State News Briefs: Gundersen Lutheran thinking about dropping the Lutheran from its nameWisconsin News
-- For years, Gundersen Lutheran has been the leading health system in the La Crosse area. But now, as the organization branches out, it’s thinking about dropping the word “Lutheran” from its name.
LA CROSSE - For years, Gundersen Lutheran has been the leading health system in the La Crosse area. But now, as the organization branches out, it’s thinking about dropping the word “Lutheran” from its name.
Gundersen’s Pamela Maas says the medical center is in the early stages of re-branding itself. She says the name “Lutheran” can be confusing because the group is not a religious organization – and Maas says a lot of folks might not realize that. Gundersen has had focus groups give their opinions on possible new names and logos. She says there’s no timetable for making a change. Gundersen Lutheran serves 19 counties in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota – and as the system branches out, Maas says a rebranding becomes even more important.
Officials say there are several goals for a new dual enrollment program that will let students take UW college courses while still in high school. The program was announced yesterday by the state’s K-to-12 education agency and the two-year UW College System. Starting in the fall of 2013, high school juniors and seniors can start taking college-level classes from trained high school teachers – and get credits for both a high school diploma and a UW degree. One goal is to reduce the rising cost of college, by letting students earn UW credits before they get on campus. They can get some of the more popular college courses out of the way, and not worry about getting squeezed out of full class sessions at the UW. High school teachers will benefit, too, because they’ll teach full-fledged university courses with advance training from UW professors. And officials say it will let high schools and the university work closer toward a single kindergarten-through-college system. UW chief academic officer Mark Nook says other states have had similar programs for up to a decade. Wausau school official Thom Hahn says it will give high schoolers who never thought about college a chance to see what the UW is like – and to show them that they’re ready for a higher education. It probably won’t be determined until next spring exactly which UW courses will be offered in the high schools. Other states offer basic core classes – but some have introductory classes for specific majors like accounting and engineering.
UW-Madison says it has found money in its current budget to give pay raises to professors who are being targeted by other schools. The state’s flagship campus said yesterday that it formed what it calls a “Critical Compensation Fund.” Provost Paul DeLuca said most UW faculty and staff members have not had raises since 2008 – and it’s made the campus a quote, “target of opportunity” for raids by other institutions. About 30-percent of Madison’s top staffers will get one-time raises of five-percent. Deans, program directors, and department heads will decide who gets the increases. They’ll generally be based on the employees’ sustained achievement over the past five years. DeLuca admits he’s concerned about a backlash from those who don’t get raises – but he says it would be a bigger problem if the UW loses more of its top faculty members because of pay issues. UW-Madison has lready lost several professors to other schools because they offered bigger salaries.
After being in the 90’s just three days ago, Stevens Point set a record low of 38 degrees this morning. That broke the old mark for the date of 39, set in 1969. Rhinelander had an overnight low of 34, tying a record set 85 years ago. The mercury plunged quickly overnight in central and northern Wisconsin, after a day of pleasant and cooler temperatures yesterday. Most of the Badger State was in the 60’s and 70’s – and we’ll see another day of that before a low-pressure system moves in, and brings occasional chances for rain from tomorrow into the weekend. That’s supposed to produce southerly winds that will bring the hot air back. Forecasters say we could see 90 again during the weekend.