Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, June 2007

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
June 7, 2007

The meeting of the Education Committee, to which all Regents were invited, convened at 1:10 p.m.  Regents Davis, Spector, Crain, Loftus, Thomas, Bartell, Burmaster, Connolly-Keesler, Falbo, McPike, Pruitt, Rosenzweig, Salas, Shields, Smith, and Walsh were present. 

A.  Plan 2008 Progress Report

The Education Committee, with all Regents invited, began with a progress report on Plan 2008, the UW System’s ten-year diversity plan.  The presentation began with comments from Regent Davis, who noted that one year before the plan’s endpoint, the news in the progress report is mixed.  While the retention and graduation numbers remain lower than desired, there are some exemplary programs at the institutions that could serve as models to replicate.  The Equity Scorecard, in particular, is beginning to yield important information.  Regent Davis emphasized the importance of having accountability at the center of future Board activity on Diversity.

Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin followed Regent Davis, commenting that the lesson learned thus far with Plan 2008 is that the UW System cannot continue with the status quo.  She noted that while there has been progress in some areas, most notably in the enrollment of students of color, there continue to be problems with retention and graduation.  As Plan 2008 came to a close, the UW System would need to be forward-thinking and to collectively figure out how to work strategically and have an impact on those areas in which progress has been elusive. 

In considering what should follow Plan 2008, Senior Vice President Martin noted the need, not for another plan, but, rather, a strategic framework for integrating the diversity agenda into the core activities of the UW System and its individual institutions.  This framework would need to address the most persistent challenges identified in the report:  fiscal support, assessment and accountability, and student success.  Senior Vice President Martin expressed her deep commitment to providing leadership and advocacy in closing the achievement gap, and to integrating diversity efforts throughout all levels of institutional leadership and across all units of each institution’s organization.

Interim Assistant Vice President Vicki Washington then presented key findings of the Plan 2008 Progress Report.  As background, 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 to establish “closing the achievement gap in recruitment and retention” as a Phase II priority.  Interim Assistant Vice President Washington presented the following as key findings of the Report:

  • Pipeline:  Between 1990 and 2005, the percentage of the state’s population made up of people of color increased from 9 percent to 14 percent.  The percentage of public high school graduates of color rose from 10 percent in 1998 to 15 percent in 2006, with graduates of color projected to reach 22 percent by 2018.
  • Enrollment:  Since the inception of the Plan in 1998, enrollments of students of color increased both in number and as a share of all students.  Students of color increased from 7.5 percent to 9.4 percent of all undergraduates, and from 8.9 percent to 9.4 percent of graduate and professional students.
  • Retention:  The overall retention gap between students of color and majority students has fluctuated each year since 1998.  In Fall 2003, the gap began to increase slightly each year through the Fall of 2004.  In Fall 2005, the gap increased a full 2 percentage points from 6.7 percent to 8.7 percent.
  • Graduation:  The number of bachelor’s degrees earned by students of color increased both in number and as a percentage of all bachelor’s degrees conferred.  From 1997-98 to 2005-06, graduates of color increased from 6.4 percent to 7.2 percent of all bachelor’s degrees.

Interim Assistant Vice President Washington also pointed out that financial aid is critical to continued progress, especially in order to reduce the higher debt burdens of students of color.  UW institutions, she added, increasingly rely on private dollars for minority and disadvantaged students to help finance their educations.  In response to the Board’s call for some kind of diversity report card, she reminded the Regents that six UW institutions volunteered in 2006 to participate in the UW System Equity Scorecard pilot, a self-assessment process designed to advance institutional accountability and learning in order to close gaps in achievement and attain equity in educational outcomes.

Interim Assistant Vice President Vicki Washington concluded that the following opportunities and challenges lay ahead:  the need to be more responsive to and work more effectively with the changing populations in the schools and in the State; the need to support affirmative action and diversity against mounting opposition at the state and national levels; the need to secure additional funding for pre-college, recruitment, and financial aid.; and the need to assess impacts and outcomes in pre-college, teaching and learning, retention, and climate.

President Reilly closed the presentation by connecting the goals of Plan 2008 and future strategic planning on diversity, to the goals of the UW System’s Growth Agenda.  He reiterated the UW System’s vision that “the University of Wisconsin will be Wisconsin’s premier developer of advanced human potential, of the jobs that employ that potential, and of the communities that sustain it.”  President Reilly also noted that the Growth Agenda and the strategic planning issues extending from it include the importance of attracting, retaining, and graduating a wider and deeper cut of Wisconsin’s population.  The numbers in the Plan 2008 Progress Report indicate that, while there has been progress, there is a long way to go in effectively meeting the needs of Wisconsin’s changing population.  President Reilly pointed to the Wisconsin Covenant program for its potential to fulfill the aspirations of Wisconsin’s youth.  He also expressed his commitment to excellence in diversity as a goal of his presidency.

In the discussion that followed, Regent Pruitt remarked on the number of students who would benefit from precollege programs.  Interim Assistant Vice President Washington acknowledged that 19,000 additional students could be served that are not.  Only eight percent of students of color are served by precollege.  (N.B.  Upon subsequent investigation, and as cited in the text of the Plan 2008 Progress Report, UW System M/D precollege programs currently reach fewer than 8 percent of the more than 190,000 students of color enrolled in Wisconsin public schools, suggesting that approximately 175,000 students of color are not being served by precollege programs.) 

Regent Salas noted the key problem of retention and graduation rates for students of color.  He also commented on the relatively small number of employees of color for the UW System and their importance as role models for students of color.  Regent Smith asked about next steps, and Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin stated that over the next several months her office would be working with Chancellors, Provosts, and other groups in making diversity planning a key component of activities across the institutions.  Regent Crain pointed out the importance of connections with PK-16 to reach socio- and economically disadvantaged students.  In response to questions from Regents Spector and Salas, Provost Patrick Farrell commented on diversity issues at UW-Madison in the Law School, the Medical School, and graduate schools.  Finally, Regent Thomas noted the importance of climate on campus for students of color and low-income students and noted her experience serving on various committees in this area at UW-Madison.

Regular Business Meeting of the Education Committee

Regent Davis convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 2:30 p.m.  Regents Davis, Crain, Loftus, Thomas, and Spector were present. 

1. Approval of the minutes of the May 10, 2007, meeting of the Education Committee

I.1.a.:  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Thomas, that the minutes of the May 10, 2007, meeting of the Education Committee be approved.   

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

2.  Program Authorizations

a.  Bachelor of Applied Health Science, UW-Parkside

The Education Committee considered three program authorizations, beginning with the presentation of the Bachelor of Applied Health Science at UW-Parkside.  Interim Provost Jerry Greenfield introduced  Dr. Bryan Lewis, Department of Biological Sciences and Assistant to the Dean for Health Related Professions, and Dr. Penny Lyter, Chair, Department of Health, Physical Education, and Athletics.  Also present were Dr. Carmel Ruffalo, Department of Biological Sciences and Interim Associate Provost Doug De Vinny.  Drs. Lyter and Lewis pointed out that the proposed program draws on UW-Parkside’s strengths in the areas of health and science.  It is the result of collaboration between biological science and health and physical education at UW-Parkside.

The program will prepare students for degree programs in the allied health professions such as physical therapy, athletic training, and physician’s assistant, as well as entry-level positions.  It will include a clinical foundation and internship.  The program responds to a state and national need for health care professionals, and will serve existing Parkside students, as well as provide degree-completion options for the many students pursuing health-related programs at Gateway Technical College.  The program will also build on the strong diversity at UW-Parkside, and expects to attract a diverse body of students. 

Regents Loftus and Davis raised questions about course transfer between UW-Parkside and Gateway Technical College, and the status of advanced-degree collaboration with other UW institutions.  Interim Associate Provost Doug De Vinny responded that Parkside is renegotiating an agreement with Gateway Technical College regarding what courses will meet requirements, while Dr. Bryan Lewis explained that the institution has insured that the requirements for professional programs will be met.  Regent Crain asked about expectations regarding the gender composition of the students and was informed that it was approximately 60% female in related programs.

I.1.b.(1):  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Thomas, that upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the B.S. in Applied Health Sciences.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

b.  B.S. in Computer Engineering, UW-Milwaukee

The second program before the Education Committee was the B.S. in Computer Engineering at UW-Milwaukee.  Provost Rita Cheng introduced Professor Hossein Hosseini, Chair of Computer Science, and Professor K. Vairavan, also of Computer Science.  Professor Hosseni described the program as one that responds to local and national demand, advice from an industry advisory committee, and the needs of UW-Milwaukee’s students who currently major in electrical engineering and minor in computer science.  The program is supportive of UW-Milwaukee’s mission and strategic plan, will consist of 126 credits, and conforms to professional and accreditation standards.

Professor Hosseni acknowledged the challenge of attracting students of color and women to such programs.  He indicated that the program would benefit from a number of national and UW-Milwaukee initiatives to attract and retain women and minorities into the program.  Regent Loftus raised questions about the role of the new engineering campus as outlined by Chancellor Santiago in his morning presentation, while Regent Crain asked about the challenges presented in attracting women into the program.

I.1.b.(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 Chancellor be authorized to implement the B.S. in Computer Engineering.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

c. Ph.D. in Information Studies, UW-Milwaukee

The third program before the Committee was the Ph.D. in Information Studies at UW-Milwaukee.  Provost Cheng introduced the Dean Johannes Britz, Professor Hope A. Olson, and Professor Dietmar Wolfram from the School of Information Studies.  Dean Britz reported that the proposed doctoral program would build on faculty strength in the areas of information organization, policy, and retrieval.  Its strengths include its interdisciplinary nature, flexibility and quality.  The faculty is internationally recognized.  The program is supportive of UW-Milwaukee’s mission of offering a balance of basic and professional Ph.D. programs, and responsive to recommendations made by a university taskforce on the UW-Milwaukee doctoral program array.

The Committee was informed that assessment would occur on the individual student level, and through exit and longitudinal surveys, information from which would feed into regular reviews by a faculty council, and five-year campus reviews.  Student diversity will be addressed in part by a federally funded grant for underrepresented students in UW-Milwaukee’s related masters’ programs.  In response to a question from Regent Loftus, Provost Cheng indicated that the faculty is currently in place to offer this program, and that it is not reliant on the growth agenda funding. 

I.1.b.(3):  It was moved by Regent Loftus, 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 Information Studies.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

3.  Presentation: UW-Milwaukee’s Dual Mission of Research and Access

UW-Milwaukee Provost Rita Cheng then updated the Education Committee on UW-Milwaukee’s dual missions of research and access.  She remarked that since UW-Milwaukee’s first commencement 50 years ago, the university has grown to grant 4,000 degrees annually and has more than 150,000 alumni.  The university’s research is critical to economic growth in the Milwaukee region, and helps to provide both an educated workforce and assistance to the local economic community with technology.

Provost Cheng presented a few examples of how the university’s research efforts impact the local community.  Among those cited:  Pradeep Rohatgi, Distinguished Professor of Materials Engineering, works with composite materials and is helping the local foundry industry remain globally competitive.  DeAnn Huinker, Professor of Education and Director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education Research, is leading a team working on a $20 million National Science Foundation grant in mathematics education aimed at improving the way mathematics is taught in local schools; and Carol Hirschmugl, Associate Professor of Physics, is doing basic biophysics research, tracking what happens to molecules when they meet the surface of a particular material or move around in a living cell.  Provost Cheng added that UW-Milwaukee’s Research Grant Initiative (RGI) is providing seed money to help university researchers take important steps to initiate or continue work in their fields. 

At the same time, she continued, UW-Milwaukee’s Access to Success program is helping more students attend and succeed in college, fulfilling the second part of the university’s mission. The Access to Success program is showing promising results in retaining and recruiting students.  Admissions of minority students are up significantly from fall 2006 to fall 2007:  13 percent for Southeast Asian students; 31 percent for American Indians; 42 percent for Latina/os; and 46 percent for African Americans.  Provost Cheng cited examples of student success:  a student with a low ACT score coming in as a freshman who attained a 3.0+ GPA by her sophomore year; the McNair Summer Scholars program which encourages promising minority student to begin graduate-level work; and the Sloan Foundation grant, which will use hybrid courses to give better access to working adults.

Provost Cheng outlined next steps for UW-Milwaukee, which would include linking academic planning and master planning.  The Committee asked for Provost Cheng to report back on the work on academic planning.  Regent Loftus, who attended UW-Milwaukee’s spring commencement, noted that UW-Milwaukee is “a school on the move” and said that UW-Milwaukee should be beyond answering questions about its dual mission.  Regent Loftus also stated that Wisconsin can have two great public research universities.  Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin complemented UW-Milwaukee on its combining academic planning with facilities/space planning.  Dr. Martin asked Provost Cheng to share the results of the academic planning with the Education Committee in the future.

Regents Spector and Crain both noted that while economic development is vitally important, UW-Milwaukee should not forget the importance of a liberal education in its academic planning.  Provost Cheng responded that programs in social science and humanities are very strong and important to general education.

4.  Committee Business

a. UW-Green Bay: Mission Revision (First Reading)

The Committee then took up three additional business items.  The first item was a first reading of UW-Green Bay’s revised mission.  UW-Green Bay is proposing an entirely new mission statement to replace its previous mission.  Regent Davis reminded Committee members that revised mission statements require Board approval, in a two-part process.  The revised mission presented by UW-Green Bay was for discussion only.

Provost Sue Hammersmith reported that the campus had been reviewing its mission as part of a process that began with preparation for its Higher Learning Commission accreditation review.  The goal was to redraft the mission as a concise statement of UW-Green Bay’s approach to addressing its mission as a comprehensive institution.  The revised statement has gone through development and revision by campus governance groups, with community input.

Regent Spector asked whether the revised statement incorporates the ideals of life-long learning and liberal education.  Provost Hammersmith and Chancellor Shepard indicated that while these specific terms are not part of the statement, it does indicate how UW-Green Bay offers an education steeped in a liberal education tradition through its interdisciplinary approach to its programs.  According to Board policy, UW-Green Bay will hold an open meeting for public comment, which includes the participation of at least one Regent.  The revised mission statement will then come before the Education Committee again for its approval.

b.  UW System Appointment to the Natural Areas Preservation Council

The next business item was a UW System appointment to the Natural Areas Preservation Council, a legislatively mandated board to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ State Natural Areas Program.

I.1.d.(2):  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Thomas, that, upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the reappointment of Dr. Timothy Ehlinger, for a term beginning January 1, 2007, and ending June 30, 2009, as a University of Wisconsin System representative to the Natural Areas Preservation Council.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

c. Report on Promotions, Tenure Designations, and Related Academic Approval Items

The Committee then took up the Report on Promotions, Tenure Designations, and Related Academic Approval Items.  Regent Davis informed the Committee that every June, the UW System compiles data on tenure designations, promotions, and new tenured appointments made at each of the institutions.  The Report includes the names of those faculty members who have been newly tenured, promoted, and hired with tenure for 2007-2008, arranged by institution.  In providing the UW System with the names of the faculty tenured and promoted by their institutions, Regent Davis continued, Chancellors and Provosts also send in assurances that they have personally reviewed the dossiers of each of these faculty members and can vouch for the appropriateness of their tenure and promotions.  The Board of Regents is required to approve the tenure designations and although the decision is made at the institutional level, Regent action becomes the absolute final step in the process by which faculty receive tenure.

Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin referred to the memo sent to members of the Education Committee earlier in the week that included supplementary data reflecting tenure and promotion rates for women and minorities.  Dr. Martin noted that 95% of individuals considered for tenure received tenure.  Of those who received tenure, 14% were minority males and 8% were minority females.  The Committee asked that this supplementary data be included in the report in future years.

I.1.d.(3):  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Spector, that, upon recommendation of the respective Chancellors and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the 2007-08 Report on Faculty Promotions, Tenure Designations and Other Changes of Status be approved.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

5.  Report of the Senior Vice President

The Education Committee then moved to the Report of Senior Vice President Martin, who first noted that the presentation on charter schools that had been scheduled for July would be made in September when more comprehensive performance data would be available.

Senior Vice President Martin then provided an update on the UW System Climate Study.  Two years ago, the Board asked UW System Administration to explore the feasibility of conducting a systemwide climate survey as a complementary and integral component to its diversity work.  Led by UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Rick Wells, the UW System’s Inclusivity Initiative considered how best to accomplish the goal of a broad-based assessment of climate that would consider the multiple identities of UW System faculty, staff and students.  That research concluded that Dr. Susan Rankin, a faculty member at Penn State University, had the best experience with broad-based climate surveys at higher education institutions.

Dr. Martin observed that four UW institutions have expressed interest in being a part of the pilot:  the UW Colleges, UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee, and UW-Oshkosh.  These four institutions are also participating in the Equity Scorecard and the climate survey seems like a critical adjunct to the goals of that initiative.  The groundwork will be laid this summer, and the survey will be administered in spring 2008.

Regent Crain then provided the Education Committee with an update on the Tuition and Financial Aid Working Group.  Both she and Regent Falbo are members of the Working Group, and all UW System institutions are represented on it.  The Group has met once.  Its charge is to develop recommendations to President Reilly on tuition and financial aid that support both an increase in the number of degree-holders and the Growth Agenda.

Resolutions I. 1.b.(1), I.1.b.(2),  I.1.b.(3),  I.1.d.(2), and I.1.d.(3) were referred as consent agenda items to the full session of the Board of Regents at its Friday, June 8, 2007, meeting.  The meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.