UW Struggle: Real People Edition

ruins1As I sit down to write this, I know it could be 10,000 words of sadness. I will limit myself.

Making news these days are the proposed buyouts campuses are offering to employees 55 and older; the buyouts are not automatic, as you must apply and be approved. But the buyouts are not a good deal, just as much of everything else is not a good deal. The Green Bay Press Gazette has a piece today on buyout offers, and I know and work with the people quoted. Steve Meyer, one of the most respected and visible professors on our campus, said, “No way I am going to take them up on their offer. I am too far away from retirement to take it.” He’s right not to. It is a sad offer among other sad offers. Also, the man is 56. Fifty-six is young. But I guess we can have a discussion about ageism some other time. Most importantly, if Steve did accept the offer, it would be a tremendous loss to our students, seeing the departure of yet another of our science faculty. This is a person we want to encourage to go away?

But this blog isn’t about buyouts. It’s about our chronic hemorrhaging of talent. When you work at a campus like mine, UW-Green Bay, losing even one person to another job can be crippling; it often means, in some cases, that you are losing half or all of a popular program. I have heard people, and one legislator in particular, say that the “loss of talent” argument is not real. Make no mistake: the poachers are here. They have been here for years, as the post Act-10 climate in Wisconsin has seen an increase in the departure of thriving, post-tenure professors.

The white noise hums, “We need you to be more like a business!” Is this what businesses do? Let their talent leave without so much as lifting a finger, all while consumers students dependent on that knowledge and skill helplessly stand by? Continue reading “UW Struggle: Real People Edition”