UW System News
For Immediate ReleaseFebruary 11, 2005
Contact: Doug Bradley
"Good News" Remarks to the Board of Regents
Kevin P. Reilly, President
University of Wisconsin System
Thank you, President Marcovich. Good morning, everyone.
Evidence of my first piece of Good News is in your folders today. I'm very pleased to report that COBE, the Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion, has put the finishing touches on its initial work. For those of you who may have forgotten during your month away, COBE is the committee we created with the Wisconsin Technical College System to find cost-effective ways to increase the pool of Wisconsin citizens who hold bachelor's degrees.
Ably led by Regent Smith and Regent Pruitt, and with the talents of Larry Rubin of Academic Affairs and Janet Washbon of the technical colleges, the committee has proposed 13 strategies to enhance student success and the quality of the education we provide. Ultimately, by increasing the number of bachelor's degree holders in this state, we will see an increase in the average per capita income and an improved overall economy for Wisconsin.
The Governor has already taken notice of the committee's recommendations - as we noted yesterday, his budget proposal includes more than $1 million to begin implementation. I know many others of those interested in our state's workforce development also agree with President Clancy, the Governor, and I that the committee's work has given Wisconsin a good start. I am sure you'll be hearing much more about this effort in the future. Let me pause, briefly to ask if Regents Pruitt and Smith have anything they'd like to add.
President Clancy is here with us today, and he and I are about to name a joint committee that will begin implementation of the report's recommendations.
University of Wisconsin System Career Service Directors have teamed up for a dynamic effort that can help stem "brain drain."
"Wisconsin Jobs for Wisconsin Grads" is a statewide initiative five years in the making. Through an online job posting system, Wisconsin employers can advertise full-time jobs, internships, and co-op opportunities to the more than 32,000 students we graduate each year. The system allows graduates to submit online resumes to employers, and increases our ability to improve "brain gain" by contacting alumni around the world who may be interested in returning to live and work Wisconsin.
Nearly 50 employers have already posted more than 70 jobs to the site. Given our discussions on efficiency so far, I'm also very pleased to note that the system was developed with no additional cost to students, taxpayers, or employers.
Many thanks to UW-Green Bay Career Service Director Linda Peacock-Landrum for leading this charge, and thanks to all of her colleagues across the system. Their team is right when they say "Wisconsin Jobs for Wisconsin Grads" is an absolute 'win-win' for all involved.
A couple of notes to share from Van Hise Hall.
Mike Kraus, special assistant to the Vice President for Finance, is serving on the 2005 Annual Meeting Host Committee of the Central Association of College and University Business officers. This important association represents chief business officers at more than 700 institutions. I know Mike will represent the UW System well.
The UW System Office of Academic Diversity and Development has announced that student assistant Pelumi Adeleke received the 2005-2006 Laurence A. and Frances L. Weinstein Scholarship. Regent Emeritus and Mrs. Weinstein created the award to provide additional encouragement to students of color in business and related fields. The award is given to a UW-Madison School of Business student every other year based on academic performance and outside activities. Congratulations to Pelumi.
Several other members of our university community have also recently won well-deserved awards.
Madison Business, a publication of Madison Magazine, honored two of our distinguished leaders with its Fifth Annual Best of Madison Business Awards.
The magazine awarded the Brian D. Howell Award for Excellence in Innovation to Hector DeLuca, chair of the Biochemistry Department at UW-Madison and CEO of Deltanoid Pharmaceuticals, a UW spin-off company. Dr. DeLuca, as many of you know, is an expert on Vitamin D, and has with Pfizer to develop a drug that could rebuild bone for those who suffer from osteoporosis.
In addition, Mark Bugher, director of University Research Park here on Madison's west side, was honored for his role in driving economic development. Congratulations to both.
Congratulations are also due to Regent Milt McPike, who was honored with this year's "Heritage Award," during celebrations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at the State Capitol. Milt received the award from the Governor's Office and the MLK State Planning Committee for his long and outstanding service to the local and state community. The committee said Regent McPike's work embodies Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s message directing us all to the mission of community service.
Our efforts to protect student financial aid were strengthened last week by a letter from the members of Wisconsin's Congressional Delegation, who encouraged President Bush to ensure continued federal financial aid opportunities for Wisconsin students.
You may remember that the members of the PK-16 Leadership Council - Superintendent Burmaster, President Clancy, WAICU President Rolf Wegenke, and myself - encouraged the delegation to stand against what could be devastating changes in the programs that provide federal financial aid. We were especially concerned about changes in the federal tax tables that determine how much aid a student can receive in the form of Pell Grants. If the changes go through, 5,500 of the neediest students enrolled in public and private higher education in this state could lose their Pell awards altogether. We've since learned that the President's budget also calls for elimination of the Perkins Loan program and the Leveraging Education Partnerships Program, which is matched by the state to create need-based aid programs; as well as elimination of the Upward Bound and Talent Search programs, which serve low-income, first-generation students. I take this one personally, because I worked for several years as a tutor/counselor in Fordham University's Upward Bound program in the late 1960s.
Our campuses received $5.3 million from these programs in 2004 for 3,000 students. Elimination of the Perkins Loan program could mean 19,000 students could lose more than $40 million in financial aid. All of these programs work together to increase access, and these cuts would exacerbate the growing gap between our neediest students and those who have the ability to pay, and would undercut our goals in Plan 2008 to close the achievement gap.
Nine of our federal representatives shared their concerns about Pell Grants with the President. They also supported our efforts to expand baccalaureate degrees, and expressed their pride in Wisconsin's higher education systems. Many thanks to Federal Relations Coordinator Kris Andrews for keeping our federal representatives informed about the potential impacts of these proposals. We are grateful that the delegation has spoken on this important issue, and in light of the additional cuts the President's budget proposes, we will continue work with them to secure federal support for our students and campuses.
To close today, I want to take this opportunity to offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to David Olien and Linda Weimer. UW System has been incredibly fortunate to have benefited from their combined 17 years of leadership, and this serves as fair warning that I will continue to look to them for words of wisdom.
Both President Lyall and I owe a lot to Dave Olien's deep institutional memory. Dave played a central role in helping this Board outline a comprehensive plan to preserve access and quality, and he has been our resident expert on navigating the state's remarkable bureaucracy. He's also been in the middle of hiring so many of our quality chancellors. His knowledge and insight have been, and will continue to be, a real asset for this university. Dave, I thank you for all your contributions.
This university and the students we serve could not have dreamed of a more tireless or committed advocate than Linda Weimer. Linda helped the university weather many a storm, and I will always admire her willingness to take big, but necessary, risks. Linda brought to her position as Vice President for University Relations an ambitious vision for this university's role. Linda is moving on to shepherd an even more ambitious vision at the national level, and I am confident she will realize great success there as well. Linda, thank you. I wish you all the best.
You will not find two public servants more selflessly committed to the university, its students, faculty and staff, than Dave Olien and Linda Weimer, Thank you both.
President Marcovich, that concludes my report.