Tuesday, March 6, 2018

UW-Stevens Point "restructuring" just what regressive ALEC-GOPs wanted

In the last week, we have had developments that reiterated the UW System continues to decline and be deformed in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan, this time involving UW-Stevens Point.

It started when it was revealed that UWSP was facing a $4.5 million structural deficit over the next 2 years.

Why had this happened? A lack of money coming in, partly due to fewer students paying tuition, and a lack of funding from the GOP-run State government.
"Our graduation rate has been increasibg, and that's a very good thing for students, but it means that our overall enrollment has been,going down, because we're not able to recruit students to keep pace with the rising graduation rate," [UWSP provost Greg] Summers said. "Many of out financial challenges actually come from our academic success of graduating students at a faster rate."

Years of state budget cuts and tuition freezes have compounded the university's financial problems, Summers said.

"We've had years of shifting of public funding away from universities and the resulting need to look more at tuition dollars to supplement budgets. Given the tuition freeze that we've been in for five years now, that's put a pinch on possible revenues," Summers said. "In the 1970s the university received about 50 percent of our budget from state sources. Today that number is down to about 13 percent."
And so on Monday, UWSP revealed their solution.
...[UW-Stevens Point] proposes adding or expanding 16 programs in areas with high-demand career paths as a way to maintain and increase enrollment.

To fund this future investment, resources would be shifted from programs with lower enrollment, primarily in the traditional humanities and social sciences. Although some majors are proposed to be eliminated, courses would continue to be taught in these fields, and minors or certificates will be offered.
The programs that are gaining? Engineering, Business majors, Computer Info Systems, and Environmental-related studies (a field UWSP has excelled in and attracted many students for).

The majors getting discontinued? Almost all are in the Humanities, including American Studies, English, Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology, and Art.

UW Public Affairs and Economics Professor Donald Moynihan has been speaking and writing about several types of UW-related issues as GOP "reforms" have changed the funding, emphasis, and balance of power at these universities. and he gave a series of tweets on the UWSP situation today, along with the bigger picture that it is a part of.

Of course, this "restructuring" at UWSP is exactly what the Koch-ALEC stooges want out of higher education these days, where Lord Business and the Magic of Mr. Market decide what types of studies are important, and what types aren't. The concept of a well-rounded education and a learned citizenry does not play in to this equation, as it is viewed as a threat to corporates and their puppet politicians.

The late, great George Carlin summed up this dystopic mentality a long time ago, where corporate America and other oligarchs don't value an educated, thoughtful populace who can see through their BS. And it's gotten worse since then.


  1. Summers's last statement where he highlights the drop in state participation to about %13 needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

    The state government has reduced its participation to that of a minority shareholder. As such, it no longer deserves the power to appoint all the regents in my opinion.

    If that number represents a system-wide state rather than just at UWSP, the UW system has effectively become a private college.

    1. This is true, yet the ALEC-GOPs try to control more and more of the UW's proceedings, despite them funding less and less.

      It's disgusting arrogance.

  2. Even if these majors are not eliminated, that these cuts have been proposed will have a chilling effect among prospective students. A bright 11th grader thinking about majoring in any humanities field, let alone one that might be cut, will think twice about applying to UWSP. That's a shame. UWSP had a reputation for being strong in the arts as well as in environmental sciences. Point will lose its distinctiveness and become, what?, just another Stout?
    And here's another rub: It costs more to offer engineering and technical job training than humanities. For one thing, engineering professors expect to be paid like their private sector counterparts, unless they are imported from other countries on H1B visas. How's importing "foreigners" to be professors going to sit with the Republicans who want universities to be all about American "jaabs"?

    1. Very good points all around. The point about having to recruit STEM professors to Central Wisconsin is especially noteworthy,Thanks for sharing.