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Ward: Update on state budget

June 6, 2013

The following message was distributed to the campus community on Thursday, June 6 from Interim Chancellor David Ward.


Many of you are rightfully concerned about the amount of funding cut from the UW System budget, and what that will mean for you personally, and how it will affect the work we do each day in service of our teaching and research missions.

I was disappointed with the legislative committee’s decision to go well beyond the governor’s modified budget proposal and reduce our funding to an even greater extent, as well as the legislators’ decision to extend their authority to some specific UW operations. The budget recommended by the committee, if adopted by the full legislature, will present us with a formidable challenge.

While we are able to reduce cash balances to cover the expenses that will not be covered by the state in this biennium, the additional ongoing reductions proposed by the committee will make it more difficult to meet our operational obligations in future years.

We are continuing to communicate with UW System officials as they determine how the funding cut will be distributed among the system schools. While the cut for our campus will pose a challenge, we will work to manage it in a way that will minimize the impact on our employees, and avoid to the degree possible scaling back of the courses and programs we offer to students.

As I prepare to end my second term as chancellor of this great institution, I must express my concern over this current turn of events. When I returned two years ago to UW–Madison in an interim role, it was with the goal of forging stronger bonds and building bridges with the UW System, the governor’s office, and state legislators.

Incoming Chancellor Rebecca Blank has been updated extensively on the proposed budget, and recognizes the importance of continuing the work of rebuilding the trust between the university and the legislature. She has broad experience in both higher education and government. She will be an outstanding leader.

Another matter of great importance to our campus community is how the committee’s action affects our human resources system. The committee’s amendment delays the effective date of some components of the HR Design project until July 1, 2015.

We are analyzing the impact of the delay on our efforts to transform our human resources system. Due to the delay of implementation of HR Design, information sessions scheduled for next week will be delayed until later this summer. For a message about the project status from Bob Lavigna, UW–Madison’s director of human resources, please visit the HR Design website.

I mentioned previously that I was concerned by the latest decisions relating to the 2013-15 budget. But this is far overshadowed by my immense pride in UW–Madison and the people who make it such a special place. Thank you for all you do, day-in and day-out. Working together, we will ensure that UW–Madison remains one of our state’s most precious resources and one of the world’s great universities.

Thank you,

David Ward

Interim Chancellor