Monthly Archives: June 2015

An update on the issue of tenure and a new major

Regents preserve tenure 

I wanted to update you on the important issue of the status of tenure in the UW System. As I stated last week in a memo to campus, I believe very strongly in the concept and value of tenure to protect academic freedom at UW-Stout and across the UW System. That’s why I was pleased the UW System Board of Regents voted overwhelmingly last week to preserve tenure in the system.

The Regents took the state law establishing tenure and moved that language into Regent policy, making no changes should the omnibus bill that removes tenure from state statutes become law. However, a Regent committee will consider if modifications to the policy are necessary. Lopa Basu is our representative to that committee, and its work is supposed to be wrapped up by April 2016. 

For the time being, our tenure system at UW-Stout will continue to operate as it always has, and our professors will have the academic freedom that tenure ensures.

Business partnership leads to new major 

Associate Professor Kevin Tharp and students

I also was excited and proud that the Regents, with no comment or questions, approved our innovative new program in digital marketing technology. The undergraduate major is the culmination of a partnership that began a few years ago with the Thomson Reuters company in the Twin Cities, which cited a need for employees with digital marketing skills. 

Our faculty, led by Kevin W. Tharp, responded, first with a minor in Web Technology and now with a new major. 

I want to thank everyone who worked on this program, including our alumnus, Craig Yolitz, of Thomson Reuters.

More information on the new major is available at

Associate Professor Kevin Tharp and students in a Web Production and Distribution lab class.

Joint Finance Committee Actions on Tenure/Shared Governance Provisions

The Bowman Hall Clock Tower photographed Wednesday, February 4, 2015. (UW-Stout photo by Brett T. Roseman)

This is a memo I sent out this morning to our students, faculty and staff concerning the changes the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee made last Friday to tenure and shared governance provisions in state law.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee on Friday adopted a sweeping amendment to the governor’s proposed 2015-17 state budget that included changes to Wisconsin’s long-standing laws on faculty tenure, and faculty, academic staff, classified staff and student shared governance. UW System officials still are reviewing the impact of these provisions, and we will keep the campus informed what they determine as the budget makes its way through the Legislature.

However, I wanted to reaffirm in no uncertain terms my commitment to the tenets and value of both our tenure system for faculty and our shared governance system for faculty, academic staff, classified staff and students.

On the tenure issue, the UW System Board of Regents is scheduled on Friday to incorporate the tenure provisions currently in state law into Regent policy.  As a former tenured professor at UW-Stout, I fully support that action.

On the shared governance issue, I have already met with our shared governance leaders and emphasized there will be no change in our reliance on shared governance for efficient and effective campus operations. Frankly, a strong shared governance system is crucial for our university to thrive.

These are unsettling times across the UW System, and I share that anxiety. We will overcome these difficulties, but only if we work together in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration.  A strong shared governance model is key to that trust and collaboration, and I will do everything possible to preserve that model.