Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, April 2007

University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Kenosha, Wisconsin
April 12, 2007

The meeting of the Education Committee, to which all Regents were invited, convened at 11:10 a.m.  Regents Davis, Spector, Crain, Cuene, Loftus, Semenas, Bartell, Bradley, Burmaster, Falbo, McPike, Pruitt, Shields, Smith, and Walsh were present. 

The Equity Scorecard Project:  Institutional Engagement and Learning to Achieve Equity and Excellence in Educational Outcomes

The Education Committee, with all Regents invited, began with a progress report on the Equity Scorecard, a pilot project involving six UW System institutions.  Regent Davis explained that the Scorecard is a complex tool, requiring sustained effort over time, and involving a more sophisticated collection and analysis of institutional data than has been done by most campuses thus far.  Regent Davis noted that she has had several opportunities to hear about the Scorecard and its implementation at several UW institutions and remains very enthusiastic about the potential of this project.

Associate Vice President Ron Singer then set the context for the presentation the Board would hear.  He noted that the Equity Scorecard Project has given six UW System institutions the opportunity to use existing institutional data to facilitate meaningful discussion and institutional self-assessment.  The Scorecard is a structured process of inquiry designed to examine racial inequities, interpret the meaning of these inequities, and move the institution to act to address them.  The approach regards inequities in educational outcomes as a problem of institutional performance, rather than the manifestation of student deficiencies.

Interim Assistant Vice President Vicki Washington then provided the history of the Equity Scorecard project.  She reminded the Regents that in April 2004, following the mid-point review of Phase I of Plan 2008, persistent gaps in achievement for students of color led the Board of Regents to establish closing the achievement gap in recruitment and retention as a priority for Phase II of Plan 2008.  The decision to pilot the Equity Scorecard process came in response to Resolution 8970, passed in February 2005, reaffirming the Board’s compelling interest in and commitment to the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student population, and expressing the Board’s directive that the UW System implement a “Diversity Report Card” to improve accountability.

Dr. Washington described the Equity Scorecard process as designed to influence institutional responses to unequal results in student learning and achievement.  The changes occur as a result of systematic data-driven inquiry into inequities between white students and students of color through four perspectives:  1) Access: enrollment, financial aid, majors, department/schools, and courses; 2) Retention: persistence, course-taking, success, and degree-completion; 3) Excellence: grades, GPA, honors and awards, and participation in high-demand programs; and 4) Institutional Receptivity: diversity of faculty, staff, and administrators, and climate.

Interim Assistant Vice President Vicki Washington then introduced the panel of Equity Scorecard team leaders from each of the six participating institutions:  Greg Lampe, Associate Vice Chancellor at UW Colleges; Al Thompson, Assistant to the Chancellor at UW-La Crosse; Michelina Menzi, Assistant Vice Chancellor at UW-Oshkosh; Eugene Fujimoto, Assistant to the Chancellor, UW-Parkside; Rita Cheng, Provost at UW-Milwaukee; and Don Sorenson, Professor at UW-Whitewater.  Also present were Dr. Estela Bensimon, developer of the Equity Scorecard, from the Center for Urban Education at the University of Southern California, and Dr. Elsa Macias, Director of Research and Development at the Center.

Greg Lampe reported that the UW Colleges focused on the issue of access for students of color.  The Evidence Team at the UW Colleges put together data for each high school that each UW College draws from and looked at whether or not the College was enrolling proportionately based on race.  The data was shared with numerous staff and Dr. Lampe called the process both provocative and transformative.

Al Thompson reported that UW-La Crosse looked at both issues of access and retention.  The team at UW-La Crosse found that students of color are likely to be successful in admissions and matriculation once an application is completed.  However, high school graduates of color who have taken the ACT are not applying in equal proportion to white students.  In its examination of data, UW-La Crosse found retention problems for students of color and specific general education courses where students did not perform well.  As a result, UW-La Crosse has implemented changes in academic support services for students of color.

Michelina Menzi reported that UW-Oshkosh focused on retention by analyzing student performance data for 32 of their introductory and gateway courses.  They discovered that many courses in the General Education curriculum posed problems for most racial/ethnic groups.  As a result, UW-Oshkosh is reviewing its advising and tutoring programs, developing a first-year experience initiative, expanding its assessment of at-risk students, and examining the data further with faculty and departments.

Eugene Fujimoto reported that UW-Parkside has developed action steps to address three goals:  increase enrollment of Latino/a students; increase enrollment of African American males; and improve success for all students of color in academic skills courses.  UW-Parkside is also looking to improve graduation rates for all students, with the largest inequities existing in the rates for African Americans, Latinos/as, and American Indians.  A number of student success initiatives have been implemented, including linking developmental skills courses with college-level courses to build learning communities.

In the area of access, Rita Cheng reported several findings from UW-Milwaukee’s data analysis, including the following:  other schools in addition to Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) contribute to the institution’s ethnic diversity; the yield of applicants to admits to enrollees can be improved for students of color; UW-Milwaukee provides access to many students needing pre-college math and English coursework; and UW-Milwaukee leads the System in transfer students.  Provost Cheng described several steps being taken to address these findings, including individual follow-up with all applicants of color, and an NSF-funded math partnership with MPS and Milwaukee Area Technical College.  In the retention area, UW-Milwaukee has used the data for discussions with Deans, and has found that course redesign has been critical in ensuring student success in both performance and retention.

In the area of excellence, Professor Don Sorenson reported that the data for UW-Whitewater showed that the proportion of students graduating with honors is lower for every category of students of color than for white students, but that students of color were represented at a higher rate than white students in extra-curricular programs and graduate programs.  UW-Whitewater has therefore decided to focus its attention on improving student grade point averages.

Associate Vice President Ron Singer concluded the presentation by noting that the six campus evidence teams expect to complete their work during Fall 2007.  The UW System will then evaluate the results and impacts of the project to determine whether to expand it to other institutions.  The results will also be used in the planning and development of the UW System’s post-Plan 2008 strategic plan for diversity, excellence and inclusion.

Equity Scorecard developer Dr. Estela Bensimon then addressed the Board, stating how wonderful it was to see the implementation and initial success of the project.  She commended the Board of Regents for its courage in supporting the Equity Scorecard project.  Dr. Bensimon added that there are benefits as well as risks with this project.  The risk is that people will see the disparity across groups and blame students for not being prepared.  However, the disparity also exists for students with strong preparation.  The Scorecard identifies gaps, but does not identify solutions or the exact nature of the problem.  Institutions need to take time to understand the most serious gaps and then begin to develop ways to address them.

Regent questions followed the presentation.  Regent Crain asked whether gender disparities have been explored.  The team leaders assured her that they had.  Regent Loftus raised questions about whether Evidence Team findings were impacted by ACT scores and high school rank as predictors of student success.  Provost Rita Cheng responded that these factors are better predictors of success for white students than students of color.  Regent Loftus also asked questions about the need to change how courses are being taught.  He was informed that there are a number of campus initiatives to teach differently involving the UW System Administration Office of Professional and Instructional Development and campus instructional development offices.  Dr. Bensimon noted the importance of faculty becoming involved in this process.  Regent McPike asked about the involvement of Schools of Education to deal with issues of class management, etc.  Rita Cheng informed him that there are two Teacher Education initiatives in the UW Budget Request and that there also is a UW-Milwaukee/Milwaukee Public Schools partnership to train teachers.  Finally, Regent Davis closed the discussion by noting her hope that other UW institutions would join this initiative.

The Education Committee meeting, all Regents invited, adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

Regular Business Meeting of the Education Committee

The regular meeting of the Education Committee convened at 2:06 p.m.  Regents Davis, Spector, Crain, Cuene, Loftus, and Semenas were present. 

1. Approval of the minutes of the March  8, 2007, meeting of the Education Committee

I.1.a.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Crain, that the minutes of the March 8, 2007, meeting of the Education Committee be approved.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.               

2. Program Authorizations

a. B.S. in Biochemistry, UW-Stevens Point

The Education Committee considered three program authorizations.  The first was the UW-Stevens Point B.S. in Biochemistry.  Provost Virginia Helm introduced Dr. James Brummer, Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department, who presented the program.  Also present were Dr. Lance Grahn, Dean of Letters and Sciences, and Dr. Diane Caporale, Professor of Biology.  Dr. Brummer noted that Wisconsin is among the nation’s top five regions for biotechnology growth.  Research hospitals and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies are in need of trained biochemists.  UW-Stevens Point anticipates that the new program will draw 90-100 biochemistry majors.  The program requires no new faculty or facilities since it will be jointly administered by the existing departments of Biology and Chemistry.  Regents raised questions about the purpose of the external reviewers, and experience with student diversity in biology and chemistry.

I.1.b.(1):  It was moved by Regent Semenas, seconded by Regent Cuene, that, upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the B.S. in Biochemistry.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

b. B.A. in First Nation Studies, UW-Green Bay

The second program before the Education Committee was the B.A. in First Nation Studies at UW-Green Bay.  Provost Sue Hammersmith introduced Lisa Poupart, Associate Professor of Humanistic Studies and Chairperson of First Nations Studies at UW-Green Bay.  Also present was Fergus Hughes, Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UW-Green Bay.  Professor Poupart outlined the proposed program as one that will assist the state in meeting Act 31 which requires K-12 education to include study of Wisconsin’s first inhabitants.  The curriculum includes a 12-credit concentration in either elder knowledge epistemology or the Oneida language.  The program will be delivered in collaboration with UW-Fond du Lac, and the College of the Menominee Nation.  Discussion followed regarding the potential of the major to attract more American Indian students and the options available to graduates of this program.

I.1.b.(2):  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Spector, that, upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the B.A. in First Nation Studies.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

3. Bachelor of Applied Studies in Leadership and Organizational Studies,UW-Oshkosh

The third program before the Education Committee was the Bachelor of Applied Studies in Leadership and Organizational Studies at UW-Oshkosh.  Associate Vice President Ron Singer provided background on the kind of program this new Bachelor of Applied Studies represents.  Dr. Singer reminded Committee members that President Reilly’s growth agenda is designed to address the challenge of increasing the number and percentage of baccalaureate degree-holders in Wisconsin.  To address this need, the Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion (COBE) report called for the development of degree-completion programs targeted at working adult students who hold an associate degree and are in need of a baccalaureate degree to assist in their career progression.  COBE funds, provided in the 2005-07 biennial budget, funded the development of Bachelors of Applied Studies degree programs proposed collaboratively by UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay.  The degree program presented by UW-Oshkosh is a result of this initiative; the UW-Green Bay proposal will come before the Committee in May.

UW-Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns introduced Charles Hill, Professor of English & Chair of Curriculum Planning Committee for the Leadership and Organizational Studies program.  Also present were Marsha Rossiter, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Division of Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement, and Lynn Brandt, Coordinator of Student Services, Center for New Learning.  Professor Hill noted that the purpose of the Bachelor of Applied Studies in Leadership and Organizational Studies at UW-Oshkosh is to equip graduates with the knowledge and skills required for supervisory and leadership positions in public and private organizations.  The program will provide seamless transition into baccalaureate-level education for technical college graduates.  The curriculum focuses on communication, organizational administration, leadership, appreciating diverse perspectives, understanding of the research process, critical thinking, and self-directed lifelong learning.  The program was established in collaboration with Fox Valley Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and UW-Fox Valley, and joint recruitment and promotion will occur with UW-Green Bay.  Discussion followed regarding the acceptance of credits from the Technical Colleges, the availability of this program to students without associate degrees, and funding for the program.

I.1.b.(3):  It was moved by Regent Cuene, seconded by Regent Loftus, that, upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the Bachelor of Applied Studies in Leadership and Organizational Studies.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

4. Presentation: UW-Oshkosh’s Role in Northeast Wisconsin’s Growth Agenda: Aligning Academic Program Menu with Current and Future Regional Needs

Next on the agenda for the Education Committee was a presentation by the host campus entitled “UW-Oshkosh’s Role in Northeast Wisconsin’s Growth Agenda: Aligning Academic Program Menu with Current and Future Regional Needs.”  Deans and students from the four UW-Oshkosh colleges discussed how collaborations have improved the education of students and provided needed expertise and resources to regional businesses and communities.  The campus has also increased programs and services for working adults through collaborations with four UW Colleges, four technical colleges, and employers such as Mercury Marine and Miles Kimball.

Senior Associate Dean Don Gudmundson described several of these collaborative programs, including the Wisconsin Family Business Forum, which assists dozens of family businesses and is expanding.  The Center for Community Partnerships, which is likewise expanding services, partners with 40 large and small businesses, communities and school districts each year to deliver solutions.  The Global M.B.A. program, approved by the Board in fall 2006, partners with universities in Darmstadt, Germany, and Manipal, India, and prepares students for the international business arena.  In addition, hundreds of business student interns work for businesses and organizations throughout the Fox Valley.  UW-Oshkosh student Liz Koller spoke to the Education Committee about her experience as part of a team of business students providing a local company with recommendations on how to deal with rapid growth.

Marsha Rossiter, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Lifelong Learning and Community Engagement, discussed UW-Oshkosh’s continuing education and non-traditional programs and degrees.  There has been a ten percent increase in students 25 and older attending UW Oshkosh since 2002, and the campus is further expanding adult education opportunities throughout northeastern Wisconsin through a series of collaborations.  Student Sandy Szesternak noted the benefits of the Communication Certificate Program, which led to her decision to complete her B.A. degree.

Dean Fred Yeo, of the College of Education and Human Services, discussed its many collaborative offerings, including a program to prepare needed science and math teachers launched in conjunction with five area UW Colleges.  Student Eric Eifler spoke on the benefits of the Alternative Careers in Teaching program, which is allowing him to bring his past expertise and experience to the classroom.

Dean Yeo then described a collaborative graduate program in social work launched with UW-Green Bay in 2002, which has graduated 30 students every year and focuses on meeting the child welfare service needs of the region.  To meet the needs of working adults, the program will begin a part-time option this fall.  Karen Aspenson, a student completing the program, noted her appreciation for the convenience and quality of the joint program between UW-Oshkosh and UW-Green Bay.

The Committee next heard that, through its Living Healthy Community Clinic, the College of Nursing has the support of major local hospitals and clinics to provide health care for the uninsured.  Dean Rosemary Smith noted that while there is a national nursing shortage, the College of Nursing is turning away record numbers of students who want to get into the program because of a shortage of clinical sites.  Partnerships such as the Living Healthy Community Clinic have helped provide additional sites.

Dean John Koker noted that in the College of Letters and Science, collaborations include an exercise program for senior citizens, an upcoming Science Olympiad for Wisconsin middle school students, an annual art day for hundreds of high school artists, and a speech festival for elementary students.  There are also working collaborations with a Wyoming tribal college and the College of Menominee National. 

Regent Davis thanked the presenters for the wealth of information and commended UW-Oshkosh on the magnitude of its collaborative programs.

1. Committee Business

a. Approval of requests to Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate for support of scholarships, fellowships, and special programs in arts and humanities, social sciences and music

Next on the agenda was the approval of requests to Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate for support of scholarships, fellowships, professorships, and special programs in arts and humanities, social sciences and music.  Regent Davis reminded the Committee that, each year, UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee are the beneficiaries of incredible generosity from the William F. Vilas Trust Estate.  The Vilas Trust comes before the Education Committee each April and May in a two-part process.  Prior to the April meeting, the trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate formally request that the President of the UW System ask the Chancellors of UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee to determine the amounts they will request for funding.

At the April meeting, the Regents act to formally approve the request, which is spelled out in the Executive Summary and supporting documents.  Following approval, President Reilly will send a formal request to the Vilas trustees, who will determine the amount of income that available for the various awards.  The value of the proffer will be reported to the Board at its meeting in May, whereupon the Education Committee will again act to accept the proffer.

Committee members expressed the UW System’s deep appreciation for the extraordinary support given by the Vilas Trust.  The Vilas Trust designates funding for undergraduate and graduate scholarships and fellowships, from which thousands of students on the Madison campus have benefited over the years.  The Trust funds named professorships and provides additional research funding for faculty and students.  The Trust also funds several requests from UW-Milwaukee, including an annual music request and the funding of a Vilas Research Professor in the Department of English.  The Vilas funding goes to critically deserving but oft-neglected and under-funded areas, especially in music and the arts.

I.1.e.:  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Semenas, that, upon the recommendation of the Chancellors of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the request to the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate for $14,831,905 for fiscal year July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, subject to availability, as provided by the terms of the William F. Vilas Trust, for Support of Scholarships, Fellowships, Professorships, and Special Programs in Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences and Music.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

b. Annual Report as Required by Wis. Stats. s.36.25(14m)(c): 2005-06 Minority and Disadvantaged Student Programs

Next on the agenda was the Annual Report as Required by Wisconsin Statutes on 2005-06 Minority and Disadvantaged (M & D) Student Programs.  The M & D Report is a statutorily required report presenting information on pre-college initiatives and activities, expenditures for multicultural and economically disadvantaged student programs, and student financial assistance data.  The Committee’s acceptance of the Report is required before it may be submitted to the Chief Clerks of each house of the Legislature.

Associate Vice President Singer presented the following highlights of the 2005-06 M & D Report.  There was a total of $45.8 million in expenditures from all funds.  UW institutions continue to contribute significantly through increases in external funds raised and reallocations of existing institutional funds for M & D programs.  $27.1 million was raised by institutions from extramural and non-government sources, compared to $24.1 million the previous year.  This represents an almost 200% increase since 1998, the beginning of Plan 2008.  The State created an appropriation to provide funding for M & D programs.  Out of this appropriation, referred to as Fund 402, $7.9 million was expended in 2005-06.  Sixty-two % of the funds were spent on retention, 17% on recruitment, and 21% on precollege programs.

Associate Vice President Ron Singer concluded by noting that the larger issues raised concerning the UW System’s retention efforts and academic support services would be addressed in the coming months.

I.1.e.:  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Semenas, that, upon the recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents accepts the 2005-06 Minority and Disadvantaged Student Annual Report for submission to the Governor and to the Chief Clerk of each house of the Legislature, pursuant to s.36.25 (14m) (c), Wis. Stats., for distribution to the appropriate standing committee under s.13.172 (3) Wis. Stats.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.             

5. Report of the Senior Vice President

Associate Vice President Ron Singer shared with the Education Committee updates on the UW System’s revised admissions process, as follow-up to the Committee’s discussion in February.  Regents had raised concerns in February that while socio-economic factors were to be considered in the admissions process, information on socio-economic status was not explicitly included in the application process.  Dr. Singer informed the Committee that socio-economic status would be suggested as an area to include in high school counselors’ statements and would be a suggested item for student essays as well.  Admissions officers would then use this information together with other socio-economic indicators, such as high school demographics and requests for application fee waivers, in making admissions decisions.

Dr. Singer also noted that the Annual Report on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment had been sent to the Regents under separate cover.  The Report includes institutional summaries of activities to disseminate information to students to prevent sexual assaults and harassment.  It is a report that the UW System is required to prepare for the Legislature.

Finally, Dr. Singer provided a brief review of progress on the goals set out by the Committee last October.  There has been excellent progress on WTCS transfer issues, Diversity, Charter Schools, and Admissions Policy.  Work is still being done on the Climate Study, the Inclusivity Initiative, the Diversity Award, the rethinking of Accountability, and pre-college program assessment.  Regent Loftus noted the importance of gathering information on the retention of veterans with their increased enrollment.  Interim Associate Vice President Sharon Wilhelm responded by noting that OPAR is looking at systematically tracking veterans through the Central Data Request.

Resolutions I.1.b.(1), I.1.b.(2), I.1.b.(3), 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, April 13, 2007, meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.