The University of Wisconsin needs to expand its outreach across the state, work closely with state lawmakers and make a strong case to alumni to donate to the university moving forward, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in a roundtable on campus Wednesday.
The federal sequester will severely affect the amount of federal money coming into UW for research, Blank said. In order to combat this, Blank said she hopes to raise money for foundations that UW alumni can donate to and communicate with alumni about why the money is vital to UW.
Blank emphasized the importance of communicating with the state government to effectively show how UW impacts the state positively in order to ease strained relations.
Financial stability will be necessary for the upkeep of faculty, research and leadership on campus, Blank said. She said she expects the funding UW receives from the state would likely remain low, but UW would fight to maintain its current levels. The university must branch out through other sources of funding to make up for declining state support, Blank said.
She also said she wants to ensure the research at UW stays strong and does not dwindle as funds could start decreasing. Blank said she hopes to keep “sustained excellence” in classrooms and take advantage of attracting top faculty and staff to UW.
In terms of tuition, Blank highlighted her desire to increase out-of-state tuition. She said UW is selling itself short on its quality education when it comes to out-of-state education and universities that do not offer such high-quality education as UW charge more for out-of-state tuition than UW does.
Blank said throughout her work with universities, she has always appreciated the universities that put a major emphasis on both their education and their outreach and at UW that is exemplified by the Wisconsin Idea.
“I have never been somewhere that takes that idea of education and outreach as seriously as you all do here at UW,” Blank said.
It is important to have contact with people outside of campus and Blank said she has reached out to the Board of Regents, Gov. Scott Walker and his office while remaining committed to reaching out to different areas around the state.
Blank said over the course of her three months on campus, she has spent much time speaking with various people around the campus, from deans of the different colleges to student government leaders.
When traveling to other UW schools around the state, Blank said she looks forward to meeting with other chancellors of those schools and wants to hear what they are doing to make positive changes their universities.
“It’s good for me to meet with other chancellors,” Blank said. “I want to know what other schools in the system are doing, what their challenges are and what things we can work on together.”
Blank said she has loved her time here at UW so far and she is learning something new about the history, culture and passion of the faculty and students every day.