Chancellor Mark Mone officially revealed Monday that UW-Milwaukee will offer a one-time buyout of 50 percent of an employee’s base salary, depending on their time with the university and whether they are part of a department that will offer the incentive.
This led to at least one professor raising concerns about the potential for increased class sizes, a possibility one top administrator didn’t dispel.
Mone also revealed that officials with UWM and four other area UW schools have been talking about combining their Human Resources Departments in order to find savings.
Departments are also discussing cut scenarios; the largest include a possible $13 million cut from academic affairs, $5 million from student affairs, and $4 million from finance and administrative affairs. The provost, Johannes Britz, said that administrators are also asking campus units to discuss a 5 percent and 10 percent cut scenario and talk of furloughs is still on the table.
Van Harpen said that, based on the rules of the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Fund, individuals who are 65 years or older with at least five years of service or 57 years and older with 30 years of service would be eligible.
Psychology professor John Moore raised the concern that the potential buyouts would cut staff and lead to raising class sizes.
“Class sizes are going to increase for the survivors,” Moore said. “Those of us who may be in their retirement window now have the choice of if we accept this or do we visit a certain increase on class size for our colleagues.”
Van Harpen said that was a fair assessment of the situation.
The Board of Regents on Friday approved a recommendation by UWM to increase out-of-state tuition and graduate programs to 2.5 percent, or about $450 per semester. The tuition raise would not include MSEP or in-state undergraduate students.
Mone also talked about the possibility of combining resources throughout the UW System in an effort to save money throughout the System. He said that he has been working with the southeast UW schools of UW-Whitewater, UW-Parkside, UW-Waukesha County, and UW-Washington County to combine the Human Resources departments.
The chancellor said that the next step in streamlining would be to discuss the possibility of combining and collaborating in academic programs. He said that hypothetically a program could work well where schools share programs they can specialize in.
“If we have a ‘me too’ type of thing then that’s the duplication that’s not as efficient,” Mone said.
Mone said that there is a possibility of a smaller cut, according to his talks with legislators. He said the biggest factor will be the revenue the state creates for the next budget.
“There’s a lot of people who are willing to work with us to get that number down,” Mone said. “I’m encouraged by that and very hopeful, but we still have to plan for a scenario that is literally in black-and-white right now.”