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University of Wisconsin Regents passed a variety measures Thursday, including one to track faculty workloads.

PHOTO BY SAIYNA BASHIR / ILLUSTRATION BY BRANDON RAYGO

University of Wisconsin System Regents have adopted a policy calling for tracking faculty teaching loads.

The Republican-authored state budget requires the Regents to develop the policy. The budget ties state aid to UW schools based in part on how they stack up against each other in instructional time.

The Board of Regents approved a broad policy to satisfy the mandate Thursday at UW-Madison. State Superintendent Tony Evers cast the only dissenting vote. Evers, a Democrat, is running against Republican Gov. Scott Walker next year.

The policy calls for schools to monitor teaching loads, require faculty members to report teaching hours to System administrators and reward faculty for teaching more than the standard academic load for their campus.

Individual chancellors will decide how to meet those requirements.

  • Also Thursday, the Regents approved a formula for divvying up a chunk of new state aid according to schools’ performances.

The Republican-crafted state budget hands the System $26.25 million tied to performance in a number of areas, including improving student access, student progress toward completion, workforce contributions and efficiencies.

The budget requires the Regents to submit a formula for measuring performance to the Legislature’s finance committee by mid-February.

The Regents approved a plan Thursday that establishes 16 metrics for each institution, including average undergraduate enrollment, credit hours and time-to-degree.

Evers cast the only dissenting vote, saying such an approach to funding doesn’t work.

  • Meanwhile Thursday, former Lt. Gov. Margaret Farrow said she’s resigning her position on the Regents.

Walker appointed Farrow to the Regents in June 2013. Her term was set to expire May 2020.

Farrow turned 83 in November. She told the Regents Thursday that she wants to spend more time with her family, saying she needs to finish five quilts for her youngest grandchildren. She’s also battling health problems. She told reporters she suffered from a clogged heart artery in August and cracked two ribs in a fall two weeks ago.

She added she wanted to resign now because the legislative session is expected to end early next year and she wants the Senate to confirm her replacement before lawmakers wrap up.

  • System leaders also have approved President Ray Cross’ proposal to bring an associate degree program under control of a four-year institution rather than System administration.

UW Colleges, the entity that oversees the system’s two-year schools, currently offers an associate degree in arts and sciences at the two-year schools, online and through the Flex Option. Cross’ plan to merge the two- and four-year schools calls for the system to administer the degree online and through Flex Option.

But according to the Higher Learning Commission, only institutions accredited as degree-granting authorities can offer such a degree. System administration lacks such accreditation. Cross proposed letting a four-year campus of his choosing administer the degree online and through the Flex Option.

The Regents approved the plan unanimously Thursday.

Cross also said two-year schools’ sports teams will continue after the institutions merge with four-year campuses.

The Regents approved Cross’ proposal last month to make the two-year schools regional branches of the four-year schools in an effort to combat declining enrollment and make transferring from two-year to four-year schools easier.

It wasn’t clear what would become of the two-year schools’ athletic teams when the Regents approved the proposal. Cross told the Regents during an update on the merger’s progress Thursday that the two-year schools’ athletic programs will be maintained during the restructuring and beyond, noting they will have to continue to comply with NCCA and Title IX requirements.

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