Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, January 2007

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin
January 22 , 2007

Regent Burmaster convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 12:40 p.m.  Regents Burmaster, Axtell, Davis, Semenas, and Spector were present.

The special meeting of the Education Committee convened at 10:05 a.m.  Regents Davis, Spector, Crain, Cuene, and Semenas were present.  Regent Rosenzweig joined the meeting in progress.

1. Approval of the minutes of the December 7, 2006, meeting of the Education Committee

I.1.a.:  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Spector, that the minutes of the December 7, 2006, meeting of the Education Committee be approved.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

2. UW System Criteria for Proposed Wisconsin Technical College System Liberal Arts and Pre-Professional Programs

Regent Davis opened the special meeting of the Education Committee, reminding Committee members that they were convened in order to take action deferred from December on UW System Criteria, including guidelines and principles, for the proposed expansion of collegiate transfer programs at the Wisconsin Technical College System.  While acknowledging that there were still some lingering disagreements over what the UW System’s Criteria should be, Regent Davis commended the genuine collaboration and good faith efforts between the UW and WTCS to advance educational opportunities to the citizens of Wisconsin.  She then introduced Interim Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin.

Senior Vice President Martin began by noting that the Criteria document under consideration by Committee members was a UW System document.  While considerable progress had been made towards consensus by both the UW and the WTCS Systems, there were, as Regent Davis had noted, a few remaining disagreements.  She described the January 16 meeting of UW Chancellors, UWSA staff, and WTCS Presidents and staff, at which the Criteria had been further refined, and summarized for the Committee the changes that had been made since the December meeting. 

Assistant Vice President Larry Rubin then reviewed in detail the framework, changes and remaining differences in the Criteria between the two Systems, focusing on the substantive edits made since December.  He explained differences between the two Systems over references to the use of state higher education resources and distance education options, as well as over collaboration.

Kathy Cullen, Vice President for Teaching and Learning at WTCS, then addressed the Committee and began by thanking Larry Rubin and other UW System Administration staff for their hard work and helpfulness.  She elaborated further on some of the differences remaining between WTCS and the UW System.

Regent Davis next recognized UW Extension-Colleges Chancellor David Wilson, who spoke of the broad concepts by which he presided in the combined UW Extension-Colleges, including Maximum Access, Maximum Collaboration, and Maximum Agility.  His institution’s goal was to be a careful steward of the state’s limited resources and he queried how the state’s two higher education systems could best work together, while advancing the common ground they shared to provide two-year degrees.  He urged maximum collaboration to expand access and to use limited resources wisely, given that the all of the UW Colleges, as well as three WTCS institutions, already offered the core liberal arts foundation for collegiate transfer.

Regent Spector asked Chancellor Wilson and Vice President Cullen for clarification on where UW Colleges and WTCS students tend to transfer.  In response to a question from Regent Davis, Assistant Vice President Rubin explained that there are over 500 articulation agreements, but that there are limits to how many credits transfer within those agreements.  Regent Cuene stated that this is what the whole process is about:  trying to facilitate and expand transfer without duplicating courses.  She described the developing agreement between UW-Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College which would provide access for students who are place-bound and financially limited. 

In response to questions from Regent Crain, President Reilly answered that he planned to have Chancellor Wilson present the results from the Commission on Enhancing the Mission of the UW Colleges at the February Board meeting, which would include a variety of related issues, including the Chippewa Valley Technical College proposal.  He hoped to provide a large frame for how the UW System uses higher education resources in Wisconsin.  He also expressed his support for the set of criteria and guidelines under consideration by the Committee.

Regent Cuene returned to the Criteria document and questioned the inclusion of the UW System Criteria reference to a UW partnership as condition for approval of new collegiate transfer programs, noting that the WTCS Board had insisted that there be no restrictions for partnerships with other higher education institutions.  Senior Vice President Martin explained that the UW System’s goal was to be at the table at the beginning of new program proposals and the curricular approval process in the interest of keeping paths open for students from both Systems.  Regent Davis clarified that the UW System doesn’t want to preclude WTCS partnerships with other institutions but, rather, that the UW System’s process for curricular approval rests with the faculty and that that necessitates early involvement for all potential agreements.

At Regent Spector’s suggestion, the Committee called the motion on the Criteria and Regent Cuene then introduced specific amendments in order to move the process forward.  She introduced amendments regarding the use of the phrase “state higher education resources,” and the use of “distance education,” neither of which received seconds.  The Committee agreed to a language change in Section II.A.1. of the Criteria to delete the words “will not or” and replace with “cannot,” with Regent Cuene voting no.

In continuing to move amendments to the Criteria, Regent Cuene expressed her appreciation to her fellow Committee members, staff members and others for holding the special meeting and taking the time to review in such detail the Criteria document.  She then proposed deleting the phrase “UW System” from Section II.C.1. of the Criteria.  Regent Semenas seconded the motion and discussion followed.  Regent Spector expressed his discomfort with such action, because it would delegate the Regents authority over quality control.  He reiterated an idea introduced to the Committee last fall that Wisconsin needs a statewide conversation about the big picture regarding quality and capacity for higher education in the coming decades.  The amendment failed, with Regents Davis, Spector and Crain voting no and Regents Cuene and Semenas voting yes.

The Committee then agreed to language revisions in Section II.C.1. of the Criteria.  Regent Davis moved and Regent Spector seconded inserting the phrase “formal review and, if possible, acceptance of the curriculum for course transfer,” which removed the UW System’s veto power but still ensured curricular review by a UW institution.  Assistant Vice President Rubin confirmed that this, in fact, has been the two systems’ practice when reviewing new transfer agreements.  The revisions to Section II.C.1. passed with all Committee members voting yes. 

In response to a question from Regent Cuene, Senior Vice President Martin explained an insertion concerning long-term as opposed to transitory need for new programs.  In discussing several other minor language changes, Regent Spector moved and Regent Crain seconded that, where identical revisions to language in the Criteria were approved, they could be applied uniformly.  Committee members approved changes to Section III.B.1., to be applied uniformly in other parts of the Criteria, with all Regents voting yes. 

Finally, Regent Cuene moved that language deleted from the Criteria concerning pre-professional programs be reinserted.  Discussion ensued regarding the extent to which collaboration should be built in to the collegiate transfer approval process.  Finding no second, the motion failed. 

I.1.b.:  It was moved by Spector, seconded by Regent Crain, that the UW System Criteria for Approval of Wisconsin Technical College System Collegiate Transfer Programs be approved, with amendments. The resolution Passed, with Regent Cuene opposed.

Regent Crain offered her appreciation to Regent Cuene for raising the issues she did and asking for the clarification on the Criteria that allowed the Committee to take action.  She reiterated Regent Spector’s earlier point that overall funding issues for Wisconsin higher education are so intertwined with the transfer issue and she expressed her hope that the Board could address them within a larger framework.  Regent Davis also commended Regent Cuene, noting how difficult it was to wear two hats in her role as Regent.  She also thanked the participants at the January 16 meeting, and the the UWSA and WTCS staff for their help and hard work.  Finally, she commended Regent Spector for his visionary and eloquent request to take a look at what higher education should look like in Wisconsin.

Chancellor Wilson requested that two UW Colleges Deans be allowed to address the Committee.  UW-Baraboo Interim Dean Thomas Pfleger noted that his campus engaged in several excellent transfer programs with WTCS institutions already and referred to the Colleges’ special mission for liberal arts transfer preparation.  UW-Fox Valley Dean James Perry noted how his campus is expanding its course offerings with the WTCS institutions in his region.  He noted that his campus stood ready to help and collaborate but he asked the Committee to think about the fiscal implications of increased collegiate transfer.  The UW Colleges has had to raise its tuition.  The WTCS liberal arts courses are cheaper for students and this is a problem that needs to be addressed.  He referenced an idea from UW-Marathon County Dean James Veninga that a panel should be put together that would ensure collaboration and maximize fiscal and student stewardship of resources.

It was agreed that Resolution I. 1.b. would be referred to the full session of the Board of Regents at its Friday, February 9, 2007 meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 12:25 p.m