Chancellor Solicits Alumni Input

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New Badger Partnership aims for revised model of state support.

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Is it time for a fresh and more flexible relationship between the university and the state? That’s the question that Chancellor Biddy Martin PhD’85 asked alumni at events in Kimberly and Green Bay, Wisconsin, this fall.

The conversations, hosted by WAA’s Alumni for Wisconsin advocacy network, focused on the chancellor’s proposal for the New Badger Partnership — an effort to craft with the state of Wisconsin a new business model for the university. The discussion is likely to involve asking the state to give the university more flexibility to become more efficient and cost effective, with the university committing to help more state residents earn bachelor’s degrees, offer more financial aid, and make it easier for students to get the classes they need, among other things. The chancellor has turned to alumni for suggestions and ideas for the the plan, which is consistent with statewide efforts to create more flexibility for all the UW System campuses.

Paul McCann ’81, CEO of Aurizon Ultrasonics in Kimberly, explained why attendees walked away from the conversation with enthusiasm. “Alumni are eager to work with the chancellor to find ways to support the university while acknowledging that we can’t keep going back to taxpayers for more money,” he says. “The conversation with business and community leaders was an exciting start toward forging a different model of state support for UW-Madison.”

WAA President and CEO Paula Bonner MS’78 says that having Alumni for Wisconsin host the meetings was a natural fit, because the group’s mission is to create a public discussion about the importance of higher education in the state. “Our alumni play an important role as supporters of the university,” she says, “but they are also a great resource for ideas, and they provide valuable feedback to campus leaders.”

The conversations were the start of an ongoing dialogue regarding the New Badger Partnership that will eventually engage a wide group of alumni, students, parents, and state residents. For more information, see uwalumni.com/alumniforwisconsin or newbadgerpartnership.wisc.edu/.

Published in the Winter 2010 issue

Tags: Alumni, financial aid, politics

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