President Katharine C. Lyall

Welcome to the first Regents meeting of the new millennium! As I’ve reflected on this milestone, it seems to me that the UW System is well-positioned to meet the challenges of the future.

  • We continue to serve nearly one-third of Wisconsin high school graduates-one of the highest access rates in the nation;
  • Our administrative costs are among the lowest in the nation-5.8 cents on the dollar;
  • Our graduates are overwhelmingly pleased with the way their education has prepared them for their lives and careers-and they express this through continually growing alumni support;
  • The products of our faculty research labs are sparking a revolution in biotechnology, genetics, and medicine and generating spin-off enterprises that create high-income jobs to drive the state’s economy forward;
  • The “new Wisconsin Idea” carries these developments statewide, nationally, and internationally through Learning Innovations, the Pyle Center, and many other channels;
  • And, I’m pleased to tell you that two weeks ago JCOER approved the Regents’ request for a 5.2% pay plan for our faculty and academic staff which will bring us closer to market levels than at any time in the past decade and help us recruit replacements for retiring faculty to maintain excellence.

The challenges before us are to maintain this momentum: to continue to educate skilled and knowledgeable citizens and workers; to sustain a quality professoriate; to use instructional technology in appropriate ways to reach more working adults in the state; to generate the research breakthroughs that will without a doubt transform our lives and life expectancies in the next few years; and to push ourselves and others to streamline and change the way we do our business to meet these challenges. More than ever, it is outcomes that matter.

This morning, you will hear three examples of initiatives that are helping us continually improve our outcomes.

  • Presentation of Recommendations of UW System Task Force on Status of Women
  • Electronic ribbon-cutting on new Systemwide Library Automation Network
  • UW-Stout’s EM21 Plan

Congratulations go to Learning Innovations, the UW System’s subsidiary for on-line courseware and distance education, which was just awarded a national Lotus Beacon Award from IBM/Lotus for its work in developing on-line training for Famous Footwear. You have a copy of the announcement from the Wall Street Journal in your packets this morning. Lotus LearningSpace, a software product for on-line instruction, is widely used by UW faculty and staff.

Finally, on a sadder note: I want to acknowledge the death of Donald K. Smith, Professor of Communication Arts at UW-Madison and former Vice President for Academic Affairs of the UW System. Don was an architect of the new UW System when it was created by merger in 1971. His work ensured that high academic standards would prevail, that shared governance would be a strong centerpiece of System policies, and that each UW institution would maintain its distinctive character, history, and purpose. Don was a man of intellect, humor, and great wisdom. Regents and System presidents have benefited from what he built in more ways than we can say. We’ll miss Don Smith greatly.