Bridget, Reagan and I cannot thank you all enough for the wonderful reception you gave us this afternoon.Â It was wonderful to get to speak to so many people and remember events of the past five years.Â A special â€œthank youâ€ to the Chancellorâ€™s Cabinet and the Provostâ€™s Leadership Team for putting the event together.Â And a very special â€œthank youâ€ to Brett Jones and â€œCold Steelâ€ for the wonderful performance.Â Though the event ran through Reaganâ€™s nap time, it appears that a few sugar filled pastries perked her right up!Â
This past week I attended a special meeting of the Board of Regents to discuss the likely proposal from the Governor to differentiate the UW-Madison campus from the UW-System.Â The Regents heard from Chancellor Biddy Martin about how her flexibility ideas were developed, articulated, and championed over the past 8 months.Â In addition to representatives of the UW-Madison faculty, staff, and students, each UW chancellor was asked to comment.Â As you may assume, there are a variety of opinions and views on what a â€œseparate and more flexibleâ€ UW-Madison might mean for the state and the rest of the System. In the UW System clipsheet today there were a variety of discussions and interactions about the meeting and the proposal.Â
I ended up being the last of the speakers and kept my remarks fairly brief (though many of you may find that hard to believe).Â While I expressed my preference for all of the campuses to be able to attain the flexibilities that UW-Madison would receive, I stated to the Regents that the question I hope we begin focusing on isn’t one of maintaining the current system, but rather one of looking at what a 21st century educational system for higher education should look like in this state.Â I’m not necessarily convinced that spinning off Madison is the best solution. But I’m also not convinced it would do irreparable harm to UW-Superior, provided there would be a commitment and path for those same flexibilities to be granted to UW-Superior in the future.Â I also indicated that given the few details, our faculty and staff have not taken a position on the issue but would be very interested in reviewing those details as they unfold.
On a lighter note, I did mention to the Regents that if there were a separate UW-Madison and System offices needed to look for a new home (since they are located on the Madison campus), we would welcome the relocation of the UW System offices in Northwest Wisconsin and to the UW-Superior campus.
The Governor is scheduled to release his proposed budget tomorrow at 4 p.m. and it will be broadcast live on KUWS.Â We will await the details of what we know will be a very tight budget that will likely include significant cuts to higher education funding. Once UW System knows the extent of the budget reduction to the System, they will be able to develop plans and provide us with our budget allocation.Â In the meantime, campus leadership will continue to discuss a variety of scenarios so that we can be ready for a broader campus-wide discussion once we have budget numbers to work with.
It is a big week for Yellowjacket Athletics with the menâ€™s hockey team advancing to the finals and womenâ€™s hockey advancing to the championship series.Â As well, huge congratulations to Jake Smith for being named WIAC co-player of the year.Â
This week on campus join us Tuesday to celebrate Womenâ€™s History Month with the first of a film series on women, war and reconciliation â€“ My Land Zion by Israeli filmmaker Yuli Cohen-Gerstel on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Wednesday offers a timely Writing across the Curriculum brown bag on Assessment at noon in the YU.Â The campus responded well to the Climate Survey request with a 26 percent response rate.Â Drawing for the Climate Survey prizes will happen on Wednesday at noon in the YU as well.Â Â Thursday the acappella choir will perform for an evening of delightful choral music.
Also this week, Bridget and I will be saying farewell to our residence hall students on Wednesday evening from 5- 7 p.m.Â We will be helping Aâ€™viands serve up some of my favorite food (ham, spoon corn break, and black-eyed peas).
I know these are challenging times and I appreciate the way in which our campus community is responding.Â Our campus continues to move forward and make progress.Â A testament to that progress is the announcement today regarding the finalists for the Chancellor search.Â
Thank you for all that you do for our students, for our community, and for each other.