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Chancellor’s statement on JFC votes

June 5, 2007

Statement from UW-Madison Chancellor John D. Wiley
Re: Today’s votes in the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee:

"In voting to support a $10 million UW System faculty retention package, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC) today took an important and welcome step in addressing a serious threat to the quality of UW System campuses. This funding will assist UW–Madison’s strategic efforts to keep our very best and most productive faculty from being hired away by out-of-state institutions.

We are very grateful for the support of Gov. Jim Doyle and JFC leaders in moving this initiative forward, and will continue to work with both houses and the conference committee later this summer to garner approval.

Quality professors are the lifeblood of this institution, and they drive not only our student academic success, but our research prominence and state economic growth. In many ways, the retention package represents a long-term investment in state higher education. Faculty turnover carries a steep price tag, given that we will invest an average of $1.2 million in startup costs in a faculty member’s first seven years. That investment is repaid, on average, more than tenfold over that professor’s career through the attainment of external funding. However, it is an investment lost when we lose some of our "rising stars" early in their careers.

We also believe strongly that domestic partner health benefits are another critical competitive issue for attracting and retaining campus talent. While the measure to provide domestic partner health benefits did not pass today, we are grateful to the eight JFC members who voted in favor and are hopeful the measure can be revisited during state Senate and Assembly budget deliberations. It is still early in the process, and we are committed to providing the same benefits that are widely available at peer institutions and the private sector."