Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes, June 2008

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Madison, Wisconsin
June 5, 2008

Regent Davis convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 2:50 p.m.  Regents Davis, Crain, Cuene, Loftus, Spector, Thomas, and Womack were present.

1.      UW-Milwaukee:  Presentation of Campus Academic Plan

Regent Davis welcomed those present to Milwaukee, extending a special welcome to those who were attending the meeting in support of the proposals that would be put forth by UW-Milwaukee.  Senior Vice President Martin then introduced two new chief academic officers to the Committee:  Kathleen Enz Finken, newly arrived Provost at UW-La Crosse; and William Laatsch, incoming Interim Provost at UW-Green Bay.

Regent Davis introduced UW-Milwaukee Provost Rita Cheng to present the institution’s campus academic plan.  Provost Cheng began by describing the ways in which UW-Milwaukee was embracing its role as a vibrant research-intensive university and a leader of urban growth and renewal for Wisconsin’s largest metropolitan area and the multicultural center of the state.  She pointed to UW-Milwaukee’s two strategic goals:  research growth and access to success for all students.  UW-Milwaukee’s academic plan, while still evolving, was aligned with the UW System’s Growth Agenda to Advantage Wisconsin.  The plan was designed to:  accelerate the transformation of knowledge capacity into high-paying jobs and economic vitality for the entire state; create an abundant, diverse, and skilled workforce; and attract new high-paying jobs to the region, thereby fueling economic growth. 

Provost Cheng described the investments UW-Milwaukee was making to strengthen its faculty and staff in key areas, in particular through new faculty hires in the natural sciences, engineering and health.  She pointed to unprecedented interest in UW-Milwaukee by students and its growing enrollment.  She also reviewed for the Committee UW-Milwaukee’s Access to Success initiative with its focus on helping under-represented and at-risk students be successful at UW-Milwaukee.  She noted the impact of the program, including a one-year increase in retention for first-year students.

Provost Cheng then described UW-Milwaukee’s current program array and the context for an intensive, campus-wide discussion of a campus academic plan that would help set the direction for physical planning at the same time.  The institution surveyed departments about what UW-Milwaukee’s academic program array would look like in 2011 and beyond, and which areas were likely to see the most research and programmatic growth.  The questions were devised to address the institution’s size and complexity, and to lead to the development and then implementation of a strategic plan.  She added that the data culled from those surveys and discussions contributed to the development of the two new schools on the Committee’s agenda that day:  the School of Public Health and the School of Freshwater Sciences.  She noted the momentum building in the disciplines represented by the new schools, which would increase extramural funding, graduate program array, and economic development in the region.

Provost Cheng identified the specific Ph.D. programs that would be added over time both in the two new schools and elsewhere throughout the institution.  The campus’s new doctoral programs would contribute to the new economy and also address the paucity of people of color in certain disciplines, most notably science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Provost Cheng emphasized UW-Milwaukee’s catalytic role in Milwaukee’s art and cultural life, and pointed to the contributions of doctoral programs like Africology and Linguistics to the knowledge of community and human behavior.  She then indicated the new master’s level and baccalaureate degree programs that would be added to the institution’s array in coming years.  Some of these would be in the form of online and blended degree offerings.  Many of them would be collaborative and interdisciplinary and would seek to offer undergraduate students greater research opportunities, honors programs, and study abroad.  She highlighted the many collaborations underway at UW-Milwaukee, both within the institution and with external partners like the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Area Technical College, and other UW institutions. 

Provost Cheng completed her presentation as she began, by showing pictures of new graduates in a variety of disciplines, each of whom would contribute to Milwaukee and Wisconsin’s emerging knowledge economy in different ways.  The campus academic plan presented was still evolving but, she concluded, it was nimble, adaptive and would meet the needs of UW-Milwaukee and the greater community.

2.      UW-Milwaukee:  Establish the School of Public Health

In moving to the presentation of the UW-Milwaukee School of Public Health, Regent Davis recognized the members of the Public Health Planning Council for the critical role they had played in shepherding the proposal forward to the point of Board of Regents action.  Provost Cheng joined Regent Davis in expressing appreciation, extending it as well to Milwaukee Commissioner of Public Health Bevin Baker and the UW-Milwaukee faculty and staff who had helped make the proposal a reality.

Provost Cheng detailed for the Committee the context for the planning that had gone into the creation of the School of Public Health, beginning with the needs analysis.  The City of Milwaukee, she said, faces a critical shortage and lack of training in its workforce.  The health disparities in Milwaukee impact the entire state, and what is needed is the development of a public health infrastructure, including the development of intellectual capital.  An accredited school of public health at UW-Milwaukee would address the issues raised in Healthy Wisconsin, the State’s health report. 

Provost Cheng reviewed the history of the School of Public Health planning, beginning with the feasibility study in 2005 requested by the Board of Regents.  The $10 million gift from Joseph Zilber, she added, has placed the School on a whole new plane for being realized.  Provost Cheng described the new academic health programs that would be offered at the School, including four Ph.D. programs and a Master’s of Public Health.  The programs were determined in part by accreditation standards, to which UW-Milwaukee is adhering carefully in its planning.  Accreditation standards also contributed to the identification of the new School’s research foci in five public health disciplines, comprising social and behavioral health, environmental health, health administration and policy, epidemiology, and biostatistics.  Provost Cheng characterized the School’s potential for strengthening interdisciplinary research and faculty, targeted research and education funding opportunities, revenue generation, and a more direct link to community engagement.  She emphasized as well the benefits of accredited schools of public health not only in responding to public health crises, but also in how they act as revenue streams for funded research. 

Provost Cheng next reviewed the portfolio of resources that would support the new School.  In addition to the Zilber gift, UW-Milwaukee was asking for increased state support through the DIN process.  Its resources included cluster hiring and research through the Center for Urban Population Health that would be funded by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.  Extramural grants and contracts would be sought, as would additional gifts.  Tuition would also provide important revenue.

Categorizing public health as an inherently collaborative enterprise, Provost Cheng listed the School’s partners, including the new School of Freshwater Sciences and other UW-Milwaukee schools, colleges and centers, as well as the Milwaukee Health Department, the Medical College of Wisconsin and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.  She then described the proposed timeline to accreditation.  The founding dean would be recruited in
2008-09, the year in which the first Ph.D. students would also be admitted.  The accreditation review process would take place sometime between 2012-14, with approval anticipated in 2014-15.  The School would need to graduate at least one cohort of Ph.D.s prior to accreditation.  She concluded the presentation by referencing the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s editorial support for the new School, adding that Regent folders included a letter of support from Dean Golden of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

In response to questions from Regent Loftus, Provost Cheng described the three existing public health programs in Wisconsin and how the UW-Milwaukee School of Public Health would complement their offerings.  She reported that UW-Milwaukee would benefit from the Blue Cross/Blue Shield money given to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health through grants received by faculty and programs, and through designated grant and hiring opportunities at the Center for Urban Population Health. 

In response to a question from Regent Womack about community engagement, Provost Cheng deferred to Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevin Baker, Ron Sisler, Director of the Center for Urban Population Health, and Stephen Percy, Director of the UW-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research.  Dr. Sisler shared with the Committee some of the work done at the Center for Urban Population Health, including research on mental health issues.  Dr. Percy described the community health advisory group for the new School and its participatory research and social justice work.  Dr. Baker noted his department’s commitment to ensure that every research initiative addresses actual community needs.

Regent Crain expressed her excitement, and Regent Cuene concurred, that so much progress had been made in the three years since the idea for the School was first brought before the Regents, pointing to all the collaborations as particularly impressive.  Regent Davis observed that the next step in the School’s realization would be legislative approval.  She asked whether UW-Milwaukee was anticipating a positive reception from the Legislature.  UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Santiago responded that he had met with over 60 legislators in the last year and that he anticipated a supportive process in seeking approval in January of 2009.  Regent Davis also mentioned a query from Regent Connolly-Keesler regarding the work being done by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, reminding the Committee that the Board would hear that School’s annual report later in the year. 

I.1.b.:  It was moved by Regent Crain, seconded by Regent Cuene, 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 authorize the establishment of the School of Public Health at UW-Milwaukee.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

Regent Davis observed how moving the approval was for her and expressed her appreciation to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the role he played in bringing the School of Public Health from vision to reality.

3.      UW-Milwaukee:  Establish the School of Freshwater Sciences

Regent Davis turned again to Provost Cheng for the presentation of UW-Milwaukee’s new School of Freshwater Sciences.  Provost Cheng recognized the large number of faculty and staff in the room, a multi-disciplinary group whose members had played huge roles in bringing the new School to fruition.  Provost Cheng described the School’s mission to advance, create, and disseminate new knowledge that would protect, restore, and sustain the health and well-being of freshwaters and the lives of people and other living things dependent upon them.  In detailing the need and relevance of the School, she noted that its structure positions UW-Milwaukee to rise to the next level in freshwater research and the integration of science, engineering, and policy.  The current structure of academic disciplines, programs, and facilities now dispersed across the campus does not allow for advancing interdisciplinary research, nor for raising money in the way that the new School’s organizational structure will allow.  She cited the tremendous potential for the Great Lakes region to become a global center of freshwater research and development.  The School would be the first school of Freshwater Sciences in the nation, and would fulfill the accelerating demand for the water scientists and engineers needed to create a world-class workforce in freshwater technology. 

Provost Cheng pointed to the long-term interdisciplinary interest of UW-Milwaukee faculty in freshwater research and practice, as well as the Great Lakes WATER Institute, as influential drivers of the School’s development.  The School’s academic array will include a Ph.D. in Freshwater Sciences, two Master’s level degrees, specialized certification, continuing education and outreach programs, as well as a focus on undergraduate research and learning.  The School will sponsor research focused on system dynamics, environmental health and sustainability, freshwater and technology, and policy and management.  Interdisciplinary research alliances abound, linking work in human and environmental health, the reconciliation of human activity and freshwater sustainability, and the ways in which science informs policy and the equitable use of freshwaters locally and globally.

Provost Cheng indicated multiple benefits arising from the School, including the opportunities to provide regional, state, and international leadership around an area of recognized excellence at UW-Milwaukee, and to increase access to extramural dollars.  She also cited benefits to the Milwaukee region and the state through the School’s contributions to the education of future faculty and water-industry professionals in the community, region, and state.  Many resources are already in place, primarily in the form of the existing WATER Institute’s base budget of $2.4 million which will be reallocated to the new School.  Increased state support will be sought through the budget DIN process, as well as extramural grants, contracts, and gifts.  Tuition will also bring in revenue.

Like the School of Public Health, Provost Cheng continued, the School of Freshwater Sciences is already collaborating with a variety of UW-Milwaukee-specific, Wisconsin and national partners, including the UW-Madison Nelson Institute and Center for Limnology, the Departments of Biological Sciences at UW-Oshkosh and -Green Bay, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NIH, the US Geological Survey, the Wisconsin DNR, and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.  Provost Cheng concluded her presentation by outlining the timeline for the new School, with Regent and Legislative approvals coming in 2008-09, the recruitment of a founding dean also in 2008-09, and the hiring of faculty between 2008 and 2013.  The new Ph.D. program will begin enrolling its first students in 2009-10.  The timeline will be less lengthy than that of the School of Public Health because many of the resources and faculty already exist, as does a building.

Regent Loftus opened the discussion by asking what the three top freshwater problems of the future are that the new School will address.  Dr. J. Val Klump, Senior Scientist at the Great Lakes Water Institute and Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences and Geosciences at UW-Milwaukee, responded.  He cited a new virus recently found by the DNR in Lake Michigan, in a new species of fish that previously did not exist in the Great Lakes.  This virus, he explained, has the potential to migrate, replicate, and severely damage the Lakes’ ecosystem.  He referred to water as the oil of the 21st century, and, as such, the great responsibility people have to work out solutions for the water demands that will be critical worldwide in coming years.  Freshwater technology, Dr. Klump added, is burgeoning and UW-Milwaukee is uniquely poised to develop that science and industry.  Sustainable water is essential for the future of his generation’s children and grandchildren, and UW-Milwaukee will be producing a system for providing it.  The School of Freshwater Sciences is a real pioneer; there are marine biology schools throughout the country but no other freshwater schools in the United States.

In response to a question from Regent Loftus about the benefits to the rest of Wisconsin, Dr. Klump pointed again to the enormous role of fresh water to the entire state.  UW-Milwaukee is already a leader in many areas of research relevant to the entire state.  He also noted the global importance of UW-Milwaukee’s research, citing the case of one of the Institute’s scientists conducting research in Africa on groundwater contamination.  Research done in Wisconsin can have ramifications for problems elsewhere in the world, and the reverse is also true:  research performed in other parts of the globe can pertain to Wisconsin-specific issues.

In response to a question from Regent Cuene, Dr. Klump responded that several strong collaborations are already in place among UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh.  The WATER Institute already does a lot of research with other UW colleagues on Lake Winnebago.  One of the Institute’s scientists is one of the world’s leading researchers on sturgeon (he is known as the “Sturgeon General”).  The new School will allow for greater facility in convening scientists from around the state to participate in a higher level of collaboration on education and research.

In making the motion to approve the School’s establishment, Regent Spector expressed his appreciation for the presentation and strong support for the School.

I.1.c.:  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 authorize the establishment of the School of Freshwater Sciences at
UW-Milwaukee.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

4.      UW-Milwaukee:  Program Authorization of the Ph.D. in Africology

Provost Cheng introduced Dr. Joyce Kirk, Professor of Africology, to introduce the Ph.D. in

Africology, a program long in the making.  In presenting the program, Dr. Kirk recognized her colleagues from the Department of Africology, as well as other community friends of Africology sitting in the audience, all of whom had labored to make the Ph.D. program a reality.  She recognized in particular civil rights leader Val Phillips, whose many accomplishments include being the first black woman to graduate from the Wisconsin Law School, as well as Wisconsin’s first black female judge and secretary of state.

Dr. Kirk described for the Committee the growth of Africology in the last 40 years from a small center to a department with 11 faculty members.  In outlining the need for the program, she highlighted the national shortage of Ph.D.-prepared scholars in Africology, the need for new concepts and theories with which to understand, evaluate and predict the realities of Africans and their descendents, the expansion of the African-American population in Milwaukee and other U.S. cities, and the renewed and expanding role of Africa in the world.  She reported that there are only seven other Africology Ph.D. programs in the country, including those at the University of California, Berkeley, Harvard, Yale, Temple and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Dr. Kirk named the program’s two areas of focus in culture and society, and in political economy.  She also described the strengths of the program with its broad perspective covering Africa and its Diaspora, its outreach, community projects and connections to greater metropolitan Milwaukee, and its faculty distinguished in teaching, research and community engagement.  The program will prepare students for the professoriate and for policy-making roles in government and the private sector.  She provided an overview of the program requirements, assessment, and its inherent diversity.  She concluded by noting that as the UW System strives to be ever more accountable to its many constituencies, the approval of the Ph.D. in Africology sends a powerful message to the people of Milwaukee about where its priorities lie.

Regent Crain observed what a privilege it was to be in the same room with Val Phillips, and then asked how the program would provide opportunities for international experiences and study abroad.  Dr. Kirk responded that the Department currently has a program in Ghana and that many of its faculty members do comparative research.  She envisions that doctoral students will be able to do both library and field work in Africa as a part of their program.  In response to a question from Regent Loftus, Dr. Kirk described Africology’s theoretical framework, drawing from sociology and other disciplines.

Prior to calling for the motion, Regent Davis expressed her appreciation for the tenacity with which Dr. Kirk, her colleagues in Africology, and the community persisted in their development of the Ph.D. program.

I.1.d.:  It was moved by Regent Spector, seconded by Regent Thomas, 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 Africology.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

5.      Report of the Senior Vice President

a.       Background on Proposed Western Technical College/UW-La Crosse Liberal Arts Degree Program

Senior Vice President Martin began her report with an update on the UW System’s collaborations with the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).  As requested by the Education Committee, she informed members that in August she would provide summary data of student participation and progress in the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC)/UW-Eau Claire liberal arts transfer program approved by the Board in March 2007.  At that time, two semesters of data would be available for the Committee’s review. 

Senior Vice President Martin then provided background information on an additional liberal arts transfer program proposal newly approved by the WTCS Board, which would come before the Education Committee in August for its approval, as required by statute.  Dr. Martin reminded the Committee that when it approved the CVTC/UW-Eau Claire program in 2007, her office had identified only one other region of the state where there might be a distinct need and rationale for an additional liberal arts transfer program, and that region was southwestern Wisconsin,  and La Crosse  in particular.  Elsewhere in the region, the UW Colleges had established 1 + 1 programs with the eastern campuses of Western Technical College. 

Over the past eight months, members of the Office of Academic Affairs had been working with colleagues at UW-La Crosse, Western Technical College, and the WTCS central office on a proposal for an Associate of Science Liberal Arts Degree.  The proposal is based on the CVTC model and is a collaboratively delivered degree that draws upon the resources  of both institutions.  Through ongoing discussions by all the parties involved, potential issues and possible resolutions were raised well in advance of Board consideration by either system.  As her office completes its formal analysis of the proposal this summer, Dr. Martin expressed her confidence that the criteria established for review by the UW Board of Regents would be fully addressed.  She asked Committee members for any specific concerns that they might like to see addressed when the proposal is brought before them in August.

Regent Loftus asked Senior Vice President Martin to describe what her concerns would be if she were a Regent.  She responded that she would want to be certain that the program had identified a real need that could not be addressed through any other programs already in existence; that the Regents would want to be sure that they were serving as careful and thoughtful stewards of the state’s resources; and that the Board’s own criteria were being carefully and responsibly met.  Regent Cuene reported that the new degree program had come before the WTCS Board a few weeks ago.  That Board had received a comprehensive presentation, which included UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow expressing his support, as well as letters of support from each of the participating institutions.  She described the process followed as excellent, with appropriate attention paid to curriculum and campus support.  Regent Crain observed how much she appreciated the interim report from Senior Vice President Martin.

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

Senior Vice President Martin then turned to the 2008-09 Report on Promotions, Tenure and Related Academic Approval Items.  The Report, she observed, represents appropriate recognition for the outstanding work of faculty across the UW System.  She provided an overview of the tenure and promotion results broken down by minority status and gender, noting that of the 256 individuals considered for tenure at UW institutions, 99% were approved.  The disaggregated data indicate that of the favorable decisions, 44% went to white males, 36% went to white females, 11% went to minority males, and 9% went to minority females.  She emphasized that the data do not represent the entire picture, adding that considerable effort takes place to mentor young faculty in the 5-6 years leading up to tenure.  She continued that in 2008, a total of 871 faculty members were considered for renewal at UW institutions and of that total, 18 or 2% were denied.  Of those denied, she elaborated, 28% were white males, 39% were white females, 22% were minority males, and 11% were minority females.

Senior Vice President Martin concluded that the real story was in the great work done by individual faculty members.  She recalled the great satisfaction that came from tenuring people that she had hired, including several names on this year’s report whom she had hired while serving as Provost at UW-Parkside.  She then turned to Regent Davis to call for the motion approving the Report.  Prior to making the motion, Regent Thomas observed that she had direct experience with one of the faculty members on the list and she could attest both to that person’s excellence and the satisfaction she felt in her role as Regent approving the final step of the tenure process.

I.1.e.(2):  It was moved by Regent Thomas, seconded by Regent Spector, that, upon recommendation of the respective Chancellors and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the 2008-09 Report on Faculty Promotions, Tenure Designations and Other Changes of Status be approved.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

Regent Davis added her congratulations to the many deserving faculty at each of the UW System’s institutions who had worked so hard for tenure and promotion.  She also thanked Senior Vice President Martin for including in this year’s Report the supplemental data on race and gender that had previously been sent to Regents under separate cover.

6.      Committee Consent Agenda

As the Committee began deliberations of its consent agenda, Senior Vice President Martin directed attention to the six programs on it.  She explained to Committee members that having so many new academic programs on one agenda was a function of the Board of Regents having changed its meeting schedule.  Without a May meeting at which to approve academic programs, those programs ready earlier were relegated to the June agenda.  She emphasized that all of the programs on the consent agenda were strong proposals that drew upon existing institutional strengths, did not require additional resources, and, hence, were appropriately placed as consent items.  Regent Davis then moved adoption of the minutes of the April 10, 2008, meeting of the Education Committee and the following resolutions as consent agenda items.  The motion was seconded by Regent Cuene and carried on a unanimous voice vote.

Resolution I.1.f.(2), authorizing implementation of the B.A. in Design Arts at UW-Green Bay;

Resolution I.1.f.(3), authorizing implementation of the B.A. in Arts Management at UW-Green Bay;

Resolution I.1.f.(4), authorizing implementation of the Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at UW-Stevens Point;

Resolution I.1.f.(5), authorizing implementation of the B.S. in Plastics Engineering at UW-Stout;

Resolution I.1.f.(6), authorizing implementation of the M.A. in Spanish at UW-Milwaukee;

Resolution I.1.f.(7), authorizing implementation of the M.A. in Women’s Studies at UW-Milwaukee; and

Resolution I.1.f.(8), accepting the proffer from the Trustees of the William F. Vilas Trust Estate to UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee in support of scholarships, fellowships, professorships, and special programs in arts and humanities, social science and music.

7.      Full Board Consent Agenda

Resolutions I.1.b., I.1.c., I.1.d., I. 1.e.(2), I.1.f.(2), I.1.f.(3), I.1.f.(4), I.1.f.(5),

I.1.f.(6), I.1.f.(7), and I.1.f.(8) were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, June 6, 2008, meeting. 

The meeting adjourned at 4:32 p.m.