Extension Conference Centers
“We are not a replacement for the union. We are here to be your voice,” Rod Rotar told a group of 50 gathered Aug. 27, 2013, for a UW-Extension Classified Staff Advisory Council brown bag lunch meeting at the Pyle Center in Madison.
In addition to Rotar (back row, left, in the photo), the current council includes: Katy Sticha and Dan Wanish (also in the back row); Lisa Perkins, Inga Foley and Julie Hunter (from left to right in the front row); and Jim Stull (not pictured). Stull will be leaving in October. The council’s recently completed bylaws call for nine members, so there are three openings. Nominations will be accepted through September for an October election.
As the name implies, this is an advisory group representing colleagues’ interests in policy decisions. Unlike the Cooperative Extension classified staff group, this council is open to classified staff from across UW-Extension. The Academic Staff Council and Faculty Senate, the two other UW-Extension governance groups, have invited the classified staff council to meet with them quarterly to evaluate ideas to bring up to the administration and to respond to ideas from the administration.
UW-Extension Interim Chancellor and Provost Aaron Brower, Human Resources Director David Prucha, Human Resources Manager Joann Johnson, Interim Secretary of the Faculty and Academic Staff Dan Hill and Interim Vice Chancellor of External Relations Jessica Tormey, who serves as the chancellor’s liaison to the group, spoke briefly and answered questions at the brown bag. Questions centered around the delayed Universal Personnel System (UPS), work environment issues, professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement.
The Wisline service was not working during the meeting, so those unable to attend in person are invited to email questions or comments to any member of council if they do not want to wait for the next brown bag. For information, visit: http://www.uwex.edu/secretary/university-staff-governance-committee.html
Details on the 2012 creation of the UW-Extension Classified Staff Advisory Council and the UW Colleges Classified Staff Advisory Council are included in a previous News and Ideas post.
Where are we, what do we know and what are we attempting to do about the largest base cut in the history of the University of Wisconsin System? And how will this impact UW Colleges in particular?
“We’re going to land on our feet, but we’re trying to think this through over the long-term,” said Chancellor Ray Cross, introducing the topic of the Aug. 13, 2013, UW Colleges-wide compressed video Town Hall Meeting from the Pyle Center in Madison. If you missed the meeting, you can watch the archived hour-long recording. Click on the following link (or copy and then paste the link in your browser) to view the recording:
System wide the reduction is $52 million in 2013-14 and almost $62 million in 2014-15 and ongoing, explained Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Steve Wildeck.
“The ongoing impact is what we pay attention to and that really hurts,” Wildeck said.
Asked whether we should be talking to legislators about negative impacts of the base reduction, Cross responded that the most important step is to show legislators that we’re making changes in response to questions raised about the program revenue balances accumulated before this biennial budget.
Provost and Vice Chancellor Greg Lampe added that campus leaders must balance what to invest in, hold off on or cut. Lampe, along with Cross, stressed the continued commitment to finding funds to support compensation.
Wildeck indicated that information about specific cuts to the UW Colleges will be finalized and communicated to the campuses shortly.
Asked if any UW Colleges campuses would close, Cross emphatically said no. What’s on the table are innovative ways to consolidate back-office services and a greater focus on priorities instead of work that’s important but not a top priority.
Questioned about UW System’s work to reestablish positive relationships with legislators, Cross pointed out the increased involvement of the Board of Regents and the increased receptivity on the part of legislators in building collaborative relationships with campus leaders. “The Board of Regents is taking a leadership role on that,” he said.
In response to a question about hiring impacts, Cross said, “The first thing we have to do is filter through what we can do that least impacts the classroom and that allows us to provide a quality education.”
“It is easy to resort to methodical business practices and to set aside the fact that we’re human beings and that we care for, respect and value our colleagues,” said Cross. He reiterated his support for faculty and staff and said the conversation would continue at the UW Colleges fall convocation later this month.
The chancellor also encouraged UW Colleges faculty and staff to keep joking and laughing. He, however, was unaware of an inadvertent self-referential pun that had the audience chuckling earlier as he spoke of balancing bad news with a “ray of hope.”
Dan Wanish’s day started differently from usual June 24, 2013. That’s because he was shadowing Chancellor Ray Cross instead of reporting to work at UW-Extension’s Conference Centers, where he is a senior accountant.
Since it was a Monday morning, the chancellor began the day leading the weekly executive team meeting. Pictured here at that meeting are, clockwise from left: Barb Sandridge, Aaron Brower, Greg Lampe, Ray Cross, Dan Wanish, David Prucha and Rosemary Potter).
“I was impressed with how friendly and down-to-earth Ray is, with his quiet, laid-back style, and with the thoroughness of his organization and preparation,” Wanish said after reflecting on the experience. “It was also interesting to see how tactful Ray is guiding his executive team through difficult conversations while still maintaining an informal and humor-filled atmosphere.”
While the chancellor makes no promises about being entertaining, he does invite others to contact him about the job shadowing opportunity. The process remains very simple: If you are interested in the shadowing opportunity, send a brief request to email@example.com along with your dean or supervisor’s approval.
Here’s an earlier News & Ideas post with feedback from others and a link to the chancellor’s original invitation to employees: http://blogs.uwex.uwc.edu/ni/2012/08/15/youre-invited-to-shadow-chancellor-cross/
The University of Wisconsin System is sponsoring a conference, “LEAP 2.0: Integrating Liberal Education into a Changing Landscape,” Thursday and Friday, May 30-31, 2013, at the Pyle Center in Madison.
The conference will address topics such as how institutions of higher learning can continue to offer high-quality liberal learning in the context of changing delivery methods. The faculty and staff who are working on curricular development and student services for UW Flexible Option programs will lead panel sessions and workshops to share their experiences in developing a competency-based education.
There is no charge for the conference. Participants who have not registered in advance will be asked to register at the table set up on the third floor of the Pyle Center outside the meeting rooms.
About 220 UW Colleges and UW-Extension faculty and staff participated in an April 25, 2013, Town Hall Meeting on the size, source, use and political ramifications of the UW System program revenue balance carried over from Fiscal Year 2012.
The April 25 Town Hall Meeting began with a presentation by Chancellor Ray Cross, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Steve Wildeck and UW-Extension Provost and Vice Chancellor Aaron Brower from the Pyle Center in Madison, which was available for viewing statewide via Mediasite or videoconferencing.
They reassured the audience that UW System did not mishandle money and that the cash balance carried over is not out of line with comparable university systems.
Regarding the question of whether the cash balance could be used for a pay plan, they explained that:
- Reserves are one-time, non-recurring.
- Reserves, which are generated from many sources, ebb and flow.
- Reserves can’t fund permanent salaries.
- Permanent salary increases must be supported by a permanent and predictable revenue source.
They also noted the messages they – and UW Colleges and UW-Extension deans and directors – are sharing with elected officials:
- An explanation of the local campus/division impact
- A request to not harm students, faculty or staff
- The need for a pay plan for faculty and staff
- The need for flexibilities
Chancellor Cross recognizes that, because of the last-minute nature of the Town Hall Meeting, not everyone could participate. In addition, those who did may not have had a chance to ask their questions.
“I want to keep the dialog going, so I invite you to email questions directly to me,” he said, explaining that he will address those additional questions and concerns in an upcoming Chancellor’s Chatter to faculty and staff.
You can send questions and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Links that may be of interest:
- The April 19, 2013, Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo to the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance that raised questions about the program revenue balance
- Reaction from the United Council of UW Students
Are you stuck in Madison due to the current bad weather and you’ve got no place to stay? If you are an employee of the University of Wisconsin or another state institution or agency, fear not! You are among those who qualify for a special lodging rate at The Lowell Center, located at 610 Langdon St. The rate is $49 per night, with $12 for an addition person.
For reservations, call (608) 256-2621 or the toll free number, (866) 301-1753, or register online.
What we know today as the UW Colleges began life in 1907 as part of extension and, through reorganizations, budget cuts, mergers and name changes, has steadfastly exemplified the Wisconsin Idea by bringing the knowledge and resources of the University to the whole state, Jerry L. Bower told the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Board of Visitors in a Dec. 11 presentation at The Lowell Center in Madison.
Bower, professor emeritus of history at UW-Richland and author of the 2002 book, The University of Wisconsin Colleges, 1919-1997: The Wisconsin Idea at Work, taught at UW-Richland for more than 40 years and personally experienced many of the changes he described.
He reminded the Board of Visitors that for most of the 20th Century, what we call the UW Colleges was known as the Extension Centers. The first Center opened in Milwaukee in 1907 as part of UW general extension. The number of Centers ballooned to 29 to serve returning WWII veterans, Bower said, far more than the current 13 campuses. The Centers gained their independence in a reorganization engineered by UW President Fred Harvey Harrington in 1962, and acquired the UW Colleges name in 1997.
While most of Bower’s presentation covered the twists and turns of budgets and organizational structure, he came back again and again to one theme: whatever the name and structure of the institution, it never wavered from its mission of providing local, accessible and affordable access to a high quality educational experience. That is remarkable when you consider that there was no plan or blueprint for the organization, Bower said. It just grew to meet the changing needs of the people.