Local control has become a laugh line in Wisconsin since Scott Walker and his band of plundering pirates have taken the helm. The only time local control is important to these freeloading clowns is when they’re shifting the blame for tax increases to local officials via school referendums and soon, road maintenance.
Transform the UW to a Tech College Please: Scott Walker’s rewrite of the Wisconsin Idea was a gift and bold mistake we all could learn from. It was also intentional. Walker’s focus on the old economy, based on manufacturing, is not just bordering on ridiculous but it's also part of his plan to change the UW.
And now Walker is getting help from a conservative think tank. Help us all. These "institutes" are actually bill writing lobbyists, offering cover and “suggestions” that would take us back to the old economic model and cronyism that built this great country:
A report (by the) Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, on the University of Wisconsin System's four-year campuses, calls for local flexibility in setting tuition, changes to the shared governance system and a review of tenure.
That’s BS. It’s a call to turn faculty into business consultants and special interest lobbyists. Here are their suggestions:
1. Help the UW System better fulfill its mission to help produce economic development, give them the authority to eliminate programs with little market demand or academic value.
2. Give local campuses expanded latitude to attract private investment and convince local businesses and investment of the potential return on that investment.
3. Talent and those intellectual assets on those 11 campuses are badly underutilized. The campuses and their faculties could be much more involved in their local and regional economies — working with local businesses, industries and economic development specialists in tech transfer, second-stage economic development, industrial process applied research and development, and business consulting, especially in new product development, market research, export assistance and business management.
4. The campuses are perfectly positioned geographically and intellectually to work with businesses and industries in every community around the state.
Oddly the report concludes teaching + academic research doesn’t result in economic improvement. What are they on? They followed that up with examples that disprove that theory, and then made the case to turn faculty into classroom industry lobbyists…I mean “specialists:”
The reasons they are not more involved are historic and cultural. The management structure of the system combined with the faculty cultures at these institutions are in many cases rooted in their teaching and academic research mission, not the third leg of the Wisconsin Idea: working to improve Wisconsin’s economy and society. To be clear, all of the 11 four-year campuses are engaged in some forms of economic development outreach, and there are strong examples around the state of important economic and industry successes.
Almost every campus has — or is building — a regional economic outreach and partnership effort, and many of the campuses have several. In general, faculties at those campuses face substantial obstacles and disincentives if they devote too much time to serving as industry specialists, business consultants or strong players in regional economic development. In others, the obstacles are system wide — and they’re onerous.
The “institutes” report is replete with business references downplaying a broader more diverse curriculum. You can't miss it...:
…leveraging university expertise and research to help existing area businesses and industries compete, grow and expand … involving students in developing — and implementing — solutions for industry, manufacturing and business … instructive on how universities can play a greater role in second-stage business development … the use of student fees to improve buildings or offer a new program requested by an industry partner.
The Wisconsin Idea solidly rejected, like Walker wanted:
The potential dividends for success are especially high at the state’s 11 four-year colleges that were not originally created as partners in the Wisconsin Idea. All those campuses truly require is the ability and authority to take the lead in their local regional economies with the UW System and Board of Regents as partners. Now is the time.