MADISON—The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted Friday to name Carlos E. Santiago, provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University at Albany, State University of New York, as the new chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
“From every vantage point, Dr. Santiago seems an outstanding choice to carry on the fine work going on in Milwaukee to strengthen scholarship and research, play a role in regional economic development and reach out to the community and partner in addressing community needs,” said Board of Regents President Toby Marcovich of Superior.
Before the vote in closed session, Marcovich thanked Regent Jose Olivieri of Milwaukee, who led the regents’ search committee; committee members Elizabeth Burmaster of Madison, Danae Davis of Milwaukee, Charles Pruitt of Shorewood and Student Regent Beth Richlen; and UW System President Katharine C. Lyall for recommending such an outstanding candidate to lead the urban research campus. He also commended UWM Professor William Holahan and the rest of the campus search-and-screen committee for “sifting and winnowing” to find the most qualified candidates.
“One of the most important things we do as regents is to select the leadership of our system and our campuses,” Marcovich said. “I think this selection clearly will position the campus for even greater things to come in the years ahead.”
The board offered prolonged applause as Marcovich thanked Interim UWM Chancellor Robert Greenstreet and Provost John Wanat for their leadership during the time of transition.
“You have more than justified the confidence that President Lyall and I placed in you,” Marcovich said.
Marcovich noted that the regents and committee members contributed enormous time and energy in the selection process. He said even more effort will be required as the university begins the search for a new UW System president to replace Lyall, who has announced that she will retire at the end of the academic year.
“The end result should not be to find the most expedient or cheapest person to fill the job, but should, as in this case, to find the person who will return our investment in him or her many times over,” Marcovich said.
Marcovich noted that public university systems in Illinois, Florida, Tennessee and Nebraska, as well as prestigious public campuses, such as the University of California, Berkeley, are simultaneously conducting searches for executive leadership.
“Since our system is bigger and better than Florida, Illinois, Tennessee and Nebraska, I have no doubt that we can beat them out to attract the best talent here. However, that will require our resolve and the state’s resolve to offer a competitive compensation package,” Marcovich said. “Just as we don’t seek out the cheapest or closest heart surgeon when we have a life-threatening heart condition, we cannot afford to simply settle for the cheapest or most available candidate to lead this $3.6 billion dollar corporation.”
Santiago is expected to begin his position as UWM chancellor on July 15, at an annual salary of $250,000. He has also been granted a tenured appointment as a professor of economics, and will be permitted to contract with the UWM Foundation for the provision of personal services in conjunction with a capital campaign that may exceed the traditional duties of a chancellor, according to a regent resolution authorizing his appointment.
Marcovich on Friday also announced the members of the UW System President Search-and-Screen Committee, which will lead the effort to hire Lyall’s replacement. The committee will hold its first meeting on Tuesday (March 9) on the UW-Madison campus.
Regents hear proposals on financial aid, budget initiatives
The governor and Legislature have found short-term solutions to manage projected state budget shortfalls for the current year, but the university must remain aware of continuing financial pressures as its enters the 2005-07 budget cycle, UW System President Katharine C. Lyall told the board on Friday.
Providing sufficient financial aid for students will be among the major challenges facing the board in the coming biennium, and must be considered one of the university’s foremost priorities, she said.
“As we know, when the state budget catches a cold, the UW budget gets pneumonia,” Lyall said. “If we are to continue to provide 29,000 graduates for Wisconsin annually, we must focus on the affordability of a UW education.”
Freda Harris, UW System associate vice president for budget and planning, presented a preview of three financial aid proposals that are likely to be submitted as part of the UW System’s 2005-07 budget request. The proposals are based on findings from the working group on Partnership with the State, part of the regents’ “Charting a New Course” study of the university’s future.
The working group has recommended that the university concentrate financial aid proposals toward achieving three goals: access, retention and “brain gain.” Harris said the budget requests will include state GPR dollars to continue current financial aid commitments, now being paid for using UW student fee dollars; to meet the statutory requirement to increase the percentage of state financial aid at the same rate as tuition; and to develop a program to provide a “dollar match” program that will cover the full amount of tuition increases for the university’s neediest students.
“The dollar match program is a stop-gap measure,” Harris said. “The process to fill the hole created by using auxiliary funds requires a step-by-step process, rather than a leap.”
Funding these requests would require an estimated $72 million in state dollars over the next two years for the UW and the Higher Educational Aids Board and may require tuition increases similar to those in the last biennial budget, Harris said.
As proposed, the dollar match program would be provided to students who come from families in the lowest income quintile (under $30,000 family income), Harris said. Several regents asked whether the program could also be extended to students who come from families in the second-lowest income quintile, a group that would also be hit hard by future tuition increases. It would cost an additional $12 million over two years to extend the program to that group, Harris said.
Regent Jose Olivieri said the financial aid proposals may be the most important initiatives in the next budget, and he would be willing to forgo other programs to maximize aid for students.
“If the budget situation is such that we only have one initiative, this would be the one I would vote for,” he said.
Regent President Toby Marcovich agreed that financial aid will be an important part of the requests, but reminded the board that other priorities will be presented and regents will have to set priorities.
Regent Chuck Pruitt commended Lyall for keeping students as the focus of budget initiatives. Regent Fred Mohs reminded the board that students also benefit from other funding priorities, such as faculty salaries.
“We want to ensure the students who are enrolling are coming to a great university that can do a great job,” Mohs said.
In other news, the board learned that as of Friday, all pending appointments to the board had been confirmed by the state Senate.
Regents debate bill to add student regent
The full board approved a resolution Friday that encourages the state Assembly majority leader to schedule a vote on a bill that could result in the appointment of an additional student regent.
Student Regent Beth Richlen introduced the resolution regarding Senate Bill 85, which Richlen said United Council representatives were active in drafting. United Council president Jeff Pertl told the board the bill has had unanimous support in Senate and Assembly education committees, and that the governor has indicated he would sign the bill if it reached his desk.
The resolution states that the two-year appointment of the student regent position can cause difficulties related to turnover and transition, and encourages the appointment of an additional student who will represent nontraditional students, such as employed students or parents. The bill would require that the student themselves be nontraditional, an undergraduate and at least 24 years old.
Several regents indicated that they were uncomfortable with several aspects of the resolution as proposed, including the precedent such a measure could set by appointing board members to represent groups with a particular interest. Other regents noted that students fund more than 40 percent of the university’s budget through tuition and are entitled to a greater voice in university policymaking.
Regent Danae Davis moved that the board amend the resolution to remove a clause in which the board would have taken an affirmative position on the bill. The amendment passed 10-6. The amended resolution was approved 12-4.
Richlen said she was pleased that the board engaged in a full and healthy debate on the measure.
As part of the Education Committee report, the full board passed a resolution approving a $5 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation for a teacher education initiative at UW-Milwaukee. The initiative, titled “Teachers for a New Era,” was awarded to UW-Milwaukee based in part on its continued work with the Milwaukee Partnership Academy to improve performance in Milwaukee Public Schools.
The board also passed resolutions to:
- Authorize UW-Madison to conduct a national search for a new dean of the College of Letters and Science;
- Approve 2004-05 annual budget allocation decision rules;
- Approve amendments to the Blue Cross/Blue Shield gift agreement;
- Authorize use of Regents’ discretionary trust funds, if necessary, for expenses related to the search for a new UW System president;
- Approve voting of 2004 non-routine proxy proposals;
- Approve data wiring infrastructure upgrades for UW-Madison;
- Approve movable and special equipment for three UW Colleges campuses, in part to bring facilities into compliance with ADA requirements;
- Approve remodeling of UW-Madison’s Science Hall;
- Approve window replacement for Prucha Hall at UW-River Falls;
- Approve remodeling of the DeBot residential dining facility at UW-Stevens Point;
- Approve a land exchange between CUNA and UW-Madison’s University Research Park; and
- Approve the 2005 meeting schedule.
The Board of Regents will hold its next meeting April 1 and 2, 2004, in Van Hise Hall on the UW-Madison campus.