Kenneth Mortimer (Past President, Western Washington University and the University of Hawaii; currently, Senior Associate with the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems) joined the group to discuss the committee's charge; asked what he could do to help.
Campbell introduced members of the committee to President Mortimer.
Douglas Wadden presented a brief history of the process taken that resulted in the formation of the task force. He briefly reviewed the results of NWASC report and explained that the steering committee began moving forward in February. The task force was first slated to complete its work by June of 2004; the target deadline has since been moved to fall quarter, 2004. Wadden stated that the UW branch campuses were created without a long-term plan or any strategic thinking. The committee was hoping to try to affect any plans in Olympia, but that probably won't happen. In any case, rather than to implement any proposals, the goal of the task force was to develop ideas and fully research them to create a resource of UW leaders. Redefining the UW "system" would be a long term process, discussed for years to come. The major challenge will be to get UWS faculty involved in the conversation.
The reason Mortimer was asked to join the meeting was to share his wealth of experience and ask for some of his ideas.
Mortimer began by presenting his past experience regarding public policy, including having been a professor of higher education specializing on governance and directing the Center for Higher Education at Penn State University. He ended by stating that he has done extensive studies on multi-campus institutions and shared some of those experiences with the committee.
Regents Report: Wadden will introduce the topic and present a brief history of what the committee has been about, will talk about the fact that topics have been thrashed around, stress that they are not simple problems to address. He will do this by giving an example of an issue, such as academic programs, and then frame plausible options in terms of where the university is now and the university's role in the state of Washington. It was said that there was a need to stress the complexity of the issue.
- First thing, need to act fast enough before external forces, such as the legislature, dictate a decision.
- Should missions be the same at all campuses, or should they be different?
- Dominant campus typically gets the better end of the budget; most of the money is spent at the research campuses.
- When looking at these systems, be sure and look at the institutions with the same problems the UW has. University of Minnesota was mentioned as a system with institutions of differing levels of autonomy.
- The question of whether the UW was one campus with three locations or three different campuses needs to be answered.
- Faculty Representation: The law says that you can only have one agency represent the faculty. The question would be if faculty went to collective bargaining, would there be three bargaining units or just one?
- WSU is currently looking at the same issues. WSU decided to tenure faculty from Pullman and not at each individual campus at the beginning. Most systems do not operate this way; they are not so integrated. (Campbell noted that WSU made this because of their historical commitment to extension centers and the new opportunities made possible by distance technology, including WHETS and the Internet. Having one WSU made it easier to allocate faculty time.)
- Penn State chose to create lower-division campuses rather than have the state build an extensive community college system. Consequentially, faculty are tenured by Penn State - University Park, and most campuses articulate with upper division programs there. Problem of how to tenure faculty with different missions (i.e. teaching vs. research, with research).
- Create a standard definition of quality, yet allowing differential missions.
- Rely on the faculty to address the quality issues.
- Mortimer noted several examples of 4-year campuses with different missions within a system include: U of Texas, Dallas, University of Hawaii, Oahu, Pennsylvania State University, Capital branch, and several SUNY campuses.
- Campbell said the committee was in effect trying to answer two questions: 1) what's good for the people of the state? 2) What's good for the University of Washington in terms of how we organize ourselves? Mortimer answered that one measurement could be student access.
- States that have a large community college system have the lowest number of baccalaureate graduates, so funding them extensively does not solve the problem of bachelor degree production.
- Access has becomes a political problem since it means turning away qualified students. At the same time the demand for access means that there would be no difficulty getting freshman to come to Bothell and Tacoma, though there would be problems if it meant shifting expectations of students.
- Douglas Wadden mentioned the example of the University of Michigan, as their Dearborn campus has evolved to the college of choice, though it is fairly close to Ann Arbor. (It was remarked that Dearborn had once been a wealthy suburb of Detroit, but had gradually become more mixed and urban.
- Nationally, upper-division campuses are going away, though a few remain.
- UW would like to enable/empower different missions/characters between campuses while being under one system.
- Alan Wood noted that the organization of the system should focus on the student, have an individual identity, some connection with the basic challenges of the world, balance of integration and autonomy, and that there should be a varied balance between programs; in sum, there should be creative ambiguity.
- Nevertheless, politics will take over if a decision is not made by the universities. Recent bills in the legislature make it clear that Olympia thinks access can be solved by making the new campuses 4-years rather than upper division and graduate/professional only.
- Such changes take leadership at the highest level to create a form of central authority that allows for differentiation. There is a need for short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals.
- It takes leadership at the central level to make sure the campuses remain diverse and there must be an open discussion of resources. Mortimer said that having a President run the main campus in a system leads to problems here.
- The primary task is to get some understanding of the problems you have so as not to create more.
- Mortimer noted that the R1s that continue to have "public ivy" reputations have kept College of Arts & Sciences together. This is perhaps a matter of prestige, but also it means that a substantial number of the faculty belong to one college.
- University's must be mission centered, market smart and politically savvy.
Ross Heath said that he, Wadden, and Campbell will submit a list of options, pros and cons, and then attach resources to each option. Heath will do a PowerPoint and perhaps a spreadsheet to suggest the number of issues and the number of variables.
It was asked whether, after the brief history, the committee should begin framing the question. Whatever the issue, all the questions about organization and management apply.
It was suggested that the opening sentences be transposed where they pertained most closely to the idea of missions, so that the presentation began with the values, rather than dealt with the details. Jack Meszaros said that the grid of constituencies who would be consulted should be a part of the document.
The committee has done the benchmarking, explored options and spoken with consultants. There wasn't a need for a polished report, but an update of what has been done, and the complexity of the task, with the bottom line being that the committee was creating a resource rather than solving the problem, which ultimately was in the hands of the President and the Regents to decide.
The group must also stress that the external environment is pushing us hard. Present as though the group is trying to prepare the Regents when the time comes to address. It was said that the presentation should stress that this Taskforce was not intended to preempt the work and reports that are coming out of Bothell and Tacoma to address the legislative mandate for their campuses to become four-year institutions.
It was suggested that the principles that Mortimer brought should be included in the presentation. Heath said he would send the report around electronically and have the group insert their words, since he felt unable to capture all the changes being suggested.
It was also recommended to indicate that this is a work in progress and not a solution to the problem. An additional recommendation was to put bullet points in for strengths and weaknesses, to make it clear that the committee intends to frame the problem, not solve it.
It was recommended that report be introduced by saying "You might want to know about" and concluding by saying, "We are doing all that for you and we'll be back later. Is there anything else you want to know about that we're missing?" This would assure that Regents understood the report was informational rather than directive.