(from left) President Ray Cross, Dr. Susan Huss-Lederman, Dr. William Mode, Dr. Brenda R. O’Beirne, Regent President Regina Millner, and Regent Janice Mueller

2016 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards recipients honored (holding plaques, from left) Dr. Susan Huss-Lederman, Dr. William Mode, and Dr. Brenda R. O’Beirne, chair of Counselor Education department. Also pictured (from left): President Ray Cross, Regent President Regina Millner, and Regent Janice Mueller.

MILWAUKEE – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents honored two professors and one academic program for their outstanding achievements in teaching, when they bestowed the UW System’s highest recognition for members of its faculty and academic staff at Friday’s meeting at UW-Milwaukee.

Dr. Mode (center) with Regent Farrow (left) and Regent Millner

Dr. Mode (center) with Regent Farrow (left) and Regent Millner

The 2016 recipients of the 24th annual Regents Teaching Excellence Awards are:

  • William N. Mode, Professor, Department of Geology, UW‑Oshkosh
  • Susan Huss-Lederman, Professor, Department of Languages and Literatures, UW‑Whitewater
  • Department of Counselor Education, UW-Whitewater

Award recipients were selected for their strong commitment to teaching and learning; use of effective teaching strategies to enhance student learning; and significant impact on students’ intellectual development.

“Receiving an award for doing what I love almost seems unnecessary. I look forward to going to work every day,” said Mode, who has been a faculty member in the Department of Geology at UW-Oshkosh for 35 years and department chair since 1999. “Seeing students learn and grow is the other great joy of my job.”

(from left) Regent Michael M. Grebe, Dr. Susan Huss-Lederman, and Regent President Regina Millner

Dr. Huss-Lederman (center) with Regent Grebe (left) and Regent Millner

“Getting students to think, talk and write about geology develops skills — observation, critical thinking, communication and synthesis — that they will use no matter what they do in life,” Mode said.

Huss-Lederman, who has primary teaching responsibilities in Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL), told Regents that she made a promise to herself when she began teaching at UW-Whitewater 21 years ago that she would honor the trust that students and often parents have in higher education.

“I have done this by carefully asking and listening and observing and noticing when students do well and where they need differing degrees of structured guidance,” Huss-Lederman said.

She said that students who overcome great odds to achieve “help keep me going and make me realize the power we have” as effective role models. Huss-Lederman noted “the ripple effect of our work in preparing teachers is wide.”

Department chair Brenda O’Beirne, who accepted the program award on behalf of the UW-Whitewater Counselor Education program, said teaching and learning is a partnership.

Dr. O’Beirne (center) with Regent Langnes (left) and Regent Millner

Dr. O’Beirne (center) with Regent Langnes (left) and Regent Millner

“As faculty, we partner with students to help them achieve the goals that are theirs to achieve. We want to help students develop the knowledge and skills that they will need to serve the world and make it a better place,” O’Beirne said.

“Learning requires reflection, and we require our students to do a lot of reflection, both personally and professionally,” she said.

It is estimated that the UW-Whitewater Counselor Education program has prepared more than 1,370 professionally trained counselors, with the vast majority working within the state of Wisconsin.

Regents approve Flexible Option baccalaureate degree in Business Administration

The Board approved the UW-Extension’s UW Flexible Option Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. This is a competency-based degree completion program. It would be the first UW Flexible Option baccalaureate degree to be offered by UW-Extension

CORE Project Update

Photo of David Miller at podium

David Miller

David Miller, UW System’s Vice President of Administration, provided Regents with details about the newly named Commitment to Operational Reform and Effectiveness (CORE) Project, a commitment to streamline and centralize administrative operations throughout the state, including human resources, information technology, purchasing, and budgeting operations.  The initiative was launched by President Cross in 2014.

The project has the shared goal of improving effectiveness and efficiency, Miller said. He noted that the System has a shared financial system, common payroll and benefits systems, and many other shared resources that leverage the power of a system.

“We also have many uncommon systems and manners of operating. This project is about seeking an equilibrium between adding value and greater standardization of shared services with balancing and maintaining the distinctiveness of each campus,” he said.

UW-Milwaukee delivers Division I NCAA report

As part of its annual Division I NCAA report to the Board, UW-Milwaukee athletic director Amanda Braun told Regents that the Panthers had some significant athletic successes this past year. In addition, its student athletes have now posted 31 consecutive semesters with a 3.0 or higher average GPA.

She also told Regents that gifts and pledges topped $1 million, with a record number of donors – an important trend given declining GPR support. “We’re seeing people step up and want to be part of Panther excellence,” Braun said.

Braun introduced LaVall Jordan, the new men’s basketball coach. Jordan called the Milwaukee program “a sleeping giant .. ready to move forward in a big positive way.” 

Regent President’s Report

As part of her regular report to the Board, Regent President Regina Millner called UW-Milwaukee’s recent designation as a Research-1 institution “an historic achievement for this university and for the UW System.”

“This important step into the future could only have happened through key collaborations between the UW-Milwaukee campus community, the Board of Regents, UW System leadership, the business community, K-12 partners, non-profit agencies, and legislators, all working together for the benefit of families in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin,” Millner said.

Millner also provided updates on the administrative code updates, the Tuition-setting Policy Task Force and the forthcoming Campus Climate Task Force. She noted that several campuses have started holding briefings in recent weeks about the impact budget cuts are having on their campuses, with more forums in the works.

UW System President’s Report

President Ray Cross called Regents’ attention to a new report recently released by the Wisconsin Technology Council, “The Value of Higher Education to Wisconsin’s Economy.” “The report reaffirms UW System’s critical role as an economic engine in the state and makes the case that further cuts in public support for higher education in Wisconsin will, in fact, harm the state’s economy,” Cross said.

He also provided updates on the re-posted position description for Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion, the recent Posters in the Rotunda event, and ongoing legislative engagements.

As part of regular report on news from around the UW System, Cross noted that UW-Stevens Point has launched its first-ever capital campaign, with a goal of raising $30 million by June 2019. More than $17 million in commitments and gifts have already been made toward the goal.

Student Spotlight

Photo of Rosetta Washington

Rosetta Washington

Rosetta Washington, an undergraduate nursing major and nontraditional student at UW-Milwaukee, was featured in President Cross’s Student Spotlight. After working in the nursing field, she returned to college and was accepted into the Ronald E. McNair program at UW-Milwaukee last year, where, she told Regents, “I was introduced to the world of research.”

She is currently working with Associate Professor Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu on increasing healthy birth outcomes for African American women in Milwaukee. “I am so excited about this research because it can lead to a decrease in the African American infant mortality rates that have plagued our state,” Washington said. Her work was featured at the Posters in the Rotunda event in Madison in April.

In August, through a grant from UWM’s Office of Undergraduate Research and the Center for International Education, Washington will accompany Dr. Mkandawire-Valhmu to Malawi where they will be conducting research on the needs of HIV positive patients.  “Truly, I am blessed to be a part of research that will lead to healthy living for those people who live in impoverished communities in our world,” Washington said.

Regents approve promotions and tenure

The Board of Regents approved UW institutions’ promotions and tenure designations.

“This is the time to celebrate the accomplishments of our talented faculty members and acknowledge the long, rigorous path that has led to earning tenure in the UW System,” said President Millner.

She noted that over 50% of newly tenured faculty are in disciplines that support the State’s high need for graduates in STEM, health care, and business.

Regents say farewell to colleagues

Regent Emeritus Vásquez (second from right) is honored for his years of service; also pictured (from left): President Cross, Regent Manydeeds, and Regent President Millner

Regent Emeritus Vásquez (second from right) is honored for his years of service; also pictured (from left): President Cross, Regent Manydeeds, and Regent President Millner

The Board recognized the service and accomplishments of two departing colleagues: Regent Emeritus José Vásquez and Student Regent Emeritus Nicolas Harsy.

Regent Vásquez, who had served on the Board for eight years, urged Board members to look beyond the traditional symbols of the university – its buildings, institutions, programs, and even great students – to recognize the countless UW System employees, at all levels, who make it happen.

“It takes many people to make a great system. It could not be accomplished without the employees. And regardless of their roles and responsibilities, they are committed to excellence, conducting their work in an effective and efficient manner,” Vásquez said. “I implore the Regents to open the door of communication to employees even further.”

Nic Harsy, who served the past two years as the non-traditional Student Regent, had returned to UW-Madison after serving five years with the Marine Corps, including tours of duty in Afghanistan. Addressing the Board, he specifically singled out the UW’s faculty and staff.

Regent Emeritus Harsy (second from left) is honored for his years of service; also pictured (from left): President Cross, Regent Higgins, and Regent President Millner

Regent Emeritus Harsy (second from left) is honored for his years of service; also pictured (from left): President Cross, Regent Higgins, and Regent President Millner

“You are a critical element to this university. You’re the ones cultivating the future, you’re the ones interacting with students, challenging them, mentoring them, and unlocking their potential to achieve greatness,” Harsy said. “For all your hard work and dedication, I thank you.”

Harsy also saluted his fellow student veterans for their dedication and sacrifice, knowing first-hand that it isn’t easy to transition from combat to the classroom.

“There’s something special going on here,” Harsy said. “Something special and unique.”

Board Leadership Reelected to New Terms

By unanimous vote, Regent Regina Millner of Madison re-was elected President of the Board of Regents, and Regent John Behling of Eau Claire was re-elected to serve as Vice President of the Board. Both positions have a one-year term.

Millner was appointed to the Board by Gov. Walker in 2012. Her career as a lawyer and consultant in commercial real estate spans more than 30 years. Millner also has served in leadership positions on the boards of many corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, including the Wisconsin Alumni Association, UW-Madison Athletic Board, Wisconsin Real Estate Alumni Association, Chazen Art Museum Council, and the Chancellor’s Advisory Board.

Millner earned her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School, a Master of Science in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the UW-Madison School of Business, and a bachelor’s degree in education from University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Behling has served on the Board since 2012. He is an attorney and vice president with the Weld Riley law firm in Eau Claire, where he advises on regulatory, environmental, zoning, permitting and public relations matters. Behling recently returned to the firm after a one-year leave of absence to work as general counsel and executive vice president of Regulatory Affairs for Smart San, Inc. He previously served as an aide to Gov. Tommy Thompson in both Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wis.

Behling graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor of science in political science and economics. He also attended Georgetown University of Economics and received his law degree from University of Wisconsin Law School.

In other business, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved the Board of Regents’ 2017 regular meeting schedule, as well as changes to Board bylaws to allow limited meeting schedule changes at the discretion of the Board President and a Board of Regents policy on policies;
  • Approved a Master of Science in Microbiology at UW-La Crosse;
  • Approved UW-La Crosse to join as a partner in the existing collaborative and online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology program with five UW comprehensive institutions. UW-Extension provides administrative and financial support;
  • Approved an online/hybrid Master of Natural Resources at UW-Stevens Point;
  • Approved a Bachelor of Science in Dairy Science at UW-Platteville;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s and UW-Milwaukee’s proffers from the trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate for $6,271,978 for fiscal year 2016-2017 in support of scholarships, fellowships, professorships, and special programs in Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, and Music;
  • Approved new application fee rates for UW-Madison undergraduates of $60 (a $10 increase) and undergraduates at other UW institutions of $50 (a $6 increase). Changes were also approved for UW-Madison Graduate and Professional Schools applications;
  • Approved a sponsored research agreement between UW-Milwaukee and Precision Systems, Inc.;
  • Approved an agreement between UW-Green Bay and Compass Group USA, Inc., through its Chartwells Division, to provide dining services at the institution;
  • Approved an agreement between UW-Parkside and A’viands, LLC to provide dining services at the institution;
  • Approve an agreement between UW-Superior and Academic Partners to provide educational online program services at the institution;
  • Approved an agreement between UW-Whitewater and Bottling Group, LLC, Pepsi Beverages Companies, to provide exclusive rights to soft drink pouring and vending at the institution;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Master Clinical Studies Agreement with NeOnc Technologies, Inc.;
  • Approved a sponsored research agreement between UW-Madison and National Oilwell Varco, LP. The study extends a collaborative effort involving National Oilwell Varco, UW-Madison, Pennsylvania State University, and Texas A&M University;
  • Approved two separate but related agreements awarding merchandising rights for UW-Madison Athletics: Gold Country, Inc., which involves on-site sales in UW Athletics facilities including Camp Randall and the Kohl Center as well portable sales operations at other sites by mutual agreement; and Fanatics Retail Group Wisconsin, which involves online sales through an established e-commerce provider;
  • Approved an exception to Board policy that requires non-endowed gifts in excess of $250,000 to become Board-designated endowments. The exception is being requested by the Chancellor at UW-Madison and seeks to allow expenditure of the full $800,000 amount of the bequest from the Eleanor Casebier Trust;
  • Approved amendments to two existing Regent Policy Documents and a new Regent Policy Document related to contracting authority;
  • Approved the UW System’s fiscal 2017 audit plan;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to construct the $47 million Witte Hall Renovation project, which fully renovates the residence hall;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to increase the budget of the Memorial Union Renovation project by $4 million to provide funding for unforeseen conditions that were discovered during the project’s construction;
  • Approved changes to Regent Policy Document 19-14, which addresses the naming of university facilities and lands. This update clarifies the previous policy, provides for Office of General Counsel review of certain naming agreements, and outlines naming criteria;
  • Approved UW-Green Bay’s request for authority to construct a $4.9 million New Soccer Complex project;
  • Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct various 2015-2017 Classroom Instructional Technology projects at an estimated cost of $8.7 million;
  • Approved UW System’s request for approval of four All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects at three universities with estimated total costs of $7.7 million;
  • Approved UW-Oshkosh’s request for authority to increase the budget of the Fletcher Hall Renovation and Addition project by $2.9 million;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to sell the historic Knapp House property on East Gilman Street in Madison;
  • Approved UW-River Falls’ request for authority to sell the Pigeon Lake Field Station in Drummond, Wis.;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to transfer two parcels of land in Stoughton, Wis., from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation;
  • Approved UW-Superior’s request for authority to sell two small pieces of land and grant temporary limited easements to the city of Superior for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Belknap Street (US Highway 2) Reconstruction project; and
  • Approved a resolution of appreciation recognizing UW-Milwaukee for hosting the June meeting;


Photos by Derek S. Rickert/UW-Milwaukee

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will have its next meeting on Aug. 18-19, 2016, in Madison.