University of Wisconsin System and University of Wisconsin-Madison
Eugene Trani, Ph.D., became vice president for academic affairs of the University of Wisconsin System and professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Sept. 1, 1986, and served in these positions until June 30, 1990.
The University of Wisconsin System consists of the 15 public institutions of higher education in Wisconsin. Two universities offer work through the advanced professional and doctoral levels: UW-Madison, one of America's leading universities, and UW-Milwaukee, a premier urban university. Eleven universities offer work through the master's-specialist levels: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Parkside, UW-Platteville, UW-River Falls, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, UW-Superior, and UW-Whitewater. The University of Wisconsin System also includes a center system of 13 freshman-sophomore campuses, as well as a statewide university extension.
The University of Wisconsin System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, enrolling more than 160,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. The UW System offers more than 700 undergraduate degree programs, 360 master's-level degrees and 135 doctoral and professional degrees. In 1989, the universities in the system conferred more than 19,600 bachelor's degrees and 5,900 graduate and professional degrees. In 1989, the UW System had a faculty of more than 7,000, a support staff of more than 20,000, and an annual budget in excess of $1.8 billion, and was among the nation's leaders in support for research and development, with more than $230 million annually in research funding from out-of-state sources.
As vice president for academic affairs of the University of Wisconsin System, Trani reported to the president and provided the UW System with administrative leadership in the academic and student affairs areas. He was responsible for the following system activities, including advising the president in matters of university policy in academic affairs; monitoring and coordinating educational activities of the system such as its outreach programs; developing and transmitting budget recommendations relative to institutional academic programs and affairs and participating in the development of the system's annual and biennial budgets; providing systemwide leadership and assistance in academic and research program planning, development, and review; developing faculty and academic staff personnel policy guidelines; coordinating student affairs; providing staff support to the Education Committee of the board of regents; and functioning as a liaison to state agencies and other external groups. In all these activities, Trani worked closely with the other system vice presidents, chancellors and vice chancellors of the institutions.
As part of his responsibilities, he chaired the councils of Vice Chancellors, Chief Student Affairs Officers, Faculty Representatives and Student Body Presidents. In addition, Trani served as a member of other boards, councils and committees, including the Search and Screening Committee for the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the boards of directors of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, and the Center for the Advancement of Science Education of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, and was chairman of the Education Committee of the Wisconsin World Trade Center.
In the time that Trani served as vice president, the board of regents of the University of Wisconsin System adopted a major planning document, "Planning the Future," which directed him to oversee a review of the current missions of the University of Wisconsin System institutions and to recommend centers of excellence at each of them. Both of these initiatives were completed in 1988. During this time the regents also approved a number of new degree programs; an applied research program; a distinguished professorship program; accreditation principles; a major talent scholarship program to recruit high school students; admissions and transfer guidelines; and revised faculty, academic staff and student governance guidelines. Finally, during this time Trani established a faculty internship in his office; brought about significant enhancements to the leave policies and teaching improvement programs; conducted major studies of faculty workloads, extension, admission standards, and admission exceptions, retention policies and rates, and financial aid policies; set up a University of Wisconsin System Council for International Education, a University of Wisconsin System Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, a University of Wisconsin System Groundwater Research Advisory Committee, and a University of Wisconsin System Minority Information Center; completed strategic planning reviews of the business administration, the engineering and technology, and the education programs in the University of Wisconsin System; and negotiated exchange relationships between the University of Wisconsin System and the University of London and the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR and between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Moscow State University.
Trani held a tenured appointment as professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and taught American history courses on a regular basis. He was active in national and international organizations. With the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, he served on the Water Resources Committee and on the International Affairs Division. He served as a member of NASULGC's Executive Committee from 1985 to 1988, on its Academic Affairs Council from 1983 to 1988, as chairman of that council in 1985-86, and on the Urban Affairs Council from 1985 to 1987. From 1986 to 1990, Trani served as one of the 13 board members of the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the organization that oversees the Fulbright Scholar Program under a grant from the United States Information Agency. For the CIES, he was chairman of the Soviet Area Selection Committee. In June and July, 1987, he served as a special assistant in the Office of the Vice Chancellor and principal at the University of London in Great Britain, studying academic planning in that complex university.
In February 1988, he served as senior lecturer under the auspices of the American Participants Program of the USIA, speaking on American higher education at universities and government agencies in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Algeria. As a result of that trip, Trani was asked by the Ministry of Planning of Saudi Arabia to prepare an overall assessment of higher education in that country and to recommend steps for a master development plan for higher education in Saudi Arabia. He completed that assignment in August and September 1988.
In April 1989, he visited universities and government agencies in the Republic of Korea to discuss higher education as part of the Personnel Exchange Program of the International Cultural Society of Korea. Finally, in April 1990, he served again as an American Participant lecturer for the USIA, visiting universities and governmental agencies to talk about American higher education in Greece, Yugoslavia and East Germany. With two of his colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Trani wrote an essay and bibliography, “The Changing Landscape of American Higher Education,” that was displayed by the USIA's Books Program at American embassies in more than 50 countries between 1989 and 1992.