The UW School of Medicine and Public Health is actively working to fulfill a responsibility to meet public health needs in Milwaukee, members of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents learned at their meeting on Thursday (Nov. 9).

Robert Golden, dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and a UW-Madison vice chancellor for medical affairs, said he has committed his career to the kind of work that UW does to ensure all members of the populations have equal access to quality health care.

“We are fully committed to doing all that we can and to working with all available partners,” Golden said.

When the school recently changed its name and further integrated public health into its mission, it agreed in discussions with Regents to engage in “good faith” dialogues with UW-Milwaukee and Milwaukee agencies to address the public health needs of the state’s largest city, said Regent Vice President Mark Bradley of Wausau.

Golden reviewed how the school is identifying and meeting these needs through partnerships with several agencies, including the Medical College of Wisconsin, Community Academic Partnership Funds, the City of Milwaukee Health Department, the Center for Urban Population Health, UW-Milwaukee and several research sites.

The UW School of Medicine and Public Health, headquartered at UW-Madison, has also contributed $50,000 to support a feasibility study of implementing a school of public health at UW-Milwaukee.

“I don’t see this as competition at all,” Golden said. “I see it as a wonderful opportunity to create additional resources for public health.”

To date, the school’s Wisconsin Partnership Program has awarded a total of $1.4 million in grants for community-academic programs targeted to eliminate health care disparities, he said. These efforts are addressing critical public health issues, Golden said. For example, the grants support services to African-Americans with cancer and a city-wide effort to meet the needs of those with HIV/AIDS.

The school is also conducting a long-range study on the health of Wisconsin and has created the Wisconsin Health Research Network. In addition, the school contributes funds for UWM faculty at the Center for Urban Population Health (CUPH), which has a special focus on the health of children in Milwaukee Public Schools. Health issues are major barriers to academic achievement, said Regent and State Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster of Madison, who praised the initiative, and encouraged similar efforts elsewhere.

Golden said the school is also investing in its Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, and hopes to successfully compete for support from the National Institutes of Health to improve offerings in clinical and population health.

The school also has long-standing partnerships with Milwaukee’s United Community Center, UW-Milwaukee and the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.

Golden said the Milwaukee Clinical Campus, part of the UW’s seven-year partnership with Aurora Health Care, is important for training the next-generation of students, who will graduate with experience working with underserved patients.

“No issue has received more of my time and attention – and rightly so,” Golden said. “The so-called safety net has gaping holes, and too many people are falling through. There are some very substantive issues of our school’s partnerships with Milwaukee that need some considerable attention and considerable investment, beyond what has already been committed.”

Golden said the partnership with Aurora will allow the school to build and monitor the UW’s relationship with Milwaukee and to remain engaged with underserved citizens. He estimated that the Milwaukee Clinical Campus will host 150 students this year to study obstetrics and gynecology, primary care, and internal medicine, and that two-thirds of students will learn at the campus at some point during their education.

“I am convinced that this school can have a transformative effect on the health care needs of Milwaukee,” Golden said. “But it’s not going to happen with us alone, and it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Regent Danae Davis of Milwaukee said she supported the school’s approach to simultaneously meeting the needs of underserved patients and teaching students, and asked how the Board of Regents could assist in these efforts.

Golden said the Board’s advocacy for the state’s public university is an important contribution to making sure students in health care, and in fields around the state, continue to see positive returns on investments in education. He also welcomed insight from members of the Board about the school’s efforts in Milwaukee.

In the future, the dean of the UW School and Medicine and Public Health will give both the annual report on the school’s work in Milwaukee, and the annual report on the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Health Future in May of each year.

The Board will hear a report about planning for health-related initiatives among the UW System, UW-Milwaukee and the City of Milwaukee at its December meeting.

View a presentation about the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s work in Milwaukee pdf

Regents learn more about their role in Wisconsin charter schools

The Board of Regents and UW institutions play oversight roles in monitoring the status and quality of chartered public schools in Wisconsin, presenters said Thursday.

Wisconsin law allows authorized agencies to charter tuition-free, public schools with curricular flexibility in exchange for satisfactory accountability and performance.

Two UW institutions are authorized, with the approval of the Board of Regents, to charter such schools. To date, UW-Milwaukee has chartered nine schools, and UW-Parkside has chartered one school, now in its 5th year, said Brian Pahnke, assistant state superintendent of the state Department of Public Instruction.

Pahnke said that while charter schools do not have to offer some academic programs that are mandatory at other schools, like art or music programs, they must still meet several requirements. For example, charter school teachers must be licensed by the state Department of Public Instruction, and students must take the same state tests as they would at traditional public schools.

Charter schools receive state funding based on the number of students who attend, Pahnke said.

Robert Kattmann, director of UW-Milwaukee’s Office of Charter Schools, said that as an authorizer, UWM establishes expectations for independent public charter schools and evaluates their progress. The schools are intended to be innovative and flexible, but must also demonstrate effective teaching and learning outcomes, he said.

“It’s sort of a grand experiment, in a way, that’s taking place all over the country,” Kattmann said.

Kattmann, who visits UWM’s charter schools at least once a month, said his office is committed to engaging with parents and teachers to improve education. UWM charter school contracts are intended to ensure excellence in instruction; health and safety; open, nondiscriminatory and accommodating admissions; and financial operations, he said. The schools also play a role in UWM research.

UW-Milwaukee’s charter schools focus on improving education for disadvantaged urban students, and currently serve more than 3,200 students. Ninety-six percent of students served are minorities, and 73 percent come from families in poverty. The campus hopes to eventually establish a total of 12 schools to effectively meet the defined mission, Kattmann said.

Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee asked if charter schools were held to stricter performance standards than public schools under the purview of the state Department of Public Instruction. Kattmann said charter schools have responsibilities above traditional legal requirements, giving the example that UWM-chartered schools must further a culture of learning.

Schools that do not meet expectations are closely monitored for rapid improvement, or UWM may discontinue their charters, Kattmann said.

Student Regent Christopher Semenas of UW-Parkside asked about the benefits available to charter school teachers. UWM’s charter schools do offer pay schedules similar to Milwaukee Public Schools, Kattmann said, but turnover is high, in part because many teachers leave so they are able to be part of the state’s retirement system for educators. Teachers at UWM charter schools are not required to live in the city of Milwaukee, he added.

Regent Judith Crain of Green Bay said she was interested in close connections between UWM-chartered schools and the Milwaukee Public School District, and wondered why independent groups are responsible for proposing a charter school.

“It’s about innovation. We don’t want to tell them what the ideas are,” Kattmann said. “We want them to come to us and say, ‘we think we can do something better for the students in Milwaukee.’”

Salary pressures translate to trouble in keeping UW faculty, Regents hear:

Committee approves salary increases for four UW leaders

The UW has a responsibility to Wisconsin families and students to ensure they have the opportunity to learn from and interact with the best teachers and academic leaders, the Board’s Business, Finance and Audit Committee heard Thursday, and according to UW System President Kevin P. Reilly, providing competitive salaries is part of that responsibility.

“Leadership matters,” Reilly said he told the committee, “and our leaders need to be competitively compensated.”

Al Crist, associate vice president for human resources, said the UW’s objectives for recruiting and retaining employees require attention to both competitive compensation, and a positive work environment. Everyone on campus has a responsibility to ensure positive campus communities, he said.

“We are all aware of the importance of remaining competitive in a national market,” said Regent Charles Pruitt of Shorewood. “The quality of our institutions depends on the quality of our employees and their leaders.”

Pruitt noted that in his time on the Board, the UW System has lost six chancellors to other universities that provided substantially higher compensation. These departures considerably disrupt campus operations, and it costs $80,000 to $100,000 to conduct a search for replacements, he said.

“That kind of churning in leadership does come at a high price,” Reilly added. “In the end, keeping our quality academic leaders makes for stability and continuity on the campuses.”

On Thursday, the Committee unanimously approved base salary adjustments for four senior academic leaders. The senior leaders and the salary adjustments are: UW-Platteville Chancellor David Markee ($13,551), UW-Stout Chancellor Chuck Sorensen ($10,868), UW-Superior Julius Erlenbach ($5,051), and UW-Platteville Provost Carol Sue Butts ($6,500).

Reilly told the Board that he has heard from business and community leaders in the Platteville, Menomonie, and Superior communities who cite their strong support for the these senior academic leaders. They, and community members who have participated in searches for other chancellors, have encouraged the university to offer compensation that can make sure these leaders remain a part of their campus communities, Reilly said.

“We cannot afford to be a training ground,” Reilly quoted these community leaders as saying.

Competitive salaries are a goal for all Wisconsin workers, Reilly said. He noted that the “Growth Agenda for Wisconsin” would help leverage the university resources to raise per capita income across the state.

Every one of the chancellors meets tremendous responsibilities and has considerable support from the community, said Regent Vice President Mark Bradley. These increases are a way to show these leaders that they are valued, he said.

The Board’s review was part of a process it endorsed in February to assess individual salaries of senior academic leaders and adjust as necessary for competitive and market factors. The committee action will be considered by the full Board on Friday. Both reviews were scheduled for open session as part of the UW System’s commitment to openness and transparency, Pruitt said.

The Board also learned about how salaries factor into recruiting and retaining talents among faculty and staff at UW campuses.

At the end of the semester, UW faculty will, on average, be 8.5 percent behind the peer average, Reilly said. Academic staff will be a median of 12 percent behind their peers, and senior academic leaders will be 16 percent behind leaders at peer institutions.

UW employees would require a 7 percent pay plan in each year of the next biennium to reach the median of the peers by 2008-09, Crist said.

Full professors at UW-Madison rank last among 12 peer institutions in terms of compensation, said Darrell Bazzell, vice chancellor for administration.

Of UW-Madison’s 2,200 faculty members, 116 received outside offers last year, Bazzell said. The campus was able to retain just more than half of those, he said, in part by drawing upon some of the state funding set aside to recruit and retain high-demand faculty. The campus has had to hold several faculty positions open due to budget restrictions, he said.

Bazzell said the pressure for competitive salaries is especially demanding in science fields, where retiring faculty are being replaced by new professors who can demand, in some cases, $1 million in compensation.

“We have to find ways to bring new faculty in and compete in the marketplace,” he said. “For UW-Madison, that marketplace is national and international. Clearly, this problem cannot be fixed overnight, but we have to make meaningful progress.”

UWM Provost Rita Cheng said the campus makes every effort to pay market salaries, but salaries still lag behind. Last year, the campus was able to attract its first choice in faculty searches about 80 percent of the time, she said. She added that it is expensive to provide outstanding facilities and support as incentive to recruit and retain faculty.

Tisa Mason, UW-Whitewater, lost a director of a center that serves students with disabilities to a more-competititve offer at a Wisconsin technical college. It took three searches to replace the position, and now the campus must invest additional time in training the new employee, Mason said.

Padmanabhan Sudevan, chair of the UW-Stevens Point Psychology Department, said his award-winning department has lost four or five faculty in recent years to offers at other universities that included lesser teaching loads and increased salaries, he said. Applications for positions have dropped, and some candidates have declined interviews after learning about the campus’s relatively low salaries, he said.

“If we sacrifice in this respect, we are not going to do anything at all in terms of improving student education,” Sudevan said.

Mark Evenson, president of The Association of University of Wisconsin Professionals (TAUWP), told the Board that salaries could be improved if UW faculty and staff had collective bargaining rights. TAUWP past president Gloria Toivola agreed, adding that so-called “star funds” make it less possible to increase compensation for all employees who are affected.

The Board will consider a pay plan recommendation for faculty and staff at its December meeting. When approved, the Board’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Office on State Employment Relations, and later considered by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employee Relations.

In other business, the committee:

  • Heard an update about the Legislative Audit Bureau’s recent review of Personnel Policies and Practices in the UW System. The Legislature will hold a hearing on the report on Nov. 29.;
  • Received information about an analysis to be conducted of the Board of Regents’ role in monitoring UW information technology projects;
  • Tabled a resolution related to academic performance standards for student-athletes and the responsibilities for athletic administrators;
  • Received a quarterly gifts, grants and contracts report;
  • Heard the report of the vice president.

After closed session, the committee adjourned to hold its annual public forum on university investments. The forum is an opportunity for students, faculty and members of the public to share opinions about how the Board of Regents authorizes endowed university investments.

Education Committee considers criteria for liberal arts programs at technical colleges

The Education Committee on Thursday considered proposed criteria for reviewing prospective collegiate transfer programs developed by the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS). The committee voted to delay a vote on the criteria to allow for additional clarification.

State law requires that any new transfer program launched by a technical college be first approved by both the WTCS Board and the UW System Board of Regents.

The presentation began with a brief review of the history of transfer agreements between the technical colleges and UW System institutions. WTCS Vice President Kathleen Cullen explained how this educational partnership has evolved, including a move in 2004 to increase from 15 to 30 the maximum number of general-education liberal studies credits from the two-year technical colleges to the four-year UW campuses.

As the Regents considered the proposed criteria, some invited greater specificity in the language. Where the proposed guidelines call for the Board of Regents to consider “effective and efficient” use of state resources, some members of the committee asked for greater clarification in what Regents should and should not consider. For example, Regent Mary Cuene of Green Bay, who serves as President of the WTCS Board, noted that the Regents should not be as concerned with the technical colleges’ resources, since those matters would be the purview of the WTCS Board.

When asked how the freshman-sophomore UW Colleges viewed these criteria, UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor David Wilson expressed his strong support for increased access.

“We believe that any barriers to providing access to higher education should be erased, and we believe strongly in collaboration,” Wilson said. He went on to support the Regents’ call for greater clarity in the criteria for approving new transfer programs.

Other Regents asked for clarification on the meaning of “pre-professional” transfer agreements, and exactly what kinds of baccalaureate degree programs would be affected. Education Committee Chair Danae Davis asked that UW System staff also prepare some illustration of how these new guidelines might impact specific UW institutions once they are applied broadly.

To allow time for these and other questions to be addressed, the committee members agreed unanimously to postpone the matter until December.

In other matters, the Education Committee also heard a presentation about distance learning programs offered by UW-Platteville.

Whereas the average undergraduate attending classes on the UW-Platteville campus is just over 21 years old, the corresponding distance learner is nearly twice that age. Minority students represent 7 percent of undergraduate students enrolled in these degree programs offered via the Internet, at off-campus sites and through collaborative arrangements with other institutions, such as the UW Colleges. Five percent of the distance-learning enrollments are veterans or active military personnel, and 2 percent are international students.

Michael Anderson, director of UW-Platteville’s School of Education, explained that some distance programs were developed in direct response to the needs of local Wisconsin industries. He cited the UW-Platteville engineering programs offered at UW-Fox Valley and UW-Rock County as examples of the UW System’s ability to launch new collaborations that make specific four-year degree programs available to local workers. By increasing access to these degree programs through local campuses, the UW helped companies attract and retain more “home-grown” engineers who were less likely to leave Wisconsin for jobs in other states.

In other business, the committee:

  • Approved revised faculty personnel rules for UW-Green Bay;
  • Appointed representatives to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC). Dr. Susan Goelzer and Mr. Douglas Mormann were reappointed to the OAC for four-year terms; Dr. Michael Fleming and Ms. Lorraine Lathen were appointed to the committee, also for four-year terms;
  • Authorized UW System Administration to recruit for a Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; and
  • Learned that UW-Whitewater has received a 10-year reaccreditation by the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission (HLC); Provost Richard Telfer noted that the HLC described UW-Whitewater as “an essential cultural and economic resource for the region.”

View a presentation about programs in the Wisconsin Technical College System pdf
View a presentation about UW and WTCS Transfer Policy pdf
View a presentation about Study Abroad Options pdf
View a presentation about the Wisconsin-Hessen Exchange pdf
View a presentation about the Hessen-Global Experience pdf
View a presentation about distance learning at UW-Platteville pdf

UW campuses seeing “green”

Several UW campuses are participating in a statewide initiative to increase the amount of renewable, or “green” energy used to power state facilities, members of the Business, Finance and Audit, and Physical Planning and Funding Committees learned Thursday.

David Miller, assistant vice president for capital budget and planning, said four campuses – UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point – are participating in an effort announced by Gov. Jim Doyle to produce or purchase green energy in amounts equal to the energy the campuses consume.

Miller said that Governor’s Executive Order 145, “Conserve Wisconsin” directed the creation of high-performance building standards, seeks to reduce energy use in state facilities by 10 percent per gross square foot by 2008, and by 20 by 2010. Another act directed that at least 10 percent of the state’s annual electrical energy usage should be from renewable resources by the end of 2007, and 20 percent by the end of 2011.

UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Stevens Point are already purchasing some green energy, in two cases at with the encouragement and financial support of students, and UW-River Falls hopes to work with its energy provider to be able to make similar purchases, Miller said.

Converting heating and cooling to bio-mass fueled products will be part of the off-the-grid initiative, Miller said, but the emphasis will be on electricity consumption.

The average Wisconsin home consumes 8600 kilowatt-hours (kwh) each year. The large and complex UW campuses, by contrast, consume 86 million kwh annually.

Miller said the campuses could choose to continue to purchase green power from state utilities, or to generate their own green power by constructing wind-powered turbine generators. Wind power is a promising source for green energy, Miller said, but the turbines are quite large, and can only be located in specific sites away from building structures. When operational, a single turbine can produce 4.6 million kwh per year, Miller said.

Miller said solar power is not as viable an option, as solar devices do not produce as much solar energy as is typically generated through wind power.

The Physical Planning and Funding Committee approved four resolutions that would:

  • Grant authority to UW-Eau Claire to sell a parcel of land to the Department of Transportation for a multi-purpose trail project being constructed by the DOT;
  • Grant authority to increase the project budget and construct the New Engineering Building at UW-Platteville;
  • Grant authority to exchange a parcel of land for agricultural purposes at UW-River Falls, resulting in additional farm land for use by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences; and
  • Grant approval to construct all agency maintenance and repair projects at various campuses, including roof replacements, space renovation, and utility replacements.

In addition, Miller told the committee that the State Building Commission approved $10.6 million for projects at its October meeting. The funding includes $6.4 million in general fund supported borrowing, $2.8 million in program revenue, and $1.4 million in gift and grant funds.

View a presentation about renewable energy in the UW System pdf


The Board of Regents will resume its November meeting on Friday, Nov. 10, at 9 a.m. in room 1820 Van Hise Hall.

Related: Read Nov. 10 (day 2) news summary