Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes - December 2011



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

December 8, 2011

Regent Vásquez convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 2:25 p.m.  Regents Vásquez, Crain, Evers, and Tyler were present.  Regent Vásquez welcomed the Provosts to the table.

1.  Committee Consent Agenda

Regent Vásquez presented the minutes of the October 6, 2011, meeting of the Education Committee, as well as the following resolutions as consent agenda items: 

Resolution I.1.a.(2), authorizing implementation of the B.A./B.S. in

Environmental Science at UW-Whitewater; and

Resolution I.1.a.(3), authorizing implementation of the B.A./B.S. in Computer Science at UW-Whitewater; and

Resolution I.1.a.(4), authorizing implementation of the Collaborative Online B.S. in Health Information Management and Technology at UW-Green Bay, UW-Parkside, and UW-Stevens Point.

Regent Vásquez provided Committee members with background for the three new academic program proposals under consideration.  Regent Crain moved, and Regent Tyler seconded the adoption of the consent agenda, which passed unanimously.

2.  UW-Madison Presentation – “Resource Stewardship:  Educational Innovation”

Regent Vásquez welcomed Provost Paul DeLuca to introduce a presentation on the

Educational Innovation initiative being implemented on the Madison campus, designed to preserve the quality of student learning, create efficiencies, and potentially develop new revenue sources in a truly stressed budgetary environment.  Commenting that Interim Chancellor David Ward’s morning presentation had set the context for the Education Committee presentation, Provost DeLuca introduced two speakers:  Aaron Brower, Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning; and Jeff Russell, Vice Provost for Lifelong Learning and Dean of the Division of Continuing Studies. 

Vice Provost Brower began by noting that the challenge facing UW-Madison was a national one:  how to maintain excellence with shrinking resources and a changing resource base.  He characterized UW-Madison’s response as increased self-sufficiency through administrative excellence, creative philanthropy, and educational innovation.  It was important, he said, to remain true to the public mission and research orientation of the university’s identity.  He described how UW-Madison was working to build on its successes, including—more generally—its history of shared governance and its collaborative, outcome-oriented culture, and—more specifically—gains being made in retention and graduation rates along with decreases in the gap between majority and minority student achievement.  The campus was trying to unleash its creative and entrepreneurial energies by doing better (not more) with less.  In contrast to previous initiatives like the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates, he noted, there was no longer a pool of resources to which faculty, staff and students could apply.  Among the strategies he described, was what he called the “incentivizing” of efficiencies, in which campus units that saved money through streamlining and innovation were allowed to keep most of the money saved.

In response to a question from Regent Crain, Vice Provost Brower elaborated on work being done by the History Department, which had adopted the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ LEAP student learning outcomes and was reforming its curriculum in ways that would save students time and resources, and would result in better student learning.  Vice Provost Russell provided an example from Engineering, in which distance education was being used to make the degree more relevant as well as more efficient and effective.  He added that there was huge, untapped potential through online learning to accomplish the university’s goals of educational innovation.

In response to a question from Regent Vásquez about collaborations with secondary schools to achieve college readiness, Dr. Brower replied that, while the initiative was campus-based, UW-Madison was developing post-baccalaureate training for teachers through a capstone certificate program. 

In response to another question from Regent Crain, Dr. Brower agreed that, as large and decentralized as UW-Madison was, cross-fertilization and scaling-up were challenges, analogous to the situation of the UW System as a whole.  Affirming that a well-developed communication strategy was critical, he acknowledged that, initially—and typical of any change effort—there  had been a lot of complaints about and resistance to the Educational Innovations initiative.  The campus was well past that stage now, with lots of good conversation and creative problem-solving taking place.

Regent Vásquez asked how UW-Madison anticipated reporting out on whether or not the initiative was working, to both the wider community and the Legislature.  Vice Provost Brower responded that the campus had given a lot of thought to this question and, among other things, was planning to:  1) link to existing metrics like retention and graduation rates; 2) continue to emphasize the LEAP learning outcomes, which represented a shared understanding across campus for the kinds of learning most essential to student success in life and work; and 3) to develop stronger communication channels, including sophisticated websites and social media venues.  Regent Vásquez explained that his question was motivated by the fact that, although the UW System was engaged in so many initiatives designed to improve efficiency and productivity, the public still considered the System “inefficient.”  Vice Provost Russell responded that the university was engaged in some cutting-edge transformation, including the promotion of new, interdisciplinary degree programs.  Interim Chancellor Ward emphasized that higher education, UW-Madison included, needed multiple, alternative delivery systems for degree programs, and would subsequently need to create good measures for assessing such programs.  Alternative delivery systems would allow universities to teach more students and with the same number of people to do it.  Provost DeLuca referenced a recent news story describing how UW-Madison was conferring a record number of degrees.  He attributed the higher graduation rate for undergraduates to the university’s focus on high-impact pedagogical practices, along with strong student support services, that have proven success in retaining and graduating students.

UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells introduced what he called “two elephants in the room,” the curriculum and degree requirements, both of which were growing ever-larger.  Faculty, he advocated, needed to seize control of both these areas, making curricula outcomes-based, which would lead to fewer courses and degree requirements.  Vice Provost Brower concurred, referring again to UW-Madison’s History Department, which was engaged in exactly that kind of reevaluation process.  Starting with the learning outcomes, the department was then deciding which history courses were truly needed, and, consequently, what kinds of academic supports, business model, advising, etc., were also needed to make the major high-quality, student-centered, and efficient. 

Regent Vásquez cautioned that he and his fellow Regents needed to be mindful of  overselling the success with which UW institutions continued to do more with less, in the fear that additional cuts to the UW System would be made.  UW institutions were clearly under a great deal of stress.  

Committee members joined Regent Vásquez in thanking Provost DeLuca, Vice Provost Brower and Vice Provost Russell for the presentation. 

3. UW-Parkside:  Establishment of UW-Parkside Colleges

The Committee was then asked to consider the establishment of three new colleges at UW-Parkside.  Before turning to UW-Parkside Provost Terry Brown, Regent Vásquez reminded Committee members that ACIS 1.0, the UW System’s policy on Academic Planning and Program Review, required Regent approval for any request by a UW institution to establish a college or school. 

Provost Brown expressed her appreciation to the Education Committee for the opportunity to explain the request to create three new colleges at UW-Parkside, part of the reorganization she had previewed at the October Board of Regents meeting in her update on UW-Parkside’s academic planning process.  She described the broad institutional support for the reorganization, including unanimous approval by faculty governance, and noted that the proposal before the Regents was the result of two years of campus discussion and deliberation.  She introduced several faculty and administrative leaders who had been involved in the process:  Professors Fay Akindes, Robert Barber and Gary Wood, and Deans Fred Ebeid and Dean Yohnk. 

Provost Brown reviewed the handout distributed to the Committee, outlining the timeline for the phased-in creation of the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Health Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies.  The phased-in approach was necessary in order to sequence the three dean searches that would be conducted, as well as the mentoring of the new deans hired.  UW-Parkside’s new teacher education program would be a part of the new College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies that would be formally established in fall 2013.

Overall, Provost Brown continued, the proposed reorganization would redistribute the administrative workload and provide each college with more focused and accountable leadership, helping the university to achieve educational innovation and administrative excellence.  The deans of the new colleges would be charged with:  implementing UW-Parkside’s academic plan; reaching specific performance and productivity measures; providing responsible oversight of staffing and budget resources; recruiting and retaining a strong and diverse faculty focused on student success; reaching out to the region to build partnerships for economic and community development; and developing new undergraduate and graduate programs to meet the needs of students and the region.  Provost Brown noted the alignment of UW-Parkside’s academic strengths in business, the arts, and the sciences—all of which would be reinforced in the proposed organizational model—with the industry clusters of the Milwaukee 7 region.  She indicated the work underway in collaboration with faculty governance to strengthen the performance and productivity measures by which UW-Parkside will hold itself accountable as the reorganization is implemented.  The reorganization, she concluded, made good business sense and the previous presentation by UW-Madison had resonated with her because of the common goals and strategies being adopted by both institutions.

In response to a question from Regent Crain about the mood on campus, Provost Brown pointed to the unanimous vote by UW-Parkside’s faculty senate as a resounding statement of support for the reorganization.  There was wide-scale recognition on campus that the current structure was not working, particularly that of the College of Arts and Sciences, which—with its unwieldy size and structure—was really too challenging for one dean to handle, even one, added Provost Brown, as capable as Interim Dean Yohnk.  In response to a question from Regent Vásquez, Dean Yohnk used an analogy from his discipline—theatre—comparing trying to run the current College with trying to open 32 performances on one night.  He was fully supportive of the proposal and believed that the new college structure would help UW-Parkside students succeed and improve retention and graduation rates.

I.1.c.:  It was moved by Regent Crain and seconded by Regent Tyler, that, upon the recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Parkside be authorized to establish three new colleges:  the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Health Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences and Professional Studies.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

In thanking Provost Brown and colleagues for the presentation and their work on the reorganization, Regent Vásquez also commended Chancellor Debbie Ford for her leadership.

4.  Report of the Senior Vice President

a.  Academic Affairs Integration of Initiatives

Interim Senior Vice President Mark Nook began his report by distributing two handouts, developed in response to the Committee’s request in October for some kind of grid or matrix demonstrating how the multiple initiatives led by the Office of Academic Affairs were related to one another.  The first handout comprised a “cheat sheet” with brief descriptions of some of the major initiatives led by Academic Affairs in collaboration with UW institutions; the second handout was at attempt to visually capture the integration of these initiatives through the image of an apple tree, indicating how the System’s initiatives contribute to the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin.  Dr. Nook explained that both handouts organized the work of the Office of Academic Affairs into the two major areas of college readiness and educational attainment, with Inclusive Excellence included as a framework permeating all the initiatives undertaken by the UW System through the Growth Agenda.  He added that they were draft documents, subject to ongoing revisions as some initiatives are ending and some new ones will be added.

In response to a comment from Regent Crain, Dr. Nook agreed that the handouts served as a basis for what the UW System and institutions were doing at the current point in time and that, while they did not capture all the work underway, they would be updated and adapted over time.  Regent Vásquez said that the handouts were exactly what he wanted and asked whether start and end dates for the individual initiatives could be included for future use.  Dr. Nook assured him that this could be done.  The handouts would be discussed with the Provosts at their meeting next week and additional changes were anticipated.  Regent Crain stated that she thought they would be especially useful in terms of aligning the System’s priorities.       

b.  Institute for Urban Education Proposal

Interim Senior Vice President Nook continued his report by welcoming Dr. Francine Tompkins, Director of PK-16 Initiatives, to discuss the proposal to transfer the UW System Institute for Urban Education to a UW institution.  He reminded Committee members that the Institute for Urban Education was one of the four Academic Advisory programs/groups housed in the Office of Academic Affairs that had been proposed for transfer to an institution in the President’s response to the Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration.  That transfer process was underway and discussion was ongoing with the Provosts and other, relevant constituent groups for each of these programs. 

Senior Vice President Nook reviewed the background of the Institute for Urban Education, which had been created in response to the need expressed by members of the Board of Regents and the System’s Education Deans that UW-educated teachers be better prepared to work effectively in urban settings.  The Institute received GPR funding in 2007 (2007-09 Biennial Budget) and was implemented that same year.  Since then, 125 student teachers representing eight UW institutions had been enrolled in the Institute.  Productive discussions had taken place with the Provosts and the Education Deans on how best to transfer the Institute to a host institution.  Dr. Nook explained that the timing was right because the previous director of the Institute had left and there was a short-term interim in place.  Once a host institution was identified, the funding would be transferred along with the program.  Several institutions had already expressed interest in hosting and a Request for Proposals would be issued in January with a decision to be made by Spring 2012.  He concluded that, while Regent action was not required for these transfers, he and President Reilly had agreed to bring each of the four programs to the Education Committee for discussion.

In response to a question from Regent Vásquez, Dr. Tompkins provided reasons why UW institutions would want to host the Institute, including the strong reputation of the program and interest in preparing urban educators to address teacher shortages in particular areas of the state.  In response to a question from Regent Crain, Dr. Tompkins said that the placement of UW teacher education students in urban classrooms would be impossible without strong K-12 relationships.  She elaborated on the well-established partnerships with K-12 that were necessary to successfully administer the Institute.  Regent Vásquez observed that the definition of “urban” was being expanded statewide, encompassing more districts than just those in Milwaukee, Madison and Janesville.  The K-12 context was also changing with more attention being paid to the expansion of voucher and charter school programs.

Prompted by Regent Crain, Senior Vice President Nook outlined the next steps in the transfer process, stating that once the host institution was determined, a director would be hired and the funding transferred.  He confirmed that he would return to the Education Committee with an update on the process.  He was joined by Regent Crain in thanking Dr. Tompkins for all her work with the Institute.

c.  Update on Academic Affairs Advisory Committees

Senior Vice President Nook next provided a brief update on the future of the other Academic Affairs Advisory groups under revision, including SAGLA (the System Advisory Group for the Liberal Arts), the Women’s Studies Consortium, and the International Advisory Council.  He was still discussing with Provosts and his staff the advisability of transferring these three initiatives to UW institutions.  Decisions would be made in the next few months and he would keep the Committee apprised.

Dr. Nook addressed several points raised by Regent Vásquez, stating that these other groups would definitely continue and questions on their future focused on where they would be housed, either at a UW institution or—possibly—still at System.  He added that, while individual UW institutions were deeply engaged in international initiatives, the International Advisory Council served an important convening function where institutional staff working in a variety of functions related to international education could share best practices and develop partnerships.  The Institute for Urban Education was a different kind of program and hence the motivation for determining its future sooner.

d.  Accountability Reporting

Senior Vice President Nook invited Heather Kim, Associate Vice President for Policy, Analysis and Research, to update the Committee on changes to the UW System’s accountability reporting as required by Act 32.  Dr. Kim recognized Jocelyn Milner, Associate Provost and Director for Academic Planning and Analysis at UW-Madison, who was working with her to spearhead implementation of the required changes.  Dr. Kim indicated that Act 32 included almost 40 required accountability indicators, as well as two separate reports:  a separate one for UW-Madison, and one for all other UW institutions combined.  This requirement stood in contrast to the System’s past practice, which included all UW institutions within one report, entitled in recent years Investing in Wisconsin’s Future.  She described 2012 as a transition year, with the single Investing in Wisconsin’s Future report issued, as usual, in April, and the two distinct reports issued in late June. 

Dr. Kim shared a handout which charted how the UW System’s current accountability reporting mapped onto the new requirements from Act 32, and how Act 32 mapped onto the current report.  As was clear from the handout, there were quite a few gaps in the indicators already available and in use by the UW System, and which were standard to higher education nationally, and what was required by Act 32.  Dr. Kim emphasized that she, Dr. Milner, and colleagues systemwide would use 2012 to determine how best to meet the new requirements.

In response to a question from Regent Vásquez, Dr. Kim replied that roughly the same areas and indicators would be covered in the two separate reports for the UW System and UW-Madison.  In the future, however, UW-Madison’s data would not be a part of the UW System’s data.  In response to a question from Regent Tyler, Senior Vice President Nook answered that the System did not, in fact, have all the data required by Act 32.  While some of the data would be easy enough to collect, some of it was not in UW System databases nor routinely collected by UW institutions.  While it might be possible, he acknowledged, to use “proxies” for some of the requirements, others would be a challenge, for example some of the economic indicators asked for in Act 32. 

e. Program Planning Review Committee

Senior Vice President Nook provided a brief update on the formation of the committee

being charged with revising the UW System’s program planning and review process, another of the commitments made by President Reilly in his response to the Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration.  The committee would include broad representation from UW institutions, and he had named the two co-chairs:  UW-Stout Provost Julie Furst-Bowe, and Associate Vice President Stephen Kolison from the UW System Office of Faculty, Academic, and Global Programs.  He noted that the work of the committee would be of great importance to the Education Committee and its progress would be shared throughout Spring 2012.

Dr. Nook concluded his report by expressing his appreciation to UW-La Crosse Provost Kathleen Enz Finken, who was leaving the UW System to become Provost at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. 

UW-Whitewater Provost Bev Kopper requested that future discussions or use of the handouts provided earlier by Dr. Nook use the language from the Report of the Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration in referring to the Growth Agenda goal to develop more highly prepared graduates.

At the request of Regent Crain, Education Committee secretary Rebecca Karoff provided an update on the status of the ongoing review of the Regent Policy Documents. 

5.  Full Board Consent Agenda

Resolutions I.1.a.(2), I.1.a.(3), I.1.a.(4), and I.1.c. were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, December 9, 2011, meeting. 

The meeting adjourned at 3:55 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Rebecca Karoff, Secretary, Education Committee