Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, November 2006

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
November 9, 2006

The meeting of the Education Committee, to which all Regents were invited, convened at 11:00 a.m.  Regents Bartell, Bradley, Burmaster, Connolly-Keesler, Crain, Davis, McPike, Pruitt, Rosenzweig, Salas, Semenas, Smith, Spector and Walsh were present. 

A.        Charter School Tutorial

Regent Davis introduced the Charter School Tutorial by explaining that this item was requested by Board members to enhance their understanding of the Board’s role in approving and monitoring the progress of charter schools at UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside.  The Board’s role as set forth in the Statutes is very straightforward:  approve those schools that are authorized by either UW-Milwaukee or UW-Parkside.  UW-Milwaukee was given statutory authority in 1997 to administer an unspecified number of charter schools, while UW-Parkside received statutory authority in 2001 to charter one school.  The decision made by the Board to approve a charter school is aided by the UW System Office of the General Counsel’s assurance that the charter school meets the legal requirements established by statute, and by the Office of Academic Affairs’ determination that the charter school has the potential to provide high quality education to its students, based on an appropriate system of accountability.  Beyond this, Regent Davis noted the Board’s significant responsibility to the school children served by the charter schools authorized by UW System institutions and the hope that research generated by the work with charter schools will lead to innovative pedagogy and student learning.  Regent Davis then introduced Brian Pahnke, Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Bob Kattman, Director of the Office of Charter Schools at UW-Milwaukee.

Brian Pahnke introduced Bob Soldner, Department of Public Instruction (DPI) School Manager Services Director, and Sharon Wendt, Charter School Consultant.  Brian then provided an overview of Wisconsin Charter Schools for the Board of Regents.  A charter school is a tuition-free public school created on the basis of a contract or “charter” between the school and a local school board or other authorizer.  A charter school has more freedom than a traditional public school in return for a commitment to meet higher standards of accountability.  Charter schools are exempt from most state requirements, but must meet a number of requirements, including participation in the state assessment system, requiring all teachers to be licensed by DPI, and being open to all students.  Charter schools in Wisconsin were first implemented in 1993.  There are now 187 charter schools in Wisconsin, with 172 of those chartered by school boards.

Brian Pahnke provided further information on the independent charter schools authorized by the UW System Board of Regents.  UW-Milwaukee is able to enroll only pupils who live in the Milwaukee Public School District, while UW-Parkside is able to enroll only pupils who live in the Racine Unified School District.  These independent charter schools receive a state-set amount of per-pupil funding.

Bob Kattman then described UW-Milwaukee’s oversight and evaluation role as authorizer of charter schools.  As the charter school authorizer, UW-Milwaukee grants charters to groups that demonstrate the capacity to operate a high-quality charter school.  UW-Milwaukee has established clear expectations for performance and gathers data to ensure that expectations are met.  UW-Milwaukee’s purpose in authorizing charter schools is to improve education for disadvantaged urban students by authorizing schools with innovative and unique approaches to the education of urban students, promoting the replication of successful schools, and promoting continuous improvement of educational programs.  UW-Milwaukee charter schools serve more than 3200 students; 96% are minority students and 73% live in poverty.

Dr. Kattman also discussed the evaluation process for UW-Milwaukee-authorized charter schools.  The Criteria for Educational Excellence of the Baldrige National Quality Program serve as the foundation for school improvement efforts and evaluations.  The Office of Charter Schools at UW-Milwaukee conducts both monthly reviews and annual evaluations, with the latter looking at measures such as student test results, satisfaction surveys, and an accountability report.  A summative evaluation of the charter schools is conducted by a seven-person evaluation committee at the beginning of the fourth year of operation.  The committee has a range of options regarding renewal, from a full five-year extension to termination of the charter.

Regent Salas raised questions about the performance of charter schools in comparison with public schools.  He was informed that there is a wide array of performance by charter schools in terms of test scores and graduation rates.  Regent Salas asked that additional data be provided.  Regarding the role of DPI and charter schools, Regent Burmaster explained that DPI does not evaluate charter schools, the charter authority does.  Regent Davis asked for a condensed report on the nine UW-Milwaukee charter schools, while Regent Rosenzweig asked for additional information on the connections between the charter schools and UW-Milwaukee’s School of Education.

            The Education Committee meeting, with all Regents invited, recessed at 12:20 p.m.

B.        Regular Business Meeting of the Education Committee

Regent Davis convened the regular business meeting of the Education Committee at 1:00 p.m.  Regents Davis, Crain, Cuene, Semenas, and Spector were present.

1.                  Approval of the minutes of the October 5, 2006, meeting of the Education Committee

I.1.a.:  It was moved by Regent Cuene, seconded by Regent Semenas, that the minutes of the October 5, 2006, meeting of the Education Committee be approved.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

2.                  Presentation in Recognition of 2006 as Year of Study Abroad

Regent Davis began by noting that 2006 had been designated as the Year of Study Abroad by the United States Senate.  She informed Committee members that Governor Doyle had issued a proclamation, to be read on Friday, which encouraged Wisconsin’s citizens to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange.  Regent Davis also noted that both the Board and UW System institutions have long recognized the importance of study abroad and other international education programs for preparing students to live and work in a globally connected and culturally diverse world.  Regent Davis pointed out that study abroad participation rates for UW undergraduates have doubled over the last few years.  Regent Davis then introduced several campus representatives, including two students, who described several UW programs that send students abroad and bring international students to UW campuses.

The Committee heard from UW-River Falls Chancellor Don Betz and Brent Greene, Director of International Education Programs from UW-River Falls, on the CONAHEC program, which stands for the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration.  CONAHEC fosters collaboration, cooperation and community-building among higher education institutions in Canada, the United States and Mexico, including student exchange.  They also reported on a recent UW-River Falls trip to India which has led to the establishment of relationships with various universities in India, as well as increased opportunities for faculty and student exchanges and collaborative research projects.  

The Committee then heard from two UW students:  Nicole Lyon from UW-Oshkosh, who participated in an internship program through the Hessen exchange; and Ivan Luna, from Mexico, who is studying at UW-River Falls for one semester through the CONAHEC program.  They described how much they had benefited from their involvement in student exchange programs.

Terence Miller, Director of International Education Programs from UW-Milwaukee, next reported on the Hessen Exchange Program.  The Hessen Exchange Program is a state-to-state program that facilitates the exchange of faculty and students between UW System campuses and campuses in the German state of Hessen.  UW-Milwaukee reported that their study abroad participation rate has increased 127% in five years, with students of color representing 10.4% of study abroad students.

The Committee expressed its appreciation to each of the presenters.

3.         Presentation on Distance Learning:  UW-Platteville’s Niche

The Committee then heard a presentation that had originally been scheduled for the October meeting at UW-Platteville.  Provost Carol Sue Butts, Dawn Drake, Executive Director of Alternative Delivery Systems, Michael Anderson, Director of the School of Education, and Richard Shultz, Dean of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science from UW-Platteville, explained that while UW-Platteville resident students are largely traditional students right out of high school, the institution realizes the importance of reaching non-traditional students through distance education.  The main focus of UW-Platteville’s distance learning programs is to offer complete degree programs.  UW-Platteville’s distance learning programs include undergraduate programs in Business and Criminal Justice, and graduate programs in Criminal Justice, Engineering, and Project Management. 

UW-Platteville’s distance learning programs have partnered with the UW Colleges, the Technical College System, and others to reach place-bound, non-traditional students, and serves employees of over 500 companies around the State.  UW-Platteville’s Master of Science in Adult Education reaches out to Racine, Milwaukee, and other areas through its flexible format.  Two-thirds of the students in the Racine/Milwaukee cohort are students of color.  The Collaborative Engineering Programs partner with UW Fox Valley and UW Rock County to address business and student needs through degree programs in electrical and mechanical engineering.  These programs have been financially supported by companies and provide employers with graduates who are committed to staying in the area.

The Committee thanked the presenters for an informative presentation.

4.         Revised Faculty Personnel Rules, UW-Green Bay

The Committee next undertook action on a set of rule revisions to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Personnel Rules, which clarify the rules for non-renewals of probationary faculty.  In August, the Committee had asked that a brief statement from the Office of the General Counsel accompany each set of rule revisions brought before it for action.  The Committee received a prototype from the Office of General Counsel, which provided a context for the proposed rule changes and attested to the Office’s approval of them as consistent with state law and applicable Board and UW System policy.  The Committee was pleased with the prototype and asked that something similar accompany future faculty personnel rules that come before the Board.

I.1.c.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Cuene, that upon the recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the amendments to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Personnel Rules.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

5.         Appointments to the Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future

              The Committee then moved to consider two re-appointments and two new appointments to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health’s Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future.  The Committee welcomed Regent Emeritus Patrick Boyle, who has served as the Board’s liaison to the Oversight and Advisory Committee.  The Committee (known as OAC) is responsible for planning for, and overseeing the use of funds allocated for public health through the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future.

I.1.d.:  It was moved by Regent Cuene, seconded by Regent Semenas, that upon the recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System and the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Board of Regents approves the reappointments of Dr. Susan Goelzer and Mr. Douglas Mormann to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee for four-year terms;

AND

That upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System and the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Board of Regents approves the appointments of Dr. Michael Fleming and Mrs. Lorraine Lathen to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee for four-year terms.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

6.         Authorization to Recruit:  Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

The Committee then considered the authorization to recruit a Senior Vice President to replace Cora Marrett.  Recognizing the significant role this position plays in the UW System, the Committee discussed the importance of reaching a common understanding of the position’s responsibilities.  The Committee appreciated the comments of Senior Executive Vice President Don Mash on the consultation underway with faculty, academic staff, chancellors, and provosts on this position.  The Committee expressed its assumption that President Reilly would consult with Senior Vice President Marrett on recruitment for the position, and invited Dr. Marrett to offer her reflections at the December meeting.  Committee members observed that they would take the opportunity next month to express their profound appreciation for Cora’s leadership.

I.1.e.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Semenas, that the President of the University of Wisconsin System be authorized to recruit for a Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, at a salary within the Board of Regents salary range for university senior executive salary group five.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

7.         Institutional Report on General Education:  UW-Whitewater

The Committee then heard the Institutional Report on General Education from
UW-Whitewater, accompanied by a brief summary of North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation report on UW-Whitewater.  UW-Whitewater was visited by the HLC in 2006 and subsequently received an unconditional ten-year re-accreditation.  Provost Dick Telfer described a number of the positive comments received from HLC including:  the high quality of instruction despite increased workloads; strong relations with community partners; and excellent strategic planning to help address budget cuts.  Committee members noted how impressed they were with Whitewater’s General Education program, particularly their innovative course offerings and the good assessment program in place to evaluate their students’ learning.

8.         Report of the Senior Vice President

Guidelines and Criteria for the Proposed Expansion of Wisconsin Technical College System Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Offerings;

            Senior Vice President Marrett’s report comprised the presentation of guidelines and criteria for the proposed expansion of Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Offerings.  Dr. Marrett reminded the Committee of their stewardship role in the area or cross-System transfer, explaining that Wisconsin Statutes require that any broadening of Wisconsin Technical College System collegiate transfer programs must be first approved by both the WTCS and the UW Boards.

            Larry Rubin, Assistant Vice President for Academic and Student Services, presented background information and an overview of transfer both within and into the UW System.  He stressed the growth in the number of student transfers from WTCS in the last ten years, due to changes in transfer policies.  He noted that the UW System receives far fewer letters from students, parents, and state leaders on transfer problems because of increased coordination, support, and articulation agreements in place.  Kathy Cullen, Vice President for Teaching and Learning at WTCS, then gave the committee an overview of the different types of degrees offered by WTCS institutions, and the process used by WTCS to develop and approve collegiate transfer programs.  Ron Singer, Associate Vice President for Academic and Student Services, concluded by discussing the role of the UW System Board in this process and reviewed the draft Criteria for Approval of WTCS Collegiate Transfer Programs under consideration by the Board of Regents.

            The Committee applauded the history of collaboration between the Wisconsin Technical College System and the UW System on transfer issues.  The Committee raised a number of questions concerning the language on efficiency and effectiveness in the draft Criteria for Approval.  The Committee also requested further explanation of pre-professional programs, and more information on how the UW Colleges views the proposed guidelines.

            So that their questions could be addressed, Committee members agreed to table the resolution approving the criteria until its December meeting.

I.1.g.(2):  It was moved by Regent Cuene, seconded by Regent Semenas, that upon the recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents adopts the Criteria for Approval of Wisconsin Technical College System Collegiate Transfer Programs.

The resolution was tabled until the December meeting.  

Resolutions I. 1.c., I.1.d., and I.1.e. were referred as consent agenda items to the full session of the Board of Regents at its Friday, November 10, 2006, meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 3:31 p.m.