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Remarks to the Board of Regents

UW System President Katharine C. Lyall
November 8, 2002

As you know, we have new state leadership that faces an old problem--the challenge of developing a budget plan that will provide a permanent solution to the deficit and a focus for growth in future years. The UW System is a willing partner in those efforts; we have much to offer, perhaps the most important being educational opportunity for Wisconsin's next generation of citizens and workers.

You may be interested in some numbers about the new legislature:

Of the 132 members:

  • About 93 are full-time legislators, that is being a state legislator is their
    full-time job.
  • About 73 hold at least one degree from a UW System institution and another 10 have attended a UW System institution.
  • Eight members of the Senate are women and 25 are men.
  • 27 of the members of the Assembly are women and 72 are men.

Of the17 new members of the legislature:

  • Five are UW graduates and three hold degrees from other higher educational institutions.
  • One, Curtis Gielow, is the former president of the UWM Foundation Board.
  • One, Thomas Lothian, is a retired chemistry professor from the University of Illinois-Chicago.

November 18 - 22 is International Education Week. In the year following 9/11, we have all come to realize how important it is that university graduates are prepared to function in a global environment. A telephone survey done by American Council on Education this fall revealed that:

  • 77% of Americans support international course requirements in college.
  • 79% agreed that students should have a study-abroad experience sometime during college.
  • 80% supported a high school foreign language requirement.
  • 80% said that the presence of international students on American campuses enriches the learning experience for all students.

International Education week gives us a chance to celebrate the diversity that international students bring to our campuses and the importance of looking outward to the rest of the world.

This fall also marks the 30th Anniversary of Title IX, the federal statute, passed in 1972, which ensured equal access for women to all educational programs of colleges and universities that receive federal dollars. The amendment that specified that this also pertained to athletics was added two years later. It is in some ways unfortunate that Title IX has come to be thought of almost exclusively as pertaining to opportunities for women in athletics, whereas its greatest impact has been in overall access to higher education. In 1972, UW System enrollments were 119,221 FTE, of which about 1/3 were women; today, overall enrollments are 135,000 FTE and 55% of our students are women. And women's athletics are prospering too!

Good News

Sorensen Gets Eagle Award

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College presented its Eagle Management Leadership Award to Chancellor Sorensen in recognition of "individuals who have demonstrated leadership that has produced significant results for the Wisconsin Technical College System." Chancellor Sorensen has worked with WTCS to establish a statewide printing graphics 2+2 program and is a leader in the Chippewa Valley computer industry initiative. It is always wonderful to have someone recognize this kind of leadership, but I believe it is especially meaningful to have one's active partners do so. Congratulations Chuck and thank you WTCS!

UW System and WTCS Get $1 Million Co-Lab Award

Another example of collaboration is the $1 million grant to support the Wisconsin Co-Lab that is part of the Defense bill making its way to the President's desk. The Co-Lab combines the forces of WTCS and the UW System to establish the standards for technology-based training and education that will be used throughout the U.S. The Wisconsin Co-Lab, one of only three in the country, is working on a global directory of learning materials and to ensure that those materials are easily shared across more than 500 colleges and universities nationally. Senator Herb Kohl and Representative Tammy Baldwin were instrumental in obtaining this funding for the Co-Lab and we appreciate their help very much.

Randall Top Innovator Award

Congratulations go to Regent Gerard Randall for being named the 2002 Top Innovator of the Year by the Daily Reporter Publishing Company. Regent Randall was honored for starting REACH, a program to help those who have dropped out of high school get their GEDs while working at good paying jobs. I'm sure it surprises none of us that Gerard saw a problem and took action to help--it's an award well earned.

Canadian National Grant to UW-Superior

Canadian National has made a $150,000 grant to the CN Transportation and Logistics Management Fund at UW-Superior to help develop programs and support scholarships. The Fund will also support a student research project and field experiences. The grant marks the first-year anniversary of Wisconsin Central becoming part of the CN rail network. UW-Superior's Transportation and Logistics program is relatively new but has already drawn forty students who are headed for challenging careers in transportation planning and management.

On-Line Application Up

Finally, we talked yesterday about the sharp rise in applications at our institutions. You may be interested to know that fully half of these potential students are now making application on-line…an easier process for them and for our campuses. I think we can expect that the vast majority of applications will be electronic in the next year or two.