Fundraising to be absorbed by UW-P

The Alumni Services office structure will change drastically as of June 30 as part of a massive restructuring involving that office, UW-Platteville and University Information and Communications.
The proposed restructuring would create a new position, Vice Chancellor for External Relations; that position would report directly to Chancellor Dennis J. Shields. Foundation would be entirely separate from what is now known as Alumni Services and also would report directly to Shields.
A chart accompanying an April 23 email to Alumni Association directors from Kim Schmelz, Director of Alumni Services, shows the new Senior Director of Development and Alumni would report directly to a new position, Vice Chancellor for External Relations. The Exponent obtained a copy of the email from a member of the Alumni Association board of directors.
Schmelz said in a separate interview that Rose Smyrski would be appointed Interim Vice Chancellor for External Relations. That appointment was announced in an April 23 meeting of Alumni and Foundation staff called by Smyrski, Jennifer deCoste and Laura Bayless. The university’s Chief Diversity Officer, deCoste, also is serving as interim assistant chancellor for university advancement and development, while Bayless, the assistant vice chancellor for students affairs, also is serving as interim supervisor of Alumni Services.
Schmelz said that when Dennis Cooley left his position as assistant chancellor for university advancement in late January, Shields directed her to begin reporting to Bayless.
Smyrski returned to UW-Platteville on Feb. 16, 2015, after spending a year with UW Colleges and UW Extension, where she served as an interim assistant vice chancellor for communications and external affairs. She came to Platteville in Fall 2011 as interim legislative liaison, was appointed special assistant to Shields in 2012, and served in that capacity until she left Platteville in early 2014.
The email from Schmelz stated that all employees of Alumni Services would have to reapply for their jobs, but  “what we’ve learned since that meeting is that classified staff [in Alumni Services] will not have to reapply for their positions,” Schmelz said.
The email noted that Stephanie Belken, the graphic and Web design specialist, will transfer to University Information and Communications. Three other classified employees of Alumni Services will remain in their current positions.
Schmelz’s fate is uncertain, since she is not a classified employee. Under the proposed organizational scheme, Schmelz would be the single Alumni Services employee who would need to reapply for a position.
“We were all told that we will all be eligible to apply for at least one of the positions in the org[anizational] chart and even if we didn’t want it we would be guaranteed a position with our same salary through June 30, 2016,” the email from Schmelz states.
Shields sent a memo to Advancement personnel April 22 asking for feedback on an attached reorganization chart but, according to the memo, “Our intention is to begin moving forward with the transition effective May 1, 2015. All employees currently on Foundation funding will be offered new, state-funded contracts, effective July 1, 2015.”
“We’ve been told it’s a draft; a working document,” Schmelz said.
The proposed structure shows the new Senior Director of Development and Alumni will report to Smyrski, as will University Information and Communications and the new Corporate Relations and Government Relations offices, according to the chart attached to the Shields memo.
“We undertook this absorption of Advancement personnel due to the substantial Foundation budget gap,” Shields stated in the memo.
According to the Shields memo, the budget gap is a result of Foundation’s 25 percent gift fee that is used to fund Foundation operations, primarily salaries. By eliminating the fee “more funds will be made available for general university use, potentially generating more revenue and thus helping reduce budget challenges,” Shields wrote.
Foundation funds are not restricted in their use. By absorbing fundraising into university control, 100 percent of donations will go straight to the university.
Salaries for the revised Foundation positions will be state-funded, and will most likely be paid by tuition revenue, university Controller Cathy Riedl-Farrey said.
“It’s really hard to know how day-to-day operations will be impacted,” Schmelz said.
The Alumni Association directors have until April 30 to respond to the advancement reorganization chart in writing.