Best budget in a decade, chancellor says
Chancellor David Ward says the new state budget contains the best news for the university in at least a decade.
For the latest updates on the new budget agreement, visit the Office of State Relations Web site.
The 1999-2001 budget, expected to be approved this week, will most likely provide $29.2 million for the Madison Initiative, Ward told the Faculty Senate. Combined with private support, the new state funding will allow the university to enter the millennium in better shape than it began the 1990s and position itself as a world leader in higher education in the next century, he says.
“This should be described as the best budget in a decade, if not longer,” Ward told his colleagues at the Faculty Senate meeting Monday. “It shows a commitment to the (UW) System – but especially for UW–Madison – in ways that we should definitely applaud.”
For most of this decade, the university budgets contained little to no new state funding, and in the early 1990s, the university was forced to cut more than 200 faculty positions.
But the Madison Initiative, the chancellor’s proposal to leverage state support with increased private giving, will allow the university to hire 150 new professors in key academic areas, bolster educational resources, repair aging buildings and increase financial aid for students in need.
Ward says the new state budget would also provide competitive pay raises for faculty and academic staff; $7 million for UW System libraries; and more tuition flexibility for the Board of Regents.
The chancellor says the Madison Initiative’s new funding partnership will need to continue in the coming years for UW–Madison to remain one of the top five public research universities in the world.
“The state and tuition have to pay their fair share so that the federal and private support can be leveraged to be the margin of excellence,” he says.
At the meeting Monday, Ward thanked the faculty, academic staff and friends of the university who supported and lobbied for the Madison Initiative, which for the first time ever established specific state funding for UW–Madison separate from the UW System in the budget.