Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, May 2007

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin
May 10, 2007

Regent Davis convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 2:22 p.m.  Regents Davis, Crain, Cuene, Loftus, Semenas, and Spector were present. 

1. Approval of the minutes of the April 12, 2007, meeting of the Education Committee

I.1.a.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Crain, that the minutes of the April 12, 2007, meeting of the Education Committee be approved.   

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

2. Program Authorizations

a. Bachelor of Applied Studies, UW-Green Bay

The Education Committee first considered the academic program proposal for the Bachelor of Applied Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies at UW-Green Bay.  UW-Green Bay Provost Sue Hammersmith informed the Committee that the B.A.S. received support through funds provided in the 2005-07 biennial budget for the Committee on Baccalaureate Expansion (COBE).  The Green Bay program takes a 30-year-old major in Interdisciplinary Studies and reconfigures it as a Bachelor of Applied Studies designed expressly for those who hold an applied associate degree from WTCS or another regionally accredited college or university.  The program will accept as a block all 60 of the credits earned through the student’s applied associate degree.  Students will then earn an additional 60 credits towards the baccalaureate degree. 

Provost Hammersmith noted the analysis and discussion by the UW-Green Bay Faculty Senate of whether these transfer students would be academically prepared and the conclusion that they would.  William Laatsch, Professor of Urban and Regional Studies and Chair of the Geography Department at UW-Green Bay, concurred, adding that the institution spent a lot of time on discussion of this degree program and what it would do for the entire region.  He explained further how the degree program would fit into UW-Green Bay’s interdisciplinary mission and help each student develop a distinctive academic plan leading to the baccalaureate degree.

Regent Loftus observed that the tuition is much lower at the technical colleges, where students would complete their first two years of college, and that Madison Area Technical College is the largest source of transfer students to UW-Madison.  Provost Hammersmith responded that Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is already the largest provider of transfer students to UW-Green Bay, and that these students tend to perform at rates equal to or better than other transfer students.  In the past, many of these students would subsequently transfer to other, private institutions because not enough of their associate degree credits would be accepted.  That problem is alleviated by this new B.A.S. program. 

In response to a question from Regent Crain about what kinds of additional support and advising the program’s students would need, Professor Laatsch described the high-impact initial advising that would be available to them.  The Committee was informed that this program was in high demand and that applications were waiting and would be processed beginning the following week.  In response to a question from Regent Davis, Interim Senior Vice President Martin explained the differences between the Green Bay program and the Oshkosh Applied Studies program approved by the Committee at the April meeting.  Regent Cuene expressed her strong support for the program, with its responsiveness to UW-Green Bay’s interdisciplinary mission and the NEW ERA and COBE directives, and the collaboration between the UW and the Technical College System exemplified by the program.

I.1.b.(1):  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Semenas, 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 Bachelor of Applied Studies in Interdisciplinary Studies.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

b. Doctor of Physical Therapy, UW-Madison

The second program on the agenda was the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) at UW-Madison.  UW-Madison Provost Pat Farrell was joined by Dr. Susan Skochelak, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Family Medicine, and Lisa Steinkamp, Physical Therapy Program Director, both of the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.  Provost Farrell noted first that the D.P.T. is a clinical doctorate, not a Ph.D.  Dr. Skochelak explained that the D.P.T. would replace Madison’s Master of Physical Therapy program, changing it from a 2-year to a 3-year program.  The change is motivated by the need to meet the advancing professional standards for preparation of physical therapists.  Physical Therapy, she continued, is an evolving discipline with an expanded scope of practice, in which patients may now have direct access to P.T.s without needing to be referred by a physician, especially in rural areas.  Nationally, there is a growing need for practicing P.T.s who are now required by their accrediting agency to have a clinical doctorate.  Physical Therapy is one of the fastest growing occupations in Wisconsin with a 46% projected growth in need from 2002 to 2012.

In response to questions by Regent Loftus, Dr. Skochelak and Provost Farrell reviewed the tuition costs for the program, acknowledging that they were concerned that there would be a loss of out-of-state students given the increased time-to-degree and the tuition differential between in- and out-of-state students.  They noted how competitive the program is and that, in fact, new Doctors of Physical Therapy will earn more than family physicians with M.D. degrees.

Regent Davis asked the Madison presenters for elaboration on their collaboration plans with the UW System’s other D.P.T. program, the Consortial D.P.T. offered by UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee and approved by the Board of Regents in 2005.  Dr. Skochelak explained why UW-Madison chose not to join the consortial program, emphasizing the distinctiveness and completeness of Madison’s existing program.  UW-Milwaukee and UW-La Crosse collaborated to provide what each did not have in terms of academic programming and faculty expertise.  Ms. Steinkamp assured the Committee that the program directors from the three institutions were working together in a variety of ways.  She also described briefly a partnership that UW-Madison has with Howard University.  The Committee asked to receive an update on both D.P.T. programs in two years, with an emphasis on collaboration.

In response to questions from Regent Semenas, the Provosts from UW-Milwaukee and UW-La Crosse described the high demand for the consortial degree program offered at their institutions, both of which are having to turn students away.

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-Madison and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the Doctor of Physical Therapy.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

3. UW-Parkside Presentation on Faculty Research and Creative Activity

The Education Committee then heard the presentation on Faculty Research and Creative Activity at UW-Parkside, originally scheduled for the March meeting.  Interim Provost Jerry Greenfield began by noting that the down side of deferring the presentation until May was that no Parkside faculty were able to attend and be a part of it because they were in the middle of giving final exams.  Despite the absence of faculty, Provost Greenfield conveyed to the Committee the extent to which Parkside, in addition to its strong focus on teaching undergraduate students, has a faculty dedicated to conducting research and creative activity.  He showcased several examples, including the work of Communications Professor Jonathan Shailor, who has been producing full-length Shakespeare plays with prison inmates since 2004.  He made the point that research and creative activity are critical to good and innovative teaching, and that the very content of courses is renewed by faculty through their scholarly and creative work.

Regent Davis expressed her appreciation to Interim Provost Greenfield for his presentation and the Committee’s regret that his faculty colleagues were unable to be present.

4. Committee Business

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

Regent Davis reminded Committee members of the action they took at the April meeting, when they formally approved the 2007-08 request to the Vilas Trust.  The Vilas Trust approved most of the more than $14.8 million requested by UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.  Interim Senior Vice President Martin informed the Committee that there was a shortfall of $24,508 from what UW-Madison requested.  This slightly lower figure was a result of the Trust’s available income and the Committee was told that it would be absorbed by UW-Madison from its “one-time only program allocations.”

I.1.d.(1):  It was moved by Regent Cuene, seconded by Regent Semenas, that, upon 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 accepts the proffer made by the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate for fiscal year July 1, 2007, to June 30, 2008, 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. UW-Green Bay:  Revised Faculty Personnel Rules

It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Cuene, that upon the recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the amendments to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Personnel Rules.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.  

5. Report of the Senior Vice President

a. Update on the Transfer Relationship between the UW System and WTCS

The final item on the Education Committee agenda was the Report of the Senior Vice President.  Senior Vice President Martin first provided an update on the transfer relationship with the Wisconsin Technical College System, and in particular on the Chippewa Valley Technical College collegiate transfer program approved by the Board in February.  The Committee received assurance that some of the concerns that were raised during the approval of the CVTC program would not, in fact, be problems.  For example, UW System and WTCS staff held a teleconference with Department of Education personnel and were told that WTCS students would be eligible for financial aid from the institution at which they were taking most of their credits during any particular year.  In addition, staff from both Systems convened by teleconference with the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission and received strong assurance that the proposed collaborative program would not encounter obstacles in seeking accreditation.  The program is on track so that students will be able to enroll in the degree program by fall.

Dr. Martin described a meeting with her WTCS counterpart, Kathy Cullen, Vice President for Teaching and Learning, to develop and formalize a series of proactive steps designed to facilitate more streamlined transfer and better collaboration between the two Systems for the future.  These steps include:  a mutual understanding that the two Systems are working together to improve access to higher education for Wisconsin citizens; monitoring the development and implementation of the CVTC degree; early and ongoing discussion of program proposals across the two Systems with the goal of encouraging potential partnerships and identifying problems and roadblocks earlier in the process; regular status reports to both Systems’ governing Boards; and seeking to raise potential issues and possible resolutions well in advance of Board consideration.

Dr. Martin noted that the UW System Administration would endeavor to involve UW institutions in discussions wherever appropriate, as well as ensure fidelity to UW institutional missions. 

b. Preview of the Plan 2008 Progress Report

Second, Dr. Martin presented a preview of the Plan 2008 Progress Report the full Board would hear in June.  Prompted by questions from Regent Loftus, the Committee had a broad-ranging discussion focusing on the complicated set of factors contributing to the UW System’s lower retention and graduation numbers for students of color when compared to their white peers, as reported in the annual Accountability Report.  Regent Spector said that he’d like to see explanations from students who do not finish and who leave UW System institutions.  The Committee discussed the need to change how courses that students repeatedly fail are taught, and, subsequently, the need for professional development and the support that would enable UW System faculty to engage in the kind of dramatic curricular overhaul that could effect significant change. 

Chancellor Keating noted how labor-intensive it is to engage in genuine course redesign, but that UW-Parkside has been doing just that thanks to some generous one-time funding it received from UW System Administration.  He also reported that the retention numbers that are reported in the Accountability Report are not accurate.  The institutional graduation rates at UW-Parkside, for example, do not include students who transfer in from other institutions, even if they graduate from Parkside, something which is true for all UW institutions.  At UW-Parkside, half of all the institution’s graduates are transfers in and they are not counted in the graduation totals used in the Accountability Report.

Regent Loftus noted that the Fiscal Bureau reports these lower rates to the Legislature and that is all the data legislators see.  There is no opportunity for a more nuanced explanation to the Legislature of why the rates are so low and what the data means.  Interim Associate Vice President Sharon Wilhelm informed the Committee that several UW institutions are now using the numbers from the National Student Clearinghouse, which provides more accurate student degree and enrollment verification.  Regent Davis observed that better metrics are critical to helping the UW System move forward in closing the achievement gap for students of color.

c. Update on the Wisconsin Covenant

Third, the Committee heard an update on the Wisconsin Covenant program from Senior Executive Vice President Don Mash and Interim Associate Vice President Sharon Wilhelm.  Dr. Mash described a national program, “Know How to Go,” developed by the American Council on Education, the Lumina Foundation and the Ad Council, which helps young people and their families think early about preparation for post-secondary education.  UW System staff, he reported, will be working with them to develop marketing materials for Wisconsin.  The UW System will also be working in conjunction with WTCS, the privates and the Department of Public Instruction on how best to reach out to Wisconsin families.  Sharon Wilhelm told the Committee that there is a newly created Office of the Covenant with an energetic and already productive Director appointed by the Governor.  The UW System is also putting together a Covenant working group with campus participation.

Chancellor Keating reported on the Governor’s Wisconsin Covenant Day in Milwaukee which had been held the day before.  He said it was well-attended and that the Governor was very clear in setting parameters around the program that would help students and families determine eligibility.  In response to a question from Regent Semenas, the Committee reflected on some of the reasons behind the political and tax-payer resistance shown throughout Wisconsin to what Regents view as an inspiring program.  Regent Spector lamented the extent to which higher education is thought of as a private good that should be paid for by the individuals to whom the benefits accrue.  Committee members acknowledged that while funding issues remain, they are confident that the state can work those out just as other states, like Indiana, have done.  They also agreed that Wisconsin’s economic future depends on bringing more Wisconsin kids into higher education.

d. Preview of the June Charter School Discussion

Finally, Dr. Martin gave the Committee a preview of the discussion it would hold next month in committee on charter schools.  The guiding question would be one asked by Chancellor Santiago last fall:  Should UW-Milwaukee be in the business of chartering schools?  While the Committee agreed that the the discussion should be philosophical in its framework, Regent Davis asked that it be guided by whatever data is available regarding student performance at the eleven charter schools approved by the Board.  Regent Spector further asked that the Committee receive in writing information on how Dr. Robert Kattman, Director of the UW-Milwaukee Office of Charter Schools, works with the charter schools under UW-Milwaukee’s authority, as well as how faculty are involved with and/or benefit from UW-Milwaukee’s chartering of public schools.

Resolutions I. 1.b.(1), I.1.b.(2),  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, May 11, 2007, meeting.  The meeting adjourned at 4:39 p.m.