UW-La Crosse campus.
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse could be cutting up to 10 teaching positions before the fall.
University officials will decide which positions to eliminate in the next month. UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow said this is the first time the university will be eliminating teaching positions since last summer’s state budget cuts.
UW-L cut 54 mostly vacant staff positions last April and froze hiring on 14 faculty jobs this fall, but lower enrollment means the university is preparing to cut $600,000 in teaching positions.
Gow said he isn’t confident the next state budget will be any better.
“There’s not a lot of new tax revenue coming in, we have legislators who are loathe to raise taxes, so you know I don’t know where money is going to come from,” he said.
Gow criticized state lawmakers for “disinvesting” in higher education and said increased budget cuts have put pressure on both students and universities.
“These budgets tend to get finalized literally in the dead of night in the Joint Finance Committee,” Gow said. “I really would hope that we would have a more coherent public discussion about is this what the taxpayers want in their state.”
Gow said he’s concerned about how cutting teaching positions will impact students’ experience at UW-L, which has been working over the past few years to make class sizes smaller.
“That’s what separates us from the bigger universities that sometimes get more attention in the state,” Gow said. “We can give you that great individualized attention. I would hate to see that eroded.”
Gow said UW-L isn’t considering cuts to tenure-track positions and instead plans to eliminate short-term teaching appointments.