and bumping rights will depend on the policies and procedure included in the new personnel system developed by the Board of Trustees.
Q: How does the university plan to re-evaluate its staff members with regard to the budget cuts? Should we expect layoffs?
A: As the chancellor stated in her e-mail message to the campus community, the proposed cuts are deep. We will consider all other options to absorb the cuts before we consider layoffs.
Q: Assuming that the budget repair bill, as presented, eventually passes, as a nonrepresented classified employee of UW-Madison, how will the New Badger Partnership impact me? Will the partnership offer me any protections from the governor’s plans for all state employees?
A: Under the proposed authority, employees would continue to have applicable procedural guarantees requiring just cause, due notice and hearing prior to dismissal.
Q: What does “highly competitive employer” mean? Will salaries be set by our classifications and years of service?
A: During the transition year, we will design the new personnel system, and that could include a new compensation system. At this time, we don’t yet know the details of the new personnel system.
Q: Do you expect to see the ability to make changes to salaries for classified staff easier without the state employment system being part of the process?
A: During the transition year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012) the existing compensation system would remain in place. After that, the board will implement a new personnel system that may include new compensation provisions designed to enable the university to be a highly competitive employer. The new personnel system will be designed during the transition year.
Q: Do you have a sense as to what the new personnel system under the public authority status might look like? Will academic staff and classified staff systems be retained?
A: The public authority model allows us to design a personnel system to meet our unique needs and be better suited to your employees. The system will be designed during the next year, drawing on the views of our campus constituents. It will ultimately need to be approved by the Board of Trustees.
Q: Under the public authority proposal, would the university have the authority to set its pension/health care contribution costs? Or do we have to abide by Gov. Walker’s proposal?
A: Under the public authority model, we will remain in the state retirement system. We have asked for language in the bill to offer benefits above and beyond what the state currently offers.
Q: What will happen to classified staff leave benefits, such as sabbatical and sick leave conversion to pay for health insurance premiums?
A: During the transition year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012), the sabbatical program will remain in place. The basic sick leave conversion program will also remain in place. At this time, the supplemental program remains in place.
(New April 5, 2011) Q: Will there be any change to faculty sabbaticals if UW-Madison becomes a public authority?
A: No changes will be made to the faculty sabbatical provisions currently in
Q: Besides large reductions in take-home pay, what can classified employees expect during the next two years?
A: During the transition year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012), the personnel system for classified employees will remain as it is now. On July 1, 2012, the authority will put in place a newly designed personnel system. Although the specifics of that new system are yet to be formulated, all employees will continue to be protected by procedural guarantees of just cause, due notice and hearing prior to dismissal.
Q: On July 1, 2012, the authority will put in place a newly designed personnel system. While the specifics of that new system are yet to be formulated, all employees will continue to be protected by procedural guarantees of just cause, due notice and hearing prior to dismissal. What does that mean?
A: During the transition year (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012), current employees will continue to be covered by the existing classified personnel system. This includes transfer rights. After July 1, 2012, the authority will implement a new, yet-to-be-designed personnel system. After this date, authority employees will no longer have transfer rights but will have restoration eligibility. Under the new system, authority employees will continue to have the procedural protections of just cause, due notice and hearing before dismissal. Current employees will not have to re-apply for their jobs. As for retirement, authority employees will continue to be covered by the Wisconsin Retirement System, as they are now.
Q: So there would a new human resources system for UW-Madison? What about HRS?
A: Yes, we anticipate a new human resources system for the UW-Madison authority, designed to enable us to be a highly competitive employer. As for HRS, we are full speed ahead to go live and implement the new system under the current structure.
Q: Much talk is about faculty and academic staff, but the bulk of employees on campus, I believe, are currently classified staff. Will there be information sessions specific to classifieds as more information is forthcoming about personnel changes? (We classifieds are mostly ignored when people talk about “staff” at UW.)
A: Information about the changes to all university employees, including classified staff, is available on the New Badger Partnership website. We acknowledge that information may change as both the budget repair and biennial budget move through the legislative process. We will continue to keep the campus updated as we learn information and we will highlight changes specific to classified staff as well as faculty and academic staff.
Q: Could there be faculty layoffs?
A: We do not anticipate faculty layoffs as a result of the measures we take to implement the governor’s mandated budget reductions. The deans and their academic policy committees are currently developing plans to address the necessary cuts.
Q: How will classified staff be included in the process of designing the new compensation system?
A: We have not yet developed the specific approach we will use to design the new personnel system. However, we understand the need to involve the campus community, including classified employees, in this process.
Q: The New Badger Partnership does not eliminate unions, but it takes away transfer rights and the seniority system, one of the benefits of being a classified employee?
A: Transfer rights, seniority and other benefits of classified civil service are found in Chapter 230 of the Wisconsin statutes. As a public authority, UW-Madison employees will no longer be included in Chapter 230 because they are not state employees. Collective bargaining rights are established in Chapter 111 of the Wisconsin statutes. Under the proposed budget bill, UW-Madison will have the same authority to collectively bargain as other state agencies. This authority may change based on the results of the budget repair bill.
Q: Any updates for employees regarding the health risk assessment required by the governor’s bill?
A: According to the budget repair bill, this is one of the areas that will be included in the health insurance study that the Office of State Employee Relations and Employee Trust Funds will conduct in the next fiscal year.
Q: If the New Badger Partnership (NBP) is enacted, will the faculty still be required to contribute the governor’s benefit and retirement reductions?
A: Under the proposed bill, classified, academic staff and faculty will remain part of the state retirement and benefit programs. Changes to those programs would also apply to all.
Q: Under the new public authority, why can’t the university decide on its own collective bargaining rights, pension and health care contributions for its employees?
A: The authority proposal, as currently written, provides that UW-Madison authority employees would have the same bargaining rights as state employees. The proposal also stipulates that UW-Madison employees would continue to be covered by state benefits, including WRS and health care. Therefore, UW-Madison employees would continue to make the same contributions to these benefits programs as state employees.
Q: What kind of employee would the faculty, staff and classified employee be considered? If not state workers, then what? Also, what guarantee would we have that we still have access to the state retirement and benefit programs?
A: Under the authority provisions, all employees would become UW-Madison authority employees instead of employees of the UW system and the State of Wisconsin. The bill also provides that UW-Madison employees would continue to receive state benefits including WRS retirement and health care.
Q: As UW authority employees, would we be considered private or public employees or some kind of hybrid? What protections are there for us as UW authority employees? Who represents our interests?
A: Authority employees would still be public employees. Authority employees would continue to have procedural protections requiring just cause, due notice and hearing prior to dismissal. Classified authority employees would have the same collective bargaining rights as state employees.
Q: What changes would employees have as authority employees vs. as UW System employees?
A: UW-Madison employees will be employed directly by UW-Madison. UW System employees will continue to be state employees. UW-Madison and UW System both will continue to participate in the state retirement and benefit programs. UW-Madison would create its own personnel system.
Q: If I am a permanent classified employee now, will my job title, classification, permanent status and/or pay range change when I become a UW-Madison authority employee?
A: Under the proposed authority, as of July 1, 2011, all UW-Madison employees will become authority employees. During a transition period (July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012), classified employees will continue to be covered by the same personnel provisions they are now (i.e., the state classified personnel system). As of July 1, 2012, all authority employees would be covered by a new personnel system that would be developed during the transition period.
Q: I’m hearing rumors of increased retirements (faculty and staff) due to the budget crisis and future unknowns for the university. Is leadership hearing that too?
A: It’s hard to predict retirements, but we are getting more requests for retirement counseling, so this suggests there may be an uptick. However, the aging of the workforce in general, including projected Baby Boomer retirements, indicates that the number of retirements will increase in general over the next few years. But, as you suggest, we will be monitoring and analyzing retirement data.
Q: Is it correct to say that as of July 1, 2012, everything about my job could change, including job title, classification, permanent status and pay range? Is the plan to keep the pay equivalent, increase or decrease when transitioned?
A: Under the authority proposal, we will be developing a new personnel system via a method that incorporates the principles of shared governance. At this time, since we haven’t begun to develop this system, we don’t know what its structure will be. However, we will focus on creating a system that enables UW-Madison to attract, develop and retain the best talent. Moreover, the new system will retain employee protections that include just cause, due notice and hearing prior to dismissal.
Q: Will the New Badger Partnership allow the administration to remove ineffective faculty?
A: We have policies and procedures that govern faculty performance, discipline and termination. Those policies and procedures will transfer and will remain in effect unless modified by the Board of Trustees through the shared governance process.
Q: Will classified pay increases be based on performance or a collective bargaining process that would apply across the board to all classified staff as they do now?
A: Under the authority, classified employees would have the same bargaining rights as state employees. From July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012, classified employees would still be governed by state classified personnel rules, including for compensation. After June 30, 2012, all authority employees would be part of a new personnel system that will be developed during the transition year. That system has not yet been developed.
Two-year campuses (such as UW-Rock County) offer programs that guarantee enrollment at UW-Madison if certain requirements are fulfilled. Will that program be changed or lost in any way?
No, there will not be changes to the transfer criteria among system schools.
How is this going to affect tuition? And Chancellor Martin mentions that there is lots of free money out there to offset costs, but we have looked and applied and it isn’t so easy to get it.
With the budget cuts in the proposed budget bill, tuition will rise regardless of whether UW-Madison becomes a public authority. If UW-Madison is granted more flexibility as a public authority under the proposed budget bill to set its own tuition rates, we will work extremely hard to maintain tuition at a reasonable level while at the same time offering more financial assistance to those in need.
Will fewer in-state students be admitted?
This would allow us, as a campus, to look more closely at our in-state and out-of-state student enrollment numbers and set goals that would meet the needs of UW-Madison.
“Currently the ratio is established as a Board of Regents policy, the Board of Trustees would need to review and decide.” I appreciate the technical explanation of how it would be decided, but what is the desired outcome? 50/50? 40/60? What ratio makes sense in terms of the financial goals you’re trying to achieve through this partnership? Is it possible to achieve goals while ratio stays the same?
The university will explore all options, and there is no desired outcome at this time.
How will this affect my chance at receiving financial aid/scholarships/work study programs?
One of the goals of the New Badger Partnership is to increase need-based aid for students.
Do you really think it’s okay to raise tuition 20 percent over two years?
A percentage has not been determined for how much tuition will increase. However, tuition will rise, regardless of whether UW-Madison becomes a public authority. We hope to keep the increase below double digits, and we will work extremely hard to maintain tuition at a reasonable level while offering more financial assistance to those in need. We are examining the budget numbers contained in the governor’s proposed budget to determine the best manner in which to address the budget cuts.
The cost of higher education continues to rise with no end in sight. Tuition will likely rise as a result of the New Badger Partnership, extending the debt burden on students. How will the new public authority help affordability?
If UW-Madison is granted more flexibility as public authority under the proposed budget bill to set its own tuition rates, we will work extremely hard to maintain tuition at a reasonable level.
How will tuition increases under this plan be different from increases in the past?
As a public authority, UW-Madison would set its own tuition through its Board of Trustees. Currently, the Board of Regents has the authority to set tuition for the entire system.
Would MATC credits transfer the same as they do now?
A public authority model will have no effect on how transfer credits are granted or received. The same process that is in place now would continue under this new model.
When I can barely afford my tuition now, I don’t see how even a 10 percent hike could be okay. Already my student loans can barely cover tuition, leaving it necessary for me to get $5,000 more each year in private loans to cover housing, books and general cost of living. I couldn’t afford to attend if such tuition hikes occurred.
Again, tuition will rise regardless of the New Badger Partnership. One of the New Badger Partnership’s goals is to increase need-based aid for students.
Will this new partnership affect the automatic transfer of “approved” credits from MATC?
The transfer agreements (including approved credits) with Madison College would stay the same.
What effect does this budget mess have on out-of-state tuition?
With the budget cuts in the proposed budget bill, tuition will rise. If UW-Madison is granted more flexibility as a public authority under the proposed budget bill to set its own tuition rates, we will work extremely hard to maintain tuition at a reasonable level while at the same time offering more financial assistance to those in need.
With financial aid decreasing and this forced tuition increase, I’m concerned that well-deserving students will no longer be able to afford this school. Are you doing anything to keep this financial discrimination away from the university, or what do you plan to tell students who don’t meet the monetary cut?
Financial aid from the state will not be reduced. Federal grant aid will be, unfortunately, after prior years of increases. The university will continue to add to its financial aid resources. Our goal is to keep UW-Madison affordable to qualified students regardless of economic circumstances.
Is this partnership going to affect any military benefits?
We are unaware of any effect on military benefits.
What about all of these pre-college programs that gives those students a full ride tuitions to UW-Madison. What effect will this have on these students?
Our intention is to preserve our commitment to our pre-college programs.
What will be done to prioritize financial assistance to students of low-income and of color so that this proposal does not further alienate already-marginalized students? While tuition will be increasing in general, will there be a consideration to offer larger scholarships to first-generation students and others from low-income backgrounds to retain diversity at the university?
A diverse student body enhances the learning experience for all of our students. We will continue our efforts to provide financial aid on the basis of need by using more revenue sources to strengthen our need-based aid programs. We will work to maintain our successful diversity programs and the aid provided to them.
How would this legislation, especially the university’s new role as a public authority, affect the rights of graduate students secured by the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) (graduate student union), such as health care benefits, tuition remission and collective bargaining?
UW-Madison is committed to providing tuition remissions. Under the budget bill, UW-Madison will have the same authority to collectively bargain as other state agencies. This authority may expand or contract based on any statutory changes to the collective bargaining laws pertaining to public sector workers.
When will new students know what the tuition will be for 2011-12?
We would anticipate knowing the tuition amount in July 2011.
July 2011 is kind of late for a lot of students to know the change in tuition.
Tuition is traditionally announced by the Regents in an early summer meeting, under the current model.
Does this make transferring from Madison College and/or any other postsecondary colleges difficult, or will the requirements remain the same?
Transfer agreements and requirements will remain the same. Our intent is to enhance them.
As a student, I recognize that there will be tuition increases for the foreseeable future. What is being done to ensure that the less-fortunate students will be able to continue their studies at the university? Is it akin to the Madison Initiative grants?
Students with the most financial need have been held harmless from tuition increases in the last biennial budget and currently through the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates. The chancellor has made a firm commitment to ensure the UW-Madison remains accessible and affordable, that financial aid continues to grow and that our students with the most need continue to be held harmless from future tuition increases.
Are you expecting double-digit increases for out-of-state tuition, and do you foresee tuition reciprocity with Iowa at any point? Having invested in UW-Madison and facing increase, can we continue to expect a world-class education for sending our kids to Wisconsin?
There is no reciprocity with Iowa. As for tuition increases, the short answer is that we do not know tuition increases at this point, but we want to keep it below the increase that happened in 2003-05.
There’s been discussion about the New Badger Partnership contributing to faculty retention, but will the partnership have any positive effect on graduate student recruitment?
Successful recruitment of talented graduate students depends on our ability to recruit and retain the best faculty and preserve our overall quality. We believe that the flexibilities accompanying public authority status will allow us to improve everyone’s circumstances.
Will there be any changes to the current Wisconsin/Minnesota reciprocity tuition agreement for students?
UW-Madison attaining public authority status will have no impact on the reciprocity agreement in whatever form that eventually takes.
Where is tuition now in comparison with our peer institutions?
Our tuition is second to the bottom in the Big Ten.
What will happen to the Covenant Scholars Program?
According to Gov. Walker’s budget, the proposed the program will be capped as of Sept. 30, 2011.
If tuition increases, can we also expect on-campus housing costs to increase?
There is no relationship between tuition increases and housing costs. We expect that on-campus housing costs would continue to increase incrementally as they have during the past few years.
Do you expect the caliber of student to be less academically inclined, given the budget crisis?
We do not expect the caliber of student to decline.
I am a UW-Eau Claire student transferring to UW-Madison next semester, and I worry about what this will do to UW-Eau Claire and other UW schools. Has there been any open discussion about protecting the Wisconsin Idea in all of the UW schools, not just Madison?
Our intention is to maintain our commitment to the Wisconsin Idea and our relationships with the other UW institutions.
I understand a change in governance for UW-Madison; I’m just concerned about a change in brand name for Wisconsin. People attend UW schools BECAUSE of UW-Madison. How can you make sure this reputation and school spirit don’t take a dive with the split? In essence, why call it a split?
We would not call it a “split” and have not aimed at one. The institutions that are part of the University of Wisconsin will continue to share a name and important relationships, the coordination of which can take different forms. We have no fear that UW-Madison’s brand will be diminished as long as we sustain the quality of our faculty, staff and students and continue communicating our intent and goals.
The rhetoric I hear makes UW-Madison sound like a business, not a school. Why should I get an education at a place that behaves like a business? This idea makes me question whether I still care about transferring here.
UW-Madison is a world-class research university, not a business, and you will find that the culture of the university reflects the values that have made research universities the treasure that they are. We are trying to protect our core values, our intellectual strengths, our educational quality and our service to the public. Language matters, as you point out. It is important that we be multilingual and able to talk about the university’s welfare with people from many different walks of life in terms that they understand. We do not forego or forfeit our values and our commitment to the uniqueness of a university environment when we engage in translation.
How would the university adjust to helping students who may receive significantly worse K-12 preparation for higher education?
The admissions standards will not change at this point, and we will continue to offer and enhance our pre-college programs.
Is it true undocumented students from the state of Wisconsin will now have to pay out-of-state tuition?
Under Gov. Walker’s proposed budget, yes.
Since undocumented students from the state of Wisconsin will now have to pay out-of-state tuition under the new budget, will NBP be able to change this?
It’s unlikely at this point.
Will UW-Madison admissions administer a separate online application, similar to the graduate application?
That is a possibility. We will explore this with the Office of Admissions and Recruitment; this is also something the new Board of Trustees will consider.
Will the administration be looking at the Madison Initiative surcharge amount that out-of-state students pay (which is approaching $3,000 — three times the amount of in-state students) if higher-than-anticipated tuition increases must happen? It is a very large burden as it is.
Out-of-state tuition is higher than in-state rates because of the funding supplied to the university by the state of Wisconsin and its taxpayers. We do not expect to do away with the gap between in- and out-of-state rates. We do expect to offer more financial aid.
As a Wisconsinite first and an alumni second, I struggle to see this fitting into the Wisconsin Idea. Is it possible?
The new model will permit us to carry the Wisconsin Idea forward. A deterioration in quality will put the Wisconsin Idea at risk. Only a first-rate university can do what the Wisconsin Idea commits us to doing: providing the best possible education to the state’s young people; conducting world-class research; using that research to support Wisconsin’s industries, its families, its communities, our health, the environment and future generations.
Q: As a mother of one soon-to-graduate UW-Madison student and one newly admitted student, I am not as worried about tuition increases as I am about the quality of the education going forward. I want my younger daughter to have the same excellent education her sister has enjoyed.
We, too are concerned, first and foremost, about preserving the quality of this great institution, for the good of our young people, for the good of the state’s businesses and communities, and for the good of future generations who will need a world-class university in their midst.
I am concerned that faculty, staff and students may not wish to come or stay at the university because of concern that their children may not be able to receive a good education due to the deep cuts in K-12 education. Is the university advocating for the importance of excellence in K-12 education?
Our School of Education continues to outreach to K-12 advocating for the value of an education at the K-12 and beyond.
How will UW-Madison’s name be affected? Will the university be called the University of Wisconsin (dropping Madison) or an alternate name? Also, how will any name changes affect other public institutions in Wisconsin, such as UW-Eau Claire, etc.? Will they be referred to as Wisconsin State Universities?
We will continue to be the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the other UW institutions will continue with the names they hold. No changes are planned from our end.
Q: Will the budgetary or personnel aspects of University Housing be affected by the budget situation?
A: Because University Housing does not receive state funding, it would not have to reduce staff to help the campus meet its budget reduction. Under a public authority model, University Housing revenues would be completely controlled by the campus and would be available to make improvements and keep housing costs affordable.
Q: What will be the day-to-day impact on students if UW-Madison is established as a public authority? Also, what will Madison’s relationship with the rest of the UW System be under the public authority? What is the benefit to the rest of the system?
A: The public authority model will hopefully be a catalyst that allows UW-Madison to retain and attract top faculty and students. UW-Madison intends to retain all existing collaborations and the ability for students to transfer to Madison from other state institutions.
Q: Can you focus on reassuring current and prospective students by giving concrete examples of new financial aid structures instead of referring vaguely to your increased effort?
A: Through the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates we have held students who are from families earning $80,000 or less harmless from the tuition increase. In addition, the general tuition increase from UW System held students harmless from families earning $60,000 or less. We will continue to ensure that our most in-need students are held harmless from similar increases. We are involved in a major fundraising campaign to ensure that we are able to honor this commitment. If you have specific financial aid concerns, please connect with our financial aid office and they can provide some assistance.