Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, December 2007

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin
December 6, 2007

Regent Davis convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 1:37 p.m.  Regents Davis, Cuene, Loftus, Spector and Thomas were present.

1. UW System Strategic Framework:  Discussion with Representatives from the “Collaborations” Think Tank

Regent Davis began by welcoming representatives from the UW System Strategic Framework Think Tank on “Collaborations,” who had been asked to join the Committee at its December meeting.  They included:  Larry Rubin, Assistant Vice President, and Jan Sheppard, Senior Academic Planner, both from the UW System Academic and Student Services; David Schejbal, Dean of Continuing Education at UW-Extension; Dean Rich Shultz, Dean of the College of Engineering at UW-Platteville; and Lisa Seale, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the UW Colleges. 

Regent Davis noted that while the final report of the “Collaborations” Think Tank had been completed, she still welcomed the opportunity for dialogue with Think Tank members given the importance of their topic to the Committee’s own priorities and deliberations.  Assistant Vice President Larry Rubin shared the Think Tank’s working definition of collaboration and explained that the Think Tank’s report ultimately recommended five “focus areas for collaborative opportunities,” with examples of one or two bold ideas in each area.  Dean Schejbal addressed the first focus area:  increasing collaboration with business and industry to enhance economic development.  The UW System, he said, is critical to developing Wisconsin’s economic competitiveness and that active dialogue was needed among regional economic development entities, the UW, the Legislature and business and civic leaders statewide in order to move forward the state’s common goals.

Associate Vice Chancellor Seale then addressed the second focus area for collaborative opportunities:  expanding collaborative academic programming.  In order to develop stronger alliances with external partners, the Think Tank suggested several big ideas, including the development of a virtual UW campus, i.e., a brand of “UW Online” that might grow out of the UW Colleges online programming already available.  The Think Tank also discussed the idea of delivering a uniform General Education program across the UW System.  Members recognized how complex and challenging the implementation of such an idea would be across UW institutions but that some dialogue on the idea would be a good place to start.  A third idea to expand collaborative academic programming would involve working professionals employed as “faculty affiliates” to offer courses in high-demand fields like allied health.

Dean Shultz next focused on increasing global awareness and international exchanges.  The Think Tank reached consensus on the lack of preparation among UW System students to confront the global economy and that UW institutions needed to better prepare students as an integral part of their college educations.  Acknowledging that many UW institutions offered high-quality international programming and study abroad, Dean Shultz observed that too many students were unable to participate because of their need to complete degree requirements in their majors, family obligations, and funding issues.  The Think Tank suggested that the UW System develop a common international collaborative experience that would be available to all UW students, regardless of which campus they attended.

Larry Rubin articulated the focus on improving student access to and preparation for college.  In order to increase outreach and enhance PK-12 preparation and collaboration, the Think Tank recommended that the UW take a more active role in Governor Doyle’s Wisconsin Covenant program by matching every Covenant student with a mentor from the UW System.  Another idea was to expand the already successful Advanced Placement (AP) program by training more teachers to offer AP courses in those rural and urban areas where they are less available. 

Finally, Dr. Jan Sheppard addressed the last focus area, that of building stronger relationships with State government leaders.  The Think Tank encouraged campuses to establish committees on university-state relations, if they hadn’t yet done so, as a means of developing more productive partnerships among UW institutions, local communities and the Legislature.

Regent Loftus commented on the Think Tank’s proposal of system-level responses in the area of, for example, international education.  Dean Shultz agreed that most international partnerships and study abroad programs are developed at the institutional level but that there might be opportunities for new models, i.e., System programs that would allow for more student participation, especially for those students in majors which make it difficult for them to leave their campuses in their junior and senior years.  In response to Regent Loftus’s observation that business support of the UW happens at the regional level rather than statewide, Dean Schejbal remarked that the Think Tank focused much of its attention on the potential of the state’s regional economic development entities in advancing the group’s priorities. 

In response to a question from Regent Cuene on the UW Colleges’ online program, Dean Schejbal explained that the Think Tank explored the idea of a web-based portal to the UW System by which students could find the courses they needed.  In response to a question from Regent Cuene on expanding the System’s nursing offerings, Associate Vice Chancellor Seale noted that nursing was one of the professions that the Think Tank felt would benefit from “faculty affiliates” who could offer courses in high-demand fields to students from throughout the UW System.

Regent Cuene expressed her strong support for the Think Tank’s recommendation of a common General Education program that would facilitate transfer into and within the UW System, observing that the privates in Wisconsin take many transfer students because they accept their credits so readily.  Dean Shultz agreed that UW System and campus structures and policies impede the easy flow of credits and transcripts for too many transfer students and that the Education Committee should discuss this in the future.  Regent Spector expressed his hope that collaborations would also increase at departmental levels, citing the “artificial boundaries” separating disciplines in a world where interdisciplinarity is becoming more relevant.  He also recommended that more attention be paid to state relations with the Legislature and the Governor, including a more institutionalized approach to working with the Governor and the heads of each legislative house.

UW-Extension and Colleges Chancellor David Wilson commended the Think Tank members on their work and asked whether the group had addressed diversity in its deliberations.  He recounted his experience at Tuskegee University, which had an exchange program with other kinds of institutions, including Michigan, Harvard and Brown.  The program resulted in great exposure to diversity for all involved.  He asked whether the UW System might consider a collaborative exchange program with schools outside of Wisconsin, like Howard or Tuskegee, especially in light of the fact that too many UW students are not gaining the necessary experience with diversity needed for 21st-century citizenship.

Regent Davis stated her strong approval for the Think Tank’s idea of providing UW mentors to Wisconsin Covenant students and recommended that the idea get to the Governor and Mrs. Doyle’s Wisconsin Covenant Committees.  She asked Think Tank members whether they had worked out how to implement their big ideas amid the challenges identified.  Dean Shultz responded that while they identified the challenges, they did not say how to specifically address them, mostly out of respect for individual campus cultures.  Regent Davis also encouraged greater collaboration with state agencies and agency heads. 

Associate Vice President Ron Singer informed Committee members of next steps in the Strategic Framework process.  Regent Davis commended the work of the Think Tank members and expressed her hope that their ideas would move forward. 

2. Presentation:  UW System Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Committee

The Committee next heard a presentation from the UW System Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Committee.  Regent Davis reminded Committee members that the Regents had last heard a report from this Committee two years ago.  She introduced UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Linda Bunnell, Chair of the UW System AODA Committee.  Chancellor Bunnell praised the unusual and strong leadership exercised by the System and the Board in confronting the high incidence of alcohol abuse at its campuses.  She characterized alcohol abuse as a national problem on college campuses but noted that it was especially acute in Wisconsin because of a culture in which excessive drinking is ubiquitous.  She described the ways in which the System AODA Committee works with campus and external constituent groups to address the problem in terms of both policy and environmental approaches.  Citing the example of student input to the Stevens Point City Council, she noted that campus partnerships with community groups could have a real impact on student choices and behavior.

Chancellor Bunnell then introduced Colleen Howes, a marketing specialist with the UW Colleges, who designed and administered the AODA survey for the UW System.  Ms. Howes reviewed the major findings of the second systemwide AODA survey.  Over 15,000 students responded to this second systemwide survey administered over email, resulting in a response rate of 42%.  Alcohol is the drug of choice for UW students and while the survey covered other drugs, their incidence pales in comparison to alcohol abuse.  The survey sought to identify factors that would help determine which students were more likely to engage in binge drinking so that prevention and intervention efforts could target those students.  Ms. Howes conveyed the break- down of binge drinking rates by gender, student classification, place of residence, and other factors such as participation in co-curricular activities.  She also reviewed survey results focused on the consequences of binge drinking, both the direct harms (the impact on drinking students) and the indirect harms (the second-hand impact on other students and the community). 

Ms. Howes concluded her remarks by noting that the volume of reported drinking decreased slightly from 2005-2007, as did direct and indirect consequences.  She emphasized that it was too early to declare real trends since this was only the second time the survey had been given.  She expressed her hope that subsequent biennial survey results would help determine trends.

In response to a question from Regent Davis, Ms. Howes answered that response rates by campus were included in the survey report.  Some campuses, she added, had consistently lower response rates, for example, UW-Parkside, -Whitewater, –Milwaukee, and the Colleges.  She could only speculate on the reasons but guessed it might have something to do with the non-traditional make-up of those institutions’ students.  The differences in binge-drinking rates by type of residence was also difficult to explain but Ms. Howes offered that the “social norming campaigns” to which students living on campus were exposed might have something to do with lower rates.

Dr. Aaron Brower, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning and Professor of Social Work at UW-Madison, next reported on the PACE program at UW-Madison, an initiative that takes an environmental approach and fosters shared responsibility to produce an alcohol environment at UW-Madison that supports healthy and safe behavior.  Dr. Brower introduced his colleague, Susan Crowley, with whom he had run the PACE Project for the last ten years.  The project includes a coalition of players from UW-Madison and the city, local elected officials, landlords, students, police, and others.  Dr. Brower reviewed the mix of numerous campus and community interventions that have been implemented to address both behaviors and consequences of alcohol abuse.

Dr. Brower then presented hour-by-hour crime incidence data for Madison’s downtown area on a typical weekend night, mapped out through GIS technology.  The incidence data revealed the extent to which peak hours for noise, vandalism, assaults, and other crimes correspond directly to student drinking patterns.  In reviewing the trend data over ten years, Dr. Brower noted that UW-Madison binge drinking rates have remained fairly constant between 60-66% (the national rate is 44%).  The rate of students who reported five or more problems because of drinking went down (from 30% in 1999 to 23% in 2007).  He added, however, that detox admissions have risen significantly and more than tripled from 2005-06 to 2006-07.  He concluded by stating that while there have been predominantly incremental changes over time, some huge challenges remained, especially in terms of Wisconsin’s drinking culture and the intransigence of the state’s high adult binge drinking rates.

In response to a question from Regent Loftus, Dr. Brower answered that higher incidences of binge drinking did correspond to certain sporting events, most notably football and hockey games held on weekends.  UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells commended the work of the presenters, the AODA Committee and student affairs personnel working to reduce binge drinking systemwide, but observed that Wisconsin’s cherished values of “hard work” and “party hard” impeded a real change in the data.  Dr. Brower explained that, rather than focusing on excess drinking itself, the PACE project focused deliberately on the consequences of drinking, since that is where student behavior can most be impacted.  In response to a question from Regent Davis about the higher number of students being placed in detox, Dr. Brower noted that he could not be sure whether the data pointed to better reporting and more students seeking help, or some other factor.  Chancellor Bunnell added that Stevens Point does not have a detox center and that this was a problem for the community.

Regent Davis expressed the Committee’s appreciation to Chancellor Bunnell, Ms. Howes and Professor Brower for their illuminating presentation on what remains a huge societal problem and the UW System’s steps to proactively address alcohol and other drug abuse at its institutions.

3. Presentation by UW-Madison:  “A Great Public University in a Changing World:  Campus Self-Study in Preparation for Reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission

Provost Patrick Farrell presented the Committee with an overview of UW-Madison’s campus-wide self-study process, in preparation for its 2009 reaccreditation by the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission.  He observed that the campus was viewing this as an opportunity for examining its identity and distinctiveness.  The overall self-study theme focused on responding to the question, “What will it mean to be a great public research university in a changing world.”  Provost Farrell stated that UW-Madison was seeking to answer this question by thinking about and anticipating changes that would work well in 2018, adding that all the words in the phrase “great public research university” might mean different things in ten years. 

Provost Farrell described the extensive surveys and listening sessions with campus alumni, governance groups, faculty and staff, students and others.  A huge effort was made to engage all campus constituencies in working out, ultimately, a set of six integrated themes focused on those areas and issues most valued by the university community.  The six integrated self-study themes include:  rethinking the public research university; the integration of discovery and learning; shaping the global agenda; training global citizens and leaders; creating a respectful, welcoming and empowered UW-Madison community; and institutional integrity.  Provost Farrell has appointed six campus teams, made up of diverse membership, and charged them to think boldly about how to proceed with a vision for UW-Madison’s future.  He concluded by noting that he did not know where the campus would end up but that he plans for a very public process and will share the team reports as they come in.

In response to a question from Regent Loftus about UW-Madison’s endowment, Provost Farrell observed that, while the campus is operating within a resource-constrained environment, he had told the campus self-study teams not to get bogged down in resource questions.  He added, however, that resource realities would be something the Deans would have to be mindful of in moving forward.  He also acknowledged that UW-Madison sought to create an expectation in its students that they need to “give back” as alumni, as well as the understanding that they benefit from alumni who continue to support the campus.  Given the fact that the state would not necessarily be taking care of the institution in the future, it will be donors who make the difference.

Regent Spector commented that people in Wisconsin believe that they already make a significant contribution to the UW through their taxes, and that their taxes fund more than they actually do.  He emphasized the need to educate Wisconsin citizens better on just how much—or little—their taxes do fund the UW institutions.  He then asked Provost Farrell in which parts of the self-study for the Higher Learning Commission the campus would address the content and knowledge areas in which it would be educating students.  Provost Farrell responded that the content areas and learning outcomes would be addressed comprehensively elsewhere in the self-study in order to address specific Higher Learning Commission criteria, but that he was not addressing that part of the process in his presentation.

In response to a question from Regent Davis, Provost Farrell stated that the campus would be able to have some input into the kinds of site visitors who would come to Madison for the reaccreditation visit.  The campus would be able to identify peer institutions with an understanding of the complexity of UW-Madison.  Regent Davis encouraged him to ask for an international site visitor, given the campus’s self-study themes.  Chancellor Wells commended Provost Farrell on his presentation and the provocativeness of generating discussion on the idea of what it means to be a public university at this point in time.  Committee members joined him in expressing their appreciation for the presentation.

4.Discussion:  Potential New Degree Offering – the Doctor of Nursing Practice

Regent Davis next turned to Associate Vice President Ron Singer to introduce programmatic changes coming to the field of nursing.  Dr. Singer informed the Committee that the UW System is poised to offer a new nursing degree, the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).  The new degree responds to the growing need for specialty preparation in allied health fields.  The UW System’s offering of the degree involves remarkable collaboration from the System’s nursing schools at UW-Eau Claire, -Madison, -Milwaukee, and -Oshkosh.  These are the nursing schools in the System that already offer the Master of Nursing or MSN degree.  He added that the Committee is not being asked to approve any actual degree programs yet; the presentation is on the agenda to provide the background information the Regents will need in coming months as they are asked to approve several DNP programs.

UW-Madison Nursing Dean Katharyn May set the context for the set of national issues that are re-shaping nursing practice.  The new degree program, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, is being developed for a variety of reasons, including the growing complexity and explosion of new knowledge and technology in health care, as well as new demands on health care professionals, especially nurses, who are required to do and know more than ever.

UW-Eau Claire Nursing Dean Elaine Wendt detailed how the DNP will serve Wisconsin’s needs for nurses, citing Wisconsin’s dire shortage of nursing faculty in particular.  She informed the Committee that the UW’s nursing schools educate over half of all nurses in Wisconsin.  The DNP will serve Wisconsin’s rising need for nurse specialists, nurse administrators and above all nursing educators.  With vacancy rates at all-time highs and looming retirements among nursing faculty, the need is critical for doctorally trained nurse educators.  Dean Wendt reviewed survey data from nursing graduates and described the regional schools of nursing that are already offering the DNP.  UW nursing schools will lose the market share they currently have, she said, if they are not able to offer the DNP in the near future.

UW-Oshkosh Nursing Dean Rosemary Smith provided additional information on the curricular components of the proposed DNP.  She clarified that the DNP was a clinical doctorate, not a Ph.D.  The DNP is not the entry-level degree for practicing nurses, nor will it eliminate existing nursing degrees.  The DNP will meet curricular needs for advanced practice nurses, providing training in newly developed procedures, diagnostic acumen, pharmacologic therapies, other newer management strategies, and leadership skills.  Dean Smith also explained the ways in which the DNP would address rising accreditation standards that have developed from changing health care practice and needs.  Among the first students served would be nurses with master’s degree who need to transition to the doctorate in order to advance in their careers and/or become nurse educators.

UW-Milwaukee Nursing Dean Sally Lundeen described for the Committee the collaboration underway among the four schools.  She began by noting that nurses know how to collaborate, experience they gain in every clinical and educational setting in which they find themselves.  She elaborated on the proposed DNP program in Wisconsin:  UW-Madison has been entitled to plan a DNP, as has UW-Milwaukee.  UW-Eau Claire and UW-Oshkosh would soon be requesting an entitlement for a collaborative DNP degree program.  She reviewed the successful history of collaboration among UW nursing schools in the form of the BSN@Home program, a mostly online bachelor of science in nursing degree-completion program that has been offered for over a decade and is a national model.  She also described other statewide collaborations among nursing educators, and enumerated practices that the four institutions will use to advance further collaboration, more online and specialty offerings, and more effective matriculation for nursing students at the UW institution most suited to their needs.

In response to a question from Regent Thomas on the sequence of nursing degrees, Dean Lundeen elaborated on the differences among the various degrees.  Dean Smith added that there would still be baccalaureate-trained nurses, master’s level nurses and Ph.D. nurses.  The DNP will replace some master’s level nurses but not all.  She also explained the differences between the DNP and the Ph.D. and the respective career tracks (clinical vs. tenure-track faculty) of the two degrees.  Regent Loftus sought and received clarification from Associate Vice President Singer on what kinds of, and how many post-baccalaureate degrees UW System comprehensives were statutorily allowed to offer.  Dr. Singer explained that the comprehensives do have statutory authority to offer professional doctorates like the DNP, and that, in time, each of the proposed DNP programs mentioned above would come before the Board of Regents.  Regent Davis observed how helpful it was to hear the context—UW System, statewide, national—in which this new degree program was being developed, prior to having an individual DNP program on the Committee’s agenda for approval.

In response to questions from Chancellor Wilson, Dean Smith described the kinds of jobs DNP-degreed nurses would have in addition to faculty positions, including as pediatric specialists, nurse-midwives, nurse anesthetists, and primary care providers in the burgeoning industry of quick-care centers at chains like Walmart and Walgreen’s.  Dean Lundeen added that DNP programs are both faculty-focused and clinically-focused.  Salary expectations are also higher for DNP-educated nurses, and, in fact, practicing nurses currently earn more than Ph.D.s. 

In response to a question from Regent Loftus, Dr. Singer answered that there will not be program eliminations—e.g., of master’s level nursing programs—because of the new DNP, and nor do program eliminations come before the Board.  Dean Smith, Lundeen and May explained that the number of students still seeking the baccalaureate nursing degree is expected to remain high.  They elaborated on the lack of a strong pipeline for nursing faculty, noting that the average age of nursing faculty in the state is 54.  The demand for nurses is huge and occurs across so many different levels; the DNP is one strategy to help meet this demand.  

In response to a question from Regent Davis, Dean May affirmed that the emergence of the DNP is different than that of other allied health degrees—like physical therapy—in  which degree credentialing has been driven more by accreditation requirements than anything else.  Employers are already supplying tuition help to their nurses who want and need to pursue the DNP and this support is expected to increase.  Regent Davis asked why it had taken so long for the collaborative planning of the DNP to come before the Regents, given the incredible need for advanced practice nurses and nursing faculty throughout Wisconsin.  Dean May responded that the planning moved slowly because of concerns with statutory limitations at the comprehensives for degree allowances.

Regent Thomas asked whether the nursing schools had thought about a linked program for students that would take them from the baccalaureate to the DNP.  Dean Lundeen described the SWIFT initiative, which provides exactly such opportunities for students along a variety of tracks that meet the needs of practicing nurses who tend to go to school, enter the workforce, and then return to school again later in their careers.  She added that the average age of nursing students is 40 and that UW System schools have needed to be nimble in order to meet their needs.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich addressed some of the demographic challenges in meeting the health care and other workforce needs of his institution’s region.  He described the looming crisis as more and more faculty retired across the country and in Canada.  Both the nursing articulation agreement between Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College and the DNP option will allow UW-Eau Claire to hire faculty in the health care field more easily.  He suggested that more professional doctorates (for example in education) will be needed to deal with faculty shortages and that the comprehensives will need to be granted greater latitude for providing such degrees.

UW-Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns concluded that the development of the DNP degree took a long time because it was done right.  Regent Davis thanked the Nursing Deans for their collaboration, passion and commitment.

5. Report of the Senior Vice President

a.  Establishment of the Board of Regents Diversity Awards

The Committee agreed to defer until February the planned discussion on a process for developing five-year UW System Campus Academic Plans.   In the absence of Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin, Associate Vice President Ron Singer presented the new Board of Regents Diversity Awards for the Committee’s action.  The Awards were developed in response to Regent action in 2005, which included several recommendations made by the Board to advance diversity throughout the UW System.  Dr. Singer told the Committee that, beginning in 2008, the Diversity Awards would recognize excellence in diversity programming or achievement.  Modeled on the Regents Teaching and Academic Staff Excellence Awards programs, up to three awards of $5,000 would be made to individuals, programs, and/or initiatives in recognition of their exceptional impact on the university in fostering access and success for historically under-represented populations.  He added that a selection committee composed of Regents would determine the recipients, who would be honored at a future Board of Regents meeting.

I.1.f.(1):  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Loftus, that the Board of Regents approves the establishment of up to three $5,000 Diversity Awards to be given annually in recognition of institutional change agents who foster access and success for historically under-represented populations. 

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

b. 2008-09 Sabbatical Assignments

Associate Vice President Singer then briefly reviewed the 2008-09 Sabbatical Assignments, reporting that 308 faculty members from throughout the UW System were selected to receive sabbatical leave during the 2008-09 academic year.  Observing that their sabbatical projects would cover a diversity of intellectual, scholarly and pedagogical exploration in a variety of disciplines, he pointed to the necessity of the program and its value to faculty development and retention.  Regent Spector received affirmative responses from several Provosts present to his question on whether it was the national norm for faculty members to have to return to their institutions for an entire year following sabbatical leave.

6. Consent Agenda

The Education Committee piloted its committee-specific consent agenda.  Regent Davis moved adoption of the minutes of the November 8, 2007, meeting of the Education Committee and the following resolutions as consent agenda items.  The move was seconded by Regent Spector and carried on a unanimous voice vote.

Resolution I.1.f.(1), approving the establishment of the Board of Regents Diversity Awards;

Resolution I.1..g.(2), approving the appointment of the School of Medicine and Public Health’s David Kindig to the Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future; and

Resolution I.1.g.(3), authorizing the recruitment of a Provost and Vice Chancellor at UW-Extension.

Resolutions I. 1.f.(1), I.1.g.(2), and I.1.g.(3) were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, December 7, 2007, meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 4:05 p.m.