Dean of 3 UW campuses prepares for job cuts, changes around campus

Dean of 3 UW campuses prepares for job cuts, changes around campus

A new dean assigned to three schools in the southwest part of the state said smaller campuses and communities are feeling budget cuts as much as larger campuses.

Thursday was Dr. Charles Clark’s first time on one of his new campuses.

“This has been a really rapid process,” Clark said.

He said the latest budget cuts from the state are the biggest reductions the UW System has sustained by far. He said UW Colleges, which includes 13 colleges and the online program, will take a $5 million hit, a significant percentage of the total spending for all of those smaller two-year institutions.

“We are feeling it every bit as much as the doctoral campuses and the comprehensive campuses are feeling it, and our communities are feeling it every bit as much,” Clark said.

Currently the dean at UW-Manitowoc, Clark will lead UW Baraboo-Sauk County, UW Richland and UW Rock County as the dean of the southwest region. He will officially take on that position in the beginning of 2016.

“We didn’t ask for this, but we have it, and we will make it work, and we will find opportunities to maybe do things we haven’t done before,” Clark said.

Clark is preparing for job cuts and changes around campus. He said in Baraboo alone, about seven jobs will have to go. He expects around the same amount of position cuts at Richland and even more at the Rock County campus.

Along with regionalizing the administration, Clark said the colleges are essentially outsourcing certain student affairs positions to Madison. Processes like financial aid, recruitment and admissions will be done by people based at the UW Colleges’ Madison administrative offices or assigned to different parts of the state.

“The students this year, they will see a difference, and they’ll notice that,” Clark said.

But Clark sees advantages to regionalization as well.

“I think that just the fact that we are now being brought together as a group, it will be natural for us to start looking and finding opportunities that may have been there all along, but we didn’t see at the time,” Clark said.

In particular, Clark wants to see more collaboration between the campuses, giving students a better chance of taking advantage of curricula at all three schools.

Clark also said with the help of campus administrators who will be on the same school grounds every day, the institutions will be able to maintain its involvement in the surrounding communities.

“We are so embedded in our communities, in our counties, that we have to be absolutely certain that through this regional process we do not lose that or jeopardize that at all, and we won’t,” Clark said. “We will coordinate so that we continue to have that strong community presence.”