This policy establishes expectations for the members of the UW System Board of Regents.
The Board of Regents has primary responsibility for governance of the University of Wisconsin System. Wis. Stats. § 36.09(1) states:
“The primary responsibility for governance of the system shall be vested in the board which shall enact policies and promulgate rules for governing the system, plan for the future needs of the state for university education, ensure the diversity of quality undergraduate programs while preserving the strength of the state’s graduate training and research centers and promote the widest degree of institutional autonomy within the controlling limits of system-wide policies and priorities established by the board.”
Each member of the Board must be willing to make a strong and sustained personal commitment of time, talent and energy in order to meet the challenges of this demanding role. The purpose of this policy is two-fold: First, to inform potential nominees to the Board of the level of commitment they will be asked to make as a member of the Board of Regents; and second, to inform the public of the Board’s expectations of its members.
It is the policy of the Board of Regents that each member of the Board meets the following expectations:
- To be well-informed: Each Regent shall strive to understand the University of Wisconsin System, its mission, structure, programs, financial framework, strengths, challenges, and current issues; the role of the governing board; the role of UW System Administration; the roles of faculty, academic staff, and students; relationships between the University of Wisconsin System and other state agencies; the state and national higher education environment. This includes:
- Participation in an orientation session for new Board members to include review of Wisconsin’s Code of Ethics for Public Officials and Employees, Wisconsin Open Meetings Law, Wisconsin’s Public Records Law, and conflict of interest training, .
- Participation in Regent visits to University of Wisconsin System campuses to view facilities and meet with faculty, staff, administrators, and students.
- Thorough review of agenda materials and other information pertinent to issues before the Board and careful consideration of options for addressing these issues.
- Meeting with Chancellors, University of Wisconsin System officials, and key executive branch and legislative officials, to share views and concerns.
- Understanding the special mission and character of each of the University of Wisconsin Institutions.
- Obtaining views of the public about the University of Wisconsin System.
- Responding appropriately to constituent questions and concerns.
- To be an active and contributing participant in the work of the Board of Regents. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Regular attendance at meetings of the Board and standing committees.
- Service on special Regent committees and on external boards related to the mission of the UW System such as the UW Hospital and Clinics Authority Board, the Higher Educational Aids Board, and the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.
- Speaking with executive and legislative branch decision makers and other stake holders to obtain input and explain Board positions.
- Attending University functions.
- Giving a fair and objective hearing to differing opinions.
- Discussing issues fully, but accepting and supporting the Board’s decision once it is made.
- Representing the public interest in general and not the interest of any particular constituency.
- To adhere to high standards of ethical conduct and to comply fully with laws relating to conduct of public officials and boards. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Avoidance of any conflict of interest and adherence to the standards of conduct for public officials, as set forth in the Code of Ethics for Public Officials and Employees and the Board’s policy related to Ethics and Conflict of Interest for the UW System Board of Regents. In the case of any potential conflict of interest, the Board member is expected to seek clarification. Where a conflict of interest is found to exist, the Board member must abstain from participating in the discussion and from voting on the matter in question.
- Timely filing of annual financial disclosure statements as required by the Wisconsin Code of Ethics for Public Officials and Employees.
- Full compliance with the Open Meetings and Public Records laws.
- Maintenance of confidentiality when appropriate or required by law. Board members shall maintain the confidentiality of all deliberations held in closed session.
- To accept responsibility for effectively and efficiently governing the University of Wisconsin System in the public interest. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Preservation and enhancement of educational quality.
- Sound financial management.
- Prudent stewardship of University assets.
- Appointment and systematic annual performance evaluation of the University of Wisconsin Chancellors and President.
- Planning of programs and allocation of limited resources so as to most effectively serve the higher educational needs of Wisconsin citizens.
- Establishment and maintenance of a strong system of accountability to the public for performance results.
- Strategic planning to address future needs.
- Advocacy for the value of higher education to the state and its citizens.
- Representation of the public interest to the University.
- Addressing legal issues related to litigation affecting the University of Wisconsin System.
- Periodic Board assessment, including periodic review of the Bylaws of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System.
Oversight, Roles, and Responsibilities
Each Regent shall be responsible for complying with the provisions of this policy.
The Office of the Board of Regents shall be responsible for organizing orientation sessions.
Related Regent Policies and Applicable Laws
- Subch. III, Chapter 19, Wis. Stats., “Code of Ethics for Public Officials and Employees”
- s. 36.09(1), Wis. Stats., “The Board of Regents”
- s. 36.11, Wis. Stats., “Powers and Duties of the Board of Regents
- s. 36.23, Wis. Stats., “Conflict of Interest”
- s. 946.13, Wis. Stats., “Private Interest in Public Contract Prohibited”
- RPD 2-4, “Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy for the UW System Board of Regents”
- RPD 13-1, “General Contract Approval, Signature Authority, and Reporting”
History: Res. 6476, adopted 07/16/1993, created Regent Policy Document 93-1, subsequently renumbered RPD 2-2. Technical corrections were made on 11/15/2018, as authorized by Res. 10835. Res. 11566, adopted 12/10/2020, amended RPD 2-2.