Governor Walker’s proposed 2013-15 biennial budget has the potential to advance our state’s commitment to higher education as a driving force for student success, workforce readiness and economic development. To that end, I strongly support President Reilly’s proposal to hold tuition increases to 2 percent for the next two years, zero out the waiting list for student financial aid, strongly invest in economic-development and student-employment programs and support other initiatives that will help propel Wisconsin’s economic rebound and growth. In each facet of President Reilly’s proposal, our students’ development and success is priority number one. We encourage our legislators to endorse this package of initiatives as a complement to Governor Walker’s budget recommendation for UW institutions. (Read President Reilly’s proposal HERE).
I’m proud to say UW Oshkosh has several of its own initiatives underway or ready to go that not only support President Reilly’s proposal but also dovetail with Governor Walker’s budget and its concentration on a smarter, stronger, more-nimble workforce and state economy.
As our state grows out of the Great Recession, the governor’s budget reinvests in UW System’s institutions and their distinct academic and economic development strategies. We look forward to the opportunities to further reinvest in our mission. This means reinvestment in our students, our programs, our highly regarded and hard-working faculty and staff as well as continuing our efforts toward helping build a stronger, more vibrant Wisconsin economy and communities.
Throughout our institution, over the last several years, UW Oshkosh faculty and staff have been incredibly attentive, responsible, efficient and innovative stewards and developers of limited, and sometimes diminishing, resources and revenues – both traditional and new.
We have preserved and enhanced our strategic reinvestment funds and our rainy day reserve funds to help us get through difficult times and preserve seats in classrooms, counteract possible enrollment declines and sustain our academic mission. However, with our state economy poised for a rebound, we welcome opportunities, whenever and wherever possible, to re-channel these funds into growth initiatives focused on student success and our state economic prosperity.
On Monday, I will be meeting with UW Oshkosh student, staff and faculty governance leadership to discuss ways we can strengthen and build upon the initiatives outlined by President Reilly. A second campus-wide biennial budget forum will also take place the week of April 29.
We look forward to working with our UW System Board of Regents, colleagues at our sister institutions, state legislators and Governor Walker to advance and approve all of these strategic investments in UW Oshkosh, the UW System and Wisconsin.