UW System braces for layoffs and consolidated academic programs beyond pandemic

Posted at 5:59 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 18:59:53-04

The University of Wisconsin System faces $98.6 million in net losses through this summer from the pandemic.

The ongoing fallout has forced the system leaders to take a hard look at how they operate and move rapidly.

UW System President Ray Cross' blueprint for the state’s campuses comes down to three points: evaluating academic programs and deciding which ones to save (while considering cost, demand, and if the program is offered on another campus), consolidating and streamlining administrative operations, and scaling up online education offerings.

UW Board of Regents President Drew Petersen says layoffs are inevitable, but it is unclear what those numbers would look like.

“We realize that shared services can create significant efficiencies for us, and we realize that online delivery, sort of leveraging the UW System brand can be a real profit center for us. That’s going to serve as a tailwind for success as we come out of the pandemic in the future," said Petersen.

Campuses are expected to have scaled-down course catalogs by fall 2021.

In a meeting Thursday afternoon, the Board of Regents also approved a plan to do away with ACT and SAT requirements to all system schools except UW-Madison for the next two academic years.

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