Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters: ‘The Future of Higher Education in Wisconsin’ to be discussed at events in Appleton, Wausau

Contact: Jason A. Smith, Wisconsin Academy communications director

Events on April 15–16 in Appleton and Wausau brings together business, civic, other groups to examine issues

For several decades the University of Wisconsin System has been confronted by a wide range of external forces which have fueled serious and fundamental questions about the UW System’s affordability, access, quality and purpose.

With Governor Scott Walker’s release of the 2015–17 state budget, the legislature will soon debate proposals to reduce state revenue to the UW System by more than $300 million and convert the UW System to a public authority. Significant concerns have been raised, both within and outside of the University, about the ability of the UW System to continue delivery of its mission in light of these proposals.

As a way for multiple groups to address the UW System budget issues and the significant challenges ahead, two discussions will take place in Appleton on April 15 and in Wausau on April 16.

Both discussions are part of a series titled “The Future of Public Higher Education in Wisconsin: A Discussion of the Purpose, Relationship, and Structure of the UW System,” that will bring together civic and business leaders, Wisconsin legislators and staff, members of the UW System Board of Regents, UW staff and campus shared governance leaders.

Except for media, attendance at these events is by invitation only. To request an invitation for the Appleton event, contact Jim Perry, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters Board Secretary, at 920-594-1337; for the Wausau event contact Connie Nikolai, WIPPS office and events coordinator, at 715-261-6368.

“We intend to have broad representative input,” says Eric Giordano, director of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS), an event sponsor. “We expect to address questions, anticipate outcomes and provide suggestions that policymakers can use to make informed decisions to guide public higher education in the future.”

The events will provide a platform to exchange ideas from diverse backgrounds about the purpose of the UW System while offering comments on the evolving financial compact among students and their families, the state and UW campuses. “We will also look at the trade-offs surrounding the proposed UW System public authority and make suggestions on ways to advance the conversation about the goals of public higher education in Wisconsin,” notes Giordano.

Live streaming of will be available at the Appleton event through UW–Fox Valley: http://new.livestream.com/uwfox/events/3919981

Findings from these discussions will be integrated into an executive report that will be distributed to participants and other interested groups upon request.

State partners for these events are the Wisconsin Instutitue for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS), Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters (WASAL), the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE), and the Wisconsin League of Women Voters.

Local partners in Wausau are Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce; Gannett Central Wisconsin Media and Center Right Coalition. Appleton partners include the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Appleton Post-Crescent, and the Appleton League of Women Voters.

About the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters

The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters produces programs and publications that explore, explain, and sustain Wisconsin thought and culture. Our signature publication is Wisconsin People & Ideas, the quarterly magazine of Wisconsin thought and culture; programs include the James Watrous Gallery in Overture Center for the Arts, which showcases contemporary art from Wisconsin; Academy Talks, a series of public lectures and discussion forums; Wisconsin Initiatives, exploring major sustainability issues and solutions; and a Fellows Program, which recognizes accomplished individuals with a lifelong commitment to intellectual discourse and public service. The Wisconsin Academy also supports the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and many other endeavors that elevate Wisconsin thought and culture. For more information, visit www.wisconsinacademy.org.