STEVENS POINT – University of Wisconsin System President Katharine C. Lyall presented to the Board of Regents Friday the results from a statewide poll showing broad public support for the university.
Lyall said a recent poll by the UW-Madison Survey Center revealed the following results:
- 96 percent of Wisconsin citizens believe the UW System is vital to the state’s economy;
- 94 percent of state residents support UW research to make businesses more competitive;
- 95 percent want the university to ensure that students can get an affordable education;
- 88 percent believe access for students to a UW education is important;
- 79 percent want university access close to home;
- 79 percent believe it is important for the UW System to help solve state problems.
Lyall said results also showed that more than half of those polled feel the governor’s proposed $250 million cut to the UW System is too deep, and 77 percent said they believed cuts to the university would help in the short run but hurt the state in the long run.
Other poll results include most respondents estimating tuition at levels much higher than the actual cost. In fact, 20 percent said they thought tuition was more than $10,000 a year. Annual average tuition in the UW System is currently about $3,800.
“I am heartened by the strong public support for the UW System, and due to the work of this board and our chancellors, I think the public understands the importance of the university to Wisconsin’s future economy,” Lyall said. “We must protect that capacity as much as we can as we move to implement state budget cuts to our campuses over the next couple of years.”
UW-Stevens Point enhances economy, environment
UW-Stevens Point plays a major role in sustaining and enhancing central Wisconsin’s economy and environment, the Board of Regents learned Friday.
UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Thomas F. George outlined the numerous partnerships the university has with other UW System institutions, Wisconsin Technical College campuses and businesses and industries that promote economic growth.
The partnerships, part of a long-term strategy called the Central Wisconsin Idea, range from collaborative degree programs to providing specific training for full-time workers at central Wisconsin businesses, George said.
“We are responding to what our students and businesses want and need,” George said, adding that many companies in central Wisconsin are no longer owned locally, but rather, globally.
Kelli Y. English, a graduate student in the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources, outlined for the regents the important work being done at the university to sustain the regional environment.
English, who earned her bachelor’s degree at Harvard University, discussed the Global Environmental Management initiative, which is already attracting significant federal and private funding.
Through GEM and the College of Natural Resources, the university is making major impacts in agriculture, tourism and the forestry/paper industry, English said. In particular, the Center for Watershed Science & Education is playing a major role in protecting groundwater in Wisconsin, while the Center for Land Use Education is making strong contributions to smart growth planning in the state.
“When we have a healthy natural resource base, it results in a healthy economy and healthy people,” said English.
Regents congratulate departing members
The Board of Regents on Friday approved resolutions of appreciation for two departing members, Patrick G. Boyle of Madison and Tommie L. Jones, Jr. of Oshkosh.
Boyle, a former chancellor at UW-Extension, was praised for his keen insight into higher education and his passion for strengthening the UW System.
“Pat Boyle has been a friend to the UW System for 40 years,” said Regent Jay L. Smith of Middleton. “His fingerprints are on a lot of our successes.”
Jones, the departing student regent, was commended for his unwavering support for students and his deep commitment to the UW System.
“It has been a great privilege to work with Tommie Jones,” said Regent Elizabeth Burmaster of Madison, who is the state superintendent of public instruction. “We are lucky to have worked with a young person who has shown such leadership and insight.”
Both Boyle and Jones thanked the regents, UW System President Katharine C. Lyall, the UW chancellors and UW System staff for helping them succeed in their roles on the board.
United Council outlines mission
The United Council of UW Students presented an overview of its structure and mission to the Board of Regents on Friday.
J. Jeffrey Pertl, president of United Council, explained to the board how his organization is much more than a student government group.
“The United Council has evolved from a student government organization to a non-profit lobby and advocacy group for UW students,” he said.
Pertl said 24 of the 26 UW System campuses are members of United Council. UW-Stout and UW-Whitewater are not members, but United Council still works closely with students on those campuses, Pertl said.
United Council’s main priority for the 2003-05 budget is to have legislators find permanent state funding for financial aid increases so they don’t have to come from student auxiliary reserves. Gov. Jim Doyle has proposed taking $23 million from the auxiliary reserves for financial aid to offset his suggested tuition increase.
Regents to meet again in June
The Board of Regents will hold its next meeting June 5-6 at UW-Milwaukee.