Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Growth Strategy??? How about Recovery Strategy?

The chancellor announced a 'growth strategy' today to expand the university to 14,000 student over the next 6 years. Apparently, system is demanding that every promise to expand in order to get money out of the state legislature.

What a crock! Now we know what the 'applied studies' degree is about. It is clear we don't have staff or room on campus for more students, so they hope to drive us all on-line. Any mention about improving quality education for students? I didn't see it.

As everyone predicted, the funding is gone and the only way we will get any of it back is to create new programs. We'll have to think more about this over the next few days, but it looks like more bad news. . .

Here are few key lines from the long e-mail:

Recently, UW System President Kevin Reilly asked UW Universities to submit “growth agenda” proposals for consideration by the UW System staff and Board of Regents as they prepare the 2007-2009 Budget Request. UW Oshkosh responded to this request by submitting a “growth agenda” proposal that would increase enrollment by 12.5% over the next six years. The projected increase for the on-campus headcount enrollment is from 11,000 to 12,800 and for total (on and off campus) enrollment is from 12,400 to over 14,000 by the year 2012. These increases are predicated upon additional State funding.

The UW Oshkosh “Growth Agenda” proposal for the 2007-09 biennial budget period requires $5,506,317 of additional funding to support the addition of 400 FTE (+4.2%) and 600 (+5%) headcount student enrollment increases by 2009. (See attachment for program summary and related budget enhancement details.) The remaining enrollment growth (800 FTE and 1,200 head count) would require comparable funding increases during the 2009-2011 and 2011-13 biennial budget.


Anonymoose said...

There is no "recovery strategy" because in the eyes of Madison there's nothing to recover from. We have been "right budgeted" (and I imagine you wouldn't have to look far to find some who think the UW System still has some cutting to do). So, you are correct when you said, "the funding is gone and the only way we will get any of it back is to create new programs."

We can complain about the damage that was done - we have been for quite a while now. As near as I can tell, it ain't working.

The questions you should really be asking are: a) do you want UWO to grow (to get more money out of the legislature, more faculty positions, or just for the sake of growing)? b) if yes, how do you want that growth to happen? What programs/areas?

Consider other bits from the email that you did not quote:

"However, about 10-12% of the overall enrollment increases projected above would be graduate students."

"Much of the enrollment growth will result because of increased funding for program enhancement targeted for:
-older adult students,
-Oshkosh Graduation Project students,
-UW Colleges and Technical College transfer students, and
-new degree programs such as the Bachelor of Applied Studies."

"Increased funding would support additional faculty positions for:
-general education courses,
-prerequisite courses, and
-courses for high demand majors such as nursing, math and science education, biology/microbiology, psychology, and business."

Is this reasonable or not? What would you do differently? And keep in mind, whatever you do has to attract and keep students (remember, enrollment must go up) so a new 4 year degree program in ancient greek isn't going to get you very far.

I don't think of myself as an appologist for the folks in Dempsey, but this isn't the worst plan they could have come up with.

Lake Winneblogo said...

Thanks for your interesting and insightful comments.

First, it is clear from the Chancellor's letter, that it is not his initiative, but system's, to which he is responding. Knowing that he has been instructed to put a growth plan together, the one that he proposed is not bad. Reaching out to older students and increasing graduation rates are great goals.

However, when you look at COLS, many of the proposals make no sense. Sure, it would be great to have more faculty members, but we can't fill the lines that exist now. There are at least 30 unfilled lines, thanks to the budget situation as it stands. If we had 10 more lines, then we might end up with 10 more vacancies.

As I have been mentioning all week, my concern is with the Applied Studies degree. This is also at the core of the "Growth Plan." I heard that program this is essentially meant to compete with institutions like the University of Phoenix. Also, someone told me that the courses that will be part of this program will not be regular courses, but special ones, so as not to stress the participants too much.

That means you might get your B.A.S. (seemingly initials chosen to hide the weakness of the degree, that can easily be misinterpreted by employers) without having taken basic core courses that regular undergraduates have to take.

I don't know if this is true, since we haven't seen an outline of the program, but it sounds worrisome. The Iowa program that I mentioned below makes real demands on its applicants; let's hope that ours does the same. Let's not compete with the University of Phoenix's of the world by lowering our standards and degrading the quality of our reputation!

Anonymoose said...

Even if the April 3 meeting is a bad time, how about asking someone to assuage your concerns about the applied studies degree? - it's better than fretting over what "someone" told you. I believe the email announcing the meeting even gave contact info:

Suzanne Marnocha, Chair, CON, marnocha, 424-1023
Dale Feinauer, COBA, feinauer, 424-4152
Charles Hill, English, COLS, hill, 424-0862
Stephen Kercher, History, COLS, kercher, 424-7158
John Koker, Math, COLS, koker, 424-1058
Stephanie Stewart, CON, stewart, 424-1824
Alan Saginak, Counselor Education/COEHS, saginak, 424-1475
Perry Rettig, Provost's Office, rettig, 424-7247

Call them up in the phone, or ask them to write something that could be published here. Even better, ask one of the COLS members to put something on the COLS list explaining this program for those of us who can't make the meeting. If you have questions, insist that they be answered. If it sucks, make a stink (and not just here)! Sorry, but shared governance only works if we participate.

Heh, that having been said, my original thought was to suggest you go to the APC meeting when this comes up, but a) it isn't that far along, and b) who knows what's on their agenda for any given meeting. I went to the Faculty Senate web page as the APC is one of the subcommittees, but there's no information about the APC and it hasn't been updated in about TWO YEARS. Sorry to yell, but that's messed up. I guess unless you archive the emails with the Senate agenda and minutes, you're SOL. Shared governance is mighty tough when it happens in the dark. And yes, you can bet I'll complain to them about this.

Lake Winneblogo said...

I don't really know anyone on the committee, so I'll have to see what I can do to find out more about this. My report so far seems like this program is bad news. Do you think they'll respond to me--even if I keep my anonymity?

The account I had was from someone who had talked to a committee member, so I am not sure how much was personal opinion or fact.

Just like the retake policy, I'll bet there will be no real campus discussion of these policies. It will be rubber-stamped by all the relevant institutions, because it fits the "growth strategy."

Perhaps with the transition to a new dean, the faculty in COLS will be able to reassert itself. This could be a great opportunity to gain back a modicum of control of what should be a fine institution