Getting It Right Marrying our values with the learning revolution University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Spring Semester Plenary Address Chancellor Michael R. Lovell January 24, 2013 Good afternoon and welcome. I’d like to begin with some good news. This is the first January in five years that we don’t have a base budget cut. And for the first time in my tenure, the State is starting the year with a budget surplus. Although nothing has been finalized, recent budget discussions have not included any monetary reductions to the UW System and our campus. We are even hopeful that the State budget may include a modest pay plan for our employees. Over the last several months, I have been working ardently to gain support for two Growth Agenda proposals that would bring more resources to our campus. The first is a proposal within the UW System Growth Plan that would increase our base budget by approximately $4 million. In the second proposal, UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward and I are requesting a larger increase split evenly between the Milwaukee and Madison campuses. These funds would be used to hire faculty and develop facilities in cluster areas in which Wisconsin has a competitive economic advantage: water, energy, biotechnology, and food and beverage. We will leverage these funds to allocate more resources to all areas of campus including the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Directly linked to our budget concerns and plans is the stabilization of our student enrollments. Since my report last September, we have launched several initiatives to increase our short-term and long-term enrollments:
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The Office of Enrollment Management has been completely restructured and we are having success in terms of greater efficiency. At the start of the spring term, the Registrar's Office has evaluated, entered and posted credit for 99 percent of the transfer students admitted for Spring 2013.
Under the leadership of the Center for International Education, our international student population increased by 17 percent this year. To accelerate this momentum, I have charged Provost Johannes Britz to organize a campus-wide effort to further increase our international student population. We have set a goal of more than doubling our international population to 3,000 students over the next five years.
To immediately attract more students to UWM, new campus recruitment mailings were sent to thousands of 2013 high school graduates from Wisconsin and eight other Midwestern states.
In an article last month, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that UW-Platteville was the fasting-growing campus in UW System and attributed it to the fact that they had implemented a tri-state initiative where students from Illinois and Iowa pay $4,000 more than their in-state tuition costs. At the UW System Chancellors Retreat last week, Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields stated that the Tri-State Initiative really took off when they hired a full-time recruiter in Chicago. Since then, they have brought in hundreds of additional students per year from the Chicago area. Likewise another Chancellor stated that they hired a Chicago-based recruiter last year and had an increase of nearly 200 Illinois students from the previous fall. I am pleased to announce today that we are getting support in discussion from UW System for a program at UWM for Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan that is similar to Platteville’s Tri-State Initiative. I have also charged Vice Chancellor Michael Laliberte to hire a Chicago-based recruiter as soon as possible.
As with student enrollments, our externally funded research has a major impact on UWM’s operating budget. We recently have set a campus goal of generating $50 million in federal UWM Spring 2013 Plenary
research per year by 2020. In this context, I would like to update you on the reorganization of the Graduate School. Last summer and fall, committees appointed by Provost Johannes Britz examined potential organizational models for our Graduate School. Based on the analysis of the committees, two different models emerged: A single person who serves as Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Research,
and Two people, one serving as Dean of the Graduate School and the other as Vice Provost for
Research. Feedback from all of the governance groups and the major committees on campus over the last two months has shown strengths and weaknesses for both models. There is not uniform consensus for either model. After significant deliberation, Provost Britz and I are recommending the second model of two separate individuals who would each focus 100 percent of their effort on two critical areas for our future. Given our goals to significantly increase our graduate enrollments and our research expenditures, we believe the second option is the best way to move our campus forward. Considering that increasing federal research expenditures by only $750,000 would pay for the second position, the second model is fiscally rational as well. The Provost will discuss this issue in more detail at the Faculty Senate meeting this afternoon. *** I’d now like to talk with you about the global transformation of university teaching and learning being brought about by digital communication technology. This phenomenon is developing so rapidly and with such impact that we can, without exaggeration, call it a learning revolution. A day does not go by without a national publication writing about how technology and massive open online courses (MOOCs) are transforming higher education. There are articles about how UWM Spring 2013 Plenary
students learn differently today than 10 years ago, and how social media and the iPhone might be the most important teaching tools in the future. The number of students using new learning platforms is simply staggering. There are more than 4.5 million students presently enrolled in the Khan Academy, whose slogan is “Learn Almost Anything for Free.” I recently viewed a video from The New York Times that thoroughly describes the burgeoning open-learning phenomenon that I thought I should share today. I knew we had to start taking these changes seriously in November when American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad announced that her organization was going to start reviewing MOOCs with the same process they used for regional accreditation. The significance of the online phenomenon was reinforced last week when The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that San Jose State University will begin offering credit for MOOCs in an effort to reduce costs. We all need to understand that higher education will never be the same. Technology and the Internet are now hitting higher education the same way they hit the consumer products sector in the 1990s. The most prestigious schools in the United States are putting their course content and lectures online for free. This is leading to a decoupling of instruction and the assessment of knowledge. Although I believe there will always be students who will prefer the traditional on-campus experience, millions of students will follow unique pathways to obtain their education. We have to embrace these changes or we run the risk of becoming irrelevant. We need to look no further than bookstores to see what happens when organizations fail to adapt to rapid changes in online technology. In the mid-1990s, Borders had a competitive advantage over Barnes & Nobles. But Borders lost that edge when it expanded its physical plant, refurbished its stores and outsourced its online sales operation to Amazon. It made big investments into merchandising for in-store CD music and DVD sales – just as the industry was going digital. At the same time, Barnes & Noble invested in beefing up its own online sales and UWM Spring 2013 Plenary
even developed its own e-reader, the Nook. Barnes & Noble survived their revolution while Borders did not. As Darwin eloquently put it, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” In any revolution and time of change, things can go seriously wrong. People can lose sight of their values, can rush and not think, and can mistake the means for the end. We can’t let that happen here. We need to get it right. That is, we need to make sure that technology remains the servant, not the master, of our mission, our vision, and our values. In the present uncertainties that face higher education, I know that we will be successful if we use our guiding values to help make important decisions that will form our future. I believe that UWM is very well positioned to be successful in the new era of higher education. Not only do we have strong guiding values, but there are numerous of examples where UWM has demonstrated national leadership in online education. Over the past two and a half years, Provost Britz has been leading a campus planning initiative, UWM’s Digital Future, to ensure we are on the forefront. The Digital Future initiative has three working groups that examine the most current technology and how it can be incorporated into our activities. In the past decade, UWM faculty and staff have developed online and blended courses more rapidly than any other university in the state: •
In the fall of 2003, 361 UWM students were enrolled exclusively in online courses. In fall of 2012, 1,705 students enrolled exclusively in online courses.
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Last fall, 7,649 students were registered for at least one fully online course. That compared to 710 students in fall 2003.
UWM also leads all UW campuses in the use of Desire 2 Learn, ePortfolios, and online and blended courses. Our faculty and staff have developed new online pedagogy that is considered the national standard. A notable example is the U-Pace instruction created by Professor Diane Reddy. U-Pace and Professor Reddy were recognized with the 2012 Distance Education Innovation Award from the National University Telecommunications Network. Finally, our online leadership was demonstrated at last month’s Board of Regents meeting. At the meeting, Dr. Aaron Brower, the UW System coordinator for the Flexible Degree Option gave his report. The new UW Flexible Option will allow students in the program to earn credits by demonstrating knowledge they have acquired through prior coursework, training, or other open learning experiences. To put the potential market for the flex degrees into perspective, there are nearly 700,000 adults in Wisconsin with some college education but no degree. Dr. Brower’s presentation was almost entirely about UWM, as we were the only UW institution ready to offer flexible degree options in the fall of 2013. When the UW System asked for proposals for the Flexible Option program, four of our academic units immediately stepped forward: College of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, School of Information Studies, and Department of Communication within the College of Letters and Science. After Aaron’s presentation, a number of chancellor’s and regents asked me how I got our faculty and staff to develop the programs. I smiled and said that I didn’t do anything. I then proudly stated that our faculty and staff were so far ahead in online education that they believed that the Flexible Option degree program was the next logical step in their programs’ evolutions. These four programs were shovel-ready for the Flex Option when no other UW System institution had even started
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planning for them. Our ability to adapt to the new online revolution is one of the reasons I am grateful to be associated with this university. *** There are several reasons that I believe UWM must continue to evolve and be at the forefront of the new learning revolution. These include: •
We can improve teaching efficiency and effectiveness using interactive electronic communication, especially as processes in which students learn changes;
We can reach new populations of students around the globe;
We can grow enrollment in a cost effective way; and
We can enable students more flexibility to progress toward degrees.
I am also confident that UWM is well positioned to succeed in the future because of the hard work our campus is doing today. I mentioned in my Fall 2012 Plenary that our campus was in the midst of as many as 41 different initiatives, and I want to personally thank all of you who are leading and involved in these initiatives. I know that it may be hard to imagine, but your work is being centrally coordinated to ensure we remain relevant through the learning revolution. There is no better time for UWM be undertaking large initiatives such as a new budget model, and academic and strategic planning. These processes will ensure that we will align our resources with programs that will help our campus grow and achieve our mission and vision during uncertain times. To help the campus community navigate through and understand the role of our initiatives, the Provost’s Office is developing a web portal where the most current information on all our efforts can be obtained. The portal will also graphically demonstrate how our current efforts holistically fit together.
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The Provost and Academic Deans are spearheading the campus academic planning efforts and hope to complete the process in May. Interim Vice Chancellor Robin Van Harpen and Provost Britz have been leading the development of a new budget model for campus. Once completed this summer, the new budget model will be tested and piloted in the fall with an anticipated fiscal year 2014 implementation date. Our campus strategic planning was launched by Professor Mark Mone in November and the process will continue through the 2013 calendar year. When completed, the strategic plan will become the roadmap for making decisions on the way we develop and implement programs and allocate resources to be successful. *** In closing, I would like to reiterate that I believe we are well-positioned to continue to play a leadership role in higher education. Our faculty and staff have demonstrated the ability to create transformational learning pedagogies that are effective and efficient, even during very difficult fiscal times for our campus. We have shown that the rapid development of digital technologies can provide instructors with powerful new teaching tools. We have met the challenge of marrying these tools with our time-honored mission and guiding values. We have continued to educate students who are not only successful in our economy, but are responsible citizens, and thoughtful, ethical human beings. More importantly, we are a university that provides an education that is rooted in the liberal arts and sciences. Those core disciplines ground our students in critical thinking, social responsibility, creative expression, and the discovery of new knowledge. Cultivating these habits of mind is essential to encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit in our students.
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Our society needs an educated citizenry with the spirit to move beyond the status quo, to innovate, to take calculated risks to create new products, new services, and new ways of doing things. A successful entrepreneur creates new value, or as Peter Drucker stated, converts sources into resources. I would like to end today with the latest UWM Spotlight on Excellence video. The video features the three winning entries in the first Student Startup Challenge. The Challenge is a primary example of how our faculty and staff are on the leading edge of the educational revolution. Finally, I would like to encourage everyone to join me in participating in The UWM Weigh, which is part of the Best Place to Work Initiative. The UWM Weigh is a confidential, percentage-based weight loss challenge designed to promote well-being through physical activity and healthy eating. You can register online at TheUWMWeigh.uwm.edu. Don’t delay, because the registration deadline is tomorrow. Thank you all for joining me this afternoon. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
UWM Spring 2013 Plenary