MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents honored recipients of its 11th annual Diversity Awards Friday. These awards recognize individuals and programs that foster access and success for students who are members of historically underrepresented populations.

Dennis Beale from UW-Eau Claire receives a UW Board of Regents Diversity Award at the UW System Board of Regents meeting hosted at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

Dennis Beale accepts the Board of Regents’ 2019 Diversity Award in the individual category.

Regent Mark Tyler, chair of the selection committee, said the award recipients are “making an impact on their campus to increase opportunity for all student populations. We are delighted to recognize their profound dedication to building partnerships to support retention and student success.”

The 2019 recipients are:

  • Individual: Dennis K. Beale Jr., Assistant Director, Blugold Beginnings, UW-Eau Claire

A two-time alumnus of UW-Eau Claire, Beale is the assistant director of the award-winning Blugold Beginnings program, which works to make higher education possible for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. He works closely with departments and units across campus to actively engage students, faculty, and staff in creating a more welcoming and inclusive campus.

Drawing on his own experience as a student making the difficult transition from Chicago to Eau Claire, Beale told Regents that students often have goals and dreams but no vision. He said he emphasizes a number of “ships” to students – including leadership, internships, and relationships – that will “sail to take you places.”

Quincy Kissack, assistant director of Student Associate Professional Staff at UW-Milwaukee, receives a UW Board of Regents Diversity Award on behalf of the UW-M Food Center and Pantry at the UW System Board of Regents meeting hosted at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

The UW-Milwaukee Food Center and Pantry, represented by Quincy Kissack.

  • Team: Food Center and Pantry, UW-Milwaukee (UWM)

The UWM Food Center and Pantry is a collaborative effort among students, faculty, and staff to address equity issues related to hunger and food insecurity on campus. Its mission is to ensure the entire UWM community has nutritious food and key necessities in a welcoming and educational space.

“If students are worried about where their next meal is coming from, they’re not thinking about grades, they’re not thinking about classes or studying,” said Quincy Kissack, assistant director of Student Association Professional Staff, who oversees the daily operations of the UWM Food Center and Pantry. She called the center “a success story about how cross-campus collaborations can create a sustainable and long-lasting impact.”

  • Team: Titan Advantage Program (TAP), UW-Oshkosh
Sylvia Carey-Butler, associate vice chancellor of academic support of inclusive excellence at UW-Oshkosh, receives a UW Board of Regents Diversity Award on behalf of the Titan Advantage Program at UW-Oshkosh during the UW System Board of Regents meeting hosted at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

Members of the UW-Oshkosh Titan Advantage Program; Dr. Sylvia Carey-Butler (holding plaque) made acceptance remarks on the team’s behalf.

TAP began in 2014 as a group of concerned faculty and staff on campus who were addressing the issues of recruitment, retention, and persistence to graduation of underrepresented students. TAP created the summer bridge program for incoming underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation college students to earn four to six college credits the summer prior to their first year at UW-Oshkosh. UW-Oshkosh has increased the enrollment of students of color from 11.4% in 2013 to 15.7% in 2018.

Associate Vice Chancellor Sylvia Carey-Butler saluted the TAP team – including program coordinator Mai Khou Xiong – for their deep understanding of underrepresented students and how that makes a difference in the students’ success. She added that “TAP has truly been successful in navigating students not only to college but through college.”

Other members of the selection committee included Regent Eve Hall, Regent Cris Peterson, and Regent Ryan Ring.

Capacity-building initiatives

Photo of Rebecca Blank, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Madison, speaking during the UW System Board of Regents meeting hosted at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

Chancellor Blank presents UW-Madison’s capacity-building initiatives.

A key part of the UW System budget request for 2019-21 is focused on capacity-building proposals. These initiatives are designed to increase student success and output, with an emphasis on addressing the state’s workforce needs. To grow capacity will require additional investments in faculty, support staff, or facilities, to be able to enroll more students and produce more graduates in high-demand fields.

“To grow capacity will require additional investments in faculty, support staff, or facilities to be able to enroll more students and produce more graduates in high-demand fields. That’s what this is all about,” said UW System President Ray Cross. He added that response from legislators to the proposals has been positive. “In fact, some have expressed interest in having us do more and do it sooner,” he said.

At Friday’s Board of Regents meeting, five Chancellors – UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller, UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields, UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Bernie Patterson, and UW-Whitewater interim Chancellor Cheryl Green – provided a closer look at the initiatives being proposed by their campuses.

The proposed initiatives address pressing issues such as mental health, drug abuse, and disabilities. Initiatives also focus on developing and expanding programs in high-demand fields such as computer science, engineering, business, nursing, hospitality, paper science, and aquaponics. As noted by Chancellor Blank, the institutions’ proposals prepare students to be successful and meet the needs of the state’s businesses and communities.

“There’s no better way to express the Wisconsin Idea than what we’ve just heard from our Chancellors,” Cross said, following the presentation.

The Board previously heard from the other eight campuses at its meetings in October and December.

UW-Madison presents annual NCAA Division I Athletics Report

Barry Alvarez, athletic director at the University of Wisconsin Madison, speaks during the UW System Board of Regents meeting hosted at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

UW-Madison Athletic Director Barry Alvarez presents the annual NCAA Division I Athletics Report.

Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez led UW-Madison’s presentation of its NCAA Division I Athletics 2017-18 Annual Report. He told Regents that the program’s athletes are excelling both on the field of play and in the classroom.

Eighteen of UW-Madison’s 23 sports advanced to post-season competition, Alvarez said. UW-Madison student-athletes carried a 3.12 cumulative grade-point average, he said, and between Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, a total of 280 student-athletes earned Academic Big-Ten honors.

Alvarez told Regents that the Athletics Department reported no Level I or Level II violations in 2017-18. He also noted that the most recent NCAA Compliance review conducted by UW System’s Office of Internal Audits did not identify any compliance or control deficiencies.

Presidents’ Reports

In his regular report to the Board, Regent President John Robert Behling said the recent news that UW System had a record number of students graduating in 2017-18 shows that the UW System is “helping meet the needs of employers, and contributing to our communities and our economy.”

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank introduces freshman MacKenzie Straub during the UW Systems President's Student Spotlight at the UW System Board of Regents meeting hosted at Union South at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo by Bryce Richter /UW-Madison)

Chancellor Blank introduces UW-Madison freshman Mackenzie Straub for the February Student Spotlight.

UW System President Ray Cross highlighted UW-Madison freshman Mackenzie Straub in his Student Spotlight. Straub is part of the inaugural cohort of UW-Madison students to receive free tuition as part of the Bucky’s Tuition Promise program.

After her father’s death several years ago, Straub said Bucky’s Tuition Promise has made it possible for her to go to college. “I go to class looking forward to what new information I will learn and how I can apply it to my future or teach others about it,” said Straub, a native of Sister Bay, Wis., who plans to go into early childhood education.

“I am excited to work with elementary schools of Wisconsin to give back to a System that has given me so much,” she said.

In Cross’s News from Around the System, Regents heard that UW-Oshkosh made last fall a time for sharing and healing. Fifty years ago, 94 African-American students were arrested and expelled after demanding improved experiences for students of color. The campus invited these students to return for midyear commencement and an emotional remembrance event. Chancellor Andrew Leavitt presented Sheila Knox with an honorary doctorate and recognized other Oshkosh 94 members as Chancellor’s Medallion honorees.

In a federal relations update, President Cross told Regents that on Jan. 28, the UW System submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Education regarding proposed new Title IX rules. “We believe there are some parts of the proposed rule that may help higher education combat sexual harassment and assault,” Cross said. “However, other parts of the proposed rule cause serious concern or need clarification. Our comments are intended to provide a practitioner viewpoint to assist the Department of Education in developing a rule that will be workable for all parties.”

Cross also noted that UW System has reconvened its Federal Relations Council, after several years of inactivity. The council, which includes members of the Board of Regents, Chancellors, Provosts, Deans, faculty, students, and others representing each campus of the UW System, will discuss what’s important to institutions and how the UW System can be more proactive and coordinated in its federal relations activities.

On the state relations front, Cross reported that he and the State Relations team have been briefing legislators on the UW System’s budget request and that the response overall has been very positive. He also noted that the team has been actively engaging with the Evers administration and individual cabinet members “to discuss ways we can work together.”

Restructuring update

Carleen Vande Zande, UW System’s Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and Educational Innovation, provided an update on the review of the UW System’s restructuring initiative by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Vande Zande said HLC has noted UW System’s strong, forward-thinking leadership in proposing and implementing the plans to restructure the System, and the strong desire to maintain quality higher education for students in all regions of the state.

HLC has also indicated that the Memoranda of Understanding and institutional statements clearly demonstrate the necessary criteria are being met, Vande Zande told Regents. “The team found nothing that would put the institutions at risk of falling out of compliance with HLC criteria or eligibility requirements,” she said.

HLC did have some concerns about student service staffing levels, student enrollment numbers, the need for more communication strategies, and financial challenges, Vande Zande said, and these are being addressed.

HLC’s report will be finalized and submitted in early spring 2019, when it will be reviewed by the Institutional Actions Committee.

In other business, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved changes to the Regents’ regular meeting schedule, moving the location for the April 4-5, 2019, meeting to Van Hise Hall, Madison, and the Dec. 6-7, 2019, meeting to UW-Whitewater;
  • Approved a resolution of appreciation for UW-Madison’s hosting of the February 2019 meeting;
  • Extended condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Emerita Vicki Lord Larson, who passed away earlier this month;
  • Approved UW-Eau Claire’s request to establish a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Actuarial Science within the Department of Mathematics;
  • Approved UW-Green Bay’s request to establish a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Water Science;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request to establish a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Health Promotion and Health Equity (HPHE);
  • Approved the recommendation by the UWM Office of Charter Schools to renew four contracts: (1) Bruce Guadalupe Community School; (2) Milwaukee Scholars; (3) Seeds of Health Elementary, Tenor High School, and Veritas High School; and (4) Woodlands School-Bluemound Campus;
  • Approved the recommendation by UW System’s Office of Educational Opportunity (OEO) to approve contracts for two charter schools in Madison – One City Schools, Inc. Charter School, and the Isthmus Montessori Academic, Inc.;
  • Approved the transfer of the Stellar Collegiate Charter School, Inc. contract to Carmen High School of Science and Technology, Inc., both located in Milwaukee, per a mutual Memorandum of Understanding;
  • Approved changes to nonresident and graduate student tuition rates at nine UW System institutions;
  • Approved changes to Regent Policy 21-9 to require that university officials serving on foundation boards be non-voting, ex-officio members of such boards; the changes explicitly require any executive director of a university foundation who is also a university employee to comply with state statutes and administrative code that require them to file annual statements of economic interest with the Office of the Board of Regents;
  • Approved two statutorily required reports: the Strategic Plans for Major IT Projects and the Status Report on Large/Vital IT Projects. Both reports are submitted to the State’s Joint Committee on Information Policy and Technology;
  • Approved UW-Oshkosh’s request to transfer $5,000,000 in program revenue from its Residence Life operations to support the general student services infrastructure of the campus;
  • Approved a three-year Master Research Agreement between UW-Madison and 3M;
  • Approved UW System’s Evaluation Criteria for Ranking Major Building Project Requests;
  • Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct an All Agency maintenance and repair project at UW-River Falls to solve water leakage problems with shower surrounds at the South Fork Suites residence hall;
  • Approved UW-Eau Claire’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW-managed Simpson Field Turf Installation project; and
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW managed Biochemistry Electron Microscopes project.


See more photos from the February 8, 2019, meeting.

Photos by Bryce Richter/UW-Madison

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting will next meet on March 7, 2019, in Madison.