February Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in Madison on Thursday and Friday, February 9 and 10. UW-Madison is hosting the meeting, which will be held at Union South, 1308 Dayton Street. Registration for the Zoom link for the meeting is here.

In addition to the formal meeting, an informal welcome reception and tour will be held at the Chemistry Building on Wednesday afternoon, and UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin will host a reception and dinner on Thursday evening.

Members of the board will be in committee meetings Thursday morning:

  • The Audit Committee will hear several reports and updates including the UW-Madison NCAA Division I Athletics 2021-22 Report.
  • The Capital Planning & Budget Committee will consider approval of increasing the budget for the backup generator project at the UW-Madison Primate Center, selling a house on the UW-Stout campus, and making changes to a Regent Policy Document and evaluation criteria for major capital projects. Members will also hear a presentation from UW-Madison on its capital projects program and the importance addressing facility needs.
  • The Business & Finance Committee will consider approval of several contractual agreements and hear two reports on information technology projects. UW-Madison will also give a presentation on its efforts to generate additional revenue and improve operations.
  • The Education Committee will consider six new degree programs, including two at UW-Madison, and hear a report on recruiting and supporting international students and an update from the Direct Admission Task Force. UW-Madison will also deliver a presentation on artificial intelligence and ChatGPT.

The full board will meet Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. The agenda Thursday includes updates from UW System President Jay Rothman and Board of Regents President Karen Walsh. President Rothman will discuss the recent student survey on free speech and provide an update on UW-Platteville at Richland and the UW System 2023-28 Strategic Plan. The board will also meet in closed session to discuss honorary degrees at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.

On Friday, the board will consider approval of committee action, hear a presentation from UW-Madison on the Wisconsin Idea and business partnerships, and recognize recipients of the Board of Regents 2023 Awards, including UW-Madison Communication Arts Professor Lori Kido Lopez, a PROFS Steering Committee member since 2020.

UW System Student Free Speech Survey Results

Yesterday, the University of Wisconsin System released results from a survey (below) of students on their perceptions of free speech on campus. The survey was proposed last spring, but its implementation was delayed due to questions about how the survey would be administered. PROFS was very concerned about the survey and called on UW System Interim President Michael Falbo to cancel, rather than postpone, the survey.

The survey was completed last December by nearly 10,500 students representing every four-year campus within UW System. The response rate ranged from 9.4% at UW-Milwaukee to 19.1% at UW-Platteville.

About 40% of students identified as liberal or very liberal, while more than 52% indicated they were moderate, conservative, or very conservative.

Results showed that many students are concerned about how others may view their opinions and worry their grades could suffer if they expressed themselves in class.

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UW-Madison State Budget Priorities

Governor Tony Evers will deliver his first State of the State Address of his second term in office at 7 pm tonight. Coverage of the speech is available on Wisconsin Public Radio and PBS Wisconsin.

While a preview of the speech was not made available, the governor is expected to offer some insight on where he might direct some of the state’s record $6.6 billion budget surplus as part of the 2023-25 biennial budget.

PROFS has already met with members of Governor Evers’ staff to discuss the upcoming budget, and UW-Madison has outlined its priorities in the handout below. The budget process is lengthy and begins  on February 15 when the governor delivers his biennial budget message.

PROFS is actively involved throughout the entire process and will continue to keep faculty and the entire university community informed over the coming months. Follow PROFS on Facebook and Twitter for the most current information.

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December Board of Regents Meeting

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet at the Gordon Dining and Event Center at UW-Madison today and tomorrow, December 8 and 9. Registration for the livestream of the open portions of the meeting is here.

Regents will meet in committee Thursday morning:

  • The Audit and Business & Finance Committees will meet jointly to discuss the draft 2022 Annual Financial Report. The draft report states “…UW System’s Net Position increased significantly, from $6 billion in fiscal year 2021 to nearly $6.4 billion in 2022. This increase is largely attributable to our investments in capital assets and other restricted assets, such as pension assets.” The draft report further states that “UW System has proven to be both flexible and resilient. Instead of returning to ‘business as usual,’ the UW System is applying the knowledge gained from the pandemic, with respect to digital pedagogy, student access, research, and dynamic approaches to work, to address current challenges of rising inflation, changing enrollments, and volatility in capital markets.”
  • The Business & Finance Committee will consider approval graduate and professional school tuition increases at UW-Madison, two collective bargaining agreements, and new salary ranges for senior executives (UW System president, senior vice presidents and vice presidents; and chancellors and provosts/vice chancellors). The committee will also hear reports on faculty turnover and faculty salary adjustments.
  • The Education Committee will consider two new degree programs at UW-Milwaukee and hear reports on the Wisconsin Partnership Program, credit for prior learning, and dual enrollment.
  • The Audit Committee will hear updates on the FY23 Audit Plan Progress Report and the Annual Report of Regent Policy Document 4-21, Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression.
  • The Capital Planning & Budget Committee will consider approval to increase the budget of UW-Madison’s Computer, Data and Information Science Building and UW-Madison’s purchase of a building and almost 6 acres on University Avenue. The building will house those programs displaced by the redevelopment of the Mosse Humanities Building. The committee will also discuss approval of several building and renovation projects, including projects at Grainger Hall, the Law Building, the Materials Science Engineering Building, and a UW-Madison parking structure.

The full board will meet Thursday afternoon and Friday morning. On Thursday, the board will hear updates from UW System President Jay Rothman and Regent President Karen Walsh. Rothman will provide an update on the recent announcement that UW-Platteville at Richland will end in-person instruction at the end of this academic year, while Walsh will update the board on chancellor searches at UW-Platteville and UW-Whitewater. The board will also discuss and consider approval of the 2023-28 Strategic Plan. Finally, the board will move into closed session to discuss a naming gift at UW-Stevens Point, chancellor salary adjustments, and an employment agreement for the Regent Executive Assistant and Corporate Secretary.

On Friday, Regents will approve committee action and amendments to Regent By-laws. The board will also hear a panel discussion on the Dairy Innovation Hub.

According to the agenda, Governor Tony Evers may also visit the Regents on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning.



UW System Survey on Student Perceptions

Hundreds of students from each University of Wisconsin System institution received emails today inviting them to participate in a survey on perceptions of free speech and civil dialogue on campus. The full survey is below. Last week, UW System President Jay Rothman announced the relaunch of a revised survey that had been planned for last spring.

PROFS spoke out against the need for such a survey last spring, and last week PROFS President Michael Bernard-Donals told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that faculty are “still unsure why the survey is needed in the first place because climate studies have shown pretty clearly that students from various groups, political and otherwise, feel that they can express their opinions freely.”

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