Proposed commission on UW System would help Board plan future student enrollment levels

MILWAUKEE – The Wisconsin State Legislature should strongly consider restoring funding for financial aid and teaching faculty in the 2005-07 University of Wisconsin System budget, and should join the Board in determining the long-term direction for the university, according to a resolution passed Friday (June 10) by the UW System Board of Regents as part of its meeting at UW-Milwaukee.

“We expressed the need in our discussion for restoring 120 faculty and restoring financial aid in the Governor’s budget,” Bradley said.

The resolution notes that the UW System reduced enrollment following a management audit of UW System in 1986, when the Wisconsin Legislature concluded that the UW System’s resources were not sufficient to properly support high enrollment levels. Since that time, state support per student has declined to $1,228 per student below the national average, according to the resolution.

The Board’s action also noted the need for additional university support in light of the positive correlation between a state’s per capita income and the number of residents who have baccalaureate degrees, and to re-invest in the university after it suffered the deepest budget cuts in its history in 2003-05.

The resolution followed the Board of Regents’ proposed 2005-07 “Student Access and Wisconsin Success” budget, which was designed to increase financial aid and add more faculty in classrooms.

The Joint Committee on Finance has also proposed convening a “task force” to study all of higher education in Wisconsin, but the Board on Friday strongly endorsed Reilly’s call for a bi-partisan State Commission to address several important questions.

The commission would be asked to determine the will of Wisconsin citizens about what the state’s public university should be, and do, in the 21st century. This would include questions about levels of access and enrollment levels, state support and tuition levels, and the future of the university’s ability to conduct research, and create jobs for Wisconsin’s economy.  President Reilly has also indicated that the Commission might address how much state support per student the state should provide, and how much financial aid will be necessary for students.

The Board’s action asked a potential commission to complete work within the next year, so the Board could use its findings in planning about tuition and enrollment levels for the next biennium.

Regent Eileen Connolly-Keesler of Oshkosh noted that the resolution is to the point, states the facts, and asks the tough questions that need to be answered.

Regent Peggy Rosenzweig of Wauwatosa encouraged the Board to note the similar call for a task force on higher education passed by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance.

“It is, in fact, an effort for a joint move and call in that direction,” she said.

Regent Vice President David Walsh of Madison noted that the resolution is a clarification of the Board’s priorities and call for input from state leaders about the university’s progress.

“This is not meant to be a threatening statement,” Walsh said. “This is just what [President Reilly] has called for.”

Regent Olivieri said the commission might be most helpful if it reviewed future state support for all of Wisconsin’s higher education institutions.

Regent Danae Davis of Milwaukee agreed that the Board’s resolution was in line with the task force proposed by the Joint Committee on Finance, but she was unclear about how the composition of the task force would compare to the commission President Reilly had proposed.

Regent President Toby E. Marcovich of Superior reminded the Board that while it is clear tuition charges do not represent the full range of costs students must consider when attending college, tuition is the only cost the Board can directly regulate.

Read The Resolution pdf

Regents elect Walsh, Bradley as new Board leaders

The Board of Regents on Friday unanimously elected Regent David Walsh of Madison as president and Regent Mark Bradley of Wausau as vice president.

“I would like to thank the board for the confidence they’ve shown in electing me,” Walsh said after the vote. “Our challenge is to persuade the Legislature of our value, and I look forward to accomplishing this during my term as president.”

In nominating Walsh for the post, Regent Roger Axtell of Janesville said Walsh has proven his commitment to the university.

“He has demonstrated energy and leadership, which makes him an ideal individual to lead this board into the difficult time it faces now,” Axtell said.

Walsh will succeed Toby Marcovich of Superior, who served as president since 2003.

Regent Danae Davis enthusiastically nominated Bradley to serve as vice president of the board.

“He has the temperament to build bridges for change, and I look forward to working with him in his new leadership role,” Davis said.

Walsh began his service as a UW Regent in 2003. He is a partner in the Madison law office of Foley & Lardner, a national law firm where he was a member of the management committee from 1994-2001. He specializes in business transactions, estate planning and telecommunications law. He is a 1965 graduate of UW-Madison, served in the U.S. Navy from 1965-67, and is a Vietnam veteran. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 1970.

Walsh serves on the UW HealthStar Advisory Board, the Future Madison Board of Directors, and the UW Athletic Advisory Board. He is a former chair of the UW Business School Advisory Board and received the distinguished Business Alumnus Award from the UW-Madison Business School in 1997.

Bradley is an attorney with the law firm of Ruder, Ware & Michler, LLSC in Wausau. He is a shareholder, member of the Board of Directors and chair of the firm’s Trusts and Estates Practice Group. He has served as chair of the Business and Finance Committee, and as a member of the Executive Committee and the Special Regent Committee for the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Search. He is also the Regent representative on the Research Park Board.

The board on Friday also unanimously re-elected several other board officers, including Board Secretary Judith A. Temby, Assistant Board Secretary Cheryle Goplin, Trust Officer Deborah Durcan, and Assistant Trust Officers Patricia Brady and Douglas Hoerr. Board officers serve one-year terms.

Regents, chancellor, earn accolades for service

The Board of Regents on Friday thanked and said farewell to three regents and one chancellor for their service to the UW System.

Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee presented the resolution of appreciation for UW-Whitewater Chancellor Jack Miller, who served the UW System for six years and is recognized for his continual efforts to improve access and retention of under-represented students.

“I am very proud to be associated with the stance this chancellor took in the same things we value,” Salas said. “They haven’t been easy decisions, but this is what distinguishes our chancellors.”

Miller thanked the board for the recognition and gave some last words of wisdom.

“We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time,” Miller said. “We need to focus on outcomes not on process. Pick out the products you want and identify goals.”

Miller is leaving UW-Whitewater to become president of Central Connecticut State University.

Regent Danae Davis of Milwaukee presented a resolution of appreciation for outgoing Regent Jose Olivieri of Milwaukee and thanked him for his seven years of service to the UW System, including time as chair of the Education Committee.

“The depth of his commitment and quest for excellence is a style feature that proves him to be an effective leader,” Davis said. “Uncommon leadership means daring to be bold, daring to make a difference. We can all agree this describes his leadership.”

Olivieri, who is known for his strong commitment to improving access and affordability for all students, thanked the board and asked them to continue strengthening relations with the state and students.

“It is in the best interest of the state of Wisconsin to have greater enrollment in higher education,” Olivieri said. “We need to take a look at what we can do different. Affordability should be on the table now.”

Regent President Toby E. Marcovich of Superior introduced a resolution thanking outgoing Student Regent Beth Richlen for her two years of service on the board.

“You have been the effective student regent,” Marcovich said to Richlen. “You have accomplished a tremendous amount for students during your time on this board.”

Marcovich highlighted Richlen’s commitment to fair tuition, increased student access, and her role as a champion for student rights during his address.

“I hope that in my presence on this board the past two years, you’ve come to understand what I believe, what I stand for,” Richlen said. “And what steps I think you need to take to improve.”

In a joint presentation, Regent Roger Axtell of Janesville and UW-Superior Chancellor Julius Erlenbach presented outgoing Regent President Marcovich with a spirited show of appreciation for his eight years of work, including two as president, on the Board of Regents.

Axtell and Erlenbach highlighted Marcovich’s ever-present sense of humor as one of the qualities that made his presence on the board memorable.

“He has inspired us when we were challenged, lifted us when we were down, and tickled us when we needed to laugh.” Axtell and Erlenbach said.

In a video presentation, Gov. Jim Doyle noted Marcovich’s commitment not only to UW-Superior, but to the UW System as a whole, calling Marcovich a “wonderful public servant to the people of the state of Wisconsin.”

“Toby has been a very strong and very able leader of this board,” UW System President Kevin P. Reilly added.

“It has been a wonderful eight years,” Marcovich said. “Every moment to me has been golden.”

UWM advances visionary research for benefit of Wisconsin, Santiago shows

UWM Chancellor Carlos Santiago outlined his ambitious research agenda for the Milwaukee campus during a presentation to the Board of Regents on Friday, saying that the city’s location along the “IQ Corridor,” the area of high-tech business development between Chicago and the Twin Cities, gives Milwaukee an advantage as it targets research for use by the business sector.

Santiago said his goal is to bring UWM’s annual research expenditures up from around $30 million to $100 million during the next 10 years. Supporting economic development through research will also enhance UWM’s academic mission, he said.

“When it comes to research, location does matter,” Santiago said. “We [in the metropolitan area] are at the heart of Wisconsin’s urban economic culture. Without Milwaukee, we don’t have an IQ Corridor.”

Can this ambitious goal be reached, especially without a medical, pharmacy or veterinary school? Despite many challenges, other institutions with UWM’s same level of research funding have done it, he said. And UWM’s research funding trajectory has risen dramatically since 2000.

Key to the plan is a recently announced partnership among UWM, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) and business leaders to form the Wisconsin Institute for Biomedical Health Technologies (WIBHT).

WIBHT will champion interdisciplinary research teams that are investigating knowledge creation in the fields of biomedical imaging, health care informatics, and biomechanics/rehabilitation. These are existing areas of strength at UWM and the MCW.

“This is how we are going to grow our research objectives,” Santiago said. “We are going to take our resources, invest them wisely, and partner with business and industry who will also put resources on the table.”

Bill Hendee, president of the Medical College of Wisconsin Research Foundation and dean of MCW’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, explained his institution’s involvement.

“What’s in it for us? So much. Today, it’s physics, mathematics, chemistry and engineering that are driving the frontiers of biomedical research,” Hendee said. “We don’t have those departments or an engineering school, so it’s critical for us to partner with a neighboring institution that does.”

Already the two institutions are jointly involved in:

  • a bio-statistics program;
  • a new Ph.D. in medical informatics that is offered by UWM in collaboration with MCW; and
  • a new public health initiative being discussed that will be funded by MCW’s Blue Cross & Blue Shield grant funding.

In addition to WIBHT, a new organization also was launched this year that links academic researchers at UWM and those at four other universities in Southeastern Wisconsin to industry partners. Members of the Biomedical Technology Alliance (BTA) include UWM, MCW, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), and University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

View Chancellor Santiago's Presentation pdf

UWM to play central role in solving nursing shortage, Reilly reports

A statewide initiative that recently won a $1.3 million federal grant will be directed out of UW-Milwaukee, where the College of Nursing will help Wisconsin develop better health care for Wisconsin patients and their families, UW System President Kevin P. Reilly reported to the Board on Friday.

The project, called SWIFT, or, “The State of Wisconsin Initiative to Fast-Track Nurse Educators,” is expected to lighten the nursing shortage by speeding up the process of preparing nursing faculty to teach at Wisconsin colleges and universities by as much as 18 months, while protecting education quality.

Reilly introduced Sally Lundeen, UWM nursing dean, who reminded the Board that a lack of qualified faculty has kept student enrollment levels lower than necessary to solve the shortage. She also noted that the project will strive to have 20 percent of student come from minority populations.

“The bottleneck that has kept students out of the system should be significantly relieved by this approach,” she said. “I look forward to a very busy couple of years as we build the network.”

Lundeen said the $1.3 million U.S. Department of Labor grant for SWIFT will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Wisconsin’s private sector.

Reilly noted that SWIFT is a partnership among UW campuses, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, state government agencies, health care associations and providers, and state workforce development boards.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for Wisconsin and the UW System to tackle a very critical need,” Reilly said. “Importantly, the SWIFT collaboration also, I think, demonstrates that we are a value-added public university with the flexibility and vision to respond to state needs, and an efficient and strong university system that can tap expertise, resources, and talent from around the state.”

Reilly also highlighted the accomplishments of Donte McFadden, a UWM graduate student completing his Ph.D. in Modern Studies. McFadden earned both his undergraduate and master’s degrees at UWM, and now works as an advisor with the McNair Scholars program, which assists disadvantaged and underrepresented juniors and seniors with future graduate study.

In addition, Reilly congratulated the UW-Whitewater Warhawk baseball team on its recent championship win, and welcomed to the Board three new Regents, Judy VanderMeulen Crain, Michael Spector, and Chris Semanas.

Read Reilly’s remarks

Committee reports

The Board of Regents Education, Business and Finance and Physical Planning and Building Committees presented reports on their meetings Thursday to the full board Friday morning.

Committee chairs summarized issues and resolutions discussed by committees on Thursday. Regent Jesus Salas of the Physical Planning and Funding Committee noted that the committee had decided to work with chancellors in deciding how to make an additional $10 million in cuts rather than cutting specific projects or imposing across-the-board reductions to all projects.

He also noted that the Regents would continue to work with UWM neighborhood representatives and area legislators to discuss the impact of the potential UWM acquisition of Columbia-St. Mary’s campus. He said similar neighborhood concerns about the design for UWM’s Kenilworth redevelopment, currently underway, had been resolved through such a process.

Regent Jose Olivieri, chair of the Education Committee, summarized the previous day’s discussions and reports to that committee. He noted the committee’s lengthy discussion of concerns expressed by the Faculty Senate about elimination of the College of Education, Exercise Science, Health and Recreation at UW-La Crosse.

Olivieri said the committee voted to approve the Chancellor’s decision to eliminate the college and reassign its programs as a response to urgent budget pressures. He noted that the change would not result in fewer students, programs or faculty members, but would achieve savings through the elimination of vacant administrative positions.

As part of the Business and Finance Committee report, Regent Bradley also noted the presentation on the proposed UWM fraud hotline, and that the committee approved pay plan guidelines that would allow campuses flexibility in distributing the 2005-07 pay plan to faculty and staff.

He also reminded the Board that the committee did not take any action on executive salary ranges, but told the Board that the committee asked UW System staff to prepare a report on full compensation packages in the academic market for the Board to consider in future deliberations.

“We need to be able to see what we’re competing against,” Bradley said.

In other business, the full Board:

  • Approved a resolution to allow campuses to implement revised 2005-06 pay plan guidelines that will allow campuses maximum flexibility to address specific institutional needs, given the prospect of only a 2 percent pay plan for faculty and staff in the first year of the 2005-07 biennium;
  • Approved allowing the UW System to utilize a strategic asset allocation and spending plan;
  • Approved the acceptance of several bequests over $50,000. The committee accepted and recognized bequests from the Paula Ann McCarty Estate, William T. Comstock Trust, George K. Nitz and Trel Tator Nitz Family Trust, and the Helen W. Klingler Charitable Foundation;
  • Approved elimination of the College of Education, Exercise Science, Health and Recreation at UW-La Crosse and the reassignment of its programs;
  • Approved promotions, tenure designations and related academic approval items;
  • Approved revised faculty personnel rules for UWM and UW-Stevens Point;
  • Approved renaming the UW-Madison limnology building the “Arthur D. Hasler Laboratory of Limnology;”
  • Approved a land exchange at UW-Whitewater; and
  • Approved a facility and maintenance repair project for the UW System.

In closed session, the Regents approved the recommendation of the Special Regent Committee and the President of the UW System to appoint Martha D. Saunders the Chancellor of UW-Whitewater effective August 1, 2005, at a salary of $175,000.

The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday, July 7 and 8, at the UW-Madison Arboretum in Madison, Wis.

Related: Read June 9 (day 1) news summary