Board of Regents

Education Committee - October 7, 2010

MINUTES

EDUCATION COMMITTEE, BOARD OF REGENTS

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Reeve Union

October 7, 2010

Education Committee

Regent Crain convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 1:06 p.m.  Regents Crain, Davis, Evers, Schwalenberg, Spector, and Vásquez were present.  Regent Crain expressed her appreciation at being on the UW-Oshkosh campus and welcomed the Provosts to the table. 

1.      Committee Consent Agenda

Regent Crain provided background on the two consent agenda items before the Committee.  Regent Davis moved adoption of the minutes of the August 19, 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. Cynthia Haq, and the reappointments of Dr. Susan Goelzer, Ms. Katherine Marks, and Mr. Douglas Mormann to the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program, effective October 8, 2010, through October 31, 2014; and  

Resolution I.1.a.(3), approving UW-Oshkosh’s revised mission statement.

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

2.      Education Committee Priorities for 2010-11

Regent Crain reminded Committee members of their preliminary discussion of Education Committee priorities at the August meeting.  At that time, the Committee agreed that the UW System’s core goal of More Graduates would guide the topics on which the Committee focused throughout the year.  Since then, Senior Vice President Martin and her staff had circulated the list of priorities to the Education Committee members and the Regent President and Vice President for their input.  The Provosts also had the opportunity to provide input. 

As the Committee considered the new draft of the priorities, Regent Crain noted that some sifting and winnowing was still required and that she and Senior Vice President Martin hoped that the day’s discussion would result in the identification of those topics that would be placed on the remaining Education Committee agendas for the year.  Regent Crain also explained that some selection had already taken place in conversation with Regent and System leadership, given the need to identify topics already for the upcoming meetings.  The November “deep dive” policy discussion, she announced, would focus on the new Common Core Standards for K-12 and Senior Vice President Martin’s staff was already working with Regent Evers’ office to put that presentation together.  The February meeting would feature a number of transfer issues, including a revised transfer policy for the System and recommendations from the Transfer Equity Study.  Regent Crain concluded that this pre-selection left the Committee with three meetings in 2010-11 for which to identify topics:  December, April and June, with the possibility also of the one-day policy meeting in March as a forum for one of the Education Committee’s other priority topics.

In response to a question from Regent Vásquez, Senior Vice President Martin clarified that the priorities on the document were not necessarily initiatives but, rather, topics related to some of the policy decisions the Regents would have before them throughout the year, as well as those academic areas that were most germane to UW students and institutions.  She added that, in consultation with Regent Crain, she had taken the liberty of placing the topic of equity-mindedness on the Committee’s October agenda in order to take advantage of the meeting time.

Regent Davis expressed her appreciation that the topic of effective urban education had been placed on the revised priority document.  She asked that the Committee be afforded the opportunity to hear from UW-Madison Professor Gloria Ladson Billings on the topic of the achievement gap. 

Regent Evers expressed his hope that the Committee could take up the topic of dual enrollment, by which students could receive college credit while still in high school.  The expansion of this program would help to create more “seamlessness” between the state’s education sectors, for students and parents.  He mentioned a school in Kenosha that was partnering with Gateway Technical College.  Students graduated from the school after four years with a high school diploma and one year of credits towards an associate degree.  He added that these students were those identified as “at-risk,” and not “talented and gifted,” who were the usual beneficiaries of dual enrollment programs.

Regent Spector commented that, for him, there were two aspects of urban education he hoped the Committee would consider.  First, the Regents might set goals based on what the UW System’s own researchers identified as evidence of what was working well for Wisconsin students not only in Milwaukee, Racine and Madison, but throughout the state.  Second, he noted that the topic of teacher quality was embedded in effective urban education and that the Committee should include this as a topic for discussion at one of its meetings, and perhaps hear from the System’s Education Deans.

Regent Schwalenberg expressed her interest in student success programs—for adult as well as traditional-aged students—including high-impact practices, precollege and bridge programs.  To her mind, these programs were all intertwined.  Returning to the topic of urban education, Regent Crain added that she hoped the Committee would include smaller urban centers like Green Bay in its discussion.

Regent Vásquez concurred with a point made by UW-Madison Provost Paul DeLuca:  that in embracing the core goal of More Graduates, the Committee should spend its time on those topics that lead to that goal, including pipeline issues.  Regent Vásquez articulated the central question on urban education as how the System was ensuring that its teacher preparation programs would lead to an increase of urban children coming out of high school truly prepared for college.  Therein lay the nexus between urban education and teacher preparation, which should lead directly to the goal of more graduates.

Regent Spector clarified that his point was that there was more to the UW System’s educational responsibilities than to focus only on more graduates.  He emphasized that the System needed to prepare young people coming out of high school to be able to have quality lives and jobs, because not everyone would go to college. 

Senior Vice President Martin elaborated on the “deep dive” policy discussion that the full Board would have in November, and how she, in consultation with President Reilly, Regent President Pruitt, and Regents Evers and Crain, had arrived at the topic of the new Common Core State Standards.  She added that, based on the Committee’s discussion, she would like to propose to Regent leadership the topic of urban education for the one-day March policy discussion.  Regent Spector agreed with this plan, adding that he had recently heard Milwaukee business leaders name education as the number one issue of importance for the city.  Regent Davis concurred, stating that Milwaukee was in crisis and that this crisis had an impact on the entire state of Wisconsin.  Something had to be done to confront this crisis, she said, including actionable strategies. 

In response to a question from Regent Evers, Regent Davis answered that she would like to hear from educational experts on how, exactly, to address the crisis, and that she would also like clarity on the role the Regents could play, along with a blueprint for what they could do.  Regent Evers said that he liked this direction, with a focus on teacher education and advice from experts from beyond the UW System as well as those within it.  Regent Crain acknowledged the consensus among Committee members in support of Senior Vice President Martin’s proposal for the March policy meeting.

UW-Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns commented on how well the UW System’s work on LEAP (its partnership with AAC&U on Liberal Education and America’s Promise) and Inclusive Excellence fit in with the More Graduates initiative, adding that there was great consistency of purpose throughout the various strands of the work that should be kept in mind.

Regent Vásquez queried whether it might make sense to hone in on just two topics for the year, given all the other business the Committee would have to engage in.  He proposed a deeper focus on closing the achievement gap, a large topic that was not only about students of color but also other student populations, as raised by Regent Schwalenberg, like first-generation and low-income.  Following also from the Access to Success presentation the full Board had heard earlier in the day, the Committee could take a broad look at what the UW System was doing to close the gap.

Regent Evers suggested the Committee focus on precollege programs, emphasizing the need to be more proactive in this arena, especially by removing barriers for disadvantaged students trying to get into college.  Regent Davis seconded this idea.

Senior Vice President Martin summarized what she had heard from Committee members thus far.  Regent Crain asked that the Committee adopt a broader, more holistic focus on teacher education.  Regent Evers reminded everyone that UW-Parkside had the unprecedented opportunity to recreate a teacher education from scratch.  That process might serve as a lens by which the Education Committee could address teacher education. 

UW-Parkside Provost Terry Brown agreed that her institution was faced with an extraordinary opportunity.  UW-Parkside had created some guiding questions, chief among them asking what does a 21st-century teacher education program look like, and how does an institution prepare teachers for the 21st-century?  Urban education was one part of the context.  She added that this was all uncharted territory and that one challenge her campus faced was trying to see beyond the 20th-century questions and frames (the department, the school, the dean) to determine how to create the most effective program. 

Regent Evers agreed that regular updates on Parkside’s progress might be of interest, especially in the context of other innovative reform taking place elsewhere, like Michigan.  UW-La Crosse Provost Kathleen Enz Finken observed that all the System’s education schools were wondering how the Department of Public Instruction would support a 21st-century teacher education program.  Regent Crain stated that such a discussion should happen in the Education Committee.

Senior Vice President Martin said that she was hearing a request for two related conversations to happen in the remaining Committee meetings:  one focused on urban education, and the other, on the broader set of issues surrounding teacher education that emerged from the recreation of Parkside’s program, DPI’s role, and innovations taking place outside Wisconsin.  UW-Whitewater Provost Beverly Kopper added that her institution was also engaged in these conversations, including the role played by technology in teacher education. 

Regent Crain concluded the discussion by expressing her appreciation to her Regent colleagues and to the Provosts for their contributions.  Regent Davis thanked Regent Crain and Senior Vice President Martin for what she termed the best priorities discussion she’s been a part of since becoming a Regent.

3.      UW-Milwaukee:  Replication of Successful Charter Schools

Regent Crain reminded Committee members that they had first discussed charter school replication at their February 2010 meeting.  At that time, the Committee had expressed its support for the development of a policy that would permit and guide the replication of successful UW-Milwaukee-authorized charter schools.  Since then, Senior Vice President Martin and staff had worked with Regent Evers and his staff, as well as with the Office of the General Counsel and Dr. Robert Kattman, Director of the UW-Milwaukee Office of Charter Schools, to draft a policy.  Before turning to Dr. Kattman for his comments, Regent Crain clarified that the policy before the Regents was framed in accordance with the recommendations and best practices for charter schools established by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, as had been advocated by both Regent Evers and Dr. Kattman.  Further, the proposed policy outlined a set of criteria that would need to be adhered to prior to any UW-Milwaukee charter schools coming before the Committee for replication.  The Committee was being asked to endorse the principle of replication and the criteria to be followed.

Dr. Kattman thanked the Committee and acknowledged that, if approved, the replication policy would allow the Office of Charter Schools and UW-Milwaukee the opportunity to document and disseminate the evidence for high-performing charter schools, especially those in urban settings.  Regent Evers expressed his appreciation to Dr. Kattman, and for the opportunity to help craft the resolution.  He repeated his concern, expressed previously, that the Education Committee spent too much of its time on UW-Milwaukee charter schools, operating like a school board.

In response to a question from Regent Davis, Dr. Kattman confirmed that, as stated in the resolution, the guidelines and criteria from the National Association of Charter School Authorizers would be assiduously followed, and that blueprints from successfully replicated charter schools would be made available to all schools, whether in the Milwaukee school district or not.  In response to questions from Regent Davis and Vásquez, Dr. Kattman said that the Office of Charter Schools intended to replicate only one school at a time, and only upon careful evaluation.  The Board of Regents would have to approve each replication as an amendment to a school’s original charter.  In response to a question from Regent Schwalenberg, Dr. Kattman said that replicating great staff would be a challenge given the enormous impact good people had on any one school’s success.  Nonetheless, he expressed his belief that the excellence of any given charter school resulted from more than just the people, that the culture of a school—its actions, its educational approaches, its organizational structure—were all critical factors in its success.  He concluded by noting that all of these factors would need to be carefully attended to in replication.

I.1.c.:  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 Board of Regents endorses the principle of replication for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee charter schools under the Board’s authority that have demonstrated academic and organizational success.  Replication is the practice of allowing a school management organization that holds a charter school contract, to open an additional school using the model of an existing school managed by the organization.  The Board of Regents will consider the replication of UW-Milwaukee charter schools:  in accordance with the recommendations and best practices for charter school replication established by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers; on a case-by-case basis; as amendments to existing charter school contracts; and when recommended by the UW-Milwaukee Office of Charter Schools, the UW-Milwaukee Chancellor, and the UW System President.   As part of the recommendation to replicate a UW-Milwaukee charter school, the UW-Milwaukee Office of Charter Schools will include a description of efforts to involve Milwaukee Public Schools in the initial, or a subsequent, replication process.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

4.      Presentation of Campus Academic Plans

a.       UW-Green Bay

Provost Julia Wallace next presented to the Committee the campus academic plan for UW-Green Bay.  She reviewed the institution’s mission statement and history, beginning with enabling legislation in 1965.  She provided a profile of the university’s students, including enrollment trends and information on degrees conferred, as well as a snapshot of UW-Green Bay’s hallmark interdisciplinary majors.  She then focused her remarks on three defining attributes for her campus, all of them linked to its mission:  continuity, collaboration, and connection.  These attributes were also central to the academic planning in which her campus was engaged.  UW-Green Bay was called “Eco U” at its founding and the campus still valued this identity.  She detailed some of the new collaborations and connections that were taking place with other UW institutions, the Green Bay community, and other regions of the state, calling them essential in this time of limited resources. 

Provost Wallace reported on the campus’s emerging academic planning, noting that while the work was grounded in key considerations related to the university’s mission, faculty, student demographics, resources, the actual process was complicated and non-linear.  She described the ways in which UW-Green Bay was reaffirming its identity, extending its reach, and working to address the needs of the community and northeastern Wisconsin, in particular by building educational opportunity through what she called “stackable” degree options, comprised of certificate programs, and associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees.  The outreach to the community and region included more options for adult students, including veterans, and the enrollment at UW-Green Bay that fall of the first Phuture Phoenix class as freshmen.  She concluded by noting UW-Green Bay’s distinguished history of leadership in sustainability, interdisciplinary study, problem-focused education, and the high-touch experience students received from faculty who were both researchers and award-winning teachers.

Regent Crain expressed her appreciation to Provost Wallace for the wonderful portrait of her home community, and then welcomed Provost Lane Earns to present the campus academic plan for UW-Oshkosh. 

b.      UW-Oshkosh

Provost Earns explained to Committee members that the campus academic plan they received in their materials was an updated version of what they had received in 2008.  Provost Earns described the strategic planning in which UW-Oshkosh has been engaged, informed above all by large-scale and comprehensive liberal education reform, reform grounded in research, student data, and the understanding that liberal education outcomes are essential for success in the global society.  UW-Oshkosh has also worked to integrate Inclusive Excellence throughout its liberal education reform, promoting institution-wide understanding that LEAP and Inclusive Excellence are twin endeavors. 

Provost Earns described a wide range of mutually supportive activities, focused in particular on curricular change, especially general education reform, and retention strategies.  These activities include a strategic review of graduate education, new programs in high-demand areas, work to reduce time-to-degree, multi-pronged efforts to close the achievement gap, participation in the AAC&U grant project Give Students a Compass and the Center for Urban Education’s Wisconsin Transfer Equity Study, expansion of certain high-impact programs, and more intentional coordination of UW-Oshkosh’s student support services.  All of these activities have allowed UW-Oshkosh to address the larger issues of what the university wants students to learn, how it will ensure that all students are provided an equal opportunity to succeed, and how student achievement will be monitored.  This work also represents UW-Oshkosh’s commitment to More Graduates for Wisconsin.

Regent Davis commended Provost Earns’ presentation and the way in which the evolving campus academic plan integrates LEAP and Inclusive Excellence.  She noted her pride as an alumna of UW-Oshkosh.  Regent Crain also expressed her appreciation for the comprehensive report and the way in which it complemented the presentation heard earlier in the day on the UW System’s involvement in the national Access to Success initiative.

5.      Presentation on the Role of Equity-Mindedness in Inclusive Excellence

Regent Crain introduced Vicki Washington, Associate Vice President for Equity, Diversity

and Inclusion, to make a presentation on equity-mindedness, a critical component of Inclusive Excellence.  Ms. Washington defined equity as not just equal access, but also equal outcomes among all racial and ethnic student groups.  For higher education institutions, these outcomes included persistence through developmental and basic skills education, transfer from two- to four-year institutions, and certificate and degree attainment.  She provided an example of equity as when the representation of students graduating—i.e., the outcome—mirrored their representation in the student body—i.e., access.  She followed that example with the statement that, in fact, inequity prevailed nationally with a large gap in higher education attainment levels for most student-of-color populations.  The impact of this gap was huge, negatively affecting employment rates, income levels, democratic participation in voting and healthcare access, and thereby perpetuating deeply embedded and historical socio-economic inequities.

Ms. Washington then demonstrated how educational institutions used institutional data to construct beliefs of “ideal” students who were successful, versus those who were deficient.  So-called “deficient” students were perceived as disengaged, not motivated, and unprepared for college.  She elaborated on the cognitive frames (mental maps of attitudes and beliefs) that were culturally and socially developed, transmitted, and reinforced through every-day practice.  Historically, in educational institutions, the dominant cognitive frame resulted in deficit-minded perspectives and approaches, focusing on what students lacked and placing the responsibility for unrealized success solely on them.   She shared some of the research on deficit-minded frames, conducted by Dr. Estela Mara Bensimon and colleagues at the University of Southern California’s Center for Urban Education (CUE), as well as subsequent work led by CUE to reframe the discussion of unequal outcomes as a matter of institutional responsibility.

Ms. Washington explained how to enable educators—faculty, administrators, student affairs staff, etc.—to recognize when institutional practices and policies were not working and did not address the reality of students.  She made clear that students still had a responsibility for their educational outcomes.  With the equity-minded frame, however, the emphasis was on data-driven inquiry into student outcomes, calling attention to inequities, and taking collective, institutional responsibility for those outcomes.  Only then was the institutional transformation called for under the strategic framework of Inclusive Excellence possible.

Ms. Washington concluded by saying that since 2005, a number of people at UW System and the institutions, had been working through the Equity Scorecard to make the shift from deficit-minded, to equity-minded thinking and acting.  Senior Vice President Martin added that, just like faculty and staff at UW institutions, the Regents were also important practitioners in this work.  Everyone needed to ask themselves, “wherein lies our responsibility, and what do we need to do to enable our students to succeed?” 

Regent Crain observed how relevant the presentation was to everything the Committee had heard and discussed already that day, including the priorities discussion.  In response to a question from Regent Davis, Ms. Washington answered that Regents and others could help themselves change their cognitive frames by asking questions differently, and by acknowledging the evidence told by data as counterpoint to previously held beliefs and attitudes.  She admitted that equity-mindedness was not easy to achieve given how steeped in deficit-mindedness American culture was.  It was a difficult cycle to break out of and required constant vigilance.  In thanking Ms. Washington for the presentation, Regent Schwalenberg noted that struggle was a part of the process and that the bumps in the road led to progress.

6.      Report of the Senior Vice President

a.      Two Lumina Foundation Grants

Senior Vice President Martin began her report by noting that the UW System was working hard to identify both partners and outside sources of funding for its initiatives.  She then announced that in the past two months, the UW System had received two grants from the Lumina Foundation.  Lumina was an Indianapolis-based private foundation dedicated to expanding access to, and success in, education beyond high school, and, in fact, was one of the major funders of higher education.  One of its programs was called the Adult Degree Completion Commitment, the goal of which was to provide American adults—especially those who had suffered in the Great Recession—a “second chance” at earning a degree.  The two grants received by the UW System came from the Adult Degree Completion Commitment, and were part of the More Graduates for Wisconsin initiative.  

Senior Vice President Martin continued that, in August, UW System institutions secured Lumina funding for the “Win-Win” initiative, a strategy to grow the number of people with college degrees.  Win-Win identified students previously enrolled in college who had not completed a degree and either awarded them a retroactive associate degree or worked to re-enroll them to complete their degree.  The second Lumina grant, announced in September, was to fund the UW System’s Prior Learning Assessment programming.  Senior Vice President Martin explained that Prior Learning Assessment measured the learning a student may have attained outside the classroom through corporate training, work experience, military service, civic activity, and independent study.   It was already used in different forms across the UW System.  By providing college credit for such experiences, the UW System hoped to enroll more non-traditional adult students, including returning veterans and adults who had previously attended a UW institution but departed prior to completing a degree.  The expanded initiative would also focus on the transferability of Prior Learning Assessment credits across campuses.  Lumina had committed $800,000 over four years to advance this work, and at least nine UW System institutions would receive support to pilot the new standards.  The first step was for UW faculty members to lead the development of core academic principles and guidelines underpinning the PLA process, to ensure that the highest academic standards were maintained.  Senior Vice President Martin observed that outcomes of both these grants would be shared with Regents as they moved forward.

b.      Inclusive Excellence at the Institutions:  UW-Oshkosh

Senior Vice President Martin reminded Committee members that they had agreed to regular presentations at their meetings featuring the Inclusive Excellence work of the institutions.  In introducing the feature from UW-Oshkosh, she observed that it would undoubtedly reinforce what had emerged as the theme of the Committee’s meeting:  the intersections among, and interdependence of, the comprehensive reform efforts underway at the System and institutional levels, all of which fell under the umbrella of More Graduates.  She then turned to Carleen Vande Zande, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Curricular Affairs and Student Academic Achievement, and Pamela Lassiter, Assistant to the Chancellor and Director of Equity and Affirmative Action, to present some of the Inclusive Excellence work being done at UW-Oshkosh.

Dr. Vande Zande described the ways in which UW-Oshkosh was asking new questions, challenging assumptions, and exploring new pathways to support student success, especially for students of color, as the university sought to integrate Inclusive Excellence into its liberal education reform work.  Through participation in the Equity Scorecard, the Wisconsin Transfer Equity Study, and the AAC&U Give Students a Compass project, UW-Oshkosh could truly say that it was no longer doing “business as usual.”  In particular, through close analysis of student data, the institution was compelled to confront patterns of inequity in terms of representational equity and gaps in student achievement.  This analysis resulted in the creation of an Oshkosh Student Achievement Report, which was shared with faculty, academic learning support staff, and deans and used to inform all planning.  She then detailed specific examples of how the campus was acting on the data, through reevaluations of several high-impact practices in the Compass project, continued attention to Equity Scorecard data, and the expansion of the Titan Advantage Program, a bridge program for high school students that had proven successful at student retention.

In response to commendation and a question from Regent Crain, Dr. Vande Zande stated that UW-Oshkosh was using existing institutional data and that any campus could do what Oshkosh was doing.

Pamela Lassiter then described UW-Oshkosh’s Inclusive Excellence Plan, as both a stand-alone plan and a part of the university’s key operational plans.  She reminded Committee members that, in June, they had heard a presentation on the integration of Inclusive Excellence throughout UW-Oshkosh’s Student Support and Student Affairs programs and units.  She reviewed what the other key operational units were doing to integrate Inclusive Excellence, including the areas of information technology, finance and budget, enrollment management, human resources, advancement and development, and facilities.  The administration had identified measurable outcomes for the work and all programs and units on campus would be held accountable to meeting them.  Ms. Lassiter said that the work she was leading also involved a strong use of data to help identify strategies and activities, as well as to determine resource reallocation.

Regent Crain expressed her appreciation for how comprehensive the work was, and Senior Vice President Martin reiterated that Inclusive Excellence had to be regarded as central to all aspects of institutional life, as UW-Oshkosh was working to do.  In response to a question from Regent Davis, Ms. Lassiter replied that the entire plan should be operational within the next year.  UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Rick Wells observed that the Student Affairs unit was out ahead on this work.  Regent Evers complimented UW-Oshkosh for a great meeting, including the opportunity to meet with students during lunch, who also spoke about Inclusive Excellence.

7.      Full Board Consent Agenda

Resolutions I.1.a.(2), I.1.a.(3), and I.1.c., were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, October 8, 2010, meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Rebecca Karoff

Secretary, Education Committee