Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Back-up appointments stopped

You may have seen this in the news: administrators will not be give back-up appointments until the furor over them has died down abit.

UW System News

Monday, July 25, 2005

No Paper Syllabi

Our listserv has been abuzz with discussion about the new order from the Dean that we are no longer to give out paper syllabi in our classes.

Instead, we are supposed to post the information on D2L and e-mail the students to inform them of the location.

This is done in the name of cost-savings, as the College will no longer have to bear the expense of producing these documents.

There are too many comments for me to republish here, but suffice it to say there has been prolonged discussion. I count about 27 postings related to the topic.

Most are concerned that not having paper copies of the syllabus causes 2 major problems. First, the syllabus can be seen as something close to a contract between the instructor and the student. Without a paper copy, it leaves this contract more open to misinterpretation and allows students to claim that they never knew.

Second, it disrupts the beginning of class. On that first day, not all students will have checked their e-mail or perused the electronic syllabus. The possibility exists that there will be continuing confusion as students join the class and discover the syllabus after that initial class period.

I sympathize with both these concerns. I think that having paper copies of the syllaubs placed in students hands lets them concretely visualize the requirements and expectations for the course. I also often include handouts that will be used later in the semester in with the syllabus. Directing students back to the website is not nearly as efficient use of my time as waving the paper they all have in front of them.

It also seems likely that the expense of syllabus printing will simply be shifted from our budget to the more expensive laser writers in the library and computer clusters. I suppose this was the goal of the Dean, but it doesn't really help the overall budget of our institution.

I am generally a believer in technology in the classroom, but decisions made for economic and not pedagogical reasons seem suspect to me.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Pay raises for faculty?

The JCOER apparently voted for a 5% pay raise over the next two years.

Also, they voted to freeze pay for administrators.

One has to wonder about the whole budgeting process. Shouldn't this have been part of everything that has been going on over the last few months?

It would be nice if this comes to pass. . .

News stories about the UW vetos

The lt. governor's announcements here yesterday made the Northwestern:

Here is the story

The Journal Sentinal ran a longer story this morning about the vetos yesterday:

JS Online: UW System to gain $50 million with Doyle budget vetoes

The Wisconsin State Journal story is here

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Kevin Reilly's statement about the veto

Not surprisingly, the President of the UW System praised Doyle for vetoing the Senate's additional cuts.

UW System News

Doyle's Memo about vetoing some of the cuts

It is nice to see Doyle giving at least some lip-service to protecting the UW system.

Doyle stops worst republican savaging of UW budget

The Capital Times is reporting that Doyle will veto the late-night cuts made by the senate. This is what the Lt. Governor is going to talk about this afternoon.

The Capital Times

The Journal Sentinal reports that he did veto the changes this morning.

Here is their story.

Lawmaker seeks ban on UW resignation payoffs

More Republican attacks on system: Kreibich likes to make the news everyday by denouncing higher education in Wisconsin. I suppose he hopes that if he can drive all the good professors out of the state, he'll be able to kill the university system all together. . . .

JS Online: Lawmaker seeks ban on UW resignation payoffs

Monday, July 18, 2005

Lt Governor on campus to announce something about UW budget -- 1 PM tomorrow

To the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh community

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton will be on the UW-Oshkosh campus tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. as part of a series of budget announcements relating to the UW System. The campus community is invited to attend.

TIME: 1 p.m.

WHERE: UW-Oshkosh
Reeve Memorial Union
Room 227 C
748 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI

Chancellor Wells on local cable

This week's Oshkosh Cable Access Television program "Eye on Oshkosh" features an interview with Chancellor Wells. The program can be seen tonight (Monday) in Oshkosh on channel 2 at 7 p.m., Thursday at 1 p.m., and Saturday at 6 p.m. Individuals living in Algoma, Black Wolf, Nekimi, or Omro can find program times here:

Here is an even better story about dissolving the system!

Check out this link: maybe we'll be talking about this next budget cycle!

UW-Milwaukee granted four former administrators paid leave

This story was excerpted in the Northwestern today, and I suspect across the entire state. Just what we needed: more bad press. Unfortunately, it makes great fodder for whipping the entire system . .

I'm sure there is at least one example on every campus across the nation, but these stories seriously hurt our chances of reducing the next round of vicious cuts.

AP Wire | 07/17/2005 | UW-Milwaukee granted four former administrators paid leave

State Rep. Nass continues to assail UW system with public records request

Wisconsin State Journal

Sara Stichert comments:

You're right that the legislature needs to get this message. But they need to hear it from every one of us (not just the Chancellor of the University), right down to the custodians. It makes no sense to just put stuff like this out on a discussion list when we could be talking to our legislator about it if we are concerned.

However, the time to talk to them about it should have been months ago, while they were still working on the state budget, and therefore our input would have had some impact. I'm not saying to not talk to them about it now--it should be an ongoing process. However, there's not much to be done about it now that the bill is on the Governor's desk. Maybe you could call the Governor's office if you are really concerned.

If you do decide to talk to the Oshkosh area state senate and assembly reps, a word of advice: Be polite or they will stop listening to you.

Sara L. Stichert
Music Library and Art Slide Library
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Joe Heim at Lacrosse asks for letters against paying for pensions

Jim Simmons passed along this email


Please take Joe Heim's advise (see below) but do not use your office computers or university stationary when you contact the Governor or your legislators.


Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 16:07:52 -0500
From: Joe Heim
Subject: 1.5 Pension Contribution

>To: Faculty and Instructional Academic Staff
From: Joe Heim, UW-La Crosse Faculty Representative

As part of my duties as Faculty Representative, I believe that the faculty need to see this as soon as possible.

We've heard that the Governor's office is not hearing from folks about
the importance of a veto of the 1.5% pension contribution when pay plan is expected to be about 2% per year. You may wish to communicate the impact that this would have on recruitment and retention of valuable faculty and staff. Communications should not be by state e-mail. A call to the Governor's office 608-266-1212 would be helpful or notes on personal stationery. These communications are counted and reported to the Governor and need to happen ASAP. Thank you.

The Governor's address is:

Governor James Doyle
Office of the Governor
115 East State Capitol
Madison, Wi. 53702

Joseph P. Heim
Department of Political Science/Public Administration
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
La Crosse, WI 54601
Office Phone: (608) 785-6640
FAX: (608) 785-8486

James R. Simmons, Chair
Political Science Department
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Bill Wresch responds to Tom Lammer's comments

Let's go a bit easy, folks. Where is the evidence that education is getting worse? Do we have any evidence that students are learning less now than five years ago, or that they will learn less in the next two years? None of us like having our budgets cut, but without data to support our position, we are just presenting our opinions -- opinions the legislature feels very comfortable ignoring. If someone wants to start defining educational "quality," maybe we can begin to create an argument that has some chance of succeeding.

Tom responds to Roxana

That is a valid concern. But we might turn it around and ask whether we ARE doing The Right Thing by allowing budgetary problems to compromise the education they receive. You are right that they count on us to do the right thing. We owe it to them to do what we think is best for THEM. Is it fair to a student to admit them to the university if we know that we will only be able to give them a minimal education? It would be more fair, I think, to turn them away and let them look elsewhere than to take them in and then neglect them.

The legislature needs to understand that if you won't buy the carpenter nails, you can scarcely blame *him* for not nailing boards together.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)

Roxana Huebscher adds her comments:

Thomas, What a logical, practical idea. Why wouldn't it work?
Random thoughts:
Could they possibly fire all of us? or at least those in admin? There is a fear factor, of course. And the idea that some cuts might work out well.
But then there also are rights (I'm talking rights, not the privilege of gaining an education) for young people, who trust that adults are making right decisions about their lives, including quality in education. Even the 'older' grad students I teach place a tremendous amount of trust in me, trust that I know what I am doing. So not only quality but trust will go away when we are not doing what we know is right, and more importantly, when we are not being what we need to be. I like the 'lean' principle but malnutrition is another matter.

Roxana Huebscher, PhD, FNPC, HNC
Professor and Interim Graduate Program Director
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing

COLS list discussion inspired by the Chancellor's letter, pt. I

Tom Lammers wrote:

I agree that this is an important message to convey, and we all should do so when the opportunity arises.

I do not pretend to understand fully how things operate at the upper levels of this university and the UW System, and I am certainly woefully ignorant about state government's inner workings. So take this as a thought that may be built on sand rather than a solid foundation.

Will anyone in state government pay any attention to the "quality" argument as long as we continue to provide access? I mean, they are essentially getting what they want. We are trying to convince them they should want more, but is that the best approach? Would it not be more fruitful to NOT let them get what they want? Could we not say, "So, this is how much money you are willing to provide to us? Okay, for that money we can handle 8,000 students next year. The other 3,000 can go fish."

I would think our most powerful allies in all this would be inconvenienced students and their parents. As long as it's chancellors and regents arguing the case, legislators can dismiss us as elitist intellectuals out of touch with the real world. But we might get somewhere if everyday constituents begin to buttonhole their state reps, shouting, "How come I'm paying five and six year's tuition for my kid to go to college? Why can't he get the classes he needs to graduate in four?"

Now, there are probably all sorts of practical exigencies and unforeseen consequences that make this idea impossible. But I just can't help but thing that the legislature might be a little more willing to bargain if they weren't getting what they want.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)

Chancellor's Comments about the Budget meeting

Chancellor Wells send this out to the university community a few days ago. In it, he discusses his perceptions of the regents meeting:

The purpose of this memo is to provide the campus community with highlights of the Board of Regents’ meeting and their Question and Answer session with Governor Doyle on 7 July 2005 and with a strategy to meet the additional budget cuts and provisions contained in the Legislature’s revised budget now sitting on the Governor’s desk.

In our joint presentation to the Board of Regents at their meeting last Thursday, UW Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard explained the cost to his campus community of coping with recent major cut backs in funding, and I spelled out with brutal frankness the dire consequences the additional cuts and provisions contained in the Legislature’s budget would have for faculty, staff and students at UW Oshkosh. In addition to providing insight into the damaging consequences of these kinds of cuts for our campuses, our presentations delivered information that is representative of the kinds of costs all UW institutions will bear if these cuts are not vetoed by Governor Doyle.

After hearing details of the disastrous impact additional budget reductions would have on our campuses, the Regents voted 10-6 to approve an operating budget that “reflects cuts and reallocations required by the state, as well as increased costs for fringe benefits, debt service and utilities. It also includes a 2 percent pay plan recommendation, proposed by the Office of State Employment Relations in May. . . a tuition increase of 6.9 percent for resident undergraduate students. . . room-and-board rate increases averaging 5 percent, and segregated-fee rate increases averaging 8.8 percent at the 13 four-year campuses.” A summary of deliberations, discussions and outcomes of the BOR meeting is available at

Many Regents and Chancellors thanked us for detailing how our respective campus communities were dealing with the strain of large budget cuts. They also expressed their perturbation over the impending consequences of further large funding cuts added by the legislature, and they vowed to help convince the Governor to restore funding with his veto pen.

At the Question and Answer session with the Governor, three priorities emerged.

1) The Chancellors and Regents expressed serious concerns over the need for more financial aid for students, and I am pleased to report that Governor Doyle assured us he would work hard to soften the impact for students of the tuition and rate increases.

2) The Chancellors and Regents voiced grave misgivings over the damage that the $34 million being withheld at the request of the Senate would inflict on our campuses, and I am happy to report that Governor Doyle said he will likely be able to restore the $34 million. If the Governor accomplishes this, then the dire consequences outlined in my BOR presentation, such as the loss of 6,600 seats and the layoff of 60 teaching staff, will not be necessary. A problem remains, however, in that we would still need to prepare for the increased cuts added by the Joint Finance Committee and approved by the Legislature. The estimated share for UW Oshkosh over the biennium is $1,066,457 of which $666,000 needs to be identified in the 2005-06 budget.

Fortunately, in our initial budget planning exercise for the $2.6 million cut, we set aside $200,000 for unanticipated cuts. Furthermore, we will cut minimally an additional $100,000 in administrative costs through reassignments and reorganization and by canceling two searches -- those for the Associate Vice Chancellor for Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement and for the Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Information Services. Thus, through these actions we will have met $300,000 of the $666,000 cut. The remaining $366,000 cuts for this academic year as well as those related to the 2006-07 academic year will be identified through our normal process, and as usual, your input will be requested.

3) Finally, the Chancellors explained the importance of removing the 1.5% employee contribution to the pension fund, and I want you to know that while Governor Doyle said he intends to veto it, he has a challenge to find the necessary funding.

I cannot stress how crucial it is to convince Governor Doyle that wide-spread and strong support exists beyond that voiced by the Chancellors and Regents for these vetoes. I encourage you to share your concerns and priorities, especially over the 1.5% employee contribution to the pension fund, with the Governor’s office. Should you decide to call or write, please abide by University policy and do so as a private citizen.

I fully understand the demoralizing impact of frankly discussing highly undesirable consequences, such as layoffs and major reductions in the number of seats available, and I would like to point out that last week such candor served us well by engendering a greater sense of urgency. I deeply appreciate your patience, cooperation and understanding as we negotiate these difficult times.

While the state is defining access as keeping seats in classrooms, which we have done, it has significantly diminished the quality of access for each seat by reducing support for supplies, equipment, field trips and other essential resources. I believe that access without quality is no access at all and that quality without access is simply self serving especially for a public university. This is a message that I constantly and consistently share with elected officials and external stakeholders. We must maximize access without eroding quality for our students.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Here is the Chancellor's document about the Senate cuts

I found this in my e-mail from last week. Here are even more details about the Senate cuts for us.

Impact of Potential Additional Budget Reductions
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh*

• Impact on UW Oshkosh from the Governor’s Budget is $2.6 million cut biennially.

• Agreed to keep students in the classroom by minimizing the impact on instruction.

• The Joint Finance and Senate version result in an additional $2.7 million reduction for UW Oshkosh.

• The 2005-06 impact is approximately an additional $1.4 million cut in GPR. Additionally, up to $500,000 of tuition revenue would be lost due to enrollment losses.

• 80% or $1.5 million of the reduction will impact instruction directly.

• Students have been enrolled and faculty/teaching academic staff are under contract: very little can be done for the Fall semester.

• Conservatively, the impact of cutting $1.5 million from the instruction budget in the Spring semester is a loss of 6,600 seats in the classroom.

• A reduction of 6,600 seats would be accomplished primarily by freezing Spring enrollments, including transfers from 2 year colleges, increasing class size, and decreasing per student average credit load for our 11,000 students.

• Layoff notices, where possible, would have to be issued to approximately 60 teaching staff for the Spring semester alone.

• The 2005-06 impact will continue into the 2006-07 academic year namely through decreased enrollments, increased time to degree, increased cost to students, thereby increasing debt load upon graduation

*This assumes no return of the $34 million Senate budget reduction.

Regents approve budget

The regents approved the budget for the system last week. It surely was a depressing meeting for everyone involved. They approved a huge tuition increase and, of course, all sorts of reductions.

Here is a succinct summary from the Regents president:

“I think we’ve been dealt a cruel hand again by people with other priorities."

Here is what may happen to UWO:

Chancellor Wells said that while past cuts to the UW System budget have not affected instruction at UW-Oshkosh, 80 percent of the Legislature’s most recent reductions will impact it directly, resulting in lost revenue from tuition and fees, increased class sizes and the potential layoffs of some 60 teaching staff in the Spring semester.

The percentage of support from the state dropped from 25.5% to 24%.

is the link for the entire press release

No Response to Faculty Petition

Bill Mode reminds us that the petition that started this blog has yet to be answered by the administration, and they are promising to cut even more from the instructional budget:

Dear COLS Faculty Colleagues,

Recently at the COLS Faculty Committee meeting I asked the committee members if anyone had received a response from the Chancellor to the petition submitted by University faculty and staff this spring asking the Administration to reconsider the way budget cuts were made across the University ( No one has received a formal response to the petition. The petition indicated that instructional budgets had been cut disproportionately compared to non-instructional areas. The email that we all received from the Chancelor July 7 suggests that the Administration maintains its position that the budget cuts thus far have protected instruction rather than cutting it disproportionately:
"As you know we will have over the 2003-05 and 2005-07 biennia cut $9.3 million out of areas other than direct instruction. If the Governor does not veto the additional $2.7 million cuts, then we will not be able to continue to protect direct instruction."
Clearly the Administration believes it has protected instructional budgets, an assertion that was questioned by the petition and by many at the information meeting.
The following sentence in the Chancellor's attachment to the July 7 email, entitled "Impact of Potential Additional Budget Reductions University of Wisconsin Oshkosh," reveals the Administration's intention to cut instruction much more deeply than other areas: "80% or $1.5 million of the reduction will impact instruction directly." Such a disproportionately deep cut to instruction seems imprudent, potentially disastrous. It is discouraging to realize that the Administration places such a low value on our instructional mission. Let us hope that such cuts will not materialize.

Bill Mode

William N. Mode
Professor and Chair
Department of Geology

Monday, July 11, 2005

It Just Gets Worse

Wow! I never thought things would take such a turn for the worse while I was out of town.

The legislature decided to cut even more from the system, apparently in response to the Paul Barrows case.

I have really just started to read some of the older news stories about what has happened.

I just have to say that it is hard to believe that anyone finds it surprising that Universities vote overwhelmingly against Republicans. Who in their right mind would vote for a party that has chosen to make attacks on education one of their priorities? How could it be any clearer when they decide to cut public education and encourage home-schooling through tax policy?