UW System Board of Regents meeting at UW-La Crosse wraps up

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The final UW System Board of Regents meeting of the calendar year wrapped up in La Crosse Friday morning.

This was the first time in five years the regents meeting was held at UW-L, with the agenda over the last two days being jam-packed.

On Thursday, the board unanimously approved a three percent pay increase for two years for system employees starting next July.

"The entire UW System is so strong because of the people who work there and we need to make sure that we pay them competitively and that frankly that hasn't happened over a pretty long period of time," said UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow.

The pay raise for the 39,000 employees still needs legislative approval.

The board also heard from campuses on how they would spend a total of $25 million the system is seeking in the state budget for Capacity Building Initiatives.

"Those are special projects that each campus will do to try to serve the community even better than it does now. And so we would like to start an electrical engineering program," said Gow.

Other campuses, such as UW-Eau Claire, want to expand nursing in rural Wisconsin.

UW-Stout hopes to add faculty in their computer science program.

For this board of 18 regents it was the last meeting of the year, one people in the system came away enthused by.

"I think that the UW System is clearly a national leader and that's exciting. People around the country look to us, what's happening in Wisconsin, what's happening in that system and so we want to be sure that we're leading strong and I think this budget request is something that will help us to continue to do that," said Gow.

When the regents reconvene at UW-Madison in February, it will be a new board filled in part by Governor-elect Tony Evers, who himself attended his last board meeting as a regent this week.