Monthly Archives: October 2014

Reaching out to leaders and alumni

Mary Burke tours campus

A19A6375I was honored to help show the Democratic candidate for governor, Mary Burke, around campus last week and explain to her UW-Stout’s unique position within the UW System. Because of her tight schedule, we had to stay in the Jarvis Hall area, but we did tour the Fab Lab and Ann Parson’s cadaver laboratory.

Mary had a number of conversations with students and employees along the way and held a media availability as well.

We work hard to build relationships with all our elected representatives, an effort that begins before the election. For example, Scott Walker participated in a similar tour in October 2010 before he was elected governor.

AASCU annual meeting

AASCULast week I flew to Washington, D.C., for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities annual conference. It gave me that opportunity to meet with other university chancellors and presidents and discuss the similar issues we face.

A great deal of the discussion centered on how to more effectively advocate for our institutions. The prevalent strategies align well with UW-Stout’s strengths, including our focus on developing a graduate with a broad array of abilities and skills. In addition, the importance of communicating our emphasis on making graduates both “job ready” and “career ready” was emphasized. The need to articulate how we play a vital role in new business development through research, entrepreneurship and outreach also was an important priority.

Tom Friedman, author of “The World is Flat and several other bestsellers, spoke on many of the issues the conference focused on, as well as his impressions of journalism in the digital age.

A worthwhile trip to NIST

phil_singerman_01_0While in Washington, D. C., I had the opportunity to visit the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. NIST oversees and provides federal funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs).

The UW-Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center, part of the Discovery Center, receives NIST funding. SMOC Director Larry Blackledge and I met with Phil Singerman, NIST/MEP director. Our discussions with Singerman focused on our efforts as a NIST/MEP center as well as future federal funding prospects.

The SMOC continues to demonstrate a very high return on the federal funds invested into it, which speaks highly of the center’s staff and leadership. I have been serving the NIST/MEP system as a “core panelist” for nearly two decades, which involves reviewing other centers’ performance and requests for funding. I enjoy my role as a core panelist and will continue serving NIST/MEP in this capacity.

I know many of you are involved in your professional circles in this manner and in other ways. This is important not only to your professional development but also to the university’s ability to pursue opportunities that align with its mission. I’m grateful to those of you who commit to that type of vital professional engagement.

A great visit with an alumnus

One of the best jobs of a chancellor is to meet with our graduates. Recently a proud alumnus came to my office to visit.  Richard Burdick and his wife Luanne stopped by to compliment the staff on doing a great job over the years updating the curriculum and facilities.  They spent time touring the campus and visiting students in the Memorial Student Center.

They were so impressed with how engaged and friendly the students and staff were that they had to walk up to my office to share their great experiences while on campus for the day.  I wasn’t surprised, but it made my day and I had to share it with you.

Thank you to our students and our staff for making visitors and alumni feel welcome when they visit campus.  It is one of the many important aspects of our culture that makes this such an extraordinary university.

A big week for partnership

Career Conference simply amazingChancellor Bob Meyer at UW-Stout Fall 2014 Career Conference

When we talk about the mission of UW-Stout, nothing tells our story better than the 97 percent employment rate for our graduates. Our students get a big boost toward landing that first job during the annual fall Career Conference, which attracts over 300 employers and thousands of our students.

I had the chance to walk through the conference on both days, Oct. 14-15. Recruiters were looking for students to fill co-op and internship positions, but they also were looking for full-time employees. Our students were doing a great job selling themselves to the recruiters, dressed appropriately and carrying updated resumes. The conference has gotten so big that Career Services has added a spring event as well.

Recruiters flock to UW-Stout because they know our students are prepared to contribute the first day on the job. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to make this event a success.

Sen. Ron Johnson visits UW-Stout

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin spent more than two hours on campus Tuesday, visiting classes and touring our FAB Lab with Discovery Center Director Randy Hulke. Sen. Johnson has a manufacturing
background and always is interested in what is going on at UW-Stout.

We had a good conversation about higher education issues and how they impact UW-Stout. He enjoyed the personalized business card holder the FAB Lab made for him.

Sen. Ron Johnson Visits UW-Stout

Noon Rotary presentation

One of my goals is to become as involved as possible with the greater Menomonie community, including the service clubs that are a vital part of our civic life. I addressed the noon Rotary Club last week at the Olde Towne conference center. The president of the club this year is our own Chris Smith.

I talked about my background, my leadership style and my goals. I also was able to catch up with a number of people who were at the meeting.

Other local service club presentations are being scheduled, and I am considering joining a club to strengthen those all-important ties to the community.

A Homecoming Week Full of Great Events

Homecoming 2014

Homecoming2014Nothing is more festive on campus than homecoming. I have enjoyed this time of year since my days as a student in the late 1970s, and I still get the same kind of thrill all these years later.

This year was particularly special because it was my first since becoming chancellor. Blue Devil Productions does a great job year after year organizing fun events for students, including the soapbox derby, hotdog eating contest, medallion hunt, Couch-a-thon, comedians and the coronation of the king and queen. I also enjoyed URec’s 10th annual Blue Devil Run/Walk. New this year was the Alumni and Friends Tailgate Party before the game.

As fun as homecoming is, a committee is working on plans to make it even better and to include more alumni, faculty and staff and the community. Bringing back the parade is on the table. Thanks again to everyone who helped pull off a great homecoming, and let’s make next year’s event bigger.


BoR2009-14Board of Regents

One of the highlights of last week’s Board of Regents meeting in Stevens Point was the presentation that Randy Hulke, Discovery Center director, gave to the board’s Research, Economic Development and Innovation Committee.

Randy laid out statistics showing that the Discovery Center, including the Manufacturing Outreach Center, is really making a difference for business and industry in western Wisconsin and across the state. Here is a slide from that presentation.

United Way

I had a chance last week to visit with Diane Simon, executive director of the Dunn County United Way, Mary Hopkins-Best, our representative on the United Way’s Board of Directors, and Joylin Munro, a UW-Stout student who just started on the board.

The United Way is incredibly important in helping address the needs of the less fortunate in our area, and I encourage everyone to participate in the upcoming United Way giving campaign. Even a small monthly contribution can make a big difference if everyone participates. More information on the United Way is available at

Risk management

I was privileged to participate in a ceremony last week acknowledging the improvements we have made in our campus safety efforts.

The Safety and Worker Compensation Committee last year proposed a safety incentive program for employees within our Physical Plant, Procurement, University Dining Services and Police/Parking departments. If they didn’t have any lost time to injuries they would receive a coffee mug, etc.

We completed our first year of this program on Sept. 30, and we saved $108,000 in worker compensation costs. The four departments involved in the safety incentive had no lost time accidents. A check symbolizing the money saved was presented by Tom Joestgen, UW System risk manager.

Safety Initiative

Inspiring events

I’ve had some truly heart-warming experiences during the last few days.

Wall of Hope

My wife, Debbie, and I were honored to purchase the final two bricks in the UW-Stout Wall of Hope, a project in the Memorial Student Center sponsored by the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity to raise awareness of all types of prejudice. Some 350 bricks were sold. I chose to include a favorite quote, from Gandhi: “Be the change you seek in the world.”

Wall of Hope, a project in the Memorial Student Center sponsored by the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity to raise awareness of all types of prejudice

Handmade gifts

Hand-made giftsCFSC2

Last week, I received a visit from the students of the Child and Family Study Center who gave me handmade posters. Each one of the children also made a guess at what I do here as chancellor. Here are some of their guesses:

Ariana – He’s in charge of the world.
Owen – He writes papers and stuff.
Nadia – He drives planes.
Ben – He cleans boats and airplanes.
Sophia – He helps the school.
CJ – He takes care of bugs.
Everett – He’s in charge of police officers.
Laith – He’s in charge of dotters and markers.
Arianne – He takes care of babies.
Talal – He just runs.
Allison – He takes care of the Stout school.
Haylie – He makes toys.
Jacob – He talks through a microphone.
Marley – He takes care of the university.
Alice – He’s in charge of Minnie Mouse.
Zoey – I think he vacuums…
Marcus – I hope he has a mustache!

Hello, UW-Stout

Welcome to my first blog post as UW-Stout chancellor.Chancellor designate Robert Meyer

These past few weeks have been a bit dizzying, but I have enjoyed them immensely, learning all about UW-Stout (again) and our fantastic students, faculty and staff.

It has occurred to me, however, that I needed to find a way to share some of these experiences, as well as other information, with the campus and the public. A blog seemed like a good answer, and Chancellor Bob’s Blog was born.

So what will you find in the blog? A little bit of everything: some of the great things I saw and experienced on campus the past week, the people I met, the places I visited. I also will share with you any pertinent updates from UW System or other places.

If you have anything worth mentioning in the blog, or would like to send me a comment, you can do so at Of course, you can contact me at any time at my personal email address,

A really great tour

One of the best things about being chancellor is getting to meet the great faculty and staff at UW-Stout. I spent an amazing hour last week with two of those faculty, John Klem and Julie Bates of the master’s program in clinical mental health counseling. The impetus for the visit was to tour the remodeled Counseling Process Laboratory in the Vocational Rehabilitation Building, but we had a chance to chat for quite a while about the CACREP-accredited CMHC program here.

What impressed me the most was just how enthusiastic and dedicated to their students John and Julie are. They both spoke about how UW-Stout is the perfect place for them to teach because of the connections they get to form with their students.

And we get a lot of good students. Typically 70 students or so apply for the 12 slots available each fall and spring semester, and it is hard to pick the best. I truly appreciated the time that John and Julie spent with me last week and look forward to seeing them again.

What a fine employee

Aimee Lipke

I also enjoy recognizing great employees. Last week I gave the Classified Employee Appreciation Award for September to Aimee Lipke, who works in Custodial Services in the Memorial Student Center.

Her co-workers find her always upbeat and positive, and she is very helpful and pitches in whenever she is needed. I certainly enjoyed talking with Aimee, and her enthusiasm is infectious.

Welcome to manufacturers

I had the pleasure of welcoming business and industry leaders to UW-Stout last week as part of the Manufacturing Advantage Conference, sponsored by the Manufacturing Outreach Center for the last seven years.

Manufacturing continues to be a major component of Wisconsin’s economy, and this conference brings industry representatives together to learn about ways to make their companies more efficient and profitable.

AODA coalition headed in the right direction

On Friday I spent some time with the Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and other Drug Abuse, learning about the coalition’s work to address high risk drinking and substance abuse on campus and in the community. I know this is a tremendous problem not only at UW-Stout but across the UW System and the nation, and I will do what I can as chancellor to help the coalition continue to make progress in this important area.

Excellent news on enrollment

Finally, UW System reported preliminary enrollment numbers for fall 2014 from all campuses. I can’t say enough about the hard work that went into our enrollment increase this year. We are at 9,322 compared to 9,286 last year. But we think we very well could exceed our record of 9,356 in 2011 when the final number is released later this year.

Seven campuses reported enrollment declines this year, some significantly. I want to thank everyone who is involved in our admissions and enrollment efforts for our increase this year. Here is a link to graphic that details the UW System enrollment:

Students on Campus