WisCUR Executive Committee Meeting, November 3, 2021

Attendance: Anny Morrobel-Sosa, Jeff Buhrandt, Catherine Chan, Scott Cooper, Will Hoyer, Jessica Schuld, Julie O’Leary, Cheri Rossi, Molly Van Wagner

1. Brief Introductions:

  • Brief intro of the history of WisCUR
    • Started in 2013 as a result of an NSF-CUR grant to provide leadership to advance, enhance and expand URSCA across the University of Wisconsin System. Its membership has since been expanded to include institutions outside of the UW System (Concordia University, Carroll University, Carthage University, Madison College).
    • WisCUR is the Wisconsin version of a larger National Organization, CUR.
  • Dr. Anny Morrobel-Sosa shared her extensive background with undergraduate research as a student and a Dean. She has successfully started UR Offices at more than one university which assisted with bringing in funding and supported a move to an R1 for a university. UR needs to include all disciplines, not just the sciences. She has experience and can assist with finding resources within an outside of the system. She encouraged WisCur to review the website and reach out to folks at utep.edu.
  • Jeff Buhrandt, Interim Vice President for University Relations reminded folks that Research in the Rotunda (RiR) is our most prominent event at the capital.

2. Scott Cooper and Catherine Chan highlighted the successes from past System support:

  • Financial: e.g.,
    • Cost-sharing for System Symposium ($5K/year for 19 years) and CUR membership ($645 x 14 ~$9K/year since 2007
    • Hosting WisCUR (and Research Administrator) meetings [from UW System Growth Agenda grant in 2014 – ~ $18K still remaining]
    • Discovery grants $50,000 per campus in 2015. Funds were used to support capacity building as well as launching of new initiatives, including campus-wide URSCA offices.
      • There was discussion around the Discovery grants and future funding while understanding the importance of sustainability. There is a report that Scott Cooper will share with folks summarizing campus outcomes from the funding which was legislatively funded.
    • Regents Scholars grants $850K for 17 grants total to date (2015: 5 x $50K; 2016: 3 x $50K; 2018: 3 x $50K; 2020: 3 x $50K; 2021: 3 x $50K)

3. Discussions with Anny & Jeff

  • Anny shared there is renewed support and interest for the Wisconsin Idea and what it represents; ensure UW Institutions are accessible, flexible, relevant, and encourage lifelong learning. Her question to us was, how do we engage to be relevant? It is tied to career outcomes for our students and directly connected to our curiosity that spills over to our student’s curiosity. One on one research with faculty is not going away, only our level of expectation.
  • Jeff Buhrandt discussed the need for some type of infrastructure and advocacy at the system level while being cognizant of growing staffing numbers. How should we lead system to us? This structure should include support for URSCA and the Research Administrators.
      • WisCUR should explore a redesign of discovery grant program
      • Make a connection with workforce development.
      • Research foundation grants such as Lumina Foundation. Put together a small working group.
      • Review the NACM report and design UR questions. NACM is the National Alumni Career Mobility Report. Survey will be conducted two years in a row and then bi-annually. Annie Kellogg has made a call for questions.
      • UR and Grant Administration together is a good connection for in-person meetings.
  • Anny recommended the following for WisCUR:
      • Make a proposal to seek internal funding and external funding for three years and then assess.
      • Include an organizational structure that defines who is responsible and accountable. A model that will defend and expand the proposal.
      • Research the utep.edu mode for emulation. Seek their advice.
      • Connect to the new Wisconsin Idea
      • Be mindful of the pending transition and be ready to share our proposal with the next UW System President
      • Schedule these meetings quarterly to keep engaged. Connect with their executive assistants to schedule meetings for UW System WisCUR folks and Anny and Jeff.
      • Review UW Stouts new communal research engagement project in the area of design.
  • Scott Cooper agreed to be interim chair of WisCUR.