MADISON, Wis.—The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents honored the recipients of the 12th annual Regents’ Diversity Awards today. These awards recognize individuals and programs that foster access and success for students who are members of historically underrepresented populations.

“These outstanding people and programs are making a profound impact on their campus communities, increasing opportunity for all student populations,” said Regent Eve Hall, who chaired the special Regents’ committee to determine the recipients. “We are proud to recognize their exceptional dedication to building partnerships that support student success.”

Other members of the selection committee included Regent Becky Levzow, Regent Cris Peterson, and Regent Torrey Tiedeman.

Photo of Arijit Sen

Dr. Arijit Sen accepts Regents’ 2020 Diversity Award in the individual category.

The 2020 recipients are:

  • Individual: Arijit Sen, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Studies, School of Architecture and Urban Planning, UW‑Milwaukee.

In accepting the award, Sen saluted the many individuals and programs at UWM “who seek out young, hesitant undergrads and patiently nurture them into incredible scholars.” He added that consistent support for underrepresented minority students from the time they enter UWM until they leave has made measurable success in closing the achievement gap.

“Being assured of constant support to do research goes a long ways toward an ability to learn from mistakes and eventually succeed,“ Sen said.

With the help of his students, community partners, and a multidisciplinary set of colleagues, Sen has found that engaged-research and problems-based learning can promote diversity, inclusion, and positive institutional change.

  • Photo of Angela Ruppe, Director of Student Support Services, accepting the Diversity Award on behalf of UW-Stout's Fostering Success program

    UW-Stout Director of Student Support Services Angela Ruppe accepts Regents’ 2020 Diversity Award in the program category on behalf of the Fostering Success program.

    Program: Fostering Success, UW-Stout

The Fostering Success program, the first of its kind in the UW System, supports college students who were former foster youth, a population that is often underserved and faces additional barriers to college education. National statistics report that although 80 percent of foster youth have goals of attending college, only 20 percent enroll and only 3 percent graduate from a four-year institution.

“The number of (foster) students is ever increasing and the need for support is imperative,” said Angela Ruppe, Director of Student Support Services, accepting the award. She noted that foster children are more likely to wind up homeless, incarcerated or dead than their peers. “We’re working to improve those outcomes,” Ruppe said.

She said Fostering Success is making great strides in enrollment and retention. In 2017, the program served 15 students. In 2019, 69 new freshmen indicated they were eligible for the program, and from spring 2018 to spring 2019, 80 percent of students in the Fostering Success program were retained.

  • Photo of Judith Burstyn, chair of UW-Madison's Department of Chemistry

    Department of Chemistry Chair Judith Burstyn accepts Regents’ 2020 Diversity Award in the program category on behalf of UW-Madison’s Department of Chemistry.

    Program: Department of Chemistry, UW-Madison

“Our goal is for our graduates to be broadly representative of the population as a whole,” said Judith Burstyn, chair of the Chemistry Department, in accepting the award. She noted the shared “personal commitment to increasing educational opportunity in this field” among department members.

The Department of Chemistry, which graduates about 50 Ph.D. and 10 M.S. chemists each year, is enhancing recruitment and retention of underrepresented minority and first-generation students through a variety of complementary initiatives, such as the Research Experiences for Undergraduates, Chemistry Opportunities (or CHOPS), and the Catalyst program, which are designed to increase representation within its large graduate program.

The success of these initiatives led directly to the Department of Chemistry landing support through the American Chemical Society for the first Chemistry Bridge to the Doctorate program.

Governor Evers’ service as Regent recognized

Photo of Governor Tony Evers

Governor Evers

Regents presented a resolution of appreciation to Governor Tony Evers, recognizing his nearly 10 years of service on the Board during his tenure as Superintendent of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction.

Governor Evers said the Wisconsin Idea is “part and parcel of what Wisconsin is all about.” To address the challenges the state faces, the UW System can play a critical role through its education and research endeavors. Problems like the dairy crisis, rural economic development, changes in manufacturing and more are “part of your work,” Evers said. “We need your consistent and ongoing help to solve these problems.”

As part of fulfilling the Wisconsin Idea, Gov. Evers encouraged the UW System to be proactive in helping expand understanding of how important diversity is to the future of the state. “I am encouraging the UW System to take the lead on this. It’s tough work,” Evers said. “When we talk about diversity, a lot of it is inside. It’s not going to be changed by policies and procedures; it’s changing how people think.”

Regent President’s Report

Regent President Andrew S. Petersen provided several updates to the Board regarding current searches. He told Regents that UW-Green Bay’s search and screen committee, led by chair Regent Bob Atwell and vice chair Biology Professor Michael Draney, held its semi-finalist interviews last week and expect to announce finalists later this month.

In the search for a new UW System President, “great progress” has been made, according to Regent Vice President Michael Grebe, chair of search committee. “We now have a finalized President’s position prospectus that describes the responsibilities of the UW System and the qualities we are seeking in prospective candidates,” Grebe said. Storbeck Search & Associates is now proceeding with identifying and recruiting a pool of candidates.

The deadline for receipt of applications is March 15, with interviews to occur during April and May, with the naming of a new president likely in late spring.

Grebe expressed his “gratitude and appreciation to the many people and constituencies who have taken the time to share their thoughts and views about this search, whether through stakeholder listening sessions, through comments submitted on the presidential search website, or directly to me or other committee members.”

Responding to the recent decision by Regent Gerald Whitburn to step down from the Board, Petersen thanked Whitburn for his near decade-long service. “Regent Whitburn’s commitment to his role as Regent was extraordinary, and his passion and experience will be missed by those who served with him,” Petersen said. “Regent Whitburn is a public servant who always advocated for Wisconsin students and the integrity of public education.”

Petersen also reported that UW System’s All In Wisconsin tour is set to resume next week with its 10th university, a visit to UW-Milwaukee. The tour will visit the remaining three campuses in coming months.

Finally, Petersen reminded Regents of the UW System’s 17th annual Research in the Rotunda event on March 11 in the Capitol.  The event highlights the research achievements of undergraduates from every UW institution.

UW System President’s Report

Photo of Kevin Crosby shaking hands with Chancellor Rebecca Blank

Crosby shakes hands with Chancellor Blank

UW System President Ray Cross featured UW-Madison senior Kevin Crosby of Maryland in his Student Spotlight. Crosby, who will earn a degree in Nutritional Sciences with a certificate in Environmental Studies this May, came to UW-Madison as a member of the Posse Program from the Washington, D.C. area.

“The opportunities I’ve been able to pursue at UW have enriched me more than I could have imagined,” Crosby said.

He noted that when people hear he’s attending the UW-Madison, he’s often asked what position he plays, reflecting what Crosby described as “people’s inability to see black achievement beyond entertainment or athletics.” He said his experiences at Madison have helped to prepare him to influence the next generation of leaders.

Photo of UW-Madison undergraduate Kevin Crosby

Crosby addresses the Board of Regents

A Rhodes Scholarship finalist, Crosby will pursue graduate work at Cambridge University en route to becoming a physician.

In legislative updates, Cross told Regents the Speaker’s Task Force on Water Quality has generated a number of bills impacting water quality efforts in Wisconsin, including several bills that directly impact UW System. Assembly Bills 800 and 801 both make critical investments in UW System institutions to support water quality research and community service, including $2 million for the UW System’s Freshwater Collaborative.

“We are also pleased that Gov. Evers and the Legislature have announced several initiatives focused on rural and dairy issues,” Cross said.

On the federal front, the UW System’s Federal Agenda is currently being updated. The Federal Agenda annually identifies and defines the System’s federal priorities, both as individual institutions and as a system. It will be presented to Wisconsin’s congressional delegation in March.

Cross also reported the UW System Office of Compliance and Integrity, in collaboration with key stakeholders around the UW System, is developing a response to new regulations on how institutions respond to concerns of sexual misconduct being proposed by the U.S. Department of Education.

UW System is continuing to engage more closely with Wisconsin’s tribes, Cross said. He noted previous meetings with the Potawatomi, Lac du Flambeau, and Menominee tribes and upcoming meetings with the Bad River and Mole Lake Bands of the Lake Superior Chippewa. UW System also plans to attend the State of the Tribes speech at the Capitol on Feb. 18.

Cross also provided an update on UW System’s ongoing response to the global health emergency resulting from the Coronavirus. He said the System and its institutions are working to monitor reports and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, the State’s Department of Health Services, and local health departments.

Finally, from his News Around the System report, Regents heard that over the past five years, a UW-La Crosse Hate/Bias Response Symposium, led by the university’s Campus Climate unit, has grown and become a unique resource for prevention, response, and healing far beyond the campus community. This year, diversity officers, LGBTQ+ directors, counselors, students, and others from 11 states and dozens of schools and organizations came together at the symposium to learn how to make their communities safer, more inclusive, and just.

Annual NCAA Division I Athletics Report

Photo of Barry Alvarez


UW-Madison Athletic Director Barry Alvarez presented UW-Madison’s annual report.

It was reported that UW experienced another successful season in 2018-19. Of the UW’s 23 sports, 17 advanced to postseason competition. Headlining the year was a fifth national championship for women’s hockey, and the fifth consecutive bowl win for football – a Big Ten record.

Individually, UW had an unprecedented number of standout performances. Women’s soccer student-athlete Rose Lavelle was a standout member of Team USA, the 2018 World Cup champions; Beata Nelson was named National Swimmer of the Year; Alicia Monson was a national champion in track; and Morgan McDonald won national championships across three sports (cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track). In all, UW boasted 37 All-Americans on its way to a 16thplace finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup – equaling UW’s highest finish in the last 25 years.

UW-Madison’s student-athletes carried a 3.14 cumulative grade-point average (GPA) at the end of the Spring 2019 term. Between the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters, a total of 317 student-athletes earned Academic All-Big Ten honors. During the 2018-19 academic year, 130 student-athletes graduated with either a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

The annual budget for the Athletics Department supports 23 sports and more than 800 student-athlete participation opportunities. The Athletics Department employs nearly 400 full-time staff. The Athletics Department hosts more than 1.8 million spectators each year and its economic impact has been estimated at $610 million annually, with nearly 4,500 jobs supported and created. There is no deficit from 2018-19 operations.

Wisconsin Public Media Overview

Gene Purcell, Director of Wisconsin Public Media, UW-Madison, provided an overview of its PBS Wisconsin and Wisconsin Public Radio offerings. He noted that PBS Wisconsin has 500,000 weekly viewers, while WPR has 459,000 weekly listeners.

He highlighted some of the programs featured in the past year, including “Portraits of Rural Wisconsin,” “Beyond the Ballot,” and “Wisconsin Hometown Stories.

Purcell told Regents that Wisconsin Public Media is widely considered a source of trusted journalism and expects to offer key coverage of upcoming elections. He said training young journalists is also central to their mission.

“WPM is a place for telling Wisconsin stories so everyone can share them,” Purcell said.

The Board of Regents is the licensee of 15 FCC non-commercial broadcasting licenses across the state.

In other business, the Board of Regents:

  • Approved a resolution of appreciation to UW-Madison for hosting the February 2020 meeting;
  • As part of the rulemaking process to modify Ch. UWS 17, Wis. Admin. Code, “Nonacademic Student Misconduct,” and Ch. UWS 18, Wis Admin. Code, “Conduct on University Lands,” approved (1) rule orders containing the proposed rule language and plain language analyses; (2) economic impact analyses/fiscal estimates on the rules; (3) notices of submittal to the legislative council of the proposed rules; and (4) notices of public hearings on the proposed rules;
  • Approved changes to nonresident and graduate student tuition rates at six institutions (UW-Milwaukee, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater). For the most part, the changes seek increases of between one and five percent, with exceptions for specific graduate programs at UW-Milwaukee and UW-River Falls;
  • Approved a proposed change in the credit plateau for the academic year from eight to 10 credits and four to seven credits in summer for UW-Milwaukee Master’s in Occupational Therapy and Communication Sciences and Disorders programs beginning in Fall 2021, respectively;
  • Approved guidelines for the first-time administration of the Wisconsin Merit Scholarship program;
  • Approved a UW-Madison Sponsored Research Agreement with GlaxoSmithKline LLC to provide early-stage evaluation of a new drug treatment for multiple myeloma;
  • Approved a UW-Madison Fee for Service Agreement with International Business Sales and Services Corporation (IBSS) for Phase II of an existing agreement to transition the Space Science and Engineering Center research previously developed software into operational support for the National Weather Service;
  • Approved a UW-Madison service agreement with Madison Gas and Electric Company (MGE). UW-Madison wishes to participate in the development of the O’Brien Solar Fields Project located in Fitchburg, Wis., by entering into a Renewable Energy Rider Service Agreement with MGE;
  • Approved two separate UW-Madison Fee for Service Agreements with Genentech Inc., a subsidiary of F. Hoffman La Roche. The UW Fundus Photograph Reading Center will evaluate images of eyes (retinal images) and provide related services to assist Genentech in assessing the results of this clinical trial (PAVILION). The second study (PAGODA) is looking at a novel method for delivering a reformulated, previously FDA-approved drug for treating diabetic retinopathy to the eye;
  • Approved the removal of Regent Policy Document (RPD) 30-1, “Student Publications;”
  • Approved a resolution amending RPD 30-2, “Student Newspaper Disclaimer,” and renaming the policy “Student Press Publication Disclaimer;”
  • Approved a proposal to revise a recently approved Regent Policy Document entitled “Contracts with Research Companies,” with an additional amendment proposed by UW-Madison;
  • Approved a request from UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville (lead), UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior, with administrative and financial support from UW Extended Campus, to establish a Collaborative Online Master of Science in Cybersecurity;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for a Master of Science in Clinical and Health Informatics;:
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business: Supply Chain Management;
  • Approved UW-Platteville’s request for a Bachelor of Science degree in Data Science;
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s request for a Master of Science in Cybersecurity;
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s Master of Science in Instructional Design and Learning Technology;
  • Approved the rescission of RPD 4-2, “Inter-institutional Cooperative Agreements between UW Institutions and Private Colleges;”
  • Approved the rescission of RPD 4-5, “Principles on Accreditation of Academic Programs,” and RPD 5-1, “Academic Quality Program Assessment,” and approved a new RPD titled: “Accreditation and Assessment of Student Learning;”
  • Approved changes to RPD 4-19, “Naming of University Academic Units,” to establish standards for naming academic units for corporations or other legal entities;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for a $25.6 million increase to the budget for the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant Addition project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for approval of a $6.6 million increase to the budget for the Meat Science and Muscle Biology Laboratory project;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for approval to construct the $78.8 million Sellery Hall Addition and Renovation project;
  • Approved UW-Green Bay’s request to sell a parcel of land with a 1970s-era house that previously served as the Chancellor’s residence;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for approval to enter into a lease of space for the Administrative Transformation Program, a multi-year, collaborative effort of UW System Administration and UW-Madison to streamline administrative processes;
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s request for approval to name its new residence hall, “Ma’ iingan Hall;”
  • Approved UW System’s request for approval to construct a 2017-19 Classroom Renovation/Instructional Technology Improvement Program project at UW-Parkside;
  • Approved UW System’s request for approval to construct two All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects, consisting of a Purin Hall infrastructure repair project at UW-Milwaukee and an Esker Hall roof replacement project at UW-Whitewater;
  • Approved UW System’s request to modify Regent Policy Document 19-14, “Naming of University Facilities and Lands,” to establish standards, criteria, and procedures for naming UW buildings, facilities, and land for corporations or other legal entities; and
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for approval to complete the design and construct the UW-managed Zoology 1st Floor Wang Lab Renovation project.

Photo credit: Bryce Richter/UW-Madison


The next University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents meeting will be April 2-3, 2020, in Madison.