UW System

Lauren Sigfusson

Updated 3:42 p.m. CST

A top official said Monday that University of Wisconsin System students will be allowed to return to campus for the spring semester and take more in-person courses, hoping that more robust COVID-19 testing will help stave off the types of outbreaks that forced the system to turn to online-only instruction a few weeks into the fall semester.

Lauren Sigfusson

Freezing tuition at the University of Wisconsin without adding more state funding to offset the loss has contributed to the system falling behind its peers and hurting its competitiveness, according to a report by the Wisconsin Policy Forum released Tuesday.

STEVE SHUPE / CREATIVE COMMONS / FLICKR

The University of Wisconsin-Madison's chancellor on Monday pushed back against repeated calls from Dane County's top leaders to close the campus to slow COVID-19, saying he needs to stop wishing students were gone and crack down on off-campus gatherings.

Rebecca Blank's remarks are the latest in an escalating war of words with Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, who has complained that the rash of student infections since campus opened several weeks ago are skewing the county's case numbers upward.

STEVE SHUPE / CREATIVE COMMONS / Flickr

The University of Wisconsin-Madison decided Monday to eliminate spring break next semester in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The university's Faculty Senate voted 140-7 to erase the nine-day break from the 2021 spring calendar. Officials said the move is designed to discourage students and staff from traveling long distances and bringing the virus that causes COVID-19 back to campus, officials said.

STEVE SHUPE / Creative Commons / Flickr

Updated 9:20 p.m.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced Wednesday evening that due to increasing COVID-19 cases among students, the university would shift to remote instruction for two weeks.

Students in two residence halls, Sellery and Witte, will also be quarantined for two weeks and tested for the virus. Blank said, this is because a rising number of positive COVID tests are now occurring in the on-campus population.

Steve Shupe / Creative Commons / Flickr

Whether college campuses can stay open safely during this pandemic is becoming more uncertain as the fall semester gets underway.

On Monday, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank sent an urgent directive to undergrad students: limit your social activity for the next 14 days or risk campus shutting down.

SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES

The University of Wisconsin System’s new interim leader wants to expand a free tuition promise program for low and moderate-income students to all UW campuses in the coming years. But it’s dependent on funding that may be difficult to procure during the COVID-19 crisis.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

University of Wisconsin campuses will test students living in dorms for COVID-19 every two weeks, under a new plan announced Thursday. The plan applies to all UW schools except Madison, which has its own testing procedures for the fall semester.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

A cloud of financial trouble is hanging over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee as it plans for its first full semester in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

The University of Wisconsin System is forging ahead with plans for a combination of in-person and online classes this fall.

Some universities in other states have walked back their plans for in-person learning out of concern about rising coronavirus infections.

Lauren Sigfusson / WUWM

Updated on July 14 at 3:27 p.m. CT

The Trump administration dropped its plans to impose restrictions on the number of online classes international students in the U.S. are allowed to take in the upcoming school year. The reversal was announced at a hearing in the lawsuit brought against federal officials by Harvard and MIT. 

Monique Musick

Jim Johnsen, the embattled University of Alaska president whose term has been marked by no-confidence votes from the faculty amid deep budget cuts, has resigned, the university announced Monday.

The change in leadership was a mutual decision made after Johnsen consulted with the Board of Regents, according to a statement. His biography was immediately removed from the university’s web page.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is hiring one of Wisconsin’s most well-known politicians to the role of system president. Former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson will lead the UW System for at least a year, beginning in July.

>>Regents Select Tommy Thompson As Interim UW President

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Updated at 12:46 p.m. CT

The University of Wisconsin System regents' leader has picked Republican darling Tommy Thompson as the system's interim president, delivering another twist in what has become a messy search to replace outgoing President Ray Cross during the coronavirus pandemic.

Emily Files / WUWM

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will reopen its campus for the fall semester, with a slew of safety precautions to protect against the transmission of COVID-19.

Students and staff will be required to wear masks indoors. Classrooms will be reconfigured for social distancing. And large-enrollment courses will remain online.

In a normal semester at UWM, about 20% of classes are online. But this fall, the number will be reversed, according to Scott Gronert, dean of UWM’s College of Letters and Sciences.

Emily Files / WUWM

The UW System announced Sunday that all campuses would have some degree of in-person instruction this fall.

Leaders on each campus will make their own decisions on what exactly the fall semester will look like. But the system administration has released guidelines for how to reopen in the safest way possible.

Monique Musick

Updated Friday at 10:23 a.m. CT

Jim Johnsen withdrew from the search for University of Wisconsin System president on Friday. He was the lone finalist, drawing criticism from UW System faculty and staff.

Emily Files / WUWM

University of Wisconsin President Ray Cross asked Gov. Tony Evers and legislative leaders Wednesday to call a special session of the Legislature to allow for UW to borrow money through a line of credit and possibly start classes earlier to help deal with “unprecedented financial and planning challenges” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

>>UWM Grapples With 'Catastrophic' Financial Hit As Leaders Plan For Fall

Monique Musick

A search committee for the next University of Wisconsin System President has named just one finalist for the job. Jim Johnsen is currently president of the University of Alaska System, a position he has held since 2015.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated at 2:50 p.m. CT

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross directed campuses Thursday to prepare to cut academic programs and brace for layoffs as the coronavirus pandemic deepens the system's financial losses.

Cross said he wants campuses to evaluate their programs by January with an eye toward cost, whether they are duplicated at another campus, and student demand. System officials will decide which courses to eliminate subject to regents' approval, Cross told reporters during a video conference Wednesday afternoon.

Emily Files / WUWM

As 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of Wisconsin’s most important education stories of the year – many of which will continue to play out in 2020.

The year started on a high note for public school advocates, with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers taking office. Evers spent his career in education, eventually becoming Wisconsin’s superintendent of schools, and then ousting Republican incumbent Scott Walker for the governor’s seat in the November 2018 election.

America's top public universities, known as flagships, are generally the most well-resourced public universities in their respective states — think the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor or the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Courtesy UW System

The University of Wisconsin System will soon be searching for a new leader. President Ray Cross announced his retirement Friday after five years on the job and more than 40 years in higher education.  

Cross, 71, will stay on as president until the Board of Regents hires a successor.

Survey: Quarter Of Women At UW-Madison Sexually Assaulted

Oct 16, 2019
Mike McGinnis / Getty Images

More than a quarter of University of Wisconsin-Madison undergraduate women who responded to a survey said they have been sexually assaulted since they entered college, the school said Tuesday.

UW-Madison participated in the Association of American Universities survey this spring along with 32 other colleges. School officials said 7,697 students, including 1,980 graduate students, answered the questionnaire. Women made up 64% of the respondents.

UW-Madison Says Foxconn Slow In Fulfilling $100M Pledge

Sep 11, 2019
Foxconn Twitter

The University of Wisconsin says it has received just $700,000 of the $100 million that Foxconn Technology Group pledged to fund engineering and innovation research on the school's flagship campus.

Emily Files

Several states have taken steps to make college more affordable by creating free-tuition "promise" programs. Each one is different, but in general, they allow students to attend community college, or sometimes public universities, for free.

Emily Files

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross is calling Republican lawmakers’ UW funding proposal "micromanaging" and a "missed opportunity."

Cross was in Milwaukee for a Board of Regents meeting this week. It was the first regents gathering since the Joint Committee on Finance surprised UW leaders with its spending plan. The budget-writing committee voted along party lines to advance a $58 million increase for UW schools over the next two years.  

PHIL ROEDER / FLICKR

Republican lawmakers scaled back another piece of Gov. Tony Evers’ education funding plan this week: support for the University of Wisconsin System.

The Democratic governor is seeking a $126 million increase for UW schools. But the GOP-dominated budget-writing committee settled on a much lower number — $58 million.

It follows the Joint Committee on Finance's decision last week to chop Evers' K-12 spending plan by more than half.

uwm-chemistry-building
Emily Files

In his proposed biennial capital budget, Gov. Tony Evers wants to spend $2.5 billion on public building projects. About half of that money would go to University of Wisconsin facilities, including a new $130 million chemistry building at UW-Milwaukee.

On Thursday, UW System President Ray Cross held a press conference to rally support for the proposed chemistry building replacement.

Phil Roeder/Flickr

Gov. Tony Evers wants to spend an additional $150 million on Wisconsin’s public universities and colleges in the next two years. Evers plans to announce the proposal as part of his biennial budget address Thursday night.

The new governor’s proposal is a departure from his predecessor, Republican Scott Walker. Walker cut funding for the UW System and limited the universities’ ability to raise revenue by imposing a tuition freeze for in-state students.

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