Chancellor and Deans

Riley Argall, [email protected]

Chancellor Dennis J. Shields held a press conference to discuss budget cut and adjustments to be made at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. On March 9 Shields discussed how he plans to deal with the budget crisis, answered questions from the audience and talked about the changes he plans to make.


“My approach to this will be to try to protect the education that we deliver to the students, both in short-term and long-term to minimize the impact it has on things like retention, access to classes, the ability to graduate in four to five years, etc,” Shields said.


The actions being taken to keep graduation dates consistent will be helpful to the university students as they are concerned about extended graduation dates or being behind in courses that they need.


The chancellor’s approach to fix the issues was addressed at the meeting as he stressed the importance of the $5 million structural deficit, informing the public that the university has to deal with this situation no matter what the legislature does.


“I am remarkably proud of this institution,” Shields said. “We have been ahead of the curve in so many ways in this system.”


We easily could have taken a deeper fall on the budget cut, but we have prevented more issues from happening because we have been ahead thus far.


“The result of this is not the result of something we could have or should have done,” Shields said.


University officials are struck with the idea that there could’ve been something done differently in the previous years to prevent this budget cut from happening, and are disappointed by the sudden cut.


“We’ve done I think everything you could reasonably inspect,” Shields said.


The budget cut could range from as little as an additional $2 million to $5 million, and additional cuts will begin to affect more departments.


Some departments will not be effected by budget cuts, while some general education courses may be cut and there may be fewer faculty members on campus.

The university funds many of UW-Platteville’s programs with $1 million alone going to athletics. The athletics department attracts many individuals to the university, as it is appealing and interesting to those who play sports, the amount of funding may be adjusted to save money for the university.


The colleges within the University are each doing their own budget cut adjustments. Deans Wayne Weber of BILSA, Elizabeth Throop of LAE and Mesut Muslu of EMS each control a college within the University of Wisconsin Platteville.


One of the psychology programs within the department within LAE will be cut to help save money within their budget.


“The enrollment was getting really low and only fifteen to eighteen students were enrolled last fall in the counseling psychology program,” Throop said.


Throop said that faculty started to leave and she couldn’t hire replacements. No final decisions have been made and the counseling psychology program will be suspended after this semester, but will not be cut fully. The decision to suspend the program was made by the chair of faculty senate. Throop said the chancellor wanted this to be inclusive, and it’s completely up to the chancellor at this time.


The most important thing to Dean Throop is the students’ best interest, “preserve student learning within limits”, she said.


Ultimately, the goal is to minimize the effect on the students. Throop is trying to preserve staff at this time and said the 2013 tuition freeze caused the budget cut.


“It was a painful process, really tough”, Throop said.


Throop said that that her budget is balanced, and has not been unbalanced throughout this budget cut.


Muslu said he is not doing anything at this point since the chancellor has not made final decisions on the budget cut.


“However, I am explaining the implications of possible cuts to my assistant deans, department chairs, program coordinator and faculty/staff”, Muslu said. “The MicroSystems and Nano-Technology [program] will be suspended. That means we will not be able to accept new students into this program effective fall 2015. This possibility is being communicated to the students currently in the major and also prospective students who show interest in the major.”


Engineering is one of the top majors within the University, bringing students to Platteville. By not allowing students into the program this fall, there could be a drop in enrollment, a direct effect of the budget cut.

“Due to possible suspension of MSNT major, we are shifting a position from MSNT into sustainable and renewable energy systems major,” Muslu said .


Musly anticipates EMS will lose 25 percent from the positions allocated to EMS assistant deans. If this happens, they will have to adjust the existing assistant dean’s job descriptions to reflect the cut.


“We anticipate that the EMS grant matching funds will be cut by 50 percent. If it happens, we anticipate that we will lose the funds for the first year faculty to do research with students.” Muslu said, “Many anticipated cuts in service areas [academic services, student services] will also affect EMS students. We do not know the extent of this impact and will respond to them as we evaluate their effects.


The deans aren’t making any big decisions until the chancellor makes his final decisions; they’re doing what’s best for their individual colleges and keeping their students’ best interest in mind.