Board of Regents

Study of the UW System in the 21st Century


The final recommendations of this Study closely parallel the advice from the presenters of the environmental scan in September and October, 1995.
The Presenters advised:
  • Decentralizing decision-making authority.

The Study recommends:

  • A strong set of management flexibility initiatives to decentralize operational decisions from the State and Board/System.

The Presenters advised:
  • Emphasizing the care of assets, including staff, and more provision of professional development.

The Study recommends:
  • More flexibility in capital budgeting and the unclassified personnel function to allow for the timely maintenance and care of capital and human assets, and an emphasis on staff development in the use of emerging technologies.

The Presenters advised:
  • Making use of technology, productivity improvement strategies, and incentives.
The Study recommends:
  • The Board will go forward with a budget request for the 1997-99 biennium for new distance education/instructional technology funding. Further, the UW System will be expanding the concept and measurement of "productivity" to include the effectiveness of all instruction-related activities.
The Presenters advised:
  • Increasing reliance on private funding.
The Study recommends:
  • Actively seeking private sources of funding, and rewarding successes in this area.

The Presenters advised:
  • Reaching out to K-12 institutions in effective partnership.
The Study recommends:
  • The development and enhancement of partnerships with K-12 institutions and others.
The Presenters advised:
  • Emphasizing issues of affordability.

The Study recommends:
  • Reaffirmation of the existing Board tuition policy that tuition increases be "moderate and predictable."
  • Several recommendations aim at reducing time to degree and hence overall cost.
  • The Board recommends that we create new tools for helping make parents and students aware of the alternatives for financing college education.
  • Emphasizes the opportunity for a quality education at UW-Centers at a lower cost while continuing to live at home for the first two years of university education.


"The Regents must be strong advocates for the UW System...not only with elected officials... but also with the citizens of Wisconsin whom we represent." Regent Michael Grebe - President, UW System Board of Regents

The UW System Board of Regents held public hearings from March 20 through April 2 at UW-La Crosse, UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, and UW-Milwaukee, using compressed video links to UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls, UW-Stout, UW-Superior, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-Whitewater, and UW-Parkside. Public commentary was also taken at UW Center-Washington County in West Bend as part of the April Board of Regents meeting. In addition, the Regents invited testimony via e-mail and letter.

A total of 154 individuals testified in person at the public hearings; 63 individuals submitted e-mail (33 of whom were students), and 1,058 persons provided written remarks, of which 168 were students whose written remarks were delivered collectively to the Madison hearing. Thus, over 1,200 individuals provided suggestions during the hearing period. This response has come from a wide cross section of stakeholders: citizens, faculty, academic staff, students, community leaders, alumni, business representatives, and elected officials. The actual written testimony can be read in the Board of Regents office.

The Board of Regents greatly appreciate the public response to the draft recommendations, both for the thoughtful observations and because it reaffirms broad interest in the UW System by the people of Wisconsin.


The best chance for maintaining high access to quality programs at affordable prices for Wisconsin citizens lies in a continuing, strong partnership between the UW System and the State of Wisconsin to meet the needs of the 21st Century. Our study shows that:

The UW System Must:

  • Keep college affordable for the people of Wisconsin.
  • Ensure quality and access for Wisconsin resident undergraduates through the year 2000 by increasing productivity to serve 4,000 additional FTE students.
  • Meet the needs of Wisconsin's college educated workforce for continuing education.
  • Expand the "Wisconsin Idea" so that the boundaries of the University become the boundaries of the world through use of distance education.
  • Create a seamless web of education by expanding collaborative program agreements among UW System institutions and partnering with other four-year institutions, the K-12 schools, and the Wisconsin Technical College System.
  • Keep administrative costs in the UW System low; continue to streamline campus administration.
  • Continue publishing annual accountability reports for all of the UW System's stakeholders and work to attain goals.

The State of Wisconsin Must:
  • Work with the UW System to increase management flexibilities and cut red tape that no longer adds value to the instructional mission.
  • Maintain access and keep college affordable by continuing UW System base budget funding at current levels with appropriate increases for compensation and costs-to-continue in future biennia.
  • Additional access beyond the 4,000 students will require additional state funding.
  • Help the UW System increase productivity and its partnerships with K-12 schools and other groups by investing in instructional technology and distance education.


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