Friday, February 23, 2007

UW-Milwaukee / UW-Waukesha merger

I've been trying to figure out how this would work. Would students attend classes on both campuses? Would they have 10 minutes between classes? Would different programs be offered on each campus? Would transportation between campuses be provided?

The JS is reporting today that a new report says the merger could cost $25 million a year. The report doesn't explain all the costs, though, a pretty good sign that readers of said report should be highly skeptical of what they are reading.

The paper also reports:

Advocates of the merger have contended that it would allow the Waukesha campus to offer a wider range of services, improve education and promote synergy and efficiency.

Any time the word "synergy" is bandied about in support of anything, readers/listeners/watchers are advised to be highly skeptical of the viability of the proposal at hand.

That is just one of those rules of life that serves one well.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting questions arise, because this came from the Waukesha business community, not from either campus and the people who have dedicated themselves to the different levels of education offered. Very few people, and almost all of them administrators, have been involved in this so far.

Teachers -- fulltime academic staff and faculty -- have job status that is spelled out in state law, as are their (different) promotion processes. And they have been hired with different expectations, different contracts, and thus different pay levels at the different campuses -- one offering the first two years of college, the other offering all four years plus master's and doctoral programs.

Are those hired at UWW and coming up for promotion, after meeting and probably exceeding expectations there, suddenly going to find themselves facing far different expectations? It takes a lot of years to line up grants or get out scholarly books, part of the expectations for promotion (to tenure of faculty, or they have to leave, and then to higher ranks past tenure) at UWM. Will labor lawyers benefit from this more than students at either campus?

Since the Waukesha business community wanted it, how much will it pay of the costs -- and how much will it first get back from the county's investment in the current UWW campus, since two-year campus land and buildings come from county taxes as much as from state taxes?

And can an expanded campus fit on the current Waukesha site? What will be the impact of more roads, more runoff, on the nearby neighborhoods? (And on the water supply -- how many new toilets would be flushing on an expanded campus? -- since that is an issue affecting growth in Waukesha, under federal warnings about its currently substandard water and currently bans from taking yet more from Lake Michigan that is not being returned to the water table to the east.)

Or will the current campus be abandoned for one in the eastern water table area, and how much of the $25 million cost is not to pay the county for the UWW land and buildings but for a new campus and new buildings? Is a less costly option the UWM plan to build a satellite close to the county line, at the Milwaukee County Hospitals?