Different University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point governance representatives were convoked into a budget summit last semester. The summit was formed to face the age-old business conundrum of finding the balance between saving money and spending money to make more money in the future.
Chancellor Bernie Patterson called together what he affectionately named an “ad hoc” group of various staff, administration, and SGA members to develop a game plan in tackling these future budget issues.
“I called [them] together to encourage conversations across various units of the university as budget decisions are being made,” Patterson said.
“I believe what happens in the College of Professional Studies is important to the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and what happens in the College of Letters and Science is important to Student Affairs.”
The two-day Budget Summit held on December 12 and 13 discussed many issues involving how to proactively deal with current as well as future budget lapses, or even the more permanent base cuts to UWSP’s budget.
Some of the ideas tossed around were to raise enrollment and recruitment of out-of-state students to make up for the loss of funds; another possibility is to add more director and management positions to certain offices such as Admissions to help make them run more efficiently.
But with those options come the other side of the coin: both would require an initial investment to increase or optimize revenue later. Enrolling more students would mean adding housing and accommodations. Accepting more international students would require more programs to integrate them.
Even though the decisions are hard and often complex, Chancellor Patterson has made it clear that he wishes to be transparent in the process, meaning that the involvement of the student body and faculty is vital to the process.
However, the Chancellor was met with some opposition from the newly formed faculty union SPARC (UW-Stevens Point Academic Representation Council) for not inviting and officially recognizing the group at the meeting. The issue, says SPARC President Dr. Andy Felt, was quickly and peacefully resolved for the benefit of greater progress on campus.
“I’m pleased that he responded, his response seemed sincere to me,” Dr. Felt said. “We both gave a little, and we’ve reached an outcome we can both live with. That’s the way it ought to work. He opened up the budget process some, but not as far as we were asking. It was very helpful to see the minutes of the meeting. I hope the Chancellor will continue to open the budget process.”