Board of Regents

Board of Regents - Education Committee Minutes - December 2009

MINUTES

EDUCATION COMMITTEE, BOARD OF REGENTS

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

December 10, 2009

Regent Crain convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 1:20 p.m.  Regents Bradley, Crain, Davis, Evers, and Vasquez were present.  Regent Crain invited the Provosts in the room to the table to join in the Committee’s discussion.

1.  UW System Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Report

Regent Crain began the meeting with introductory comments about the 2009 Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Report.  Since 2001, she reminded the Committee, the UW System had worked to take a more coordinated approach to addressing the problems caused by alcohol and other drug abuse at its institutions.  Such abuse placed huge barriers before the success of students.  The System’s coordinated approach had resulted in good work, including that of the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse or AODA Committee.  One of the Committee’s primary activities, she explained, was the development and administration of the AODA Survey, which had been given to UW students three times since 2005, most recently in 2009.  The Regents were briefed on the Survey results after each administration.

Regent Crain turned to UW-Parkside Chancellor Deborah Ford, the new Chair of the

AODA Committee.  She elaborated on the ways in which the UW System coordinated its activities, including through the Public Policy Forum on the topic which had been held in spring 2009, and the systemwide symposium held in fall 2008.  She emphasized that higher education institutions had to match their commitment to educating students with quality academics, with a commitment to educating them about the use, misuse and abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

The Committee then turned its attention to the results of the 2009 AODA Survey.  Mark Mailloux, Institutional Researcher at UW-Platteville and lead researcher for the survey, provided an overview.  He explained the sampling process, as well as significant changes made to the 2009 survey, in particular to how certain questions were worded.  While these changes impacted the comparability of the 2009 results with the two previous administrations of the survey, they were important to both enhancing the clinical relevancy of results and to improve the consistency of the survey instrument.  Mr. Mailloux reviewed the key findings of the survey, including survey responses to questions on college alcohol usage, binge drinking, and direct and indirect harms of alcohol usage experienced by students.  With the exception of marijuana usage, UW students engaged in little use and/or abuse of other drugs.  The survey also revealed gaps in student awareness of campus-based education and prevention programs on the dangers of alcohol abuse, although students did seem to understand campus AODA regulations.  He concluded that, while the incidence of binge drinking by UW students was still disturbingly high, there was “guarded optimism” that the rates were declining.  He emphasized again, however, that because of the differently worded questions on the 2009 survey, it was premature to interpret any trends until the next administration in 2011. 

Mr. Mailloux was followed by Matt Vogel, Community Health Specialist and Adjunct Instructor at UW-La Crosse.  Mr. Vogel described a course he teaches entitled “Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior.”  Using clicker technology, Mr. Vogel engaged Committee members and the audience in a demonstration of how he works with students to engage them in honest discussion of difficult subject matter.  He described some of the misconceptions students hold on the topic of AODA abuse, in particular about how much their peers drink.   He also cited examples of how excessive drinking impacts so many other realms of student life.  He described the multi-pronged approach used on his campus to effect culture change around drinking, a particular challenge in Wisconsin.

Chancellor Ford concluded the presentation by calling on the Regents for their continued support for AODA work, both through advocacy and by asking tough questions.  She thanked the campus AODA counselors and coordinators, as well as Associate Vice President Larry Rubin and Senior Academic Planner Cindy Graham for their system-level leadership.

Regent discussion focused on the issue of the legal drinking age and its impact on campus drinking.  In response to a question from Regent Crain, Mr. Mailloux replied that the legal drinking age does not factor into the survey results and that many students begin drinking in high school.  Mr. Mailloux and Mr. Vogel answered questions from Regents Davis and Vasquez about differences in the 2009 survey results compared to earlier years that were probably a result of the differently worded questions for 2009.  Mr. Mailloux emphasized the limited “real estate” in the survey, meaning that many good questions could not be included because of the need to keep the survey to a reasonable length and ensure higher response rates.  Mr. Vogel observed that traditional-aged college students are still young and that, in clinical terms, they do not think of the long-term harms or impact of binge drinking.  Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin described other data collected by UW institutions, including information on admissions to “detox” and health services, which contributed to broader campus responses to drinking.

Dr. Ken Lee, visiting Fellow from the American Council on Education, asked the presenters for their opinion on the Amicus Initiative, a national dialogue begun by college presidents directed at opening discussion on lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.  Chancellor Ford noted that her predecessor at UW-Parkside had signed on but that she never would, pointing to the AODA survey results as reason why.  Mr. Vogel responded that he was open to such a change, if it was phased in slowly with education built in.  He reiterated his interest in engaging students in genuine dialogue on complex issues that society as a whole has a hard time discussing.

Regent Crain thanked the presenters and all those who contributed to the rich discussion around a challenging topic.

2.  Committee Consent Agenda

Regent Davis moved adoption of the minutes of the October 15, 2009, meeting of the Education Committee, as well as the following resolutions as consent agenda items: 

Resolution One.One.b.(2), authorizing the implementation of the B.S. in Supply Chain Management at UW-Stout;

Resolution One.One.b.(3), authorizing implementation of the M.S. in Medical Dosimetry at UW-La Crosse; and

Resolution One.One.b.(4), approving revisions to the faculty personnel rules at UW-Oshkosh.

The motion was seconded by Regent Evers and carried on a unanimous voice vote.

3.  Approval:  Policy on Advanced Standing Credit for Project Lead the Way Courses

The Education Committee next considered a policy allowing students to receive advanced standing credit at UW institutions for Project Lead the Way courses they took in high school.  Senior Vice President Martin provided background on Project Lead the Way and the proposed policy.  She expressed UW System’s support for the policy because it is student-friendly, advances preparation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics or STEM areas, and involves a strong partnership among multiple sectors, including the UW System and Wisconsin high schools.  She described Project Lead the Way as an engineering- and technology-focused curriculum for middle and high schools, currently offered throughout the country, including at 132 high schools and 74 middle schools throughout Wisconsin.  The Kern Family Foundation of Waukesha is one of the key sponsors of Project Lead the Way and has provided generous support to K-12 education throughout the state. 

Senior Vice President Martin informed Committee members that the policy they were being asked to approve was developed in response to requests by students, parents, and legislators that UW institutions consider accepting Project Lead the Way courses both as fulfilling part of the science requirements for admission, and for advanced standing credit, as was the practice at other colleges and universities across the country.  She described the two working groups convened by System Administration to determine the best process for implementing these changes.  The first group looked into the question of accepting Project Lead the Way courses as among those high school science credits required for admission.  In consultation with DPI, it was decided that all UW institutions would accept at least one Project Lead the Way course for high school science credit as long as the other two were from biology, chemistry, or physics. 

The second workgroup was formed to draft a policy by which UW institutions would offer advanced-standing credit for Project Lead the Way courses.  That draft was subsequently shared with the Provosts and others.  Senior Vice President Martin reviewed the specifics of the policy with Committee members, reiterating that it had her strong recommendation.  She concluded that the policy sought to meet the needs both of students entering UW System institutions, and of UW institutions to ensure appropriate preparation of admitted students and the integrity of curricula and majors.  She also informed the Committee that the second working group had worked with the Educational Testing Service of the College Board to develop a reporting system through which students would receive advance-standing credit, similar to how they received Advanced Placement credit.  The group planned to reconvene in two years to evaluate how well the policy was working.

 In the discussion that followed, Committee members expressed their support for the policy.  Regent Davis observed that she was a strong proponent of Project Lead the Way and hoped that it would be clearly and widely disseminated among students, parents, and counselors at high schools, in particular.  Regent Evers concurred and asked for and received elaboration on the reporting that the Educational Testing Service would provide.  In response to a question from Regent Vasquez, Senior Vice President Martin clarified a sentence of the policy and assured him that the Regents would receive information moving forward on how the Project Lead the Way courses were being credited at UW institutions.  Julie Furst-Bowe, Provost at UW-Stout, informed the Committee that Stout already gives major credits to Project Lead the Way courses and that the campus had received Kern Foundation funding to teach K-12 educators how to do teach Project Lead the Way.  In response to a question from Regent Crain, Regent Evers described the project’s steady growth in Wisconsin with about 400 high schools statewide now providing the curriculum, including many in Milwaukee, and thanks to the generous funding provided by the Kern Foundation.

I.1.c.:  It was moved by Regent Vasquez, seconded by Regent Davis, that, upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents adopts the policy on Advanced-Standing Credit for Project Lead the Way Courses.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

4.  UW-Madison Presentation:  “Ensuring Innovation in Education, Research and Service”

In his presentation “Ensuring Innovation in Education, Research and Service,” UW-

Madison Provost Paul DeLuca described UW-Madison’s excellence and distinctiveness in providing undergraduate and graduate programming.  He detailed the measures of excellence accounting for UW-Madison’s national and international rankings and reputation.  He reviewed the campus’s degree production, including its largest baccalaureate programs, the majority of which are housed in the College of Letters and Science, the “heart and soul” of the institution as the Dean, Gary Sandefur, liked to call it.  He also reviewed UW-Madison’s doctoral and professional programming, pointing to the significant benefits of having undergraduates and graduate students in close proximity.  He displayed graduation and time-to-degree rates for undergraduates, noting upward trends but indicating that more improvement was needed, especially for targeted minority groups.

Provost DeLuca then covered the UW-Madison’s research and discovery activity, including the extraordinary number of extramural research awards received in the last few years, their impact as judged by peer citation, and the high national ranking in the number of STEM Ph.D.s it awards.  Provost DeLuca referenced UW-Madison’s commitment to training the next generation of scholars and a number of medical and scientific discoveries made by graduate students and post-docs in collaboration with faculty.  He recognized a number of faculty receiving national awards and honors in a variety of disciplines, and commented on the university’s international impact, evidenced in multiple ways, including its high participation rates in study abroad by undergraduates.

Provost DeLuca next described the reaccreditation undergone by UW-Madison in April 2009, including the self-study done in preparation for the site visit. The university’s strategic framework grew out of the self-study and the campus was using it as its planning document and “guiding light.”  He elaborated on three of the framework’s strategic directions:  sustainability, global health, and the Wisconsin Energy Institute.

He then reported on the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates, the differential tuition plan passed last spring, on campus and by the Regents, in order to fund additional need-based aid, faculty and instructional support, and expansion of best practices and innovations in teaching and learning.  He described the immediate effect the initiative has had on providing more need-based financial aid for thousands of Madison students.  He also reviewed some of the proposals funded in Phase I of the initiative and said that 130 proposals had been received in the call for Phase II.  He concluded his presentation with information on campus efforts to increase offerings of high-impact teaching practices and to reform large, introductory or gateway courses, in particular for underrepresented students.    

Regent Bradley expressed his appreciation for the presentation, observing that he was especially impressed by how personal all the messaging was, despite the campus’s large size.  Regent Vasquez commented on his experience attending an NCAA basketball tournament, at which many campuses were showcased.  He recalled how well UW-Madison had presented itself and was struck in particular by the number of Peace Corps volunteers and Fortune 500 CEOs who were graduates of UW-Madison, strong evidence of the outstanding education provided by the institution.  In response to a question from Regent Crain, Provost DeLuca elaborated on the ways in which the campus worked to offset the large size and create opportunities for community-building, in both academic and co-curricular realms.  In response to a question from Regent Evers, he provided additional information on the gateway course reform efforts underway, emphasizing the role technology could play both in enhancing student learning outcomes and creating community. 

Regent Crain joined her fellow Committee members in thanking Provost DeLuca for the presentation.

5.  Report of the Senior Vice President

The Report of Senior Vice President Martin included the following:  an update on the Draft Policy to Make Textbooks More Affordable; a review of the 2010-2011 Sabbatical Assignments emailed to Regents on Monday, December 7; and updates on activities taking place around Nursing and Clinical Laboratory Science programs.

a. Draft Policy on Making Textbooks More Affordable

Senior Vice President Martin reminded the Committee that the Board had approved in

May, 2009, the UW System’s Interim Guidelines for Making Textbooks Affordable.  Those guidelines focused on a number of recommendations that UW System and the institutions could take to help alleviate the burden of high textbook costs to UW students.  Many of these recommendations were being implemented throughout UW institutions, including earlier adoption of textbooks by faculty, more timely and intentional communication by bookstores on textbook costs, repeated use of textbooks over multiple semesters, and the increased availability of electronic versions of textbooks, among others.  She informed the Committee that, to date, 7 UW institutions had textbook rental programs, and others were under development.  Senior Vice President Martin also reminded the Committee that the economic urgency felt by all concerned was accompanied by several federal requirements coming out of the Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) that had a deadline of July 2010.  As directed by the Board last May, her office was currently developing a textbook policy, one that would carefully balance affordability for students with flexibility and autonomy for faculty.  System was consulting widely with faculty and other governance groups to make sure that the draft policy received an inclusive and deliberate vetting at each UW institution.  The plan, she concluded, was to bring to the Education and the Business, Finance, & Audit Committees a draft policy in the spring of 2010.  The goal remained to have a policy in place to coincide with the implementation of the federal guidelines by July 2010.

b.  2010-2011 Sabbatical Assignments

Senior Vice President Martin commented that, earlier in the week, Regents had received

via email the 2010-2011 Sabbatical Assignments, shared annually each December.  As always, she remarked, the proposals covered a diversity of intellectual, scholarly and pedagogical exploration, in a variety of disciplines.  Sabbaticals offered the opportunity for faculty in all disciplines to develop new directions and knowledge in their fields and to incorporate them into their classroom activities.  She reminded Committee members that the UW System Faculty Sabbatical Program was competitive, and that sabbatical proposals underwent a rigorous institutional review process.  The program incurred no additional cost to the institutions because instructional responsibilities of those on leave were assumed by colleagues, instructional staff, or visiting faculty, funded from salary savings or by rescheduling courses.  241 faculty members throughout the UW System were selected to receive sabbatical leaves during 2010-11.  Dr. Martin noted that the number was down from the previous year by 25 people, or 9%, and, in fact, that 2009-10 had seen 14% fewer sabbaticals than the year before.  For 2010-2011, 103 or 43 percent of sabbatical recipients were women, and 40 or 17 percent were minorities. 

c. Update on Nursing and Clinical Laboratory Science Programs

Senior Vice President next provided an update on nursing, recalling that the Biennial Budget had contained a provision directing the Regents to plan for a nursing program at UW-Stevens Point.  She observed that this was unusual legislation given that the Board has the statutory authority to determine academic programming.  She described the work underway with the UW campuses already offering nursing programs in that region—UW Oshkosh, UW Eau Claire and UW Green Bay—to determine next steps.  In early November, Senior Vice President Martin and Regent Bradley had convened a listening session with the region’s health care providers in Wausau focused on the area’s needs.  She was currently working with Chancellors Nook, Wells, Levin-Stankevich, and Harden to develop a plan for a BSN completion program to be offered at UW-Stevens Point.  A tentative agreement had been reached and she would report back to the Committee as the program continued to be developed.  Regent Bradley concurred with Dr. Martin that the initiative was off to a good start.  He added that he had heard many comments from the region’s health care providers in attendance at the listening session, expressing appreciation for how responsive the Chancellors had been.

Senior Vice President Martin concluded her report with an update on the impending closure of UW-Madison’s Clinical Laboratory Science program, another topic on which Regents had received a great deal of email in early summer.  She acknowledged that while there continued to be high demand for the graduates of this program throughout the state, UW-Madison had decided to phase this program out over the next few years due to budget constraints.  There were, however, four other UW institutions with similar programs:  UW-Milwaukee, UW-Stevens Point, UW-La Crosse, and UW-Oshkosh.  Senior Vice President Martin’s office was working with the directors of these programs to expand them where appropriate in order to offset UW-Madison’s reduced capacity.  Clinical placement sites in the UW Hospital and Clinics would remain an important part of this expansion, and UW-Madison was working with all parties to ensure a smooth transition.

6.  Full Board Consent Agenda

Resolutions I.1.b.(2), I.1.b.(3), I. 1.b.(4), and I.1.c. were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, December 11, 2009, meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 3:35 p.m.