UW-Rock County losing dean, other positions to budget cuts, consolidation

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Nick Crow
July 21, 2015

JANESVILLE — UW-Rock County will lose its dean and six or seven other administrative positions by year's end.

Because of a $5 million cut in the state budget, Dean Carmen Wilson's position along with administrative positions in communications, continuing education, human resources, academic affairs, university relations and buildings and grounds will be converted to regional positions serving multiple facilities in the 13-school UW College system.

In all, it is expected that about 83 full-time positions will be eliminated.

Discussions about regionalizing some positions aren't new for the colleges, Wilson said.

"This is not a new idea, but the current level of budget cuts have made it impossible to continue to avoid this," Wilson said.

No faculty positions will be eliminated, said UW Colleges and UW Extension Chancellor Cathy Sandeen.

"This is not something that we asked for," Sandeen said. "This is something that was done to us. We are grateful it is less than proposed, but it is still a very large cut."

UW Colleges are being placed into four groups each with new regional positions that include an executive officer and dean, associate dean for academic affairs, regional associate for student services, regional associate for finance, regional director of facilities, a manager and director of custodial services and a regional direction of communication and continuing education.

UW-Rock is being placed into the southwest region along with UW-Baraboo/Sauk County and UW-Richland Center.

The other regions will be:

North: UW-Barron County (Rice Lake), UW-Marathon County (Wausau), UW-Marshfield/Wood County and UW-Marinette.

Northeast: UW-Fond du Lac, UW-Fox Valley (Menasha) and UW-Manitowoc.

Southeast: UW-Sheboygan, UW-Washington County (West Bend) and UW-Waukesha.

Wilson said she plans to apply for the southwest regional dean job.

"It has been a real honor and privilege, and I would be equally honored to serve in the regional office as dean," Wilson said. "I will asked to be considered, but I'm sure many other qualified people will be applying for it as well."

Sandeen said the announcement was held until the budget was set and the allocation for the colleges had been decided. The UW Colleges were slated to be cut $6.5 million, she said.

"We do not have any unfilled positions," Sandeen said. "We're not eliminating unfilled positions, and we're not offering early retirements. These will be layoffs of filled positions in our organization, unfortunately. These are positions that are scheduled to be eliminated."

"This $5 million cut to us is huge given that we don't have a lot of extra fat," she said. "We're already very lean. A $5 million cut to an organization that's already lean and efficient is significant."

The cuts will not affect the day-to-day experience for students at any of the colleges and none of the colleges will close, Sandeen said.

"It's an important role we play--access, education, student success," Sandeen said. "What we do is more important than ever. That's the guiding light during budget reductions."

Sandeen said budget reductions totaling about $5.6 million will be in place by the end of the fiscal year in June 2016. The first round of cuts resulting in a redesign to student services across the colleges, a $2.6 million reduction, took place in May. The $3 million in cuts announced Tuesday will be in place before Jan. 1, she said.

Each campus will have an associate dean to oversee day-to-day operations, she said.

"The day-to-day impact for students should be minimal," Wilson said. "Students will see very little change. We are keeping the instructional side intact and maintaining a full array of courses."

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