Office of the Chancellor


Guest Column, Green Bay News Chronicle
June 16, 2003

Higher education
serves everyone

By Bruce Shepard and K. Reilly

With responsibility for leading Green Bay's University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin's premier statewide Extension Service, we share an aggressive commitment to the "Wisconsin Idea," to placing service to our region and to our state as top priority.
    We are close collaborators in pursuing this mission: You find no lines separating UW-Green Bay and UW-Extension colleagues working together to serve Northeast Wisconsin.
    We also share - with our state leaders - a very tight budget, and the state is now in the final stages of making very difficult decisions about where to invest limited financial resources.
    In his budget, Gov. Doyle proposed a $250 million cut with an offset of $150 million in tuition increases. These are reductions of unprecedented magnitude.
    We are grateful that, in approving the governor's budget, the 16-member Joint Committee on Finance did not pursue an alternative that would have allocated a disproportionate share of the $250-million cut to UW research, public service and community outreach programs. These are vital to all Wisconsin residents, including people right here in Brown, Door, Oconto, Marinette and Shawano counties.
    This decision reflects real leadership, the capacity to look beyond formal classroom teaching and consider the positive economic and social impacts associated with the university's research, public service, degree completion, outreach education and extension programs. These activities, delivered locally through a partnership between UW-Extension and UW-Green Bay, provide taxpayers with a tangible return on their investment in higher education.
    When working adults need to further their education to qualify for better jobs, UW campuses offer courses, certificate programs and flexible degree programs that translate lifelong learning into higher wages, improved job security and career mobility.
    As Wisconsin farmers try to remain profitable in an increasingly competitive agricultural marketplace, they deserve access to the latest research and the best experts who can help sustain the state's economic backbone. Likewise, manufacturers and other business owners rely on the university as a pipeline of new technology and bright ideas that can power the state's economic expansion.
    We have an outstanding example at UW-Green Bay: Faculty members from Extension, Outreach, Arts and Sciences, and Business have come together with private-sector partners to build a business leadership institute specifically tailored to regional needs.
    As cities and towns across the state strive to manage growth, preserve natural resources and address the emerging needs of a changing population, local Cooperative Extension agents and Continuing Education Extension units use their expertise and university connections to address the educational needs of families, youth and entire communities. Campuses such as UW-Green Bay and the UW Colleges provide education and research that emphasizes sustainable development and career growth.
    We believe that the UW System is a great university, in large part because of its longstanding commitment to community engagement and extension education. We are, after all, home of the "Wisconsin Idea," a philosophy that the boundaries of the university are the boundaries of the state.
    By rejecting an alternative that would have damaged the Wisconsin Idea, legislators are supporting university work that is resulting in important benefits for everyone in this region and all citizens across the state.
    When the Joint Finance Committee sends the budget to the Assembly and Senate, we hope the Legislature will follow the committee's lead and not reduce our ability to stimulate Wisconsin's economy and build stronger communities.

Kevin P. Reilly is chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.



photo of Cofrin Libary
Office of the Chancellor
David A. Cofrin Library, Suite 810
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Drive
Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
Phone: 920-465-2207
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