Sunday, February 27, 2011

Whither UW Milwaukee

A colleague of mine sat through the parade of UW Chancellors on Friday at the meeting of the regents. This colleague was struck by the admission of UWM Interim Chancellor Lovell that as an organization they're in a "dammed if they do, damned if they don't" situation by the proposed breakup of the UW System. UWM cannot offer compensation to match institutions below them at the moment and, compared to all UW schools, they have the lowest salaries below their peers. They cannot offer packages to graduate students because programs become noncompetitive.

Lovell outlined three possibilities.
1. Combine with UW-Madison in a shared public authority. Lovell admits that by being the weaker of the two and they won’t get resources necessary to continue meeting their mission. A UWM faculty member has been on about a joint Grad School, sharing resources, teach across the two campuses, (faculty union?), etc. This COULD be possible under this framework. I doubt that UW-Madison will permit this given a certain level of arrogance that pervades some of the faculty in Madison.
2. Combine with the other UW institutions into a public authority that lacks UW-Madison. Lovell noted that UWM doesn’t have a lot in common with others (outside of UW-Madison they are the only other UW school granting doctoral degrees) and have to scrap with the other schools for few resources.
3. Have their our own public authority. Here they have to strike out on their own, competing with UW-Madison AND the other UW schools for limited Wisconsin resources.

My colleague reminded me of one additional option to keep UWM from whithering on the vine: have one public authority for all UW schools, including UW-Madison and UWM. I agree with Chancellor Lovell that UWM has the most to lose under every proposal except one, and hope that the UW-Madison faculty will be mindful of their peers over at UWM who have a rougher future ahead of them than we do.


Selina said...
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Selina said...

My thoughts are with you all over here in Oregon. We have been having similar talks with Portland State University and the other Universities of the Oregon University System. We have not reached such a climax as yours yet but I fear with the requirement of a balanced budget and the methods that OUS distributes state funding, we will not be far behind.

Currently, Portland State is trying to involve students, administrators, and faculty; however, the admin does not understand the class load of faculty and students. It takes a lot longer for us to read the wealth of information and formulate cohesive alternatives. Power to you all in Wisconsin!

Anonymous said...

Of course combining with UW, Milwaukee will be so much easier once the high-speed train between Madison and Milwaukee is finished.......... oh, yeah, never mind.