Year-end update

Thanks for a great year!

Chancellor Bob Meyer holds a forum on the proposed state budget cuts Wednesday, February 25, 2015 in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. Seventy-one people attended the budget forum, with 125 more viewing it live online. (UW-Stout photo by Brett T. Roseman)

With our academic year coming to a close and commencement behind us, I wanted to make sure everyone on campus knows just how much I appreciate the tremendous support I have received during my first year back at UW-Stout.

This has been a particularly challenging year, given the current fiscal problems we are facing. The faculty, staff and students have sustained me as I work with campus leaders to confront those challenges. The effort will continue past the end of the academic year, but we will keep everyone informed of our progress.

I also wanted to say one more time how much I appreciate the advice, support and good humor Jackie Weissenburger brought to her position as interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. It has been a pleasure working with her, and I will miss her counsel.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind, our financial challenges notwithstanding, that we have so much going for us at UW-Stout: strong enrollment, dedicated employees and amazing students. We will overcome these challenges and come back in the fall to give our students the exceptional educational experiences they have come to expect from Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University.

HLC to visit next year

It seems like a long ways off, but UW-Stout will receive a visit March 28-29, 2016, from the Higher Learning Commission as part of the standard 10-year accreditation cycle for the university.

UW-Stout must prepare an assurance argument, demonstrating how it complies with the criteria for accreditation, and a Federal Compliance packet, addressing information on the assignment of credits, the student complaint process, practices for verifying student identity, Title IV program responsibilities, advertising and recruitment materials and student outcome data.

A team of Meridith Drzakowski, Jackie Weissenburger, Glendali Rodriguez and Kristi Krimpelbein is taking the lead on assembling these materials. Any questions about the visit should be referred to any team member.

The group is also available to attend meetings upon request to share additional information about the visit and the requirements. The team has been working closely with deans, department chairs and the senates.

Additional teams have been formed to investigate specific requirements, including the student complaint process, the student handbook, the credit hour definition and verification of student identity practices.

As part of the requirements for accreditation, UW-Stout submits a Quality Initiative to the Higher Learning Commission. The Quality Initiative takes place between years five and nine of the accreditation cycle and is intended to allow institutions to take risks, aim high and learn from partial successes or failures.

UW-Stout’s current Quality Initiative is about developing systems and processes for continuing to increase the quality of faculty and staff. It focuses primarily on addressing gaps in competitive compensation, growing the infrastructure for advancing the research enterprise and improving campus climate and job engagement.

Progress on this initiative is reviewed by the Strategic Planning Group as part of the planning process. UW-Stout will be required to submit a progress report on this initiative in August 2015.

FOCUS 2020 coming into focus

I’m pleased to announce that, following a series of meetings and feedback sessions, the FOCUS 2020 strategic plan has been finalized. I would like to thank all of the people who provided input on the goal statements and performance indicators.

On Wednesday, July 15, the Strategic Planning Group will gather for its annual retreat. Members will discuss initial actions we might take to begin our work on these goal statements.