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Reports from Policy Analysts

Governor Walker Proposes Closer Monitoring of Faculty Workloads While Allowing Students to Opt Out of Fees in 2017-2019 Budget Proposal that Will Increase Funding at WI IHEs

Submitted On: Monday, March 6, 2017

Analyst: Pasternak, Donna

After years of deep cuts, Republican Governor Scott Walker has proposed a $140 million funding increase to the Wisconsin university system while at the same time cutting undergraduate tuition costs by 5% and allowing undergraduates to opt out of paying “allocable student fees.” These are the fees that fund eligible student organizations under a general student services umbrella - fees that include the support of student governments, organizations, and public transportation.

Additionally, the 2017-2019 budget proposal would require the UW System to create a monitoring system to make “faculty accountable” by January 1, 2018, That includes

  • Monitoring the hours that faculty and instructors teach, rewarding those who taught more than a standard load;
  • Collecting those hours by individual faculty or instructors; and
  • Reporting those hours on a public forum.

Implications for English language arts/NCTE

While some people applaud the choice to opt out of paying allocable student fees as a confirmation that tuition is not the only cost that makes higher education expensive, others are concerned that the decision to opt out is a veiled political move to defund student groups thought controversial for a variety of reasons. This move may affect the funding and existence of women’s, LGBT+’s, and veteran’s resource centers as well as English education organizations serving a limited number of students.

As to monitoring the teaching hours of faculty and instructional staff, workload in an English department and/or school of education includes teaching, scholarship, and outreach but can also vary due to semester needs. Such as, at various times, some faculty and instructors might be reassigned to administrative tasks during teacher education accreditation review periods or for program development, while other faculty and instructors might be reassigned to conduct large grant-funded research projects that have them out of the classroom for other periods of time. Per UW System, faculty and instructional staff workload is already measured and made public and the Board of Regents will examine how this proposal attempts to change existing procedures.

Academic Level

Higher Education

State

Wisconsin

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