A new fund for teaching excellence
Preparations for my inauguration on April 2 are well underway. The event begins at 2 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center, and I truly hope everyone on campus feels welcome to attend. In advance of that event, the Stout University Foundation has established the Chancellor’s Fund for Teaching Excellence and Student Success to help support attracting and retaining top faculty and staff; support faculty-led student research and aid other critical university needs. I am honored to be a part of this effort and intend to contribute. This is the kind of initiative we will need for UW-Stout to continue to provide a quality educational experience for our students during a period of declining state resources. I’d also like to thank Scott Cabot, a UW-Stout graduate, for coming to us with the idea for this fund and taking the lead in promoting it. I hope alumni and others who care deeply like I do about teaching excellence will contribute generously.
The big day is coming: The UW System Board of Regents has officially scheduled a decision on our
request to add mechanical engineering to our program array for April 9-10. The meeting is at UW-Waukesha County. The Education Committee meets on April 9 and the full board will consider the proposal on April 10. We will have a full contingent of UW-Stout supporters on hand. I want to thank a number of people for putting this proposal together, including Interim Provost Jackie Weissenburger; Associate Vice Chancellor Glendali Rodriguez; Dean Chuck Bomar; Associate Dean Rich Rothaupt; and Program Director Devin Berg. I am optimistic that the Regents will approve this program, and the efforts of all these people will be the reason why.
Things have been pretty quiet on the state budget front the last couple of weeks, but that will change shortly. The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee is holding hearings around the state on the governor’s 2015-17 budget proposal, which includes a $300 million reduction in state aid for the UW System. The closest hearing is March 23 is Rice Lake, and I plan to attend and testify in support of a reduced cut and additional operational flexibilities for the UW System. On campus, a special budget reduction committee is wading through more than 800 suggestions on how to meet the budget challenges, and that committee’s report also is due on March 23. I envision a healthy debate on campus about that report and how we move forward.