The Board of Regents began its second day by recognizing a number of departing leaders:
- Regent Emeritus Peggy Rosenzweig for five years of service on the Board of Regents;
- Non-traditional Student Regent Tom Shields for two years of service on the Board of Regents;
- UW-River Falls Chancellor Don Betz, who has announced that he will leave the campus at the end of June to become president of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma;
- UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard, who announced last month that he will step down at the end of June to become the next president of Western Washington University; and
- Executive Senior Vice President Don Mash, who recently announced his retirement after 40 years in higher education.
In his regular report, President Mark Bradley reflected upon a year filled with, what he described as, “big-picture issues” for the Board.
“In the last 365 days or so, we worked to execute on our plan, the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin,” said Bradley. “A framework that, I believe, is already helping us to navigate through the changing tides of higher education.”
The Growth Agenda is the UW System’s plan to enroll and retain more college students, produce more college graduates for Wisconsin’s workforce, and stimulate the development of high-growth industries. In February, the Board approved eleven Growth Agenda Action Steps aimed at creating a framework for the UW System’s Agenda.
“Throughout this crucial development process, we’ve held tight to our responsibility to remain transparent and collaborative with Wisconsin leaders and taxpayers,” said Bradley, pointing to the Board’s ongoing dialogue with Gov. Doyle and the legislature.
Bradley also commended the Board on its work to fill five chancellor vacancies, three of which were confirmed by the Board in closed session yesterday.
“I am proud to say that we were able to sustain this momentum in all of these areas while working to fill these positions,” said Bradley.
Looking to the next 365 days, Bradley added that he “looks forward to those challenges the Board will face.”
In his regular report to the Board, UW System President Kevin P. Reilly presented the UW System’s “Report on Campus Safety.”
“[It is] our responsibility to provide our institutions with clear guidance on the matters of emergency preparedness,” said Reilly. He created the 18-member Commission on University Security last year, after the tragic events on the Virginia Tech Campus. It was charged with developing safety and response recommendations for the UW campuses.
“It is hoped that these recommendations have enhanced, and will continue to enhance, our UW institutions’ readiness to respond to the unexpected,” said Reilly.
The UW System Report on Campus Safety included the recommendations reported by Gov. Doyle’s “Task Force on Campus Safety,” which issued its final report this past November.
“We don’t have an unusually risky place on our campuses,” said Regent Jeff Bartell. “The most effective efforts that we can make are in prevention.”
“[It is] a good thing that we’ve embarked on providing [increased] mental health services,” added Regent Tom Loftus.
Among the recommendations of the report, the Commission advised the expansion of the Campus Safety Coordinators group, a conglomeration of representatives from each campus who serve as contact persons on issues of campus safety and security.
“[This initiative] enhances overall communication and coordination among the campuses,” said Larry Rubin, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The Commission also recommended that the UW System seek additional state and external funding to help support campus safety efforts.
“It is very clear from the campus input, that although every institution is taking steps to enhance its campus safety and security efforts, there are growing cost and resource implications,” said Rubin. “Costs for implementing a number of these expectations are not trivial.”
“Much of what we’ve done, has been done with what we already have,” said Bartell. “I complement all campuses for what they’ve been able to do in that regard.”
Julie Gordon, UW System Director of the Office of Planning and Audit, added that the Board will receive a progress report in one year regarding the institutions’ implementation of the report’s recommendations.
“I think it is very important to keep this subject on our table,” said Bartell.
Christy Brown, UW-Milwaukee’s Interim Vice Chancellor of Finance and Administrative Affairs, shared her institution’s work to enhance campus safety and preparedness. Among the initiatives, the university created a new Campus Safety website, SAFE Walker patrols, and the formation of a Threat Assessment Team.
“We believe that these strategies and measures to prevent, intervene and react in the aftermath, are helping to create a culture of safety and safety awareness on our campuses and surrounding neighborhoods,” said Brown.
Also included in Reilly’s report to the Board, was a preliminary, broad preview of the UW System’s biennial budget proposal. The Board will vote on the UW System’s biennial budget at its August meeting.
“Understanding that the current economic climate has us tightening our belt, it is a very competitive process in determining which initiatives come forward for your consideration,” said Reilly, adding that of the $63 million initial budget submissions, the UW System has been able to “shape those into a package totaling less than $35 million.”
“I can assure you that the proposed 2009-11 request items that we’ve prepared for your consideration would fit within the Governor’s previously stated priorities,” added Associated Vice President Freda Harris. “[They] are the strongest proposals brought forward by our campuses.”
Focusing on the UW System’s growing difficulty to remain competitive in regards to offering comparable benefits for leadership, faculty, and staff, Reilly also announced his plans to create a UW Commission on Competitiveness and Compensation to delve deeper into the issue.
“To develop human capital we must invest in human capital,” said Reilly. “We certainly cannot achieve the Growth Agenda vision if our institutions cannot hire and keep the professors who will teach our students and engage in that job-creating academic research.”
Although details about the Commission have not been formulated, Reilly anticipates a report, including recommendations, by early 2009 to ensure the findings can be included in the development of the UW System’s next pay plan.
The Board approved a resolution requesting full funding for the state-mandated Veterans Tuition Remission program, a program that covers the cost of higher education for veterans.
The Board also passed a resolution requesting the Higher Educational Aids Board seek increased state investment in the next biennial budget, thereby granting a dollar-for-dollar increase for eligible University of Wisconsin students.
The Board unanimously:
- Reelected Mark Bradley as President of the Board, Chuck Pruitt as the Vice President, and a number of other positions including trust officers;
- Approved a differential tuition for the UW-Madison School of Engineering;
- Approved a two-part differential tuition for UW-Superior;
- Approved the removal of the requirement for proxy voting service from the Trust Funds Investment Guidelines;
- Approved a salary range adjustment for the UW-Milwaukee chancellor;
- Approved a new food service contract for UW-Oshkosh;
- Approved a new bookstore contract for UW-Eau Claire;
- Approved a new bookstore contract for UW-Platteville;
- Approved two new schools at UW-Milwaukee: School of Public Health and School of Freshwater Sciences;
- Authorized a Ph.D. program in Africology at UW-Milwaukee;
- Approved the 2008-09 Report on Faculty Promotions, Tenure Designations and Other Changes of Status;
- Authorized a number of programs including: a Bachelor of Arts program in Design Arts at UW-Green Bay; a Bachelor of Arts program in Arts Management at UW-Green Bay; a Bachelor of Science program in Plastics Engineering at UW-Stout; a Master’s of Arts program in Spanish at UW-Milwaukee; and a Master’s of Arts program in Women’s Studies at UW-Milwaukee;
- Formally accepted a generous proffer from the Vilas Trust to UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee;
- Authorized a new academic building at UW-La Crosse;
- Authorized a land use agreement for the construction of a UW-Madison faculty office building by the UW Medical Foundation, and accepted the facility as a gift-in-kind;
- Authorized UW-Platteville to construct the outdoor track lighting portion of the Williams Fieldhouse addition as a separate project this year prior to the entire project;
- Authorized UW-Stevens Point to purchase a city lot and house at 2016 Briggs St., and acquire nine parcels in the same block as they become available;
- Approved seven minor projects as requested under the UW System All Agency maintenance fund involving program revenues;
- Authorized UW-Superior to construct a new academic building project;
- Authorized UW-Madison to grant a permanent easement for access to private property adjacent to the Rhinelander Agricultural Research Station;
- Authorized UW-Stevens Point to adjust the budget of the Fine Arts Center remodeling and an additional project;
- Authorized UW-Stevens Point to adjust the budget of the Dreyfus University Center remodeling and addition project;
- Authorized a revision of the UW-Superior’s Jim Dan Hill Library funding and authority to construct Swenson Hall; and
- Approved the bylaws of the Board of Regents to change the name of the Physical Planning and Funding Committee to the Capital Planning and Budget Committee.
Photo Credit:UW-Milwaukee photographers Alan Magayne-Roshak and Peter Jakubowski
The UW System Board of Regents will hold its next meeting on August 21 – 22, in Madison.
Related: Read June 5 (day 1) news summary