The UW System Board of Regents has announced a series of virtual listening sessions for governance representatives to offer feedback on President Cross’s Blueprint for the UW System Beyond COVID-19. These hastily arranged online meetings are yet more shared governance theater from a Board that has shown little but contempt for the traditional role of faculty, staff, and students in guiding the system.
Here is what we expect the Regents will hear from those few governance representatives who will be able to participate, in the short time they will have to speak: President Cross’s blueprint is fatally flawed. UW System Administration lacks the qualifications and expertise necessary to make academically informed decisions about program array and curriculum on our campuses. This is why such decisions have always been the primary responsibility of faculty, why this has been codified in AAUP standards, and why actual practice in Wisconsin has until recently adhered to those standards. Placing academic decision-making in the hands of System Administration is a recipe for disaster.
We urge the Regents to reject President Cross’s blueprint and commit to working together with faculty, staff, and students to face the challenges that COVID-19 presents. This will require more than a handful of perfunctory Zoom calls. It will require the Regents to trust the expertise of faculty. And it will require the Regents to fight for the resources our campuses need to carry out their missions.