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Sept. 10, 2004

University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents
September 2004 Meeting
Day 2 News Summary

Regents honor extraordinary educators in UW System

Gov. Doyle commends award winners for contributions to state

Professor Eric Anderson and Regent RichlenProfessor Eric Anderson and Regent Richlen

MADISON - Outstanding teachers from University of Wisconsin System campuses were lauded Friday

(Sept. 10) by the Board of Regents and Gov. Jim Doyle during the presentation of the 2004 Regents Teaching Excellence Awards.

In introducing the three award winners, Regent Danae Davis of Milwaukee said it was important for the board to recognize and reward the university's valuable faculty and academic staff, who teach UW students with dedication, creativity and passion.

"That acknowledgement does not always find voice outside the halls of academia," said Davis, who chaired the committee that selected the winners. "The members of the UW community we honor today are shining examples of the ability that excellent teachers have to change students' lives."

Professor Eric AndersonProfessor Anderson

Student Regent Beth Richlen of Madison introduced the first winner, UW-Stevens Point wildlife professor Eric Anderson, as a teacher who "wants his students to learn and grow."

"One of the objectives listed on his syllabus is-and this is not so simple-to "kindle the intrinsic desire to know and to understand," Richlen said. "The evidence that he is successful abounds, as his students attest."

Anderson surprised the regents with a "pop quiz" of sorts in accepting his award, illustrating his point that today's students want to be active, engaged learners, and are not satisfied simply with traditional lecture-style courses.

"It's our job to instill in those students the passion to be their best," Anderson said.

Professor Denise Scheberle and Regent Pruitt

Regent Chuck Pruitt of Shorewood described award winner Denise Scheberle, UW-Green Bay professor of political science, as "tireless in her quest to bring innovative teaching and creative opportunities for student learning into her classrooms."

"The impact she has had on students, colleagues, her institution as a whole, and the practice of teaching itself is immense," Pruitt said. "Through her belief in teaching as both an art and a science, which can and must be shared with students and colleagues alike, Professor Scheberle is transforming teaching and learning for her institution and the UW System."

Scheberle thanked the regents for the honor, saying that the award was a highlight of her professional career.

Professor Scheberle Professor Scheberle

"You've honored me in a way I'll never forget," she said. "And thank you to my students, who teach me something every day."

Scheberle said she strives to be creative in offering her students a personal, challenging education.

"I must lead by example, both inside and outside class," she said.

This year's departmental award went to the UW-La Crosse Physics Department, which made a remarkable turnaround after being slated for elimination due to poor performance just a few years ago, according to award presenter Regent Jesus Salas of Milwaukee.

Salas said today, the department is the largest undergraduate Physics program in Wisconsin and has increased from 1 graduate in 1990, to 24 graduates in 2003.

UW-La Crosse Physics Department and Regent SalasUW-La Crosse Physics Department and Regent Salas

"This program is exemplary and it is nationally recognized as such," Salas said. Physics departments throughout the country are following the Department's lead and model in attempts to revitalize their programs."

Department chair Professor Gubbi Sudhakaran accepted the award on the department's behalf, saying that the revitalization is ongoing, and the faculty continue to look for ways to strengthen undergraduate research opportunities, promote teacher education, and maximize unique research facilities.

"Our program is an example of what can be achieved when you have faculty who are willing to go the extra mile," he said.

Professor SudhakaranProfessor Sudhakaran

Gov. Jim Doyle, who attended the awards ceremony, congratulated the winners, saying that they make this university "such a great place to be."

Davis added that the stories the board heard about are not unrelated to the 2005-07 budget request the board approved last month.

"We expressed our commitment to a request for additional faculty resources," Davis said. "Today's ceremony should allow us to feel renewed in our commitment and secure in the knowledge that we are moving in the right direction with such a request."

Learn more about Eric Anderson

Learn more about Denise Scheberle

Learn more about Physics at UW-La Crosse

Read remarks from Regents

Governor praises selection of Reilly as president

Gov. Jim DoyleGov. Jim Doyle

Gov. Jim Doyle briefly addressed the Board of Regents on Friday, thanking them for their "very wise" selection of former UW-Extension chancellor Kevin Reilly as the new UW System President.

"I've known Kevin, and I know that he will do the job very well," Doyle said.

Doyle said Reilly was well-prepared for the position due to his experience leading the statewide UW-Extension.

"With due regard to all the campuses, Extension perhaps exemplifies the Wisconsin Idea more than any other," Doyle said, noting its strong service mission to state citizens, including farmers and small business owners.

He also praised all the UW System chancellors, who have worked as a strong team to manage their institutions during the state's challenging budget time, and thanked the board for its recommendations following its study of the university's future, titled "Charting a New Course for the UW System."

President Reilly, Regent President Marcovich and Gov. DoylePresident Reilly, Regent President Marcovich and Gov. Doyle

"This is a great institution, and a great part of who we are," Doyle said. "In many ways, the University of Wisconsin is what defines us."

Doyle added that while a biennium of budget cuts and recent job growth have helped the state's budget outlook get "back on track, we're not out of the woods yet."

Doyle said the state will continue to invest in the university, understanding the connection between job creation and a strong UW System, and asked the regents to continue working on a unified commitment to education.

Reilly celebrates good news across UW System

Jeff Johnson and Thor SteinJeff Johnson (left) and Thor Stein

Putting a face on the incredible accomplishments that happen daily on UW campuses, UW System President Kevin P. Reilly shared several items of "good news" with the board on Friday.

"Much of the power of our great university resides, I believe, in the extraordinary stories that our students, faculty, researchers, staff and administrators have to tell," he said.

To start, Reilly congratulated and introduced UW-Madison associate professor Jeff Johnson, who with his student, Thor Stein, recently made a major research advance in the fight against Alzheimer's disease.

"Wisconsin is truly fortunate to have Jeff Johnson as a member of our faculty," Reilly said.

President Reilly President Reilly

Stein said his team wanted to "take research from the bench, and apply it to the bedside," and that they are working to apply their discovery in mice to the progression of the disease in humans.

Johnson added that to date, their research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, with no state dollars.

"We would like to keep the majority of this technology in Wisconsin," Johnson said, adding that state investments could help ensure that outcome.

Reilly also congratulated several UW campuses for earning high rankings in this year's edition of "America's Best Colleges" issued by U.S. News and World Report.

Reilly noted that although five UW campuses were among the top-10 best Midwestern level master's universities, and UW-Madison again ranked high among doctoral universities.

"Let me suggest that we congratulate all our campuses for another strong showing. At the same time, keep these rankings in your back pockets," Reilly said. "We know students and parents pay attention to guides like these, and this year's rankings support our case for reinvestment by the state in our university system."

Regents Elizabeth Burmaster and Brent SmithRegents Elizabeth Burmaster and Brent Smith

Reilly and Regent Brent Smith of La Crosse shared the story of UW-La Crosse track-and-field athlete Andrew Rock, a senior who earned an Olympic gold medal as part of the men's 4-x-400 relay at the Summer Games in Athens. Reilly also congratulated UW-Madison swimmer Carly Piper, who won a gold medal as part of the U.S. women's 800-meter freestyle relay team.

In addition, Reilly congratulated UW-Green Bay professor of Humanistic Studies Denise Sweet on her recent appointment as the state's new Poet Laureate.

Read Reilly's report to the Board

Regents hear report on teaching and learning

UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Linda BunnellUW-Stevens Point Chancellor Linda Bunnell

As a complement to the day's teaching excellence awards, three UW academic leaders addressed the board on their approaches to teaching and learning in the UW System.

UW-Stevens Point Chancellor Linda Bunnell told the board that institutions like UWSP are responding to student demand for experiences, in and out of the classroom, that allow "active learning." She said that as chancellor, her role is to support faculty and teaching staff who want to experiment with these newer teaching methods.

"We must give faculty the freedom to innovate and the ability to fail safely, in case they do," Bunnell said.

UW-La Crosse Provost Elizabeth Hitch said she works to support professional development for faculty and instructional staff, and to recognize the importance of teaching and learning as often and as prominently as possible.

Hitch suggested that the Board could assist faculty and staff in their teaching efforts by providing resources at the campus level and by focusing on teaching and learning as the core of the university.

"Whenever a new idea or direction for the System comes up, it needs to be weighed again this criterion: Will this action improve teaching and learning for students on our campuses?" Hitch said.

Lisa Kornetsky, Elizabeth Hitch, Linda BunnellFrom left: Lisa Kornetsky, Elizabeth Hitch, Linda Bunnell

Lisa Kornetsky, director of the UW System Office of Professional and Instructional Development, told the board that the university's approach to supporting quality teaching and learning evolves as student needs change.

"Student success is our priority ― faculty success in the classroom should be as well," Kornetsky said. "The two go hand in hand."

Read Kornetsky's full remarks

Regents approve several action items

The Board of Regents approved several action items from committees in Friday's full board session. The board:

  • Accepted the Annual Report on 2003 Undergraduate Drop Rates for submission to the Joint Committee on Finance; and requested that the Joint Finance Committee discontinue the course credit drop reporting requirement
  • Accepted the 2004 Research and Public Service Report;
  • Authorized the Ph.D. in Medical Informatics at UW-Milwaukee;
  • Approved UW-Extension's revised mission statement;
  • Approved the name change of the UW-Green Bay Division of Professional Studies and Outreach to the Division of Professional and Graduate Studies;
  • Approved the organizational changes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which include:         1) the elimination of the College of Professional Studies; 2) the elimination of the School of Human Sciences and Services; 3) the renaming of the School of Education to the College of Education and Human Sciences; and 4) the renaming of the School of Nursing to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences;
  • Approved amendments to the UW-Green Bay Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures;
  • Approved amendments to the UW-Madison Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures;
  • Approved the amendments to the UW-Stevens Point Faculty Personnel Policies and Procedures;
  • Authorized the recruitment of a new UW-Extension Chancellor;
  • Approved Reappointments and Appointment to the Wisconsin Partnership Fund for a Healthy Future (Blue Cross & Blue Shield Program) Oversight and Advisory Committee;
  • Approved a UW-Madison Contract For Campus Vending Services;
  • Approved the Auxiliary Reserves Report;
  • Approved the Report on Base Salary Adjustments to Recognize Competitive Factors;
  • Accepted several bequests of more than $50,000;
  • Approved a design report and granted authority to construct a Chilled Water Plant at UW-La Crosse;
  • Authorized leasing space on behalf of the Graduate School and the Antarctic, Astronomy, and Astrophysics Research Institute at UW-Madison;
  • Increased the budget for the Mechanical Engineering Renovation and Addition project at UW-Madison;
  • Approved a design report and granted authority to construct a second floor Genomics Laboratory remodeling at the Great Lakes Research Facility at UW-Milwaukee
  • Approved a design report and grant authority to construct a Chilled Water Plant at UW-Whitewater; and
  • Granted authority to construct the American Family Children's Hospital, and thanked American Family Insurance for their generous donation.

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The Board of Regents will hold its next meeting October 7-8, 2004 on the UW-Superior campus.


Related: Read Sept 9 (day 1) news summary