Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, December 2006

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin
December 7, 2006

The meeting of the Education Committee convened at 12:30 p.m.  Regents Crain, Cuene, Davis, Loftus, Semenas, and Spector were present. 

1. Approval of the minutes of the November 9, 2006, meeting of the

Education Committee

I.1.a.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Semenas, that the minutes of the November 9, 2006, meeting of the Education Committee be approved with edits to reflect that there was a motion to approve the original Guidelines and Criteria for the Proposed Expansion of Wisconsin Technical College System Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Offerings, and that this motion was tabled.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

2. Planning Report: Public Health Needs in Milwaukee

The Education Committee first heard the presentation of the Planning Report on Public Health Needs in Milwaukee.  Provost Rita Cheng introduced Bevan Baker, Commissioner of Health for the City of Milwaukee, and Randy Lambrecht, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, who were co-chairs of the Planning Team which prepared the report sent to all members of the Board of Regents.  Provost Cheng further introduced the other members of the Planning Team who were also in attendance.

Mr. Baker and Dean Lambrecht summarized the development and the findings of the Planning Report.  The Planning Team was charged with conducting a feasibility study for a school of public health in Milwaukee with the goals of:  identifying public health needs and academic resources, determining gaps in the resource base, and determining the best means of filling those gaps.  The process involved bringing in three national public health experts.  These experts reported that there is an obvious commitment to service and community engagement at UW-Milwaukee, and that UW-Milwaukee should be commended for recognizing the importance of public health in its community.  The experts also noted that approximately $10 million in ongoing resources would be needed for a School of Public Health.

Mr. Baker and Dean Lambrecht cited additional findings of the report, including data illustrating the serious public health problems faced by the City of Milwaukee, for example, in the areas of high infant mortality rates and low immunization levels.  The report also demonstrated the need for additional public health workers in the City of Milwaukee. 

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Carlos Santiago concluded the presentation with remarks indicating that his institution’s goal was to develop an accredited school of public health.  An accredited school of public health would result in:  a highly qualified and diversified workforce, research that examined the root causes of public health problems, and strategies that would improve overall health outcomes.  He proposed a timeline for a School of Public Health that would add faculty, facilities, and programs sequentially over the course of eight years.  Chancellor Santiago indicated that work had already begun on raising additional resources, and he planned to allocate $5 million from the UW-Milwaukee budget request (if received) towards this purpose.

Regent Loftus raised a number of questions about the workforce demand for public health graduates in Wisconsin, and the connection between the proposed school and the immediate public health crisis in Milwaukee.  In response, Dean Lambrecht and Chancellor Santiago spoke about how the UW-Milwaukee school would focus on the specific public health needs of the city of Milwaukee and southeast Wisconsin, and that students at UW-Milwaukee tend to stay in the region after graduation.  Other Committee members noted the special role played by UW-Milwaukee in addressing the needs of the city and region, and commended UW-Milwaukee for its commitment to making contributions to the community.  Michelle Bryant, legislative aide to State Senator Lena Taylor, read a letter of support from the State Senator for a school of public health at UW-Milwaukee.

Regent Davis thanked UW System President Kevin Reilly, UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Carlos Santiago, and the Honorable Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee, for the leadership and vision they exercised throughout the past year.  She also thanked Senior Vice President Cora Marrett, UW-Milwaukee Provost Rita Cheng, and Ms. Sharon Cook, Director of Intergovernmental Relations for the City of Milwaukee, for accepting the charge from the three principals and putting together a dynamic planning team resulting in a report filled with potential.

I.1.b.:  It was moved by Regent Semenas, seconded by Regent Spector, that upon the recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents accepts the Planning Report on the public health needs of Milwaukee, commends the collaborative work overseen on behalf of their institutions by the three principals, UW System President Kevin Reilly, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Carlos Santiago, and appreciates and supports UW-Milwaukee’s commitment to moving forward with advancing the report’s recommendations to address the public health needs of the city of Milwaukee.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

3. UW-ParksideCharter School

The Education Committee next considered the UW-Parkside Charter School contract extension.  Chancellor Keating reminded Committee members that the 21st Century Preparatory School was first approved by the Board of Regents in 2002, and that they were being asked to extend the contract for an additional five years.

Dr. Paul Haubrich, Director of the UW-Parkside Charter School Office, described the 21st Century Preparatory School as an innovative school, with small class sizes.  The school has been financially supported by the Johnson Foundation.  The school was evaluated by a review team composed of community and UW-Parkside faculty members, who found that the school had met community standards and was positively perceived by parents and staff.  There is shared concern about fourth and fifth grade achievement, but overall Dr. Haubrich and the review team are pleased with the educational outcomes at the school.

Members of the Education Committee raised questions about the impact of the charter school on UW-Parkside resources, how the oversight of a charter school fit with the institution’s mission, and whether an extension of fewer than five years had been considered given the concerns raised in the evaluation.  Regent Loftus noted that he would not be supporting UW-sponsored charter schools in the future because of concerns that this sponsorship was not consistent with the mission of UW System institutions.  Regent Davis strongly disagreed.

I.1.e.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Semenas, that upon the recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the extension of the charter school contract with Racine Charter One, Inc., together with amendments to the contract, maintaining a charter school known as the 21st Century Preparatory School.

The resolution PASSED with Regent Loftus opposed.  

4. Criteria for Proposed Wisconsin Technical College System Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Offerings

The Education Committee then reconsidered the Criteria for the proposed expansion of Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Offerings at the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), having postponed action on this item in November.  The Committee was informed that almost two years ago, the Legislature had considered a bill that would have expanded the number of WTCS liberal arts institutions.  At the time, both the UW and the WTC Systems opposed the legislation on the grounds that state statutes already provided for a process for expansion of collegiate transfer programs, one that required approval of both the WTCS Board and the UW Board of Regents.  The UW Board of Regents was now utilizing that process for the first time, in preparation for a proposed liberal arts expansion by the Chippewa Valley Technical College.

Regent Davis reported that since the November meeting, conversations had continued between staff of the UW System and WTC System, as well as with Board members.  These discussions have resulted in significant progress, with a few issues still remaining unresolved.  Updated Criteria for the proposed expansion of Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Offerings at the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) were shared with Education Committee members (this document is available from the Office of the Board of Regents); however members agreed that they were not ready to take action on the Criteria at that point in time.

In the interest of not causing undue delay in taking action on the set of principles and guidelines, nor on the Chippewa Valley Technical College proposal, members agreed to schedule a special meeting of the Education Committee in January, prior to the WTCS Board meeting, at which time they would consider further updates to the Criteria for the proposed expansion of Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Offerings at the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).  Prior to that meeting, UW System and WTCS staff would work to address the few, additional unresolved issues, seeking input as well from a group of UW System Chancellors and WTCS Presidents.  The Chippewa Valley Technical College proposal would then be on the Education Committee agenda in February.  Regent Crain noted that it was highly desirable for discussions to continue before the Education Committee took action, and that there be a true partnership between the two systems in reviewing these proposals.

5. Program Authorizations

a. M.S. in Information and Communication Technologies, UW-Stout

Next on the agenda for the Education Committee was the academic program proposal for the Master of Science in Information and Communication Technologies at UW-Stout.  The Education Committee re-considered a proposal that was originally presented to it last March.  UW-Stout Provost Julie Furst-Bowe described the program’s design and delivery, noting that it was a distance-delivered program consisting of online and weekend courses offered throughout the state.  Provost Furst-Bowe addressed the strong relationship of the program to UW Stout’s mission, the strong demand for professionals in the field, and the career opportunities for its graduates.

I.1.d.(1):  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Crain, that upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the M.S. in Information and Communication Technologies.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

b. Ph.D. in Communication, UW-Milwaukee

The second program on the agenda was the Ph.D. in Communication at UW-Milwaukee.  UW-Milwaukee Provost Rita Cheng introduced Professor Mike Allen, Chair of the Department of Communication.  Professor Allen described the Ph.D. program and its need, noting the national and state shortage of doctorally qualified faculty in the field.  He described the program’s focus on the practical consequences of communication, including emphases on the effects of professional communication practices on organizational goals and structure, the processes of interpersonal communication and conflict resolution, and the conduct of civic practice and public communication.  He highlighted the outstanding quality of the faculty, and its strong community, national and international research focus as program strengths.  The program, he concluded, has the potential to provide a cadre of diverse faculty to Wisconsin institutions of higher education.

I.1.d.(2):  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Cuene, that, upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the Ph.D. in Communication.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

6. UW System Freshman Admissions Policy

Senior Vice President Cora Marrett and Assistant Vice President Larry Rubin then provided the Education Committee with background on the UW System Freshman Admissions Policy.  Dr. Marrett voiced her concerns with the unintended consequences of some of the discussions that have surrounded admission into the University of Wisconsin System.  In taking issue with the focus on diversity, these discussions have implied that persons from underrepresented groups gain admission only if other (e.g., academic) qualifications are overlooked, and that the benefits that result from their UW education accrue only to these individuals.  She observed that such positions impact “real people,” citing as example conversations she has had with students of color at UW institutions demoralized by the way in which they have been treated by some as, exclusively, “products of affirmative action.”

Dr. Marrett further expressed how disheartening it was to hear from faculty and staff members that they had chosen to leave UW institutions, not for higher salaries or lower teaching loads, but in quest of more supportive settings.  She noted that “A setting that is unwelcome to the “different” imperils opportunities for more than the underrepresented.”  As a member of the Wisconsin International Trade Council, she has heard time and again that knowledge of different cultures and people serves the economic interests of the state.  She reminded Education Committee members of the positive work done by this Board in support of diversity.  The UW System was the first university system to adopt a long-range plan for racial/ethnic diversity.  That plan, Design for Diversity, was based on the belief that a public university must serve all the people of the state, and must lead the way in increasing educational opportunity for targeted racial/ethnic groups and focusing on diversity as a critical component of a quality education for all students.

Senior Vice President Marrett and Assistant Vice President Larry Rubin went on to explain the process by which the UW System has reviewed its admissions policies and practices.  The Offices of Academic Affairs and the General Counsel have been working with campus admissions officers to ensure that admissions processes were:  educationally sound and helpful in achieving the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body, consistent with Board of Regent policy, and in compliance with federal law.

As a result of this review, UW System Administration was able to confirm that institutional admissions practices and procedures are supportive of academic quality, consistent with Board of Regents policy, and that they use a comprehensive review of academic and non-academic factors in a manner compliant with federal law.  The analysis also showed that Board of Regents policies on admissions had not been reviewed during the past six years, with some of the policies in fact dating back to 1972.  The analysis revealed, then, a need for some modifications in the statements regarding Freshman Admissions.  These modifications are more about form and style than substantive changes.  They include combining the documents into one coherent policy.

Members of the Education Committee had numerous questions on admissions, including the use of class rank, ACT and SAT tests, and rates of transfer from the UW Colleges and technical colleges.  In order to address some of the public questions that have arisen in recent months regarding admissions at UW-Madison in particular, the Education Committee was joined by Tom Reason, Associate Director of Admissions at UW-Madison.  Beth Weckmueller, Director of Admissions at UW-Milwaukee also joined the discussion.  Questions and comments additionally covered admissions at other UW institutions, and Chancellors, Provosts, and other admissions officers in attendance helped the Committee further understand the admissions process.

Committee members posed questions regarding the letter from Representative Nass to President Reilly regarding the freshman admissions policy, President Reilly’s response to Representative Nass, and the statement submitted by W. Lee Hansen, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UW-Madison.  (These documents are available from the Office of the Board of Regents.)  The Education Committee decided that further discussion with the Legislature and the public was needed regarding the UW System Freshman Admissions Policy.  Therefore, further action on the revised freshman admissions policy was delayed until February. 

7. Report of the Senior Vice President

a. 2007-08 Sabbatical Assignments: Role of Sabbatical Program in Facilitating University of Wisconsin Student Success;

The final item on the Education Committee agenda was the Report of the Senior Vice President.  Senior Vice President Marrett reported on the status of the UW-Waukesha report, noting that a financial analysis of a number of options has been prepared and forwarded to Chancellors Santiago and Wilson.  They are reviewing the report before forwarding their conclusions to President Reilly in January.  A report to the Board of Regents is planned for the February meeting. 

Senior Vice President Marrett next reported on the 2007-08 Sabbatical Assignments.  Noting the importance of this program to the UW System, its faculty and students, she indicated that the Board establishes criteria which are then adhered to as our institutions consider sabbatical assignments through a competitive process.  She reminded the Committee that this is a self-funded program (through salary savings at the institutions) and that reports must be submitted through the Provosts office by the faculty member following the sabbatical.  Regent Davis noted that these assignments truly represent the broad array of areas of expertise of UW System faculty.

b. “The role of Academic Leadership in Planning for Student Success” – Farewell Remarks by Senior Vice President Cora B. Marrett;

Finally, Senior Vice President Cora Marrett took the opportunity of her last meeting to share her thoughts on “The Role of Academic Leadership in Planning for Student Success.”  Dr. Marrett acknowledged the valuable advice and input she received from a broad range of Board members, Provosts, and Faculty and Academic Staff colleagues on the content of her message.  She referenced the Association of Governing Boards in stressing the Committee’s role on behalf of the entire Board, in supporting integral leadership linking administrators, faculty, academic staff and others into a “well-functioning partnership purposefully devoted to a well-defined, broadly affirmed institutional vision.”

The Board, Dr. Marrett continued, can recognize and support just how complementary must be the roles and responsibilities of the two central officers of a university system:  the chief executive officer and the chief academic officer.  The Board can help the president chart a course of action that respects faculty and students in moving the institution forward.  The chief academic officer, in turn, can help steer that course towards educational outcomes.  And as she has heard over the years from the Provosts, the chief academic officer must look to the future, out many years, to anticipate change that will occur.  She suggested ways in which the Board can ensure high quality educational opportunities as the core mission.  Educational Excellence, she asserted, is not defined by the presence of policies that discipline wayward faculty and staff, nor by simply increasing the number of students who enroll in post-secondary students.  Rather, it is the Education Committee and the Board’s responsibility to create a climate and a sense of confidence, hope and expectation that academic excellence will be the centerpiece of the University of Wisconsin System.  She ended with the observation that, “Education is not a trivial business, a private good, or a discretionary expenditure.  It is a deeply ethical undertaking at which we must succeed if we are to survive as a free people.”

Committee members expressed their profound appreciation for Dr. Marrett’s leadership and contributions to academic excellence on behalf of the UW System.

Resolutions I. 1.b., I.1.d.(1), and I.1.d.(2) were referred as consent agenda items to the full session of the Board of Regents at its Friday, December 8, 2006 meeting.  Resolution I.1.e was referred to the full Board for discussion at its Friday session.

The meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.