MADISON – At Friday’s Board of Regents meeting, the University of Wisconsin System reiterated the vital need for the UW campuses to have increased management flexibilities that will allow more efficient use of limited resources, and provide for campuses to respond nimbly to emerging needs.

The renewed call for flexibilities came in advance of the Feb. 22 announcement of the State’s 2011-13 Budget.

UW System President Kevin P. Reilly and Regent President Chuck Pruitt updated the Board on the extensive and ongoing communications between the UW System and the Governor and State Legislature, as well as outreach to business leadership and other communities across the state, in making their case.

Overall, I think it’s fair to say our message has been generally very well received,” Pruitt said.

Reilly cited the public support for the university’s bid for increased flexibilities that has been voiced by several newspaper editorial boards as well as business leaders from around the state, including Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy and the Wisconsin Higher Education Business Roundtable board of directors.

“It’s one thing for those of us who work for and with the University to say these things.  It’s another thing for business leaders representing corporations around the state to say that on our behalf,” Reilly said.

Reilly emphasized that the recent report, “A flexible UW is a strong UW,” which was included with a Feb. 8 letter to Gov. Scott Walker, is a collaborative effort on the part of all chancellors and the System to present their case.

“In a number of areas, including budgeting, tuition and pricing, human resources, capital planning and construction, financial management, and purchasing and procurement, you’ll find very specific suggestions about what we’re looking for,” Reilly said.  “We want to translate flexibilities for the System into what this means specifically at our campuses … and define what we’re asking for and the statutes and UW System administrative policies that would need to changed to provide that flexibility.”

UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen told Regents, “We’re called upon to be agile, entrepreneurial, responsive to regional needs, and the campuses really know that better than anyone. The flexibilities suggested … could go a long way towards helping us be more effective on many levels.” He cited the lengthy and convoluted process necessary to finalize a lease for the recently opened Hudson Center, which caters to adult student, as an example of lack of efficiency.

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer pointed to his campus’s frustration over being unable to provide the teachers and facilities to meet the demand of a growing number of science students. He also questioned a process where the campus institutes energy-saving processes, but is unable to use the proceeds of those savings.

UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said management flexibilities really are about empowering leadership. “We need to let our System and our campuses, and the people who make up our System and our campuses, lead. I don’t mean just the chancellors, but our faculty leaders, staff leaders, student leaders. They’re deeply dedicated to what they do.”

Regent Danae Davis commended the report’s articulation of the argument for flexibilities. “I am really hopeful we will succeed where we have not succeeded before,” she said.

Regent Ed Manydeeds expressed concern on behalf of some northern Wisconsin constituents who were uncertain about implications of the New Badger Partnership for UW institutions other than UW-Madison.

UW-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin responded that the Badger Partnership “is no different from what has been advanced on the instigation of the chancellors for the System as a whole.” She added that if the Governor is supportive of the Badger Partnership and moves forward with it, “I hope it will include flexibility for the other campuses either now or going forward.”

Reilly assured the Board – and chancellors – that the UW System has been working “very, very hard in this legislative session to get these flexibilities for all of our campuses at a level they can handle.”

Board discusses voter I.D. legislation

After considerable discussion, the Board of Regents expressed interest a formal discussion in March about new legislation to require photo identification for all Wisconsin voters.

As Pruitt noted, “The failure to include student I.D.’s as an acceptable form of identification would have a serious and deleterious effect on the right of students to vote. We need to speak loudly and clearly on that point and encourage students, faculty, chancellors, and others to join their voices to ours. I think it is essential that the Board of Regents draw on our understanding of the needs of our students to taken an unequivocal stance that, without this amendment, we strongly oppose SB6.”

Several Regents, led by Regent Tom Loftus, expressed their opposition to the bill, regardless of amendments, noting that the bill potentially disenfranchises a much larger group of constituents than students.

Pruitt noted that the UW System’s current position – advocating that UW-issued identification cards should allowed as an official form of voter identification – was based on the assumption that “our standing on this debate is to speak about the UW System’s 182,000 students.”

Regent Ed Manydeeds urged the Board to consider its broader leadership obligation in the state. “We have an obligation not only to students, but to faculty, parents of students, the people who work in this System … and that comprises a huge component of the state of Wisconsin,” he said.

Pruitt recommended that the topic be put on the agenda for the March meeting.

Regents honor Diversity Award winners

The Board presented its third annual Regent Diversity Awards, which are meant to recognize the outstanding contributions to diversity and inclusion by people and programs at UW institutions.

“These efforts are vitally important, not only because it’s the socially just and fair thing to do – but because of the educational and economic value to this University and beyond.  The people and programs we are going to hear about this morning understand these needs. More than that, they do something about meeting these needs,” said Regent José Vásquez, chair of the Regents selection committee.

Awards were presented in three categories.

Dr. Howard Spearman, Director of the Multicultural Mentoring Program in UW-Milwaukee’s Lubar School of Business, received the Individual award. In presenting the award, Regent Aaron Wingad said Spearman’s efforts help multicultural students connect with business professionals in the Milwaukee area for a one-on-one year-long mentoring relationship. “The mentors assist students with developing their academic and career goals, as well as enhancing their networking skills. It’s an acknowledgement, really, that success is about more than just coursework,” Wingad said.

“The true success of the program has been measured by quality of the relationships and the success outcomes established by the students in the program,” said Spearman, noting that 21 of 29 graduating seniors in the program landed a job either before or just after graduating.  He called the experiences and contacts that students make in the program “invaluable and priceless.”

Regent Ed Manydeeds presented the Team award to the Community Liaison Counselors in UW-Oshkosh’s Admissions Office.  As Manydeeds explained, the four full-time and one part-time staff members specifically target the recruitment and enrollment of students from the African-American, Hispanic and Latino, Hmong/Asian, and Native American populations.  Their efforts have significantly increased the applications and enrollment among students of color at UW-Oshkosh, he said.

Accepting the award on behalf of the team, Quincy LaGrant said that they each are “grateful to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of students, their families, and in our communities.”  He added that at the core of the work they do is the trust that is built between students, families, the school, and the community.  “It may be our greatest attribute,” he said. “With it, our university grows and develops because our population becomes more diverse. Without it, potential students remain trapped and their dreams never become reality.”

Regent Danae Davis presented the Institution/Unit Award to UW-Milwaukee’s Southeast Asian American Student Services, a group dedicated to meeting the needs of students of Southeast Asian background. Davis noted that their work recognizes that the advising needs of students from refugee and immigrant backgrounds may go far beyond what courses to select or which major to choose. “It also demands cultural understanding, and the sensitivity to proactively respond to students’ unique situations,” she said.

Accepting the award was Program Coordinator Dao Vang. He told Regents that his team’s commitment typically goes far beyond recruiting Southeast Asian students to come to UW-Milwaukee. “One of the things that is very important is, once they’re on campus, we want to make sure they’re happy to be on campus,” Vang said. “That includes a lot of things we need to do on a daily basis, from making sure the campus climate is friendly to them, that their needs are met, including financial aid or other advising, and that any questions, any needs are met.”

Looking ahead, Regent Vásquez told the Board that in recognition of the many things done around the UW System under the umbrella of inclusivity – not just diversity – his committee anticipates coming back to the Board with a broader redefinition of the award criteria for the future.


In other business, the Board:

  • Recognized UW-Stout Chancellor Chuck Sorenson’s more than 22 years of service, making him the longest serving chancellor in that institution’s history;
  • Approved the nomination of Jessica Lathrop as the new Assistant Secretary of the Board of Regents;
  • Approved implementation of the Master of Fine Arts in Design degree at UW-Stout;
  • Approved contract renewals for the Seeds of Health Elementary School and the Milwaukee College Preparatory School-Metcalfe Park Campus, overseen by UW-Milwaukee’s Office of Charter Schools, and the 21st Century Preparatory School, UW-Parkside’s lone charter school;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee Office of Charter Schools’ recommendation to authorize as new charter schools the Milwaukee College Preparatory School-Lindsay Heights Campus, and the Milwaukee Scholars Charter School;
  • Approved an increase in the UW-River Falls Falcon Promise, the institution’s existing undergraduate differential tuition;
  •  Approved an increase in the UW-Superior Experience, the institution’s undergraduate differential tuition, effective Fall 2011;
  • Approved a new undergraduate program differential, the UW-Superior Natural Sciences Differential;
  • Approved resolutions granting UW-Madison authority to recruit a Dean of the Law School and a Dean of the Business School at a salary above 75% of the UW System’s salary;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to lease space for the UW-Madison Graduate School, providing a state-of-the-art facility for the quarantine and holding of nonhuman primates as required for campus researchers;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for approval to acquire 75 acres of land in the Town of Middleton for the future expansion of University Research Park II;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to accept a gift of six acres of land from the University of Wisconsin Foundation;
  • Approved UW Hospital and Clinics Authority request for approval to construct an Autopsy and Pathology Suite located in the Wisconsin Institutions for Medical Research Building;
  • Approved UW-Green Bay’s request for authority to use funding provided by the UW Foundation and a federal grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency to purchase three parcels of land; and
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s request to adjust the budget and construct the Multi-Sport Facility – Phase III project.



The UW System Board of Regents will hold its next meeting March 10, 2011, in Madison

Related: Read February 10 (day 1) news summary