Photo of UW-Whitewater Chancellor Dwight Watson

UW-Whitewater Chancellor Watson welcomed the Board of Regents for its two-day December meeting.

WHITEWATER, Wis.—Now in its 151st year, the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater continues to “inspire, engage and transform” the lives of students, faculty and staff – as well as the community, state, region, and world.

That was the message from Chancellor Dwight Watson Thursday, as UW-Whitewater hosted the Board of Regents. “We are surely not resting on our past,” he said.

Watson touted the university’s successes in a variety of areas. He said UW-Whitewater has recently completed a successful fundraising campaign, raising $17 million – exceeding its goal by $2 million. He also noted that UW-Whitewater awarded more teaching licenses than any other university in Wisconsin and has the largest enrollment for an accredited school of business in the state.

UW-Whitewater continues to make it a priority to serve students with disabilities, Watson said. More than 1,130 UW-Whitewater students self-identify as having a disability.

Watson also pointed to the university’s strong athletic record. He told Regents the intercollegiate athletic teams and individual student-athletes have won 83 national championships, including in 2014, when the Warhawks, for the first time in NCAA history at any level, won national championships in football, men’s basketball and baseball. The wheelchair basketball athletes have won 16 national championships.

Photo of UW-Whitewater's Economic Impact Report

UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner

A recent economic impact study showed UW-Whitewater has a $514.9 million total annual economic impact on its tri-county region.

Reflecting on UW System’s restructuring initiative, Watson said the university community has embraced the idea of pairing UW-Whitewater with the former UW-Rock County. He noted that 73 of the 865 Rock County students live in residence halls on the Whitewater campus and use the free shuttle between the campuses.

“This seemingly small step deeply embeds Rock County students on this campus, giving them a fuller university experience. We hope the experience leads those students to completing their four-year degree at UW-Whitewater,” Watson said.

“We have much to be proud of at this university,” Watson said.

UW-Madison’s amended freshman admissions policy gets Education Committee support

Regents in the Education Committee voted to approve revisions to UW-Madison’s freshman admissions policy. The proposal goes before the full Board on Friday.

Prior to 2015, UW-Madison’s freshman admission policy required the university’s enrollment of out-of-state students be capped at 27.5 percent. In 2015, the Regents repealed that cap, and in its place UW-Madison was required to enroll at least 3,600 Wisconsin high school graduates in each fall’s freshman class. That revised policy was put in place for a four-year period (through 2019).

Under the newly revised proposal presented to the Board, that policy would now be made permanent, and include a few additional amendments. As proposed, UW-Madison must enroll a minimum of 5,200 new in-state students each calendar year, based on a three-year rolling average.

UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank told Regents the proposed changes allow UW-Madison to count Wisconsin transfer students instead of just freshmen, and to also count students who start off-cycle in the spring semester instead of just the fall.

Under the policy, UW-Madison will continue its 3,600 enrollment commitment to Wisconsin freshmen, Blank said. She also noted that a growing share of Wisconsin high school graduates enroll at UW-Madison (5.8% in 2019, up from 4.9% in 2009).

Blank told Regents that increasing the number of out-of-state students is also good for Wisconsin. Higher out-of-state tuition helps to fund financial aid and expand opportunities for Wisconsin students. Furthermore, about one-fifth of out-of-state students remain in Wisconsin after graduation, which UW-Madison is working with Wisconsin businesses to enhance.

Education Committee

Carleen Vande Zande, Associate Vice President for Academic Programs and Educational Innovation, presented the UW System’s annual report on the system’s academic program array. She told Regents that since the start of the 2018-19 academic year to date, UW institutions have implemented 38 new academic programs, with the majority in areas of high market demand, including health- and business-related programs. In the same time period, 20 programs were suspended.

In other business, the Education Committee:

  • Received the 2019 annual report of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health and its Oversight and Advisory Committee, focusing on the activities and expenditure of funds by the Wisconsin Partnership Program;
  • Heard an update by UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone and Provost Johannes Britz on the status of planning for the Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin;
  • Approved UW-Oshkosh’s Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Science. The major will prepare students for the recently approved M.S. in Athletic Training at UW-Oshkosh;
  • Approved three UW-Platteville degree programs:
    • Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, with two emphasis areas: Construction Management and Construction Safety Management. The development of this program responds to a workforce demand for individuals who can fill the unmet need for construction managers in an industry that is experiencing historically low unemployment levels and a growing demand for new construction;
    • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Conservation. The proposed academic degree program will expand on the enrollment of this popular minor at UW-Platteville;
    • Master of Science in Information Systems Management. The program is designed for working mid-career professionals who seek an advanced information systems management degree for promotion in their organizations. The School of Business will coordinate the program with the Center for Distance Learning to offer courses online;
  • Approved UW-Platteville’s request to restructure its existing Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) degree program. The university seeks to elevate six emphases that currently are active in the BSBA degree program to stand-alone degree programs: Finance, Human Resource Management, Integrated Marketing, Management, Professional Sales, and Integrated Supply Chain Management;
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s request to establish a Bachelor of Science program in Human Performance. This proposal reflects the elevation and replacement of the current emphasis in Health, Human Performance and Recreation in the B.S. in Education in Physical Education;
  • Approved UW-Whitewater’s request to establish a Master of Science in Communication, which will replace the current M.S. in Communication. The new program will substantially differ from the current program, because it will be delivered via distance education, and is designed for working adults;
  • Approved a proposal to rescind and recreate RPD 20-5, “Faculty Sabbatical Leave Program.” The proposed policy clearly states the delegation of authority to the UW System President to establish policies and procedures for awarding sabbaticals, while recognizing that UW Chancellors are responsible for granting sabbaticals;
  • Deferred the amending of RPD 4-19, “Naming of University Academic Units,” to a future meeting;
  • Approved appointments of three committee members to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program for a one-year term: Dr. Cedric A. Johnson, Dr. Megan A. Moreno, and Dr. Manish Shah;
  • Heard a UW-Whitewater presentation highlighting several programs, including Business, Media Arts and Game Development, and a program that provides university access to adults with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities; and
  • Heard an overview from Anny Morrobel-Sosa, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, on UW System’s Triennial Remedial Education Report.

Business and Finance Committee

Shenita Brokenburr, Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer, and Daniel Chanen, Director of Benefits and Compensation, presented data on UW System faculty turnover during FY 2019 along with comparative data for recent prior years. Chanen told Regents the number of faculty continued its downward trend for FY19, with 370 faculty departing UW System in FY19, with 206 (or 55.7%) faculty departures due to retirement, 154 (41.6%) to resignations, and 10 (2.7%) for non-renewals.

In other business, the Business and Finance Committee:

  • Received highlights of the Trust Funds Quarterly Investment Report for the period ending Sept. 30, 2019. Trust Fund assets stood at $602.1 million, comprised of $461.06 million in the Long Term (endowment) Fund and $141.05 million in the Income Cash Fund (a component of the State Investment Fund). The Fund’s public equity investments decreased 0.06% during the quarter, while the bond investments returned 2.67% and the inflation sensitive investments gained 1.81%;
  • Heard an overview by Grace Crickette, UW-Whitewater Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs, of the university’s operational process review and a summary of the improvements and changes made by the campus;
  • Received the annual report on compensation adjustments received by UW System faculty and staff outside of any regular state-approved pay plan. Data for FY19 reflects a 5% decline in the number of overall staff receiving base adjustments and a 6% drop in the number of staff receiving base adjustments for merit, equity and market reasons from FY18. The percentage of staff receiving additional compensation payments remains above 20% in FY19;
  • Approved three systemwide travel-related agreements:
  • A contractual agreement with Travel Incorporated to provide support and optimization of the University’s Employee Travel Services business travel program for all UW System institutions. This is the majority of UWS travel and includes all non-“group block” travel and all non-athletic travel;
  • A contractual agreement with Shorts Travel Management to support and optimize the Athletic Travel Services business travel program for all UW System institutions, excluding UW-Madison. This service category is responsible for booking all NCAA-related athletic travel across the four-year Universities;
  • A contractual agreement with Fox World Travel to support and optimize the Group Block Travel Services business travel program for all UW System institutions;
  • Approved a contractual agreement with Kings Colleges, LLC dba Kings Education, to provide recruitment of international F-1 & J-1 students to UW-Oshkosh over a period of six years, effective January 1, 2020;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s contractual Master Clinical Trial Agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Germany. In consideration for providing the requested research, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals shall pay the University an undetermined amount which potentially could exceed $1 million;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s fixed price contract with ColdQuanta, LLC to support research to be conducted in the department of Physics for a study titled, “Development of a High-Performance Neutral Atom Qubit Array for Quantum Computing.” ColdQuanta shall pay the University $1,426,000;
  • Approved two Sponsored Research Agreements between UW-Madison and PPD Investigator Services, LLC on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline LLC for DREAMM4 and DREAMM5, two parallel studies testing the same drug, with the difference being DREAMM5 is testing the drug by itself, and DREAMM4 is testing the drug in combination with another test drug;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Master Service Agreement with Parexel International, LLC. The services of the Fundus Photograph Reading Center and Radius Laboratory will provide Parexel with clinical trial support in the ophthalmology therapeutic area. Parexel International, LLC expects to pay the University in excess of $1 million for providing the services;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s Master Service Agreement with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to provide clinical trial support the ophthalmology therapeutic area. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals expects to pay the University in excess of $1 million over the lifetime of the agreement.
  • Approved the rescission and removal from Regent Policy Document (RPD) 11-1, “Non-Duplication Broadcast Protection Agreement;” RPD 11-2, “Broadcast Stations: Procedures for Handling Complaints;” RPD 11-3, “Access for Expression of Varying Viewpoints;” and RPD 11-4, “Radio Broadcast Stations: Position Statement.” The policies, adopted between 1973 and 1981, are now obsolete;
  • Approved the rescission and removal of Regent Policy Document 20-7, “Outside Activity Reporting.” Procedures for reporting outside activities are currently addressed in UW System Administration and institutional policies; and
  • Heard an update from Vice President for Administration Rob Cramer on projects including Information Security, Council of UW Library Highlights, UW-Shared Services, and the UW Colleges and UW-Extension Restructuring Project. Vice President for Finance Sean Nelson also provided updates to the Committee.

Joint Audit Committee and Business and Finance Committee

External auditors Plante Moran provided an overview of their Annual Financial Report for the UW System. The report indicates the University’s total net position – a financial condition snapshot – remained stable after fiscal year 2019. As of June 30, 2019, the University had total assets of $8.2 billion and total liabilities of $3.3 billion.

In other business, the two committees:

  • Deferred a progress report on the implementation of Legislative Audit Bureau recommendations related to personnel systems to a future meeting due to lack of time.

Audit Committee

Janice Abraham, President and CEO of United Educators Insurance, provided an overview of key risks in higher education and how best to deal with them.

She noted that higher education institutions and systems tend to spend most of their time on identifying risks. That’s important, she said, but “by far the most important thing is to do something.”

Who students are and how they learn have changed dramatically in recent decades, Abraham said, and pose significant challenges that higher education will have to address.

In other business, the Audit Committee:

  • Heard a report from Chief Audit Executive Lori Stortz on fiscal 2020 Audit Plan progress, a summary of recently issued audits, and an update on the status of management responses; and
  • Received a series of updates from Director of Risk Management Angela Ryan, Associate Vice President Ruth Anderson, Director of Compliance and Integrity Katie Ignatowski, Title IX and Clery Administrator Sarah Harebo, and Associate Vice President Katherine Mayer.

Capital Planning and Budget Committee

The Capital Planning and Budget Committee approved UW-La Crosse’s request for authority to construct the $49-million Fieldhouse and Soccer Support Facility project that will provide a 200-meter NCAA competition indoor track, a walking/jogging track, team locker rooms, meeting and training rooms, and office and storage areas. The project also includes construction of a new soccer support facility and an all-sport surface suitable for track meet field events, baseball and softball practice, intramural activities, and club sporting activities such as soccer, volleyball, basketball, floor hockey, rugby, and lacrosse.

In other business, the Capital Planning and Budget Committee:

  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for approval to enter into a lease of space for the Office of Community Relations, UW South Madison Partnership, which operates community outreach and educational support programs for non-traditional students. The partnership wants to expand its physical space due to growth in the number of students enrolled and programs offered;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request for approval to increase the budget of the Northwest Quadrant Renovation and Student Health Services Remodel project to fund the demolition of Building A, which is obsolete and would require a significant investment to renovate;
  • Approved UW-Parkside’s request for approval to construct the $6.7-million Campus Fire Alarm System Renovation project. This project replaces and augments the campuswide fire alarm and smoke detection system across 22 facilities to meet current life safety code and accessibility standards, improve reliability and features, and reduce operational maintenance costs;
  • Approved UW-Platteville’s request for authority to construct the $55.2-million New Sesquicentennial Hall project. The project constructs a new energy efficient 99,229 GSF academic engineering building adjacent to Engineering Hall to provide instructional laboratory suites, project and research laboratories, and support space;
  • Approved UW System’s request for approval to construct All Agency Maintenance and Repair projects at four campuses for a total cost of approximately $20 million. Projects include a $3-million facility maintenance and repair project at UW-La Crosse and $17 million of utility repair and renovation projects at UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, and UW-Whitewater;
  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for approval to increase the budget of the UW-Managed Primate Center Backup Generator project by $700,000 Gift Funds. The project provides essential standby, backup power for the Wisconsin Primate Center and the Harlow Laboratory;
  • Heard a presentation from host campus UW-Whitewater on how it approaches deferred maintenance challenges;
  • Deferred modifying Regent Policy Document (RPD) 19-14, “Naming of Facilities and Land,” to a future meeting; and
  • Received an update on recent State Building Commission actions from Senior Associate Vice President Alex Roe.

Research, Economic Development & Innovation Committee

The mission of the UW-Whitewater Fiscal and Economic Research Center (FERC) is to tap into faculty expertise and provide outreach services to members of the regional community. FERC also provides students with the opportunity to work closely with faculty experts in applying concepts and theories to practical, real-world cases.

This project-based work enhances student educational experiences and also maximizes value to future employers. UW-Whitewater Professor Russ Kashian and several of his students led a discussion of their work.

In other business, the REDI Committee:

  • Heard an overview of UW Regent Scholar grant program details from WiSys President Arjun Sanga. This honor is offered to faculty to help recognize and reward the exceptional work with undergraduate students and other collaborative research and industry partners whose activities focus on developing entrepreneurial ideas and innovative project outcomes. UW System Regent Scholar recipients are selected competitively based on recommendations by a selection committee made up of both public and private sector experts. The Board of Regents will formally recognize faculty as “Regent Scholars” in April 2020; and
  • Heard a presentation by Wisconsin researcher, innovator, and business leader Christopher Salm on the challenges and opportunities in high-tech food production. Salm is a successful researcher and industry collaborator, and shared his insights and lessons learned relative to entrepreneurship and innovation in the competitive global food processing technology sector.

Photo Credit: UW-Whitewater/Craig Schreiner

The UW System Board of Regents will resume its meeting on December 6, 2019, at UW-Whitewater.