Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes - August 2012



Madison, Wisconsin

August 23, 2012

Regent Vásquez convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 2:50 p.m.  Regents Vásquez, Bartell, Drews, Evers, Higgins, Millner, Manydeeds, and Tyler were present.  Regent Vásquez noted that, with the larger size of the Committee, the Provosts would no longer fit around the meeting table.  He expressed the Committee’s interest in still having them provide input and asked them to introduce themselves. 

1. Presentation on Milwaukee Partnership Academy

Regent Vásquez welcomed Gerard Randall, Regent Emeritus and Executive Director of the Milwaukee Partnership Academy, and Michael Burke (by video), President of the Milwaukee Area Technical College and Chair of the Milwaukee Partnership Academy (MPA).  Mr. Randall introduced the Partnership as an urban PK-16 council for quality teaching and learning that worked to address the long-standing and deeply entrenched challenges faced by K-12 education in Milwaukee.

Dr. Burke next described some of the efforts underway to improve student achievement, as evidenced by better test scores, graduation rates, and matriculation into higher education.  Challenges were abundant, he remarked, and yet the MPA executive partners were committed to collaborating and infusing new energy into the city’s public K-12 schools.  He enumerated the Partnership’s five priority areas:  raising graduation rates; advocating for public education; improving student learning; professional development of teachers and administrators; and fundraising.  Dr. Burke and Mr. Randall described for Committee members a host of MPA initiatives, past and current, focusing on improved grade-level reading, math proficiency, curricular redesign, teacher development, African-American male and Native American student performance, and college readiness, among others, and all of which sought to close the achievement gap.  Mr. Randall continued by describing how MPA has leveraged its partners to combine resources and bring in additional funding, including grants from the Gates and the National Science Foundations.  He detailed some of the particular challenges facing the Milwaukee Public School System, such as replacing the large numbers of experienced teachers and administrators who were retiring, the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and expanding dual enrollment.  The expansion of choice and charter schools in Milwaukee were also impacting the city and the district, as was what he cited as imbalanced and inadequate funding in public school districts across the state.  He concluded by thanking the Regents for the opportunity to present.

Regent Vásquez referred to conversations he had had with UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mike Lovell, one of the MPA executive partners, regarding whether the multiplicity of initiatives in the city of Milwaukee were just too many or whether they could work together to be successful.  Mr. Randall replied that given Milwaukee’s size and the scope of its problems, all these initiatives had something to contribute and, despite some “mission creep,” they did not need to work at cross-purposes with one another.  Dr. Burke responded that he served on many, many initiatives, adding that there was no shortage of need and he welcomed everyone committed to changing kids’ lives and reversing the city’s negative trends and outcomes.  He commented that he met frequently with Carol Colbeck, Dean of the School of Education at UW-Milwaukee, and they discussed the common threads woven through all the various initiatives.  He also noted that the MPA was nimble and could meet regularly and marshal resources to get programs up and running to have an impact and achieve results.

On behalf of the Committee, Regent Vásquez thanked Mr. Randall and Dr. Burke for their good work.

2. Committee Consent Agenda

Regent Vásquez presented the minutes of the June 7, 2012, meeting of the Education Committee, as well as the following resolutions as consent agenda items: 

Resolution I.1.a.(2),approving the amendments to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Personnel Rules;

Resolution I.1.a.(3), authorizing implementation of the Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training at UW-Madison;

Resolution I.1.a.(4), authorizing implementation of the Bachelor of Science in Radiologic Science at UW-Oshkosh;

Resolution I.1.a.(5), authorizing implementation of the Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at UW-River Falls; and 

Resolution I.1.a.(6), authorizing implementation of the Collaborative Online Master of Science in Sustainable Management at UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Stout, and UW-Superior.

Regent Vásquez noted that Regent Millner had requested the removal of Resolution I.1.a.(2), from the consent agenda.  Regent Bartell moved, and Regent Tyler seconded the adoption of the consent agenda minus Resolution I.1.a.(2), which passed unanimously.

Regent Vásquez returned to Resolution I.1.a.(2), revisions to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Personnel Rules.  Regent Millner explained that she had requested removal of I.1.a.(2), in order to better understand post-tenure review and the motivation behind the proposed Green Bay rule change, which changed the frequency of post-tenure review from annually or biennially, to at least once every five  years.  While clear that the management of any review process did and should reside with the institution, she wondered whether it would make sense for there to be uniform frequency across the System, and for such reviews to occur more frequently. 

Regent Bartell responded by referencing one of the key operating principles from the President’s Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration, namely that UW institutions should determine their own policies except where systemwide uniformity was necessary.  This principle was in support of the recommendation for greater flexibility and autonomy for all UWs.  He expressed his support for UW-Green Bay’s determination that five years was appropriate, adding that he did not see the need for uniformity across the System in how frequently post-tenure review was conducted.

Regent Higgins remarked that he had had the same reservations about the proposed rule change as Regent Milner.  He observed that in the business world, five years between personnel reviews would be unheard of.  While he supported institutional flexibility, he wondered about the wisdom of the five-year interval for post-tenure review.

  Senior Vice President Mark Nook explained how the faculty governance process worked in determining institutional personnel procedures, and that UW-Green Bay’s policy change was in alignment with both Regent policy (RPD 20-9) and state statute.  UW-Green Bay Provost Julia Wallace provided context for the specific change, commenting on the fact that while post-tenure review was designed to help determine merit increases, there had been no merit pay for many years.  If merit pay were reinstated, she added, the timeline would be re-evaluated.  She also clarified how regularly, in fact, faculty were evaluated, including every semester by students throughout their careers, repeatedly in the first six years leading up to tenure, and again for promotion from associate to full professor.  She explained that post-tenure review was a more elaborate and comprehensive process, including peer review and analysis of student evaluations over time.  UW-Parkside Provost Terry Brown reiterated the frustration among faculty that there was still an evaluation process in place that was supposed to be tied to merit, and yet, there was no merit to award.

Regent Millner expressed her appreciation for the explanations, adding that this was exactly the discussion she had been hoping for in removing the resolution from the consent agenda.  She thanked Regent Bartell for the background he provided on the President’s Advisory Committee, Provost Wallace for her clarification, and Regent Higgins for the connection he made linking increased institutional autonomy to funding. 

I.1.a.(2):  It was moved by Regent Millner, seconded by Regent Tyler, that,

upon recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the amendments

to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Personnel Rules be approved.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

3. UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee:  Dissolution of the Consortial Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and Authorizations of Independent Doctor of Physical Therapy Programs at UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee

Senior Vice President Nook provided background to Committee members on the System’s first-ever dissolution of a consortial degree, and the concomitant requests for independent authorizations of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) at UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee.  Dr. Nook reviewed the reasons behind the formation of the Consortial DPT, and explained why those reasons were no longer relevant.  Since the consortial degree was approved in 2005, both UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee had developed high-quality and highly sought-after, stand-alone programs.  In addition, in 2009, the UW System—with the endorsement of the Regents—had developed a set of guidelines and criteria authorizing UW comprehensive universities to offer professional doctorates.  Dr. Nook enumerated the criteria and described how the UW-La Crosse DPT met them.  He concluded that both DPT programs were serving students and the state well, and he therefore recommended dissolution of the consortium and independent authorizations for separate DPT programs at UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee.

I.1.d.(3):  It was moved by Regent Drew, seconded by Regent Bartell, that,

upon recommendation of the Chancellors of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellors  be authorized to dissolve

the Consortial Doctor of Physical Therapy; the Chancellor of UW-La Crosse

be authorized to implement the Doctor of Physical Therapy at UW-La Crosse;

and the Chancellor of UW-Milwaukee be authorized to implement the Doctor

of Physical Therapy at UW-Milwaukee.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

4. Revisions to the UW System Academic Program Planning, Review, and Approval Process

Regent Vásquez reminded Committee members of the extensive presentation they had heard in June describing the proposed revisions to the UW System’s academic program, planning, and approval process.  For the benefit of the Regents new to the Board, he added that a revised process was one of the key recommendations to emerge from the broad reconsideration of the roles of UW System Administration that had taken place a year ago.  This month, he said, the Regents were being asked to approve a revised Regent Policy Document—RPD 4-12—that would formally adopt the revised process and clarify the roles of the Regents, UW institutions, and System Administration within it.  He then turned to Senior Vice President Nook and Associate Vice President Stephen Kolison for elaboration. 

Dr. Nook thanked the members of the Program Planning and Review Working Group, in particular the co-chairs Dr. Kolison, Provost Wallace and former Provost Julie Furst-Bowe, and Academic Planner Dr. Carmen Faymonville and Special Assistant Dr. Rebecca Karoff. 

    Associate Vice President Stephen Kolison began by noting that in June, he had  compared in detail the current process for program planning, review and approval, to the proposed revised process.  His focus today would be on the major changes being proposed in the new process.  He reviewed the principles and the goals behind the proposed changes, which would:  reduce the preparation time needed for institutions to submit new degree program proposals; increase flexibility in the development of new degree programs; reduce the role of UW System Administration in assessing the academic quality of new programs; and direct the focus of System’s role towards the maintenance of an appropriate array of degree options across the state.  He presented the central features of the revised process, focusing on the pre-authorization or “notice of intent” phase, authorization, implementation, and the kinds of institutional quality control that would be in place to ensure accountability. 

    Dr. Kolison also described UW System Administration’s evolving academic program array management role, which would include a more proactive identification of gaps in the program array to address changing and emerging workforce and societal needs.  The array management role had not yet been completely determined and would require further consultation with UW System and institutional leaders.  While the old process had served the System well for many years, he commented, the new process was truly an improvement, necessary, and helpful to all involved.  He concluded by adding that, upon adoption by the Regents of the new process, he would be visiting UW institutions and his office would offer a workshop to UW institutions to explain the details of the new process.

    Dr. Nook directed Committee members’ attention to the proposed revised Regent policy, which not only underscored the inadequacy of the current policy but also clarified nicely the roles to be played by Regents, institutions, and UW System Administration under the new process.  Regent Bartell acknowledged that the revised process was a significant accomplishment in moving the System forward in fulfilling the recommendations of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration.  Regent Millner referred to program approval as one of the Board’s most important responsibilities.  She expressed her appreciation for how the revised Regent policy built in a review several years later to ensure that it was working well.  She said she was also pleased to see the removal of bureaucratic layers in the revised process.

    UW-Madison Provost Paul DeLuca expressed his concern with the requirements for institutional quality control, noting that they were onerous to institutions.  Dr. Kolison responded by stating that under the revised process, the requirement for the joint review of programs by the institution and UW System Administration had been eliminated.  Moreover, he said, the requirement to put quality definitions, standards, and results of institutional and accreditation reviews on the web was developed by members of the working group and had been deemed reasonable by all of them.  Regent Vásquez agreed that the requirements seemed reasonable and Provost Wallace added that every UW conducted some kind of program review for accreditation purposes.  Dr. Karoff explained that the quality control required of institutions was designed to provide assurance to the Regents so that they could confidently approve new academic programs that came before them under the revised process.

I.1.d.:  It was moved by Regent Tyler, seconded by Regent Manydeeds, that, upon recommendation of the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Board of Regents approves the changes to Regent Policy Document RPD 4-12, “Planning and Review Principles for New and Existing Academic Programs and Academic Support Programs.”

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

5. Report of the Senior Vice President

a.   2012-13 UW System Growth Agenda for Wisconsin Grant Program

Senior Vice President Nook described the process and the results of the UWSA’s reconfigured grants program, which was also a product of the President’s Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration.  The revised program created two grant programs from 10, with approximately $2 million made available annually to institutional and collaborative proposals seeking transformation.  The results of the first year were almost $4 million committed to UW institutions over the next three years for projects with the potential, reported Dr. Nook, to effect real progress towards Growth Agenda goals. 

b. 2012-13 Strategic Directions for Academic Affairs

Dr. Nook shared those priorities arrived at in collaboration with the Provosts at their June Retreat, and on which attention would be focused in the coming year.  They included:  the flexible degree model, dual enrollment, international education, leadership development and succession planning, and advocacy for the UW System.

c.   Discussion of Education Committee Priorities for 2012-13

In transitioning to a discussion of the Education Committee’s priorities for 2012-13, Senior Vice President Nook observed that there were clearly some intersections among Provost and Regent priorities.  He listed some of the topics arrived at during his briefing calls with Committee members, including the flexible degree, dual enrollment, and underserved student success and the achievement gap.  Regent Millner agreed, noting that the flexible degree and dual enrollment were at the top of her list.  These were both huge tasks, she said, and given the Governor’s commitment to them, she advised the Committee not to spread themselves too thin with too many priorities for the year. 

Regent Tyler remarked that higher education in the state was under criticism for what he called “mission creep” and a lack of alignment between what higher education institutions offered and what the state needed in terms of workforce development.  Dual enrollment, he stated, was an issue impacting K-12, the UW System, and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).  He suggested that the flexible degree program might provide some avenues for thinking about underrepresented student success.  The Technical College System, he noted, had higher numbers of underrepresented minority students than did the UW System.  From his perspective on the Technical College System board, WTCS wanted to work with both K-12 and the UW System to build pathways from one educational sector to another.

Regent Drew expressed his keen interest in digging more deeply into the topic of underrepresented minority student success, including the topics of closing the achievement gap, recruitment, and retention.  Regent Vásquez concurred but asked that the Committee engage in a different discussion than the usual focus on numbers or a “parade” of initiatives and efforts underway.  Despite everything the UW System and institutions were doing, something was still not working, he emphasized, and the reasons for that needed to be determined.  Regent Millner suggested that a model like the Flexible Degree could serve many in the state who had not been well-served by higher education in the past, and that some of the Committee’s attention to the Flexible Degree might focus, as well, on underserved student success. 

Regent Manydeeds expressed his agreement with Regent Vásquez that the Committee should not look only at statistics, and should be ready to listen to a variety of solutions.  UW institutions, he added, had differing approaches and many of them have worked.  Regent Drew agreed and suggested listening to frank testimony from students on the difficulties they faced at UW colleges and universities.  Regent Higgins mentioned that data from alumni offices could help to explain why some students did not graduate, and encouraged focusing on programs that had worked and were replicable across the System.  He queried whether the System’s goals were realistic in this area, and emphasized the need to focus on what was keeping UW institutions from reaching them.

In response to Regent Vásquez’s request for Provost input, Provosts Wallace and Lampe replied that between the list of Provost priorities and Regent priorities, they were comfortable with the directions being suggested.  Dr. Nook promised to bring back to the Committee in October a plan for addressing the agreed-upon priorities throughout the year.

6. Full Board Consent Agenda

Resolutions I.1.a.(2), I.1.a.(3), I.1.a.(4), I.1.a.(5), I.1.a.(6), I.1.b., and I.1.d. were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, August 24, 2012, meeting. 

The meeting adjourned at 4:29 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,
Rebecca Karoff
Secretary, Education Committee