Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker made national headlines in February when his proposed state budget redefined the mission of the University of Wisconsin System as “to develop human resources to meet the state’s workforce needs.” His budget removed “to serve and stimulate society,” “to improve the human condition,” and “to search for truth.”
Although quickly retracted as an error, the proposed changes have generated lots of conversation about the public purposes of college and the retrenchment of state investments in higher education. Wisconsin is not alone. With the effects of the recession lingering, many states (Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, and Louisiana to name just a few) face significant budget shortfalls. State legislators will need to make tough higher education decisions in the next few months.
In an interview with The New York Times, Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald noted that while the budget called for a “significant reduction” in higher education funding, he received very little response from his constituents.
Now is the time to make a clear and compelling case for the public value of arts and sciences education to your elected officials. Phi Beta Kappa’s Arts & Sciences are Key toolkit makes it easy for you. It features infographics and key facts that you can easily share with your social networks; tips on how to reach your lawmakers; and sample messages that you can use to grow financial and institutional support for the arts and sciences.
Whether you have just a minute or can play a more key role, find out how to take action now at toolkit.pbk.org.