It seems blind faith and self-interest has paid off well for Michael R. Lovell, dean of the UWM College of Engineering and Applied Science. He was behind Carlos Santiago's growth plan and a supporter of "a massive infusion of investment dollars into his department." Now that Santiago is leaving, Lovell has been appointed interim chancellor. I guess the movers-and-shakers behind the growth plan feel Lovell knows the talking-points well enough to see this boondoggle through.
Professor Marc Levine, UWM history and urban studies professor, has shown that the entrepreneurial growth strategy centered on a university is largely an illusion. Yet, the Journal Sentinel is again pushing the idea that this initiative will be a huge spin-off and job creator. All based on purely anecdotal evidence.
The media and the well-connected always gripe about public spending, public employees, and any project that actually tries to do good and help workers and those in need. We can't do it. It's too much. We can't afford the debt. But when it's a playground for the rich, a research park, or some other speculative white elephant, we can't afford not to do it.
I'm all for the expansion and development of UWM as a university and research hub. But much of this growth plan should be tweaked, moved, or discontinued. Some of this funding could obviously be better spent, especially now, during these tough fiscal times.
For Further Reading:
College: Cash Cows?
Don't Stop Believing
Water Down Corporate Accountability