MADISON-Brian Levin-Stankevich, interim president of Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wash., has been appointed by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents as the next chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

“Dr. Levin-Stankevich brings a deep interest in furthering academic and student success, an appreciation for diversity in all its forms, and a commitment to the vital role of the public regional university in the region and in the state as a whole,” Reilly said in announcing his recommendation to the full Board. “The UW-Eau Claire campus community will be very well-served by Brian’s unusually comprehensive experience in higher education and his collaborative approach to university leadership.”

The full Board voted to appoint Levin-Stankevich following the recommendation of President Reilly and the Special Regent Committee.

Levin-Stankevich has served as interim president of Eastern Washington University since June 2005. He previously served that campus as provost and vice president for academic affairs, vice president for student affairs, and a professor of counseling, educational and developmental psychology. He also has held positions at the State University of New York-Buffalo and Florida Atlantic University, where he taught history courses and published in the areas of Russian history and comparative education.

Levin-Stankevich (pronounced LEV’-in stan-KEV’-ich), is expected to begin his position by July 1. His salary will be $180,000.

Throughout his career, Dr. Levin-Stankevich has led academic strategic planning and regional accreditation self-study processes, implemented diversity initiatives, and assisted with campus climate assessments. Among many accomplishments, he created a faculty fellows program to provide leadership development opportunities for faculty, began the Provost’s Academic Innovation Series, has managed the implementation of new and interdisciplinary degree programs, and initiated and led a quality service initiative program. He also has been continuously involved in international education initiatives, most recently linking Eastern Washington University with partner institutions in China.

“I am honored by this opportunity to join the students, faculty and staff as part of the UW-Eau Claire community,” Levin-Stankevich said. “UW-Eau Claire has a well-earned reputation for excellence in every regard, and I look forward to contributing to the next era of Blugold success.”

“Dr. Levin-Stankevich emerged as the leading candidate in an extremely talented pool of applicants,” said Regent Peggy Rosenzweig of Wauwatosa, chair of the Board of Regents Special Committee for the UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Search. “We, like the Eau Claire community, were struck by his high energy and contagious enthusiasm. The Board of Regents looks forward to working with him as he helps take UW-Eau Claire to the next level.”

Levin-Stankevich was one of four finalists for the UW-Eau Claire chancellor position recommended by a campus search-and-screen committee. The Board of Regents’ Special Committee for the UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Search was chaired by Rosenzweig, and included Regents Eileen Connolly-Keesler of Oshkosh, Charles Pruitt of Shorewood, and Jesus Salas of Milwaukee.

Streamlined disciplinary process to assist in university personnel matters

The Board approved action to forward to campus governance groups for comment a new administrative code chapter, “Procedures for Dismissal of Faculty in Special Cases.”

According to Regent President David Walsh of Madison, the review by a special committee was spurred by public and Regents’ reactions to three recent cases in which faculty members who were convicted of felonies, but who could not be quickly terminated because of due process policies and statutory protections.

Walsh noted, “This is a very sensitive policy matter. We are responding to egregious and heinous acts so the public has confidence that what happened before won’t happen again.”

The proposed policy forwarded by Regent Michael Spector of Milwaukee would affect “serious criminal misconduct” in which a faculty member engages in behavior that constitutes a felony that either: poses a substantial risk to the safety of others; seriously impairs the public trust in the university’s ability to fulfill its teaching, research or public service missions; or seriously impairs the faculty member’s ability to fulfill his or her teaching contractual obligations or efficiency in working with colleagues or students.

Each institution’s provost would be required to immediately launch an investigation on learning of a violation to determine if the faculty member should be terminated. A faculty member under investigation could be suspended without pay. The expedited process of investigation, hearings and recommendation to the campus chancellor would take less than 60 days. Unlike other personnel matters, the full Board of Regents would review the chancellor’s recommendation on disciplinary action.

Regents were particularly sensitive to the many faculty and academic staff who were listening to the discussion as it was being webcast. “This is not intended to be a back door around academic freedom, which the university so highly values,” Spector said as he directly reassured those listeners. Exempted would be conduct, expressions or beliefs that are Constitutionally protected, or that are principles of academic freedom.

Regent Vice President Mark Bradley of Wausau added that “a lot of attention has been paid to a very small number of people among our thousands of dedicated employees. This action is directed toward a very small number of very bad actors.”

The Board will take governance group and other comments through April and send a revised procedure to the Board for action in May. It then will be sent to the Wisconsin Legislature for review.

Board meets incoming UW-Extension, UW Colleges Chancellor Wilson

The Board also heard from Dr. David Wilson, who will take over as chancellor of both UW Colleges and UW-Extension in May.

Wilson shared with the Board his own experiences with Extension as the child of sharecroppers growing up in Alabama. His family was so impoverished, he recalled, that his mother would repair holes in the shanty they lived in by pasting in copies of Look and Life magazines. The publications became his elementary education since his family could only spare him three days each week for formal schooling.

He recalled his family’s constant connection with Extension agents “who would come out and help us to eke out a living.” He said he learned early that education was “the panacea” for his life.

Wilson related, “I’m really quite honored to be the first chancellor to lead these two outstanding institutions whose philosophy is to make possible the dream of every Wisconsin resident to pursue a college degree. I strongly believe in issues of access. Both of these institutions are gateways for millions of our students.”

President Reilly introduced Wilson to the board, noting that his chancellor position is the “first of its kind.”

“We created this dual chancellorship following a comprehensive study of the missions and administrations of both UW Colleges and UW-Extension,” Reilly said. “I believe this move will result in increased efficiencies, increased access for students and clients, a bolstered state economy, and maintained, or perhaps even reduced, costs.”

Wilson is currently vice president for university outreach and associate provost at Auburn University in Alabama, where he also serves as adjunct professor of education.

Reilly noted that Wilson was part of a team that authored the national study for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which resulted in the establishment of the $1 billion Gates Millennium Scholars Program -the largest philanthropic gift ever given to higher education.

Prior to joining Auburn University, Wilson also worked in administrative positions at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He holds doctorate and master’s degrees in Education from Harvard University, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Tuskegee Institute. Dr. Wilson is active as a national consultant and speaker, and for Auburn University, has fostered international programs with five universities in South Africa.

Wilson noted that the Wisconsin’s Colleges and Extension are moving along well on consolidation of services, but with much still to be accomplished. He told the Regents that he will solicit widespread comments on how best to implement the merger.

“I will listen to many voices along the way. You can rest assured that the proposals that I bring to the Board of Regents will be the product of an open and inclusive process,” he said.

Reilly also thanked interim chancellors Marv Van Kekerix and Margaret Cleek for their service to UW-Extension and UW Colleges, respectively.

As part of President Reilly’s report to the Board, Regent Judy Crain of Green Bay updated Regents on the progress of the Status of Women Working Group, which is studying women’s issues in the UW System.

Crain noted that one meeting has been held so far with committee members representing all UW institutions, and that the group will add students and other stakeholders as it begins its work. She said that committee members will rely on a 2000 UW System study on the status of women as a benchmark to determine what progress was made and issues that remain.

“This group will be a very positive way of responding to questions that people have, and being a way to answer them,” Crain said.

Reilly reminded Board members about the financial-aid program titled “College Goal Sunday,” which is taking place Feb. 13, and also recognized Dr. Christopher Markwood, new provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at UW-Superior, and Regent Jesus Salas, who will be honored next week by the Hispanic community in Milwaukee for accomplishments over his career.

Tuition changes expected to help UW serve more Wisconsin students

Board approves changes to nonresident tuition rates

The Board approved on Friday by a 14-1 vote a proposal to increase access to the UW System for students from Wisconsin by reducing the cost of tuition for students who come from other states to attend a UW campus.

The plan to reduce nonresident tuition rates at UW-Milwaukee, the 11 UW comprehensive campuses, and the UW Colleges is expected to take effect in the 2006-07 academic year. The plan will not displace any Wisconsin students. The rate change is designed to attract more students from out of state, who pay more in tuition to subsidize costs for resident students, the Board learned on Thursday.

The new rate would place nonresident tuition at approximately three times the resident tuition rate. This amount will require out-of-state students to cover the full cost of their education, and to pay the equivalent of the average state support for a resident undergraduate student. Currently, out-of-state students at UW campuses are charged tuition around four times the rates that resident students pay. Increases in nonresident tuition rates in recent years are believed to be a primary reason for the loss of approximately 900 nonresident undergraduate students across the UW System since 2001-02, equivalent to the annual loss of approximately $13 million in tuition revenue.

Regents pointed out that the UW System will need to launch an intensive communication effort to Wisconsin’s residents so they understand that the attempt to recruit additional out-of-state will not displace Wisconsin residents. In response to those questions, Executive Senior Vice President Don Mash said the tuition charged to those out-of-state students will fully cover their educational costs while generating additional money to either provide additional seats for Wisconsin students or to enhance the classroom experience for the state’s students. “There is not a down side to this,” Mash said. “When all the dust settles we’ll find that we’ve done something important and that we’re doing the right thing.”

Board Approves New Salary Ranges for Chancellors and UW System Executives

The Regents unanimously approved a new salary range structure for UW System chancellors and System executives. Under the new policy campus described by Regent Charles Pruitt of Milwaukee, who chairs the business, finance and audit committee, no one will receive an immediate salary increase. The policy provides that chancellors will be evaluated on an annual basis, with greater participation by the Regents, and salaries adjusted for market and merit.

Regent President Walsh noted that bringing the salary range in line with the campuses’ peer institutions was supported by legislative leaders with whom he recently met. However, he said the compensation levels will not be popular with Wisconsin’s public, whom he observed “cherish the tradition of low salaries.” He said the System must do a better job in explaining to Wisconsin’s residents why the salaries are necessary.

“We get $1 billion in general program revenue and that gives legislators and the public every right to question us,” Walsh added.

In an impassioned statement that was applauded by other board members, Regent Roger Axtell of Janesville said the salaries issue is just one of many fiscal problems that has plagued the UW System in his more five years on the board, citing the cut of more than $360 million in the past several years, the loss of services and the flight of star faculty and their funding.

Axtell noted that state statutes require the board to ensure that Wisconsin’s residents benefit from a high quality public higher education system.

“This has bedeviled me since I have been on the Board,” Axtell said. “This is the most serious problem that we’ve had. I’ve been troubled that our first responsibility is to preserve and enhance the educational quality of the System. In my past five years we have not protected and enhanced the quality. We have lost major leaders. We have lost quality. We have lost financial and academic advisors. We have lost library hours. How many star faculty members have we lost, and their grants with them?”

Axtell noted that during his term the System has lost seven chancellors and two provosts to other states because of “embarrassingly higher” salaries. That lost leadership, plus the substantial financial investment in mounting national searches to replace chief executive officers, has a cost, he said.

“That is not pursuing and enhancing quality. What has happened in the last five years is that we have had fundamental slippage, and that is a very kind word,” he added.

Axtell concluded, “I hope this day is a watershed day in helping this board to realize that we are treating our people badly.”

Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee said his experiences participating in the searches for chancellors at Stevens Point, River Falls and Eau Claire has caused him to reverse his position on voting against executive salaries at the mid-range of the campuses’ peer groups. Those experiences have convinced him that communities place a high premium on recruiting the best candidates possible. “We should be concerned about the quality of our leadership,” Salas explained.

In other business, the full Board approved resolutions to:

  • Streamline the academic program planning and review process;
  • Recruit a provost and vice chancellor at UW-River Falls;
  • Distribute adjustments to the 2006-07 annual budget;
  • Approve food services contract extensions at UW-River Falls and UW-La Crosse;
  • Grant authority to UW-Madison to purchase the Newell J. Smith Residence Hall,
  • Allow construction of an addition to the Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinics Building for the Health Emotions Research Institute on the UW-Madison campus, and to accept the addition as a gift-in-kind;
  • Approve the next steps in the bidding process for an addition and remodeling project at the Ullsvik Center at UW-Platteville;
  • Construct a campus electrical service project at UW-La Crosse;
  • Construct a renovation of the sixth and seventh floors of the Waisman Center at UW-Madison, as well as approve the design report and budget adjustment;
  • Plan the East Campus Utility Project at UW-Madison; and
  • Construct Facility Maintenance and Repair Projects within the UW System.

In addition to the appointment of a chancellor at UW-Eau Claire, in closed session, the Board:

  • Considered an honorary degree nomination by UW-Parkside;
  • Approved a salary adjustment for Debbie Durcan, UW System vice president for finance. As allowed by state statute, the Board voted to adjust Durcan’s salary to $151,887 (she currently earns $138,933), noting that vice president Durcan’s duties, as a result of state budget cuts and administrative consolidation, have expanded significantly since January 2005, including an increase in staff reporting to her from 34 to 57.
  • Voted to dismiss Roberto Coronado, a professor of Medical Physiology at UW-Madison, from UW employment.

Read Regent President Walsh’s statement


The Board of Regents will hold its next meeting on March 9 and 10, 2006, in Madison.

Related: Read Feb. 9 (day 1) news summary