MADISON – Unique stories of inspiration from students, academic staff, and university leadership topped the agenda during the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting on Friday (April 8).
The Board presented a foundation director and an affirmative action director with the 2005 Regents Academic Staff Awards for Excellence, which honors the professionalism, institutional loyalty, and devotion of academic staff members within the UW System.
“The strength of the System and its institutions can be attributed, in part, to the excellence of our academic staff,” said Regent Brent Smith of La Crosse, chair of the Regent committee that selected the winners. ” This award acknowledges the vital contributions they all make, as well as their institutional loyalty, professionalism, and devotion to serving students and the public.”
The recipients of this year’s award were Carole Halberg, president of the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and special assistant to the Chancellor, and Elizabeth Heuer, director of affirmative action and human resources at UW-Oshkosh. Each receives a $5,000 award for professional development or to enhance a university program or function.
The UW System’s academic staff members are at the heart of so much of what makes this a truly world-class university system,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. “These employees provide student services, like admissions, libraries, and financial aid. They are scientists, advisors and technology professionals. And importantly, as you’ll hear today, we depend on academic staff to communicate the importance and value of this university, and to ensure all members of our university communities have the support they need to develop their human potential to the fullest.”
Academic staff members from each UW institution were nominated for the award. Regents Guy A. Gottschalk of Wisconsin Rapids, Milton McPike of Mazomanie, and Jose A. Olivieri of Milwaukee also served on the committee.
As UW-Eau Claire Foundation President, Halberg is leading the campus’ first-ever comprehensive private fund-raising campaign, “Fulfilling the Promise of Excellence,” which exceeded its initial $35 million goal eight months ahead of schedule.
Halberg thanked the board for the award, saying that the honor “touched her heart and soul.” She said her passion for advancement work stems back to a scholarship she received as a student at UW-Eau Claire, an investment, she said, has brought returns several times over.
Stories like hers, she said, “remind us to focus on the future, and what we can do to make college possible.”
Halberg said she planned to put her monetary award toward collective systemwide advancement efforts, and hoped such efforts, like communications and private fundraising, would be able to have a larger role within the UW System in the future.
“Our collective futures may depend on it,” Halberg said.
Halberg’s other notable accomplishments include serving as chief administrator of the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association for 15 years, directing the campus’ first comprehensive media campaign, and assisting other UW System universities as they developed their own advancement units. She also started a Women for Philanthropy group at UW-Eau Claire, which raises scholarship funds for single parents, and serves as the university representative to Leadership Eau Claire and Momentum Chippewa Valley. Halberg earned her bachelor’s degree in English and Geography from UW-Eau Claire.
In presenting the award to Heuer, Regent Jose Olivieri of Milwaukee shared the words of one of Heuer’s colleagues, who said: “Her work on behalf of students, faculty and staff has enhanced the campus climate immensely. She has helped us better develop the type of workplace and learning environment to which we aspire.”
Heuer, a 37-year veteran of UW-Oshkosh, thanked the Board, and UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Rick Wells, who she said has given her professional opportunities to do the work about which she is most passionate. She advocated for the importance of leadership development for UW employees, especially supervisors, whom she described as “key change agents” within the university.
Heuer added that she would continue her personal mission to provide leadership development to UW-Oshkosh employees.
“They must have the tools to carry out their missions,” she said. “I encourage you to keep an eye on UW-Oshkosh. As the old saying goes, we’re going to knock your socks off.”
Heuer was instrumental in creating the Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resources Alliance, or New ERA, which focuses on regional educational partnerships, and has collaborated with 15 nonprofit agencies to create a strategic plan for the Oshkosh Area Workforce Development program.
Heuer also founded the campus Alliance for Equity and Diversity, and has implemented numerous mentoring and professional-development programs for students, faculty, and academic staff. Recently, to assist the campus with administrative budget cuts, Heuer also agreed to take on the role of interim human resources director, while maintaining her roles as Affirmative Action director and special assistant to the Chancellor. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from UW-Oshkosh.
Board celebrates Pointer basketball success; hears budget updates
Members of the Division III national championship UW-Stevens Point men’s basketball team accepted congratulations and a standing ovation from the Board on Friday for their successful tournament and season.
Eric Maus, Tamaris Relerford, Nick Bennett, Jason Kalsow, Kyle Grusczynski, media director Jim Strick, and Coach Jack Bennett represented the team, which won the national title for the second year in a row and was ranked number one in the nation for nearly the entire season.
Jack Bennett told the Board that the players were largely graduates of Wisconsin high schools, and all met with success not only as athletes, but also as students, within the UW System.
“This is a great, great system, and these are all great student-athletes,” Bennett said. “They play hard, and they know what’s important.”
UW System President Kevin P. Reilly also recognized this season’s success of the men’s basketball teams at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee, as well as the women’s basketball team at UW-Green Bay.
The university will continue to advocate for investment from the state as members of the Legislature begin voting on budget allocations in the coming weeks, Reilly told the Board in his report.
“I hope [the Regents] will keep reminding our legislators about the cuts we have made and the efficiencies we’re generating,” Reilly said. “We have made progress, and will continue to make it. Now is the time for their reinvestment in that progress.”
Regent Chuck Pruitt of Milwaukee and UW System Executive Vice President Don Mash reviewed for the Board the testimony they delivered during an agency hearing before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance on March 29.
Their testimony clearly outlined the elements of the Governor’s budget proposal that the university supports, including $49 million of reinvestment in the UW System’s budget, additional support for student financial aid, a faculty retention fund, and domestic partner benefits. The university also supports the proposed capital budget, which provides needed funds for university facilities and maintenance, they said.
At the hearing, Mash and Pruitt also also delineated the areas in which the Legislature could improve the university’s budget, most notably by providing a competitive pay plan for UW faculty and staff. The Governor’s budget proposal did not include funds for a pay plan. Mash and Pruitt also asked the committee to lift mandates that keep the UW System from operating more efficiently.
Mash added they challenged the committee to think longer-term than the 2005-07 budget, and to consider what the university could do with increased investment.
“I remain optimistic that when the Governor signs the final version of the budget, we will have gained some ground,” Reilly said.
Reilly also updated the Board on how state and federal funding levels could impact financial aid for UW students.
Board honors former Regent President Gottschalk for service
The Board on Friday honored outgoing Regent Guy Gottschalk of Wisconsin Rapids, whose seven-year term on the Board included a term as Board President.
Regent Mark Bradley of Wausau introduced a Resolution of Appreciation describing Gottschalk as having a “quiet, dedicated, respectful style of leadership.” Bradley reminded the Board of Gottschalk’s work to improve relationships between the university and the state, while managing the largest budget cuts in the university’s history and changing membership of the Board of Regents.
Bradley also reviewed Gottschalk’s leadership in “Engage Wisconsin” and “Charting a New Course for the UW System,” advocacy and strategic-planning initiatives that offered a new approach in talking with university stakeholders.
“Guy has had an absolute identity with his cause in his service to the UW System,” Bradley said. “We’ll miss [his] wisdom, vision, and caring leadership.”
Gottschalk thanked university staff and his fellow Regents for their work to support, build, and advocate for the UW System.
Gottschalk expressed his concern that budget cuts and skyrocketing tuition have diminished the quality of the UW System, but said he was optimistic that if state leaders even modestly increased support for the university, the slide in quality could be reversed and the UW System can regain the level of excellence for which it is known.
“The optimist in me hopes it isn’t too late to change course,” he said.
“It has been among my greatest honors and privileges to serve our university as a Regent and President of this Board,” Gottschalk added. “I knew when I started that we had a great institution, but it takes a while in this role to comprehend the sheer magnitude of the amount of god that it does for Wisconsin and its citizens, and all around the world.”
Regents declare support for statewide UW Spirit Week; approve action items
Regents will join communities and campuses across Wisconsin in celebrating “UW Spirit Week” from April 11-15.
Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler of Oshkosh introduced a resolution on Friday to mark the week ahead, noting the numerous contributions of UW campuses, employees and alumni throughout the state.
“UW Spirit Week” is an opportunity for alumni, students, members of UW System communities and Wisconsin citizens to celebrate campus allegiances and the many contributions the university makes to the state.
Gov. Jim Doyle will help commemorate UW Spirit Week by signing a proclamation on Wednesday, April 13, at 10 a.m., in the Governor’s Conference Room. President Reilly, alumni, mascots and friends of the university will join Gov. Doyle for the Wisconsin State Capitol event.
UW’s campus mascots will also be on hand earlier Wednesday, April 13, as and representatives of the Wisconsin State Legislature gather at 9:30 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda to share the positive impacts of their UW experience.
The week-long spirit celebration will culminate, Friday, April 15, as alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents and friends across the state participate in “UW Spirit Day.” All are encouraged to wear their campus colors, logo wear, and/or a “spirit badge” to show their UW connection in schools, hospitals, banks, businesses and hometowns throughout Wisconsin.
Regent President Toby E. Marcovich of Superior noted that UW Spirit Week is “a real opportunity to show our impact.” He added that the university needs to use occasions like Spirit Week to communicate more effectively.
In other business, Marcovich said he will appoint a committee of Regents to examine current practices in holding the Board’s monthly meetings, and to determine whether the meetings could be more efficient in how information is presented to the Board members. Members of that committee will be announced at a future meeting.
The full Board also voted to:
- Approve requests to the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate for support of scholarships, fellowships, professorships, and special programs in arts & humanities, social science and music at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee;
- Approve a contract for the UW-Milwaukee Charter School – Inland Seas School of Expeditionary Learning;
- Delegate authority to the UW System President to appoint and set salaries for UW Colleges Interim Campus Deans;
- Approve a resolution directing the UW System to work to ensure Allied Health programs in the UW System are efficient and meet accreditation requirements;
- Approve the statutorily required Minority and Disadvantaged Student Annual Report;
- Approve a statutorily required report on orientation programs and information provided to students on sexual assault and sexual harassment;
- Approve a design report for the Student Recreation and Wellness Center at UW-Oshkosh;
- Authorize increasing the budget of the Central Campus Utility Improvements Project at UW-Madison;
- Appoint Sarah F. Canon to serve on the Design Review Board for the University Research Park;
- Authorize various maintenance and repair projects at UW-Eau Claire’s Sutherland Hall and UW-Milwaukee Physics Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory; and
- Approve naming of a boat house at UW-Madison “The Porter Boat House.”
In closed session, the Board voted to select David Nixon as Dean of UW-Washington County, one of the freshman-sophomore UW Colleges. His annual salary was set at $92,000.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will hold its next meeting Thursday and Friday, May 4-5, 2005, on the UW-Stout campus.
Related: Read Apr. 7 (day 1) news summary