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I had the opportunity to testify before the Wisconsin Legislature’s biennial budget review committee, the Joint Committee on Finance, on Friday, April 9 at UW-Whitewater. It was another chance to emphasize, however briefly, the UW System’s and UWO’s priorities in the 2021-23 budget. My remarks were short, but here’s the testimony I submitted for the record:

Testifying at the April 9, 2021 Joint Committee on Finance at UW-Whitewater.


Good morning, Co-Chairs Born and Marklein and committee members. I’m Andy Leavitt, Chancellor at UW Oshkosh.

I appreciate that you have a long day, but a good day, ahead of you. Thank you for the opportunity to testify. Also, thank you for holding this hearing at an outstanding UW System institution.

Next, I’d like to publicly thank you, UW System President Thompson, state leaders and local county and health care partners for the resources, confidence and collaborative support us to keep college going this past year.

Over the last few years, UWO and the UW System have benefitted from stable, responsible state budgets.

Doses of federal relief help us patch some pretty big pandemic holes for UWO. But it’s state investment that will propel us forward.

So, I ask for your support of the University of Wisconsin System’s biennial budget proposal, endorsed by the Board of Regents.

Investments in our institutions, the Wisconsin Tuition Promise program, faculty and staff members and other initiatives will help us generate the new knowledge, talent, creativity and entrepreneurial drive that Wisconsin demands.

Lastly, I want to thank Co-Chair Born and other legislators who, two years ago, approved some critical state support special to UWO. Planning dollars kept UWO’s modernized teacher education center renovation moving forward.

We’ve needed this renovation for years, and, boy, does Wisconsin need it now. It’s time to finish it.

You’ll see it referred to as UWO’s Nursing Education/Clow Social Science Center Phase II.

We need more and better prepared teachers in STEM and other disciplines. The pandemic has also revealed how critical it is for teachers to be nimble and able to shift modes and technologies while staying strongly connected to students. Schools know this. You know this. Parents know this.

So, UWO needs a modern teacher education center that not only updates outdated building mechanical systems but also refreshes classrooms and spaces. This will equip students with the technology and techniques they’ll use in K-12 classrooms and online after graduation.

Ten years ago, the State authorized this renovation before breaking it into two pieces. We got half of the project completed. It’s time to finish it.

UWO has proudly been in the teacher and liberal arts education business for 150 years. We’re celebrating the university’s sesquicentennial. Help us break ground on this overdue project this year. We’ll prepare the futuristic urban and rural teachers Wisconsin desperately needs.

I thank you for considering this request, and thank you again for this opportunity to testify today.