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The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will host a conference next week aimed at improving university relations with state lawmakers, which frayed publicly during the recent state budget discussions.

"Our objective is to have a frank, collegial discussion about the partnership between the state of Wisconsin and its public university system," said Regent president Michael Falbo. "That collaborative relationship has served Wisconsin citizens well for more than a century, and this is an opportunity to strengthen our vital partnership through two-way communication."

All state legislators along with other state officials have been invited to attend the "Finding Common Ground" conference, which will occur next Thursday, Sept. 5 starting at 11:15 a.m. in Madison.

Charles B. Reed, former head of the California State University System, will be the keynote speaker. A panel discussion about board governance will include Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, Sen. Sheila Harsdorf, R-River Falls, and Rep. Robin Vos, R-Burlington, the Assembly speaker. A panel discussion about higher education funding challenges will include Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend.

Registration for the conference is requested. Visit uwsa.edu or call 262-2324 for more information. A full schedule can be found online.

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