Board of Regents

2003-04 Regent Study

Charting a New Course for the UW System

Case Statement

Where We've Been
The UW System has a long tradition of strategic planning. Since merger, the following major documents have guided the development of the System and its contributions to the state:

Chapter 36, Wisconsin Statutes
1972 UW System Merger Document
1975 Campus Closing Report
1986 Legislative Audit of the UW System
1986 Planning the Future
1996 The UW System in the 21st Century

Where We're Going - Drivers of Change
A new course for the UW System is motivated in 2003 by three key drivers: a changing state fiscal environment; changing and growing market demand; and a rapidly evolving technological environment affecting higher education throughout the country and around the world.

  • The financial base of the UW is shifting away from GPR and towards greater reliance on tuition and restricted, external sources.
  • Wisconsin high school graduates' demand for UW admission is growing briskly, as is growth from non-traditional adult students.
  • Instructional technology costs, benefits, applications and opportunities are becoming clearer, but are not currently funded by the state.

Given these accelerating changes and persisting state deficits, the UW System and the State of Wisconsin need a new strategic plan for public higher education to ensure that unintended consequences of short-term, crisis decisions do not impair the capacity for quality higher education for Wisconsin's future.

The Strategic Planning Process should:

  • Analyze the major forces driving change in higher education.
  • Identify the critical factors that will inhibit or enable the UW to continue serving the needs of Wisconsin.
  • Identify actions - both short-term and long-term - the UW and others can take to sustain quality opportunities of higher education in Wisconsin.

Key Principles of Charting a New Course for the UW System:

  • The Board of Regents is committed to sustaining the capacity to deliver high quality education, research and outreach services to Wisconsin. Where quality and access may conflict, we are committed to maintaining quality first.
  • We seek to maximize synergies by streamlining operations across the System and by collaborating with other partners efficiently and effectively.
  • We seek to stabilize the financial base of the university in order to manage effectively and make the long-term investments in people, programs and infrastructure necessary for a quality UW System.

The UW System exists to meet the needs of its students and the state; the university is an essential, basic asset for Wisconsin in the knowledge economy. It should provide a nonpartisan forum for honest debate of competing ideas, without fear of its becoming a partisan, political issue.

Study Timetable
This strategic planning study will be the main focus of the Board of Regents and UW System leaders for the 2003-04 academic year. The process will include real consultation with key constituencies across the state throughout the process. A final document is anticipated no later than June of 2004.

Read entire document plus footnotes.