New Badger Partnership: Q&A pt 2Posted: February 22, 2011
So, lost in the activity at the capital is the important question of what becomes of UW-Madison and the System with the new budget. I’ve heard from sources in the Walker camp that Madison will likely have the Public Authority model that UW-System originally asked for. Apparently, the Governor decided that it would be too much for the entire system to go that route without a test case, which led to Madison’s choice. Seeing it from that perspective, it makes perfect sense to have a trial run, and to do it with the school most able to do it, before committing all students down that path.
With that said, many people argue that all of system should go down that path instead of just one school; I agree with you. We all should, but if the only way to achieve that is to allow a successful test run first, isn’t that still a good deal?
Brandon and myself each came out last week in favor of the necessary changes embodied by the New Badger Partnership. Additionally, renowned history professor Jeremi Suri, a pair of prominent alums, and the Deans of ALL UW-Madison Schools, have written their support in the last few days. We stand by those points and offer some new answers to questions floating around.
Will this result in costly duplication of services across System and at Madison?
a: Unlikely to be very costly. Madison is the only school that already has its own legal team, which is a big cost, has a comprehensive human resources program that UW System uses for some of its work, and extremely close access to the capitol. If anything, System would have to beef up its own HR program a bit under a new system. It’s important to remember how unique Madison is in the state.
This will require name changing and increase competition, won’t it?
a: No. It’s completely unnecessary to require name changes. I asked a member of Walker’s staff and she said that all sides have been very adamant in keeping the current naming system and the Governor has no plans to change the names. So no Wisconsin State University. As far as competition goes, the answer is still no. We already compete for students, which wouldn’t change drastically. Resources is the second part of competition and the NBP is a recognition that we aren’t going to get much more and is about finding creative ways to balance our own budgets and succeed without more state funds. We’re not going to be fighting over new funds because we recognize there likely won’t be new funds.
This would eliminate the single application across UW System for admission.
a: Most likely, but that’s been something that UW-Madison AND UW-Milwaukee have been advocating for quite some time. Research schools have a vastly different feel than a comprehensive and applications should be reflective of the needs of each school. A single application for schools ranging from 300 to 42,000 students makes no sense to me.
:Edit: More to come, I have to run to class 🙂
Will my tuition go up under the NBP?
a: Probably less than it will go up without it. System is expecting a $250 million slashing and Madison is about $50 million of that. That’s a significant chunk of change to make up and the NBP would allow for creative ways to offer more financial aid (tuition dollars) and minimize the damage to increase tuition less, but it will go up regardless.
Aren’t you afraid that Governor Walker will be able to appoint all the members of the new board?
a: Not any more than I am concerned about the current Board of Regents. Many of Governor Doyle’s appointees expire soon and Walker will have half the board within two years. The BoR doesn’t have many, if any, requisites to be appointed so they can be political appointees. From what I’ve gathered from the governor’s office, Walker would need a majority of the appointees of a new board (this is required to be a public institution) however these appointees would have qualifiers like previous higher ed experience AND Alumni of Madison. That’s good news.
Additionally, all shared governance constituencies are represented there, along with the UW Foundation, the Alumni Association and the Alumni Research group (WARF). It’s sounding pretty good to me.
Why are you in support of Madison spinning off?
a: I’m not, nor do I oppose it. Without seeing ALL the details of how such a structure would look, I’m uncomfortable supporting it, and by the same logic opposing it. Other groups (see United Council…) would rather oppose it blankly without having a conversation about any merits or seeing if that is indeed the best course forward. All I’m advocating for is not to take any options off the table by making hasty decisions.
However, if Madison’s flexibilities are contingent on us being autonomous, I would urge the Chancellor to take that. The flexibilities are necessary and whatever form they take needs to garner serious consideration.
Please post questions in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!