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Transcript: Chancellor Martin interview on Office Hours

Ken Goldstein: HI. I’M POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR KEN GOLDSTEIN. CHANCEL0R BIDDY MARTIN UNVEILED THE NEW PLAN TO MAINTAIN THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION HERE AT UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON. CHANCELLOR MARTIN JOINS ME TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THE FINER POINTS OF THE NEW INITIATIVE. CHANCELLOR MARTIN, THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Chancellor Martin: THANK YOU.

Ken Goldstein: WE SAID PART OF THIS NEW INITIATIVE IS OBVIOUSLY AN INCREASE IN TUITION OR TUITION SURCHARGE. CAN YOU OUTLINE FOR ME THE BASIC PLAN?

Chancellor Martin: YES. I’D BE GLAD TO. THE TUITION INCREASES ARE A MEANS TO AN END, OBVIOUSLY. AND IT’S UNDERSTANDABLE WHY PEOPLE FOCUS ON IT. THE PURPOSE OF THE INITIATIVE IS TO ENSURE THAT WE PRESERVE THE QUALITY OF THE INSTITUTION AND IN PARTICULAR, QUALITY OF UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION. WE NEED TO DO A NUMBER OF THINGS AT FACULTY AND INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT, DO MORE INNOVATION IN PEDAGOGY AND CURRICULUM AND MAKE THE UNIVERSITY MORE AFFORDABLE BY PROVIDING NEED-BASED AID. THIS IS DESIGNED TO DO ALL THREE.

Ken Goldstein: PEEL THE CURTAINS A LITTLE AND TAKE US INTO THE CHANCELLOR’S OFFICE. I DO POLITICS. WE LIKE GOING INTO THE WAR ROOM. HOW DID THE NITTY GRITTY OF THE PROGRAM DETAIL GET DECIDED? THE AM FOR INSTATE, FOR OUT OF STATE, THERE’S A HOLD HARMLESS LEVEL.

Chancellor Martin: RIGHT.

Ken Goldstein: HOW WERE THOSE THINGS DECIDED?

Chancellor Martin: WHAT WE WANTED TO DO WAS OBVIOUSLY RAISE ENOUGH REVENUE TO DO THE THREE THINGS I JUST DESCRIBED. YOU ARE WELL AWARE OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE LOST 70 FACULTY IN THE LAST 5-7 YEARS. WHAT WE WANTED TO DO IS THINK ABOUT WHAT REVENUES WE NEEDED BUT ALSO CONSIDER THE IMPORTANCE OF KEEPING THE TUITION INCREASES BELOW DOUBLE DIGITS WHEN YOU COMBINE BOTH SYSTEM WIDE INCREASE AND THE MADISON SPECIFIC SUPPLEMENT. WE ANTICIPATED BASED ON WHAT THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN SAYING AND WHAT SYSTEMS HAS BEEN SUGGESTING THAT THE SYSTEMWIDE INCREASE WOULD BE 5-5†1/2%. WE DID NOT WANT AN INCREASE FOR MADISON STUDENTS THAT THEN PUTS THE TOTAL IN DOUBLE DIGITS. SO WE WENT WITH AN INCREASE OF ABOUT 3†1/2%. AND DECIDED TO MAKE IT A FLAT RATE AS OPPOSED TO A PERCENT. THAT REALLY WAS THE BIG PART OF THE THINKING. ON THE 80,000, WE LOOKED AT THE MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME IN THE STATE, WHICH IS $62,000. AND THEN WE LOOKED AT THE AVERAGE FAMILY INCOME FROM MADISON STUDENTS. FOR ALL STUDENTS IN AN OUT OF STATE, THE AVERAGE IS $90,000. FOR WISCONSIN, IN-STATE STUDENTS, OUR AVERAGE FAMILY INCOME IS 72. WE WANTED TO GO SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 72 AND 90 ON THE HOLD HARMLESS SO THAT WE COULD HELP NOT ONLY THE MEDIAN STUDENTS BUT LOWER INCOME STUDENTS AS WELL.

Ken Goldstein: AND THERE’S A GRADUATE STUDENT. THE REASON WHY I’M TEACHING HERE IS IT’S A WORLD CLASS INSTITUTION. IN TERMS OF OUR TUITION AND OUR FINANCIAL AID AND YOU REALLY HAVE TO TALK ABOUT TWO OF THOSE, BOTH OF THOSE AT THE SAME TIME.

Chancellor Martin: EXACTLY.

Ken Goldstein: HOW DO WE COMPARE TO OTHER WORLD CLASS INSTITUTIONS? THE MICHIGANS, THE BERKELEYS, THE IVIES.

Chancellor Martin: VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. WE’RE ONE OF THE BEST, IF NOT THE BEST VALUE, MANY OUR PEER GROUP. IF YOU LOOK AT THE QUALITY OF THE FACULTY AND THE QUALITY OF THE INSTITUTION AS A WHOLE, I’D SAY WE’RE PROBABLY THE BEST VALUE AMONG OUR PEERS IN THE BIG TEN AND EVEN COMPARED TO SOME OF THE BEST PUBLICS AND PRIVATES IN THE COUNTRY. THAT’S BECAUSE OUR TUITION AND FEES TOGETHER ARE STILL AT THE BOTTOM OF OUR BIG TEN PEER GROUP AND OBVIOUSLY MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE THAN ANY OF OUR PRIVATE PEERS.

Ken Goldstein: I’VE HEARD YOU USE THE TERM NO ONE IS PAYING STICKER PRICE.

Chancellor Martin: RIGHT.

Ken Goldstein: WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Chancellor Martin: WELL, I SAY THAT BECAUSE I THINK THE PROBLEM IN HIGHER ED IS THAT THE COST OF TUITION IS A KIND OF STICKER PRICE. PEOPLE ARE FREQUENTLY SHOCKED BY THE STICKER PRICE WITHOUT KNOWING THAT IT’S A DISCOUNTED FOR A GREAT NUMBER OF STUDENTS. IT’S DISCOUNTED IN VIRTUALLY EVERY UNIVERSITY FOR STUDENTS USING A COMBINATION OF FUNDS, TUITION, PRIVATE GIFTS AND OTHER FUNDS TO ENSURE THAT STUDENTS FROM THE LOWEST INCOME GROUP CAN AFFORD TO COME†–

Ken Goldstein: BUT EVEN SOMEONE PAYING FULL TUITION, GETTING NO HELP ISN’T PAYING THE TRUE COST OF THEIR EDUCATION.

Chancellor Martin: IS THAT RIGHT. INSTATE NOR OUT OF STATE STUDENTS AT THIS UNIVERSITY OR OTHERS ARE COMING CLOSE TO PAYING THE COST OF EDUCATING A STUDENT. THE POINT I LIKE TO MAKE THAT PEOPLE ARE GETTING TIRED OF HEARING ME MAKE IS THAT THE EVERY SINGLE STUDENT IS SUBSIDIZED. WHEN PEOPLE ASK AREN’T THOSE WHO ARE PAYING TUITION WITHOUT A LOT OF FINANCIAL AID SUBSIDIZING THOSE THAT ARE GETTING FINANCIAL AID, MY RESPONSE IS TWO FOLD. ONE, EVERY STUDENT THINKS OUTSIDE. THIS IS STANDARD PRACTICE IN HIGHER ED TO USE TUITION DOLLARS TO PAY FOR NEED-BASED AID. U.W. MADISON HASN’T USED IT MUCH, SURPRISINGLY, I’D SAY. BUT MOST OTHER UNIVERSITIES DO AND TRACK THEIR DISCOUNT RATE WHICH IS THE AMOUNT OF TUITION THAT HAS TO BE USED TO COVER NEED-BASED AID. SO WE’RE NOT DOING ANYTHING THAT IS NEW IN HIGHER EDUCATION. BUT IT’S TAKING WHAT IS HERE A STEP FURTHER.

Ken Goldstein: I HAD THE PRIVILEGE THIS SEMESTER TO TEACH A BIG INTRO AMERICAN CLASS. 450 STUDENTS. WE WERE TALKING ABOUT CONGRESSIONAL INTEREST MAKING, POLITICS AND LOBBYING.

Chancellor Martin: YES.

Ken Goldstein: SO ONE OF THE POINTS I WAS– I MADE WAS THOSE IN POLITICAL SCIENCE DID A LITTLE POLITICS IN PREVIOUS LIVES. KNOW IT’S ALL DIFFICULT TO SELL SOMETHING POLITICALLY THAT HAS SHORT-TERM DIRECT COSTS AND IN WHICH THE BENEFITS ARE MORE LONG-TERM AND MORE AMBIGUOUS.

Chancellor Martin: RIGHT.

Ken Goldstein: LET ME GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY HERE TO CHANGE THAT CALCULUS AROUND A LITTLE BIT. THERE’S SHORT TERM COSTS, BUT CAN YOU MAKE THE BENEFITS A LITTLE LESS AMBIGUOUS AND SPEAK TO THE FARTHER THAT A U.W.†– FACT THAT THE U.W. BENEFITS ARE NOT ONLY WHILE YOU’RE HERE.

Chancellor Martin: RIGHT. THE GREATER VALUE IS THE DEGREE FROM AN INSTITUTION THAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE WORLD CLASS. WHAT IS URGENT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT THE VALUE OF A DEGREE DOESN’T ERODE. GIVEN THE CHANGING OF FINANCES OF EDUCATION IN THE COUNTRY, WE HAVE TO LEARN TO HELP OURSELVES MORE THROUGH FUND-RAISING AND GREATER RELIANCE ON TUITION. THE STATES ARE FACING TOO MANY PRESSURES TO SUPPLYING WITH WHAT IT COST TO MAINTAIN THIS LEVEL OF QUALITY.

Ken Goldstein: SPEAK ABOUT THAT PRIVATE FUND-RAISING. THIS IS THE†– THE TUITION IS ONE PART OF A GRAND BARGAIN THAT IS ALSO A BARGAIN YOU MADE A COMMITMENT OR ALUMNI HAVE MADE A COMMITMENT TO DO THEIR PART.

Chancellor Martin: THAT’S RIGHT. AND I THINK WHAT WE’RE DOING IS REBALANCING REVENUE SOURCES IN HIGHER ED AND CERTAINLY AT PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS. AND WHAT IS REQUIRED NOW IN GOING FORWARD IS A NEW KIND OF PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN ALUMNI AND PRIVATE DONORS AND STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES. AND WE’RE RELYING ON THE TWO LEGS OF A FOUR-LEGGED STOOL TO FINANCE HIGHER EDUCATION. THE TWO LEGS ARE NOT ABLE TO KEEP UP WITH THE COST. THE BENEFITS TO STUDENTS WILL BE RELATIVELY QUICK IN COMING. BUT IT WILL CERTAINLY BE VERY LONG LASTING BECAUSE IT WAS PRESERVE THE QUALITY OF THE DEGREE FROM MADISON. I’D ALSO SAY THAT A LOT OF STUDENTS†– I’VE BEEN AMAZED TO HEAR WHAT THEY SAY IN RESPONSE TO THIS PLAN AT ONE LEVEL. ANOTHER LEVEL, NOT AT ALL SURPRISED. I READ IN A STUDENT NEWSPAPER BEFORE I GOT THIS JOB ABOUT THE DEPARTURES FROM YOUR OWN DEPARTMENT. FACULTY LIVING POLITICAL SCIENCE, FACULTY LEAVING ENGLISH AND OTHER DEPARTMENTS. I NOTICED THE CONCERNS THE STUDENTS WERE ARTICULATING IN THESE STUDENT NEWSPAPERS. WHEN I GOT HERE, I FOLLOWED UP ON THAT. I THINK STUDENTS CONCERNS ABOUT THE LOSS OF FACULTY, THE CLASS SIZES, THE INADEQUATE ADVISING AND OTHER SERVICES REALLY MAKES THE BENEFIT FEEL MORE IMMEDIATE TO A LOT OF STUDENTS WHO ARE NOT GOING TO SEE IMMEDIATE IMPACT.

Ken Goldstein: WE WENT OUT AND WE TAPED, FILMED A COUPLE OF STUDENT QUESTIONS.

Chancellor Martin: OKAY.

Ken Goldstein: SO WE’RE GOING TO NOT GO LIVE TO THE MALL, BUT WE’RE GOING TO GO TO THE HILL, WHICH MANY OF OUR VIEWERS MAY RECOGNIZE. WE HAVE A COUPLE STUDENT QUESTIONS FOR YOU. LET’S GO TO THOSE NOW. YOU CAN SEE THAT RIGHT THERE.

Student: HI. I’M ALI. I’M A FRESHMAN. I WAS WONDERING DURING THESE HARD ECONOMIC TIMES WHY RAISE TUITION.

Ken Goldstein: TAKES THE BIG INTRO CLASS. I ASKED STUDENTS ABOUT THIS. BUT WHY NOW?

Chancellor Martin: A GOOD QUESTION. THANKS TO ALI FOR THE QUESTION. FOR TWO REASONS. BECAUSE THE PROBLEMS ARE URGENT. THE NEED TO ACT SO THAT WE DON’T HAVE FURTHER EROSION OF THE QUALITY OF THE FACULTY AND STUDENTS’ EDUCATION IS I THINK URGENT. SECONDLY, STUDENTS ARE ALREADY UNABLE TO AFFORD THE COST OF ATTENDANCE AT U.W. MADISON. I THINK OUR†– WE HAVE TOO FEW RELATIVELY LOW TO MIDDLE INCOME STUDENTS. AND FOR THAT REASON, WE’VE GOT TO ACT NOW TO CREATE THE FINANCIAL AID POT OR FUND, AS I’VE BEEN ASKED TO CALL IT BY MY COLLEAGUES. DON’T CALL IT A POT. CALL IT A FUND, WHICH IS WHAT IT IS.

Ken Goldstein: ALL STRATEGERY, OF COURSE.

Chancellor Martin: YES. BUT WE NEED URGENTLY TO CREATE NEED-BASED FINANCIAL AID. NOT LATER AFTER MORE FAMILIES AND STUDENTS HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES UNABLE TO AFFORD THIS UNIVERSITY BUT NOW. SO KEEPING TUITION FLAT OR RAISING IT SLIGHTLY DOESN’T HELP THOSE THAT ARE ALREADY UNABLE TO AFFORD IT. SO WE’RE NOT REALLY HELPING THOSE THAT ARE MOST AFFECTED BY THE PROBLEM. WE HAVE TO HELP THEM NOW.

Ken Goldstein: BACK TO THE MALL FOR ANOTHER QUESTION.

Student: I’M KEGAN. I’M A SOPHOMORE HERE AT MADISON. I’M WONDERING WHAT THE UNDERGRADUATE INITIATIVE WILL DO.

Ken Goldstein: I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW MANY STUDENTS TALK TO ME ABOUT THIS.

Chancellor Martin: I’VE HEARD A LOT ABOUT IT SINCE I GOT HERE. I GOT A VERY LONG AND VERY THOUGHTFUL BUT ALSO ANGRY LETTER ABOUT IT. I AGREE. IT IS A PROBLEM. IT’S A PROBLEM ACROSS THE COUNTRY IN LIBERAL ARTS COLLEGES OR IN LETTERS AND SCIENCES COLLAGES IN THE PREMAJOR YEARS. WE ALL KNOW THAT, THOSE OF US THAT HAVE BEEN FACULTY MEMBERS. THIS UNIVERSITY AND THE COLLEGE OF LEGEND AND SCIENCE CERTAINLY NEEDS MORE ACADEMIC ADVISORS AND MORE PROFESSIONAL ADVISING STAFF AND BETTER TRAINING OF FACULTY AND WE NEED MORE INTERACTIONS OF STUDENTS AND FACULTY.

Ken Goldstein: TALK TO ME A LITTLE ABOUT THE DISTINCTION THERE. NOT ONLY BECAUSE I’M IN THE DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE AND I’M BIASED BUT WE HAVE PHENOMENAL ADVISORS IN OUR DEPARTMENT. ONCE THEY GET TO US, THEY DECIDE TO MAJOR WITH US, GRANTED I’M BIASED, WE’RE DOING A SUPER JOB, BUT WHERE ARE WE LOSING PEOPLE? THAT’S WHERE YOU PLAN ON THROWING RESOURCES, CORRECT?

Chancellor Martin: EXACTLY. THE FIRST TWO YEARS IN CROSS-COLLEGE ADVISING, STUDENTS REPORT†– IT’S NOT ADEQUATE TO THEIR NEEDS. THE PROBLEM IS THEY GET FACULTY ADVISORS THAT HAVE TO WAY OF KNOWING ENOUGH ABOUT THE CAMPUS AS A WHOLE, THE REQUIREMENTS OUTSIDE OF THEIR OWN EXPERTISE AND GO FROM FREQUENTLY DESCRIBE GOING FROM ADVISOR TO ADVISOR OR OFFICE TO OFFICE AND GETTING INFORMATION THAT ENDS UP NOT ADDING UP TO HAVING GOTTEN THE ADVICE THEY NEED TO GRADUATE ON TIME. THEY FIND THEMSELVES AS JUNIORS OR SENIORS WITHOUT THE COURSES THAT THEY ACTUALLY NEEDED IN THEIR FRESHMAN/SOPHOMORE YEARS.

Ken Goldstein: THAT’S SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN MAKE AN IMPACT QUICKLY. WE’RE HEARING IN POLITICS AND THE STIMULUS PACKAGE, THE ABILITY TO PUT SHOVELS IN THE GROUND QUICKLY. WITH RESOURCES COMING IN, YOU CAN PUT WHATEVER THE ANALOGY OF SHOVELS IN THE GROUND, ADVISORS IN THE CHAIRS, YOU CAN DO THAT QUICKLY.

Chancellor Martin: WE CAN. WE NEED TO DO THAT, TOO. I THINK STUDENTS HAVE SUBMITTED TO ME ACTUALLY A PEER MENTORING PROGRAM THAT WOULD BE CAMPUSWIDE THAT WOULD DO SOME OF THE WORK OF ADVISING THAT STUDENTS CAN DO MORE SUCCESSFULLY IN THESE EARLY YEARS THAN FACULTY COULD DO IN PARTICULAR DISCIPLINES. SO WE NEED MORE ACADEMIC ADVISING STAFF. WE ALSO NEED TO I THINK GO WITH THE STUDENTS’ PROPOSALS FOR PEER MENTORING PROGRAMS THAT SUPPLEMENT ACADEMIC ADVISING BUT ACADEMIC STAFF AND FACULTY WITH WHAT STUDENTS CAN DO FOR ONE ANOTHER.

Ken Goldstein: SO I’LL GIVE YOU A BIG QUESTION. YOUR ANSWER WILL PROBABLY BE YES. THERE’S GOING TO BE MORE MONEY BUT YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT HOW TO SPEND IT SMARTER AND MORE EFFICIENTLY AND ALSO TAKING IN SOME STUDENT INPUT ON THAT.

Chancellor Martin: ABSOLUTELY. WE’LL HAVE STUDENT OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE. A SHARED GOVERNANCE OVERSIGHT GROUP, INCLUDING STUDENTS, FACULTY AND STAFF AND THE STUDENT SUBCOMMITTEE. STUDENTS HAVE ASKED SUCH SMART, THOUGHTFUL AND PROBING QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW DECISION MAKING WILL BE DONE, HOW WE’LL EVALUATE OUR SUCCESS, WHAT WILL COUNT AS SUCCESS. ALL THAT HAS ADDED A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT TO THE PROPOSAL THAT WE’LL SEND FORWARD TO THE REGENTS.

Ken Goldstein: ONE MORE QUESTION.

Chancellor Martin: OKAY.

Ken Goldstein: HERE WE GO LET IT ROLL.

Student: I’M CHRIS. I’M A JUNIOR MAJORING IN FINANCE AT WISCONSIN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS. MY QUESTION IS, SINCE I’M IN BUSINESS AND ENGINEERING UNDERGRADUATES, WE PAY DIFFERENTIAL TUITION. I’M WONDERING, HOW IS THE PROPOSED TUITION INCREASES FROM THE INITIATIVE GOING TO BENEFIT US.

Ken Goldstein: WE HAVE AN EXTRA PAYMENT FROM THE DEAN FOR ADVERTISEMENT THERE ON THE SIDE FOR HIM. ENGINEERING, BUSINESS†–

Chancellor Martin: THEY’RE PAYING EXTRA FOR IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN THEIR INDIVIDUAL COLLEGES. SO THE FUNDS THAT COME FROM THAT DIFFERENTIAL TUITION IN ENGINEERING AND THE ONE IN BUSINESS GO TO IMPROVEMENTS ONLY IN THOSE COLLEGES. BUT I’M GLAD CHRIS ASKED THAT QUESTION BECAUSE I WANT TO REMIND HIM AND OTHER STUDENTS? BUSINESS AND ENGINEERING AND THEN ALSO THE OTHER COLLEGES THAT THEY TAKE MORE THAN 45% OF THE CREDIT HOURS. SO THERE WHERE THE HEART OF UNDERGRADUATE TEACHING OCCURS IS WHERE WE HAVE THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS. THEY’RE PROBLEMS NOT ONLY FOR LETTERS AND SCIENCE STUDENTS BUT PROBLEMS IN EVERY COLLEGE. IT’S ALSO THE CASE THAT BUSINESS AND ENGINEER STUDENTS WILL FOREVER RELY ON THE VALUE OF A U.W. MADISON DEGREE AND NOT ONLY ON WHAT THEY HAVE ACHIEVED AND BEEN ABLE TO DO IN THEIR INDIVIDUAL COLLEGES. SO EVERYONE BENEFITS FROM THIS. THEN I’D ALSO HAD THAT THE FINANCIAL AID AND THE ENHANCED STUDENT SERVICE ALSO BENEFIT ALL STUDENTS. SO I THINK THAT THEY WILL BENEFIT QUITE EXTRAORDINARILY FROM THE INITIATIVE.

Ken Goldstein: EXCELLENT. THANKS FOR JOINING US. THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO EXPLAIN HE THIS. WE WILL HAVE YOUR BACK AGAIN TO TALK ABOUT THIS MORE AND TALK ABOUT HOPEFULLY HOW THE MONEY IS BEING SPENT AND THE IMPROVEMENTS ARE BEING MADE.

Chancellor Martin: I’D LOVE TO COME BACK.

Ken Goldstein: THANK YOU.