New Badger Partnership: Q&A

On Thursday, I posted about the NBP to dispel some of the myths that have been floating about.  Noel Radomski, a candidate for Mayor in Madison commented back with a few points which I’ll try to answer in this post. Reminder: the following are my own understandings/opinions on the matter.  I do not speak for the Chancellor (nor would I want to) and I’m trying to answer them to the best of my ability.  I’ve left off some analysis because I’m trying not to debate the merits now, just answer questions.

Also, ask Dean Berquam and Chancellor Martin who they mean when they state they want the UW resident undergradute tuition to be near the median of our “peer universities”

So, this is an easy one and anyone who pretends its something else is a fear monger. They both have said repeatedly that this group is Big Ten for tuition.  The Chancellor doesn’t try to hide that.  In faculty pay however, Peer Group tends to mean the Big Ten plus Berkeley, UCLA, etc.  So, I can understand the confusion but regarding tuition, it’s quite clear.

Third, investigate which performance or outcome metrics will be used as our institutional accountability agreements prior to receiving flexibilities from the state and/or UW System.

I’m sure we will know more once the Governor proposes a model for us.  You think Rep. Nass is going to allow the UW to receive ANY state funds without oversight? Not likely.  36.09(5) only applies on a per institution basis and any proposal to grant the UW more institutional power is going to come with Shared Gov concessions.  Again, we have on record commitments from the Chancellor for that.  Specific numbers? I’d imagine something regarding percentage of 4 year graduates, a continuation of a guaranteed percentage of Wisconsin high school students  per class, and perhaps a jobs created metric.  Those seem likely, but probably missed some.  Ideas, anyone?

And finally, which regulations are the target of the UW’s scorn: Wisconsin government? UW System? Both? If so, which ones? Oh, in Virginia, the four campuses that benefited most from the “Virginia Model” all had institutional board of visitors. Ergo sum, who should appoint our new campus board? What should be the composition? Should the Governor appoint with approval by the Senate? Other?

As I understand it, the regulations are mostly Wisconsin State Statute in nature (regulations concerning state procurement etc) and those that say the UW system’s tuition which is understood as one tuition percentage for the system. Additionally, I thought the Chancellor had posted a list of statutes concerning state regulations online, but I can’t find it now.  I’ll look again.

We had a discussion regarding the governing model for the new program at the state-wide student government event, United Council, this past weekend.  Generally, the conversation seemed to be that if we had a Board of Trustees or Visitors, then we would require two or more student seats depending on the size of the board.  The Chancellor has indicated her support for something like this.  Also, we would like them to be internally elected, however, most students aren’t willing to have a conversation about this without first having a model in place, etc.


Please ask any more questions you may have in the comments, and I will do my best to provide my analysis about the issue and relay anything that I may have heard, encountered.



5 Comments on “New Badger Partnership: Q&A”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tia Nowack, Adam Johnson. Adam Johnson said: Ask me questions about the NBP and I'll try to provide some clarity.<< […]

  2. AJ:

    Thank you for the response. A few comments, but your readers need to understand that I am not running for mayor.

    I encourage you and others not to dismiss questions about tuition levels, tuition authority, and impact on access, degree program choice, and graduation. If you conduct a literature review on this topic, as well as review institutional analysis, you will discover that tuition increases have a disproportionate impact on first-generation students and low-income students. I am not advocating zero percent tuition increases, but I am raising a yellow flag that the last ten years of tuition increases is having an adverse impact on who applies, attends, and completes a two-year college, a four-year university, and private and for-profit institutions.

    Second, on a related note, in Virginia the institutions who were certified to reach Tier 3 autonomy from the Commonwealth all designed and implemented comprehensive institutional need-based aid programs. And they do not look at all like the MIU hold-harmless approach.

    Third, because campus leaders modeled the NBP on the Virginia model (the Oregon proposal is just that; the Univ of Michigan has constitutional status, so a comparison to them is apples-and-oranges; Colorado is a TABOR state and a comparison to their efforts is a big stretch) and the state, not the campus, identified 12 goals that the campuses had to meet in order to receive forms of autonomy (in-state enrollment, under-rep enrollments, degree awards, high-need degrees, academic standards, average retention rate, degrees per FTE students, transfer students, dual enrollments, research, degrees per FTE faculty, articulation agreements, economic development, patents & licenses, K12 development, and campus safety & security). The campuses then had to create Institutional Management Agreements (IMA’s), which broke down the goals into metrics. Also, VA Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and the VA Auditor of Public Accounts (AP) are charged with conducting annual audits of the IMA’s.

    What we learned in Virginia and in other states where flexibilities were granted is that state governments wanted and needed greater accountability from institutions for achieving certain higher education goals, and then flexibilities were discussed.

    Is the UW-Madison (faculty, staff and students) willing and capable of traveling down this path?

    Is this necessary? A few days before Governor Doyle completed his term the state and the UW-Madison signed an MOU that allowed the campus to retain interest earnings from tuition and seg fees, which then allowed the campus to spend that money. That is an example of a tuition flexibility that the campus wanted. Was ASM, Univ Cmte, and ASEC invited to discuss (not decide, which is the role of the chancellor) how that revenue should be allocated? If the revenue comes from interest from tuition and seg fees then would need-based institutional aid be a logical candidate? It wasn’t.

    OK, I have to go outside and shovel, but before I go I encourage the readers to think about other options. Many student advocates and student newspaper columnists dismiss individuals who question whether the NBP will adequately address the revenue stream problems confronting the UW. Actually, many campuses have done so w/o statutory changes and w/o opening up the inner-workings of the campus to our state government. They fall under the rubric of campus innovations, but they have been successfully adopted in previous economic challenging times. And the UW was one of the campuses that led the charge. Who knows, perhaps we could be leaders once again? So, I’ll toss you some low hanging fruit.

    First, design and offer three semesters of coursework. The UW’s summer session is a joke, especially in comparison with our peers. Study what took place at the UW once the GI Bill kicked in.

    Second, escalate the UW’s partnerships with DPI, CESA districts, and WI’s K-12 districts (approx. 65% of our undergraduates are from WI) and train more teachers to deliver AP courses, dual enrollment courses, and advanced standing courses.

    Third, and here’s an idea that some of our faculty would love and some of our faculty would hate: transition some of the 1400 instructional academic staff to teaching faculty and have them teach some of the 100 and 200 division courses. That would free up our 2022 faculty to focus on a smaller percentage of 100 and 200 divisional courses and concentrate their efforts on the 300, 400, and 500 divisional courses, as well as our graduate seminars. Other peer universities do this…

    Fourth, ramp up our master’s degree offerings and our professional master’s programs and use that new graduate tuition revenue for faculty merit increases. Many departments have capacity to do so and this increment in enrollment doesn’t inflict harm on faculty who rightfully complain that they have too many PhD advisees.

    Fifth, eliminate and merge academic departments. The faculty and university committee will fight this, but if the campus needs to become more efficient in administrative areas (information technology, business services, research administration, etc.) then we have to be fair and put the cards on the table.

    Sixth, review, prioritize, and simplify the UW’s general education requirements, which is an artifact of decades of political compromises and momentary lapses of judgment. It’s sad day when our campus resorts to a book in the fall semester as the one common undergraduate experience. If the campus leaders were to be so bold and imaginative to end the cafeteria-style approach to gen ed then it would provide a new core undergraduate experience needed for our global economy while providing new time for our faculty to offer advanced courses. Efficient? Yes. Better teaching and learning? Yes.

    There are many more executable ideas, but it requires students, staff and faculty to think outside the box and stop conforming to a model that exists in other states. It’s time for an original Wisconsin idea.


    OK, time to shovel.
    experience our campus

  3. […] play. Adam Johnson over at The Campus First answered some of these questions in two separate posts, here and […]

  4. […] time spent reading it.  I’ve answered questions on two separate occasions on this blog: here and here. Additionally, there is a truckload of information at the official […]

  5. […] time spent reading it.  I’ve answered questions on two separate occasions on this blog: here and here. Additionally, there is a truckload of information at the official website.Right now, there […]

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