The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents on Friday unanimously approved the biennial state budget request for 2009-2011 recommended by System President Kevin P. Reilly for its 26 campuses and its statewide UW-Extension.
Under the request, the UW System will seek reinvestment from the state for continued support of its Growth Agenda for Wisconsin, designed to help graduate more students, to create leading-edge jobs in Wisconsin, and to grow strong communities.
“I think it’s important that we present a budget that’s in line with our principles as we express them through the Growth Agenda … and that our budget reflects what we’re trying to talk about, what we’re trying to do for the state. This one hits the mark,” said Regent President Mark Bradley.
Following budget guidelines issued by the Wisconsin Department of Administration, the UW System will formally forward its budget request by September 15. The request then will be considered as the Governor’s Office prepares to release an overall state budget proposal early next year.
The Board of Regents recognized two departing Chancellors with resolutions of appreciation: Chancellor Jack Keating of UW-Parkside and Chancellor John Wiley of UW-Madison.
After being presented with a resolution from Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler, Keating commended the Board for recognizing and respecting the various UW campuses as unique entities.
“The campuses are, if you will, semi-autonomous,” Keating said. “We’re liberated to do what we do best, because we know what is best for our campuses – most of the time. And you trust that. That trust is critical for the proper functioning of any System.”
In recognizing Wiley, Regent David Walsh credited Wiley with starting a public dialogue about the future of higher education in Wisconsin and the role universities can play in developing a strong economy.
In his last appearance before the Board as chancellor, Wiley urged Regents to not treat tuition and state support separately.
“How much is it worth to the state of Wisconsin to produce that one degree in terms of future tax revenues, reduced impact on the healthcare system, reduced impact on the prison system, and all the other benefits that are disproportionately flowing to people who hold degrees beyond high school?” Wiley asked.
“How much is it worth to the state, how much is it worth to the individual and who should pay which fraction? That’s the real question. That’s the debate we should be having.”
Reilly added that both Keating and Wiley have “led their campuses with real integrity and intelligence. The positive influence of their leadership will be felt for decades to come, most directly on their own campuses but also in the way we operate as a System.”
President Reilly and Jim Rahn, President of the Kern Family Foundation, jointly announced a collaboration that will provide a new way for students to achieve the science credits necessary for their admission to UW. For the first time, students applying to UW campuses may have one or more of the Project Lead the Way Courses offered through the Kern Foundation be applied towards their required three science units.
The Kern Family Foundation, based in Waukesha, leads and financially supports efforts to get more science, technology, engineering and math education – the STEM disciplines – into Wisconsin’s middle and high schools. “Clearly this is a mission that’s in synch with our Growth Agenda objectives,” Reilly said.
In addition to its Project Lead the Way curriculum, which is designed to help students build the necessary skills to prepare them for high-wage, high-tech 21st century careers, the Foundation teamed up over the summer with 4-H, a program of Cooperative Extension – a division of UW-Extension – to offer Project Lead the Way Gateway Academies, geared to middle schoolers.
“By fostering student interest, motivation, and preparation for the rigors of top-level engineering and technology programs, the UW System has made a clear statement to teachers, parents, students, and K-12 administrators that these fields are important to Wisconsin’s future,” said Rahn, acknowledging the joint efforts of UW, the Kern Family Foundation, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in addressing STEM needs.
In his regular report, President Bradley updated the Board on the ongoing efforts to engage legislators — at both the state and federal level. He briefed the Board on the personal meeting that he, President Reilly, and Regent Pruitt recently had with the Governor, as well as sessions he and President Reilly had with legislative leadership from both parties in the State Capitol to give them an advance briefing on budget matters.
He also noted that in early September, he and President Reilly have scheduled visits to Washington, D.C., to meet with the Wisconsin delegation in Congress.
Looking ahead at the Regents’ calendar for the upcoming year, Bradley advised the Board of two likely agenda items for November’s discussion-only session: the impact of the “graying” of faculty and staff on academic workforce recruitment and retention; and the development of professional doctorate programs to replace masters programs in fields requiring increased professional training.
The Board also recognized the winners of the Regents’ 2008 Academic Staff Awards for Excellence. This is the highest recognition bestowed on members of the UW System’s academic staff.
Recipients of this year’s individual awards were Kathleen Kelly Shanovich, a pediatric nurse practitioner at UW Hospital/Medical School, and Jane M. Spencer, executive director of the UW-La Crosse Alumni Association. The UW-Extension’s Cooperative Extension Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP), which includes a 150-member staff, received the Regents’ program award. This is the first year that programs also have been recognized.
Each winner receives a $5,000 award for professional development to enhance their program or function.
President Reilly reported to the Board that:
- UW-Whitewater senior Matt Scott has been chosen to be a member of the U.S. National wheelchair basketball team that will compete in the upcoming 2008 Paralympics in Beijing. Scott has previously been recognized with a nomination for a 2008 ESPY award for “Best Male Athlete with a Disability.”
- The UW-Eau Claire women’s softball team claimed the NCAA Division III championship in an all-Wisconsin final, with a come-from-behind victory over UW-Whitewater. The softball team’s national title is the seventh team title in UW-Eau Claire’s athletics history but only the second since joining the NCAA.
- UW-Stevens Point has announced that its campus residence halls now use 53% green energy from renewable sources. Stevens Point is the largest purchaser of renewable energy of all the UW System campuses.
- The UW-Stout community recently held its 2008 Visioning Session to begin work on setting new institutional goals. A group of 85 members of the public offered suggestions and ideas to be considered in the university’s strategic planning process. The last Visioning Session was held in 2001, and the goals identified were included in Stout’s FOCUS 2010 plan. This recent session will help to lay out a series of goals, called FOCUS 2015, to be accomplished by the year 2015.
- UW-Manitowoc recently addressed the needs of its community and students when they signed an agreement with Silver Lake College and Mount Mary College to ease the transfer process for students. Under this collaboration, students with an associate’s degree from UW-Manitowoc and at least a 2.0 grade point average will be eligible to fully transfer their credits for admission to the two private four-year schools.
- The Phuture Phoenix program that former Chancellor Bruce Shepard and his wife Cyndie helped to establish at UW-Green Bay got a big boost over the summer when local philanthropist Irene Daniell Kress made the first leadership gift of a generous but undisclosed donation toward the program’s $5-million scholarship fund. There are also five other new endowed scholarships earmarked for the program. The growth of the Phuture Phoenix program, and others like it, bode well for achieving UW’s Growth Agenda Action Step of creating a KnowHow2GO Network.
- Fifteen current and retired UW-Oshkosh faculty members traveled to China for two weeks this summer to learn more about Chinese business education and practice. UW-Oshkosh’s College of Business hopes to pursue a cooperative agreement with the city’s Hangzhou Foreign Language School to guarantee admittance of five students per year to UW-Oshkosh’s business program.
In other business, the Board:
- Approved a UW System Administration mission statement;
- Approved the Western Technical College Associate of Science Degree Liberal Arts Transfer Program, a collaboration between Western Technical College and the UW-La Crosse;
- Approved the 2007 Report of the Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP);
- Authorized a new Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering at UW-Stout;
- Approved three UW-Milwaukee charter school contract extensions: Woodlands School; the Capitol West Academy (with revisions); and the Business and Economics Academy of Milwaukee (with revisions);
- Approved the appointment of Dr. Valerie Gilchrist to the Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program;
- Authorized the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies at UW-Eau Claire;
- Authorized the Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at UW-River Falls;
- Authorized the Master’s of Science in Clinical Investigations at UW-Madison;
- Approved the authority to adjust the project scope and budget, as well as to construct the UW-Madison Chazen Museum of Art Project;
- Authorized the construction of Phase I of the Facilities Management Relocation Project at UW-Oshkosh to remodel a vehicle maintenance facility and storage buildings;
- Approved the construction of the Phase I of the Boebel Hall Remodeling Project at UW-Platteville;
- Authorized construction of the Steiner Residence Hall Renovation Project at UW-Stevens Point;
- Approved the construction of twelve minor projects under the all agency maintenance fund program.
The UW System Board of Regents will hold its next meeting October 2-3, on the UW-Stevens Point campus.
Related: Read August 21 (day 1) news summary