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Lyall outlines challenges for Madison, system

December 5, 2000

Relieving enrollment pressure, developing more connections between the state’s two largest universities and passing the 2001-03 budget request are the top three challenges facing UW–Madison and the UW System this coming year.

So says UW System President Katharine Lyall, who outlined those challenges in a “State of the University System” address before the UW–Madison Faculty Senate Dec. 4.

Lyall said the burgeoning demand for access to public higher education in Wisconsin is fueled by the fact that parents and children realize the enormous added value of a college degree to lifetime earnings.

The enrollment pressures are especially intense at the state’s largest campus, Lyall emphasized.

“Everyone wants to come to Madison,” she told faculty senators.

UW System and UW–Madison must work collaboratively with the UW Colleges, the Wisconsin Technical College System and UW-Milwaukee to ease the enrollment demands for the flagship university, Lyall explained.

Diversity is an important part of the enrollment equation, Lyall added. The UW System is working to increase campus diversity through expanded pre-college opportunities, additional recruitment of underrepresented students and by improving financial aid.

“This is long, slow process, and we must be persistent in it,” she said.

The Wisconsin Economic Summit, sponsored by the UW System last week to chart the state’s course in the New Economy, highlighted the need for enhanced collaboration between the state’s two biggest campuses, Lyall said.

Business and government leaders, she added, are demanding that UW–Madison and UW-Milwaukee work more closely together in the years ahead, saying the state will be better off for it.

Those leaders and others at the summit talked of developing an “I-94” strategy: combining the strengths of biosciences in Madison with Milwaukee’s expertise in the medical and information technology fields.

Part of that strategy could include the proposal by University Research Park Director Mark Bugher to create a technology-based business incubator in Waukesha County that would be jointly operated by UW–Madison and UW-Milwaukee, Lyall said.

There are many other opportunities for collaboration between the two institutions, according to Lyall, including international education, engineering and business.

The Madison Initiative and Milwaukee Idea budget proposals in the UW System’s 2001-03 state budget request are different packages, Lyall said, yet at the same time are “symbiotically connected.”

“They fit nicely with our budget request to the state,” she said.

Lyall added that the UW System budget request contains many proposals of interest to UW–Madison in addition to the Madison Initiative. These include $5 million for libraries, $3 million for shared Web licenses and increased access to Internet2, and expanded grants for minority undergraduate and graduate students.

She encouraged faculty and staff to contact legislators to impress upon them the importance of the UW System’s budget request.

“The New Economy is a knowledge economy,” Lyall said. “UW System and UW–Madison stand ready to help. We have what it takes for the state to make this transition, but we need additional investment from the state.”

In other remarks during her address, Lyall paid tribute to outgoing Chancellor David Ward, as did the Faculty Senate, which adopted a resolution commending Ward for his leadership. Lyall also praised the incoming chancellor, Provost John Wiley, who takes over for Ward on Jan. 1.

“There will be as close of a seamless transition as one can have with these top leadership positions,” Lyall said.