SOMERS, Wis. – University of Wisconsin System institutions are making “really significant progress” in increasing the number of people holding the most in-demand degrees, according to Ben Passmore, UW System’s Associate Vice President for Policy Analysis and Research.
Passmore provided the Board of Regents with the second annual progress report on 2020FWD, the UW System’s strategic framework, at its meeting Friday at UW-Parkside.
As part of his report, Passmore noted that UW System institutions conferred a record number of degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, disciplines (9,716) and health professions (3,460) during the 2016-17 academic year accounting for over one-third of degrees conferred, Passmore said. In 2011-12, less than one-third (31%) of degrees were conferred in STEM (7,512) and Health (2,992) fields.
In 2020FWD, the UW System crafted a strategic framework for the future of the University of Wisconsin System that is focused on how the university can most directly and effectively help the state prepare for the future. This plan reflects the voices of thousands of Wisconsinites, on campus and off, individuals, legislators, community and business. It was also created with a deep understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing the state.
“Overall, we are making significant and tangible progress across the plan’s four main focus areas: the education pipeline, university experience, business and community mobilization, and operational excellence,” said UW System President Ray Cross.
Among the results:
- Graduating students in 2016-17 were on average enrolled for 9.0 semesters, down from 9.3 semesters in 2011-12. System officials are developing guidance for institutions on helping retain students and move them toward graduation in a more timely way.
- Transfer enrollments totaled 13,501 in 2016-17, a decline from 2011-12 and about the same as 2006-07. The System’s restructuring should lead to smoother transfers from two-year campuses. Other policy initiatives are underway to improve the transfer process.
- An increase in the number of students benefitting from High-Impact Practices, from 82 percent in 2006 to 89 percent in 2017, according to federal data. Such practices include internships, undergraduate research, and other direct contact with faculty designed to retain students and assist them toward progress completion.
- Progress on Shared Services, planning and budgeting, and human resources.
President Cross provided the Board with preliminary 2018 enrollment numbers across UW System campuses. Enrollment at seven UW System institutions increased in fall 2018 compared to the previous year. Reflecting demographic trends, however, overall enrollment dropped 1.5 percent. The data shows UW System institutions enrolled 170,827 students this fall compared to 173,425 last year.
Cross said the institutions are facing the “enrollment headwinds” better than it might appear given high school populations and in comparison to other higher education sectors.
‘Our students are the core of what we do – why we exist – and how we as a public institution of higher education transform Wisconsin. Our impact goes beyond numbers – we see it in individual stories that change neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, and entire economic sectors,” Cross said.
President Ray Cross introduced Siva Shankar, a senior physics major at UW-Parkside, who spoke to the Board as part of a Student Spotlight. Last spring, Siva was voted the best undergraduate presenter at a meeting of the American Physical Society hosted by Ohio State University. His presentation, “Damping of a Simple Pendulum Due to Drag on Its String,” was selected from a field of about 90 presenters from all over the United States, including students from MIT, Caltech, UW-Madison, and UCLA.
As a Kenosha native, Siva said UW-Parkside wasn’t his first choice for a college, and he had been accepted to numerous programs. But after one meeting with a professor at UW-Parkside he realized how much its professors want students to succeed and “took a chance” on the institution.
In 2014, he was the only physics major on campus, which made him “kind of nervous.” Now there are nearly 30. “The program has grown exponentially,” he said, praising faculty for building the program.
“I achieved these things as a student, but more importantly as a student at UW-Parkside,” he said. “Parkside truly is one of the hidden gems of Southeast Wisconsin, and that’s one thing I’m extremely proud of.”
News Around the UW System
In his report on News from Around the UW System, Cross told Regents about a new App launched by UW-Whitewater to help drive student engagement with access to class schedules, campus resources, advising, calendars, and more on their phones and about how UW-Stout’s supply chain management program helps Wisconsin companies efficiently move their products through manufacturing and distribution.
- See the full October 2018 News from Around the UW System video
President Cross also noted former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson’s agreement to chair the UW System Business Council, which held its second meeting in September.
Fund for Wisconsin Scholars
President Cross told Regents that the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars has awarded approximately 580 new four-year UW System students and 324 transfer students with need-based grants. It is the second year in a row that all eligible transfer students were funded.
The Fund for Wisconsin Scholars is a private foundation established in 2007 by a founding gift of $167 million from John and Tashia Morgridge. It provides need-based grants – which do not need to be repaid — to graduates of Wisconsin public high schools attending Wisconsin public colleges to support their access to and completion of college.
Personnel Files and Reference Check Update
UW System General Counsel Quinn Williams reported to the Board that the UW System’s proposed new policy on personnel files and reference checks is currently in the review and comment phase, and is on track for implementation in January 2019.
Williams noted that UW System is also working with the Department of Administration to clarify procedures and processes for sharing personnel files between UW System institutions and State agencies. The System is also Researching options for electronic storage of personnel files and soliciting feedback and implementation advice from national professional associations.
Mark Walters, UW-Madison Director of Classified Human Resources, said UW-Madison is drafting a campus-wide personnel file policy that is parallel to the System’s policy, and has added a draft reference check policy to its existing hiring process. Engagement with campus stakeholders has also begun at UW-Madison as it prepares for January implementation.
- See UW System’s
Interim Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Karen Schmitt and Vice President of Administration Rob Cramer provided a progress report on key areas of the restructuring efforts.
They noted that as of September 1, 2018, the following key transition activities have been accomplished:
- Student applications for admission to branch campuses for the 2019-20 academic year are now going to their respective UW receiving institutions;
- Provision of services to the branch campuses is being administered under memoranda of understanding (MOUs), and the first transfers of these service functions to the receiving institutions are underway;
- Testing of the receiving institution student information systems (SIS) are underway in preparation for the future data migrations from the UW Colleges SIS; and
- Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (CEOEL) is leading the establishment of online collaborative course exchange work groups with participating UW institutions.
The Higher Learning Commission will conduct its next evaluation visit December 3-4, 2018.
UW-Parkside Ranger Athletics
UW-Parkside Director of Athletics Andrew Gavin told Regents that “Life in the Balance” is the philosophical foundation of the Ranger athletics program – the only NCAA Division II institution in the UW System. Season schedules are designed to allow students to pursue academic, work and internship opportunities as well as engaging in campus and community activities while also getting involved in athletics, Gavin said.
UW-Parkside, with 15 intercollegiate sports and more than 250 student athletes, recently joined the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
The UW System and Board of Regents expressed their condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Robert M. O’Neil, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 83. Dr. O’Neil served as President of the UW System from 1980-85. He was also a law professor and a nationally recognized scholar focused on the First Amendment, free speech and the press.
In other business, the Board of Regents:
- Approved a resolution of appreciation for UW-Parkside’s hosting of the October 2018 meeting;
- Approved the statutorily-required Program Revenue Fund Balance Report;
- Approved a UW-Madison contractual agreement for a Fee for Service Agreement with Worcester HIV Vaccine to provide routine biomanufacturing services for the production of vaccine to be used in FDA approved clinical trials;
- Approved UW-Madison’s Sponsored Research Agreement with Cerveau Technologies to provide statistical data analysis in support of a clinical trial involving patients with Alzheimer’s disease;
- Approved changes to Regent policy regarding the reporting of extramural gift, grant, and contract awards;
- Approved UW-Stout’s proposal to establish a Bachelor of Science degree in Video Production;
- Approved UW-River Fall’s request of its revised mission statement and mission addendum;
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to complete the design and construction of the $1.1 million gift-funded UW-Madison College Library Restroom Remodel project; and
- Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to complete the design and construction of the $1.4 million gift-funded UW-Madison Memorial Library and UW Press Remodel project.
Photos by Alyssa Nepper/UW-Parkside
The UW System Board of Regents next meets on Dec. 6-7, 2018, at UW-La Crosse.