A plan to split UW Madison from the rest of the UW System has competition. The chancellors of UW extension and all the UW campuses – with the exception of UW Madison’s Biddy Martin, have signed on to this Wisconsin Idea Partnership, a reaction toMartin’s New Badger Partnership which spins off the Madison campus. UW Parkside chancellor Debbie Ford doesn’t think that’s a good idea. “Creating another system of governance for higher education at a time dwindling resources is going to lead to greater competition,” said Ford. “I believe strongly in a unified system of higher education, and that’s what we’ve had for over forty years.”
The proposal from the system chancellors gives each campus greater flexibility, something Martin seeks for the Madison campus. The difference is, this does not split the flagship Madison campus off from the rest of the system. And while Governor Scott Walker has included the Badger partnership in this two year state budget, UW River Falls chancellor Dean Van Gallen believes Walker may be willing to take a look at their plan. “Governor Walker has stated publicly and to the chancellors that he is open to the idea of more management flexibilities for all the campuses,” said Van Gallen. “I think in many ways there’s some agreement on direction here.” In addition to greater autonomy for each campus, the Wisconsin Idea Partnership would loosen the UW Board of Regents authority to set tuition.