MADISON, Wis. – University of Wisconsin System Kevin P. Reilly today presented ten proposed initiatives that will support the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin – the university’s effort to produce more college graduates, stimulate job creation and strengthen Wisconsin communities. The ideas grow out of an ongoing strategic planning process that gathered input through seven “Think Tank” work groups, statewide listening sessions, business surveys and other methods.

Reilly called upon faculty members to lead an effort that would commit the UW System’s 26 campuses to a coherent set of learning outcomes for all undergraduates. A companion initiative would establish a new “dual transcript” for UW students, documenting out-of-classroom learning and personal development. Together, these two initiatives will help Wisconsin graduates prepare for success after college.

“Employers want information about what our graduates know and how they acquired that knowledge,” Reilly said. “Students want better ways to document learning and growth achieved through volunteer work, student government service, internships, peer mentoring and other activities.”

Recognizing that the UW System must do more to stimulate the growth of high-paying jobs in Wisconsin, Reilly pledged to work with UW researchers and the private sector to accelerate the transformation of intellectual property into new businesses and innovations for existing companies. As part of this effort, Reilly hoped that more UW students would gain exposure to innovation and entrepreneurism throughout their undergraduate educational experience.

To expand the proportion of Wisconsin workers with baccalaureate and advanced college degrees, Reilly also proposed that the UW System create more flexible and affordable pathways for older, non-traditional students, as well as new venues specifically designed for working adults.

Reilly also focused on different ways to get more Wisconsin high school graduates into the university pipeline, committing to collaborate with the state’s PK-12 community to enrich college preparation and expand college offerings in high school. He will work with UW student leaders to build a “Wisconsin KnowHow2GO Network,” aimed at attracting more high school students to college. Reilly explained how these actions dovetail with other efforts to boost college preparation and aspiration among Wisconsin youth.

“We need UW undergraduates to connect with high school students on a personal level,” said Reilly. “They will carry the message about the importance of college, and how to get there. This fits nicely with The Wisconsin Covenant, the new Fund for Wisconsin Scholars and our participation in the national KnowHow2Go media campaign.”

To alleviate some of the mounting pressure for admission to UW-Madison, Reilly announced that the UW System will expand the UW-Madison Connections program, which currently lets residents begin their education at a two-year UW College and finish their bachelor’s degree at the System’s largest campus.  Reilly announced that UW-Green Bay would be the first four-year campus to explore participation in that program.

Reilly also pledged that the UW System would model inclusive excellence in its education and employment practices, with a goal of closing the achievement gap and embedding an appreciation for diversity in everything the UW System does.

Reilly proposed holding New Wisconsin Idea Public Policy Forums to focus university research on Wisconsin’s biggest challenges through cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional teams. Periodic forums would present the teams’ findings and offer possible solutions to the state’s most pressing social, economic and environmental problems.

In order to focus its limited resources on the Growth Agenda, Reilly announced that the UW System will commit to keeping its administrative costs among the lowest in the nation, by identifying business practices that can be standardized, streamlined, simplified, and automated across the statewide system.

The ten action steps, as presented today to the Board of Regents:

  1. Commit to a coherent set of learning outcomes and values for all UW baccalaureate graduates
  2. Create the UW Dual Transcript
  3. Accelerate transformation of knowledge capacity into high-paying jobs and economic vitality for Wisconsin
  4. Model inclusive excellence in our education and employment
  5. Offer UW New Pathways Degrees to Wisconsin’s underserved adult population
  6. Build a Wisconsin KnowHow2GO Network, enlisting undergraduates as ambassadors to schools and kids
  7. Collaborate with PK-12 community to enrich college preparation and expand college offerings in high school
  8. Expand UW-Madison Connections Program
  9. Ramp up operational excellence and efficiency to focus more resources on the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin
  10. Establish New Wisconsin Idea Public Policy Forums that bring the University’s best research to bear on Wisconsin’s biggest challenges

Media Contact

David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464