I’d like to start by introducing our new Federal Relations staff member, Kris Andrews. Kris is already hard at work helping us to focus our commitment to increase federal funds to Wisconsin and UW System institutions. You have in your folders her summary of President Bush’s budget proposal and the impacts it may have on higher education. While his proposal forecasts budget deficits in FY02 and FY03, it also includes a 15 percent increase in National Institutes of Health funding and a 5 percent increase in National Science Foundation funding, both sources from which Wisconsin traditionally does well in competitive research funding. The President’s proposal also seeks full funding for Pell grants at the previously established maximum of $4,000, although it does not provide for any increases as tuitions rise nationally. Substantial increases are also proposed for international education and foreign language studies, including $143 million for academic programs in the State Department budget and $320 million for expanded Peace Corps. Please take a minute to peruse Kris’s memo – there is lots more to learn about higher education’s outlook in Washington.

I’d also like to note that with Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker’s departure, we are very fortunate that Pat Brady is willing to step into that leadership role for us. Elizabeth helped to reorient central legal services towards increased entrepreneurial activity and established WiSys as an intellectual property resource for all our campuses. Over the past year, our campuses outside of Madison have made 40 disclosures to WiSys and 14 have been accepted for patenting and licensing. I thank her for her work in Wisconsin and wish her well as she shoulders the responsibilities of a Law School Dean in California. Later this morning, you will be asked to approve Pat Brady as an Assistant Trust Officer, replacing Elizabeth, and I hope you will do that.

Good News

100th Anniversary of 4-H

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the national 4-H program. 4-H has deep roots in Wisconsin and has been sponsored by UW-Extension for its entire life. It serves about 46,000 kids statewide and operates in every one of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. In many ways, it is Wisconsin’s original “pre-college” program, helping kids prepare for college and for life.

At a statewide ceremony at Memorial Union two weeks ago, Wisconsin 4-H participants presented Senator Kohl and former Congressman Gunderson with a check pledging 213,500 volunteer hours to the communities of Wisconsin in the coming year. You’ll be impressed, as I was, to know that this Wisconsin pledge constitutes 25 percent of the entire 4-H volunteer hours pledged nationwide! Not too bad for a state that constitutes about 2 percent of the U.S. population.

The positive energy captured in these contributions is the bedrock of our state, and the youth who participate are learning civic values that will continue for a lifetime.

Just as Wisconsin is the top state in the nation in supplying Peace Corps volunteers, so we are the top state in the nation in 4-H volunteer work. I congratulate Chancellor Reilly and all his county staff for supporting 4-H so well and so consistently over the years. Best wishes for a strong future.

UW-Platteville-China Initiative

Chancellor Markee marked the 50th anniversary of Platteville’s sister school in Wuhan, China (South-Central University for Ethnic Communities) with an address to 10,000 people! UW-Platteville is working there on a proposed Master’s in English that would have an innovative format, with students studying for part of the time at each campus. Platteville is also working to develop exchange agreements with Tonji University and Shanghai Teachers University in Shanghai. As we discussed yesterday, we have a way to go to achieve our goal of 25 percent of our undergraduates with a study-abroad experience – relationships like these will make it easier for UW students to experience a piece of the world before they graduate into it.

I should also note that UW-Platteville has received the Division III athletics Administrators’ Jostens Award for the impressive community service projects performed by its student-athletes. We occasionally read about misbehavior of athletes, so it is especially important to note that the vast majority of our student athletes are good citizens and worthy role models for younger athletes.

Milwaukee Industrial Innovation Center

UW-Milwaukee hosted the opening of its Milwaukee Industrial Innovation Center (MIIC) at the Cozzens and Cudahy Research Center in December. MIIC is part of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at UW-Milwaukee. It includes the Center for Intelligent Maintenance Systems, an NSF industry-university cooperative research center that also includes 40 area companies such as Rockwell Automation and Harley-Davidson. This is just one of many economic development initiatives that are being led by Chancellor Zimpher and her corporate partners in the metropolitan area. I believe our Summits have helped to underscore the need for such initiatives and I appreciate Nancy’s leadership in helping it to happen.

Marrett and Porter Named to National Academies

I want to note that a prestigious national group called the National Associates of the National Academies of Science has just been created and has conferred lifetime membership on two Wisconsin educators, both of whom we know well: Senior Vice President Cora Marrett and Professor Andrew Porter. Their appointments are also notable for the fact that, as social scientists, they have “cracked” the barrier to being recognized nationally as “real scientists.” These are nationally and internationally recognized honors and, as Cora said, after many years it’s nice to receive some recognition for all that time spent in airports! Congratulations to you both – Wisconsin continues to stay on the map.

UW-Eau Claire Develops New Curriculum for Social Workers

UW-Eau Claire has received a $213,000 grant from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Health & Human Services to fund the development of a program that will train social workers to work with adults who struggle with alcohol and other drugs, cognitive and developmental disorders, physical disabilities, mental illness, and abuse or neglect. Much needed, this effort can help strengthen training for social workers in a period where need for these services is increasing.

UW-Stout Chancellor Sorensen has been elected to the board of the National Council for History Education. He is the first chancellor to serve on the board which includes K-12 teachers and noted historians Drew Gilpin Faust of Harvard University, Gordon Wood of Brown, Kenneth Jackson and Eric Foner of Columbia, and author David McCullough.

NCHE’s mission is to promote the importance of history in school and society, and one of its most important contributions is a colloquium model for practicing teachers that includes a university historian, a master teacher, and a learning specialist.

Good Campuses for Hispanic Students

A national publication, “Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education,” has named 11 UW institutions as offering outstanding opportunities to Hispanic students (Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, La Crosse, Parkside, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point, Stout, Superior, Whitewater) reflecting a combination of campus outreach efforts and UW’s affordability. We will use this designation to give a boost to our continuing Plan 2008 recruitment and retention efforts.

Finally, I have two somber notes:

Since the Board last met in December, two long-time friends and colleagues have passed away: UW-Platteville chancellor emeritus Bjarne Ullsvik died on Christmas Eve. He was chancellor at Platteville at the time of merger and continued to attend campus events well into his 90s. The student center was named for him two years ago. And Gerard Veneman, member of the Board of Regents from 1979-86, died in mid-January. Regent Veneman was a member of the Board when I was first hired and his calm and thoughtful counsel were much appreciated. Gerry was President of Nekoosa Papers and an original contributor to the Regents Teaching Award fund that still continues today.

We are indebted to both these gentlemen for their lifetime work on our behalf.

Media Contact

Erik Christianson UW System 608-262-5061