As part of the recently signed budget, state funding for UW colleges was cut back. There is a story in the West Bend Daily News explaining that the colleges are reacting to it by consolidating the administration into a regional administration instead of each college having a duplicate administration. Some notes from the story:
By ALEX ZANK
The University of Wisconsin-Washington County will combine with two other campuses and organize under a new regional leadership structure with UW Colleges, according to a news release from the campus.
The reorganization means about 83 full-time positions, largely administrative roles, will be eliminated across 13 campuses, the release stated.
UW-WC CEO and Dean Paul Price said the staff losses will average to about six or seven people on each campus in the UW Colleges system.
He added the losses by campuses will vary, as people whose jobs have been lost will have the chance to apply to other positions created under the new structure.
The administrative offices facing restructuring or consolidation include human resources, business, university relations, physical plant, dean’s offices and general administrative support. “While our share of the overall UW System budget cut was eventually reduced, the nearly $5 million cut that we are left with is the largest in our history,” UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen said in the release. “The reforms we are developing … will help UW Colleges position itself for the future.”
Only $100,000, or less than one percent, will be cut from the instructional budget, according to the release. No faculty positions will be eliminated and no campuses will close.
“I am confident the changes ahead will keep our UW Colleges and the UW System strong well into the future,” UW System President Ray Cross said in the release.
Under the new model, UW-Waukesha, UW-Washington County and UWSheboygan will be grouped into a new Southeast region, with a single executive officer/dean overseeing the region. One associate dean will be placed on each campus to oversee day-to-day operational needs.
UW-Waukesha currently has a campus executive officer/dean, an assistant dean for business services and an assistant dean for student affairs, all located on campus.
UW-Waukesha Dean Harry Muir said the changes should largely be “invisible to the students” and will involve behind-the- scenes administrative support and administrator positions, he said.
A few thoughts…
First, budget cuts suck. They always do and everybody would love to just have the same or more money available every year, but it rarely happens. For the folks losing their jobs, there is no joy, but this cuts are sometimes necessary in a world of scarce resources.
Second, it appears that the UW colleges are responding to the cuts in a very responsible and sensible way. They are consolidating shared services and protecting their core product (education) from being hit too hard.
Third, as the proverb goes, necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, because of the budget cuts, the colleges are taking steps to be more efficient while still providing the same level of service. There is no doubt that if their budget had not been cut, they would have spent every dollar handed to them even though they could have made these organizational moves years ago.
While budget cuts suck for those who are negatively affected, they can be good for the overall organization. Much as a little pruning of dead leaves and branches make for a healthier plant, a little cutting of redundant or unnecessary staff makes for a healthier organization.