WHITEWATER – The University of Wisconsin System, which was the first statewide system of higher education in the nation to issue an annual accountability report back in 1993, is officially entering the “digital age of accountability.”

A new online, interactive UW System Accountability Dashboard was unveiled Thursday at the Board of Regents meeting hosted by UW-Whitewater. The new dashboard integrates systemwide, institutional, and legislated accountability reporting, and makes information previously available in multiple reports more accessible and useful to stakeholders and the general public.

The dashboard continues the focus of accountability on key performance indicators, and provides context in the form of historical trends and external benchmarks.

“The new dashboard is interactive and allows you to drill down for more detail. More importantly, it does a great job of visualizing the data,” said David J. Ward, interim Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.

He noted that the dashboard “doesn’t begin to reflect all the data we have,” but is focused on accountability measures.

“On the whole, this is very impressive,” said Regent Janice Mueller. Regent Drew Petersen noted that the new dashboard format is a clear demonstration of the UW System’s commitment to transparency.

“As a Board, this is one of our key responsibilities – to examine and analyze the performance of our institutions and use that information to inform our policy decisions,” said Regent President Regina Millner.

“The dashboard represents a huge step forward in making our current metrics more accessible, flexible and useful,” said UW System President Ray Cross.

As Ward pointed out, the dashboard is organized into six thematic areas: access; progress and completion; cost and efficiency; undergraduate experience; faculty and staff; and economic development. In addition, Institution Highlights will link to accountability and performance information specific to each institution’s unique mission, and About the UW System will describe the history and governance of the UW System.

UW-Whitewater Chancellor heralds the Warhawk Way

Host Chancellor Beverly Kopper told Regents that commitment to the success of all students is paramount and is captured in UW-Whitewater’s select mission to serve “multicultural students, students with disabilities, and non-traditional students by providing specific support services and program for them.”

“This is core to the Warhawk community,” Kopper said.

She told Regents that at a time of record enrollments and declining state support, UW-Whitewater enrolls more under-represented students – 1,380 – than any other comprehensive university in the UW System. She also made a pitch for Board support in helping UW-Whitewater construct a much-needed new residence hall.

Assistant Vice Chancellor Richard McGregory and students shared with Regents how the campus’ multicultural mission supports forging pathways to success. Junior Natalie Arriaga, an international studies major, told Regents that her own UW-Whitewater experience has convinced her that “even though I had struggled with academics in the past, that was no reason to give up on my future.”

Athletic Director Amy Edmonds, Assistant Professor Kristina Navarro, and students shared experiences with the Warhawk Leadership Academy. Physics professors Robert Benjamin and Steve Sahyun and several students spoke about the close-knit and high-performing physics department.

“There truly is a very special sense of family here,” Kopper said.

Audit Committee

The UW System’s new Waste, Fraud and Abuse Hotline has received 52 incident reports since it went live on May 15, 2015, according to Chief Audit Executive Lori Stortz. As of mid-August, 47 of the 52 cases have been closed, she said. The majority of the closed incidents (35) did not require an investigation or it was determined that no corrective action was necessary. Ten incidents resulted in a corrective action being taken.

In other business, the Audit Committee:

  • Received a status report on the UW System audit team integration which was completed July 1.

“We have to be willing to … drive a culture of accountability. We have to buy into at the top and see to it throughout the organization,” said Regent Gerald Whitburn, committee chair.

“I think we are stewards of the taxpayer money. We have a responsibility to do as much as we can to ensure the safety and wellness of our staff and students,” said Regent Jan Mueller.

Capital Planning and Budget Committee

The Committee discussed the redesign of capital budget processes to address: new leasing authority granted in 2015 Wisconsin Act 55; new gifts/grants authority granted in 2015 Wisconsin Act 55; and renovation of existing facilities in the upcoming capital budget cycle.

In other business, the Capital Planning and Budget Committee:

  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for authority to construct the $1.6-million gift-funded Veterinary Medical Clinical Skills Laboratory Renovation project;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request for approval to enter into agreements to support the Peck School of the Arts and student housing as a result of new leasing authority;
  • Approved UW System’s request for approval of eight All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects at five campuses totaling approximately $16 million. These projects address facility maintenance, utility and safety upgrades, programmatic remodeling, and energy conservation;
  • Heard a UW-Whitewater presentation on its Comprehensive Master Plan; and
  • Heard a report from Associate Vice President Alex Roe on recent State Building Commission actions.

Research, Economic Development & Innovation Committee

UW-River Falls Chancellor Dean Van Galen led a panel of faculty members in a discussion of the importance and benefit of engaging in activities that foster research, economic development, and innovation, as well as ways to make these activities both easier and more rewarding. Faculty panelists included Karen Klyczek, Ph.D., Biochemistry, UW-River Falls; Marc Mc Ellistrem, Ph.D., Materials Science, UW-Eau Claire; and Dan McGuire, MFA, Fine Arts, UW-Whitewater.

In other business, the REDI Committee:

  • Approved metrics for the UW System Accountability Report, including research funding and public service funding; STEM and health degrees; and alumni residing in-state; and
  • Heard a presentation led by Chancellor Beverly Kopper on entrepreneurial initiatives at UW-Whitewater, including the Innovation Center, the Launch Pad program, student organizations that develop student entrepreneurs, and applied research grants.

Education Committee

The Education Committee held “first readings” of proposed changes to two select mission statements, for UW-Stevens Points and UW-Extension. Both institutions will now continue in the process for seeking approval of their mission changes.

As presented by Provost Greg Summers, the UW-Stevens Point select mission was revised and restructured to better reflect the university’s new strategic plan and its desire to better serve regional needs. The academic program array is presented in more detail, making more visible the breadth of professional undergraduate and graduate programs. The term “select engineering programs” was added to the programs listed, to include the just-approved chemical engineering program as well as the university’s paper science and engineering program.

UW-Extension’s proposed change to its select mission statement would provide UW-Extension with degree-granting authority to offer certificates, associate degrees, and baccalaureate degrees in business and management within the direct assessment, competency-based UW Flexible Option format. UW-Extension degrees would be offered collaboratively with other UW institutions using similar partnership arrangements as UW-Extension’s current, successful collaborative degrees.

“This will allow us to fill a gap that currently exists in serving nontraditional students,” Cathy Sandeen, Chancellor of UW Colleges and UW-Extension, told the Committee.

“I am very enthusiastic about this opportunity,” said Regent Tim Higgins, particularly noting the opportunity to serve a currently underserved student population. “You have found the 21st-century reason for Extension to be unique again,” added Regent Margaret Farrow.

In other business, the Education Committee:

  • Approved five new academic degree programs:
    • UW-Madison’s B.S. and B.A. in Neurobiology;
    • UW-River Falls’ B.S. in Agricultural Engineering;
    • UW-Stevens Point’s B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a Flexible Option M.S. in Geodesign and GIS Technologies (with support from UW-Extension); and
    • UW-Milwaukee’s Master of Healthcare Administration.
  • Approved three accountability measures for the UW System Accountability Report: graduation rates, equity gap, and degrees conferred;
  • Heard an update from Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs John Stone on UW-Whitewater’s High-Impact Educational Practices (HIPS); and
  • Heard a report from David J. Ward, interim Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs.

Business and Finance Committee

Jeff Arnold, UW-Whitewater’s Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs, led a presentation, “Management and Impact of State Budget Reduction,” sharing information on how the institution dealt with the most recent reduction in State support as well as some of the expected impacts of those cuts.

In other business, the Business and Finance Committee:

  • Approved new financial and administrative metrics for the UW System Accountability Report, including overall financial health, cost per degree, revenue over expenses, administrative expenditures, average credits to degree, and affordability;
  • Approved a UW-Madison Master Services Agreement (MSA) and related Individual Project Agreements (IPAs) with Allergan Sales, LLC, for work supporting the evaluation of methods for the management of neovascular age-related macular degeneration; Allergan will pay the institution an estimated $5.3 million for work under each of two IPAs for a total of over $10.5 million;
  • Approved a UW-Madison service agreement with Takeda Vaccines, Inc., for work on two independent dengue fever studies on non-human primates; Takeda will pay the institution an estimated $1.1 million for this work;
  • Heard the semi-annual report on the status of three large IT projects underway in the UW System, including UW Colleges and UW-Extension’s Campus Network Infrastructure Project (CNIP), UW-Milwaukee’s replacement of Primary Storage Infrastructure, and UW-Milwaukee’s WiFi Wireless Network Expansion Project; all three projects are deemed to be on target with respect to schedule, scope, and budget;
  • Heard a summary of gift, grant, and contract awards for the period July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 will be presented; total awards for the period were approximately $1.451 billion, an increase of $13.2 million compared to the prior year; federal awards decreased $33.2 million while non-federal awards increased by $46.4 million; and
  • Heard a high-level summary report comparing budgeted to actual revenues and expenditures through the third quarter of the fiscal year; the final FY 2015 management report shows that at the close of the year, actual expenditures were approximately 98.7% of the Regent-approved budget, while revenues were at 101.2% of the budgeted level.

The UW System Board of Regents will resume its meeting at 9 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015,
at UW-Whitewater.