Great news: We just received official word from UW System today that our request to plan for a new mechanical engineering degree has been approved. This means that we can approach the full Board of Regents in April for approval to offer the undergraduate program, which we plan to do.
It will be an important new degree for UW-Stout and for the businesses and industries of our area who have told us they need more engineers. I want everyone to know how much I appreciate the hard work, dedication and persistence by many, many people on campus — too many to mention — put forth to bring us to this point. Now we will have to build a solid case for this program in front of the Board of Regents in April.
Reading Across Campus program kicks off
One of the absolute best things about being chancellor at UW-Stout is participating in fun events involving students like Reading Across Campus, which is sponsored by the Literature Committee of the English and philosophy department, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and my office.
The book selected for reading and discussion this year is one of my all-time favorites: “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Arthur C. Clarke. I also was invited to speak this week before a preview of the Stanley Kubrick film based on the book.
A series of lectures and discussions is planned in conjunction with the program. I encourage you to attend a book lecture by Professor Mike Levy at 12:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25, in the Northwoods Room of the Memorial Student Center.
Assistant Professor Chris Freeman also will lecture and lead a discussion at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10, in room 182 of Heritage Hall. Associate Professor Aaron Durst will explore the movie’s musical score at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, in room 313 of Applied Arts.
I hope you join us for the fun.
State budget update
At this point, there really is nothing new to report on the status of the 2015-17 state budget. I met with both the Faculty Senate and representatives of the Stout Student Association this week to give them what information I have.
We continue to press our case with legislators that the cut Gov. Walker proposed is both too large — just under $6 million for UW-Stout in 2015-16 — and would go into effect too soon — July 1, 2015 — for us to handle.
Lawmakers in general seem to agree with that position. However, there is no agreement on what the cut actually should look like and where the additional money would come from.
My office is working on some additional forums to allow students, faculty and staff to discuss the budget cuts with me and other administrators. Watch for a memo with details and keep abreast of state budget information here.