Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, February 2007

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin
February 8 , 2007

The meeting of the Education Committee, to which all Regents were invited, convened at 10:00 a.m.  Regents Davis, Spector, Crain, Cuene, Loftus, Semenas, Bartell, Bradley, Burmaster, Connolly-Keesler, McPike, Pruitt, Rosenzweig, Salas, Shields, Smith, and Walsh were present. 

A. UW System Criteria for Approval of Wisconsin Technical College System Collegiate Transfer Programs

Regent Davis opened the meeting by reminding Board members that the Education Committee had held a special meeting on January 22, 2007, to consider the UW System Criteria for Approval of Wisconsin Technical College System Collegiate Transfer Programs.  Regent Davis noted that there was a lengthy and productive discussion, one that was greatly enhanced by Regent Cuene, whom Regent Davis thanked publicly for helping the Education Committee engage in the issue so deeply.  She also noted that Committee members agreed that the Criteria under consideration were UW System criteria that reflected the needs, priorities, and practices of UW System institutions.

Interim Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin next reviewed the collaborative process that had transpired between the UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System since the December 7 Board meeting.  She noted that, despite some remaining differences, there had been a good faith dialogue and collaboration to move forward a set of workable guidelines designed to enhance student transfer between the two Systems.  She thanked both the UWSA and the WTCS staff involved in advancing the Criteria.  Dr. Martin also described the meeting on January 16 which included UW Chancellors Hitch, Wells, and Wilson, UW-Marathon County Dean Veninga, and WTCS Presidents Ihlenfeldt, Knox, and Lorbetske.  That meeting made considerable progress towards consensus, but, she observed, the Criteria document before the Board would remain a UW System document and apply to decisions of the UW System Board of Regents.

Assistant Vice President Larry Rubin then walked Board members through the Criteria, explaining the two collegiate transfer Associate Degrees—the Liberal Arts Associate Degree and the newly configured Pre-professional Associate Degree—proposed by WTCS and reminding the Board that any broadening of these collegiate transfer programs needed the approval of both Boards.  He commented that the principles for the Criteria included the following components:  enhancing credit transfer; expanding opportunities for Wisconsin residents to earn baccalaureate degrees in ways that do not unnecessarily duplicate existing programs and offerings; avoiding unnecessary duplication by considering all program options currently available; and ensuring that the program meets a long-term student need, that it draws upon existing strengths and resources of WTCS and UW institutions, and that the institution identifies and justifies resources needed to support the program.

President Reilly then addressed the Board by noting how the Growth Agenda, with its goal of producing more baccalaureate degrees in Wisconsin, had been included in the Governor’s Budget.  Both UW System and Wisconsin Technical College System institutions want to increase the number of Wisconsin residents with post- secondary degrees, and the challenge was how best to do this in an efficient manner.  President Reilly suggested that one option was the University Center concept, which was a model for collaboration between institutions currently used and with the potential for broader application.  He expressed his plan to provide further information on that model in the next several months.

Regent Cuene then moved, with Regent Spector seconding, to amend the motion previously adopted at the January 22, 2007, Special Meeting of the Education Committee to approve Resolution I.1.b., approving the Criteria for Approval of Wisconsin Technical College System Collegiate Transfer Programs.  She proposed adding to Section III.A.1.c. language as follows:

A WTCS district that does not have liberal arts degree authority, and is not proposing to offer a degree in collaboration with a UWS institution as described in Section III.A.1.b., if the Board concludes that such a collaboration is not effective and efficient.  The Board will make every effort, working with the President and the Chancellors of the UWS, to see that effective and efficient collaboration between the two systems occurs in the best interest of students and taxpayers before reaching such a conclusion.

The resolution as amended was PASSED by the Education Committee unanimously.

In the discussion that followed, a number of Regents lauded the work that had been done in the transfer area and the importance of the progress in this area towards achieving the goal of increasing the number of baccalaureate degrees in Wisconsin.

B. UW System Freshman Admissions Policy

Regent Davis began the discussion of the UW System Freshman Admissions Policy by expressing her strong support for the policy, which allows the UW System to meet its responsibility to educate citizens for a diverse democracy.  She reminded her fellow Regents that no vote would be taken until the regular business meeting of the Education Committee.  Regent Davis then introduced Interim Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin to review the policy document.

Interim Senior Vice President Martin informed the Regents that the UW System Freshman Admissions Policy was not a new policy, but rather an effort to consolidate and update five existing policies, several of which had been on the books since 1971.  She noted that there were some minor changes in the wording of the policy since it had been brought to the Board in December.  She then described the of core elements to the policy:

  • The policy stipulates a set of minimum requirements that all applicants must meet or exceed for consideration.
  • The policy codifies a comprehensive, individualized review of all UW System applicants.
  • The policy empowers UW System admissions personnel to consider relevant non-academic factors, while academic factors remain the most important consideration in making admissions decisions.
  • The policy is race-conscious, reflecting the fundamental truth that diversity in the student body is a compelling interest of the public university.

President Reilly then provided an overview of the input the UW System has received regarding the policy.  He described the public forum held the previous week, which included participants from throughout the State, including student leaders, high school counselors, and parents.  While concerns were raised by some speakers about any use of race/ethnicity in the admissions process, the majority of speakers spoke in favor of race-conscious admissions.  President Reilly also indicated that there were about 50 comments submitted by e-mail, many reflecting anxiety and confusion regarding the admissions process.  President Reilly addressed a number of misconceptions:

  • The UW System is not full; there is a place for any motivated student.
  • The UW System does not admit unqualified students; every student admitted is qualified.
  • Out-of-state students are not displacing resident students; there is a 25% cap on non-residents at all UW System institutions, and many UW institutions are far below that cap.

President Reilly also noted the input he has received from the business community, including Alliant Energy, SBC, and Kimberly Clark, on the importance of diversity and inclusion, and in support of the UW System Admissions process.

UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley next emphasized what business executives have been telling him for years:  the importance of diversity in preparing students to work in business.  Chancellor Wiley stated the limitations of grades, ACT scores, and class rank in assessing academic preparation, adding that other factors, therefore, needed to be considered.  Chancellor Wiley stressed that the UW System needed to do a better job of explaining that the UW System is comprised of thirteen fine four-year institutions.

Carlo Albano, a UW-Milwaukee student and United Council member, stated that UW students stand beside the Board of Regents in supporting the Freshman Admissions policy.  He noted that in the Milwaukee area, there is not a level playing field for K-12 students in the Milwaukee Public School system when compared with resources available in suburban schools.  He also observed that support of this policy by the Board demonstrated the value it places on diversity.

Regents raised a number of questions about the UW-Madison admissions process.  Chancellor Wiley and UW-Madison Admissions Director Rob Seltzer explained how the UW-Madison’s admissions process has changed dramatically over the years, especially since the 1960’s when virtually all students from the top half of their high school class were admitted.  In the last ten years, the number of applications has increased from 16,000 to 23,000.  Questions were also raised about compliance with state statutes.  UW System General Counsel Pat Brady expressed her confidence that they were in compliance, and Regent President Walsh also noted the importance of complying with the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in the University of Michigan cases.

The meeting adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Regular Business Meeting of the Education Committee

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

1. Approval:  UW System Freshman Admissions Policy

The regular meeting of the Education Committee began by considering action on the UW System Freshman Admissions Policy.  Regents Spector and Regent President Walsh raised concerns 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.  The Education Committee was informed that this issue was very complex and that the UW System Application Review Committee was reviewing it.  In addition, the Committee was told that as students and parents became aware of the criteria used by UW System institutions, they would provide more information on socio-economic status as appropriate.

Regent President Walsh offered an amendment to the Policy in Section I. E., adding language to clarify that when institutions waive one or more requirements for particular applicants, it is based on sound educational judgment “that the student will succeed at the institution, benefit from that educational experience, and contribute to the educational environment.”  The amendment was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Cuene, and passed 6-1, with Regent Loftus opposed.

I.1.a.:  It was moved by Regent Loftus, seconded by Regent Cuene, that upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents adopts the attached UW System Freshman Admissions Policy, replacing and hereby superseding Regent Policies 72-5 on Nonresident Undergraduate Quotas, 72-11 on the Freshman Admissions Policy, 86-5 on the Use of the American College Test, 87-8 on Traditional and Nontraditional Freshman Admissions Policy, and 97-4 on Competency Based Admissions,.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

2. Program Authorizations

a. Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, UW-Milwaukee

The Committee next considered the UW-Milwaukee Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.  Provost Rita Cheng introduced Professor Nadya Fouad, chair of the Department of Educational Psychology.  Professor Fouad described the program as a re-alignment of four programs (Counseling Psychology, School Psychology, Research Methods and Learning and Development) currently offered under UW-Milwaukee’s Urban Education Ph.D.  The new Ph.D. in Educational Psychology would better reflect the nature of the programs, better serve students as they seek employment, and provide visibility that would aid in attracting and retaining high-quality faculty.  Professor Fouad stressed the quality and diversity of the current faculty, as well as the focus on diversity in the curriculum.  She commented on the very diverse student body currently pursuing these programs under the Urban Education degree.

I.2.b.(2):  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Spector, 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 Educational Psychology.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

b. Chippewa Valley Technical College Associate Degree of Liberal Arts & Science

The Committee next considered for discussion only the Associate of Science Degree proposed by the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC).  This liberal arts college transfer program would need to be evaluated by the Committee pursuant to the principles, guidelines and criteria approved by the Board that morning.  Regent Davis introduced a number of Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) staff present for the discussion, including WTCS President Dan Clancy, Vice President Kathy Cullen, Associate Vice President Annette Seversen, and CVTC President Bill Ihlenfeldt.  Interim Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin then informed the Committee that the purpose of the discussion was to frame a set of questions relating to the key criteria against which this program would need to be reviewed.  She introduced Associate Vice President Ron Singer who outlined a set of questions relating to the three criteria central to the review:  need, collaboration, and resources.  In addition, Dr. Singer summarized some of the basic information regarding the CVTC proposal relating to those criteria.

Keith Summers, a member of the UW Colleges Board of Visitors, spoke in support of the central role that the UW Colleges play in providing associate degree education to citizens of Wisconsin, and the role they can play in offering this degree program.  He urged the Committee to carefully consider collaboration to avoid duplication.

Regent Cuene expressed her strong support for the work of CVTC, and its President, indicating that her visits to the district demonstrated to her the quality programs of the District, and the leadership provided by its President in meeting area needs.  Chancellor Sorensen indicated the support he had provided for the CVTC program before its Board.  In discussion, the Committee addressed the capacity of the three area UW comprehensive institutions to accommodate students in their freshman classes, the need to maintain the strength of the UW Colleges, the focus on students in considering this proposal, and the need to market programs to working adults.

President Reilly informed Committee members that he had not yet made a decision on this program.  He would make a recommendation to the Board at its March meeting, which would be accompanied by an analysis of the proposal similar to that provided for new UW academic programs considered by the Board. 

3. Charter School Authorizations, UW-Milwaukee

a. Approval of Milwaukee Renaissance Academy

The Education Committee next considered proposals for authorization of two new charter schools by UW-Milwaukee.  UW-Milwaukee Provost Rita Cheng and Dr. Bob Kattman, Director of the Office of Charter Schools, presented first the proposal for a high school called the Milwaukee Renaissance Academy.  Also in attendance was Deanna Singh, Lead Founder of the Milwaukee Renaissance Academy.  The Milwaukee Renaissance Academy would be UW-Milwaukee’s tenth Charter School.  It would build on concepts pioneered by the Building Excellent Schools of Boston, Massachusetts, and KIPP, the Knowledge is Power Program, which are acknowledged leaders in developing high-achieving schools that address the needs of low-income, urban students.  This educational foundation is of particular interest to UW-Milwaukee.

The Education Committee had a lengthy discussion in which Regent Loftus queried Chancellor Santiago about the relation of charter schools to UW-Milwaukee’s mission and his institutional priorities.  Chancellor Santiago indicated that his predecessor, Nancy Zimpher, had made education the cornerstone of UW-Milwaukee’s highly regarded community engagement activities, and that he feels committed to continuing those efforts as part of UW-Milwaukee’s leadership role in the Milwaukee community.  Other questions were raised by Regents Loftus, Crain and Semenas about budget requirements, public and private funding sources, the impact of these charter schools on the Milwaukee Public School System, the research role of UW-Milwaukee with respect to its charter schools, and the responsibility to cross-fertilize best practices developed in charter schools to benefit all of Milwaukee’s school children.  Other questions raised by Regents included UW-Milwaukee’s responsibility in conducting background checks of charter school personnel, efforts to achieve race/ethnic balance, and UW System General Counsel and Office of Academic Affairs review.

Regent Spector indicated his strong conviction that charter schools have a role to play in helping to raise the level of success of school children in Milwaukee.  Regents Loftus and Cuene questioned the consideration of merit pay indicated in the proposal.  Regent Loftus offered an amendment, seconded by Regent Cuene, to restrict the use of merit pay by the school.  The motion failed 3-4.

I.1.c.(1):  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Crain, that upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the charter school contract to establish a charter school known as the Milwaukee Renaissance Academy.

The resolution PASSED 4-3, with Regents Cuene, Loftus and Semenas voting no.

b. Approval of Seeds of Health Elementary School

The second charter school discussed by the Committee was the Seeds of Health, Inc., Charter School.  Provost Cheng and Dr. Kattmann informed Committee members that Seeds of Health currently operates other charter schools in the Milwaukee area with great success, including the school under discussion for which UW-Milwaukee charter school authorization was being sought and which enable it to expand through grade 8.  Students would then have the option of attending one of Seeds of Health high schools.  The focus of Seeds of Health is strong family involvement.  Marsha Spector, Executive Director of Seeds of Health, and other Seeds of Health staff were present and answered questions.  Regent Spector recused himself from voting on the agenda item.

I.1.c.(2):  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Loftus, that upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the charter school contract to establish a charter school known as the Seeds of Health Elementary School.

The resolution PASSED 5-1, with Regent Spector abstaining.  

4. UW System Appointments to the Natural Areas Preservation Council

The Education Committee next approved the re-appointments of two UW System representatives to the Natural Areas Preservation Council, a legislatively mandated board to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s State Natural Areas Program.  The Committee was informed that later this spring, the Board of Regents would be asked to approve two additional UW System representatives to the Council.

I.1.d.:  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Semenas, that upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the reappointments of Dr. Dennis Yockers and Dr. Joy Zedler, for terms beginning January 1, 2007, and ending June 30, 2009, as University of Wisconsin System representatives to the Natural Areas Preservation Council.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

5. UW-La Crosse:  Summary Report of Accreditation Review by the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission and Institutional Report on General Education

Next, the Education Committee heard a report from UW-La Crosse on the accreditation review by the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission and its institutional report on General Education.  Provost Elizabeth Hitch introduced Dr. Carmen Wilson, Professor of Psychology, Accreditation Study Coordinator, and Chair of the Accreditation Steering Committee at UW-La Crosse.  She reported that the Higher Learning Commission approved

UW-La Crosse’s request to offer the Doctorate of Physical Therapy with UW-Milwaukee and commended them for the thoroughness and preparation of the Self Study.

The Higher Learning Commission listed three areas requiring follow-up:  Diversity, Assessment, and General Education.  Since Assessment and General Education were also listed as concerns during the 1996 accreditation review, the Education Committee requested that the

UW-La Crosse Chancellor report in a year on progress on all three areas identified by the Higher Learning Commission.  Chancellor Linda Bunnell, of UW-Stevens Point, and Provost Sue Hammersmith, from UW-Green Bay, noted that general education is also an issue at their institutions.  Regent Bradley indicated his strong interest in this topic, and noted the link between ensuring that general education is meeting a set of well-defined goals, and the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Liberal Education and America’s Promise or LEAP initiative in which the UW System plays a significant role.  The Education Committee asked Interim Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin to report back to the Committee further on the topic of general education.

6. UW-Stevens Point:  Authorization to Recruit for Provost

I.1.f.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Crain, that the President of the University of Wisconsin System be authorized to recruit for a Provost and Vice Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, at a salary within the Board of Regents salary range for university senior executive salary group one.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

7. Report of the Senior Vice President:  Mid-Year Review of Education Committee Goals

Finally, Interim Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin shared with the Education Committee the themes from the Education Committee Planning Discussion in October as a reminder of the directions set for the year by the Committee.  Due to the lateness of the hour, the Committee deferred discussion to a future meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

Resolutions I. 1.b.(2), I.1.d., and I.1.f. were referred as consent agenda items to the full session of the Board of Regents at its Friday, February 9, 2007, meeting.  Resolutions A, I.1.a, I.1.c.(1), and I.1.c.(2) were referred to the full Board for discussion at its Friday session.

The meeting adjourned at 4:45 p.m.