UW-Madison's Nicholas Hillman spoke about the limits and possible unintended consequences of performance-based funding in an article for the Daily Cardinal
. The article explained that Gov. Scott Walker and the legislature are considering tying a portion of the funding of Wisconsin's 26 state universities to performance measures, as yet undefined, in the next biennial budget.
Hillman is the author of a study
on performance funding, which notes that "while universities that are already high-performing tend to have the resources to adopt and respond to [performance] metrics, schools with fewer resources may very well lack the institutional capacity to do the same."
Hillman also said that some possible performance metrics, for example, those which give "bonus points" for enrolling students in STEM fields, could result in universities "not prioritizing diversity," and they could be used "to justify faculty or department cutbacks."
“If this creates the kind of perverse incentives which it probably will … then according to the new tenure policies, departments can close and faculty can be dismissed,” Hillman said. “Performance-based funding in the long run could be coupled with that particular policy and justify or at least help justify department closures.”
Hillman is an associate professor with the School of Education's Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, and a Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE) faculty affiliate.