Think Tank #7: Collaborations
In advancing the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin, we’ve made considerable headway in
convincing people that our state faces major challenges, and that a renewed emphasis on higher education
is vital to our future. To further this public conversation, we have worked with the Board of Regents,
chancellors, faculty and staff, students, external stakeholders, and others on a strategic thinking initiative
We have identified seven core strategies the UW System should pursue to deepen our positive
impact on the state: Prepare Students, More Graduates, High-Paying Jobs, Stronger Communities,
Resources, Operational Excellence, and Collaborations. These seven strategies form an umbrella under
which we can work together to enhance the success of each institution.
A series of cross-institution Think Tanks, along with campus groups, have been developing key
ideas for how we move ahead with the seven core strategies. Each Think Tank involved external
constituents to provide an outside perspective.
On behalf of the UW System, I would like to thank the dedicated members of Think
Tank #7: Collaborations, for their contribution of ideas and the development of this report. Faculty, staff,
business, and community leaders gathered together for brainstorming sessions to develop multiple ideas
and concepts regarding advancing collaborations across campuses, departments, and other Wisconsin
partners to further leverage our strengths and increase our impact on Wisconsin.
This paper represents the views and ideas of the Think Tank members; these are not
findings of fact, but initial thoughts and suggestions.
In addition, feedback from multiple University,
community and business entities has been helping, and will continue to help, shape an enriched System-
level strategic framework to
Your input and participation is encouraged. Please consider helping us with this important effort
by providing your ideas and perspectives. Use our feedback form at: http://advantage.wisconsin.edu
Thank you for your interest and involvement. I look forward to leading
way that helps every resident feel a personal stake in the success of the UW System, and that places our
University system at the top of the list in public universities positively transforming their states.
Kevin P. Reilly, President
University of Wisconsin System
Think Tank #7: Collaboration
Think Tank Charge:
How can the UW System further leverage its strengths and impact through
increased collaborations among its campuses and with other Wisconsin partners?
Think Tank Membership:
Doug Johnson, Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs (UW-River Falls), Chair
Rick Shultz, Dean, College of Engineering (UW-Platteville)
David Schejbal, Dean, Continuing Education (UW-Extension)
Joe Heim, Professor, Faculty Representative (UW-La Crosse)
Joan Prince, Vice Chancellor, Center for Collaborations (UW-Milwaukee)
Jan Thornton, Associate Provost for Outreach and Adult Access (UW-Green Bay)
Lisa Seale, Associate Provost (UW-Colleges)
Vincent Lyles, M&I Community Development Corporation
Carol Lombardi, former mayor, City of Waukesha
Terri Potter, former president of Meriter Hospital
Doug Jensen, Vice President for Learning at Northcentral Technical College
Larry Rubin, UWS Academic & Student Services
Jan Sheppard, UWS Academic & Student Services
The University of Wisconsin System will form a collaborative network across the state engaging
UW institutions, state and local agencies, and the private sector to create dynamic learning
opportunities for students; attract and retain talented students, faculty, and staff; convert
results to applications and products; create a work force second to none; strengthen the economic
base of regions and the state; and enhance the quality of life across Wisconsin’s diverse regions
II. KEY PRINCIPLES
Collaboration is more than cooperation.
Collaboration occurs when two or more institutions, entities, and/or agencies work
together to develop, offer and/or share a joint activity or program in order to achieve a
shared goal or solve a shared problem.
Collaboration differs from cooperation when:
The joint product achieves benefits beyond the benefits to each collaborator;
Each collaborator changes components of how its organization’s work gets done
in order to advance the shared purpose;
The collaboration creates connections that may not otherwise occur and
encourages thinking about a larger system.
For the UW System, collaboration is enhanced when:
There are resources (e.g., financial and time) and incentives;
Policies and funding encourage collaboration;
High level leadership at the institutional and System levels sets goals that value or
require collaborative action;
Faculty and staff receive the training necessary to support the collaborative
Successful small-scale collaborations are looked at for their potential to be
expanded statewide (e.g., the UW-Platteville College of Engineering
collaboration with business and UW Colleges to offer Engineering courses where
they are most needed).
The reason for building collaborations among our own institutions and outside of
the UW System is grounded in the Wisconsin Idea.
UW System has the responsibility
to enhance the quality of life in the state and in the world by bringing our knowledge and
ability to find solutions to societal problems beyond the borders of the university itself.
C. As a UW System of post-secondary education, the whole is greater than the sum of
The strength and unity of the UW System adds value to the individual
campuses, while not subsuming their individual identities, cultures and missions.
success of a system with interdependent parts depends upon how well the parts are
aligned, as well as the excellence of the individual parts.
Government appreciation and support of higher education is vital to the State of
Wisconsin’s economy and quality of life.
This message appears to be most effective
with legislators and the governor when it comes from the private sector, especially from
the Business community.
Cultural and structural changes will likely be needed for UW institutions to be
successful in building innovative collaborations.
Sharing and communicating collaborative models among all interested parties
allows for the expansion of ideas and creation of new possibilities.
The challenges listed as part of each of the following
Recommended Areas for
Enhanced or Expanded Collaboration
, must be addressed if the suggested
collaborations are to be possible and/or successful.
RECOMMENDED AREAS FOR ENHANCED OR EXPANDED
Our report identifies five key areas of collaboration, their rationale and
challenges we can expect in moving forward.
Capitalize on the emergence and strengthening of Regional Economic Develop
Entities (REDEs), e.g., New North, Milwaukee 7, in Wisconsin
Why this area of collaboration matters:
Regional economies differ across Wisconsin, owing to each region’s unique combination
of culture, assets and existing economic base. The UW System, through its geographic
based locations, needs to function as a partner with local businesses, non-profit
organizations and government to develop tomorrow's economy through
commercialization of research, educating tomorrow's workforce and continuous
education and training of our workforce.
Key mechanisms through which these
partnerships will occur include the REDEs.
UW representatives need to be active
participants and leaders in these REDEs in a 21st century application of the Wisconsin
In addition, the REDEs become key channels for the UW System, joined by
business and community leaders representing the REDE to more effectively communicate
with political leaders.
The University of Wisconsin should have significant involvement and investment in
REDEs, using some of the following methods:
UW System should assist campuses to foster education collaborations within
regions where they do not already exist among PK-12, Wisconsin Technical
College System and University of Wisconsin institutions.
UW System campuses should host Regional Economic Summits on behalf of
their respective REDEs.
President Kevin Reilly should join the Governor’s Economic Council
(consisting of heads of REDEs and secretaries of Wisconsin Departments of
Commerce, Workforce Development and Administration).
Chancellors (and other key people, e.g., deans of research) should become
active members of their respective regional REDEs.
UW institutions should make REDEs important vehicles for conversations with
regional legislative representatives.
Dramatically increase internal and external communication about the UW System as
an engine for increased economic vitality and quality of life, using some of the
Create and use a scorecard to both communicate and signal need for change.
Hold conversations with faculty about the argument that a strong economy is a
strong UW System.
Create a communications strategy involving legislators, business, parents,
residents, students, alumni, and other core constituents.
The top leaders of the public institutions of higher education (e.g., NEW ERA:
Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance) get together in their region
to bring about political support, to become major players in economic
development, and to encourage collaborations among their institutions.
Channel regional ideas (about the core sectors REDEs wish to develop and economic
opportunities that they identify) back to UW System campuses in order to encourage
faculty to engage in translational (applied) research, using incentives to increase
faculty participation and a new UWSA position to coordinate UW System economic
Work with faculty to consider clarifying promotion and tenure
requirements to reflect the national trend toward increased and sustained
value for collaborative and applied (translational) research.
this could include an extended time period for tenure.
Where new money flows.
Targeted sabbatical program for University of Wisconsin faculty involved
in some aspect of Wisconsin economic development during their
Create a system-wide coordinator of UW System campuses’ economic
development so that the UW System can speak as one system, not just as a
campus (campuses) or institution in one region.
REDE organizations do not yet cover all counties in the state.
Collaborations among PK-12, WTCS and UW campuses may require
Culture change will be required within the UW System and campuses
Build on internal and external programmatic collaborations in order to create a
virtual campus that serves students where they reside and work, rather than solely
where University of Wisconsin campuses or offices are located.
Why this area of collaboration matters
University of Wisconsin campuses and institutions can offer the state tremendous
resources and capabilities with enormous potential.
Using these assets in collaborative
efforts, rather than only at individual campuses or institutions, greatly enhances the
ability of the UW System to impact educational, social, and economic challenges.
Coupling this big-picture UW System approach with strong external partners in the
private and public arenas creates an alliance that is capable of leveraging expertise,
resources, and knowledge to create a better life for every state resident.
Create a group of trained and talented faculty affiliates, tapping into an existing
practical knowledge base and expanding applied learning across the state, to be
drawn, for example, from:
University of Wisconsin alumni.
Business and NGO leaders.
Increase use of resources in the UW System to deliver classes and degrees across the
State of Wisconsin, especially for high demand majors (e.g., Nursing) and programs
that adult learners value, by, for example:
Leveraging UW Colleges campuses and online program to deliver more General
Education courses for any UW System institution.
Addressing the specific needs of the large numbers of Applied Associate degree
holders in the state and establish collaborations that can allow them to build on
their prior education through UW System academic programs.
Developing a process by which existing and future on-line programs can best
utilize the UW brand and resources for marketing, student services, and
Develop mechanisms and structures to enhance the transportability of credits and
degrees among UW institutions and post secondary institutions in general.
Create a system that allows students who have completed General Education
requirements at one UW institution to receive credit for completing them at any other
University of Wisconsin institution.
Develop a FERPA-compliant means to share student record information among UW
System institutions to greatly facilitate programmatic collaboration and credit
transfers among UW institutions
Develop a statewide virtual campus of online courses from across the UW System to
support all students’ preparation for college and assist students to lessen time to
degree within the University of Wisconsin System.
Develop staff/faculty exchange programs between UW System institutions and
historically minority universities.
A program such as this would address the system
wide priority to diversify our campuses and would offer UW staff/faculty
extraordinary professional development opportunities while enriching our institutions
through the presence and contributions of talented faculty and staff from institutions
that have historically served the Hispanic and African-American communities.
Gaining faculty support for use of external faculty affiliates.
Establishing mechanisms for administratively distinct institutions to share data
from admissions, student information systems or payroll, systems and to
coordinate the many distinct processes from course identification numbers to
academic calendars, to grading, to contracts and pay scales.
Maintaining compliance with federal privacy legislation when sharing protected
confidential student data among institutions
Establishing a common understanding of the general education core
requirements at each campus so that faculty can be comfortable that students
transferring from other UW institutions have received comparable educational
grounding to what is provided at their own UW institution.
C. Create a system-wide strategic approach to increase opportunities for UW
to study internationally and to attract larger numbers of international students to
the UW System
Why this area of collaboration matters
Few factors will influence the lives of UW System graduates more than the emergence of
the global economy.
Many students entering UW campuses, especially the significant
proportion who come from small towns and rural areas, are ill-prepared to meet the
challenges presented by these changes.
Providing opportunities for these students to gain
international experience is one of the most important contributions that the UW can make
to their development as global citizens and professionals.
These experiences can come
both through learning experiences abroad and through on-campus interaction with
To date, attempts to achieve these goals have been carried out by
individual campuses, without system-wide collaboration.
Creating a system-wide
strategic approach can leverage the existing efforts to provide enhanced opportunities for
increased international experiences.
Develop a UW System Office of International Education to facilitate collaborations
across campuses and to build strategic relationships with universities throughout the
Identify and bring together faculty with existing relationships or interest in different
countries to leverage contacts. The UW Madison for example is part of a consortium
of Universities across the world.
Work with faculty to identify a system-wide strategy for UW System institutions to
strengthen their international component in teaching, distributed learning, attracting
new students and faculty, and creating degree-credit partnerships with international
Develop a coordinated recruiting plan in strategic markets in order to attract
international students to UW campuses.
Create more partnerships with international universities to facilitate exchanges and
enhance international learning opportunities for UW System students and faculty.
In creating a system-wide focus, it is essential that we recognize the importance
of the personal relationships that are the basis of the existing campus successes.
Creating a truly collaborative approach to international education, especially
expanding opportunities for international students to attend UW institutions,
will require a major culture change from inter-campus competition to
Increase collaboration with PK-12 and DPI
to provide PK-12 students more access
to and better preparation for college.
Why this area of collaboration matters
Increasing the number of Wisconsin high school graduates who attend the UW System
and other state post secondary institutions is one important key to increasing the number
of college graduates in Wisconsin.
Such an increase can be achieved through enhanced
outreach efforts and better academic preparation.
PK-12 students and their parents must
be educated about the opportunities and benefits of attending college and be convinced
that attending college is possible. Further, providing opportunities and encouragement for
students to take a rigorous high school curriculum will decrease need for remediation,
and may increase retention and decrease their time to degree.
Increase access through new outreach efforts
Support and enhance the Wisconsin Covenant by developing a program for UW
System students, faculty and staff to serve as mentors to Wisconsin Covenant
Develop incentives for collaborations among UW, PK-12 and communities to
create on and off-campus applied learning experiences for prospective college
students in grade school, middle school and high school.
Enhance college retention and graduation through better preparation
Develop a process for secondary and postsecondary faculty to come together by
discipline and align college prep high school courses with college introductory
Expand Advanced Placement course opportunities by training more high school
faculty to teach these courses, and make the courses available to students who
are currently unable to access them.
Develop UW on-line remedial courses in math and science that prospective high
school and returning adult students can use, if necessary, prior to enrollment in
There is concern that raising the bar too high for college bound secondary
school students may negatively impact the opportunities for students not
planning to attend college.
Some also feel that this may result in increased drop
out rates and lower high school graduation rates.
Implementing some of these recommendations would be challenging given the
number of K-12 schools in the state, and culture of local and district autonomy
on public education matters.
E. Create a long-term collaborative relationship with legislators and other elements of
state government so we understand their issues and needs and they understand the
value of the UW System to the state.
Why this area of collaboration matters
This area of collaboration is of paramount importance because of the relationship of the
UW System campuses and the state, the Wisconsin Idea and the significant role of the
state executive and legislative branches in University finances and regulations. For the
future of the UW System, its campuses and the state’s economy, a long term strategic
approach to this collaborative relationship is essential.
Increased awareness of the
importance of all segments of public education to the future of Wisconsin is essential.
Support and funding for tomorrow’s Wisconsin workers and leaders is necessary for
institutions of higher education in order to enhance the economic strength of our state.
1 Ask campuses that have not yet done so, to establish a Joint committee on Legislative
Relations-which may include representatives from the faculty, academic staff,
students, administrators, and the university relations staff, to jointly plan and
coordinate with legislators that may be interested in particular issues.
include establishing a set of yearly objectives that could be shared with legislative
2. Establish mechanisms for Chancellors, provosts and Chief Financial Officers to be
more actively engaged with legislators.
3. Partner with business, the media, and others outside of higher education, to build an
understanding of the role of post secondary education in the health of the state.
strategy proved effective in the most recent budget cycle.
This effort should also
include those with an interest in higher education, such at the PK-12 system, parents
4. Work to increase the awareness among the legislative and government sector that UW
System and the business community are aligned in their mutual interests in generating
more high paying jobs and developing a work force second to none.
5. As suggested in section III.A.1.e, UW institutions should use their regional economic
entity, e.g., New North, as a vehicle to facilitate conversations with regional
An increasingly partisan political environment in the state.
A competitive environment for state resources (interest groups, programs and
needs that compete with the UW System for resources).
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