Board of Regents visit UWRF
November 1, 2023
On Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, 2023, UW-River Falls hosted the UW System Board of Regents for the first time since 2014. The Board of Regents, which is responsible for UW System policies, met on the UWRF campus to discuss finances, education, and more for the UW System.
According to the UW System’s website, the Board of Regents, or BOR, is responsible for “reviewing and approving university budgets… setting admission standards… and establishing the… framework within which the individual [universities] are allowed to operate.”
The BOR also appoints the president of the UW System, a position currently held by Jay Rothman, as well as the chancellors of the 13 UW universities.
“Having the Board of Regents meet on the UWRF campus provides a significant opportunity to highlight the impactful work our faculty, staff, and students do, as well as gives the regents first-hand knowledge of our programs and facilities to help them make informed decisions which affect the future of the university,” UWRF Chancellor Maria Gallo said.
The BOR held various meetings on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, including their regular standing committee and full board meetings. On Oct. 5, they held their Audit Committee, Capital Planning and Budget Committee, Business and Finance Committee, Education Committee, and a full board meeting and closed session. On Oct. 6, they held another full board meeting and closed session. All meetings were held at UWRF’s University Center.
UWRF showcased several programs and projects, including the Montessori doctoral program, the Wuethrich Family/Grassland Dairy Center of Excellence, and the Science and Technology Innovation Center, or SciTech.
The BOR usually meets eight times a year; about half of these meetings are held at UW-Madison, and about half are held at one of the other 12 UW universities. The purpose of this, according to UWRF’s website, is for the BOR to “learn more about the programs [the universities] provide to students and the challenges they face.”
The Audit Committee met to discuss the UW System Fiscal Year 2024 Audit Plan Progress Report, though no action on the audit plan was taken. The committee then discussed the issue of cybersecurity, starting with the usage of TikTok and other “foreign technologies” in the UW System.
They also discussed the UW information technology security program, which includes security policies, phishing awareness campaigns, and other methods intended to prevent or limit cybersecurity attacks.
The Capital Planning and Budget Committee met to vote on two UW university maintenance and repair projects: a Scott Hall restaurant renovation at UW-Oshkosh, and a fire suppression system renovation at UW-Madison. Both projects were approved.
The committee approved a lease of office space for the School of Medicine and Public Health at UW-Madison, which would accommodate “54 doctors to support the Residency Program,” according to the committee meeting notes.
They also approved the development of an indoor turf facility at UW-Superior, with support from the City of Superior, the Superior Amateur Hockey Association, and several other organizations, including “a possible partnership with a local professional athletic team.”
UW-River Falls concluded the meeting with a presentation on “capital planning in support of interdisciplinary and experiential learning in STEM fields.”
At the Business and Finance Committee, UWRF presented on strategies it has adopted “to increase revenue and decrease expenses, in pursuit of institutional goals to ensure ongoing financial stability.” These strategies included campus stakeholder engagement, strategic restructuring, and “other administrative measures,” according to the committee meeting notes.
The committee then approved the Fiscal Year 2022-23 UW System Report on Program Revenue Balances by University and Level of Commitment. According to the report, “10 of the 13 UW universities are reporting a structural deficit in the coming year.”
This is, in part, because “costs funded largely or entirely with program revenue have increased, with some expenses nearing pre-pandemic levels.” These program revenues represent “approximately 82% of total funding” for the UW System.
According to the report, tuition balances decreased by “17.3% between FY 2022 and FY 2023, to $246.7 million, which is a 55.3% reduction since FY 2013.” In addition, COVID relief funds, amounting to $423.6 million, were mostly exhausted at the end of 2023.
The committee concluded with the adoption of two license agreements, with GE Precision Healthcare LLC and T-Mobile Central LLC, an administrative transportation update, and a service agreement with Huron Consulting Group, Inc.
The Education Committee met to present four new academic programs:
- A Master of Science in Supply Chain Management at UW-Green Bay
- A Bachelor of Business Administration in Business: Entrepreneurship at UW-Madison
- A Bachelor of Business Administration in Business: Human Resources Management at UW-Madison
- A Bachelor in Business Administration in Business: Management at UW-Madison
All programs were approved.
The committee also approved the appointment of Aaron Perry to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health Oversight and Advisory Committee of the Wisconsin Partnership Program, to fill a vacant position.
UWRF then presented on “examples of academic programs with innovative characteristics… at [UWRF].” The committee held an update on the upcoming Wisconsin Direct Admission program, which “aims to increase access and simplify the admissions process for Wisconsin high school students,” according to the committee meeting notes.
The meeting concluded with a discussion of the policies and procedures that are involved in the review of academic programming, including accreditation and quality assurance.
The full transcript for the Audit Committee, Capital Planning and Budget Committee, Business and Finance Committee, and Education Committee can be found online at www.wisconsin.edu/regents/meetingmaterials/.