Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Faculty Opponents To Wauwatosa Expansion Discovering Their Opinions Count Little

I am hearing from UWM faculty who are unhappy with discovering that their opposition to Chancellor Carlos Santiago's planned expansion on the County Grounds in Wauwatosa is falling on deaf ears.

Because the planning process is essentially closed - - even though there are signs that the plan to build an engineering graduate school and innovation center on the County Grounds does not have vital once-promised, or expected private sector support.

Combined with environmental objections to County Grounds construction, and looming transit and traffic problems, it appears as if Santiago is forging ahead single-mindedly with a plan that lacks campus support as well as financial stability.

In other words, sustainability.

It is ironic that Marquette is planning its engineering expansion in the heart of the city, where there is already the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a substantial related private sector presence - - but UWM management still wants to go far to the west.

Also ironic: UWM has the state's premier School of Architecture and Urban Planning, where there are faculty and staff experts who know it is a planning mistake to separate the engineering program from the basic campus and much of the Milwaukee-area transit, business and cultural infrastructure.

Maybe there is time for alternatives to get serious review.

And for faculty to enjoy genuine campus planning input.

5 comments:

Dave Reid said...

Yeah, the fact that Marquette is growing their Engineering school downtown, is great but sad that UWM can't seem to get on board.

Howard said...

I just came back from the public forum at UWM where Calatrava and this committee tried to sell the Wauwatosa deal. Almost every sentence Calatrava said referred to money. He also said that it would benefit the school to be closer to companies like Johnsons Control. Another main argument was that they want to save as much on the development so they can reinvest into the state-of-the-art facilities.

What happened to investing in Milwaukee?

I understand that UWM wants to expand, but it's obvious that they don't care where at this point.

James Rowen said...

To Howard: I think you mean Santiago - - Carlos Santiago - - not Santiago Calatrava, the architect.

Walt said...

I’m not sure who you are hearing from, but it must not be the 15-20 faculty members who spoke at today’s public forum hosted by the UWM University Committee, which is part of the Faculty Senate. I didn’t hear any faculty opponents to Wauwatosa.

In fact, there were several faculty members who spoke in support of the proposed UWM research park in Wauwatosa.

One engineering professor even asked how quickly construction could start at the research park. He said his work for the UWM Center for Ergonomics requires a much closer relationship with the Medical College of Wisconsin than he can maintain from 8 miles away at the east side campus. (If you are interested, the answer was as early as 2010.)

There was much conversation about how the openness of the master planning process and how faculty input has influenced several portions of the plan. The research objectives for that park are continually evolving because of the input and a simple solution has been developed for faculty members who don’t want to be part of the research park: They don’t have to go there!

It was a great session: very open, very informative, and coordinated by the Faculty Senate and not the UWM administration.

Anonymous said...

Walt, sorry, but it is naive to think that the University Committee and Faculty Senate are free of administrative control.

The Chancellor runs the Faculty Senate meetings -- and orchestrates much else even when not in front.

See the faculty survey on the master plan, which could not be so controlled. Or ask yourself why you haven't seen it discussed by the Chancellor.