River Falls –With a resolution met by thunderous applause, the UW System Board of Regents lauded the university’s students for their thousands of hours of service they perform on an annual basis.

Regent Colleene Thomas, who presented the resolution and has participated in many service learning efforts herself, said she knows the importance of the work students from UW-River Falls – and all of the UW System campuses – do for their communities.

“We’ve had a terrific reception at River Falls and a chance to hear from several students who have done some great work around the world,” she said.

UW System President Kevin Reilly echoed this recognition, saying the UW’s students understand the benefits of civic engagement as part of their education.

“One of the really positive efforts in civic engagement are much higher levels of service learning,” he said, later adding “We don’t often think about the combined impact of the work our students do on behalf of their communities.”Before hearing the resolution, Regents heard from UW-River Falls senior Karwee Marshall, who discussed the numerous benefits of his participation in Upward Bound and Falcon Tutors programs. The Upward Bound program assists students from lower-income families and first-generation college students realize their higher education goals, and Falcon Tutors brings UW-River Falls students to a number of schools in St. Paul, Minn. to help younger students with their academics.

Marshall, who has been involved with Upward Bound for three years, said the program is more of a family that impacts students in a tremendous way.

“I’m also what I would like to call a big brother,” Marshall said of his participation in Upward Bound. “I’m able to show kids that I’m not that different from them.”

The Falcon Tutors program, Marshall shared, provides St. Paul students with a chance to work not just on their current academic obligations, but also on college and ACT testing preparation.

“Upward Bound and Falcon Tutors make a difference to the students it serves and the students who provide service,” he said. “UW-River Falls is sending out educators who are prepared to teach and prepared to serve all students.”Marshall presented as part of a larger UW-River Falls program about the many collaborative efforts being undertaken on the campus that featured local and regional leaders. The presentation was the final piece of UW-River Falls’s “Living the Promise” theme for the Regents’ meeting.

“Now we are to live this promise of learning and opportunity in an expanded, global context, with new tools, competitors and proliferating challenges,” UW-River Falls Chancellor Don Betz said. “Today, we are affirming our role as a shaper of society by what we do here, and by what are graduates, schooled, contoured and inspired by those at our institutions, do with their lives.”

Other business

The full Board also heard several updates from UW System officials, including on “Advantage Wisconsin,” the university’s strategic framework.

UW System Executive Senior Vice President Don Mash shared with the regents the upcoming meetings of think tanks charged with formulating ideas about the future of the university. He said all of the UW System campuses already have strategic plans underway and that the systemwide framework is designed to add what he called some “oomph” to that work.

“We are culminating the planning of the process and we’re ready to move forward and begin to engage the conversation,” he said.

After hearing reports from the Education, Business, Finance and Audit and Physical Planning and Funding Committees, Regents discussed and passed a 2008 meeting schedule that would include six two-day meetings and two one-day meetings. The schedule would also provide for at least three meetings on campuses other than UW-Madison or UW-Milwaukee. The Board approved this agenda, with Regents Walsh, Falbo and Salas dissenting.

The Board then presented a resolution thanking UW-River Falls for hosting the October meeting and passed the following measures:

  • UW-Platteville:  Approval of the Design Report and Authority to Adjust the Project Budget and Construct the Glenview Commons Remodeling Project at UW-Platteville
  • UW-Stevens Point:  Approval of the Design Report and Authority to Construct the Baldwin Residence Hall Renovation Project

In a closed session, the Board approved the naming of UW-Stout’s Robert S. Swanson Learning Center.”


The UW System Board of Regents will hold its next meeting on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 8-9, in Madison.

Related: Read Oct. 4 (day 1) news summary