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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Chancellor's office strategizes in light of economic recession

The announcement of the state's budget deficit in late November prompted UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin to address the situation through a series of forums Dec. 12 to 16.  

 

Martin hosted students and faculty in the Red Gym to discuss their ideas for university funding. 

 

[I wanted] to engage the community in an effort to think about how we could do our work more effectively and to imagine opportunities for changes that improve efficiencies while maintaining quality,"" Martin said in an e-mail. 

 

Over the course of the semester, Martin spoke about the need for the university to try to remain affordable while also sustaining its reputation as a center for world-class education.  

 

""The state, our students and their families need and want to have the university remain pre-eminent and competitive ... [They] also need to have the flagship campus remain affordable,"" she said. ""We are working on strategies that will help ensure that we can do both, and those issues are complicated and the solutions are not simple.""  

 

Attendees of the forums reflected on the need for new ideas for the university's budget and discussed how to sustain campus excellence.  

 

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""Many participants cited examples of redundancies across campus in areas such as [information technology],"" she said. ""We heard many suggestions for removing bureaucratic impediments to getting our work done, recommendations for changes in state-level facilities and personnel policies."" 

 

The Office of the Chancellor compiled a blog to present an overview of each economic forum. Students and faculty are able to post on the site to continue the discussion.  

 

""I am hoping that the blog will allow students to participate in ways that appeal to them and are consistent with how you use your time,"" she said. 

 

Along with the economic forums, Martin recently assembled a new team of specialists who will assist in strategizing for the future. Martin appointed Mike Knetter, dean of the business school, to help strategize long-term plans for the university's private funding and Dawn Crim, assistant in the office of community relations, to help with university outreach. 

 

According to Knetter, his job will get done with many partners, including UW Foundation, WAA, WARF, Research Park, OCR, and numerous representatives from administrative units.  

 

""Our goal is to identify new opportunities for the university to capture more of the value we create for people and organizations,"" he said.  

 

According to Crim, Martin instigated a nationwide search in September for a vice chancellor of community relations but she was not notified of her appointment until Dec. 18. 

 

""The job will focus on governmental relations with the city of Madison and municipalities,"" she said. ""I will work to increase our presence with the local and regional business community."" 

 

Martin said Crim and Knetter are individuals who can work together effectively for the good of the institution. 

 

The Office of the Chancellor will continue the university's economic discussion with another forum Jan. 22 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in room 1310 of Grainger Hall. Students and faculty can view the overview of the forum on the blog at chancellor.wisc.edu/forum.

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