Rebecca Blank, On Wisconsin

UW-Madison chancellor discusses the university's difficult year, the future of public financing of higher education and racial protests on campuses.

December 8, 2015

Rebecca Blank won't mind a bit if 2016 is a little more boring than 2015 has been.

This was an eventful -- and often difficult -- year for the University of Wisconsin's flagship campus at Madison, where Blank is chancellor. Controversy enveloped the university for much of the year, as Governor Scott Walker and his legislative allies slashed the university's budget and altered how tenure is governed by state policy.

Listen to the podcast with Rebecca Blank by clicking here.

In an interview at Inside Higher Ed's office in Washington, Blank discusses the political environment in which the tenure and budget controversies emerged (which she attributes in large part to the impact of presidential politics, given Walker's now-aborted run for the White House) and the uncertain path that still lies ahead on the tenure situation.

Blank also responds to questions about the negative impact of state disinvestment in public higher education (and the pros and cons of proposals to create paths to free higher ed), the enrollment of out-of-state students, and the recent wave of racial protests that have swept many campuses.

"These are good conversations to have, they're important conversations to have," she said. "I always like seeing students seriously involved in issues of this sort, even though it's sometimes challenging from the chancellor's point of view."


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