Board of Regents

Education Committee Minutes - February 2012



University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, Wisconsin

February 9, 2012

Regent Vásquez convened the meeting of the Education Committee at 12:37 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 December 8, 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.S. in

Nutritional Sciences at UW-Milwaukee; and

       Resolution I.1.a.(3), authorizing implementation of the B.F.A. in Entertainment Design at UW-Stout;

      Resolution I.1.a.(4), authorizing implementation of the B.F.A. in Graphic Design and Interactive Media at UW-Stout; and

      Resolution I.1.a.(5), authorizing the implementation of the B.S. in Sustainable and Renewable Energy Systems at UW-Platteville.

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:  M.S. and Ph.D. in Epidemiology

Reminding Committee members that doctoral programs were not placed on the

Committee’s consent agenda, Regent Vásquez welcomed UW-Madison Provost Paul DeLuca to introduce the both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Epidemiology.  Provost DeLuca observed that both the M.S. and the Ph.D. in Epidemiology addressed the need for trained epidemiologists, which had grown significantly in recent years, and were critical additions to the School of Medicine and Public Health’s program array.  Both degrees had been extensively vetted on the Madison campus and had received the full endorsement of faculty governance.  He introduced Professor Halcyon Skinner and Dr. Javier Nieto, Chair, of the Department of Population Health Studies. 

Professor Skinner described the extent to which epidemiology was a fundamental science of public health, one which worked to prevent and reduce disease.  The faculty and most of the courses were already in place in the Department of Population Health, and great interest was anticipated for both programs.  The faculty were developing training grants, which would support enrolled graduate students.  He noted that UW-Milwaukee was developing a Ph.D. in Epidemiology as a part of its new School of Public Health, and that UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee were discussing ways to collaborate.  The two programs were complementary, with different sets of strengths and faculty expertise, which would help students choose which to apply to.  He mentioned research experiences in urban settings that would be available to UW-Madison students.

In response to a question from Interim Senior Vice President Nook, Professor Skinner replied that while a few of the students in the Ph.D. program would be M.D.s, most of them would not be given the enormous time commitment required to complete the Ph.D. program.

Regent Crain expressed her appreciation for the presentation, especially the opportunity to hear about the collaborative potential with UW-Milwaukee. 

I.1.b.:  It was moved by Regent Tyler and seconded by Regent Higgens, that, upon the recommendation of the Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the President of the University of Wisconsin System, the Chancellor be authorized to implement the M.S. and the Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

3.      Charter School Authorizations and Renewals

Regent Vásquez welcomed Dr. Robert Kattman, Director of the Office of Charter Schools, and Carol Colbeck, Dean of the School of Education, at UW-Milwaukee.  Before asking the Committee to approve the extension of two existing UW-Milwaukee charter school contracts and one new one, Dr. Kattman provided some background on the work of the Office of Charter Schools for the benefit of the Committee’s newer members.  UW-Milwaukee’s charter schools, he said, were doing exceptionally well and included eight that were not only the top-performing charter schools in the city but in several cases also exceeded statewide test results.  The actions taken by the Regents and the Office of Charter Schools had resulted in real quality and he was proud to be a part of them.  He updated the Committee on some changes from the past year:  the Business and Economics School of Milwaukee (BEAM) had not been renewed by the Office of Charter Schools, and the charter for the Milwaukee Renaissance Academy had voluntarily closed.  The Milwaukee Scholars Charter School had opened in Fall 2011, resulting in a total of eleven charter schools currently overseen by UW-Milwaukee.  He added that he had been trying to retire for the past year but had thus far been unsuccessful.

Dr. Kattman then presented the Capitol West Academy to the Committee.  The school served students in grades 4K-8 and had many strong points, including:  96% daily attendance; character education that was meaningful to students, teachers and parents; strong finances; and improved staff stability.  Although it was in its seventh year of operation, continued Dr. Kattman, Capitol West remained a work in progress with variability in test scores and low numbers of students in some of the grades, which skewed the test results.  He was recommending to the Education Committee a four-year renewal of the contract, which would allow for continued improvement and an earlier review by the Office of Charter Schools.

In response to questions from Regent Evers, Dr. Kattman described efforts the school was making to improve the mathematics performance of its students, and the school’s annual accountability report with goals and benchmarks set by his office and the school’s leadership, and data to determine how well they were being met.  In response to a question from Regent Higgins, Dr. Kattman described the school’s Passport to Success program which offered home visits and advising to parents.  In response to questions from Regent Vásquez, Dr. Kattman elaborated on steps being taken to help retain students into the middle school years, where enrollments were low.  Given the difficulty students had getting into the city’s good middle schools, he felt it was in the school’s best interest to continue its middle school offerings but that could be revisited in the next few years.

In response to a question from Regent Tyler, Dr. Kattman replied that the key ingredient for a successful charter school was a positive school culture, achieved through leadership and faculty who set and communicated high and consistent expectations to students, families, and staff.  The Office of Charter Schools, he added, was proposing a research project on this topic.  A positive school culture allowed students to take responsibility for their own learning and behavior, and resulted from leadership and faculty who believed in their mission to help all children achieve educational success.  In response to a question from Regent Higgins, Dr. Kattman answered that while it was true that culture came from the parents, it was not always a good culture.  Too many students came from families with single parents who faced significant challenges.  Regent Higgins asked what happened to those children who left Capitol West in sixth grade, the grade at which enrollments dropped off.  Dr. Kattman responded that this was the reason he wished he could put together a comprehensive charter high school, which the students from the majority of the K-8 charter schools overseen by his office could attend and would continue the strong education they had received in the lower grades.  Most of the students transferred for high school to private schools or Rufus King but there were not enough spaces to accommodate all of the students served by UW-Milwaukee charter schools.  The K-8 schools chartered by his office followed their graduates, and one of the schools—the Bruce Guadeloupe School—gave each graduate $1,000 for high school.

I.1.c.(1):  It was moved by Regent Tyler and seconded by Regent Higgins, 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 extension of the charter school contract with Capitol West Academy, Inc., together with amendments to the contract, maintaining a charter school known as the Capitol West Academy.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

Dr. Kattman next presented for renewal the School for Early Development and Achievement, known as SEDA.  SEDA was a unique laboratory school serving 78 children in grades 3K-2, one-third of who were special needs and some with quite severe disabilities.  SEDA was sponsored by the Milwaukee Center for Independence (MCFI), which paid one-half the costs of the school.  With its 9:1 ratio of students to teachers, the school was expensive and would not be replicable without the kind of support provided by MCFI.  SEDA provided, however, an incredible opportunity for disabled students, many of whom made great progress.  Dr. Kattman explained that at the school’s last review, two primary problems had been identified:  high mobility of staff and administrators; and accountability reporting.  Since the last review, SEDA had successfully stabilized its staff and leadership.  It had also made progress in terms of accountability, although because the students were so young, there was little in the way of standardized testing along the lines of the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination used to test students across the state beginning in elementary and continuing through high school.  The Office of Charter Schools was working with the University to address this paucity of appropriate assessments for such young children.  Given the progress and the work remaining to help SEDA achieve the goals set by the Office of Charter Schools and school leadership, Dr. Kattman was recommending a four-year extension of the charter school contract.   

I.1.c.(2):  It was moved by Regent Crain and seconded by Regent Higgins, 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 extension of the charter school contract with School for Early Development and Achievement, Inc., together with amendments to the contract, maintaining a charter school known as the School for Early Development and Achievement.

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

Dr. Kattman then presented to the Committee for its approval a contract with a new charter school sponsor, a non-profit called Lighthouse Academies, to establish the Breakwater Lighthouse Charter School.  Based in Massachusetts, Lighthouse Academies, he noted, managed 17 schools in five states and Washington D.C.  It had a strong track record, financial stability, and infrastructure.  The Breakwater school would feature an extended school day and school year, and provide a college-bound, arts-infused program with a strong character education component.  If approved, it would be the twelfth charter school authorized by the Office of Charter Schools.

In response to questions from Regent Evers and Vásquez, Dr. Kattman explained that Lighthouse Academies was also seeking approval from the City of Milwaukee to establish a charter school.  Because, in the end, there were business components at play in choosing a charter school authorizer, Lighthouse Academies would decide which one was the best match for them to work with.  He confirmed that the Regents were being asked to approve a single school, the Breakwater Lighthouse Charter School.

I.1.c.(3):  It was moved by Regent Higgins 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 charter school contract with the Lighthouse Academies of Wisconsin, Inc., establishing a charter school known as the Breakwater Lighthouse Charter School, effective July 1, 2012..

The resolution PASSED unanimously.

In recognition of what would likely be his last Regents meeting, Dr. Kattman delivered some parting remarks.  He thanked the Education Committee and the Board of Regent for the support given to him and the Office of Charter Schools over the years, crediting the Regents with the excellence of UW-Milwaukee’s charter school program and the success of its schools.  He asked the Regents to consider a number of a number of recommendations for how the Board might exercise its chartering authority differently in the future.  Pointing to the Board’s discomfort with and frequent discussions over how many schools UW-Milwaukee should be allowed to oversee, he recommended that that the Regents take a broader view.  He posed the questions:  if UW-Milwaukee were able to continue authorizing schools that significantly out-performed Milwaukee Public Schools or other charter schools, why should the number be limited; and why shouldn’t the Regents work to make high-quality educational programming available to as many students as possible? 

While expanding the number of schools under its purview might require a larger staff and a different approval and renewal structure, Dr. Kattman encouraged the Committee to think about the potential impact for Milwaukee school children.  He proposed that the Board consider the following:  automatically extending charters for high-performing schools as long as the level of performance was maintained; allowing multiple schools under a single charter so that the fruits of a K-8 school’s labor could be continued into the high school years; reviewing new charter school contracts, as done now, but leaving decisions regarding the renewal and closing of charter schools to UW-Milwaukee leadership.

He closed by saying that the ten years of his tenure as Director of the Office of Charter Schools had been wonderful.  He called it a privilege to work with people who had given their lives to help students reach academic success that few had believed possible, and a joy to be a part of the creation of a network of schools where students learned respect, responsibility, how to achieve at high academic levels, and how to be successful adults in a challenging world.

Regent Vásquez thanked Dr. Kattman for his vision, his dedication, and his high standards on behalf of the Board of Regents.  Regent Crain commented that she had been a member of the Education Committee for six years and that, like Dr. Kattman, this would be her last time discussing charter schools as a Regent since she was completing her service to the Board.  She acknowledged that she had given Dr. Kattman a difficult time, not because of who he was, but because of her ongoing struggle with the place of charter schools in public education and the role of the University System in running them.  She encouraged those present to continue the dialogue on the place of charter schools in society, affirming that she had never questioned the dedication to quality demonstrated by Dr. Kattman or UW-Milwaukee in their oversight of charter school.

Regent Vásquez turned to Dean Colbeck for her thoughts.  Dean Colbeck informed the Committee that a search for Dr. Kattman’s replacement was underway.  The earlier discussion on the critical role of culture in determining school success pointed to the prominent role Dr. Kattman had played in fostering a culture of success.  She expressed her admiration for the way in which he did not insist upon a “cookie-cutter” approach and required, instead, excellence and adherence to high performance.  UW-Milwaukee’s search for Dr. Kattman’s replacement would continue until a director could be found who held that same expectation of and standard for excellence.  As a new dean, she recounted, she had originally questioned the role of UW-Milwaukee in managing charter schools.  Several months into her tenure, she expressed her good fortune that she had been able to learn from Dr. Kattman and to be a part of UW-Milwaukee’s charter school work.  Interim Provost Johannes Britz concurred, adding that—like Dr. Kattman—the University took seriously the responsibility and opportunity to change lives through its chartering authority.

4.      Annual Program Planning and Review Report

Interim Senior Vice President Mark Nook introduced the Annual Program Planning and Review Report by indicating the significant changes made to the report over the last few years by Associate Vice President Stephen Kolison, in particular deeper analysis of systemwide data on academic programming.  The report was especially timely this year, given the changes underway to the program planning and approval process as directed by President Reilly in his response to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration.

Associate Vice President Kolison presented highlights of the report, covering the key components of the UW System’s program planning and review process and an overview of the planning activity for 2010-11, as well as the past five years.  He reminded Committee members of some of the new developments in program planning from the last few years, arrived at in collaboration with the institutions, including authority for UW comprehensives to offer professional doctorates, and the development of guidelines for degree productivity and program suspension.  Both student demand and emerging trends in higher education determined what was offered in the System.  He reviewed the recommendations from the President’s Advisory Committee, as well as President Reilly’s “bold” response.

Regent Higgins asked how the UW System would identify the “gaps in the array” referenced in President Reilly’s response, adding that the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) had close relationships with employers which helped to meet employer need.  UW-River Falls Provost Fernando Delgado described the close working relationship his institution had with the WTCS, resulting in regional and international partnerships.  Regent Vásquez articulated key differences in the role of WTCS compared to the UW System in terms of economic development.  UW-Stout Associate Vice Chancellor Jackie Weissenburger explained the close attention paid by UW-Stout, as a polytechnic university, to economic and industry data in determining the need for new academic programs, including market research and Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Regent Higgins questioned further how UW institutions might use their new flexibilities to develop a vision for the gaps in program array, one that would ensure that they each fulfilled their missions.  Interim Senior Vice President Nook responded that each UW had a strategic plan which was presented on a regular basis to the Board of Regents; these plans were monitored by UW System Administration as well as the Regents.  Moving forward, he said, System would play a critical role in assessing gaps and determining how they might be filled.

Regent Tyler commented that WTCS had a good process in place for determining and monitoring need but that it was an imperfect science.  The UW System, he emphasized, needed to take a longer view than WTCS.  Citing nursing as an example, he pointed to how the short-term view of the need for nurses was different than the long-term view. 

Returning to his presentation, Associate Vice President Kolison described for the Committee the work underway by the Program Planning and Review Working Group, appointed by Interim Senior Vice President Nook to develop the process for implementing President Reilly’s recommendations.  Including representation from every UW institution, the working group was moving quickly, within a compressed timeline, to complete its task and bring to the Regents a proposal for a revised process in the next few months which would:  reduce the time between when new programs were proposed and when they were approved; curtail UW System’s role in assessing the academic quality of proposed programs; and direct the focus of System’s role towards the maintenance of an appropriate array of degree options across the state. 

Dr. Kolison said the revised process would result in the most far-reaching shift in decades in the way new degree programs were established and reviewed.  He posed a number of questions for the Regents to consider over the next few months, including:  what do the Regents need to know to manage the systemwide academic program array?  What would be the role of the Board and UW System Administration in initiating and evaluating programs in response to student and employer demand?  When gaps were identified in the array, what would be the role of the Board and UW System Administration in helping to fill them? And, to what extent should the current state of the array influence the scope of program array maintenance?  These questions would inform the decisions the Regents would be asked to make as the revised process and proposed policy revisions came before them in the next few months. 

In response to a question from Regent Crain about what it meant to “manage the array,” Dr. Kolison replied that part of the answer lay in analyzing the current array and determining need, gaps, duplication based on that analysis.  He added, however, that Regent Crain’s question was the critical question and that a great deal more discussion would be required to answer it—with Regents, Chancellors, Provosts, faculty, and UW System leadership—as revisions to the program planning and review process moved forward.

Dr. Kolison then provided a status report on the UW System’s current program array, sharing data on thirty-year trends in baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral, and professional degree offerings.  Other higher education systems, he noted, commended the UW System for the fact that 60% of its programs were single offerings, i.e., unduplicated at other UW institutions.  This was not the case elsewhere.  He shared slides on thirty-year trends in program array at UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, and UW comprehensive institutions.  He also presented data on trends in the array by degree type, including business, health, and science/technology/engineering/mathematics (STEM) degrees.  Moving forward, he suggested, the System would need to ask, was this the array it wanted and needed? 

He concluded his presentation by making the following summary points:

  • The UW System’s program array consisted of 1,186 degree programs, including 26% in STEM, 9% in health, 9% in business, and 56% in other areas;
  • Bachelor’s degrees accounted for the largest share of the array at 59%;
  • The total UW System program array had been reduced by 2% since 1981;
  • Since 2001, the growth in the program array had occurred predominantly in the health sciences (24%), with business growing by 11%, and STEM by 4%.

Overall, reported Dr. Kolison, the System’s planning activity was robust and the net change to the array was plus four.  Since 2009-10, eight programs had been formally suspended and 12 were discontinued.

The Committee’s discussion was wide-ranging.  Provost DeLuca reflected on the amount of work represented by the slide showing UW-Madison’s array over the last thirty years, noting that despite a pruning of low-enrollment programs, the number of graduate degrees had grown steadily over time.  The growth revealed a trend away from master’s and towards doctoral degrees, which had become the terminal degree needed for entry into many professions.  Interim Provost Britz commented on the growth at UW-Milwaukee of students and programs, as well as the establishment of the university’s two new schools.  Despite the growth in enrollments and graduates, he added, UW-Milwaukee remained concerned with its six-year graduation rates, in particular for minority students, although improvements had been made in the past couple of years thanks to the Access to Success program.  UW-Milwaukee would need to collaborate with other UW institutions to determine what kind of degree programs and graduates would be necessary in coming years.  Dr. Nook observed that what had been the UW System’s haphazard development of its overall program array over the last decades would need to be much more intentionally planned moving forward, with discussions among Chancellors and Provosts.

In response to a question from Regent Vásquez, Dr. Weissenburger replied that growth at UW-Stout was in more practical, career-focused master’s degrees and professional certificate programs.  In response to Regent Ever’s request for more planning for educational master’s degrees in the UW System, Provost Delgado recounted that UW-River Falls had significantly missed its master’s level program targets in educational fields.

In response to a question from Regent Crain, Interim Senior Vice President Nook answered that the array analysis presented by Dr. Kolison was as deep as System had ever done and would provide a solid baseline from which to move forward with the changes in the program planning and approval process.  As the Office of Academic Affairs shifted its focus from program quality to array management, its liaison role with the Education Committee would need to change.  Discussions would be taking place in the next few months to determine what the Regents wanted and expected from UW System and the institutions in terms of array management and quality assurance.

In response to a question from Regent Vásquez, Provost Delgado described the kind of program UW-River Falls would like to focus on in coming years, whereby students would complete a baccalaureate degree program in four years and then stay on for a fifth year to complete a master’s degree.  Currently, students might spend five or six years on campus collecting several bachelor’s degrees and/or minors.

Regent Crain commented on the changing level of financial support being given to UW System Administration and the Office of Academic Affairs.  The Education Committee, she added, had always relied heavily on System staff to make sure that certain bases were covered in the programs sent forward with the System’s recommendation.  Regents had neither the time nor the credentials to determine quality or manage the array.  While she supported the increased autonomy and authority being given to the institutions, she asked for guidance on what the Regents should provide to the process moving forward, especially given that issues of array are fundamental to the System’s integrity.

Provost DeLuca responded that, given the capacity and expertise of individual UW institutions to determine program quality, the System’s role should be to take a comprehensive, long-term perspective on the array, something individual institutions could not do.  Regent Tyler observed that, while he understood the proposed role for System to identify trends and help UW institutions respond to them, would that mean System could demand that a UW institution develop a program it did not want?  He acknowledged that while he understood conceptually the array issue, questions remained about what it meant to manage, monitor, and impact the array, for System and the Regents.   Regent Evers suggested that the word “manage” might be a misnomer and that what was required by the Regents was to monitor from a high level.

Provost Delgado agreed that questions remained.  Ultimately, he said, fiduciary responsibility rested with the institution.  If there was duplication in program array across the System and yet, programs were full, then there was no problem.  If there were low-producing programs, however, he believed that UW System Administration should be draconian and require program closures, regardless of quality. 

UW Colleges Chancellor Ray Cross posed the question, what was the role of the state governing board?  The first question to address should be, what were the programmatic needs of the state?  He suggested that the Education Committee develop a means by which to ask and receive answers to this question.

UW-Oshkosh Provost Lane Earns stated his belief that UW System Administration should still play a role in determining quality, as well as array, while acknowledging that his institution might be alone in this belief.  Regional array issues were complicated, he added, citing nursing and engineering needs as prime examples.  Given the complexity, the Regents would need a way to make informed policy in this area.

Using the example of his own employment situation, which relied on experts at the local level to ensure compliance and quality assurance, Regent Vásquez queried whether that was a valid model for the Board.  The institutions were already committed to quality and the Regents should focus on how the institutions demonstrated their compliance in terms of quality and other relevant programmatic areas.  Thanking everyone for the discussion, Interim Senior Vice President Nook concluded that there would be a great deal more discussion on the topic in the next few months.

5.      Report of the Senior Vice President

a.       Update on Academic Affairs Advisory Committees

Interim Senior Vice President Nook welcomed Betsy Morgan as Interim Provost at UW-La Crosse.  He then provided a brief update on the Institute for Urban Education and the three Academic Affairs advisory groups (SAGLA [the System Advisory Group for the Liberal Arts], the Women’s Studies Consortium, and the International Advisory Council) that were under consideration for transfer to UW institutions.  Recommendations to the Education Committee would be forthcoming.

b.      Update on Growth Agenda for Wisconsin Grant Program

Dr. Nook next briefed the Committee on significant changes that had been made to the grant-making process in the Office of Academic Affairs, following one of the recommendations made by President Reilly in his response to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Roles of UW System Administration.  The Office had taken what had been ten separate pots of grant money housed at System and streamlined them into two grant programs, focused on advancing the goals of the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin.  The larger program would fund institutional change grants, with the potential for broad impact and systematic transformation; the smaller program would fund conference and professional development grants.  The revised RFP and grant review processes would allow for greater transparency in how funding decisions were made and result in funded programs of value to the institutions, the System, and the state.

c.       Recent LEAP Wisconsin Developments

Rebecca Karoff, Special Assistant to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, shared with the Committee recent developments taking place as a part of the System’s LEAP Wisconsin initiative.  She highlighted work taking place at UW-Whitewater, including Provost-sponsored workshops to promote collaboration and student learning across campus, and a conference on February 29—LEAP Day—featuring poster sessions and a nationally broadcast webinar with panels of employers in Wisconsin and California discussing what they looked for in new hires.  She also informed the Committee of a new grant project with the Association of American Colleges & Universities, the System’s national partner in the LEAP Campaign.  The project, Quality Collaboratives, was being funded by the Lumina Foundation and brought together a total of seven states and state systems working to improve transfer and student achievement.  The work in the UW System involved two pairings of a two-year with a four-year campus:  UW-Fox Valley partnering with UW-Oshkosh, and UW-Waukesha partnering with UW-Parkside.

6.      Full Board Consent Agenda

Resolutions I.1.a.(2), I.1.a.(3), I.1.a.(4), I.1.a.(5), I.1.b., I.1.c.(1), I.1.c.(2), and I.1.c.(3) were referred to the consent agenda of the full Board of Regents at its Friday, February 10, 2012, meeting. 

The meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted, Rebecca Karoff
Secretary, Education Committee