Regents meet in committee Thursday morning:
The Audit Committee will hear a progress report on the FY21 audit plan and discuss restructuring of the office of Compliance and Integrity and its youth protection program.
The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider approval of several UW-managed construction and renovation projects, including four at UW-Madison. The committee will also receive an update on the 2021-23 Capital Budget.
The Research, Economic Development & Innovation Committee will hear reports on UW-Green Bay’s Water Science program, the effect of COVID-19 on entrepreneurship, and Governor Evers’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Rural Prosperity.
The Business & Finance Committee will review and consider approval of the Program Revenue Balances Report and discuss two Regent Policy Documents related to foundations and affiliated organizations.
The Education Committee will consider changes to several Regent Policy Documents and and hear two reports on the current semester and online learning.
The full board meets Thursday afternoon. The board will first hear reports from Regent President Drew Petersen and UW System Interim President Tommy Thompson. Petersen is expected to provide an update on the chancellor search at UW-Stevens Point and Thompson will discuss the response to COVID-19 this fall. The board will also hear a report on student behavioral health during the pandemic and recognize the service of Regents Emeritus Gerald Whitburn and Jason Plante and former UW System President Ray Cross.
University of Wisconsin System Interim President Tommy Thompson was interviewed yesterday by Steve Walters of WisconsinEye. Thompson spoke about the recent spike in COVID-19 cases at many UW System campuses, including UW-Madison.
Thompson told Walters he expects in-person instruction to resume at campuses that have implemented two-week pauses in an effort to drive down cases of the virus. UW-Madison is in the second week of its pause of on-campus classes.
Regents begin at 8:45 am with committee meetings:
- The Business and Finance Committee will consider approval of several contracts and agreements and hear reports on shared services, information security, and state and federal COVID-19 assistance.
- The Education Committee will consider several new programs, including three at UW-Madison — a Master of Science in Financial Economics, a Master of Science in Information and an Educational Specialist in School Psychology. The committee will also vote on the temporary suspension of the SAT/ACT requirement at UW-Madison
- The Audit Committee will hear the FY21 Audit Plan Progress Report along with summarized recent audits.
- The Capital Planning and Budget Committee will consider a renovation project at UW-Stout and hear reports on capital projects and action by the State Building Commission.
- The Research, Economic Development, and Innovation Committee will hear a report on supporting Wisconsin businesses during the pandemic from Interim President Tommy Thompson and receive updates on the economic impact of COVID-19 in northern Wisconsin and the UW-Green Bay water sciences program.
The full board meets at 12:45 pm. After hearing reports from Regent President Andrew Petersen and Interim President Tommy Thompson, the board will consider the 2021-23 operating budget and capital budget requests. Interim President Thompson announced details about the request Tuesday.
The operating budget proposal — a 3.5 percent increase over the biennium — features ten key initiatives. The cornerstone of the plan is a systemwide free tuition program, the Wisconsin Tuition Promise, for Wisconsin families earning less than $60,000 annually. The proposal extends Bucky’s Tuition Promise, a UW-Madison program created in 2018, to all UW System universities.
Other funding priorities include student loan forgiveness programs for state teachers, 20 new UW-Madison Division of Extension county-based agriculture positions, and support for the Freshwater Collaborative.
The meeting will be the first for Interim President Tommy Thompson who began as president on July 1.
The Regents will consider approval of several agreements and plans before hearing an overview of Title IX and discussing plans to reopen campuses this fall. The full agenda is below:
The University Committee of UW-Madison, the elected executive committee of the Faculty Senate and the PROFS Board of Directors, sent the following memo outlining their concerns about the Blueprint for UW System Beyond COVID-19 to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents and UW System President Ray Cross.
University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross appeared on WISN’s UpFront with Adrienne Pedersen Sunday to discuss his Blueprint for the University of Wisconsin System Beyond COVID-19.
Cross introduced the blueprint to the Board of Regents Friday. His plan instructs each regional four-year campus to identify its strongest programs so cuts may be made in areas with limited student interest or instructional capabilities. The plan also includes administrative consolidation and an expansion of online course offerings. UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee are exempt from the directive.
Many faculty throughout UW System have expressed concern about the lack of shared governance in this process, which Cross characterized Sunday as “aggressive and quick.” Cross did not comment on shared governance explicitly in the interview, but said that the board “will seek input from folks in the process” (below).
If they (the Board of Regents) choose to adopt a blueprint, then the faculty and staff around the campuses and communities will be engaged in the process of trying to evaluate this through an objective model that is well known through higher education. How do you refine your mission and make choices on priorities? How do you evaluate programs and services?
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents met in a special meeting yesterday. A large part of the meeting was to discuss a “blueprint” (below) for moving the System forward in light of the tremendous budget shortfalls due to COVID-19.
While UW-Madison is exempt from this plan, PROFS continues to carefully monitor the action of the board to ensure that principles of shared governance are honored throughout the process.
Some faculty and legislators have spoken out with strong concerns about the plan. State Representative Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point), a member of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee, sent a letter (below) to UW System President Ray Cross outlining her thoughts on the plan. She is particularly concerned shared governance groups and legislators part of the development of the plan before it was announced and how this plan may affect issues related to equity and access.