Regents review status of diversity goals in the UW System; honor academic staff members

MADISON—The University of Wisconsin System must be aggressive and creative in integrating its goals to improve diversity into the university’s mission if it is to serve all citizens of the state and to improve the long-term future of Wisconsin.

The UW System has made progress on some of the goals outlined in Plan 2008, a systemwide plan to improve racial and ethnic diversity, but the university is far from realizing equity and excellence for students in all groups, according to a report to the Board of Regents on Thursday (May 4).

UW System President Kevin P. Reilly noted that the system’s diversity goals are unquestionably a part of meeting the UW’s Growth Agenda for Wisconsin. That agenda, he said, is rooted in three goals: 1) to produce more state citizens who have four-year college degrees, 2) to use the university’s resources to attract baccalaureate-degree holders to Wisconsin from other states; and 3) to grow the number of jobs that can keep Wisconsin competitive in the 21st century knowledge economy.

“I don’t see the Growth Agenda and our diversity goals as two distinct efforts,” Reilly said. “[The Growth Agenda] demands that we recognize diversity at the core of who we are and what we do. ‘Regardless of background’ means diversity in all its dimensions.”

The university cannot achieve this Growth Agenda, Reilly said, if the university’s efforts do not include serving citizens who are typically underrepresented in colleges and universities, including students of color, adult students, and students from low-income backgrounds.

The lack of progress on the university’s Plan 2008 and its diversity goals is especially evident in retention and graduation rates, said Vicki Washington, UW System assistant vice president for academic diversity and development.

“That does not mean that we haven’t made some progress, that we aren’t working on it, or that change isn’t difficult,” she said. “But our reality is that we have not succeeded in achieving those goals.

Making significant progress in the next two years is “both our opportunity and our challenge,” Washington said.

Key findings of the report presented Thursday, “Equity and Excellence through Diversity,” include that the enrollment of students of color increased by 16 percent between 1998 and 2002; but at the same time, the proportion of students of color who enrolled at UW campuses immediately after graduating from a Wisconsin high school declined from 23 to 20 percent. Today, the report notes, the number of new UW freshmen who are students of color is not increasing at the same rate as the number of students of color who graduate from Wisconsin high schools.

In addition, from 1998-2002, the participation in pre-college programs increased 156 percent; retention of students of color improved slightly, but still lagged behind the rates for white students; and 43 percent of students of color graduated within six years, while 64 percent of white students did so.

Washington noted that the UW still has many “missed opportunities.” While more than 55,000 students participate in pre-college programs, just over 5,000 enroll as new freshmen at UW campuses. A lack of full funding for these programs, Washington said, has not allowed the UW to serve all students in Wisconsin’s growing and diverse populations.

The Equity Scorecard, Washington said, is a process that is likely to help campuses find the root causes for these gaps in enrollment and educational outcomes. The four-stage scorecard is a self-evaluation tool intended to help campuses improve their organizational structures, their missions, and to create welcoming and equitable educational environments. By drawing attention to inequities, and by sustaining positive change over time, the scorecard has the potential to increase accountability for achieving diversity goals at the campus level, as well as across the system, the report notes.

UW-Parkside Provost Rebecca Martin said her campus is using the Equity Scorecard to learn more about the barriers that students of color face in terms of access, financial aid, and educational preparation and opportunities. The campus hopes to understand where it is failing to meet the needs of underserved students, and then to invest programs and efforts with proven success in helping students overcome challenges, she said.

”We are learning a lot about our students of color that we didn’t know before,” Martin said. “At UW-Parkside, we work very hard to embrace the students that we serve. If we’re serious about the opportunity we’re providing to them, what is it we need to do differently?”

Eugene Fujimoto, assistant to the chancellor for equity and diversity at UW-Parkside, said first-year enrollment of students of color exceeds the graduation rates of those students at area high schools, and students have equitable access to financial aid. But he said that overall, enrollment of students of color lags behind expectations, given the number of 18- and 19-year-olds in the Racine and Kenosha areas. He said the campus is pleased with its progress in serving African-American students, but that it hopes to do more to serve Hispanic/Latino/a students, especially as fewer of those students in the region are reaching high-school graduation.

Martin said the campus will engage the community as it seeks to understand how it can better serve Hispanic/Latino/a students, African-American males, and students of color who would like to attend college part-time. Martin also noted that the campus would like to learn more about why there are no students from Southeast Asian backgrounds in its current freshman class.

“We do think there are students there that we are missing that we need to go after,” Martin said. “If we can make UW-Parkside a destination for success, we would like to make that available to students outside of our region.”

The UW System has been more closely tracking the achievement and enrollment of students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, Washington said. Enrollment in precollege programs for minority and disadvantaged students has been increasing, and these programs play a pivotal role in increasing college aspirations among these students, as well as in preparing students for college curricula, she said. Going forward, the campuses are studying the data they gather, and are setting goals to achieve equity.

Reilly noted that the UW is working to implement a holistic admissions process, appropriate for each campus, to evaluate a variety of factors when admitting students. The process is expected to enable campuses to reap the educational benefits of diversity for all students, he said.

“It’s an example, I think, of how we can achieve our goals by thinking of diversity as not a separate issue, but rather, a part of every facet of this university.” Reilly said.

In February, the Board reaffirmed its commitment to achieving educational diversity across the UW System. Regents noted that it is the university’s mission to serve students of all ages, backgrounds and income levels, and acknowledged that all students receive the educational benefits that flow from a diversity student body. Further, the Board noted the array of programs and policies across the system intended to achieve these goals.

Reilly said that he will ask UW staff to report back on the successes and failures of Plan 2008, and that he will include factors from this report in future performance evaluations and salary considerations for academic leaders. He added that he hopes to implement a Diversity Award to recognize excellence in the system by the end of the next Spring semester.

Reilly noted that he shares the frustration of those who believe the UW System has not focused enough attention on achieving the university’s diversity goals, but said he is optimistic. He noted that the President’s Diversity Council, a collection of leaders from colleges and universities, business and industry, is already helping the UW shift its thinking, and to learn from the successes in the private sector.

“I want the UW System to be a national leader and model for diversity and inclusion,” Reilly said. “We need to look back as we look forward, and learn what’s gone wrong. If this is not done, then we’ll have failed before we even begin. But I don’t believe that will be the case.”

Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee said he was very troubled to learn about the lack of Latino/a student enrollments, and said he would be paying close attention to increasing resources for diversity efforts during the budget process.

Regent Elizabeth Burmaster of Madison agreed that the Growth Agenda and the university’s goals to improve diversity are inherently the same. She noted that the proposed Wisconsin Covenant would address both access and retention.

“This is the issue,” she said. “We need more economically disadvantaged and students of color in our state with college degrees.” She said reaching these students is not only the right thing to do, but is also necessary for a competitive economy.

She urged campuses to work closely with their school districts and to get students involved once they are on campus. She also suggested accelerating efforts to establish a Diversity Award to celebrate successes along the way.

Regent Thomas Loftus of Sun Prairie encouraged institutions to understand the role that admissions plays in leading to a diverse student body, and expressed a desire for criteria on which academic leaders can be held accountable for institutional progress on these goals.

Regent Gerard Randall of Milwaukee wondered what kinds of incentives would encourage campuses to strive for success, and what kinds of disincentives would encourage academic leaders to see to it that the goals are achieved, such as reduced salaries for chancellors and the president, or reduced funding for the institution as a whole. Loftus suggested that chancellors be judged on demonstrated progress in enrollment, retention and graduation, and that a lack of progress should result in reduced salaries.

Reilly said the Board would have to consider whether withholding overall funding may further hinder the progress of institutions that did not achieve goals. He added that chancellors are asked to address diversity progress as part of their performance evaluation, and that the Board should assist in determining accountability measures for academic leaders. Regent Walsh suggested the Board more fully understand the data being gathered though the Equity Scorecard process before establishing criteria.

Regent Mary Cuene of Green Bay noted that the Wisconsin Technical College System will be a key partner in working with the UW System to achieve these goals, and Regents Chris Semenas of UW-Parkside and Judy Crain of Green Bay encouraged UW institutions to take a leadership role in fostering aspiration and success among citizens in their local communities.

“Part of what we’re talking about is the need to do some pretty dramatic things in the short-term, but it’s a long-term issue,” Crain said. “We’ve got to look at this holistically if we’re really going to sustain this state in the long-run.”

Regents honor two with Academic Staff Excellence Awards

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents paid tribute on Thursday to the professionalism, loyalty and devotion of academic staff members within the UW System by honoring the recipients of the 2006 Regents Academic Staff Award for Excellence.

“With this award, the Regents demonstrate their strong appreciation for the dedicated work, vital services, and outstanding contributions of the UW System’s non instructional academic staff,” said Regent Judy Crain of Green Bay, a member of the committee that selected the winners.

The recipients of the 2006 Regents Academic Staff Award were Lynn Markham, a land use specialist with UW-Stevens Point’s Center for Land Use Education, and Patti K. See, a senior student services coordinator for the Academic Skills Center at UW-Eau Claire.

A selection committee chaired by Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler chose the recipients. Other Regents participating in the selection were Danae Davis, Milton McPike, Gerard Randall, Jesus Salas, and Brent Smith. The committee chose the winners based on excellence of performance, personal interaction, initiative and creativity and outstanding achievement.

Crain said nominees included an archivist, a director of planning and landscape architecture, two distance-learning directors, a housing director, and a senior graphic designer. “Their nominations acknowledge the value their institutions place on their contributions to their institutions and the entire University of Wisconsin System,” she said.

Lynn Markham

Lynn Markham

Lynn Markham has worked as a land use specialist with UW-Stevens Point’s Center for Land Use Education since 2000. Markham assists communities across Wisconsin, providing the information necessary for legally, ethically, ecologically, and economically sound land use decisions. Her achievements include co-authoring a publication for community management of non-standard zoning developments, creating the Shoreland Friends Guidebook for waterfront property owners, and co-authoring the Plan Commission Handbook and the Zoning Board Handbook to provide guidance for local government officials.

“Perhaps Lynn’s greatest impact has been through personal interactions with people, including talking with individual citizens, conducting small group workshops, and presenting at large conferences,” Regent Crain said in presenting Markham’s award. “Displaying a rare combination of knowledge, patience, and thick skin, she has earned respect from citizens and community leaders from throughout the state.”

Markham thanked the Regents for the award and noted the contributions of, “scores of people around the state who…act on their values and encourage others in their community to do the same.”

Markham stressed the importance of keeping a UW education affordable and accessible, encouraged UW students and professors to participate in their communities, and noted the valuable role played by UW outreach in assisting Wisconsin communities.

Patti See

Patti See

Patti See has served the UW-Eau Claire campus through her work in the Academic Skills Center, developing and managing tutorial programs for students with disabilities, American multicultural students, and students from lower-income families. In addition, See regularly instructs courses in developmental education and Women’s Studies. A widely published author, See’s work has included fiction, essays, poetry and the textbook, Higher Education: Reading and Writing about College, now in its second edition.

UW-Eau Claire has recognized See’s accomplishments by awarding her with the Student Recognition Award from the Services for Students with Disabilities, the Distinguished Service Award from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the institution-wide Academic Staff Excellence in Performance Award.

“ Patti’s versatility as a speaker, teacher, and activist is widely recognized,” said Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee. “Patti can do it all.”

Thanking the Regents, See said, “I still can’t believe it — I am humbled by this award.”

See acknowledged that her own experiences as a first-generation college student at UW-Eau Claire prepared for interacting with students from all backgrounds — students with disabilities, first generation and low–income students, and multicultural students.

“Walking across the campus mall to my office each morning, I am thankful to be an integral part of something I glimpsed as a student: this community of thinkers that makes our corner of the world a better place,” See said.

Each UW System institution submits one non-instructional nominee for the award. The winners receive a $5,000 for professional development or to enhance a university program or function.

UW budget initiatives to further Growth Agenda for Wisconsin

Regents considered on Thursday a number of action plans from UW institutions that would contribute to the UW’s Growth Agenda for Wisconsin. The proposals would require new state funding to increase student access and success across the system, and to bolster regional economies around the state.

The Board considered the new initiatives at the start of its work to formulate a budget request for the 2007-09 budget biennium. Regents did not take action on Thursday, but rather discussed the potential of the proposals to meet the needs of the state. The Board will further refine its budget priorities for the 2007-09 biennium in the coming months.

All of the proposals inform the systemwide Growth Agenda, the UW multi-biennial plan to grow the state’s economy, and increase the number of citizens who have four-year college degrees.

Freda Harris, UW System associate vice president for budget and planning, said the proposals have the collective potential to add 2,800 new students in the next biennium, and would allow the UW to enroll an additional 7,700 students in the long-term. Among the proposed action plans:

  • The university would use $2.3 million to expand teacher education to address the needs of urban and small, rural K-12 schools in the state. The funded programming would also seek to recruit and retain students from diverse backgrounds to become teachers.
  • UW-Madison is among the campuses that would use $2 million to be able to train more nurses through accelerated programs to prepare current nurses to be educators in the field. The funding would leverage two federal grants, and would the UW to reach potential nurse educators in new areas of the state, and through online distance education. The program would be expected to graduate an additional 92 master’s and doctoral-prepared nurses each year, who are then eligible to train new nurses. The program would also be expected to train 130 bachelor’s-prepared nurses, further increasing the pool of future educators.
  • UW-Milwaukee would use $8.8 million to increase its capacity to compete for extramural research funds. The funding would expand faculty, establish a medical-imaging research program, and enhance scholarships and training for graduates and undergraduates. The initiatives would allow the campus to partner with public and private institutions in the metro-Milwaukee area. The Board expects to hear more about the proposal at its June meeting in Milwaukee.
  • Institutions in the Chippewa Valley would use $2.2 million for a NANOSTEM initiative to build education in science, technology, math and engineering fields. The initiative would assist current and new businesses in the region by offering university expertise, and by educating students to enter the highly skilled, growing workforce.
  • UW Colleges and UW-Extension would use $1.9 million to expand opportunities for adult students to earn associate and bachelor’s degrees through improved student recruitment, advising, and support services.
  • UW-Green Bay would use $986,000 to increase access for students of color and first-generation college students, while also increasing capacity in high-demand programs.
  • UW-La Crosse plans to generate additional dollars by gradually adjusting tuition over several years to match tuition at peer colleges and universities. This may mean slight increases in resident tuition, and adjustments to make tuition for nonresident and graduate students more competitive. The additional tuition generated would enable the campus to enroll more resident students, and would provide funds for additional financial aid. If the necessary tuition-setting authority is provided, no additional funding from the state would be required, Harris said.
  • UW-Oshkosh’s Growth Agenda would seek $1.7 million to increase the number of students in high-demand programs, such as fire science and emergency response management, and to meet the needs of more technical college graduates.
  • UW-Parkside would use $912,000 to support students at risk of failing to complete a bachelor’s degree. The funded programming would seek to improve student success, retention and graduation rates.
  • UW-Platteville would use $370,000 to extend electrical engineering education in the Fox Valley, and mechanical engineering in Rock County through video education. This delivery method would also allow the campus to eventually educate students at other UW Colleges.
  • UW-River Falls would use $211,000 to fund programming to enhance the college experience for first-year students, and students in transition, which includes students who come from background that are among the lowest-income represented in the UW System.
  • UW-Stevens Point would use $173,000 to establish a new major in health sciences, which would train students to health-care industries such as pharmaceutical sales, health insurance, and medical administration.
  • UW-Superior would use $735,000 to fund service-learning programming, to enhance the overall student experience, and to increase retention and enrollment. The initiative would be part of meeting its liberal-arts mission.
  • UW-Whitewater would use $248,000 to improve access and success of multicultural, disadvantaged, and disabled students.

In addition, the UW System would use $130,000 to re-implement the early math-placement test, which would be administered free of charge to high school juniors, as it was until 2000. The test allows students to determine whether they need to take additional high school courses before enrolling in college, reducing the need for remedial coursework at a university.

The UW System would also use $250,000 for phase IV of the Transfer Information System, an online resource that helps UW and WTCS students understand the courses and credits they need to transfer between the systems or to another UW campus.

A systemwide applied research program would use $250,000 to improve connections between university knowledge and practice. The program holds the potential to attract additional external matching funds, if some state investment is provided, Harris said. And finally, the Solid Waste Research Council, administered through the UW System, would seek support from the state’s recycling fund to administer additional programs.

Regent Charles Pruitt of Shorewood wondered how the Legislature might prioritize the teacher education and nursing initiatives. Regent Burmaster suggested that the initiatives meet state needs, in particular, the needs of urban and rural school districts, as well as state and federal legislation that requires teachers and students to meet high educational standards.

Regent Roger Axtell of Janesville encouraged the university to also consider providing funds for student study-abroad programs. “It’s been shown to be the quickest way to globalize the mind of young people. The return on investment is incredible,” he said, adding that encouraging students to study abroad is among the UW’s accountability measures.

Regent Cuene wondered if the programming proposed by UW Colleges and UW-Extension to reach adult students would duplicate programs that already exist around the state.

UW Colleges has an impressive history of reaching students who would not typically have a college experience, said Chancellor David Wilson, and continuing to do so is a priority. The program would not create new degree programs, but rather, allow adult students to enter existing programs toward earning a bachelor’s degree.

“We don’t see this as duplication — we see this as reaching out, enhancing what we do, and meeting a need that is not being met,” said UW-Extension interim dean Lee Zaborowski. UW College Provost Margaret Cleek added that the online programs are very attractive to adult students, who often seek such programming through private institutions.

The proposals would be among new initiatives the university would seek to implement in the next biennium, Harris said. The university expects to be able to determine the funding the UW will need to continue current levels of programming in June, when the state Department of Administration issues budget instructions.

The funding calculations for the presentation were based on a formula in which every 1 percent that tuition is increased would generate between $5.5 and $6 million for the university, Harris said. The costs are also based on the traditional funding, in which the state funds 65 percent of the costs of student education and support services, while 35 percent is funded through tuition.

Harris added that the state would be asked to fully fund programs not directly related to student instruction, such as research that would benefit the state, but would not directly impact student learning or support services.

UW-Oshkosh plans will grow area economy, serve new populations

Business, Finance and Audit committee reviews student fees, compensation

UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells told Regents on Thursday that the campus would contribute to the systemwide Growth Agenda by focusing on “brain development.”

The plan he presented offers “brain-development solutions” that would increase enrollment at the campus by the equivalent of 1,200 full-time students, and would increase the number of degrees conferred by 10 percent. The plans would also increase student retention by 10 percent, increase the number of students of color by 75 percent, and increase the number of adult students up 50 percent.

“Brain drain, we would argue, is mostly a myth,” he said, reviewing figures that show most Wisconsin college graduates stay in Wisconsin, and that many students who come to Wisconsin for college also end up staying in the state after graduation.

But, as the system’s research on baccalaureate degrees as shown, he said, Wisconsin can still improve on the number of citizens who have four-year college degrees.

Wells said that if Regents believe that Wisconsin should be known for “a vibrant knowledge-based economy, a skilled citizenry, high quality of life, and growing our own brains – we’ve got a proposal for you.”

Wells noted a “synergy” among many of the institutional proposals intended to further the Growth Agenda, and that support for and success of one initiative will, in turn, contribute to the success of several others.

Core programming in the UW-Oshkosh plan would address educational quality and student success in the 2007-09 biennium, and would include an expansion of UW-Oshkosh’s Graduation Project, which has demonstrated success in attracting students back to campus to finish bachelor’s degrees after being away from college for some time.

UW-Oshkosh partners with other colleges and universities, as well as businesses, industry leaders, and economic development groups through the regional New North and NEW ERA alliances, and is working to meet the demands of the area, Wells said.

We’re trying to align our academic menu with what the needs of the region are expected to be,” Wells said. New programs might include a bachelor’s of applied studies, which Wells described as a “very important degree,” as well as programs in fire science, and emergency response management.

The plan calls for the campus to reach out to students of color and other underrepresented students, and Wells noted that the single most important factor in retaining students of color is the experience that current students have on campus. The Equity Scorecard program will help UW-Oshkosh better understand that experience, he said, noting that the UW System is one of the only university systems to be implementing the self-assessment process.

“If we’re going to reach the kind of stretch goals we’re talking about on our campus, we’re going to have to make that work, and really use it,” he said.

Regent Jeffrey Bartell of Madison wondered if the campus would need more administrators as it adds the 50 faculty members it would seek through its plan. Wells noted that staff would be needed to support the additional activities.

Pruitt said the UW-Oshkosh’s Growth Agenda is “bold and visionary,” and wondered if Oshkosh has support for its goals from the community.

“This stuff is important to people,” Wells said. “It’s really going well.”

Regents review use of UW student segregated fees

The UW System’s process to assess student segregated fees is working, the Business, Finance, and Audit Committee learned Thursday.

“Every fee that is going on out there has been looked at by students, and they have given their input,” said UW System Audit Director Ron Yates.

His office conducted a review, requested by the Board, to determine whether campuses were following the UW System policies on the appropriate use of student segregated fees. The review found no major deficiencies, he said, but added that the system could be enhanced further through a few improvements.

Regents noted that segregated fees, money that students pay to the university in addition to tuition, pay for some student services, capital projects and other non-instructional activities. The review also noted that segregated fees within the UW System are largely comparable to other states.

Loftus said the audit is quite good in parts, and noted that as the fee process is defined, it is generally followed. He wondered if the process could be improved if students had even more involvement.

“This is the one area we control,” Loftus said. “But I would be reluctant to recommend any artificial cap on fees given the current fiscal environment.”

Capital projects seem to be the primary reason that student segregated fees are assessed, he said. One suggestion going forward might be for the Board to have a better understanding of the amounts and lengths of time for fees assessed for capital projects and debt service, Yates explained.

The review also suggested that the process might be enhanced if students were more involved early on in budgeting processes when student fees are to be assessed, that student committees that consider such fees use standardized materials in their deliberations, and that those student committees also review the budgets of student services that are funded by nonallocable student fees.

UW-Platteville Chancellor David Markee noted that the amount of segregated fees is often driven by the size of the campus, and how many students “pay in” for a certain project or program. UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard added that the student senators on his campus go through a “thoughtful and effective process” in determining budgets, and that the representative-democracy style of decision-making has served his campus well.

Pruitt said he believed that electronic voting or some other modern means of seeking student opinion would be a “common-sensical step toward openness and transparency.” Yates said the review found that student voting levels increase dramatically when online voting is an option.

But Pruitt added that the Regents might also consider giving campuses latitude to establish different ways of assessing fees and gathering student opinion to accommodate each institution’s needs. Loftus suggested that the extent of student input required, such as allowing all students to participate in a referendum, might be determined by the cost of a proposed project or program.

Salas said the Physical Planning and Funding Committee, which he chairs, considers the capital budgets that often include segregated fees. He noted that students should be active and engaged in the budget-setting process, and that the Regents should review student input in considering projects at the Board level. He added that when fees are assessed early in the development of a capital project, it benefits students, because over time, the costs to the individual are decreased. At the same time, he said, the Regents must seek a balance in how long students should contribute for the building or maintenance of capital facilities.

Salas reminded Regents that only three campuses use referenda to gather student input on fees, but added that “the representation of student government is a must.”

In the end, the Board of Regents has the authority to set the levels of student segregated fees, Yates said. “We are still talking about 100 million a year. It’s not as much as tuition, but you are ultimately responsible,” he said.

The Board will consider taking action related to the use of segregated fees at its June meeting.

The Committee also approved a resolution to provide vehicles to the UW chancellors and the president through the state government’s leasing program, and to eliminate the $700 per month vehicle allowance, as soon as existing contractual obligations are fulfilled.

“We anticipate that this would save us money,” said UW System vice president for finance Debbie Durcan.

A university-provided vehicle or an allowance is a standard provision in contracts for academic leaders around the country, Durcan said. The university changed its policy following the last state budget, and does not use state funding to pay for vehicle allowances. The new program would not require that mileage be reimbursed, but there would still be fuel costs through the state program, Durcan said.

Pruitt acknowledged that the change would mean a reduction in benefits for academic leaders, but that the solution was an important and necessary step.

In other business, the committee considered how a review might be conducted to assess the requirements for academic achievement by student-athletes in coaches’ contracts.

Yates also noted that the Legislative Audit Bureau is conducting several audits of state programs, notably a report on IT projects, one of which is a UW System project to implement an Appointment, Payroll and Benefit System. Don Mash updated the committee about the history of the project, which has been put on hold pending discussions with the state Department of Administration. No decisions about how the project might proceed have been made.

The committee also:

  • Accepted the 2005-07 Administrative Position Reduction Report for submission to the Secretary of the Department of Administration. The report notes that the university has lost more than 1,000 state-funded positions in the last five years, and Harris said campuses have been diligent about protecting instructional staff from budget cuts;
  • Authorized the UW System President to distribute to academic leaders the pay plan funds that were recently released by the Joint Committee on Employment Relations.
View a presentation on the UW-Oshkosh Growth Agenda pdf

Wisconsin Partnership Fund in second year of improving Wisconsin’s public health

The Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future, a program administered in part through the UW System, has awarded $34 million through 92 grants in the past year, Dean Phillip Farrell of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health told Regents on Thursday.

Funds were awarded this year to projects that address alcohol and drug abuse, address mental health problems in the state’s Hmong population, and seek to reduce unintentional falls and injuries among older adults, among many others.

The report was accepted on Thursday during a joint meeting of the Business, Finance and Audit and Education Committees. It describes the activities leading to awards from two committees that fund health improvement projects, medical research and education.

The Partnership’s mission is to advance the health of the people of Wisconsin through both proactive strategic and responsive initiatives. The fund focuses on health problems identified in a statewide plan, Healthiest Wisconsin, Farrell said.

The joint session began on a lighthearted note with a musical tribute to departing Regent Roger Axtell. Students from “Seventh Heaven,” a vocal jazz group directed by Jan Knutsen from Janesville Parker High School in Axtell’s hometown, offered several selections, including a special rendition of The Sound of Music’s “So Long, Farewell,” in Axtell’s honor.

View a presentation on the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future pdf

Education Committee considers role of School of Medicine and Public Health

The Board of Regents Education Committee on Thursday discussed the educational mission of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Milwaukee Clinical Campus. The committee provided a forum for discussion of the MCC’s commitment to Milwaukee’s underserved populations through its partnership with the non-profit Aurora Health Care.

“ We’ve had to change as our opportunities and challenges have changed,” said Dean Philip Farrell of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

Nick Turkal, senior associate dean of the school’s Milwaukee Clinical Campus and senior vice president and metro region president of Aurora Health Care, said faculty physicians are concerned about the affiliation agreement, the campus plan and employment model, and the continuing commitment to provide health care to underserved populations. While admitting that Aurora has closed some of their urban facilities, Turkal emphasized that Aurora’s commitment to underserved populations remains strong and that they commit more financial resources to these efforts than ever before.

Steve Schwartz of the Wisconsin Citizen Action Network stated that Aurora Healthcare is cutting back its care in underserved urban regions for financial reasons, leaving the populations there at risk. “We don’t see the commitment to underserved people,” Schwartz said.

Dr. Anthony Otters, a Milwaukee physician and MCC faculty member, called for additional debate and discussion on the pending agreement. Otter stated that the agreement as it now stands will have a dramatic effect on the underserved population. “After all the cuts, where are these patients going to go?” he said.

The committee also heard a presentation about reforming teacher education to create a more diverse workforce and meet the needs of diverse learners. Introduced by Francine Tompkins, Director of PK-16 initiatives for the UW System, the presentation called for a collaborative effort to increase diversity in the classroom. Tompkins outlined two goals for diversity in teacher preparation: the recruitment, training, and retention of a more diverse cohort of teachers; and the preparation of teachers to effectively work with diverse learners.

The presentation featured two collaborative efforts to meet both these goals. Tamera Horstman-Riphah of UW-La Crosse explained the efforts being made to increase diversity among educators at the Center for Cultural Diversity and Community Research, which has had a particular focus on preparing Hmong teachers. Charles Vue of the Multicultural Affairs Office at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Madison student Nou Thor shared their experiences with this program.

Hardin Coleman, associate dean in the UW-Madison School of Education, described plans for the UW System Institute for Urban Education, which would provide expanded professional development opportunities in urban education for pre-service and in-service teachers.

“We need to prepare educators for diverse environments,” he said.

In addition, the Education Committee approved resolutions to:

  • Approve an amended request for support from the William F. Vilas Trust Estate, and accept the proffer from the Vilas Trustees for support of scholarships, professorships, and special programs in arts and
    humanities, social sciences and music;
  • Authorize a bachelor’s in liberal arts for teachers at UW-Parkside;
  • Authorize a Ph.D. in social work at UW-Milwaukee; and
  • Authorize UW-Milwaukee to extend the contract of the YMCA Youth Leadership Academy charter school for another four years.
View a presentation on the UW System’s Teacher Education efforts pdf

Board advances UW capital projects

The Board’s Physical Planning and Funding Committee approved several resolutions on Thursday that:

  • Granted approval to UW-Extension to grant an easement for an AT&T Telecommunications Cabinet;
  • Granting authority to Adjust the Project Scope and Budget of the UW-Madison Health Emotions Research Institute (HERI) Addition Project;
  • Granting authority to acquire a parcel of land for the expansion of University Research Park;
  • Grants authority to amend agreements contained in the Master Term Sheet with Madison Real Estate Properties for the redevelopment of the University Square Development Project;
  • Approved the Design Report and granted authority to construct the South Campus Parking Ramp project at UW-Oshkosh; and
  • Granted authority to increase the project budget and construct the UW-River Falls Dairy Science Teaching Center Project through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process

In addition, Assistant Vice President David Miller reported that the Building Commission approved about $40 million for projects at its April meeting. The funding breakdown for those projects is $7.5 million in general fund supported borrowing, $31.8 million in program revenue, and $.7 million in gift and grant funds.


The Board of Regents will resume its May meeting on Friday (May 5) at 8:30 a.m. in room 1820 Van Hise Hall on the UW-Madison campus.

Related: Read May 5 (day 2) news summary