Board of Regents

Education Committee and Business, Finance & Audit Committee Joint Minutes - December 2011

MINUTES

JOINT MEETING OF THE EDUCATION AND

BUSINESS, FINANCE, AND AUDIT COMMITTEES

BOARD OF REGENTS

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

December 8, 2011

  1. The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health:  The Wisconsin Partnership Program – Acceptance of the 2010 Annual Report

Regent Falbo convened the joint meeting of the Education Committee and Business, Finance, and Audit Committee at 1:03 p.m.  Regents Falbo, Bradley, Crain, Evers, Pruitt, Sherven, Tyler and Vàsquez were present.  Pending confirmation, newly appointed Regents Higgens, Roberts, and Whitburn also attended the meeting. 

Regent Falbo introduced Dr. Robert Golden, Dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health, to present the 2010 Annual Report of the Wisconsin Partnership Program (WPP).  For the benefit of the new Regents, Dean Golden provided background on the program, emphasizing its commitment to reducing health disparities through research, education and community partnerships, and its important role in completing the historic transformation of the School of Medicine into a school of medicine and public health.  He reported that since its inception in 2004, the WPP had awarded 234 grants to faculty, non-profits, and government agencies, totaling $97,148,584.  He described the types of awards made, with almost half the funding going towards addressing Wisconsin’s most critical public health challenges. 

The WPP funding, Dean Golden continued, resulted in what he called an extraordinary return on investment as the grants bestowed brought in additional funding from other sources—federal, in particular—that were then used to further develop programming and strengthen initiatives.  He cited the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research as one high-profile example.  He briefly described several of the grant programs that had received funding in 2010, including both community-based partnerships and research-focused initiatives.  In enumerating future directions, he emphasized that, through the Wisconsin Partnership Program, the School of Medicine and Public Health was developing the next generation of public health leaders in the state, who would understand both the social context of illness and the biology of disease.  Dean Golden concluded his presentation by thanking the Regents for their ongoing interest and support in the program.

Regent Crain thanked Dean Golden for the report, expressing how much she always appreciated hearing about the incredible work of the Partnership Program.  In reply to a question from Regent Falbo about the status of the UW Hospital’s reaccreditation, Dean Golden responded that the “surprise” site visit had just taken place and the hospital had received approbation following the visit.

Regent Pruitt asked the Dean whether the WPP was repositioning itself in response to what he called “government retrenching” away from support for traditional health care areas.  Responding that this was a great question, Dean Golden acknowledged that these were perilous times in Wisconsin, with cutbacks in state and federal funding.  While the School of Medicine and Public Health was fortunate to have an endowment, shortfalls in public funding made the school’s leveraging of its resources all the more critical.  The School of Medicine and Public Health needed to be competitive and develop stronger synergies with city, county, and state government to make its programming go even further.  He cited the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families, a program dedicated to improving birth outcomes among African Americans as an example of bringing together all the right partners in Wisconsin to make the program truly have an impact and achieve its outcomes.  More and more such collaborations would be needed, which, of course, was what the Wisconsin Parntership Program was all about, both metaphorically and literally.

Regent Falbo thanked Dean Golden for his presentation.

  1. Operations Review and Audit:  Program Review on Students with Disabilities

Regent Falbo welcomed Elizabeth Dionne, Director for the Office of Operations Review and Audit, to provide an overview of the program review conducted by her office on Regent Policy Document (RPD) 14-10 – Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability.  Ms. Dionne explained to Committee members the new format of reports issued by her office, including changes based on feedback received from Regents and institutional staff.  She summarized the background of RPD 14-10 and the audit approach, emphasizing the review’s objective to evaluate institutional compliance with both the policy and applicable federal and state regulations.  Six UW institutions were visited, and interviews conducted with staff and students.  Overall, she stated, the analysis found that the institutions reviewed were meeting the Board’s policy objectives, were in compliance with applicable regulations, and had made significant improvement since the last review in 1999.  The report offered five observations with recommendations, covering:  the sufficiency of faculty and staff training; documentation requirements; disabilities services data reporting; grievance policies and procedures; and student access to disabilities services.  The observations and recommendations were intended to improve the efficiency of operations, minimize the risk of noncompliance, and ensure the effectiveness of the disability services offered by UW institutions to students. 

Regent Vàsquez asked Ms. Dionne whether the UW System had information on whether its disabled students graduated at rates equitable to able-bodied students.  She responded that, although his question raised a critical issue, the focus of her office’s review was on federal compliance, not student success data.  Regent Vàsquez suggested that the System should pay attention to such data in determining whether or not the UW System was successful in educating disabled students.  Ms. Dionne said that she would bring his recommendation to the President’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues.  Interim Senior Vice President Mark Nook agreed with Regent Vàsquez that such a measure of success was the right one but cautioned that such data from student records might be unavailable due to FERPA (Family Educational Right and Privacy Act) issues.

In response to a question from Regent Crain, Ms. Dionne explained that the six institutional sites chosen for review were representative of the UW System’s diverse composition.  She added that the non-visited institutions had also received the report, and that there had been extensive discussion of its findings with the System’s institutional disability services coordinators.

Incoming Regent Higgens asked whether there was a UW System policy that was responsible for the positive comments he had heard over the years during visits to schools in the Appleton area about how well UW-Oshkosh worked with special needs students.  Dr. Petra Roter, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UW-Oshkosh, responded that the explanation was not a policy but, rather, good practice.  UW-Oshkosh worked hard on relationships with area schools to ensure that needed services were in place for students as they transitioned to college.  She added that students had to self-identify as disabled in order to have access to and receive services.

Members of both committees thanked Ms. Dionne for the report. 

  1. UW-Milwaukee Contractual Agreement with CERNET Education Development Co., LTD

Regent Falbo welcomed UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Michael Lovell to present the proposed

agreement between UW-Milwaukee and the CERNET Educational Development Company, a Chinese organization that recruits Chinese students to enroll in American universities.  The agreement would allow CERNET to recruit Chinese students to enroll in UW-Milwaukee’s Intensive English Program (IEP), with the goal of having those students successfully seek admission to, and enroll at

UW-Milwaukee upon completion of the program.  Chancellor Lovell explained the benefits of the proposed CERNET agreement, which would support UW-Milwaukee’s vision to internationalize the university, growing the numbers of international students from the current level of 1,000, to 3,000 over the next few years.  The vision sought not only to increase the international student revenue stream, in particular from China, but also to provide UW-Milwaukee’s native students with broader global perspectives and additional international opportunities, especially for the large segment of its student population who were unable to study abroad. 

Chancellor Lovell provided background on CERNET, a large-scale enterprise founded by the Chinese Ministry of Education and with deep connections to Chinese universities and high schools.  CERNET had already begun to develop the Wisconsin International Academy, which would provide housing and support services to Chinese students in UW-Milwaukee’s IEP program.  The partnership with UW-Milwaukee was modeled on one with the University of Massachusetts.  Having just returned from China and meeting with CERNET officials and others, Chancellor Lovell observed that this agreement was clearly important to the Chinese and served to increase the global presence of Wisconsin in China.  Addressing the potential quality of the Chinese students who would come to Milwaukee, he noted that China currently has many high-performing high school students who are unable to attend Chinese universities because of a finite number of spots for students.  Those students want to study in the United States, and CERNET is interested in pursuing similar arrangements with other UW institutions.  Chancellor Lovell concluded that he is joined by the other UW Chancellors in agreeing that the CERNET agreement could be a first step towards the development of a China strategy for the UW System. 

Chancellor Lovell was followed by Dev Venugopalan, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UW-Milwaukee.  Dr. Venugopalan described for the Regents the current services available to support international students, including academic, legal, and social support services.  He then commented on the findings of a task force convened by the campus to determine what additional support services UW-Milwaukee would need to implement in order to meet the needs of its increasing numbers of international students.  These findings—all of which would be addressed as CERNET students began to arrive—included:  increased staff support in admissions and immigration advising; intercultural training for academic advisors, residence hall assistants, teaching assistants, and others; and more strategic coordination of programming in English as a Second Language programs, academics, and housing.  He reviewed the admission requirements for those CERNET students who successfully completed the IEP, emphasizing that CERNET students would need to meet all current UW-Milwaukee admission requirements.  In response to recent news media coverage, he also detailed the safeguards against academic fraud in place at UW-Milwaukee to ensure that the credentials of the Chinese students were authentic.

Dr. Venugopalan also shared enrollment projections with the Regents, which would allow for gradual increases in the number of CERNET students to ensure that UW-Milwaukee had the support services in place to accommodate them.  UW-Milwaukee anticipated that 75% of CERNET students would enter its degree programs upon achieving English proficiency, and they would then be regular UW-Milwaukee students (not CERNET students), paying all applicable tuition and fees to the university like all other international students.  He reviewed the financial terms of the agreement, which had been spelled out in the materials provided to the Regents, and shared some of the modeling the campus had done in its due diligence to ensure that the agreement would work to UW-Milwaukee’s advantage, as well as that of the Chinese students.  He concluded by describing the assessment and oversight procedures being put in place with the CERNET program, which would rest with the Provost.

Regent Tyler commended Chancellor Lovell on the CERNET agreement, and asked that UW-Milwaukee consider encouraging some of the Chinese graduates to stay in Wisconsin to work in business and industry, where they were needed.  Chancellor Lovell said that was a goal for UW-Milwaukee, too, one supported by the business and industry people who had accompanied him to China.

In response to questions from Regents Crain and Vàsquez, Chancellor Lovell replied that most of the Chinese students who would come to Milwaukee were traditional-aged.  He anticipated that the Chinese students would certainly come to study engineering and the sciences, but also business, the arts and humanities, noting that there seemed to be interest in the wide program array offered at UW-Milwaukee.  He noted the keen interest of Chinese families, even those from the middle class, to pay the way of their children to study in the United States, especially in the face of limited enrollment opportunities at Chinese universities.

In response to a question from Regent Pruitt, Chancellor Lovell replied that no Wisconsin student would be displaced by the agreement with CERNET and, if anything, the increased resources potentially available through the program would allow more Wisconsin students to enroll at UW-Milwaukee.  In response to a question from Regent Evers, Chancellor Lovell answered that once the CERNET students successfully completed the IEP program and matriculated at UW-Milwaukee, they would live in campus housing as part of the university’s new first-year residency requirement, thus allowing for the increased global engagement of all UW-Milwaukee students. 

Regent Sherven expressed concerns he had heard from UW-Milwaukee students that the CERNET students would not be socially integrated.  Dr. Patrice Petro, Vice Provost for International Education, described some of the activities already in place for both international students and students returning from study abroad to ensure such integration.  President Reilly recalled for the Regents his experience in China a number of years ago, in which he had met a Chinese businessman who was one of the first Chinese students to enroll at a U.S. university—UW-Madison—and who, 40 years later, still attended events for UW alumni in China, such was the power of his experience.  He added that the CERNET agreement was good public policy for the UW System, on many fronts.

I.2.c.:  It was moved by Regent Pruitt and seconded by Regent Tyler, that, upon the 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

contractual agreement between the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and CERNET Educational Development Co., Ltd.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

Regent Falbo thanked Chancellor Lovell and colleagues for the detailed presentation.  The joint meeting of the Education Committee and Business, Finance, and Audit Committee adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Rebecca Karoff, Secretary, Education Committee