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Richard, George (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 56, Number 11 (March 15, 1955)

Kohler, Walter
The Governor explains why he favors single board,   p. 11


Page 11


The Governor Explains Why
                             He Favors Single Board
                                                               By Governor
Walter Kohler
AS EARLY as 1858, the year in which the Board of State
     College Regents was created, there was agreement in
     Wisconsin regarding the need for coordinated planning
in higher education.
  In that year, the two boards of regents met together in the
hope that they might jointly plan the future of higher educa-
tion in the state. This agreement on the need for coordinated
planning persisted 90 years later, on January 30, 1948, when
the second joint meeting of the two boards was held.
  Most leaders in Wisconsin education and government have
shared the view that available funds for higher education will
be most effectively used only if there is coordinated planning
in three major fields-finance, construction and educational
programs.
  The swollen enrollments in our elementary schools have
made the problem more acute. Those who recall the desperate
emergency measures which were required to accommodate huge
University and state college enrollments after World War II
are seriously concerned with the problems which the state will
face when similar enrollments are with us, year after year, on
a permanent basis.
  State Assembly Committee
               on Education
 Willis J. Hutnik, Tony (chairman)
 Milford C. Kintz, Rt. 2, Richland Center
 Earl D. Hall, Rt. 2, Tomah
 William T. Sullivan, Kaukauna
 Joseph H. Anderson, Rt. 1, Winneconne
 Walter B. Calvert, Benton
 Reino A. Perala, 1706 Broadway St., Superior
 Isaac N. Coggs, 2009 N. First St., Milwaukee
 Keith C. Hardie, Taylor
   Italicized names are those of Wisconsin
 alumni.
MARCH, 1955
  A desire to prepare the state for the problems which lie
ahead has prompted a succession of chief executives and legis-
lators to propose coordination of higher education under a
single board of regents. It has prompted the state college re-
gents, the University regents, and faculty committees serving
under both boards to advocate coordination.
  Yet, while virtually everyone agrees that higher education
should be coordinated, there remains disagreement on how it
should be accomplished. I have proposed to the legislature
that coordination be achieved by creation of a single board of
regents of the University and State Colleges of Wisconsin,
which would provide a continuing review of all higher edu-
cation in our state. This, I am convinced, is the approach
which will most certainly insure the orderly development of
all our institutions to meet future needs.
   Others argue that coordination can be accomplished by the
two existing boards, under a statutory directive to jointly plan
and approve their budgets, building construction and educa-
tional programs. This solution, I believe, would fail for several
reasons:
   1. In almost a century of cooexistence the two major exist-
 ing boards have yet to achieve coordination, despite repeated
 indications that they know it is desirable and necessary.
   2. As long as the individual boards are charged primarily
with responsibility for different institutions or groups of insti-
tutions, rather than higher education as a whole, they must
inevitably be more concerned with the welfare of either the
University or the State Colleges than with that of higher
education generally.
   3. Only one serious argument is made against a single
 board-that the task is too great for one group to handle.
 Countless examples in government and industry disprove this
 contention, but if it has any validity, then it would apply with
 even greater force to the two-board proposal. If a single board,
 devoting itself to a continuing study of higher education, can-
 not become sufficiently familiar with the institutions to form
 intelligent policies for them, how then can two different
 boards, each familiar with only one segment of higher educa-
 tion, be expected to give intelligent consideration to the needs
 of another segment about which they have only the most
 casual knowledge ? This they would be expected to do under
 the proposal for statutory inter-board cooperation.
   Those of us who favor a single board do so out of a sincere
 desire to improve the quality of all our institutions of higher
 learning, and to provide the broadest possible educational
 opportunity throughout the state.
   We believe that under such a system, the University and
 the state colleges will thrive, and growing numbers of young
 people will be assured of sound education, at a minimum of
 expense to the citizens of Wisconsin.
   This, certainly, is an objective worthy of the support of
 everyone who is concerned with the future welfare of the state.
                                                       11


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