Board of Regents

Study of the UW System in the 21st Century


Creating New Knowledge and Fostering Career and Professional Development

  1. The missions of University of Wisconsin System institutions will be continuously redesigned during the decade ahead to meet evolving student and state needs. Therefore, it is recommended that UW Centers work closely in collaboration with UW four-year institutions and with UW-Extension to deliver upper division and continuing education courses. This will extend the benefits of career and professional education to additional communities throughout the state.

  2. Each UW System institution should forge strategic partnerships with other UW institutions, PK-12 districts, Wisconsin Technical College Districts and other public and private entities regionally, nationally and internationally that will produce cost savings, improved efficiency, and enhance the quality of services provided to internal and/or external constituencies.

  3. It is recommended that the Board of Regents support the revised procedures for academic planning and program review contained in ACIS-1 and that it review these procedures in two years to evaluate their effectiveness in facilitating new program development and suggest two types of improvement: (a) revisions to the process itself; (b) new improvements to further enhance the process of new program development.

  4. It is recommended that the Board of Regents, in order to be able to innovate and respond to student demand, seek a statutory change to permit expenditure of program revenues as generated and creation of FTE positions as needed for credit (Fund 104-131) outreach instructional programs. This authority would be similar to that which the UW System has with noncredit (Fund 104-132) outreach instructional programs.

    Note: A number of other recommendations emphasize the importance of the research and public service missions of UW System institutions, as well as the need to expand access for non-traditional students, returning adults, and continuing professional education for Wisconsin citizens.

Restructuring and Improving the Efficiency of the UW System

  1. By October 1, 1996, chancellors of each UW System institution should provide the Board of Regents through UW System Administration with a report of efficiency-related measures undertaken to date and new recommendations of other efficiency measures that would increase capacity in the future. Furthermore, we recommend the UW Board of Regents seek legislative authority for greater internal budgetary flexibility in the use of institutional funds in order to achieve increased capacity.

  2. The Board of Regents should discuss the possibility of using its existing authority to allow comprehensive institutions to charge differential tuition rates within the cluster. Differential tuition rate increases may be no lower than general rate increases established by the Board of Regents.

  3. Institutions should be encouraged to raise external funds and that modifications of system policies be considered to encourage such fund raising.

  4. Section 20.285(1)(h), Wis. Stats., should be revised to include: "Each campus, the centers, and extension may, after appropriate consultation, and upon approval of the board, expend available moneys as needed for any program-revenue, student-related activity for which additional one-time funding is needed."

  5. Institutions should be allowed to charge up to market rates for auxiliary operations, but any increases above the three-year average increase in Wisconsin disposable income require Board of Regents approval.

  6. In order to increase revenue, the Board of Regents should allow negotiation of nonresident tuition rates for students from neighboring states at selected institutions subject to the Board's approval, with the condition that the tuition charged at least cover the marginal cost of instructing the additional students.

  7. The Board of Regents should consider amending its Competition with the Private Sector policy to permit system institutions greater freedom to earn revenue from mission-related activities.

  8. The UW System should continue Continuous Quality Improvement efforts to streamline operations, making them more efficient and effective with the possibility of reducing costs.

  9. The Board of Regents should seek elimination of or modification to Section 36.25 (2), Wis. Stats. Elimination is preferred. If modifications are made, the language should state: "Preference as to rooming, boarding and apartment facilities in the use of living units operated owned by any university shall, for the following school year, be given to students who are residents of this state and who are required to live on campus. They must apply before by March 15 for the following school year, unless a later date is set by the board. If the university requires students to reside on campus, students who are residents of this state shall be given preference as to rooming, boarding, and apartment facilities. Such preference shall be granted in accordance with categories of priority established by the board. Leases or other agreements for occupancy of such living units shall not exceed a term of one calendar year. The board may promulgate rules for the execution of this subsection."

  10. The Board of Regents should seek authority to establish the compensation and other terms and conditions of employment for unclassified staff in the University of Wisconsin System.

  11. The Board of Regents should seek authority to eliminate external position control and give UW System the authority to create all positions without the approval of the Department of Administration or the legislature.

  12. The Board of Regents should seek authority to make the following alterations in position reporting:
    • Exempt the UW System from filing the Headcount Report because the Department of Administration can prepare its quarterly report, as required in Section 16.50 (3), Wisc. Stats., from other documents.
    • Exempt the UW System from submitting the FTE Report and Filler Positions Report because UW System's computerized personnel systems will be maintained so as to respond efficiently and effectively to inquires.
    • Modify the Position Change Report from a quarterly to an annual report.

  13. The Board of Regents should direct the President of the UW System, in collaboration with the chancellors, to explore strategies which would permit the UW System to move rapidly and effectively into the distance education market, and become a major provider. Specifically, the President should explore options such as:
    • Quasi-public entities.
    • Partnerships with private sector telecommunications entities.
    • The use of Fund 104-131 and 132 (credit and noncredit outreach) or auxiliaries (Fund 128) for this purpose.

  14. The Board of Regents should permit institutions that generate more tuition revenue than budgeted to expend 75 percent of those additional revenues, with the remaining 25 percent of those revenues being placed in a systemwide pool. The Board of Regents must also seek approval to add the following statutory language to Section 20.285 (1) (im): "Upon the approval of the Board of Regents, expenditure authority up to 5% above the amounts in the schedule shall be permitted to the extent tuition revenues are available."

  15. The Board of Regents definition of its role in governing the University of Wisconsin System should include the following:
    • Establish goals, missions, and the policy and fiscal frameworks (within existing statutory limitations) within which institutions can do their own operational planning and implementation.
    • Appoint and evaluate the President of the UW System and the chancellors of the UW System institutions and empower them to meet their responsibilities within the policies of the board.
    • Evaluate institutional and system performance and hold each institution and System Administration accountable for accomplishing agreed-upon goals.
    • Foster diversity of mission among the institutions, maximizing synergies and minimizing inappropriate duplication.
    • Promote the "widest degree" of institutional autonomy within the limits of the law and Board policy.
    • Bring a citizen perspective to the UW System.
    • Serve as advocates to external constituencies on behalf of the UW System.

  16. The Board of Regents should strengthen Board operations as follows:
    • Require orientation sessions for new Regents.
    • Conduct regular Board of Regents' self-evaluations (this fits with existing UW System Board policy).
    • Using private funds, have Board of Regents visit one peer institution outside of Wisconsin each year (Colorado model) in search of best practice.
    • Ensure that there is an annual strategic planning meeting and an annual development meeting.
    • Encourage all Board members to visit at least one UW System campus per year, in addition to the campuses they visit when they attend regular meetings of the Regents.
    • Solicit testimony from outside the UW System.
    • Foster relationships with the Executive and Legislative branches of government.
    • Use technology to strengthen operation of the Board.
    • Periodically review and revise Board policies and procedures.
    • Appoint a special Regent committee to examine the efficacy of Board of Regent operations in light of its responsibilities and to recommend improvements.

  17. The definition of the UW System Administration should include the following:
    • Facilitate strategic planning.
    • Administer the UW System within federal and state laws, and Board of Regent policies, encouraging within these constraints, the "widest degree" of institutional autonomy.
    • Coordinate and seek synergies among the universities.
    • Foster partnerships with other educational institutions, state agencies; and private entities.
    • Foster a climate of decision-making that develops a single UW System position on important issues.
    • Anticipate and plan for developing educational, economic and technological trends in higher education.
    • Seek efficiencies and encourage the development of cost efficient common systems and common processes.
    • Be accountable to the Board of Regents for effective provision of higher education in Wisconsin as assigned by Chapter 36 of the Wisconsin Statutes and Board of Regents policies.
    • Monitor and evaluate performance of individual institutions.

  18. The role of UW System institutions should include the following:
    • To be direct providers of instruction, research and public service, consistent with each institution's mission.
    • Maintain responsibility for operational planning and day-to-day operations.
    • To be responsive to the demand for user-friendly and client-responsive provision of services.
    • To utilize distance education and other instructional technology.
    • To be innovative in operations and fund-raising.
    • To collaborate with other institutions, state agencies, and private entities, to better serve internal and external constituencies.
    • To be accountable for meeting Board of Regent-designated outcomes and policies.

  19. That since teaching academic staff are a growing part of those instructing students across the UW System, it is time to examine the role of teaching academic staff within the UW System with the intention of improving their status, roles, rights and responsibilities. To this end, and consistent with the language of Chapter 36, we request a review by the University of Wisconsin System Administration of the issues involved with teaching academic staff.

  20. The Board of Regents should authorize the President to pursue alternatives to the current capital budgeting process. Those alternatives would include:
    • Seeking revenue bonding authority for projects funded by University Program Revenues. This program would apply only to the non-academic facilities that are funded primarily from university-generated user fees (dorms, student unions, etc.).
    • Seeking revenue bonding for academic projects with at least 25-50% outside funding. This alternative would be a variation of the present WISTAR program, under which the state has obligated itself to pay half the debt service on a $150 million program to build new research facilities.

    The Board of Regents recognizes and accepts that it has a responsibility to protect, sustain and enhance the resources for which it has been given stewardship. However, the Board is frustrated in its ability to be accountable to the public for that stewardship of the $4.2 billion in physical facilities that have been entrusted to its care. This frustration is generated primarily by the uncertainty and lack of authority that surrounds the current capital budgeting process. Academic long-range planning and the ability to respond to rapidly-changing technologies and needs are seriously constrained because the funding to meet those needs is controlled by entities which are outside the jurisdiction of the Board of Regents. The Board is not seeking release from all of those constraints. However, the Board feels that it is essential that it be provided a dependable level of funding within which to address the infrastructure needs of its many clients and various institutions.

    A revenue bonding program for the University of Wisconsin System capital budget would provide this flexibility and improve its ability to be accountable. However the acceptance of such a program is uncertain. Nevertheless, the principle should be further debated in conjunction with the more limited revenue bonding program being advanced for public debate.

  21. The definition and measurement of results should be expanded from its current focus to include all instructional and instruction-related resources. The Board of Regents recommends that the President of the UW System, in cooperation with the chancellors of each UW institution, further define the concept of university effectiveness and prepare a plan to implement this concept throughout the UW System. This plan should specify the principles, goals, and assessments to be used in implementing the initiative.

  22. The missions of University of Wisconsin System institutions will be continuously redesigned during the decade ahead to meet evolving student and state needs. Therefore, at least one UW System institution, contingent upon appropriate consultation, should present to the Board of Regents, by June, 1997 a proposal to expand its institutional autonomy.

  23. It is recommended that each UW institution create internally an innovation/incentive fund of approximately 0.5% of its GPR/Fee base budget to support systemwide priorities such as distance education, instructional technology, and collaborative programs. Expenditures of these funds shall be approved by the Board for coordinated investment. Each institution shall report on such reallocations annually to the President of the System.

  24. The Board of Regents should permit one-time fund transfers between auxiliary operations and from auxiliaries to other program-revenue, student-supported activities:
    • Expand System Administration policy on auxiliary expenditures to permit the transfer of one-time funds from one auxiliary activity to another auxiliary activity for which additional one-time funding is needed.
    • Amend the statues [Section 20.285(1)(h)] to include:"Each campus, the centers, and extension may, after appropriate consultation, and upon approval of the board, expend available moneys as needed for any program-revenue, student-related activity for which additional one-time funding is needed."

  25. The Board of Regents should encourage UW System Administration to pursue the investigation of various initiatives for which the Board, DOA or Legislative approval is required to enhance management flexibility in the areas of purchasing, personnel and fiscal management. These initiatives (listed under Categories 4 and 5) include such matters as increasing the purchasing threshold, creating incentives for energy conservation, modifying the capital budget approval process, removing limits on program revenue and FTE flexibility, changing auxiliary reserve reporting and modifying State personnel rules. The UW System Administration shall report the results of these considerations to the Board of Regents.

  26. The Board of Regents should direct UW System Administration to advise on flexibilities that UW System itself can implement. These initiatives include modifying the System grant proposal process, relaxing the rigidity between program revenue funds and giving institutions the authority and responsibility for all credit generation except correspondence study.

  27. It is recommended that the Board of Regents:
    • Delegate to the chancellors the authority to name rooms at their institution.
    • Develop a recommendation rescinding the Board's Resolution 40 of December 17, 1971, which authorized the System President and Vice President to deputize university police officers and instead delegate to the chancellors the authority to deputize university police officers on their campus to enable them to exercise police functions authorized by statutes.

  28. It is recommended that the Board of Regents, in order to improve overall program array planning systemwide, direct the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs to meet annually with the vice chancellors on issues of Systemwide program array, including such items as program addition and deletion, institutional and Systemwide program needs, needed program changes and Systemwide balance of program array. This consultation shall result in a report for review by the chancellors that will be submitted to the Board of Regents as part of the annual December program report.

  29. It is recommended that the Board of Regents seek changes in areas that create impediments to the efficient management of academic program array. Examples of how legislative changes would facilitate timely program array decisions include:
    • Increasing flexibility in expenditures of one-time savings by eliminating the ceiling on carryover for GPR funds.
    • Relaxing the rigidity within Program Revenue funds and, where appropriate, between funds.
    • Freeing the credit outreach budget from fiscal and other current restrictions.

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