Today, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved the UW System’s strategic framework, 2020FWD: Moving Wisconsin and the World Forward. UW System President Ray Cross told the board the framework is designed to provide strategic direction for the UW System in four key areas:  the educational pipeline, the university experience, business and community mobilization, and operational excellence. The initiatives will help keep college affordable for Wisconsin families, develop the workforce the state will need in the future, reinvigorate the state’s economy, and enhance the lives of the people of Wisconsin.

Cross introduced the framework after a year-long development process, which included gathering input from the public and university community through listening sessions and surveys, and also involved a variety of stakeholder and expert groups. In all, nearly 5,000 people participated.

“The framework is a comprehensive reflection of the voices and priorities we heard,” said Regina Millner, president of the board. “The UW System is a leader in higher education. It will continue capitalizing on its existing strengths as it fearlessly takes on challenges to move our state forward. This framework sets out innovative ways the UW System can continue to provide its world-class, affordable education to all UW students.”

The Board of Regents also approved the 2017-19 biennial operating budget request and the 2017-19 biennial capital budget request presented by Cross and staff.

As part of the operating budget request, the UW System is asking for $42.5 million in state general program revenue (GPR) to fund 2020FWD initiatives. Like state agencies, the UW System typically needs cost-to-continue funding for items such as utilities and fringe benefits, which has averaged $88 million over the past six biennia. The UW System will not be asking for cost-to-continue in the upcoming biennia because utilities are expected to stay flat, and fewer staff mean lower fringe benefit costs.

“The UW System’s 2017-19 biennial budget request is reasonable and targeted to the state’s greatest needs. This includes increasing the number of college graduates ready to enter the workplace in high-demand areas; reducing time-to-graduation to increase affordability for Wisconsin families; and providing services to ensure students have the support and programs they need, whether traditional students or working adults,” said Millner.

The UW Board approved Cross’s biennial budget proposal and the UW System 2020FWD strategic framework Thursday afternoon. The biennial budget request will be sent to Gov. Scott Walker for consideration as part of the biennial budget package his office will begin preparing this fall.

The strategic framework, along with background materials about the process, is available at