Possible threat to shared governance
Inside Higher Ed

By Colleen Flaherty 

A meeting between the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and state legislators last week was designed mainly to find common ground in the wake of recent disputes over cash reserves. But discussions during the meeting about rethinking shared governance had some faculty feeling like they were left holding the bag for administrators' actions – and that their decision-making authority within the system was under threat.

The conference, “Finding Common Ground: Regent Governance, Funding, and Partnerships for Wisconsin’s Public University System,” was initiated by the board, following a state audit this spring that showed the university system had cash reserves of $648 million, about a quarter of its annual appropriation. The funds were distributed among many accounts across the system and the funds had gone virtually unmentioned to state officials. While many state higher education systems use reserves, the issue highlighted legislative-board relations.

Michael Falbo, the board's president, told legislators they needed to “reboot” the longstanding partnership between Wisconsin and its public universities.“We need to remember that we are all in this together, and we need to look at ways to strengthen that partnership.”

During a panel discussion on board governance, however, legislators took the opportunity to start a discussion about the role of the faculty in decision making.


Article Tags

Chancellor; University