We all know that public universities and colleges are faced with huge budget cuts due to the recession. The state of Wisconsin, as well as other states, have implemented the furlough system (mandated unpaid time off) for faculty and staff to deal with the loss of revenue (see Chem. Eng. News, Aug. 24,2009). In the Wisconsin System, which consists of thirteen four-year campuses and thirteen two-year schools, the schools will be closed for eight selected days during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic years. This amounts to a salary cut of about 3% for the employees. These are all non-instructional days and faculty are forbidden from taking furloughs on lecture days.
For myself as a Senior Lecturer at UW Madison nothing really has changed except the pay cut. I still put in the same work time and I have the same duties.
I would welcome the thoughts and contributions of others in the UW System and elsewhere especially from community colleges where the consequences of the furloughs may be more dire. Could partnerships between the 4-year and 2-year campuses be an effective way to deal with these new challenges?