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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Lyall praises UW system, predicts effect of budget cuts

UW System president Katharine Lyall outlined the achievements of UW schools and the affect of budget cuts on the System at a Board of Regents meeting Thursday.

Lyall said the governor’s budget proposal will be a strong factor in achieving goals for the next biennium. She spoke on how UW schools will address the budget cuts, which total over $51 million.

“The governor’s proposal is very challenging, but it lets us continue to contribute more than just budget cuts to Wisconsin’s economic future,” Lyall said.

Lyall outlined the sacrifices UW schools are making because of the budget cuts. In Madison, these include freezing the current replacement cycle for desktop computers; eliminating funding reserved for smaller spring class sizes for freshmen and sophomores; reducing professional development funding that helps faculty and staff remain current in their fields; and delaying staffing improvements in student financial-aid processing.

“As Gov. McCallum said, the state must find new ways to function, and the UW will do so as well,” Lyall said. “We ask our clients across the state for their patience and understanding as we work to balance quality, access and outreach as a public university.”

Lyall also went over the results of the UW System’s annual Accountability Report.

The report details UW’s progress in several categories for the previous year. The categories, which are determined by the board, include improving graduation rates, ensuring widespread application access and improving learning competencies.

Lyall praised UW schools for meeting or exceeding the national average for a series of goals while also recognizing areas in need of improvement. She said the UW System achieved 13 out of 20 goals set for the 1999-2001 school year. Success came in the areas of high enrollment, a rise in external research funding and high rates of internship and field-learning opportunities.

However, Lyall said, there are still areas in which UW schools must.

The study shows UW schools are below the national average in the areas of academic advising, increasing students’ understanding of racial and ethnic differences, and building maintenance. Maggie Brown, academic affairs director of United Council, said these shortfalls match concerns of UW students.

“The overriding thing I found is that the accountability report is what students have been saying all along,” she said.

United Council went before the board Thursday to outline its priorities for the next fiscal period. Matt Fargen, president of UC, said these issues include increased funding for libraries and research centers, the stabilization of non-resident tuition and the enhancement of advising initiatives.

Fargen emphasized the importance of the regents when he testified before the board.

“All of the objectives outlined today would help to promote positive change on UW campuses, recruiting and retaining a diverse student body while effectively and efficiently utilizing our limited resources,” he said.

“Students have looked to [the regents] for leadership in the past and continue to look to you for assistance in achieving these goals.”

Although Lyall may have been pleased with the results of the accountability report, some board members cautioned against taking the results too seriously.

Regent Jose Olivieri said perhaps higher standards should be set for system schools.

“We’re comparing ourselves to the national average, but I’m not sure that’s the benchmark we should set (as) average,” he said.

Members discussed the number of UW students who study abroad, which, at eight percent, is far from the 25 percent the board desires.

UW is one of the only schools to issue an accountability report, which began in 1993 in association with former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s Task Force. Even though the results may not always be positive, Lyall said the report is essential for improving UW schools.

“All these dimensions of our constituents’ expectations challenge us to improve our performance for our students, to expand partnerships and collaborative work, and to advocate for the resources necessary to achieve these goals,” she said.

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