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.