MADISON – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday (Nov. 7) approved four action items as part of a plan that will increase opportunities for credit transfer between the UW System and the Wisconsin Technical College System.
With the board’s approval, the two systems can continue working to implement the approved measures by Fall 2004. The four points the board approved will:
- allow UW institutions to transfer WTCS occupational/technical courses, such as accounting or computer science, on a course-by-course basis without a formal program agreement;
- establish a list of WTCS general education core courses that will transfer to any UW campus, and allow up to 30 core credits to apply to a student’s selected degree program;
- develop a new written format for degree completion program agreements that will show what courses will transfer, how they apply to a degree and what a student still needs to graduate; and
- provide printed reports to students through the UW’s Transfer Information System that will serve as credit transfer contracts.
The board voted to defer until its December meeting two additional items initially included in the resolution for further study. Those items would:
- if approved by UW faculty, allow completed WTCS liberal arts degrees (up to 72 credits) to satisfy UW general education requirements;
- create a broad-based committee to explore additional options and develop a plan to increase the number of Wisconsin citizens with bachelor’s degrees.
Regent Mark Bradley of Wausau suggested that the board should delay approval of the two final points because the board may discover additional information on the issues as part of its year-long “Charting A New Course for the UW System” study.
Bradley said working groups have begun to examine how the UW Colleges might fulfill some of these goals, and that the board should have a clear direction on how it would like to proceed before charging a broad-based committee to conduct further study.
“The first points are exactly the response the public and the Legislature have been asking for,” Bradley said. “The working groups may ask the UW Colleges to do some things differently and meet some needs. The other two points cloud for the UW Colleges what their role is.”
Regent President Toby Marcovich of Superior agreed that the committee shouldn’t be limited in its scope of exploring options to strengthen credit transfer. Regent Roger Axtell of Janesville added that taking another month to study the two items in question would not hinder the overall process.
Regent Nino Amato, who is president of the WTCS board, said the two remaining points were intended to keep the study moving with faculty input, and that not approving the items could derail current efforts.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in those areas,” Amato said.
UW System President Katharine C. Lyall suggested the board might direct the broad-based committee to convene after the study report has been issued.
“It seems that we don’t want to lose the momentum we’ve gotat least I don’t want to,” said Lyall.
Regent Peggy Rosenzweig of Wauwatosa said passing the measures would send positive signals to the Legislature about the contributions the UW System is making toward increased collaboration with the technical colleges.
“We have a lot of room for progress,” she said. “It’s pivotal to move ahead.”
In urging the board to pass the measures, Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee said he was pleased the items in question specifically called for faculty input and further study of credit transfer issues.
“Students are waiting for us to act,” Salas said.
Regent Elizabeth Burmaster, who is state Superintendent of Public Instruction, said passing the first four measures while the others were being further studied would send the message that the board is collaborating and moving forward in good faith.
After discussion, the board unanimously approved the revised plan and referred the remaining two items to its Education Committee for further review and clarification at the December regents meeting.
Board approves “Return to Wisconsin” pilot program
The full board gave its approval Friday to a three-year pilot “Return to Wisconsin” program, which will offer a 25 percent discount on tuition for nonresident students who are children or grandchildren of UW alumni at participating campuses.
Under the pilot program, participating nonresident students will still pay more than the actual cost it takes to educate them, even with the tuition discount. Campuses can then use the additional tuition revenue to benefit more Wisconsin students.
Campuses that will participate include UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater. The program will admit the nonresident students to these campuses above enrollment targets already in place so that no Wisconsin students will be displaced. Applicants will be held to the same academic standards as all students.
Before the unanimous vote, Regent Gerard Randall of Milwaukee wondered if the program would be detrimental to the systemwide goals of increasing diversity on UW campuses.
Several of those present for the committee discussion on Thursday explained that campuses have not found the ethnic and racial diversity of out-of-state UW alumni to be any different than that of in-state alumni, and therefore, did not think the program would have a significant effect on campus diversity.
“I don’t know if it would help our goals, but I can’t see how it would hurt,” said UW-Whitewater Chancellor Jack Miller.
UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells added that his campus plans to use some of the additional funding generated from the program to expand student financial aid.
Regent Beth Richlen, a law student at UW-Madison, said she has heard from students who don’t support the proposal in part because the program does not expand access to first-generation students. But, because the regents are looking for creative ways to expand resources, Richlen said she would vote to approve the pilot on the basis that its outcomes will be revisited after three years.
“We’re putting everything on the table in our “Charting A New Course” study,” she said.
Lyall encourages board to reflect on common goals
While there has been some disagreement among members of the board in recent weeks, UW System President Katharine C. Lyall on Friday outlined goals on which she hoped all board members are united.
“We share stewardship for one of Wisconsin’s most important public assets, its university system,” Lyall said. “And we must find ways to sustain its quality and maintain its focus on preparing students for success in life and work. ”
Lyall said the board should also remember its obligation to promote statewide economic development and to foster the “intellectual capital” of UW faculty and their laboratories, which can help improve business and create Wisconsin jobs by supporting new startup companies.
Lyall also reminded the board that this year’s UW System entering class is one of the most talented and prepared ever admitted.
Despite challenging budget cuts at all UW institutions, “Our goal now has to be to give them the best education ever,” Lyall said.
Marcovich: “We must move on”
Regent President Toby Marcovich of Superior said Friday that the board must work past the distractions of recent weeks and refocus attention on university business.
“I reluctantly agree with President Lyall when she characterizes the last two months of virtually nonstop coverage of executive salary pay ranges – remember no raises were given – as a distraction,” he said. “I say reluctantly because I do believe that it is the responsibility of this board to secure the best faculty, staff and leadership for this university system and above all, to see that all of our employees, from our lowest to highest paid, are treated fairly.”
Marcovich said the real story has been lost in the flurry of press coverage, and that the board must set an example in pressing forth with its duties.
“The real story is how our 15 institutions are dealing with the largest cuts in the history of the UW System; and how we can manage to cushion the impacts on students as much as possible,” he said. “That is the real story and the one that, if not the public, then certainly our board must attend to. I hope in that spirit, we can move forward collaboratively, openly, generously and with only one agenda amongst us – how to best serve the people of this state by being responsible stewards of its public university system.”
Marcovich details importance of Wisconsin Economic Summit IV
An important facet of the Board of Regents’ leadership for the state was evidenced at this year’s Wisconsin Economic Summit, Regent President Toby Marcovich of Superior said Friday.
More than 800 individuals participated in the fourth statewide Summit, and this year’s sponsorship by Milwaukee investment firm Robert W. Baird drew a greater number of Wisconsin CEOs and business leaders to join representatives of government, labor and education, Marcovich said.
Marcovich thanked the organizers of the summit, especially Summit Coordinator Laurie Dies, and Summit Co-Chair UW System President Katharine C. Lyall and Regent Emeritus Jay L. Smith.
Marcovich said highlights of the summit included:
- a keynote address by Gov. Jim Doyle, in which he referred to the UW System as “one of the jewels of our crown” and as the producer of two of the state’s top commodities – knowledge and graduates;
- a panel presentation in which Jeff Bleustein, CEO of Harley Davidson, shared his belief that there is “a lot of reason for optimism” for out-of-state firms to establish business in Wisconsin, and in which Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer said the Legislature can encourage companies to create jobs in Wisconsin by reforming state regulations;
- a discussion in which Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, stated that “regionalism can be a powerful engine for economic growth in Wisconsin.”
- a panel of health care experts who warned that rising health care costs may hamper the state’s ability to care for citizens, grow the economy and improve quality of health care, if action is not taken to stem the trend;
- a workshop in which Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton said economic development includes building a quality of life that includes vibrant educational systems, arts and cultural opportunities, diversity and increased leadership roles for women;
- a conference at which Gale Davy, the executive director of the Wisconsin Association for Biomedical Research and Education, said Wisconsin’s 248 bioscience companies generated nearly $5 billion in sales last year; and
- a keynote address by John Morgridge, chair of the Board of Cisco Systems, who reminded participants that “workforce training is vital and that it is not a ‘one-time job or degree’ but that it requires a lifetime of education and training, because change is a given.”
“So, as you can see, we heard – and learned – a lot at this year’s Economic Summit and I can attest to its value, relevance and benefit,” Marcovich said.
Following Marcovich’s remarks, the board approved a resolution of appreciation regarding the summit.
Read the summit resolution:
Regents hear “Charting A New Course” update
Regent Guy Gottschalk of Wisconsin Rapids reported to the board on Friday about the progress of working groups for the board’s study of the future, titled “Charting a New Course for the UW System.”
Gottschalk updated the board as to the topics working groups discussed in Thursday’s sessions. They include:
- Achieving Operating Efficiencies: As part of a report on administrative structures and major restructuring efforts in other university systems, the working group learned that there are few commonalities among university systems and that any strategy for restructuring should include outside perspectives and “buy-in” from regents and top administrators. The group also heard a report on graduation rates and other data on efficiency (read a related news release).
- Revenue Authority and Other Opportunities: The working group learned more about how the UW System has raised nonresident tuition above market rates, and that the recent decline in nonresident enrollment indicates a need to reverse that trend. Increasing the number of students paying nonresident tuition rates means more revenue to support education for Wisconsin students, the working group learned. The group heard a report from UW-Stevens Point about what attracts nonresident students to the campus, and discussed other ways to attract these students, including a differential tuition proposal from UW-Platteville.
- Re-defining Educational Quality: The group heard summaries of discussions with students and faculty on perceptions of quality and how budget cuts impacted the teaching and learning process. The group also heard reports from focus groups on quality with students, faculty and community members, and the steps UW-Madison is taking to improve institutional quality.
- Research and Public Service: The group met at the state Capitol, and thanked Reps. Gregg Underheim and Spencer Black and Sen. Joe Leibham for participating in discussions with the group. The group heard reports from meetings with Madison and Eau Claire business leaders, who indicated their needs for quality students, greater diversity and communication skills. In addition, the group heard a report on the community service activities of the Wisconsin Campus Compact, and another on recent research advances and the challenges ahead at UW-Madison.
- Partnership with the State: The group heard an updated on access and financial aid provided to UW students, and noted that financial aid must be kept available for low-income students. It was emphasized that work-study funds have been flat for 10 years, and chancellors in the group urged the system to lobby for additional federal work-study funds. The group also heard a proposal to increase UW System enrollment of nontraditional students.
Regents revisit their commitment to Wisconsin
In closing remarks on Friday, Regent Guy Gottschalk of Wisconsin Rapids encouraged the board to remember the duties it has as stewards of Wisconsin’s public university system.
Gottschalk read what he called “The Ten Commandments of Leadership,” which he said were developed by Dr. Kent M. Keith. The list, as read by Gottschalk:
- People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
- If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
- If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
- The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
- Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
- The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
- People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
- What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
- People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.
- Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
In other business Friday, the full board passed resolutions that:
- approved a report on the Industrial and Economic Development Research Fund;
- approved revised faculty personnel rules at UW-Green Bay;
- approved a report on bequests to the university of $50,000 or more;
- approved a report on gifts in kind to the university;
- authorized a project to replace scoreboards at UW-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium and Kohl Center;
- authorized maintenance of seating risers and restrooms at Camp Randall Stadium;
- authorized maintenance of the Camp Randall Sports Center, also known as the Shell;
- authorized the hiring of consultants to update UW-Madison’s campus master plan and develop the university’s utility master plan;
- approved the construction of a dairy science teaching center at UW-River Falls.
Randall singled out the UW-River Falls dairy science center as a “hugely important project for the state.” “This project will allow our students to study in a program that has moved into the 21st century,” he said.
The Board of Regents will hold its December meeting on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 4and 5, in Van Hise Hall on the UW-Madison campus.