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UW System President Outlines Vision, Priorities
MARCH 17, 2005--University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly
outlined his vision and priorities to ensure a vibrant state university
system at his first official visit to UW-River Falls to welcome visiting
Chancellor-elect Donald Betz on March 14.
While Reilly is only in his "second semester" of service as
the new president, he offered ambitious goals and enthusiastic support
for the 26 campuses and UW Extension that make up the UW System. Betz
will join UW-RF on July 1.
"We must work much more closely with all state government to increase
'brain gain' and raise the percentage of Wisconsin residents who have
a college degree," said Riley to UW-RF faculty and staff.
"Wisconsin does well in retaining graduates in the state workforce
after they receive their UW degrees, but we rank nearly last in the nation
in the number of college graduates," he said. "This is important
because states with higher than average personal incomes have a higher
percentage of the adult population with a college degree.
This, in turn, creates more prosperity, generate more tax revenues, and
improves the quality of life."
Reilly also commended staff efforts at making operations more efficient
and open to review and input from the regions served by UW System campuses.
"The report we submitted to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee
highlights more than 250 cost-saving measures we are pursuing [that] will
save an estimated $15 million annually. We stand accountable to all citizens
of the state, and we are very administratively efficient when compared
to other university systems and to many industry clusters. We intend to
be as thrifty with state tax dollars as you would be if they were in your
own checking account."
Another initiative is to continue the strong participation of UW campuses
with local, regional and statewide economic development. "You were
active participants in the Wisconsin Economic Summits that we have sponsored
over the past four years. These laid the groundwork for several recent
state economic development initiatives, including angel investment networks,
more technology transfer, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Network, greater
regional collaborations, and cluster initiatives such as printing, plastics
and paper. These were a good way to get the university, business, government
and labor more or less on the same page in planning the state's economic
Finally, Reilly noted that protecting opportunities for students and prospective
students is a top priority. "The deep state budget cuts to the university
over the past two biennia have resulted in some erosions to quality as
well as double-digit tuition increases. Our rising tuition and declining
state support have closed our doors to many who desire a UW education,
particularly returning adult students and students whose families have
Reilly outlined his perspective of opportunities and challenges in Gov.
Jim Doyle's budget. "The governor's budget was also very student-focused,"
said Reilly. It included proposals to reinvest $49 million of state tax
dollars into the university system, increase financial aid, restore 125
faculty teaching positions, and make tuition increases manageable and
Challenges to the UW Sytem in the governor's budget, said Reilly, include
proposals to cut 200 more academic support positions on top of the 225
administrative positions lost in the previous biennium. In addition, the
budget does not address the issue of competitive pay for faculty and staff,
Reilly later met with members of the Joint Committee on Finance at UW-Stout
to talk about these issues with Sen. Sheila Harsdorf and Reps. Kitty Rhoades,
Rob Kreibich, and Andy Lamb. UW-RF Interim Chancellor Virgil Nylander
also spoke to the committee.
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:20 Central Daylight Time