Board of Regents
March 2009 Minutes - University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM
Held in 1820 Van Hise Hall
Thursday, March 5, 2009
- President Bradley presiding -
UW-Parkside: Authority to: (1) Convey Two Parcels of Land Located at the Intersection of County Highway G and Inner Loop Road to Kenosha County for Road Construction Purposes and (2) Adjust the Campus Boundary Accordingly.. 5
Authority to: (1) Convey Two Parcels of Land Located at the Intersection of County Highway G and Inner Loop Road to Kenosha County for Road Construction Purposes and (2) Adjust the Campus Boundary Accordingly, UW-Parkside. 5
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
BOARD OF REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM
Held in 1820 Van Hise Hall
Thursday, March 5, 2009
- President Bradley presiding -
PRESENT: Regents Jeffrey Bartell, Mark Bradley, Elizabeth Burmaster, Eileen Connolly-Keesler, Judith Crain, Mary Quinnette Cuene, Danae Davis, John Drew, Michael Falbo, Thomas Loftus, Kevin Opgenorth, Charles Pruitt, Brent Smith, Michael Spector, Colleene Thomas, José Vásquez, David Walsh, and Betty Womack
UNABLE TO ATTEND: None
Upon motion by Regent Walsh, seconded by Regent Falbo, the minutes of the February 5 and 6, 2009 meetings of the Board were approved as distributed.
- - -
Regent President Bradley reported that he and President Reilly were continuing to meet with legislators concerning the biennial budget.
- - -
Regent Smith, Chair, presented the committee’s report.
Adoption of the following resolutions as consent agenda items was moved by Regent Smith, seconded by Regent Connolly-Keesler, and carried on a unanimous voice vote.
Resolution 9602: That, upon the recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves a Data Analysis Research Agreement between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and GlaxoSmithKline.
Resolution 9603: That, upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the 2009-10 UW System Annual Distribution Adjustments for GPR/Fee funds.
- - -
Regent Bartell, Chair, presented the committee’s report.
The committee approved for inclusion in the consent agenda a resolution granting authority to adjust the $12.4 million budget of the Chadbourne and Barnard halls renovation project by $1.4 million, the total project remaining less than its enumerated cost of $14.7 million.
Regent Bartell noted that this project provided one of many examples of the need to streamline the capital project process.
UW-Parkside: Authority to: (1) Convey Two Parcels of Land Located at the Intersection of County Highway G and Inner Loop Road to Kenosha County for Road Construction Purposes and (2) Adjust the Campus Boundary Accordingly
The committee approved for inclusion in the consent agenda a resolution granting authority to convey two small parcels of land totaling 0.292 of an acre to Kenosha County for construction of a roundabout intersection for the campus and to adjust the campus boundary accordingly.
Regent Bartell moved adoption by the Board of Resolutions 9604 and 9605 as consent agenda items. The motion was seconded by Regent Vásquez and carried on a unanimous voice vote.
Resolution 9604: That, upon the recommendation of the UW-Madison Chancellor and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, authority be granted to adjust the budget of the Chadbourne and Barnard Residence Halls Renovation project by $1,351,300 Program Revenue Cash – Housing for a revised total project cost of $13,724,300 ($10,373,000 Program Revenue Supported Borrowing and $3,351,300 Program Revenue-Cash).
Authority to: (1) Convey Two Parcels of Land Located at the Intersection of County Highway G and Inner Loop Road to Kenosha County for Road Construction Purposes and (2) Adjust the Campus Boundary Accordingly, UW-Parkside
Resolution 9605: That, upon the recommendation of the UW-Parkside Chancellor and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, authority be granted to: (a) convey two parcels of land totaling 0.292 acres along County Highway G (Wood Road) at the intersection of Inner Loop Road at the UW-Parkside campus to Kenosha County for the construction of a roundabout intersection to serve the campus, and (b) adjust the campus boundary accordingly.
The committee approved a resolution recommending statutory revisions for streamlining the capital budget process, recognizing that the current process is out-of-date and causes unnecessary delays in design, bidding, and management of construction projects. Revisions would include:
- Increasing statutory thresholds that trigger various levels of approval and remove 100% gift/grant funded projects from the enumeration process, saving one to two years in completion time;
- Allowing agencies to control project costs by managing the total amount of capital funds expended rather than enumerating rough budget estimates for each project, thereby promoting better budgeting and saving of money; and
- Modernizing project delivery methods to conform to modern business models and best practices in order to control costs and save time. The project proposer would be allowed to request an appropriate delivery method, subject to approval by the Division of State Facilities Management.
Upon motion by Regent Bartell, seconded by Regent Vásquez, the following resolution was adopted on a unanimous voice vote.
Resolution 9606: That, upon the recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents recommend various statutory revisions to streamline the Capital Budget process.
Regent President Bradley introduced Chase Boruch, UW-Marathon County student and Iraq war veteran, who was providing leadership as President of the UW Colleges Student Governance Council and President of the KnowHow2GO Club.
- - - - - - -
The meeting was recessed for lunch at 12:35 p.m. and reconvened at 1:20 p.m.
- - - - - - - -
Acknowledging receipt of a letter regarding this agenda item from State Senator Glenn Grothman, Regent President Bradley said that it would be reviewed and that an appropriate response would be provided to the Senator.
In opening remarks, President Reilly stated the need to make sure that all UW campuses are places where all are welcome and where all can succeed the thrive.
With regard to background, he recalled that the Board had adopted Plan 2008: Educational Quality through Racial and Ethnic Diversity in May 1998. In the succeeding year, each UW institution developed its own institutional plan to implement the seven strategic goals of Plan 2008.
At the Plan’s midpoint in 2004, it became clear that the desired degree of progress was not being achieved, and the Board directed the UW System to reprioritize its efforts. With the Board’s guidance, emphases incorporated into Plan 2008 included stronger focus on closing gaps in achievement, adopting a diversity report card to improve accountability and implementing system-wide diversity awards.
An ambitious undertaking from the start, Plan 2008 was developed collaboratively from the bottom up, through 110 different listening sessions held statewide with students, faculty, staff, community members, regents, legislators, K-12 representatives and others.
Having reached the end of the 10-year Plan 2008, President Reilly reported the following accomplishments:
- Since 1998, enrollment of undergraduate students of color system-wide has increased from 11,967 to 18,021 (51%). They now represent 10.3% of all students, compared with 7.7% in 1998.
- The gap in retention has narrowed from 7.2% to 4.7%, with retention rates for students of color having increased from 72% in 1998 to 75% at the end of 2007.
- The gap in graduation rates has narrowed by 2%, from 22% to 20%. Both of these gaps need further closing.
- Progress has been made in workforce diversity, with the number of employees of color having increased in every category, growing from 8.6% to 12.2% of the workforce. In 2008, there were 4,502 employees of color system-wide – a 64% increase in 10 years.
Stating the importance of continuing these efforts, President Reilly pointed out that the goals of the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin and the diversity agenda are inextricably linked – one cannot be accomplished without the other. Noting the growing diversity of Wisconsin’s population, he stated that the Growth Agenda can succeed only if the UW is much more successful in educating and graduating many more students from all backgrounds who can contribute and compete in the 21st century global marketplace.
While some progress has been made toward the goals in Plan 2008, he observed, the progress has not been fast enough or gone far enough. In that regard he noted that President Obama had set forth an ambitious new goal and quoted from the President’s speech to a joint session of Congress: “It is our responsibility as lawmakers and educators to make this system work. But it is the responsibility of every citizen to participate in it. And so tonight, I ask every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training. This can be community college or a four-year school, vocational training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training may be, every American will need to get more than a high school diploma. And dropping out of high school is no longer an option. It’s not just quitting on yourself, it’s quitting on your country – and this country needs and values the talents of every American. That is why we will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.”
The UW cannot help to meet that new goal, President Reilly said, without focusing on what was done right and what was done wrong in Plan 2008.and using that learning as a platform for the follow-up initiative called Inclusive Excellence.
To make a presentation on Plan 2008 final report and next steps in the continuing efforts to further equity, diversity, and inclusion, he called on Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin and Associate Vice President Vicki Washington.
Senior Vice President Martin began by thanking all the staff whose work contributed to creation of the comprehensive final report for Plan 2008. Stating that success of the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin hinges upon success in reaching diversity goals and inclusive excellence, she pointed out that some of the state’s largest school districts are or soon will become “majority, minority” districts and that increasing numbers of K-12 students come from families who qualify for free and reduced price lunch and for need-based financial aid.
In the Growth Agenda action steps, the commitment was made to much greater success in educating and graduating a significantly larger share of high school students in the state from all backgrounds. According to projections by the Wisconsin Population Laboratory, the overall pool of high school graduates in the state will decline over time, while the pool of graduates who are students of color increases, especially among Hispanic/Latino and Asian students and the pool of graduates who are African American or American Indian remains relatively the same size. Therefore, it will be necessary to serve a changing population in order to increase the number of college graduates.
Noting the UW System’s long and proud history of efforts to achieve diversity, Dr. Martin recalled that formal planning on a system level began in 1988 with the first 10-year strategic plan – Design for Diversity. At that time the UW was the first system in the country to implement a system-wide strategic plan for diversity. In 1998, the UW System implemented Plan 2008: Educational Quality through Racial and Ethnic Diversity.
In 2005 the Board, dissatisfied with the progress that had been made, reaffirmed its commitment to diversity and reprioritized efforts to focus on closing gaps in achievement – enrollments, retention and graduation; implementing a diversity report card; and instituting diversity awards.
Associate Vice President Washington then summarized key findings in the final report. While a substantial number of multicultural and disadvantaged students have participated in pre-college programs, the numbers enrolled in those programs have declined steadily since 2003-04, due to changes in the number of Department of Public Instruction scholarships and changes in federal GEAR-Up funding at UW-Milwaukee, which has the largest number of pre-college students. At the same time, representation of students of color in the state’s public schools increased from 21% in 2003 to 30% in 2007-08.
Since 1993-94, over 80,000 students have participated in pre-college programs. While not all of them have been tracked because of the need to rely on family provision of social security numbers to do so, from the data available it has been possible to determine that at least 7,637 of them enrolled in the UW System between fall 1993 and fall 2008.
With the exception of American Indian students, whose overall representation in the UW student population has not changed over time, every other racial/ethnic group covered by Plan 2008 has increased their representation since the beginning of the plan. Southeast Asian and Latino/Hispanic students experienced the greatest increases, with the number of Southeast Asian students increasing by 1,602 students (almost double their previous representation); Latino/Hispanic students increased by 1,371 students; African American students increased by 1,035; and American Indian students increased by 145.
Turning to student retention, Ms. Washington indicated that, since 1998, every racial/ethnic group covered by Plan 2008 exhibited growth in the percentage of students who persist from the first to the second year of college. In addition, the retention gap between students of color and white students is closing, with the retention rate for students of color increasing from 72% in 1998 to 75% in 2008, compared to a retention rate of 80% for white students.
Since 2004, Southeast Asian students have experienced the greatest increase in retention – eight percentage points – followed by American Indian students with an increase of six percentage points. Latino/Hispanic student retention increased by three percentage points, and African American student retention declined by one percentage point, as did white student retention.
Graduation rates for students of color increased from 65% to 67% since 1998; rates for Hispanic/Latino students increased the most, reaching 52% in 2002; and African American graduation rates remained around 33%.
The number of bachelor’s degrees conferred to students of color increased the most for Asian students, growing by 251 degrees since 1998, while the number of degrees for Latino/Hispanic and American Indian students showed steady increases during that time. The number of degrees conferred to African American students increased between 1998 and 2004, then declined slightly between 2004 and 2008.
With regard to the UW System workforce, the number of employees of color increased from 2,774 to 4,502 since 1998, growing from 8.6% to 12.2% of the workforce, an increase of 64%. The number of Asian and Hispanic/Latino employees almost doubled during the 10 year period, while the number of African American/Black employees also increased. American Indians were the only group that showed no change in proportional representation during that period.
Employees of color increased in every employment category in the decade since 1998. African Americans/Blacks, Asians and Hispanic/Latinos showed particularly large gains in the ranks of instructional academic staff; Asians and Hispanic/Latinos make major gains in the faculty ranks; and the number of Hispanic/Latino classified staff almost doubled.
In the area of accountability for results, President Reilly, in consultation with the chancellors, modified their performance review and evaluation process to include measures for equity, diversity and campus climate. In addition, the Equity Scorecard process has been implemented at 11 institutions in order to improve student success; and the UW System’s Annual Accountability Report includes indicators for measuring progress toward diversity goals.
As major challenges moving forward, Ms. Washington identified the following:
- Fiscal – In a time of declining budgets, institutional leaders need to protect the modest gains that have been made in diversity and deploy resources in ways to ensure continued progress.
- Assessment – Institutions and program directors need to implement systematic, rigorous assessment practices that measure impacts, not inputs.
- Accountability – Institutional priorities need to fully reflect the system-wide priority on diversity and inclusion.
- Workforce Diversity and Climate – Focus needs to be placed on effective diversity practices and policies in recruitment, retention, development and campus climate.
Ms. Washington then listed a number of recommendations that reflected lessons learned from Plan 2008, as well as new strategies required for making excellence inclusive:
- Broad, institution-wide engagement is critically important to achieving meaningful changes and better student outcomes. Engagement by faculty is particularly important.
- All members of the university community can both contribute and benefit in developing a shared understanding of and commitment to inclusion and excellence.
- It is important to align accountability and reward systems to reflect institutional priority on diversity and inclusion.
Senior Vice President Martin then described several pro-active measures taken since the mid-point review of Plan 2008 to reprioritize efforts and close gaps in achievement.
- Two cohorts of institutions – a total of 11 – were implementing the Equity Scorecard, a collaborative project with the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California.
- The Transfer Equity Study, which links to the goals of the Growth Agenda to increase the pool of bachelor’s degree holders in Wisconsin, evolved out of findings in the UW Colleges Equity Scorecard process that revealed surprisingly low transfer rates for students of color.
- Five campuses implemented the Climate Study and an additional four will begin in the fall. Institutions in the first cohort are developing action plans in response to the survey findings for their institutions.
- The UW System and three UW institutions – UW Eau Claire, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Milwaukee – joined a collaborative project with the American Association of Colleges and Universities and two other large public university systems to work on remapping general education.
- KnowHow2GO, the Wisconsin Covenant, and Making Opportunity Affordable are UW System initiatives designed to increase access for underrepresented students – first generation students, low-income students, and students of color.
- The budget provision to hold harmless from tuition increases all Wisconsin families below the median family income in the state is also designed to expand access.
Turning to Inclusive Excellence, Dr. Martin explained that the initiative was so-named for a number of reasons.
- It calls for engagement that is widespread and all-encompassing, with recognition that, within each organization, diversity is everyone’s responsibility.
- It calls for change that is transformative, fundamental, and deep-seated, with diversity placed at the center of institutional life as a core organizing principle.
- It recognizes that not all students are the same and that, as students change, so must curricular and co-curricular approaches that are used to ensure their growth as learners. Different students require different kinds of support to reach their goals.
Instead of providing another 10-year plan, the Inclusive Excellence model enables building on the work already begun, while broadening its scope to be more inclusive of other underserved, underrepresented populations and weaving that work into the fabric of the organization.
Noting that the unfinished agenda of Plan 2008 will not be abandoned, Dr. Martin explained that UW institutions will incorporate those goals into their strategic actions to achieve Inclusive Excellence. An Inclusive Excellence statewide feedback group, including representatives from each UW campus, met in February to begin defining and shaping the Inclusive Excellence framework for the system.
The process of making excellence inclusive, she emphasized, requires institutions to intentionally place this work at the center of their academic efforts, connecting diversity and equity to their work toward quality and excellence. In that regard, diversity efforts must be integrated into the university’s core operations and academic priorities; its organizational leadership; decision-making; quality improvement initiatives; and organizational cultures.
In order to further describe Inclusive Excellence, Dr. Martin provided some working definitions. Diversity is defined as any human differences that can be engaged in the service of learning, such as gender, culture, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, learning styles, group, social, religious and political differences, life experiences, and other differences. The primary difference from past practice is that past plans prioritized the focus on race and ethnicity, while the new initiative expands the scope of work to the full range of diversity that must be leveraged for personal, institutional and cultural change.
Inclusion means active, intentional and on-going engagement with diversity, which is the heart of Inclusive Excellence. In that regard, inclusion must be present in the people, the curriculum, the co-curriculum and in the communities.
Also involved is the concept of equity-mindedness, which evolves from the work with the Equity Scorecard process and refers to development and internalization of mental models and practices that pay attention to inequities in student outcomes. Equity-minded actors do not see the elimination of inequities as beyond their spheres of influence and control and do not blame students for unequal outcomes.
To achieve excellence, Dr. Martin stated, it is necessary to be inclusive; and to be inclusive, it is necessary to be equitable.
Referring to a table that described benefits of diversity to individuals, institutions, private businesses, and society, Dr. Martin listed the following outcomes that will demonstrate success:
- There will be equitable representation and greater compositional diversity among students and in the workplace.
- There will be no gaps in achievement – retention and graduation.
- There will be equity in student outcomes in classes, courses of study and other opportunities for students that are indices of excellence.
- There will be improved campus climates and a strong sense of community and belonging.
- There will be increased multicultural competencies among administrators and institutional leaders (faculty, staff and students).
- There will be curricular transformation and infusion with multicultural perspectives.
- Priorities, rewards, and incentives will be aligned with Inclusive Excellence goals and objectives.
- There will be adoption of institution-wide, departmental and academic indicators of excellence and inclusion.
Noting that each institution will develop its own approach to Inclusive Excellence, Dr. Martin called on UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Rick Wells for remarks from a campus perspective.
Chancellor Wells began by noting that, since 2001, diversity has been a core value, integrated throughout the planning process in the enrollment, human resources, and academic areas. In developing an Inclusive Excellence plan, the university will continue to move forward, using lessons from Plan 2008, the Climate Study, the Equity Scorecard and the Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative. For example, each unit will review the results of the Climate Study and develop an action plan to improve the campus climate, with everyone taking ownership, including students; and the Equity Scorecard showed the need to teach courses in an inclusive way, which will result in better student outcomes.
Turning to next steps, Dr. Martin indicated that work was well under way with a variety of constituencies. While there is a system-wide group involved, as well as the President’s Diversity Council, most of the work at this point is being done at the institutional level, in developing approaches tailored to each campus context. This work would continue for the next six to eight months, with the intention of bringing a developed system-wide framework, reflecting the full range of diversity, to the Board late next fall.
In conclusion, Dr. Martin stated the following four principles of Inclusive Excellence:
- Pursuit of equity and excellence
- Core to mission
- Close attention to students
- Widespread engagement in the process across the institutions
As a prelude to discussion, she asked the following key policy issue questions:
- What worked, what did not work, and what are the most important lessons from Plan 2008?
- Where should the UW System expend its energies and resources in the years to come?
- What type of leadership is required and expected from chancellors, institutions and the UW System Administration?
Regent President Bradley remarked that significant steps had been taken strengthening accountability of the chancellors and System President for achieving the goals that had been set.
Regent Crain suggested that it would be helpful to gather and keep together information on the percentage of Wisconsin’s population compared to the university population that is composed of each of the ethnic groups, why there had not been growth in American Indian enrollments, the reasons for the enrollment disparity between men and women and how poverty might be connected with the figures that were presented.
While she did not have figures for the state as a whole, Senior Vice President Martin replied that the percentage of high school graduates of color had increased to about 15% and may reach 22% by 2019. Associate Vice President Washington added that the service rate for students of color is lower than for white students. The American Indian population, she noted, is small and has not increased in proportion to others. Indicating that disparities by gender are complicated, Dr. Martin said that there were different reasons for them in different places, that high school graduation rates also differ by gender, and that poverty is connected to the reasons as well.
Regent Vásquez commented that the question of what did and did not work is an important one which might be addressed to the students themselves. As an employer, his major concern was whether a job applicant graduated, not how long it took them to do so.
He suggested that students of color become involved in campus-wide leadership so that they would have the opportunity to learn how to work with others who are not students of color.
Ms. Washington agreed, indicating that students of color do take leadership roles on majority white campuses and that it is an important responsibility to help them to do so.
Remarking that UW-Oshkosh has become a leader in diversity and inclusion, Regent Drew commended Chancellor Wells for his leadership. He also commended the excellent report on Plan 2008 for the honest and straightforward assessment that it provided.
Noting that less than six percent of students of color are served by pre-college programs, he urged that resources be placed in that area to reach more of those students, especially in urban centers, and that more connections be made with teachers, starting in middle school. He asked why social security numbers were used to track students; and Interim Associate Vice President Sharon Wilhelm replied that a K-16 data system is not yet available, but that steps are being taken in that direction.
Regent Burmaster added that it is important to recruit individuals of color into schools of education, in order for teaching staff to better reflect student diversity, and Senior Vice President Martin indicated that there had been a Growth Agenda request for that purpose in the last biennium.
Regent Davis agreed with the sense of urgency about improving the pipeline to bring more students of color to college, but did not think data showed the effectiveness of pre-college programs as a means of doing that. Ms. Washington agreed that evaluation of programs needs to be a priority, with more data becoming available.
Regent Davis remarked that the report showed the need to hold students from families with incomes of less than $60,000 harmless from tuition increases and that debt for that population of students is increasing.
Regent Vásquez observed that, while there is a great sense of urgency about the matter, problems in this area are longstanding and will not be easily solved. He urged that students of color with the highest potential to succeed and graduate be recruited and that the focus be placed on successful outcomes, rather than on simply recruiting large numbers of students. In that regard, he was concerned that failure of students of color would support the view point of those who might feel that it is futile to spend money on such programs. He noted that the Technical Colleges contain a promising pool of students of color, some of whom already have degrees.
Senior Vice President Martin agreed, indicating that a transfer equity study is under way to look specifically at that area, and also agreed that the focus should be placed on student success. While many have the potential to be successful, she said, they often are not afforded the preparation that they need; and one challenge is to think of ways that they can be helped in that regard.
Regent Burmaster urged the university to work with the Department of Public Instruction on new pipeline models, noting that federal stimulus money may be available for that purpose. She noted that a number of chancellors meet regularly with K-12 superintendents in their regions and that such relationships are beneficial and most successful if the chancellor is the convener.
President Reilly indicated that all chancellors are raising funds for need-based financial aid and that the impact of such aid will be studied with funding from the Morgridge gift. Senior Vice President Martin added that the study will compare aid recipients with others in such areas as courses taken in order to measure the impact of the gift.
Stating that this discussion is very important to students, Regent Thomas noted that one important function of education is to help people achieve their dreams and that pipelines help them take the first step by bringing them to the university. Campus climate issues, she noted, are more difficult and should be engaged in a manner that facilitates student involvement.
At the conclusion of the discussion, the Board expressed its unanimous endorsement of the direction that had been set forth in the day’s presentations and discussion.
- - - - - - -
The meeting was recessed at 3:00 p.m. and reconvened at 3:15 p.m.
- - - - - - -
Regent President Bradley introduced State Representative Cory Mason, the son of Roseann Mason, one of the award recipients.
In introductory remarks, President Reilly noted that, while there remains much to be done to grow diversity on UW campuses, significant progress has been achieved by individuals and institutions around the UW System. The Diversity Awards are designed to celebrate that progress.
Regent Vásquez, Chair of the Regent Committee that chose the recipients, welcomed the Diversity Award’s first winners, along with their families, friends and colleagues. For the first time, he said, the Board had gathered to publicly honor individuals for their work in creating a diverse and multicultural system.
Established in response to a Board directive, the awards formally recognize and support individuals, teams or collaborations, and units or institutions in the UW System that foster access and success for historically under-represented populations.
While each of the award recipients used a different approach in their diversity work, their efforts resemble each other in several key respects: a genuine respect for human difference, a deep attentiveness to the learning process, and a keen responsiveness to students and their educational needs.
Regent Vásquez then thanked his fellow committee members: Regents Davis, Womack and Opgenorth for their work in making possible these first Diversity Awards.
Presenting the award in the individual category to Roseann Mason, Director of Community Dialogues at UW-Parkside, Regent Vásquez observed that, for Ms. Mason, diversity is more than a professional responsibility. “It is a way of life, a commitment that she lives day in and day out, as fully as possible, whenever or wherever she can.”
The mission of Ms. Mason’s office is to foster understanding, action and change through community dialogues. In addition, she has designed and taught courses on such subjects as white privilege, white ally-ship and multicultural writing. She has developed an anti-racism curriculum and has facilitated workshops on infusing race into the curriculum.
In work extending well beyond the campus, Ms. Mason created a Diversity Circles program that encourages participants to look inward and consider how their perspectives and assumptions about differing social identities impact their ability to develop rich human relationships.
With her leadership, these circles have multiplied to take place not only at UW-Parkside and in local communities and high schools, but across the state, across other UW institutions and even into Michigan and Illinois. In each of these locales, there is a corps of facilitators that she has trained to carry this work forward. Most recently, she was awarded a grant from the UW System Institute on Race and Ethnicity to train more facilitators and conduct 48 additional Diversity Circles on racism, gender, poverty and sexual orientation.
The greatest testament to Ms. Mason’s deep and extensive commitment to diversity, Regent Vásquez observed, is the longevity of her professional career of more than 20 years during which she has worked on these issues, almost all of them at UW-Parkside, where she has earned a reputation as the “gentle matriarch” to whom everyone turns for guidance, comfort and strength.
In conclusion, Regent Vásquez quoted from a letter written by Professor Fay Yokomizo Akindes, Director of the Center for Ethnic Studies at UW-Parkside: “As a teacher and community activist, Roseann Mason models what it means to be an engaged U.S. and university citizen. She exemplifies the white ally working in partnership with people of color for change that is inclusive and liberating. The lives of UW-Parkside students, faculty, staff, administrators, and the community are richer, safer, and definitely more hopeful because of Roseann Mason.”
Expressing gratitude for the award, Ms. Mason thanked the Board of Regents, her supervisor Tom Schnaubelt, her colleagues, the Regent selection committee, the other nominees whose work also should be recognized, and the many people at UW-Parkside, Racine, Kenosha and across the state who work on behalf of diversity.
She introduced family and colleagues who were in attendance, including her life partner Cory; her son State Representative Cory Mason; her daughter Rosemary; her granddaughter Alexandria; and her colleagues from the Center for Community Partnerships – Margaret Gename and Shannon McGuire.
Identifying four levels of understanding about diversity -- personal, interpersonal, institutional, and cultural, Ms. Mason said that, at the personal and interpersonal levels, she had been “blessed with a career of pursuing my passion for the possibility of creating a multicultural society.” She emphasized the importance of the institutional support she had received over the course of her career and commended the Board for having the vision to implement initiatives to promote a more affirming organization.
As part of the Design for Diversity initiative, she and a Latina colleague developed a Cross-Cultural Reading and Writing course to create a more multicultural campus climate, which the Equity Scorecard has shown to be critical to retention of students of color.
As part of Plan 2008, Diversity Circles were offered since 1999 in the Racine and Kenosha communities, including high schools, prisons and on campus. The largest impact, she thought, has been through the annual high school Diversity Circles in Action conference, at which, for the past seven years, a total of 2,450 students have come together at UW-Parkside to learn more about diversity in its many forms. Through the UW-Extension and UW Colleges Diversity and Equity Council, she was able to expand Diversity Circles statewide.
Other efforts included a summer institute on infusing diversity into the curriculum and development of a class in Understanding White Privilege. Ms. Mason gave examples of the way in which students’ lives had been positively impacted by this course and the Cross-Cultural Reading and Writing course.
The Inclusive Excellence initiative, she observed, will broaden the scope of diversity from bringing different people into the organization to creating a multicultural institution where everyone works together to understand and appreciate differences.
In conclusion, she noted that, in difficult economic times, diversity efforts often had been among the first to be cut; and she applauded the Board and UW System for the continuing priority being placed on this important work.
Regent Womack presented the Regents Diversity Award in the Team category to Rebecca Abler, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at UW-Manitowoc, and Kitrina Carlson, Associate Professor of Biology at UW-Stout. Drs. Abler and Carlson served as the main architects of an innovative collaboration between UW-Manitowoc and UW-Stout, called Portals of Discovery, aimed at increasing the number of students of color who participate in research related to science, technology, engineering and math.
Providing rigorous academic preparation, the program allows students to begin their STEM-related research in high school and continue it at the university level. Research skills that they develop include how to collect data, create databases, document records, and write reports.
The program also is attentive to the mentoring and social networking needs of participants. When students transition from high school to the university, they are able to tap into the same research team with which they worked previously, providing them with a network of friends and peers, as well as immediate access to faculty who know them. Research has shown that faculty support is critical to persistence and educational achievement, especially for students of color.
The program also is closely attentive to cultural identity, focusing on medicinal plants used by Hmong people in Wisconsin. Students undertake research that is culturally based and relevant to one of the state’s fastest growing ethnic populations. For Hmong students it provides the opportunity to explore their heritage from a different perspective; and for other students of color, it provides the opportunity to learn about a culture that may be unfamiliar to them
As a program that teaches science and cultural bridge-building at the same time, Regent Womack observed, it offers a truly innovative approach to learning in the STEM disciplines. What makes it even more compelling is that it is a low-cost, flexible approach that is entirely replicable at other UW institutions. Drs. Abler and Carlson presented the Portals model at the 2008 spring meeting of the UW Women in Science Program and are in discussions with interested institutions about how to create similar programs on their campuses.
In conclusion, Regent Womack read the following quote from Brook Koenig, one of the student participants in the program. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to conduct research while at UW-Manitowoc and now continue that work as I have moved from UW-Manitowoc to UW-Stout . . . I’ve come to realize how important this collaborative research actually is . . . I believe these kinds of experiences give students at two-year campuses an opportunity to participate in experiences they may not otherwise get to do until they transfer to a four-year college and help keep these students interested in continuing their education.”
Expressing gratitude for the award, Dr. Abler thanked the Board, the Regent Committee and the leadership of the UW Colleges and UW-Manitowoc for being supportive of innovation, especially in these tough times.
As UW alumni, she and Dr. Carlson had been inspired by the Wisconsin Idea as a force for improving lives. The program exemplifies their belief in reaching out to under-represented people.
Thanking the Board for the award, UW-Stout leaders for their support, and Dr. Abler for being a “can do” partner, Dr. Carlson said that they like to think big and would like to see their program model used nationwide.
Presenting the award in the Institution/Unit category to UW-Platteville for its Master of Science in Adult Education Distance Program, represented by Professor Patricia Bromley, Program Coordinator, Regent Davis remarked that the program is an extraordinary initiative that models responsiveness to student needs.
By design, the program has reached out to under-represented students since 1995 and has been highly successful in addressing the challenges faced by first-generation college graduates in pursuing graduate education while maintaining full-time employment.
Degrees were awarded to the program’s first graduating class in 1997, largely in the form of certificates and licenses required by their jobs as human service workers. A second concentration, in vocational/technical education, was added in 1998. The program currently serves 125 students.
The program offers flexible formatting and scheduling, including a two-year rotating cycle of courses so that students can enter the program when the time is right for them and complete their degree requirements following the rotation. Classes are offered in Milwaukee, Racine, Beloit, and Madison. Most of the Milwaukee and Racine students are employed by human service agencies and pursue the human services concentration in order to be able to make a greater impact on their communities, as well as to advance their careers.
Several graduates of color have become recruiters for the program, with most recruiting through word of mouth, by which current students bring into the program co-workers, members of their churches, and family members.
Faculty who teach in the program typically teach on campus as well and travel to sites to teach over interactive TV. Students describe faculty as flexible, accessible and committed to the success of their students.
Survey and focus group comments praise the program’s diversity in race, socioeconomic status, age, geographic region, profession, faculty, and in the ideas that are presented.
The program is UW-Platteville’s largest minority-serving program, with 40% of registrations in 2007-08 being African American and 9% being Hispanic/Latino.
In conclusion, Regent Davis remarked that the program epitomizes commitment to each of the three pillars of the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin: people, jobs, and communities. In the words of one of the program’s students: “In undergrad, I was the only minority. Nobody knew where I was coming from. Here, they do. And this program makes us feel valued and important.”
Professor Patricia Bromley, Coordinator of the Program, accepted the award, expressing her gratitude for the honor and for the Board’s commitment to diversity. The Master of Science in Adult Education, she said, is all about reaching out to students in diverse circumstances.
Because the program links two or more face-to-face classes using interactive television, students are diverse in race, age, socioeconomic status, geographic region, and occupation. Instructors are diverse as well and are willing to drive to other parts of the state to teach in the program because they love the students.
Students gravitate to the program because of its user-friendly format, its creative use of technology, its approachable staff and faculty and its diversity. “We try hard,” Professor Bromley said, “not to place unnecessary barriers in people’s way.”
She recognized the skill and creativity of Marian Maciej-Hiner, Director of the Office of Continuing Education at UW-Platteville, for devising the program and the support of Chancellor Markee, Provost Butts, Dean Van Buren, Dean Nimocks, and the faculty and staff for the program’s continued success. She also recognized Troy Cobb, the program’s Racine recruitment and retention specialist, who was a graduate of the first cohort of students in the program. Finally, she introduced two on-campus students – Rahsaan Dunn and Carl Wesley.
- - -
At 4:00 p.m., the following resolution, moved by Regent Pruitt, was adopted on a unanimous roll-call vote, with Regents Bartell, Bradley, Connolly-Keesler, Crain, Davis, Drew, Falbo, Opgenorth, Pruitt, Thomas, Vásquez, Walsh, and Womack (13) voting in the affirmative. There were no negative votes and no abstentions.
Resolution 9607: That the Board of Regents move into closed session to consider authorization to recruit a faculty member at UW-Madison, as permitted by Wis. Stats. s. 19.85(1)(c).
The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
Judith A. Temby, Secretary