Photo of Chancellor Debbie Ford welcoming the Board of Regents at its October 2018 meeting hosted by UW-Parkside

UW-Parkside Chancellor Deborah Ford addresses the Board of Regents during its October 2018 meeting, hosted by UW-Parkside. The university celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

SOMERS, Wis. – Four University of Wisconsin System Chancellors told the System’s Board of Regents at its meeting Thursday at UW-Parkside that the $25-million funding request for Capacity-Building Initiatives would expand the state’s talent pipeline by increasing the number of graduates in high-demand fields like healthcare, science, technology, engineering and mathematics; and enhance student success by helping them graduate faster and enter the workforce.

The UW System is seeking the new funding as part of its 2019-21 budget request to the Department of Administration. The initiatives align with legislative goals to expand Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, ensure affordable educational attainment, prepare students for success, and collaborate to spur innovation.

“That $25-million request for the Capacity-Building Initiatives is incredibly important and I really want to press this issue,” said UW System President Ray Cross.

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone said his campus would use the funding to leverage existing programs and emphases, including enhancing faculty diversity, improving student advising, increasing the number of students in nursing, information technology and other STEM programs, and bolster the freshwater sciences program.

UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said the institution proposes to increase the number of engineering graduates. Strategies include building interest in high schools, enhancing the institution’s collaboration with UW-Platteville, and work with two- and four-year campuses in Southeastern Wisconsin to expand engineering partnerships.

It will also increase the number of teachers in bilingual education, English as a Second Language, and special education; diversify the students studying teaching by introducing high school students to campus; and create a mentoring program for students.

UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford said her campus would expand courses in high-demand fields such as supply chain management and increase the number of annual graduates by 50 percent by 2025 by adding advisors and growing Summer Bridge programs and creating a regional pre-college program, among other strategies.

UW-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer and Provost Patrick Guilfoile said the campus would add faculty in Computer Science, Computer Networking and Applied Mathematics; expand student offerings in engineering programs; and improve its Career Services offices for more internship and co-op experiences, among other things.

Additional Chancellor presentations on proposed Capacity-Building Initiatives will be featured at upcoming meetings.

Valued Partnerships: Bold Beginnings, Future Focus

Deborah Ford, Chancellor at UW-Parkside and host of Thursday’s meeting, shared the history of the institution as it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

“UW Parkside is powered by partnerships. It has been for the last 50 years and it will be for the next 50,” Ford said.

She had plenty of community support. Ford’s presentation included a panel of business and community leaders from SC Johnson, CNH Industrial, Snap-on Incorporated, the Medical College of Wisconsin, Building our Future, and Higher Expectations.

“There is constant change now and to stay ahead of the change is the game. The only way to do that is to network in the community and have constant communication,” said Kelly Semrau, senior vice president of Global Corporate Affairs for SC Johnson.

Brian French, head of Human Resources, NAFTA Region at CNH Industrial said the CNH Industrial executive team was looking to create more substantial relationships with universities in the region. “What really got our attention was (UW-Parkside) coming to us and saying ‘we can help you,’” French said.

Many companies and organizations in southeastern Wisconsin, including those represented on Thursday’s panel, have provided UW-Parkside students with educational opportunities outside the classroom.

“Whether the calendar reads 1968 or 2018, the marketplace demands individuals who will be relevant and valued contributors today and decades from now,” Ford said. “An important element to developing that talent and reaching that goal is through university and business partnerships.”

Ford also urged Regents to discuss the importance of a System higher education and to advocate for increased pay for faculty and staff.

“What we do today, the decisions we make in the months to come will shape opportunities for students who are just now beginning their educational journey,” Ford said.

UW-Madison Athletics Safety Report

UW-Madison Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez provided an overview of the athletic department’s policies and procedures related to the health and safety of UW-Madison student-athletes.

The review both affirmed successful components of UW-Madison Athletics Department and yielded numerous recommendations for even greater care of UW-Madison student-athletes and athletics staff.

“As far as we know, it’s the only such report from an Athletic Department in the Big Ten,” said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank.

She noted that risks and challenges involving protecting student-athletes never go away.

Alvarez said by implementing recommendations in the review, the campus could prevent issues that have arisen elsewhere. Among the recommendations:

  • Ensure student-athletes know to whom they can report safety concerns.
  • Better monitoring of access to, and traffic in, facilities. Among the challenges are the desire for public access, the length of time facilities are used in a day and the fact that the Athletics Department doesn’t control all facilities.
  • Provide improved mental health services and review the interactions of student-athletes and health-care providers.

Regent President John Robert Behling applauded the Badgers for their highly successful athletics programs, adding, “Equally critical is they’re having great success on the field and addressing safety at all angles.”

“The scope of what our athletics department has to think about is extensive,” said Regent Vice President Drew Petersen, who called the report both comprehensive and transparent.

Business and Finance Committee

The Business and Finance Committee approved the statutorily-required Program Revenue Fund Balance Report. Committee members praised the action by UW System institutions and administration to better manage revenue balances while pointing out the Regents’ fiduciary duty to make sure the System and institutions have an appropriate level of reserves.

The balances are held strategically in the event of a decline in public funding or to capitalize on new programs or initiatives.

“This is a report that needs to be bulletproof. It can’t bob and weave,” said committee chairman Regent Gerald Whitburn. “It needs to be straightforward. So far, I think the Legislature has been comfortable.”

In 2013, the Legislature required the UW System to create an annual report on the fund balances.

According to the report, total program revenue balances increased by $100.1 million, but $63.6 million of the increase is due to restricted gift funds and restricted funding related to grants and contracts. Unrestricted program revenue balances amounted to $906.9 million, a reduction of 17.3 percent since fiscal 2013, though the amount increased $55.3 million in fiscal 2018.

Tuition program revenue balances dropped by $6.9 million at System institutions compared to the previous year but increased overall by $23.9 million due to increased utility and benefits balances held by the System administration.

In other business, the Business and Finance Committee:

  • Approved a UW-Madison contractual agreement for a Fee for Service Agreement with Worcester HIV Vaccine to provide routine biomanufacturing services for the production of vaccine to be used in FDA approved clinical trials;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Sponsored Research Agreement with Cerveau Technologies to provide statistical data analysis in support of a clinical trial involving patients with Alzheimer’s disease;
  • Approved changes to Regent policy regarding the reporting of extramural gift, grant, and contract awards. Current policy requires that such activity be reported to the Business and Finance Committee on a quarterly basis. The approved change would shift that to a semi-annual reporting cycle;
  • Received a high-level summary report comparing budgeted to actual revenues and expenditures through the end of the last fiscal year. This final report for FY2018 shows that, at the close of the year, actual expenditures were approximately 99.6% of the Regent approved budget, while revenues were at 104.4% of the budgeted level;
  • Reviewed a summary of gift, grant, and contract awards for the period July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018. Awards for the period were approximately $1.529 billion, an increase of $90.0 million compared to the prior year. Federal awards increased $38.7 million while non-federal awards increased by $51.3 million;
  • Heard brief comments from Vice President of Administration Rob Cramer on the UW System Shared Services Initiative;
  • Heard a brief update from Vice President for Finance Sean Nelson on outcomes-based (performance) funding; and
  • Heard a brief update from interim Associate Vice President for Information Security Katherine Mayer about computer and Internet security matters.

Education Committee

Regent Regina Millner, chair of the Education Committee, invited Provosts to join in a discussion focused on two key questions: How to increase enrollment in teacher and principal preparation programs; and how to help raise public esteem for teachers in Wisconsin.

UW-Madison Provost Sara Mangelsdorf said education students face “the combination of longer time to degree, which means more cost, and then lower compensation,” which pose significant disincentives to growing the number of teachers to meet demand.

Regent Mark Tyler said perceptions and compensation are significant barriers to expanding the necessary teacher pool. “We’ve got a great pipeline of teachers and they’re passionate about what they do, and then reality hits them in the face,” he said, pointing to relatively low salaries. “It creates huge turnover.”

Part of the answer, some suggested, might lie in secondary rewards that are meaningful – such as the opportunity to continue research, or incentives to teach in rural areas.

In other business, the Education Committee:

  • Approved UW-Stout’s proposal to establish a Bachelor of Science degree in Video Production. This program will elevate the existing and successful minor in Photography and Video to a major in Video Production. The development of the program responds to increased student and workforce demand in rapidly expanding fields, related to the creation and presentation of video for online and multi-channel media distribution, such as content for social media, training, education, and digital display websites;
  • Approved UW-River Fall’s request of its revised mission statement and mission addendum. The updated version includes required language regarding the types of student populations, academic programs, and degrees conferred by UW-River Falls. Board approval prior to the scheduled reaccreditation visit of the Higher Learning Commission on Oct. 15-17, 2018;
  • Heard an update from Karen Schmitt, Interim Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, on the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Restructuring Initiative; and
  • Heard a presentation from UW-Parkside Provost Robert Ducoffe entitled: “Recommitting to our Vision: Renewing an Academic Plan to Lead UW-Parkside to 2020.”

Capital Planning and Budget Committee

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to complete the design and construction of the $1.1 million gift-funded UW-Madison College Library Restroom Remodel project, which expands and remodels the restrooms on the three floors that house the College Library in Helen C. White Hall to meet modern building code requirements. The College Library is one of the busiest libraries on campus and the restrooms presently do not have enough capacity to serve the faculty, staff, students, and library patrons.

In other business, the Committee:

  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to complete the design and construction of the $1.4 million gift-funded UW-Madison Memorial Library and UW Press Remodel project, which remodels non-contiguous underutilized space in Memorial Library to consolidate current library staff and create enough space to house the UW Press and its staff.  This remodeling will allow UW-Madison to relocate UW Press back to the campus from Monroe Street in Madison and thus reduce future costs by eliminating the need for a lease;
  • Heard a report from Associate Vice President Alex Roe on cost containment measures; and
  • Went into closed session to consider information related to the naming of a facility at UW-Stevens Point.

Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee

A panel of female students and their faculty representatives from UW-Parkside presented their thoughts and experiences with innovative activities and opportunities at UW-Parkside. The student/faculty panel – featuring biological sciences, molecular biology and bioinformatics, physics, and psychology/computer science majors –highlighted women scientists who are highly successful in the classroom and who are using the educational experience and opportunities available at UW-Parkside to advance innovative ideas.

Cassie Van Hoof, a biological sciences major, has already filed a U.S. patent application for her research idea, Purrfect Pal, a botanical extract spray to redirect feline aggression and anxiety. She applauded the significant representation of women and diversity in upper-level classes at UW-Parkside. “It’s really important to have people to look up to,” she said.

Chloe Calderon, a senior physics major, expects to graduate next spring at age 19 with four published papers to her credit. “That’s enough for a faculty member to get tenure,” noted her advisor, Dr. Pirooz Mohazzabi. “You can always do 100 times more than you think you can, and here at UW-Parkside, I’ve had an incredible amount of opportunities,” Calderon said. She also has been actively engaged in sharing her experience with high school students, especially girls, to encourage more participation in STEM fields.

In other business, the REDI Committee:

  • Heard a report from Jela Trask, Business and Investment Attraction Director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, with an update on current major project initiatives, including Foxconn. Trask focused on efforts to assist Wisconsin companies in identifying and connecting to the resources they need to be successful, particularly in areas such as workforce and supply chain.

See more photos from the October 4 meeting.

Photos by Alyssa Nepper/UW-Parkside

The Board of Regents resumes its meeting on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, at UW-Parkside.