OSHKOSH – Two regional organizations from Northeast Wisconsin came before the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday to showcase the broad benefits of collaboration between higher education and the business community.

The close partnership between New North, Inc., the Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance (NEW ERA), and UW-Oshkosh is promoting job growth, economic viability, and a high quality of life in the area, said Jerry Murphy, executive director of New North, Inc.

Murphy noted that education is deeply woven into and underpins all of New North’s initiatives.

New North, Inc. is a consortium of leaders representing businesses, economic development corporations, chambers of commerce, civic groups, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions from 18 counties in Northeast Wisconsin.

NEW ERA links the region’s 13 publicly-supported institutions of higher education. This includes UW-Oshkosh, UW-Green Bay, the region’s five two-year UW Colleges, and UW-Extension, along with the region’s four technical colleges and College of Menominee Nation.

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden told Regents that although NEW ERA members hail from institutions with somewhat differing missions, there is recognition that ultimately they share the same goal of educating the people in the region.

Jim Perry, Dean of UW-Fox Valley and a past president of NEW ERA, told Regents that regular meetings between representatives from all the higher education entities in the region have provided the opportunity for “frank and candid discussion,” opening the door to reduced competition and increased collaboration between institutions.

“The work of this group is particularly focused on the assumption or belief that virtually everyone going into our workforce has to invest at least some post-secondary education,” Murphy said.

Regent Judy Crain, noting that she is currently the only member of the Board from the New North region, said she sees NEW ERA “making an enormous difference.”

Regent Tony Evers urged NEW ERA to expand its educational collaborations beyond the college level and into the high schools, citing the benefits of providing high school students with access to more rigorous coursework. He also encouraged additional education advocacy aimed at high-risk high school students. “The knowledge that there’s something beyond what’s happening in life at this minute is critically important,” Evers said.

UW System President Kevin P. Reilly commended New North, NEW ERA, and UW-Oshkosh for setting the example in forging productive partnerships. “I don’t know if any other region of the state has gotten this far in making connections,” Reilly said.


Board recognizes passing of former colleague

On behalf of the Board, Regent President Chuck Pruitt expressed condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Barbara Thompson, who recently passed away. Thompson served on the Board of Regents from 1973 to 1981. She was the first woman to serve as Wisconsin’s state superintendent of public instruction.

Regent Tony Evers, the current state superintendent, noted the “strong statement” that Thompson made when she determined that teacher-licensing was not a lifelong right, and that members of the PK-12 system must continually improve and engage in professional development.


In other business, the Board:

  • Approved a resolution of appreciation to UW-Oshkosh for hosting the October meeting;
  • Approved a resolution endorsing the principle of replication for UW-Milwaukee charter schools;
  • Approved the new appointment of Dr. Cynthia Haq and the reappointment of Dr. Susan Goelzer, Katherine Marks, and Douglas Mormann to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future;
  • Approved UW-Oshkosh’s revised mission statement;
  • Approved a Board resolution supporting continued federal funding for stem cell research;
  • Approved a 10-year contract for financial services between UW-Oshkosh and the UW Credit Union;
  • Approved UW Colleges’ request to amend the lease for the UW-Sheboygan campus to reflect the current operating arrangement and land boundaries and the recent co-location of Sheboygan County Cooperative Extension within the campus buildings;
  • Approved a request by UW-Madison to construct the Kohl Center Addition Hockey/Swimming Facility Project;
  • Approved UW-Platteville’s request to construct the Porter Residence Hall Renovation project and to seek a waiver for single prime bidding;
  • Approved UW System’s request for 12 All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects at eight UW System institutions; and
  • Elected UW System general counsel Tom Stafford as new Assistant Trust Officer of the Board of Regents.


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