Friday, March 22, 2013

Cautions for Chancellor Blank

It seems UW-Madison's system of shared governance may be a new act for Chancellor Rebecca Blank to learn.  An interview conducted with journalists today shows her on the record weighing in on both tuition strategies and the composition of the student body.

A word to the wise:  This year the University Committee charged two committees to work on these exact issues.  The tuition committee has been meeting and working hard all year long -- hiking out-of-state tuition and differentiating tuition further by school or college are strategies that come with significant potential consequences.  Reciprocity with Minnesota is costing the university a great deal of money and ending it should not be dismissed out of hand.  Regardless, these are not choices made simply by the chancellor, but by the shared governance system.  In addition, the Committee on Undergraduate Recruitment, Admissions, and Financial Aid was tasked with developing a profile of the ideal freshman class and working on ways to achieve it.  Chancellor Blank does not decide where students "should" come from-- we all do.

Hopefully these are just initial missteps on her part. Hopefully the next time she is asked about these things, she'll inform reporters that it's impossible at this stage to say what will come next, since she hasn't spent time on campus in decades.  And hopefully she will schedule a "telebriefing" with shared governance groups soon, seeing as how the one with reporters is now over.