Photo of Chancellor Gow welcoming the Board of Regents to its December 2018 meeting hosted by UW-La Crosse

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow addresses the Board of Regents during its December 2018 meeting, hosted by UW-La Crosse.

LA CROSSE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents took decisive action by unanimously approving a pay plan that would provide UW System employees a three percent pay plan increase for each of the two fiscal years starting July 1.

Regents also backed an identical pay plan for UW-Madison.

“An investment in the University of Wisconsin System is an investment in Wisconsin, and making investments in the System means attracting, retaining and rewarding our high-quality faculty and staff,” said Regent President John Robert Behling.

The proposal calls for full state funding of the increase. Typically, the state provides about 70 percent of the UW System pay increase with the rest being funded by tuition. However, with the current tuition freeze expected to continue through the 2019-21 biennium, institutions have limited ability to fund a significant share of any pay plan.

“Full state funding of the pay plan means that investments are directed toward student success in the classroom,” said President Behling.

Pay plan increases have trailed inflation and benchmark competitors in recent years. Faculty salaries, in particular, continue to lag behind their peers.

The recommended pay plan increases would be delivered to UW System employees covered by the plan.

The proposal is now sent to the Administrator of the Division of Personnel Management who will submit a proposal on UW System and UW-Madison employee pay to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Employee Relations.

Governor-elect Tony Evers Remarks

Governor-elect and current Regent Tony Evers briefly addressed the Board, calling the UW System one of the most important “economic drivers and drivers of democracy” in Wisconsin. “It’s a value-added enterprise,” said Evers, who served 9½ years on the Board.

He urged Regents to continue to be advocates for students and for the System.

“You are here because you believe what you are doing for the University System is in the best interests of the state of Wisconsin. I thank you for that and look forward to working together with you as colleagues,” Evers said.

Photo of Chancellor Joe Gow during his presentation at the UW System Board of Regents meeting hosted by UW-La Crosse on December 6, 2018

Chancellor Gow

“Sustaining Excellence”

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow told Regents his campus is “sustaining excellence,” with record enrollment of 10,569 students and continued high rankings among peer institutions.

Gow said UW-La Cross is implementing its strategic plan, which includes advancing transformative education, evidenced by collaborative faculty-student research; increasing community engagement, including through the “Hear Here” audio documentary project; achieving excellence through diversity and inclusion, as portrayed by the story of graduate Ryan Crain, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation; and investing in its people.

Business and Finance Committee

The Business and Finance Committee received the Annual Faculty Turnover Report from Shenita Brokenburr, UW System Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer. Annual faculty turnover across the UW System for FY 2018 averaged 7.25% with a total of 434 faculty leaving UW employment during the year.  Of these, 317 were tenured faculty and 117 were probationary (tenure track) faculty.

The Committee also received a report on compensation adjustments received by UW System faculty and staff outside any regular state-approved pay plan. A total of 30.61% of all staff received base adjustments (including those for promotions, title changes, and changes in duties) during fiscal year 2018.  UW Chancellors reallocated approximately $40.1 million in FY2018 to fund these base adjustments. By comparison, reallocations of approximately $39.0 million were made for these purposes in fiscal year 2017. These reallocations represent 1.72% and 1.71% of the respective year’s salary base.

In other business, the Business and Finance Committee:

  • Approved an agreement with EAB (Educational Assistance Board) to provide predictive analytics and student support tools for UW System institutions. The contract is for a term of five years, effective Dec. 31, 2018. Total cost of the contract for these products and services will be $10.8 million over the life of the contract. The agreement seeks to consolidate and expand use of these products and services from four institutions to all UW institutions except UW-Madison. UW-Madison will have the option to participate at additional cost;
  • Approved a five-year Master Sponsored Research Agreement with Johnson Controls, Inc. While no specific projects have yet been identified, Johnson Controls is interested in sponsoring UW-Madison research involving building management systems and equipment. UWM anticipates that total research funding under the agreement will exceed $1,000,000;
  • Approved changes to the bylaws of the UW System Board of Regents related to the administration of UW Trust Funds. The changes seek to clarify the role of the Business and Finance Committee and UW System Trust Officers now that the State of WI Investment Board (SWIB) manages investment activity for those funds;
  • Approved the rescission of five Regent Policy Documents related to the management of UW Trust Funds. With the transfer of investment management activity for UW Trust Funds to SWIB, these five policies are no longer operative and have been deemed obsolete;
  • Approved rescission and replacement of the Regent policy on the public records management. The updated policy is intended to clarify that the Board of Regents own all UW System records; incorporate current practice into policy; highlight UW System responsibility to protect sensitive information; require UW institutions to ensure compliance with Chapter ADM 12, Wis. Admin. Code; and reorganize and streamline RPD 3-2;
  • Approved rescission and replacement of the Regent policy on the granting of emeritus status. The current Regent policy on the topic only addressed such status for Regents. The updated policy will be directed at the Board of Regents and all UW System faculty and staff. The updated policy also seeks to establish more consistent use of the emeritus designation across all UW institutions;
  • Approved rescission of the Regent policy which addresses the University Insurance Association because the policy has been deemed to not meet the standards and protocols for a Regent Policy Document. Removing this Regent Policy Document does not change the requirement that employees with faculty, academic staff, or limited appointments participate in the University Insurance Association program;
  • Rescinded a Regent policy relating to the collection and administration of a mandatory refundable fee for certain inter-institutional UW System student organizations. In 2013, State law was changed to disallow collection of such a mandatory fee by the Board of Regents which renders the Regent policy obsolete;
  • Approved tuition changes for non-resident, graduate and professional programs at UW-Madison. The requested changes will keep these tuition rates below or in line with rates at peer institutions ensuring that the institution continues to provide an excellent value in higher education. Note: no changes are being sought for resident undergraduate tuition rates through these requests;
  • Approved changes to senior executive salary ranges 1-8 to bring them up to date with the currently available market data. The ranges were last updated in October 2013. This action does not direct any specific salary changes for staff subject to the approved ranges, but allows the Board more latitude in making salary adjustments if it so desires; and
  • Heard from UW System Vice President for Administration Rob Cramer, who provided a brief update on the UW System Shared Services Initiative.

Education Committee

Karen Schmitt, Interim Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, and Aaron Brower, Senior Associate Vice President, provided an update on the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Restructuring Initiative. Specifically, they discussed the transformation of the Division of Continuing Education, Outreach, and E-Learning (CEOEL), which now provides its programs and services under the UW System Administration, to the UW Extended Campus.

In other business, the Education Committee:

  • Heard an update on the timeline for UW-Stevens Point’s Point Forward proposal. On November 12, 2018, the UW -Stevens Point leadership team presented its vision for the 21stCentury comprehensive university to both the campus community and members of the public. Detailed information about the Point Forward Proposal is located at:
  • Approved UW-Stevens Point’s request to the fifth UW Institution with campus level procedures related to Financial Emergency or Program Discontinuance Requiring Faculty Layoff and Termination. The policy, adopted by the Board of Regents in 2016, was previously approved for

UW-Madison, UW-Green Bay, UW-River Falls, and UW-Parkside. These procedures were approved by both the UW-Stevens Point Faculty Senate and Chancellor Bernie Patterson;

  • Approved the Physical Therapy Doctorate at UW-Stevens Point through the College of Professional Studies, School of Healthcare Professions, to help address unmet rehabilitation needs due to a shortage of physical therapists practicing in that part of the state. The program’s curriculum was also designed to meet the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) accreditation criteria;
  • Approved the UW-Green Bay proposal to establish a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) in Writing and Applied Arts, to help address emerging markets for storytelling production and writing in numerous genres–especially the entertainment industry. Courses within the degree program will be delivered via a single institution–across the four UW-Green Bay campuses. Program faculty also will work with partners at Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) to develop complementary and transferable coursework;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request for an M.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies. The proposed master’s program will provide an option for doctoral students who must exit UWM’s existing doctoral study due to personal or professional reasons, or simply because the M.A. program is better aligned with their professional goals;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request for a Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. This program responds to a forthcoming accreditation requirement from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) to convert the existing master’s-entry Occupational Therapy (MSOT) program to doctoral-entry by 2027;
  • Heard a Teacher Education Initiative presentation from two undergraduate students and two recent graduates of the UW-La Crosse Teacher Education Program, titled: “What is the Experience of Students and Graduates of UW System Schools and Colleges of Education?
  • Heard a Host Campus Presentation from UW-La Crosse Provost Betsy Morgan and UWL professors and students titled “UW-La Crosse Community-Based Experiential Learning,” which involved issues including teaching, mathematics, writing and economics; and
  • Introduced plans for a task force on teacher education, including exploring issues surrounding college affordability, enrollment and public engagement.


Capital Planning and Budget Committee

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee heard a Building Condition Update from UW System staff who provided a status update to the building condition ratings reported annually by each institution for all Board of Regents owned buildings. Regents also received a status update on the development of a Geographic Information System resource and a demonstration of how this information is used for capital planning purposes.

In other business, the Committee:

  • Granted UW-Milwaukee authority to construct the $7.7 million Northwest Quadrant Student Health Services Remodel Project and approval to waive Regent Policy 19-8 to allow the use of segregated fees for the funding of improved student health services facilities. On Oct. 26, 2018, the UWM Student Association Senate Finance Committee voted to approve the waiver to use segregated fee funds to pay for the project and to redirect a $29 annual fee presently being collected for athletics capital projects to fund the work, beginning in FY 2023. Thus, the funding of the project will not increase the current UWM student segregated fees used for capital purposes;
  • Granted UW-Milwaukee’s request for approval to demolish Northwest Quadrant Building A as part of the Northwest Quadrant Renovation project. During the design of that project, it was been determined that renovation of NWQ Building A may be costlier than replacement given its original construction type;
  • Granted UW-Platteville’s request for authority to construct the Boebel Hall Addition and Renovation – Phase II project for an estimated total cost of $23.8 million General Fund Supported Borrowing. This second and final phase of a two-phased project constructs an entrance area addition and renovates Boebel Hall to support instructional laboratories, undergraduate research space, and general assignment classrooms;
  • Granted UW-Stout’s request for authority to increase the budget of the Price Commons First Floor Renovation project by $900,000 for a revised total cost of $8.6 million. Project work remodels the first floor of Price Commons; upgrades mechanical systems; and adds fire suppression for the facility;
  • Granted UW System’s request for authority to increase the budget of the UW-River Falls Dairy Plant Remodel project by $500,000 Program Revenue Cash for a revised estimated total cost of $2.4 million. Project work expands the dairy pilot plant and renovates space to accommodate donated modern dairy processing equipment. Between the time the equipment was originally promised in 2014 and when project construction began in 2018, the donors were able to provide newer, more advanced, and more robust equipment. Some of this newer equipment requires modest modification of the building’s infrastructure;
  • Granted UW System’s request for authority to construct three maintenance and repair projects at an estimated total cost of $3.7 million. Those projects include facility maintenance and utility repair at UW-Madison and programmatic renovation at UW-River Falls;
  • Granted UW System’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW-Madison Biochemistry Building Loading Dock Renovation project for $1.5 million Gift/Grant Funds. The project work seeks to eliminate stormwater problems that have plagued the loading docks at the Biochemistry and Bock Labs buildings during heavy rainfall events;
  • Granted UW System’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW-Madison Engineering Hall Plaza Entrance project for $1.4 million Gift Funds. The project work creates an accessible entrance at the building’s main entry point, convert an existing ramp enclosure into a new vestibule and meeting room adjacent to the lobby, and construct new exterior stairs;
  • Granted UW System’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW-Madison Primate Center Backup Generator Project for $1.2 million Gift/Grant Funding. The project work provides standby, back-up power that is essential for the Primate Center to continue its operation as an AAALAC accredited research program, and for the university’s Harlow Laboratory, which is fed from the same electrical vault and desires standby power to meet AAALAC requirements;
  • Granted UW-Madison’s request for authority to construct the UW-Extension $4 million Lowell Hall Floors 2-4 Renovation Project. This enumerated project abates and renovates portions of the Lowell Center, which is part of the UW Conference Centers recently transferred from UW-Extension to UW-Madison as part of UW System’s restructuring;
  • Granted UW System’s request for authority to execute the remainder of the design contract and construct the UW-Extension Upham Woods Administration Building Replacement Project for $3.1 million Gift/Grant Funds. This project constructs an 8,000 square foot replacement facility to accommodate the learning center’s programmatic needs;
  • Granted UW System’s request for authority to renew leases for University of Wisconsin System Administration. This provides for the renewal of two leases of office space in Madison, Wisconsin at 780 Regent Street and 660 West Washington Avenue. These renewals will result in a reduction of rent, and both leases will have corresponding expiration dates of December 2025;
  • Heard a presentation from UW-La Crosse with information that focuses on Transforming Science Education at UW-La Crosse;
  • Heard from Associate Vice President Alex Roe with an update regarding progress of the Capital Budget; and
  • Heard two reports from UW System staff on a Semi-Annual Status Report on Leasing activity since last June, and the UW System Semi-Annual Status Report on UW Solely Managed Capital Projects that are underway at System institutions.

Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee

The REDI Committee heard a presentation from Dr. Samantha Foley, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at UW-La Crosse, highlighting a WiSys-funded Web-Portal, designed to provide better understanding of interconnected systems. Dr. Foley discussed how this project bridges the gap between traditional computing environments and high-performance computing systems that are notoriously difficult to use.

In other business, the REDI Committee:

  • Heard an annual report from the Wisconsin Partnership Program. In 2000, Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin converted from a nonprofit service corporation to a stock insurance corporation. This conversion also created and funded the Wisconsin Partnership Program via the distribution of proceeds from the sale of stock to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The Board of Regents, via the REDI committee, has oversight responsibilities for the Wisconsin Partnership Program’s annual reports, five-year plans and appointment of members to the Oversight Advisory Committee.

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee heard from Chief Audit Executive Lori Stortz with a high-level overview summarizing the results of recently issued audits.

In other business, the Audit Committee:

  • Received a report on the Fiscal 2019 Audit Plan Progress to date;
  • Heard an update regarding the status of the System Security and Access Audits at each of the institutions;
  • Heard a high-level overview of the progress management has made toward resolving comments and implementing recommendations included in audit reports; and
  • Heard an update on emergency planning and preparedness from Assistant Vice President of Administration Ruth Anderson, Chief Kristen Roman from UW-Madison police and ESC David LaWall.

Joint Meeting of the Audit and Business and Finance Committees

The Audit and Business and Finance Committees met together to discuss the 2018 Financial Report, which showed the UW System’s financial position remains strong as it implements 2020FWD.

As required by the legislature, Plante Moran conducted the external audit on behalf of the entire UW System. Overall, the 2018 Annual Financial Report showed a decrease in equity (also called Total Net Position) of 0.3% or $17.4 million. The report shows an increase in cash and cash equivalents of $202.3 million, which is largely the result of bond proceeds held for forthcoming construction projects and the recent transfer of UW Trust Fund assets to the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB). As required by governmental accounting standards, the UW System’s share of earnings from the Wisconsin Retirement System are captured in the System’s financial statements and had a significant impact on the System’s financial position.

The financial statements for 2018 and 2017 include three prior period adjustments of note. The largest of these relates to Library Holdings. As recommended by Plante Moran, to align with evolving industry standards the 2017 statement reflects a $962.3 million reduction in Net Investment in Capital Assets attributed to applying depreciation to UW System Library Holdings.

See more photos from the December 6, 2018, meeting.

Photos by Michael Lieurance/UW-La Crosse

The Board of Regents resumes its meeting on Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at UW-La Crosse.