[from the desk of Jason Gerber]
As you may be aware, in addition to being GTEA’s Treasurer, I am also your local representative to Region 8 and Region 8 Treasurer.
Part of my duties this year include serving on a state-wide committee convened to address the potential merger of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and the University of Wisconsin 2-Year Colleges. I’ve just been informed of an important development all of us should be aware of.
The Senate Economic Development Committee (SEDC)- the legislative wing considering a possible merger of WTCS and UW Colleges- has been and will be meeting with invited guests at various locations around the state of Wisconsin. A meeting schedule is attached to this email.
Unfortunately, the SEDC has not scheduled a Listening Session close to us in the Racine, Kenosha, or Walworth county area. However, a form is attached to this email that can be used to request that the SEDC come to another location not currently on the schedule.
WEAC/Region 8’s official position on a possible merger is negative. If enacted, a merger of would impact all of us, as well as, the communities we serve. While parallel in some regard, WTCS and UW-Colleges truly have distinctive missions within state higher education. A system clash of this magnitude would require massive realignment of curriculum, faculty and staff positions, and college resources across the state. Such a merger carries with it the potential for loss of local, county-centered, board-led control of WTCS as the UW-Colleges are entirely state-run.
WEAC/Region 8 and GTEA believe that we must have open, transparent and in-depth talks with our legislative officials regarding what might be possibility for the largest higher education re-alignment in Wisconsin history. Such an event should not be taken lightly. It is vital that students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members be informed and have a voice in these ongoing discussions.
Please take a moment to look at the attached SEDC meeting schedule as well as the online form for suggesting other possible locations for future Listening Tour stops. The link below may also be used to bring your opinion on the the merger to their attention.
I will keep you appraised of things, and will pass along more information on this and other Region 8/WEAC state-level issues as it is made available.