The following folks will be rethinking UW System, courtesy of the Fitzgerald Brothers who got to choose 12 of the 17 task force members.
Their choices include:
Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls
Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater
Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend
UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields
Wis. Technical College Board President Mark Tyler
Former UW Alumni Association Chair Renee Ramirez
Carroll University Board of Directors member Joanne Brandes
Business Owner Tim Higgins
Former UW Regent Fred Mohs
UW Colleges and Extension Chancellor Ray Cross
UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells
Former UW Student Regent Joe Alexander
Last spring, some of these folks were strongly opposed to the New Badger Partnership--UW-Madison's effort to break from UW System.
For example, who can forget Ray Cross's astute remarks, delivered just a short time after his arrival in Wisconsin. He noted that comparisons to U. Michigan were inappropriate, and stressed the importance of keeping UW System together especially during a "contentious and partisan" period. His goals including reducing competition and duplication, helping campuses fulfill their designated missions, and yes, obtaining more flexibility.
Chancellor Richard Wells had a crisis regarding academic freedom on his hands this spring after a March 7 incident in which an Oshkosh professor encouraged his students to sign a recall petition. He used the event as a teachable moment, holding a community discussion on political activities. We can expect that disagreements over the importance of academic freedom and how to best protect it will be implicit in the task force's discussions, even if they are not explicitly on the agenda.
As for Tim Higgins, well, we Optimists featured him on the blog several months back. He, along with Renee Ramirez, endorsed the NBP.
But that was then, and this is now. What do we know about the positions of these folks on the future of UW System? Inquiring minds want to know-- so please, do write in and share.