Board of Regents

Education Committee - August 19, 2010



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

August 19, 2010

Education Committee

Regent Crain convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 1:37 p.m.  Regents Crain, Davis, Schwalenberg, and Vásquez were present.  Regents Spector and Womack joined the meeting in progress.  Regent Crain welcomed Regent Schwalenberg to the Committee, stating how important it was to have a student Regent on the Committee. 

1.      Committee Consent Agenda

Regent Vásquez moved adoption of the minutes of the June 10, 2010, meeting of the Education Committee, as well as the following resolutions as consent agenda items: 

Resolution I.1.a.(2), approving the appointment of Dr. Patrick L. Remington to fill an unexpired term on the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program; and  

Resolution I.1.a.(3), authorizing the M.A. in Linguistics at UW-Milwaukee;

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

2.      UW-Milwaukee Doctoral Program Authorization:  Ph. D. in Linguistics

Regent Crain welcomed UW-Milwaukee Interim Provost Johannes Britz to introduce the Ph.D.

program in Linguistics.  Provost Britz observed that the Linguistics Ph.D. constituted UW-Milwaukee’s thirty-second Ph.D. program.  He then introduced Dr. Fred Eckman, Chair of the Department of Linguistics.  Defining Linguistics as a discipline that explains how human beings are able to talk, Dr. Eckman provided an overview of the program, highlighting the increasing demand for applied linguistics graduates in academia, government, and the private sector.  He described the program’s focus on second-language acquisition, second-language pedagogy, and dialect variation and language typology.  The program has a proven track record in terms of the national and international reputation of the faculty, and success in securing extra-mural funding.  Its commitment to Inclusive Excellence is reflected through its recruitment of students internationally and from southeastern Wisconsin, its inherently diverse curriculum, and research areas focused on language as a component of both group and individual identity.

In response to questions from Regent Vásquez and Senior Vice President Martin, Professor Eckman explained the evolution of the Linguistics Ph.D. from a track within the English program, and the distinctions between the M.A. degree (just approved by the Committee as a part of its consent agenda) and the Ph.D.  In response to a question from Regent Davis, Professor Eckman clarified the program’s efforts to increase enrollment of diverse students. 

I.1.b.:  It was moved by Regent Vásquez, seconded by Regent Schwalenberg, 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 Linguistics at UW-Milwaukee.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

Regent Crain thanked Dr. Eckman for his presentation of the doctoral program.

3.      UW-Milwaukee Charter School:  Contract Expansion for the Milwaukee College Preparatory School

Regent Crain welcomed Dr. Robert Kattman, Director of the UW-Milwaukee Office of Charter Schools, to present the requested contract expansion for the Milwaukee College Preparatory School.  She reminded Committee members that they were being asked to approve the amendment to the charter school contract with the Milwaukee College Preparatory School to allow the school to expand for two years to a second site in order to accommodate the students who were displaced by the termination of the Academy of Learning and Leadership’s charter contract with the City of Milwaukee.  The contract had been carefully reviewed by the Offices of General Counsel at both UW-Milwaukee and UW System Administration, and came with the recommendation of Chancellor Santiago and UW System leadership.  Regent Crain stated that the circumstances in which the contract came before the Committee were highly unusual and required expedited action by all those involved.  She also mentioned the letter that Regent Evers, in his role as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, had sent to all Board members, expressing his support for the contract expansion, as well as some reservations in doing so.  She then turned to Dr. Kattman.

Dr. Kattman thanked Regent Crain for the helpful context and reiterated that the action before the Committee was to approve an amendment to an existing contract, not a new contract.  He described the background of the Academy of Learning and Leadership (ALL), noting that while the school had not performed well academically, the timing of its termination in July was unfortunate, leaving 300 children without a school a month away from the start of the new school year.  Because the school shared a site with the Boys and Girls Club, its termination also posed problems for the Club.  The Milwaukee College Preparatory School (MCPS), UW-Milwaukee’s highest performing charter school, proposed to take over the site from the Academy of Learning and Leadership, and therefore approached the Office of Charter Schools with the request to amend its charter.  Dr. Kattman acknowledged that the task to open the second site was daunting because of the abbreviated time frame but that Rob Rauh, the principal from MCPS, convinced him that it could be done, and done well.  He then reviewed the steps taken, described in detail in the Regent materials, to get the second site ready in time for the start of the school year.  These included numerous open houses, to which representatives from the Milwaukee Public Schools were also invited, so that the students displaced by the closing of ALL were presented with choices for which school to attend at the start of the school year.  He also explained that the requested contract expansion had a distinct end date, at which point the school would be brought back to the Regents for renewal.

Dr. Kattman introduced MCPS Principal Rauh to the Committee.  Mr. Rauh thanked the Committee for its consideration and reiterated that fact that driving the accelerated development of the second site and the charter approval process were the needs of 300-plus students.  He informed the Committee that all the hiring of the staff for the second site had been completed, contingent upon the Board’s approval.  Conditional registration of 316 students had also taken place, most of whom students had attended ALL. 

Noting that this was not a direct transfer of the entire body of students and that the students did have other options, Regent Crain clarified that the Committee would not be approving a replication although it would take up a charter school replication policy within the next few months.  Dr. Kattman reiterated that the Committee was being asked to approve an expansion of an existing charter school.  Regent Davis expressed her support for the expansion and her admiration for Principal Rauh and the work he had done over the years.  In response to a question from Regent Vásquez, Dr. Kattman replied that when the MCPS contract came up for renewal, the entire school, including the second site, would be carefully reviewed. 

Regent Crain expressed her discomfort with the timing of ALL’s termination, resulting in the accelerated development of MCPS second site and need for the Board’s action.  Dr. Kattman responded that the Office of Charter Schools builds into its review process appropriate time for evaluation and planning so that students can opt to change schools each February, in accordance with the Milwaukee Public School enrollment schedule.  In response to a question from Regent Schwalenberg, Mr. Rauh explained that the staffing for the two sites was totally separate, with the exception of the principal and the business officer.  He observed that because of the economy, it was a great time to hire well-qualified teachers.  Dr. Kattman added that all the teachers would be certified.  He commended both MCPS and the Regents for their agility in getting the second site up and running.  Regent Spector concurred and noted how important this school would be to the children who would attend, as well as their families. 

Regent Crain thanked Dr. Kattman, Principal Rauh, and Provost Britz for bringing the school forward to the Committee.

I.1.c.:  It was moved by Regent Davis, seconded by Regent Schwalenberg, 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 approves the amended charter school contract with the Milwaukee College Preparatory School to allow expansion to a second site located at 1530 W. Center Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

4.      Report of the Senior Vice President

a.       Inclusive Excellence at the Institutions:  UW-Whitewater’s Promise

Senior Vice President Martin began her report by reminding the Regents that in June, they had heard a status report on Inclusive Excellence and that in the ensuing discussion, the Committee had decided that it would like to hear regular presentations featuring Inclusive Excellence work at the institutions.  Dr. Martin turned to Provost Beverly Kopper, who had volunteered UW-Whitewater to present the first feature.

Provost Kopper introduced Lauren Smith, Chair of the Department of Women’s Studies and member of UW-Whitewater’s Inclusive Excellence Committee.  Professor Smith shared with the Committee the efforts underway at Whitewater, including information on a workshop held for male students of color, for whom there were significant climate issues on campus and regardless of how well they were doing academically or not.  She also distributed the Inclusive Excellence guidelines developed by her committee over the summer.  The guidelines were designed to help all academic departments and divisions hold themselves accountable for the work of Inclusive Excellence, and they included specific goals towards which all units should be progressing.  The goals were broken down according to institutional groups and areas, including students, faculty, administrators, support staff, the curriculum, and the institution as a whole.  Professor Smith described the ongoing assessment built into the guidelines, and noted that while they emphasized specific terms and language to enable everyone on campus to speak the same language, they also allowed for flexibility so that individual departments and units could determine where to focus their attention.  She said that the initial response on campus was positive and that UW-Whitewater, given its success in working with students with disabilities and universal design, was well poised to advance Inclusive Excellence.

Provost Kopper then introduced Dr. Richard McGregory, Interim Director of Academic Support Services, to present the video Like Family.  The video, said Dr. McGregory, focused on the students served by the Academic Support Services Office at UW-Whitewater.  The Office sought to create a climate of inclusion and success for the campus’ most vulnerable students.  Following the video, Provost Kopper expressed her appreciation to Professor Smith, Dr. McGregory, and to her Chancellor, Richard Telfer, for their leadership and support.

UW-River Falls Provost Fernando Delgado applauded the video and the program it portrayed, adding that it was clearly making a difference in the lives of students.  He questioned, however, how UW institutions could scale up such effective and yet expensive programs without additional resources.  Regent Vásquez concurred with this challenge and inquired further how to best educate students of color with the leadership and socialization skills they would need beyond the classroom setting to succeed in a world that in Wisconsin was still majority white.  Provost Kopper responded that involvement in high-impact practices like undergraduate research provided excellent preparation for the “real” world beyond the classroom. 

Senior Vice President Martin observed that the two facets of the Whitewater presentation exemplified both the great work taking place and the challenges that remained, adding that the whole premise of Inclusive Excellence was to embed the kind of support program administered by Dr. McGregory into the fabric of the entire institution, as the guidelines reviewed by Professor Smith attempt to do.  Vicki Washington, UW System Associate Vice President for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, commented that students of color in UW institutions were already in the majority white settings alluded to by Regent Vásquez.  Regent Schwalenberg described mentoring that she had experienced at UW-Waukesha that helped her work more effectively with her student-of-color peers.  Committee members expressed their appreciation for the UW-Whitewater presentation.

b.      Education Committee Priorities for 2010-11

Senior Vice President Martin distributed a draft of the Education Committee priorities proposed for the academic year 2010-11.  The central focus, she stated, would be to focus on the UW System’s core goal for the second phase of the Growth Agenda, the More Graduates initiative.  Regent Vásquez endorsed the plan.  Regent Davis asked that the topic of closing the achievement gap be made a more explicit focus, as well as some of the PK-16 issues referenced in Regent Evers’ letter, in particular quality preparation of teachers.  Regent Crain concurred.

UW-Parkside Provost Terry Brown noted that the UW System had a real opportunity to build a national model for teacher education with the recreation of the UW-Parkside teacher education program.  She also mentioned that Wisconsin was number 50 out of 50 states in terms of its achievement gap.  She described a speech made by UW-Madison Professor Gloria Ladson-Billings to parents and educators in Racine and Kenosha.  Professor Ladson-Billings talked about the great job Wisconsin does in educating white students but not students of color, who fail all too often in Wisconsin schools.  She also said that the UW System needed to “own” the achievement gap since UW institutions are the primary educators of the state’s teachers.  Provost Brown suggested asking Professor Ladson-Billings to appear before the Committee.

Provost Delgado asked that attention be paid to how best to benchmark teacher quality.  So many good teachers left teaching early in their careers.  He suggested that the Regents and UW institutions look carefully at climates for teachers in order to determine those factors that made teachers stay or leave.  Regent Womack mentioned the research of Professor Jeffery Braden on Milwaukee Public School teachers.  Dr. Braden’s research pointed to a complex set of conditions that contributed to a high absentee rate and other problems for teachers.

Senior Vice President Martin asked what else should be added to the priorities document, in addition to closing the achievement gap.  UW-Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns advocated a more explicit role for quality in the More Graduates initiative, both through LEAP (the work of AAC&U’s Campaign on Liberal Education and America’s Promise) and Inclusive Excellence, which he said were inherently intertwined.  UW Colleges Provost Greg Lampe asked that the word “inclusion” be incorporated into the document, and UW-La Crosse Provost Kathleen Enz Finken reiterated that teacher education needed to be in the priorities document more prominently.

Regent Crain thanked her Regent colleagues and the Provosts for their input, and recommended ongoing discussion of the priorities leading up to the Education Committee’s next meeting.

5.      Full Board Consent Agenda

Resolutions I.1.a., (2), I.1.a.(3), I.1.b., and I.1.c. were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, August 20, 2010, meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rebecca Karoff

Secretary, Education Committee