UW System

Questions for Jim Johnsen and the Search Committee

[PDF version for download here]

Today is the day of Jim Johnsen’s virtual visit to the UW System. A 90-minute “virtual campus forum” will be the only opportunity for shared governance leaders to hear from Johnsen and ask questions. Access is limited and questions are screened in advance.

In the interest of transparency and public dialogue, we present our questions for the search committee and for Jim Johnsen. We hope that they will take the opportunity to respond publicly.

Questions for Regent Grebe and the Search Committee

  1. Why should the Wisconsin public have confidence in your claims about the unfolding of the search process, and in particular about the course of events that led to just a single finalist? Do you believe that including faculty, staff, and students on the search committee could have helped you avoid this outcome?
  2. The enrollment of the entire University of Alaska System is approximately halfway between those of UW-Oshkosh and UW-Milwaukee. Why do you believe Jim Johnsen is prepared to run a system roughly eight times the size of the one he currently runs (with at best mixed results)?

Questions for UW System President Finalist Jim Johnsen

  1. The Faculty Senates at Anchorage and Fairbanks and the Union of Students at Anchorage have all voted no confidence in your leadership as University of Alaska System President. Why should Wisconsin faculty, staff, students, and the general public ignore these warnings about you from our counterparts in Alaska?
  2. The search process that brings you to Wisconsin was unprecedented in its exclusion of faculty, staff, and students. It has yielded just one finalist, something that was illegal under Wisconsin law until 2015. Why do you feel comfortable as the sole candidate to emerge from this process? Why do you think no other candidate agreed to be publicly named?
  3. Your track record in Alaska is one of program consolidation and accreditation problems. Faculty cited their exclusion from the decision-making process as a major factor in their votes of no confidence in your leadership. How will you avoid making the same mistakes in Wisconsin? Will you commit now to scrapping the consolidation and downsizing plan outlined in Ray Cross’s “Blueprint for the UW System Beyond COVID-19”?
  4. Resident undergraduate tuition has been frozen in the UW System since 2013. Instead of capitalizing on the popularity of the freeze to argue for a restoration of state funding to keep tuition low, our current leadership has chafed at the freeze and consistently expressed its desire to see it end. How will you avoid the mistakes of our past administration and push the UW System towards a high-quality, low-tuition future?