The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents met in Madison last week in a regularly scheduled two-day meeting. Audio and video from the meeting is available here. The Regents discussed UW System’s annual accountability reports and the 2013 biennial budget request.
Accountability Reports UW System has provided the Regents with accountability reports for nearly 20 years. This year, new reports were required as part of Act 32, the 2011-13 biennial budget. That legislation called for two new reports — one for UW-Madison and one for the remainder of UW System — that measure job placement of graduates and the number of new businesses that result from university research. Provost Paul DeLuca presented UW-Madison’s report. The provost noted that UW-Madison exceeds national averages for freshman-sophomore retention rates and 6-year graduation rates by large margins. The report also showed that UW-Madison has improved course availability over the past five years.
2013-15 Biennial Budget Request The Regents also approved UW System’s biennial budget request, which will be submitted to the Department of Administration for consideration. Governor Scott Walker is expected to release his executive budget in February. The governor announced earlier this month that the $66 million lapse cut would be a one-time cut and would not continue into the future. The budget request was modest — $21 million for new initiatives, almost all earmarked for UW System’s Flexible Degree Initiative which was announced in June. Regent John Drew cast the lone dissenting vote, expressing concern over the lack of a pay plan for faculty and staff.
Capital Budget UW System will request $187 million in state-supported bonding for capital projects, including an addition and renovation to the Mathews and Daniels Chemistry buildings, a new Meat and Muscle Biology Lab, and renovations to Babcock Hall and the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research. Building projects at UW-La Crosse and UW-Stevens Point were also approved.
Legislative Task Force on UW Restructuring and Operational Flexibilities Regent Mike Falbo offered an update on the work of the Legislative Task Force, a group he chaired. The task force completed its work in June and released its final report earlier this month. After months of work, the committee ultimately recommended increased flexibilities for UW System and UW-Madison, including a separate pay plan for faculty and staff at UW-Madison. Falbo noted that some recommendations will require statutory changes or action by other state agencies.