Board of Regents
Board of Regents - Education Committee Minutes - February 2009
EDUCATION COMMITTEE, BOARD OF REGENTS
University of Wisconsin-Madison
February 5, 2009
Regent Davis convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 12:40 p.m. Regents Davis, Crain, Cuene, Loftus, Spector, and Thomas were present. Regents Bradley and Pruitt joined the meeting in progress.
1. Report of the UW System Nursing Education Task Force
Regent Davis turned to Senior Vice President Rebecca Martin to introduce the presentation of the UW System Nursing Education Task Force Report. Senior Vice President Martin spoke of the challenges faced by Wisconsin and the nation in educating a nursing workforce that would be able to meet the demographic realities and health needs of an aging population. The UW System was challenged to provide all the resources necessary to educate nurses in the numbers needed. For these reasons, she convened the Nursing Education Task Force. Similar to the Engineering Education Task Force convened a year earlier, the Nursing Education Task Force could provide a statewide perspective on nursing education and workforce needs, which was important both to the work of the Office of Academic Affairs and that of the Regents as they made programmatic and resource decisions.
Senior Vice President Martin introduced Rosemary Smith, Dean of the College of Nursing at UW-Oshkosh, to present the report. Dean Smith acknowledged nursing colleagues in attendance, who had worked on the task force, including Susan Dean Baar, Associate Dean of Nursing at UW-Milwaukee, and Derryl Block, Chair of the Nursing Department at UW-Green Bay. She also acknowledged Sally Lundeen, Dean of the UW-Milwaukee College of Nursing, who had chaired the Task Force but was unable to be at the meeting.
Dean Smith reviewed the charge and purpose of the task force, and described the nursing profession as comprising the largest group of health professionals in the county, with the greatest job growth, and at the top of Gallop polling for honesty and ethics. The UW System’s nursing programs, she stated, had much to be proud of: all five programs had strong outcomes for RN (Registered Nurse) licensure; graduate-level certification exams; and employer satisfaction surveys. In briefly describing the five programs, she mentioned the scholarly productivity and innovative grant funding for which they were known. She highlighted some of the innovative programming and collaboration in which the five nursing programs had engaged, including the STEP AHEAD PROGRAM and the BSN@Home program.
Dean Smith next profiled the major challenges confronting nursing education in Wisconsin, including: projected workforce shortages of nurses by 2015; the difficulty in educating the next generation of nurses in the face of a rapidly aging faculty and few qualified replacements; and ensuring adequate K-16 preparation for success in a science-based nursing curriculum. Additional challenges include the development of a well-prepared pipeline of students from all communities and economic strata, and finding and supporting clinical placements with the necessary breadth and depth for what students needed to know and be able to do.
Dean Smith reviewed for the Committee the substance of the task force report’s six recommendations. These included: 1) increasing the number of baccalaureate-level nursing graduates; 2) expanding clinical opportunities; 3) enhancing racial/ethnic and gender diversity of nursing students; 4) ensuring a pipeline of prepared students and nurse educators; 5) collecting statewide and regional data on supply and demand; and 6) continuing collaboration among higher education systems and institutions in Wisconsin. Elaborating on the set of recommendations, Dean Smith noted that the UW System’s nursing programs enjoyed the highest level of accreditation, which was not easy to secure and difficult to maintain. Increasing the number of clinical opportunities was one way to do that and would require human and fiscal support from local communities as well as the state. Advanced practice nurses, she continued, would help fill in workforce gaps throughout the state, especially in rural area where physicians were lacking. On the supply and demand data recommendation, Dean Smith commented that it was critical for state policy-makers and the Department of Workforce Development to understand the need for such data in determining short- and long-term planning and resource allocation. Dean Smith added that there was clear research on the extent to which baccalaureate-trained nurses had better patient outcomes, and that, given the increasing complexity of health care, higher educational levels were a necessity.
Regent Spector commented how impressed he was with the report and asked how many men were in the UW System’s nursing programs. Dean Smith responded that the number varied between 10-20% at Oshkosh. Associate Dean Baar replied that UW-Milwaukee had between 12-15 %, and that, in general, the UW System’s nursing programs were above the national average for male students, while still seeking greater gender diversity.
Regent Spector then posed a question on what would be needed—in particular what kind of national leadership would be needed from the President on down—to grow health care in truly different ways, to stem medical costs, and make industry-wide changes. In terms of industry changes, Dean Smith proposed that more outpatient care would be needed, as well as more family care-givers. She mentioned the impact of the increasing numbers of uninsured people as having a huge impact on the health care profession and hospitals. In response to another question from Regent Spector, Dean Smith said that the workforce projections for Wisconsin were accurate and that while the state educated many nurses, many of them went to other states upon graduation, recruited by places like the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.
Observing that nursing was a global profession, Regent Loftus asked whether Wisconsin could recruit more international nurses. Associate Dean Baar described some of the challenges in hiring and retaining international nurses, based on the experience of Milwaukee hospitals. In response to another question from Regent Loftus, Professor Block replied that, while end-of-life care was growing, there were not a lot of hospice programs in Wisconsin, a situation that would maybe change with the state’s aging population.
Regent Crain asked for elaboration on the diversity of the profession and what roles preparation, career, and pay issues played for under-represented groups in nursing. Dean Smith responded that, in fact, the pool of well-qualified students interested in nursing had grown dramatically but that UW schools of nursing did not have the capacity to educate them. She cited an article in the Wisconsin State Journal, in which Katharyn May, Dean of the UW-Madison School of Nursing, was quoted as saying that there were over 400 qualified applicants for every 100 spots in the Madison nursing program. The problem, she reiterated, was not recruitment but, rather, the capacity to accommodate more students. She also described one of Ohskosh’s big goals for its nursing program to ensure that its students had the appropriate levels of caring and scholarship to graduate them as nurse leaders.
UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich commented that accelerated online nursing programs were models for smart growth, like the online accelerated baccalaureate program at UW-Oshkosh. Dean Smith acknowledged her pride in that program, adding that it, too, could not accommodate all the students who wanted to enroll. She mentioned UW-Milwaukee’s accelerated Master’s program, and a forthcoming one from UW-Madison, as equally strong models.
Regent Davis commented on what she viewed as the two major areas that the task force report sought to address: the capacity issue for the existing nursing schools, and the development of new programs. Associate Dean Baar pointed to the great history of collaboration, instead of duplication, that existed in the partnership between UW-Milwaukee and UW-Parkside, adding that such a model could be useful to replicate. Professor Block observed that the BSN@Home program had additional capacity for qualified students. She added that identifying the human and fiscal resources was one problem, and that finding adequate clinical placement offerings was another.
Senior Vice President Martin mentioned that some UW campuses believed that the best approach to meeting the state’s nursing workforce needs was through local or regional programs. UW-Stevens Point, she informed the Committee, was seeking an entitlement for its own nursing program, although it was still early in the process.
UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells asked Dean Smith to say more about the BSN@Home program, which he extolled as an exemplary financial model: administered without any additional state resources, the program was able to pay for itself and put funds back into other nursing school programs. He added that before the UW System approved any new nursing programs, it should address how to get more faculty to teach in the existing programs and resolve the clinical placement shortage. He cited UW-Platteville’s expansion of its engineering program into the Fox Valley as an example of a creative collaboration that met the needs of the region without duplication.
Dean Smith elaborated on the cost-recovery model of the BSN@Home program. Revenue generated by the online program was fed back to provide computers and hand-held devices for the students in the program, and to reimburse financial aid, library costs, etc. The Oshkosh nursing program also used recovered costs to educate more Ph.D.-prepared nursing faculty. In response to a question from Chancellor Wells, Dean Smith said that the BSN@Home program had now graduated 300 new baccalaureate-trained nurses. There were currently two cohorts of 30 students each, two-thirds of whom were Wisconsin student and another third who came from other states. There has been growing interest in the program from other states, for example, California. In response to a question from Regent Thomas, Dean Smith replied that the tuition for out-of-state students was the same as for in-state students, about $38,000 per year. Many Wisconsin students in the BSN@Home program had their tuition paid for by their employers. Many employers, she noted, wanted to pay for their already-employed two-year educated nurses who were seeking baccalaureate degrees, because they wanted to keep them.
Committee members joined Regent Davis in her expression of appreciation to Dean Smith, Associate Dean Baar and Professor Block, as well as the other members of the task force, for their dedicated work and service, and the comprehensiveness of their report.
2. Draft Criteria for UW System Comprehensive Institutions Proposing to Offer Professional Doctorates
Regent Davis turned to Associate Vice President Stephen Kolison to present to the Committee the Draft Criteria for UW System Comprehensive Institutions Proposing to Offer Professional Doctorates. She reminded Committee members that the draft criteria had been developed in response to the request made by the Regents following the November 2008 policy discussion on the complex national context for expanding degree requirements in certain professional fields. The Committee would not be taking action; rather its input was sought and would be incorporated into a new Academic Affairs policy that did not require Regent approval.
Dr. Kolison reviewed the national higher education landscape leading to the creation of the Draft Criteria, in which growth in the development of professional doctorates had arisen in response to multiple factors. These included the need to increase knowledge and depth in certain professional fields; changing accreditation and professional licensure requirements; changing workforce demands for graduate-level training; new knowledge in content areas; and technological advancements. Professional doctorates required at least a bachelor’s degree for entry, often in a related field; included study of applied or clinical research and/or advanced practice; provided preparation in the body of knowledge needed for professional practice in a specific field; and provided preparation for professional licensure and accreditation. Many of these growing professional doctorates were clinical degrees and/or in the health sciences, including the Doctors of Pharmacy, Audiology, Physical Therapy, and Nursing Practice.
Several of the UW System’s comprehensive institutions, continued Dr. Kolison, already offered Master of Science degrees in these clinical areas. Given new depth requirements in these areas, motivated by rapid technological, practice and accreditation changes, these M.S.-level programs needed to be offered at the professional doctorate level to remain viable and competitive. Dr. Kolison reminded the Committee of the policy questions covered at the November 2008 Board discussion, informed by remarks from the Chancellors at UW-Eau Claire and -Oshkosh. The Draft Criteria presented to the Committee had been shared with the Provosts in December 2008, and their feedback had been incorporated into the current document.
Dr. Kolison outlined the key policy areas addressed by the Draft Criteria: alignment with the undergraduate mission of the UW comprehensives; resource implications and overall institutional capacity; the quality of programs, curricula, faculty and facilities; pricing and revenue opportunities; and access issues and alignment with the goals of the Growth Agenda. Dr. Kolison said that, moving forward, the additional input provided by the Committee would be incorporated into the UW System’s new Academic Affairs policy on professional doctorates at the comprehensives. The Draft Criteria contained two principles: 1) to enhance access to professional doctorate degrees; and 2) to enhance efficiencies and avoid unnecessary duplication. These were followed by nine Criteria, each of which was detailed by Dr. Kolison, addressing the policy areas covered above.
In response to several questions from Regent Loftus, Senior Vice President Martin provided additional context for the drafting of the criteria and reiterated that, while Regent input was being sought, the Regents did not need to approve Academic Affairs policy. The new policy would, however, be used to inform Regent approval of future programs. In response to another question from Regent Loftus, Dr. Martin said that having the criteria would not result in turning every two-year master’s degree program into a three-year doctorate. The criteria would help the UW System work with those campuses that wanted to proceed in the development of such degrees. What emerged from the November discussion with the Regents was that, while the mission statements for the comprehensives were not clear on whether professional doctorates were allowed, there was interest on the part of the Regents to consider new professional doctorates at the comprehensives. The criteria and principles would allow for careful planning by all involved. Dr. Kolison observed that the UW-Eau Claire and -Oshkosh entitlements for a Doctor of Nursing Practice, scheduled to come before the Board for authorization in the spring, established a precedent for how to proceed.
Senior Vice President Martin added that her office was trying to set the bar very high for the establishment of such programs. She mentioned the collaborative doctorates in audiology and physical therapy as successful models that had been in existence for a number of years and were offered by a comprehensive in partnership with one of the doctoral institutions. Mark Nook, Provost at UW-Stevens Point, explained the nature of the audiology doctorate offered collaboratively by UW-Stevens Point and UW-Madison. The audiology doctorate had a field-specific entry point that students had to follow in order to be audiologists, as was the case for certain other professional fields.
In response to a question from Regent Loftus on whether these changes were always in response to licensure or accreditation changes, Senior Vice President Martin cited the Ed.D., the Doctor of Education degree, which provided doctoral preparation to school leaders. The interest of certain universities in developing Ed.D. degrees had nothing to do with licensure or accreditation. The point was, she emphasized, that the potential development of such degrees by UW comprehensives, while unlikely in the current budget climate, would be guided by the Draft Criteria before the Regents.
Regent Cuene expressed her support for considering professional doctorates at the comprehensives. Times are changing, she said, and the UW System needs to be nimble in adapting to emerging needs. Further, there were already private-sector institutions that were adding professional doctoral programs, especially in the health fields and education. The Wisconsin Technical College System, she added, would appreciate more Ed.D. programs as a means of preparing leadership at their schools.
Chancellor Levin-Stankevich referred to the rise of the Doctor of Physical Therapy and the Doctor of Nursing Practice as perfect examples of how fields change quickly, noting that changing practice requirements necessitated additional and more specialized education. He questioned the reasonableness of Criteria #9, which stated that “new and emerging fields of study that do not currently exist at the master’s level at the comprehensives, or within the UW System will be offered through UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.” He cited the example of pharmacy, saying that no campus would start a master’s in pharmacy. The other criteria, he observed, made sense, especially the focus on institutional capacity. He added that while it was critical to understand workforce needs, it was also important to consider economic development needs, which might be different. Senior Vice President agreed with his point about the pharmacy master’s degree.
In response to a question from Regent Davis, Dr. Kolison elaborated on Criteria #9, which was motivated by a concern with quality. Looking at programs with master’s degrees already in place would allow for strong assessment of quality as a condition for moving forward with a doctorate. He added that the various components of quality (including fidelity to and integrity of mission, resources issues, etc.) were further attended to by the System’s already established academic program policy. Senior Vice President Martin acknowledged a point made by Regent Crain, that Wisconsin was not the only state facing these kinds of challenges and that the need to be competitive with neighboring states, Minnesota in particular, played an influential role.
David J. Ward, Interim Chancellor of UW-Green Bay and former Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at UW System, recalled his experience in the 1990s in trying to address the accreditation push in the allied health fields. The Regents at that time tried several venues for pushing back against the accreditors, as did then-Chancellor John Wiley and UW-Madison. Despite multiple efforts, there was no real impact. Regent Spector agreed that “the horse was way out of the barn” on this topic and that the UW System needed to not lose ground and, instead, be competitive with professional doctorates. The history of the Juris Doctor was a reminder of changing requirements that became institutionalized. Referring back to Chancellor Levin-Stankevich’s point, however, he added that he would be concerned with the quality of doctorates offered by a program that did not already have a master’s degree. Chancellor Levin-Stankevich responded that he understands that point for programs where there are master’s degrees in the field. But in fields where there was no master’s level degree, he felt that Criteria #9 was overly restrictive.
Regent Spector suggested that the language in Criteria #9 be reworded to reflect the concerns raised and Regent Davis and Senior Vice President Martin agreed. In response to Regent Spector’s question about examples of emerging degrees, Dr. Kolison named game theory and design, and Provost Nook named clinical psychology, in addition to pharmacy. Minnesota, he informed the Committee, had already added these degrees, as well as the Ed.D. UW-La Crosse Provost Kathleen Enz Finken pointed to what she felt might be some confusion about Ph.D. degrees vs. clinical or professional doctorates. There was a vast difference in the research requirements for these two degrees and the comprehensives, she emphasized, would not be offering any Ph.D.s. Chancellor Wells noted that while accreditation creep is disconcerting, the licensure issue in a field like nursing was real and it was necessary to respect the understanding of the field and its changing practice and knowledge requirements. He suggested that the criteria should include demonstration of strong support and involvement of the practice community.
Regent Loftus asked how many Master of Social Work programs there were in the state and whether they would be looking to change over to doctorates. Senior Vice President Martin said that the principles and criteria would be in effect if they did. Referring again to the Ed.D., she informed the Committee that she had told the Provosts that before any Ed.D. proposal from a comprehensive would be considered by her office, there would be a statewide analysis, as was done with nursing and engineering. The criteria, she commented, were articulated to help the UW System move ahead in a timely fashion, as suggested by Regents Spector and Loftus. At the policy discussion in November, the Regents could have determined that only UW-Madison and -Milwaukee would be allowed to develop professional doctorates. The Regents did not say that and hence the development of the criteria that would guide the comprehensives as they considered additions to their program array, and the Office of Academic Affairs and the Regents as new programs moved through the entitlement and authorization process.
Regent Davis expressed her support for the criteria and that, moving forward, they would need to be fluid. In response to Regent Loftus’s question about the number of social work programs in the UW System, Dr. Jan Sheppard, Senior Academic Planner in the Office of Academic Affairs, informed the Committee that there were nine undergraduate programs, as well as two master’s and two Ph.D. programs at UW-Madison and –Milwaukee.
Regent Davis thanked Dr. Kolison and commended him on what was his first presentation to the Board since assuming his new role as Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Programs.
3. UW System Growth Agenda Action Steps: KnowHow2GO Network
Regent Davis turned to Associate Vice President Larry Rubin to introduce a presentation on the KnowHow2Go Network. Dr. Rubin reminded Committee members of the previous presentations they had heard on the Growth Agenda Action Steps at their recent meetings. Action Step #6 focused on the advancement of the Wisconsin KnowHow2Go Network and Mentoring Program. He described KnowHow2Go as a national campaign, sponsored by the Lumina Foundation, the American Council on Education and the Ad Council, directed at middle and high school students and their parents. It was designed to raise college aspirations and convince students and their families that college was possible. The initiative used multiple media, including radio, television, outdoor public service ads, as well as an interactive website with information designed to encourage students to continue their education after high school and tips on how to do that successfully. Dr. Rubin encouraged Committee members to take a look at the national website and the new KnowHow2Go Wisconsin website.
Dr. Rubin described the KnowHow2Go Wisconsin Network’s mentoring program, which trained college students to become mentors to younger students. The goal was to establish an on-going, personal connection through face-to-face and/or virtual encounters. The mentors would then provide the students, and often their parents, with information and guidance on how best to prepare and plan for college, including information on higher education options, saving programs, financial aid opportunities, courses they should consider taking, college entrance requirements, pre-college program opportunities, and even help with filling out admission and financial aid forms. Dr. Rubin outlined several big goals the of the program, in particular its potential for connecting to the Wisconsin Covenant Program with mentoring for students who signed the Wisconsin Covenant Pledge. Observing that a large number of volunteer mentors would be needed, he noted that several other Wisconsin higher education partners in the WTCS and the privates had expressed interest in joining the UW System in this initiative. Including students from the other higher education sectors would help KnowHow2Go Wisconsin to expand its reach.
Dr. Rubin reported that there were a number of other strong mentoring programs already functioning at several UW institutions, including the PEOPLE program at UW-Madison, and the Phuture Phoenix program at UWGB. A couple of other UW campuses were in the early stages of developing new programs: the Line Up for College program at UW-Eau Claire, which was supported with COBE funding; and the KnowHow2Go Club at UW-Marathon, a program developed primarily by students. He informed Committee members that later in the spring, the UW System would be hosting a statewide event to showcase successful programs from Wisconsin and around the country, with the goal of encouraging the development of new mentoring programs at other colleges and universities around the state. The Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation was a partner in this event and was providing funding. He also mentioned the Growth Agenda Grant Fund, established by Senior Vice President Martin, the purpose of which was to help support UW campus efforts to establish mentoring programs among other Growth Agenda initiatives.
Dr. Rubin then introduced representatives from UW-Green Bay’s Phuture Phoenix Program: Kim Desotell, Director of the program, Tim Kaufman, Chair of the Education Dept, and Michael Lund-Ziegler, a senior majoring in Music Education. Michael had been involved in the program for two years and now served in a leadership capacity for the program as a Phuture Phoenix Phellow.
Ms. Desotell described the Phuture Phoenix Program in detail for the Committee. Targeting Green Bay and Northeast Wisconsin students who were low-income and considered at-risk, it was designed to encourage educational attainment (including both high school graduation and college entrance), to change expectations through awareness, and to connect UW-Green Bay students as mentors with students in regional elementary, middle, and high schools. In Fall 2008, the program involved 1300 fifth-graders from 23 schools in Brown County and Northeast Wisconsin, 200-300 UW-Green Bay students, and over 75 faculty members. The program’s beginning point for young students was a day spent on the Green Bay campus. The program followed students from fifth through twelfth grade, and provided sustained mentoring and tutoring in the schools. The Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp. awarded the program a grant which has funded nine “phellowships” for UW-Green Bay student mentors.
UW-Green Bay student Michael Lund Ziegler recounted his experience as a Phuture Phoenix Phellow at Green Bay’s West High School. At West High, he worked with freshmen students, guided by lots of oversight from two of the teachers there. The biggest challenge was helping students transition from eighth grade to freshman year, and the personalized connections that he was able to establish as a Phellow helped mitigate those challenges. He spoke of the impact of the program on his personal and professional development. He loved being able to gain a sense early in his teacher education program of what teaching would be like as a profession, and appreciated the welcome and support he received from the teachers at the school. The most powerful part for him was working with kids for whom school and life were not easy and feeling like he could make a difference in their lives. He spoke of the potential to transform lives and gave examples of two students whom he had mentored.
Professor Kaufman then described the intersection of the Phuture Phoenix Program with UW-Green Bay’s Professional Education Program Requirement, a 3-credit course with field experience that education majors were required to take. Between 70 and 100 students were enrolled each semester, from many majors, and the program had proven especially valuable for pre-service teachers, hence the Education Department’s decision to make it a requirement.
Ms. Desotell next shared a video of the Phuture Phoenix Program with Committee members, and described some of the outreach efforts to regional schools. She concluded by outlining the program’s major outcomes and its goals for the future. Outcomes included stronger partnerships with K-12 districts, valuable data from satisfaction surveys, the beginning of longitudinal data collection, and the entry of the program’s first cohort of students in secondary education in 2010. The first cohort of students in the program were juniors in high school so they had not yet enrolled in college. The program was evaluating their high school performance. Survey results for all levels of participating students indicated their excitement at coming to the Green Bay campus for visits and a growing awareness of what college was about. The program collected data mid-year and at the end of the year and had noticed that truancy rates decreased significantly for students entering the Phuture Phoenix Program.
Ms. Desotell continued that the student mentors at UW-Green Bay also reported a significant impact on their leadership skills and their ability to relate to younger students. The program hoped to grow by expanding partnerships on the Green Bay campus, student involvement from other majors in addition to education, regular parental involvement, and the adoption of the program by other universities and regions. She said that Cyndie Shepard, founder of the program and wife of former UW-Green Bay Chancellor Bruce Shepard, was working to replicate it at Western Washington State University in Bellingham, Washington. The program was seeding additional funding since it did not use any GPR money.
Regent Crain thanked the presenters and acknowledged how well respected it was in the Green Bay community. She pointed to the huge challenges in Brown County, which had always had difficulties in helping secondary students be college-bound and was now facing huge demographic changes. Regent Cuene concurred, observing that the presence of Phuture Phoenix was visible everywhere in Green Bay.
In response to questions from Regent Loftus, Ms. Desotell replied that the program had not tracked courses taken by its high school participants but was looking at their grades and performance. The program seemed to help students make better choices to be prepared for college. UW-Green Bay Admissions and Financial Aid personnel were visiting middle schools more to let kids know earlier what kinds of courses they needed to take to be prepared for college. She elaborated that in the last few years, the program had focused not only on building awareness but on developing college readiness. Subsequent cohorts were receiving more tutoring and mentoring than the first cohort had.
In response to questions from Regent Davis, Ms. Desotell answered that cohort numbers varied from semester to semester, depending on the number of Education majors enrolled at UW-Green Bay. The program had not yet looked at retention of its participants. Professor Kaufman described the training given to the UW-Green Bay student mentors and the Phellows. In response to additional questions from Regent Davis on how the program approached cultural competency, Ms. Desotell related the classroom training received by student mentors at UW-Green Bay, before and during their work with kids in the schools. The racial and ethnic make-up of the nine Phellows was all Caucasian in the program’s last semester, although the previous semester had included one Hispanic student. She agreed with Regent Davis that this was an issue to be addressed, adding that the program was working hard to recruit more students of color to serve as mentors and Phellows. In response to a question from Regent Cuene, Professor Kaufman explained that students could repeat the three-credit course for mentoring and thereby stay connected to the program.
Regent Davis thanked the presenters for their work, calling the Phuture Phoenix Program a wonderful model for the KnowHow2Go Network and the entire state of Wisconsin.
4. Report of the Senior Vice President
a. Cost of Textbooks: Preview of Joint Meeting in May of Education and Business, Finance, & Audit Committees
Senior Vice President Martin provided Committee members with a preview of the May meeting, in which the Education and the Business, Finance, & Audit Committees would discuss the UW System’s action plan for alleviating the high costs of textbooks. She described some of the shorter-term actions being taken, including encouraging student government leaders to organize textbook exchange programs. UW-Superior was working on this and additional efforts were being led by the student associations at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. The Faculty and Academic Staff Representatives and the Associate Vice President for Faculty and Academic Programs were working to establish recommended dates by which textbook lists would be posted so that students could take advantage of used book markets or comparison shop in other ways. They were also working to develop a textbook calendar and an early adoption program. The UW System Office of Procurement was pursuing discounts for e-textbook purchases through CourseSmart, which would result in a discount program similar to one at the University System of Ohio. Dr. Martin added that the UW System was looking at the ways in which other higher education institutions and systems were dealing with the issue.
Senior Vice President Martin then described several longer-term actions that were being explored. These included the expansion of rental programs, where possible. Two UW Colleges had already been added to the rental program, and one-two non-rental campuses were looking into an early adoption program for large general education courses. As this option was pursued, others would also become involved, including campus purchasing agents, Chief Business Officers, and Provosts or Associate Provosts. In cataloguing these initial steps, added Dr. Martin, it was clear why the Education Committee needed to be involved in the discussion, given the educational and academic issues at stake in the textbook problem. Chancellors were talking to student leaders to ascertain what would be most immediately helpful to students, and where students could and should take the lead on this. Because the greatest impact was on students, Dr. Martin noted, their perspectives and input into how to proceed were critical.
Dr. Martin continued that faculty perspectives also played a huge role, reminding Committee members that, implicit in the faculty’s authority over the curriculum is the right to determine their own syllabi and which textbooks are required. Faculty members have been struggling for some time with the rising costs of textbooks and the financial impact on their students. They are cognizant of the complex economic and legal (i.e., copyright) issues at stake for the publishing industry and authors of textbooks (including many UW faculty). The rapidly changing knowledge in many fields is another issue. Dr. Martin acknowledged that adoption of any kind of program would need to balance competing interests and respect for faculty governance. She concluded that whatever long-term solution was arrived at, it would have to include a digital component, given the 21st-century’s digital dependence.
Regent Spector shared with the Committee his own experience in trying to choose a textbook for a course he teaches at Marquette University Law School. While the textbook he wanted to use was very expensive, the earlier version did not have the material he wanted to discuss, i.e., new case law that he was going to talk about in his course. He agreed with Senior Vice President Martin that any long-term solution needed to be digital, given the ubiquity of computers in the lives of students. The size of the UW System, he commented, might also help in the development of a long-term solution Regent Cuene observed that many textbooks were available on DVD, a potentially more affordable option. She and Regent Thomas added that they liked actual books, in which one could write in the margins.
b. Progress on Program Realignment and Development of a Three-Year Baccalaureate Degree
Senior Vice President Martin continued her report with a briefing on two working groups, convened by Associate Vice President Kolison to address program issues in the context of budget challenges. Dr. Kolison was working with a group of Provosts to look closely at the UW System’s academic program array, in particular opportunities for realignment that would take into consideration the capacity of the entire system to meet the needs of students and the state. The working group has developed a set of draft principles and guidelines for campuses to use as they consider program realignment. The Office of Policy Analysis and Research collected data for the group on program array, enrollment and graduation results in the last decade, and inactive programs still on the books but awaiting either closure or reactivation. This information, said Dr. Martin, would help UW System and the institutions make future programmatic decisions responsibly in this era of constrained resources. She added that those working on this issue wanted to be sensitive and transparent in the face of the nervousness that arises whenever there is discussion of low-enrollment programs, especially in the context of the faculty’s authority over the curriculum. The Committee will continue to hear updates on this work in coming months.
Senior Vice President Martin next described the second group of Provosts with which Dr. Kolison is working to explore the possibility of establishing three-year baccalaureate-degree tracks at select UW institutions. These institutions included UW-La Crosse, -Stevens Point, -Stout, and -Superior. The working group was studying the Bologna approach as one potential model, and was also looking at several U.S. institutions that already offer this three-year track to their students. The benefits, costs, and challenges of these programs were being closely examined. Thus far, explained Dr. Martin, it seemed that establishing such a track could serve to reduce the cost of a college education to students and their parents. If developed, the track would be targeted to highly motivated, well-prepared, and/or nontraditional students in selected majors, utilizing advanced placement courses, online classes, and summer study. She emphasized that, moving forward, the UW System needed to ensure that access to academic programs and services for students was maintained, affordability safeguarded, and academic quality preserved. Anticipating a question from Regent Loftus, she added that the UW System had no intention of turning into a diploma mill, of which there were already plenty in Wisconsin.
In response to questions from Regents Loftus and Crain, Senior Vice President clarified that the three-year degree track would not necessarily save the System money, that it was for highly motivated students who wanted to get through more quickly, and that the track would work in some but not all majors. Dr. Kolison added that certain liberal arts disciplines, like sociology and psychology, would be more hospitable to offering the three-year track, given their flexibility in how and when their courses might be offered. In response to a question from Regent Crain, on how this track would impact credit load per semester, Dr. Kolison replied that the Provosts will be discussing exactly that issue, as well as how much flexibility each campus should have in determining which programs would be offered through the three-year track. He added that there were many issues to resolve and that the working group would take the time it needed to be well informed as it moved forward.
Regent Cuene recounted her neighbor’s experience, who had finished in three years for financial reasons. In response to a request from Regent Cuene, Dr. Kolison agreed to send Committee members background information on the Bologna model. In response to comments from Regents Spector and Thomas, Senior Vice President Martin observed that there were already several formal programs in place where students do combined bachelor and master’s degrees. The goal was, she said, to make pathways more clear for those students who wanted and were able to pursue their baccalaureate degrees more quickly.
Senior Vice President Martin concluded her report by recognizing Vicki Washington, who had just been named the Associate Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, after serving in an interim role for several years. She described the reorganization of the System’s diversity office, formally known as the Office of Academic Diversity and Development. There was a national search for the Associate Vice President position, and out of a strong pool, Vicki Washington emerged as the best choice. Committee members greeted the announcement with applause.
5. Committee Consent Agenda
Regent Davis moved adoption of the minutes of the December 4, 2008, meeting of the Education Committee and the following resolutions as consent agenda items. The motion was seconded by Regent Cuene. Regent Spector requested discussion of two of the consent agenda items, Resolution I.1.e.(2), asking for Regent approval of two UW System appointments to the Natural Areas Preservation Council, and Resolution I.1.e.(4), authorizing implementation of the B.S. in Athletic Training at UW-Milwaukee.
Regent Spector noted that one of the members being proposed for reappointment to the Natural Areas Preservation Council had been on it for years. He wondered how the Council sought new perspectives, observing that turnover in any organization was important. Following a suggestion by Senior Vice President Martin that additional information be sought from the Council, Regent Spector asked that Resolution I.1.e.(2) be removed from the Committee’s consent agenda and that action be deferred until additional information was provided explaining how the Natural Areas Preservation Council identified new members. Regent Spector added that he was not casting doubt on either of the two proposed appointees to the NAPC; rather, he wanted to be sure that the Committee’s approval of such appointments was meaningful and done responsibly with the appropriate level of information to support the Regents’ action.
Regent Spector then asked about the need for the B.S. in Athletic Training at UW-Milwaukee, given that there were many others in the Milwaukee region and throughout the state. UW-Milwaukee Provost Rita Cheng responded that the B.S. in Athletic Training involved the conversion of a sub-major into a major and that it was a very popular program among students. Dr. Jennifer Earl, Director of the Athletic Training program at UW-Milwaukee, elaborated on the program’s popularity and noted that, as a research institution, UW-Milwaukee could involve undergraduate students in research taking place in the program, a feature that distinguished the program from others in the state. In response to a question from Regent Loftus, Provost Cheng and Dr. Earl assured Committee members that the program would not require additional resources and that existing faculty would be teaching the required courses.
Regent Spector observed that the duplication of academic program issues was a difficult one. Jan Sheppard, Senior Academic Planner in the Office of Academic Affairs, pointed out that, in preparing the program for authorization by the Board, the question of need was one she pursued at length with the program proposers. She said that she had been satisfactorily reassured that there were lots of jobs for athletic trainers in Wisconsin and that the Milwaukee program was seeking to meet real need. Regent Thomas added that the field was changing and that the degree program was attractive to students. Regent Spector thanked Provost Cheng and Dr. Earl and said that, given the responses to his questions, he was comfortable approving the program as a part of the consent agenda.
With the removal of Resolution I.1.e.(2), the remaining consent agenda items carried on a unanimous voice vote:
Resolution One.One.e.(3), authorizing implementation of the B.S. in Personal Finance at UW-Madison;
Resolution One.One.e.(4), authorizing implementation of the B.S. in Athletic Training at UW-Milwaukee; and
Resolution One.One.e.(5), authorizing implementation of the B.A./B.S. in Women’s Studies at UW-Oshkosh.
6. Full Board Consent Agenda
Resolutions I.1.e.(3), I.1.e.(4), and I.1.e.(5) were referred to the consent agenda of
the full Board of Regents at its Friday, February 6, 2008, meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.