MADISON – The UW System Board of Regents began its Thursday meeting with a comprehensive progress report on the Growth Agenda Action Steps, derived one year ago from a strategic planning process.

“There has been a tremendous amount of activity around these eleven Action Steps,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. “We have made real progress.”

Reilly cited Step 11, which targets growing the private need-based financial aid for students, as an example. He noted the significant increase in such aid this past year.

Reilly pointed out that nearly 2,000 UW students received $1.76 million in new need-based assistance from the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS) during the Fall 2008 semester.  That private, non-profit fund was established through a $175-million gift from John and Tashia Morgridge. View press release

Rebecca Martin, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, made a full presentation on all 11 Action Steps, describing the university’s considerable progress on multiple fronts.

Echoing comments from others on the Board, Regent Judith Crain commended the progress that’s been made.  She wondered, however, given the complexity of the initiatives, how well the Action Steps are understood both within the UW System and by external audiences.

Reilly acknowledged that communicating the full breadth of the Action Steps can be challenging. “A lot of stuff is going on below the surface to get to the goals,” he said.
Regent Mike Falbo noted that the Action Steps have snowballed in a positive way. “It seems like this process has not only created new initiatives but has also heightened awareness of existing initiatives. All that is a great thing,” Falbo said.

Regent Vice President Charles Pruitt asked what kind of ongoing analysis takes place on campuses to evaluate what is or is not working with the initiatives.
“Many of these (initiatives) are at the very early stages … but assessment is definitely part of what we’re doing,” Martin said.

View the Growth Agenda Action Steps presentation pdf

Education Committee hears UW System Nursing Education Task Force report

The Education Committee reviewed key findings of the UW System Nursing Education Task Force. The task force was charged a year ago with studying the supply and demand of nursing graduates in Wisconsin, and asked to formulate recommendations ensuring that the state’s nursing needs over the next five to 10 years are met.

Nursing Dean Rosemary Smith, UW-Oshkosh, who has been involved in health education for 25 years, said the needs are significant and growing. National workforce projections indicate that during the next decade Wisconsin will require significantly more nurses than it is currently producing.

While enrollments in UW System nursing programs have grown dramatically in recent years – tripling in the last 10 years – qualified applicants also are turned away because of limited space and resources. In recent years, UW System institutions have only been able to admit 60 percent or fewer of qualified applicants.

In the next five to 10 years, there also will be increasing demand for nurses ready to step into leadership roles by hospital and other health care employers. These same baccalaureate-prepared nursing graduates, then, will provide the pipeline of students entering advanced nursing practice master’s and doctoral programs who, in turn, will become the nursing faculty of the future.

“Attending to these priorities must begin now to be prepared for the second decade of the 21st century,” Smith said.

To address these needs, the report identified six high priorities:

  • The capacity for baccalaureate nursing education in the state must be expanded, including expansion of existing programs or possibly developing new programs;
  • Clinical placement opportunities necessary for nursing education must be expanded;
  • Racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of nursing student populations must be enhanced;
  • More nurses must be prepared at the graduate level for careers in nursing and nursing education;
  • Wisconsin must establish systems and processes for collecting and analyzing regional and state nursing workforce data; and
  • Robust collaboration among nursing programs in Wisconsin’s two public higher education systems must continue.

Given the ongoing high demand for nurses, Regent Judith Crain asked about any challenges that may exist in recruiting students to the field.

Smith responded that the need for nurses has been well publicized and rising application numbers reflect that. “We have many more qualified applicants than we can accommodate,” she said. She added that she is more concerned that students are entering the profession with the right motives. “We are looking not only for those students who are academically excellent but those who have values of working with and for people, a philosophy of caring, of scholarship with others.”

Regent and committee chair Danae Davis commended the comprehensive report both for its insights and its example. “Such a thorough understanding is extremely valuable to us as we aspire to meet the needs of students and the workforce, establish priorities for academic programming for the System, and act on new programs that come before us.”

Education Committee hears report on KnowHow2GO mentoring program

As part of a continuing series of in-depth updates on the Growth Agenda Action Steps, the Education Committee heard a presentation on the KnowHow2GO Network’s mentoring program.
Under the plan, college student volunteers establish ongoing connections with prospective college students and their parents while they’re still in elementary or middle school in an effort to convince them that college is possible, and to offer them information and guidance on how to best prepare and plan for college.

There are already several well-established programs in the UW System that share this mission, including the Phuture Phoenix program at UW-Green Bay and the PEOPLE program at UW-Madison.  UW-Eau Claire and UW-Marathon County are also in the early stages of developing comparable student-to-student mentoring initiatives.

“The value of the personal and ongoing connection can’t be overstated,” said Larry Rubin, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Academic Support.

To provide a personal look at how mentoring programs work in practice, the Board was treated to a multi-media presentation by UWGB’s Phuture Phoenix program, including video footage of Green Bay-area fifth-graders, each wearing a bright yellow T-shirt emblazoned with “College Bound,” as they visited the UWGB campus.

“Opening their eyes to what college is all about helps to connect them with the potential of what college may mean for them,” said program director Kim Desotell.
UWGB senior Lund Ziegler, who’s been involved in the mentoring program, said college students benefit from the program as well.

“As a tutor, it was great to walk in and get a hands-on look at what teaching might be, especially with kids who are having the toughest time, making grades, even getting to school. It was enlightening,” he said.

The first wave of students involved in the Phuture Phoenix mentoring program won’t be starting college until 2010, but Desotell said there are already promising signs of program payoff. Surveys indicate that four of five participating students said the experience made them think more about going to college, and that truancy rates among those students had declined.

In other business, the Education committee:

  • Heard a regular report from Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin, including an update on academic program realignment in response to budget constraints.
  • Discussed a presentation by the Office of Academic Affairs on a series of criteria for approving professional doctorates at the comprehensive institutions.
  • Authorized UW-Madison to implement the B.S. in Personal Finance;
  • Authorized UW-Milwaukee to implement the B.S. in Athletic Training; and
  • Authorized UW-Oshkosh to implement the B.A./B.S. in Women’s Studies.

State Auditor Jan Mueller gives UW System a clean bill of health

Director of Financial Reporting Ginger Hintz presented the Business, Finance, and Audit Committee with the UW System’s annual financial report for Fiscal Year 2007-08.

According to the report, state support increased by $38.7 million (4.2 percent), tuition revenue increased by $48.7 million (5.8%), gifts increased by $24.7 million (10.1%), and federal grants and contracts decreased by $26.4 million (4.0%).

The financial report included a clean, or “unqualified,” opinion from State Auditor Jan Mueller and the Legislative Audit Bureau. Mueller was on hand to brief the regents on her agency’s review.  Financial Audit Director Carolyn Stittleburg from the Bureau suggested only two areas for improvement, including increased security for mainframe computers that manage financial data.

UW System officials said they will continue working with the campuses and the Audit Bureau to assess the levels of risk with the current legacy computer system, and provide recommended courses of action with corresponding costs.

The UW System’s Annual Financial Report may be found at

View the annual financial report presentation pdf

Business, Finance, and Audit Committee reviews and adjusts existing differential tuition at three campuses

The Business, Finance, and Audit Committee conducted a regularly scheduled review of UW-Milwaukee’s tuition differentials that were initially approved in 2004 for students enrolled in the Peck School of the Arts, the College of Engineering and Applied Science, the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business, and the College of Nursing. Two students from the School of Business and College of Nursing spoke in support of the differential, saying it helps to improve program quality.

Regent Connolly-Keesler expressed concern that the differential might increase tuition costs too drastically if added to regular tuition increases.

The committee approved an amended resolution limiting increases in the differentials, with the stipulation that the rate be reviewed again in 2012. If approved by the full Board tomorrow, the increase would be less than one dollar per credit hour for students in the specific programs. These rates are reviewed annually and any increases require the endorsement of student representatives, the Provost and the Chancellor of the institution.

The committee approved UW-Oshkosh’s request for an annual increase in the institution’s differential which supports the UW-Oskosh Personal Development Compact. The rate will be reviewed by the Board in Fall 2012. The proposed differential, supported by the UW-Oshkosh Student Senate and UW-Oshkosh Student Assembly, would be $1.65 per semester, or $3.30 per year, beginning in Fall 2009.  The proposal was backed by letters of support from the current and prior student body presidents, and the rate had not changed since 2004.

In other business, the Business, Finance and Audit Committee:

  • Approved UW-Platteville’s request for an increase to the institution’s Regional Enrollment Differential Tuition program, commonly referred to as the Tri-State Initiative, for certain non-resident students;
  • Discussed the 2009 Review and Audit Plan presented by the UW System Office of Operations Review and Audit Director Julie Gordon;
  • Discussed highlights of the Annual Trust Fund Report by Director Doug Hoerr; the complete report can be viewed online at
  • Discussed strategic plans for major UW System IT projects;
  • Heard an interim report on Systemwide campus safety and security initiatives;
  • Discussed Fall 2008 enrollment trends;
  • Heard highlights of the quarterly gifts, grants, and contracts from the second quarter;
  • Heard a schedule of the UW System expenditures through the first half of the fiscal year; and
  • Recommended approval of the initial identity theft prevention program to direct chancellors or their designees to adopt appropriate identity theft prevention programs based on the Board-approved program; the deadline for compliance is May 1, 2009.

All resolutions will be voted on by the full Board tomorrow.

Capital Planning and Budget Committee

At the Capital Planning and Budget Committee meeting, Associate Vice President David Miller reported that the Building Commission approved about $73 million for projects at their December and January meetings. The funding breakdown for those projects is $48 million General Fund Supported Borrowing, $13 million program revenue, and $12 million gift and grant funds.

In other business, the committee:

  • Approved UW-Extension’s request for authority to increase the project scope and budget and construct the Lowell Hall Guestroom Remodeling project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to increase the budget for and construct the Union South Replacement project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to construct the Lakeshore Utility Improvements – Phase I project, which will support and expand utility infrastructure along the campus lakeshore;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to seek a statutory waiver to allow acceptance of a single prime contractor bid for the Chazen Museum of Art Addition project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to accept a parcel of land located at 1314 West Johnson Street in Madison from WARF Properties, LLC.;
  • Approved UW-Parkside’s request for authority to increase the scope and budget and construct the Communication Arts Remodeling and Addition project;
  • Approved UW System Administration’s request for authority to construct nine maintenance and repair projects through the All Agency program at four different institutions.


The Board of Regents will resume its February 2009 meeting on Friday, February 6, at 9 a.m.
in Van Hise Hall.

Related: Read February 6 (day 2) news summary