It’s time to reinvest in UW

Dean Kate VanderBosch

Dean Kate VandenBosch

By the time you get this magazine, early spring will be in the air. Time again to think about growing—about tending to and protecting the things we care about. This goes for institutions as well as living things.

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is an engine for economic growth in Wisconsin. Every dollar spent on UW–Madison generates $24 for the Wisconsin economy by attracting other investments to the state, fostering startup companies that create new jobs and supporting nearly 200,000 jobs around Wisconsin.

As an institution, UW–Madison has been on a stringent diet, taking cuts in the last five out of six state budgets. While we have managed those cuts well—we still rank among the top 10 public universities nationwide—years of reductions without relief is impacting our students and threatening quality through
loss of faculty and reputation.

Our Board of Regents has made a budget request we hope you’ll
join us in supporting. The budget proposal seeks a total of $42.5
million in new state funding over the next two years, and assumes
that $50 million will be restored to the UW System that reverted
back to the state in the current biennium. This results in $92.5
million more in state dollars for the UW System in the next budget
compared to now.

A particular highlight for our college is that the proposal
includes funding for facility maintenance, which benefits all CALS
programs; it was not included in the last state budget.

How can you help? Now is the time for advocacy. Consider contacting
the governor and your legislators with a call or note of support. Attend
budget listening sessions that members of the Joint Committee on Finance
will be holding in communities around Wisconsin. Attend UW Lobby Day in
Madison on Wednesday, April 12. You can find information and supporting
materials for all these activities at www.uwalumni.com/support/advocate/.

Meanwhile, in the midst of budget discussions, I always find it heartening
to take a look at what our researchers and students are accomplishing. One of
our top funding priorities is preparing students for the future. And one of the
most life-changing ways we do this is by providing “beyond classroom” experiences
such as research and internship opportunities and study abroad.

You will find excellent examples of those experiences throughout this
edition of Grow. Our story on page 28 highlights students who travel to
Washington, D.C. on behalf of rural health care, launch a peer-reviewed
journal to publish undergraduate research, make discoveries to improve food
safety and more. Our Field Note on page 11 features a student who worked
with orphans in Peru to start a hydroponic growing system. And our “Class
Act” story on page 10 highlights a student helping to make important strides
in stem cell research.

These are all fine examples of how CALS grows the future. With your
help during this budget season, we look forward to doing our best at this for
many decades to come.