College News

Blank calls for a sustainable budget and an inclusive campus

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger and Cameron Lane-Flehinger

While the university has much to be proud of this year, creating a working budget and maintaining an inclusive campus will be critical to its continued success, according to Chancellor Rebecca Blank in her State of the University address Friday.

For Blank, one of the greatest challenges the university will face in the coming years will be retaining its top faculty despite the state budget cuts which resulted in a $86 million deficit for the school.

“We cannot sustain a top university without reinvestments from the state into the University of Wisconsin,” Blank said at the annual Board of Visitors luncheon. “Our faculty are the key to our reputation here, but across the board raises can only provided by the state.”

The university, which has experienced cuts in five of the last six budget cycles, ranks last among its 12 university peer group in salary offerings and pays its faculty an average of 14 percent less than other public schools.

“This last cut was particularly damaging because it came at a time when many other states were investing in higher education and because it came along with an extension on the freeze in tuition as well,” Blank said. “That has put us at a competitive disadvantage to other universities.”

While the task of generating a sustainable budget must be shared between the university, the state and the people of Wisconsin, creating an inclusive environment begins on campus, Blank said.

“We know what we aspire to be—a community that is welcoming and inclusive to all who come here, but we don’t alway live up to that ideal,” she said. “That is what is vital to our educational role for our students. We have to provide them with those skills, and that is what we are working on.”

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