STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents today unanimously approved a System report on the Program Revenue Fund Balances managed by the campuses and institutions within the UW System.

The report, which was presented during the Board’s meeting at UW-Stevens Point, is the result of a collaborative effort between the campuses, UW System and the legislature to better define and manage the fund balances held and managed by institutions and campuses within UW System. The 250-page report identifies the fund balances using definitions provided by the Legislative Audit Bureau and provides detailed analysis of each fund by campus, including how the funds are generated, how they are being managed, and how they are planned to be spent.

“We have been responsive to what our Board of Regents, our legislators, and the public told us they wanted. The UW System has delivered, “said UW System President Ray Cross, who presented the report to the board.

“This report is a significant step forward,” said Regent President Michael J. Falbo. “We listened to the concerns expressed by the legislature and the public, we acknowledged the need to make improvements, and we have worked hard to strengthen the transparency and accountability of our budgeting and financial planning processes. There is still work to do, but we are well on our way.”

“I think this is absolutely the healthiest thing that could have happened, and I think we’re all ready to defend it,” said Regent Margaret Farrow. “But I think people should understand the blood, sweat, and effort that went into it.”

Chancellor Bernie Patterson addresses the Board.

Chancellor Bernie Patterson addresses the Board.
Chancellor Bernie L. Patterson told the Board of Regents Thursday that UW-Stevens Point is emerging as a new kind of public university – a university more engaged with area stakeholders, more responsive to local needs, and more relevant to solving regional problems.

UW-Stevens Point is making a point

Drawing on the university’s strategic plan, A Partnership for Thriving Communities, Patterson led a presentation highlighting four university and business relationships that make life in Central and Northern Wisconsin more vibrant, healthy, prosperous and sustainable. From creating new products and markets in the paper industry, to the growing field of aquaponics, from internationally known visiting artists to nanotechnology, these university collaborations enhance the lives of Wisconsinites in meaningful ways, Patterson said.

“Our pledge as a university is to be more responsive to community needs and more relevant to community issues,” Patterson said.


Flex Option update

Aaron Brower, interim chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension, updated Regents on the Flex Option program.  He reported that in early September, the U.S. Department of Education approved UW Colleges to make federal financial aid available to eligible students in the Associate of Arts and Science degree in the Flex format.  UW Colleges is the first institution in the country approved to award aid on the basis of non-term direct assessment.

Education Committee

David J. Ward, interim senior vice president for academic & student affairs, reported to the Education Committee that there has been an increase in the adoption of the UW System Early Math Placement Tool (EMPT) by high school math teachers following a letter from President Cross and Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy recommending this test in early September. Compared to 2013, there are 27% more teachers, 29% more schools, 53% more classrooms, and 22% more students registered.

President Cross addresses the Board.

President Cross addresses the Board.

The EMPT helps to identify strengths and weaknesses of students so they can be better prepared for math in college.

Ward also reported on the systemwide implementation of the Universal Credit Transfer Agreement approved by the Board of Regents last June. He said data shows that students are successfully using the increased opportunity to transfer both from WTCS and UW System institutions. He noted that an advisory team consisting of members from WTCS and UW System campuses meets regularly to maintain, review, and assess the agreement and its implementation. Ward will travel to meet with tribal college leaders in Wisconsin this fall in order to collaborate on the possible extension of the agreement to tribal college transfer students.

UW-Stevens Point Presentation: Provost Greg Summers’ presentation, “Turning the Academic Ship:  Meeting the Changing Educational Needs of Central Wisconsin,” focused on UW-Stevens Point’s distinct mission and program array, including its new high-impact General Education Program, data-driven recruitment and retention efforts, attention to student bodies with different backgrounds and abilities, outreach to secondary schools to determine prospective students’ knowledge gaps, innovative budget models that maximize revenue streams, and new educational partnerships with technical colleges in the region.

·         See the UW-Stevens Point presentation, “Turning the Academic Ship pdf

In other action, the Education Committee:

  • Approved the proposed UW-Stevens Point Bachelor of Applied Studies (B.A.S.) in Organizational Leadership;
  • Approved revisions to the UW-Platteville faculty bylaws (Section 2.02 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code);
  • Accepted the 2013 Annual Report of the Wisconsin Partnership Program, which describes the activities leading to the awarding of grants of the Oversight and Advisory Committee and by the Partnership Education and Research Committee for projects that advance population health in Wisconsin. In 2013, $15.4 million in grants were issued;
  • Approved two re-appointments and two new appointments to the School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future.

Business and Finance Committee

The Business and Finance Committee received a report on additional compensation received by UW System faculty and staff outside the state-approved pay plan.

A total of about 29% of all staff received base adjustments (including those for promotions, title changes, and changes in duties) during fiscal year 2014, according to Senior Associate Vice President Al Crist. UW chancellors reallocated approximately $38 million to fund these base adjustments. By comparison, reallocations of approximately $34 million were made for these purposes in fiscal year 2013. These reallocations represent 2.3% and 1.6% of the respective year’s salary base.

UW chancellors also reallocated one-time resources of approximately $23 million in fiscal year 2014 to fund one-time, lump sum payments. Similarly, chancellors reallocated approximately $24 million in 2013 to fund one-time, lump sum payments.  These lump sum payments are non-base building compensation for additional work of a one-time or non-recurring nature and should not be construed as “bonuses.”

Crist also told the Committee that total UW System faculty turnover in fiscal year 2014 was 5.1%. This compares with an average of 6.2% over the preceding three years (5.9% in 2013, 5.4% in 2012, and 7.2% in 2011).

Faculty turnover due to retirements during 2014 averaged 2.1%, while faculty turnover not related to retirements during 2014 was 3.0%.

Several chancellors expressed concern that current compensation levels put them at a significant competitive disadvantage in retaining faculty.

“We need to have a culture change about how we care for our faculty,” said Regent David Walsh.

UW-Stevens Point: Greg Diemer, UW-Stevens Point’s chief business officer, led a presentation, “UW-Stevens Point Efficiency Reviews and Program Revenue Balance Reporting.”

In other business, the Business and Finance Committee:

  • Heard a high-level summary report comparing budgeted to actual revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. The report provides UW System management and the Board with a dashboard-type tool to monitor financial activity within the UW System. The final report for fiscal year 2013-14 shows that the UW System collected $23 million more in revenues than budgeted and expended $63 million more than budgeted. Netting these results places the UW System within 0.66% of its $6.0-billion approved budget;
  • Discussed the report of the Funding Allocation Working Group, which had been charged with reviewing the methodology used to allocate general purpose revenue (GPR) and Tuition among UW institutions and to determine if changes are needed in the process. Chancellors Rebecca Blank (Madison), Dean Van Galen (River Falls), and Renee Wachter (Superior), all members of the working group, shared their perspectives.


Research, Economic Development & Innovation Committee

  • Strategic Road Map Update: Last week, the REDI Committee conducted a half-day meeting to review progress relative to its multi-year Strategic Road Map planning effort. The Committee affirmed its intent to continue support key initiatives such as the Economic Development Incentive Grants and agreed to further discussion and review of best practices related to the adoption of policies and programs that support faculty and student connections with business and industry.

UW-Stevens Point Business Outreach: Dave Eckmann, the new special assistant to the chancellor for economic development at UWSP, briefed the Committee on campus initiatives in the areas of economic development and business collaboration. Regents also received an update on partnerships and progress resulting from UW System Economic Development Incentive Grant program initiatives under way in the areas of paper science, sustainable biotechnologies, and innovation in the aquaculture and aquaponics industries.

UW-Stout Discovery Center: UW-Stout Discovery Center Executive Director Randy Hulke provided a review of the Center’s successes over the past five years since start-up, including the administration of $36 million in grants and contracts and an additional $139 million in client-reported impacts from collaborative industry projects.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation: WEDC’s Vice President of Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lisa Johnson updated the Committee on WEDC efforts to collaborate with UW System and state businesses to accelerate product commercialization efforts, support the continued growth and expansion of the WEDC/UW Ideavance initiative, and foster increased innovation at campus locations statewide.

Capital Planning and Budget Committee

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee approved UW System’s request for authority to seek enumeration of two additional 2015-17 Capital Budget Projects: UW-Green Bay’s Athletics Field Complex, and UW-Oshkosh’s Fletcher Hall Renovation project;

The UW-Green Bay project will offer quality facilities for Division I soccer and softball events, comply with Title IX requirements, and address the university’s ongoing problem of poor athletics field drainage. Total project cost is $4.9 million in Gift Funds.

The UW-Oshkosh request increases the budget of the Fletcher Hall Renovation by $5.9 million to complete the project, which was enumerated in 2013-15. The additional costs were caused by inflation that resulted from a two-year delayed schedule and the increased scope of additional space that will allow the campus to maintain the hall’s current bed count. The total cost of the project is $23.5 million in Program Revenue-Supported Borrowing.

In other business, the Capital Planning and Budget Committee:

  • Approved UW System’s request for six All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects with an estimated total cost of $9 million at UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, and UW-Madison;
  • Heard an update and overview of the UW-Stevens Point Master Development Plan from Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs Greg Diemer and Director of Facilities Planning Carl Rasmussen; and
  • Heard a report from Associate Vice President Alex Roe on recent capital budget information.

Photo credit: UW-Stevens Point University Relations and Communications


The UW System Board of Regents will resume its meeting at 9 a.m., Oct. 10, 2014, at UW-Stevens Point.

Related: Watch October 9, 2014, webcast | Read October 10 (day 2) news summary