Advocacy for 2015-17 state budget begins
Most of you probably saw the memo I sent out today, Jan. 27, concerning the governor’s 2015-17 state budget proposal. I just wanted you to know that I, along with interim Provost Jackie Weissenburger and External Relations Director Doug Mell, will meet with two members of the Joint Finance Committee—Sen. Harsdorf and Rep. Knudson— on Wednesday to lay the groundwork for our budget work. We plan to make the case with our legislators that UW-Stout already has sustained significant reductions in previous budgets and to appeal for whatever options are available to make this budget as palatable as possible. We will keep the campus informed about the budget as it makes its way through the Legislature.
A great way to start the semester
I can’t say enough about the energy I felt in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center last week as we kicked off our spring semester. I appreciated the chance to make some remarks, but I really appreciated all the work and creativity that went into the “You Said…We Did” event and all the other fine sessions that marked Professional Development Week. Kudos to everyone who had a hand in planning last week.
New engineering program moving forward
On the engineering front, it looks like there is some good news to report. The Education Committee of the Board of Regents will meet on Feb. 6 to consider requests for new engineering programs in Wisconsin. It appears that at that meeting, interim UW System Provost David J. Ward will make a recommendation that UW-Stout be allowed to proceed with planning for mechanical engineering. Under that tentative recommendation, UW-Eau Claire could proceed with its materials science and engineering proposal, and UW-River Falls could proceed with its agricultural engineering proposal. Rest assured, we intend to pursue our electrical engineering and chemical engineering proposals, but at a later date. It also appears that we would be able to start recruiting students for the fall 2015 semester. I want to thank everyone who helped push this engineering initiative forward. It is an important effort for UW-Stout.
Good news on the enrollment front
Our new freshman and transfer enrollments numbers for fall 2015 continue to be positive. Our new freshman admissions for fall 2015 are up 12 percent over fall 2014. Our transfer admissions also are up significantly. Keep in mind that fall 2014 was a record year for enrollment at UW-Stout at 9,371. If we continue making progress in our retention efforts and maintain solid graduate enrollment, we should be in very good shape for fall 2015.